Concrete Jungler: Merc Elite Is Not A Fantasy MOBA


I know, I know: when I first laid eyes on it, I thought it was too. The big guns, frequent explosions, and gruffly barked bits of military lingo, especially, all had me thrown. But nope, I have it on good authority that Merc Elite is in fact some kind of top-down army manshoot/MOBA amalgam. There are lanes and roles and towers (of a sort), but also guns, classes, free aim, and cover. I never thought I’d declare a modern military setting somewhat original in any genre, but well, there you go. Advance position past the break for a trailer. Oh, and maybe bring some earplugs.


I’m willing to give it a try, though. I hope that, in the long run, MOBAs will move beyond simply assimilating other overdone videogame settings, but for now, this is progress of a sort. Here’s not only how we will violence in Merc Elite, but why:

“Merc Elite is an online shooter set in the near-future that combines modern warfare with team combat in this unique MOBA military game experience. Merc Elite takes place in an era of guerrilla battles paid for by corporate mega-conglomerations and fought by contract soldiers. A unique direct-fire combat system based around the realistic use of cover will bring a new co-op game experience for even the most jaded MOBA players. Unlock advanced military weapons, new abilities, and powerful new mercenaries as you direct your warriors in this modern warfare online shooter game and make them into the world’s best soldiers-for-hire.”

At this point, there are only five classes: the tank-like Juggernaut, highly destructive Assault, fleet-footed Recon, rangy Heavy Gunner, and support-based Tactician. I’m guessing each will evolve into pretty specific roles as you customize them, but I’m not entirely clear on how Merc Elite will replicate the traditional MOBA sea of characters – if at all.

You can toss your name in the bullet-riddled beta hat right here if you’re feeling curious.


  1. maximiZe says:

    Taking clunky movement to a whole new level.

    Also this is what you get for letting the worst genre term in gaming history prevail, every single non-MMO multiplayer game will from now on be called MOBA.

    • AngelTear says:

      So, you’re saying that SimCity 6 will be a MOBA? Can’t wait!

      • Shepardus says:

        In which you watch your sims shuffle down the lanes and get stuck in traffic jams.

    • DeVadder says:

      I never understand why people hate the term MOBA so much. How would you call them? Action-RTS? But then isn’t SMITE quite similar to the others while certainly not RTS? And is it really the RTS controls that define the genre?
      Lanepusher? Wierd name and i would argue, while most MOBAS seem to evolve around lanes to push, it is not really the defining part either. One could easily imagine a game with lanes but without in-match level progression, for example.
      Obviously MOBA is not descriptive of the genre either but basically all people who care about the genre know and use the term so if no other name is better in another way, why not use the established one.
      You can never keep marketing people from using buzz-words. But that would not be any different if the name was more descriptive. MMO is pretty descriptive and yet even racing games with no more than 8 players in one race get dubbed MMO.

      • Lemming says:

        I’m happy with the MOBA moniker, mainly because if it was labelled an ‘action-RTS’ I’d buy it and then be severely disappointed. Keep it separate so I can avoid it, please!

      • Asherie says:

        I concur. Besides, a quick ‘[name of game] lets play’ or ‘[name of game] gameplay’ search on youtube tells/shows you all you need to know anyway =)

      • maximiZe says:

        Lane Pushing Game (LPG).

      • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:


        Strategic Area Under Siege – Attack Groups of Enemy Soldiers.

        As I tweeted last night. YES I REUSE MATERIAL.

      • Warskull says:

        MOBA stands for absolutely nothing, it is by far the worst marketing bullshit in the games industry and it was perpetuated by LoL fanboys. The whole reason it exists is because Riot games didn’t want people constantly referring to “DotA” when they describe LoL and they asked their early adopters to spread it for them.

        MMO is usually short for MMO + something, for example MMORPG or MMOFPS. Those terms are actually descriptive.

        Action-RTS is better, as is “Lane Pusher.” The whole genre could have been called “DotA” similar to how the game rogue names an entire genre. “Hero Building Strategy Game” could work too.

        The problem is that MOBA is quite possibly one of the worst genre names ever conceived and if they tried just a little harder they could have come up with something. MOBA can quite literally be used to refer to any online multiplayer game where you play against other people.

