Gather teams of magical characters and try your damndest to break the other team's final objective - such is the essence of Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas. Initially called "Dota clones", these games have grown into a gaming genre that is as popular as it is soul-crushing. With players in every corner of the world except Antarctica, MOBAs are the focus of some of the biggest e-sports gaming events in the world.

League of Legends is the oldest on this list, and neck and neck for most popular with Dota. Its streams are commonly some of the most watched on Twitch, sometimes for the wrong reasons. Its lore, dodgy as it is, has been expanded enough to warrant more games set in its universe, including single player console games and a multiplayer card game. Its devs have also gone deep into marketing the game's professional competition, but whether it is actual competition or just a marketing ploy is up to your interpretation.

Dota 2 is, as the name implies, the sequel to the legendary Defense of the Ancients mod for Warcraft III. While League is more accessible for newcomers to the genre, Dota 2 features more advanced mechanics, potentially longer games and all heroes unlocked from the beginning. Much like League, it also has popular professional competition, although not as regionally top-heavy as the former, and with a perpetually expanding prize pool. Although the original DotA was in a Blizzard game, said company ended up losing the trademark to current devs Valve, in another example of them not capitalizing on long-term success when it hits them in the face.

That did not deter Blizzard from trying to make their own DotA with Heroes of the Storm, featuring characters from Blizzard's memorable RTS franchises as well as Overwatch. While other games and their professional counterparts are typically played in a single map, HotS features a variety of maps with each having their own different objective but sharing the same final goal. Notoriously, Blizzard actually killed off official professional competition a while back because it just wasn't the e-sports sensation they expected it to be. It still exists, just underground.

While the above games are played from a top-down perspective, Smite by the evil Tribes killers Hi-Rez Studios is different in that it's played with a third-person camera and a different control scheme. Sometimes slammed for its character designs and occasionally in trouble with actual religious scholars, Smite allows you to play with gods from a multitude of pantheons, including Odin, Ganesha, Thor, etc. No Jesus, though.

I know next to nothing about Heroes of Newerth but it seems to have its followers so I'm including it in this list.

Discuss your personal experiences, and perhaps pro play as well.