The MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) genre has become the most ubiquitous template for big-budget publishers around the world. Everyone – Microsoft, Epic, EA – has taken a run at Riot's League of Legends success, and the results have been mostly boring. Every game spits out the same high-fantasy nymphs with three basics and an ultimate, all jogging down symmetrical lanes to cap towers and farm creeps. There’s been no wild aesthetic changes to the formula since the first DOTA, and that’s what makes Fractured Space so refreshing.
Fractured Space is a free-to-play game that adopts all the classic MOBA tropes (multiple synergizing roles, lanes, objectives to capture) to big, epic, capital ship space combat. It works shockingly well. Obviously this game moves a lot slower than something like League of Legends, but that makes things more tactical and more team-oriented. Death is never sudden in Fractured Space. Like the best Star Trek duels, battles are won and lost after a series of complex decisions. The MOBA genre grew out of Warcraft 3 as an appetizing simplification of the micromanagement inherent to your average real-time strategy game. But there's a lengthy lineage of great space real-time strategy games like Homeworld and Sins of a Solar Empire. If the downsizing worked for swords and sorcery, Fractured Space shows it can also work for the 10,000 ton spacecraft in the far reaches of the galaxy.