For the first time ever, the Arena Of Valor (AOV) International Championship for professional eSports teams will feature a prize pool of US$1mil (RM4.23mil). The event, which will be held fully online, features 14 top teams from eight regions including China, Korea, Japan and Indonesia. The grand final event is scheduled to take place on Dec 19.
Malaysia will be represented by UndeRank, a team from Kuala Lumpur. Its members are 19-year-old Cheo “Botak” Yong Chen, 17-year-old Loo “LYL” Yong Leong, 21-year-old Shee “Xfeng” Ji Hong, 24-year-old Ooi “YLiang” Yong Liang, 21-year-old Cheng “Zenshao” Wei Han and Lai “LCC2” Chia Chien, 19. The team has also represented Malaysia at the AOV World Cup tournament which concluded in July.
The game has also been announced as one of the eSports medal event titles at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. In a press statement on Nov 15, it was revealed that a custom version of the game has been developed for the Asian Games event which reduced the amount of socialisation, commercialisation and non-battle systems so players can “focus on the game’s core competitive features”.
The Asian Games version also features the most popular heroes from different versions of AOV across the globe, so players from different regions can pick their preferred characters.
Curious about AOV? The game was first released in 2016 by TiMi Studio Group – a subsidiary of Tencent Games – as the international version for Honor Of Kings, a highly popular game in China. Fun fact: in 2017, the company roped in Hans Zimmer – the composer for Hollywood films like Inception and Pirates Of The Caribbean – to compose the game’s soundtrack and battle themes.
Website SensorTower in its ‘The State of MOBA Mobile Games 2021’ report stated that Honor Of Kings has become the first mobile game to surpass US$10bil (RM42.32bil) in total player spending since its release in 2015. The report published in October highlighted that the global Covid-19 pandemic has sparked a surge in player spending for MOBA titles, with Honor Of Kings earning more than US$2bil (RM8.46bil) this year alone.
AOV was released to introduce and expand the popularity of Honor Of Kings to players outside of China. In 2018, Variety reported that AOV had earned US$140mil (RM592.48mil) in revenue.
AOV is described as a multiplayer online battle arena game where the objective is to destroy the enemy’s base. Players can choose to compete in three-vs-three or five-vs-five modes.
Before the battle commences, players need to select their heroes or characters to play. AOV has over 100 heroes representing different classes, such as marksman, tank, mage, assassin, warrior and support.
Some interesting heroes in AOV include DC Comics icons such as Batman (the Dark Knight is an assassin with high attack damage) and The Joker (a marksman character with the ability to stun enemies with an attack called Canned Laughter). Wonder Woman, Superman and The Flash are also other playable heroes in the game.
For beginners, the AOV website recommends characters like warrior Zanis, whose physical attack abilities will increase with every kill or assist, and Gildur, a tank with the ability to stun enemies from afar, to start their journey into the game.
Once players on both teams have determined which hero and role they want to play, the game begins. When they spawn into the game, players must also take down monsters in the other areas of the map (called jungles) and slay their enemy’s minions.
The more actions (such as kills or assists) that players perform during battle, the more points or experience they accumulate. These are needed to level up, so that they can unlock new experiences such as playing in ranked matches.
Winning matches will also earn players gold which they can use to purchase new heroes or skills upgrades. Players are encouraged to prioritise teamwork and communicate with each other to win.
Fancy a different game mode? They can also choose to fly solo by playing in the Black City Arena for one-on-one battles.