        • J-snukk says:

          I think you might be taking this a little bit personally

        • AvistTorch says:

          I honestly can’t stand the term “Action RTS”. It makes it sound like it’s in any way a replacement for RTS games, which it’s not. From my few experiences playing with this genre, I feel like the control is actually more similar to an Action RPG. MOBA may be nonsensical, but anything is better than Action RTS.

          It’d be like calling Tower Defense games “Defense RTS”. Now that would make me rage.

          • maximiZe says:

            Just like ARPGs are conspiring to replace RPGs, right?

          • AvistTorch says:

            “Conspire?” Please don’t put words in my mouth.

            All I’m saying is that the genre really doesn’t have much of anything to do with RTS.

  2. GeminiathXL says:

    Sort of reminds me of Infantry.

  3. RedViv says:

    Interesting idea. I’m always open for more non-standard laneypushy games. Two big standard ones are enough, with the poor Savage-based one already crying into its drink in the corner.

    • Teovald says:

      I am still a bit sad that Demigod did not become one of the giants.
      With a proper netcode, it could have been the basis to a good game and GPG definitely needed it to succeed.

      • DeVadder says:

        I assume you have tried SMITE then? Several of the more involved Demigod players have found a new home there. However I never played Demigod so i cannot really compare the two.
        But as has become mandatory for me in the comments section of every MOBA-related article: Here is the link to the RockPaperSmite thread if you want to inform yourself or play with rps folks: link to

        • TsunamiWombat says:

          Too bad SMITE is a High-Rez game, and therefore certainly doomed to be strangled in it’s crib by lack of content and pay-out-the-ass microtransactions.

          And yes, I have played it. It was ok. Once you get over the perspective change it’s completely familiar. So much so in-fact, I tended to stomp all over whatever games I could get into at lvl 1 because I was up against beginners. Which is it’s own kind of fun, don’t get me wrong. But High-Rez.

          • DeVadder says:

            Well for now the content is flowing swiftly with a new god every other week and 4-5 game modes (depends if you count joust). And the micro-transaction thingy is one of the fairest i have encountered so far. If you do not want to bother you can just spend 30€ once and have everything gameplay related that is and ever will be. Almost like buying the game!

            I do agree that the example of Tribes: Ascend may make you wonder wether HiRez will continue to add new content to SMITE for ever. But for now there is a complete and fun game with a comparably nice community and 2+ weekly tournaments with 1k in prize money.
            So even if the game is not one for eternity (though i sure hope it is), right now it is a good, enjoyable game with a fair free2play model.

          • Turin Turambar says:

            No microtransactions, no bonus XP, no items for buy, nothing of that type. They learnt their lesson, they know they compete against the very free Dota 2.

            You always have 10 free gods, 5 of them rotating, and the xp buys the rest. You can buy all the gods in the game with $30 (also the future ones). You can rent gods to know if you will like them, and try them for free against bots.

        • Teovald says:

          I have not tried it. I stay as far away as possible from most F2P games. Too often this business model contaminates the gameplay.
          I will try to have a look then.

    • BooleanBob says:

      It’s so weird to see the MMO thing just completely repeating itself. On the other hand, genres were invented all the time in the nineties and very few seemed to have trouble quickly blossoming with dozens of happily co-existing titles and clones, with many more developers getting a share of the pie.

      I guess player retention happens because being online lets developers be so much more responsive, now? The break-out games take a lot longer to get stale, and can keep outliving their rivals and pretenders right throughout the generic gold rush and out the other side. Or maybe it’s a mechanical thing; all the persistent elements, levelling up and progress bars are leaving players less willing to abandon all those invested hours in favour of something new.

  4. Bartack says:

    It looks like this game has plenty funs.

    • DeVadder says:

      Indeed, especially if it allows to move with wasd. I would really like some proper top-down-shooter multiplayer game. I have spent countless hours with BaboViolent. Speaking of which…

  5. ZHsquad says:

    I’ll give it a shot. More interesting than a lot of the things coming out.

  6. TsunamiWombat says:

    Why ARE people surprised by this genre’s success? It blends multi-player with the twitch content of both strategy and action games, with none of the graphical fidelity or painstaking balance expected by either of those. It’s the logical extension of the Tower Defense game, putting it at about tier 3 of the “video game involvement” scale.

    Tier 1 being “click/tap to play” games like fruit ninja or angry birds, tier 2 being “tower defense”.

    Tier 4 is shooters, probably.

    tl;dr, it’s perfect for beginners, doesn’t require a high financial investment (for developer OR player), it has innumerable facets that can be monetized (LoL is now selling skins for Wards), doesn’t require a high skill investment (for developer OR player), and is involved enough to interest “core” gamers while appealing to so-called “Casuals”.

    Yes, this genre is basically the new ‘Free 2 Play MMO’. Expect a never ending river of Multi-player Arena Games

  7. Lemming says:

    I see these screenshots whether they be like the above, or the fantasy kind and can’t help but think ‘Wow, this could be a great new TBS game, or squad-based RTS’. But no: It’s another fucking MOBA.

    “Yeah but they are popular”, I hear you cry, but actually it’s two specific MOBAs that are popular. All others are just late to the party band-wagon jumpers. It’s not a popular genre, it’s a popular couple of games. MOBAs are the new MMORPGs. If you just copy the popular ones, you aren’t going to be a success.

    • Rovac says:

      Wait a second. Have you seen the trailer? you have to aim and seems to be moving with wasd, also you can move into cover. If only they add dodging/rolling mechanic with cooldown
      I dont see how “it’s another fucking MOBA”
      though I won’t mind if they turn this into TBS or better yet, why don’t make both?

      • TormDK says:

        I tried a few games last night.

        Seems fun enough. There’s no healer class yet, but there are dps and tank classes. Dodging as an active skill is found, but only for one of the classes. Health will regen if you don’t get hit for a few seconds.

        There’s plenty of pushback abilities though, as to give the various support mercs a chance to push People away from cover, as cover is pretty nice to have.

        Should be interesting to follow this game in the coming months. I’m not a huge fan of the genre, but I like the potential this has. Even if it is a unity based browser game.

        • Rovac says:

          I just watch the tutorial on youtube. Seems a bit clunky and less fluid than I imagined. Click to move and aiming seems very clunky though

          How big is the map? I don’t think the normal MOBA map is small enough to accommodate the gameplay. I suppose there’s no TP scroll either considering the theme they use

          They really need to get more gameplay videos out.

          edit : there is this guy doing a Let’s Play(?) of it for those who are eager to watch the gameplay. He’s not speaking english.

  8. MobileAssaultDuck says:

    Why is it that we seem to be cool with using fantastical things in settings that emulate our past, we’ll use fantastical elements in settings that emulate our future, but we rarely seem to be willing to use fantastical elements in games that emulate our present.

    I love dakka, but couldn’t it be some cool modern fantasy setting?

    • Rovac says:

      You mean something like Hellboy?

      • MobileAssaultDuck says:

        Hellboy, Vampire: TM, anything that takes the modern world and puts some fantasy stuff thrown in.

        I just wish more new games came out with settings like those.

        • The Random One says:

          Agreed! Modern fantasy is my favourite setting, and you rarely get anything in it, especially in games!

  9. Rovac says:

    Well about time
    I’ve been wondering if MOBA genres turn their moving with click into wasd and have to aim their normal attacks (for melee and ranged), more action-y and fun.
    Something like awesomenauts mix with alienshooter

    • RedViv says:

      Guardians of Middle-Earth does that already, and is surprisingly fun. Sadly only available on 360 and PS3.

  10. ostrich160 says:

    Finally, a MOBA Ill actually enjoy, without the fantasy stuff. you guys need to stop complaining that its not generic enough, its like a bunch of WoW fanboys on an EVE online article concerning MMO’s

  11. TehK says:

    Only played a few games, but it’s actually good fun. And nobody’s more surprised about that than me. Although it’s still very much in beta at the moment. But some people here seem to have some misconceptions and perhaps I can clarify some things…

    – It’s not WASD. You still move via clicking your right mouse button and you’ll use WERF for your skillshots (you can see that on the buttons in the trailer)

    – It’s a MOBA – but not a DOTA clone. Basically all character- and item progression have been thrown out of the game itself. This will happen on a “meta level”, i.e. in between games. But that means that the games are quite fast (~ 15 Min. per match) and very action orientated. Also, no lanes, creeps, towers, but cover mechanics, advantages from higher ground, emphasis on line of sight etc. So it even feels a bit more tactical.

  12. LionsPhil says:

    The comment from the dev on that video says it’s browser-based. :/