Dota 2

Comparing League of Legends and DotA 2

Content of the article: "Comparing League of Legends and DotA 2"


I first played DotA 2 back in 2012, when it was released

Ever since, I've been playing the game. For 4 years I played it very casually with friends and with long gaps between matches. By 2016 I started playing ranked games, solo game and bought every Battle Pass (major or ti) ever since

This year I first created an League of Legends account after I felt dissapointed by DotA in general, I was frustrated about competitive matches, about the battle pass, about casual play and toxicity. So, I haven't played DotA now for 3 months

I've been playing League for 4 months now on my own account, but played with friends before in their old acc because it had more heroes

– Goal

My goal here is to make a detailed comparisson between DotA and League, they're purely my impressions and I'll bring some details and facts about them. Be free to agree or disagree, it's not supposed to be a diss on any game. I'll highlight whatever I think is important.

  • 1 – Hardware

1.1. Size and Content

– DotA 2

DotA 2 is a pretty heavy game (16gb according to google, but it takes up to 25gb once installed) considering it's online. Once you download it, you notice it'll take up to 25gb from your hardware. It includes only the base game and what you need to play it.

– League of Legends

League is a pretty light game (8.2gb) even if we consider it's online. You take a lot less time to download and install it, and it includes Teamfight Tactics, which is the Riot version of DotA Chess

1.2. General Hardware Section

– DotA 2

Although DotA is a heavier game, it is also a very good looking game. If you have a mid-end computer it'll be enough to play with ultra graphics, and you feel rewarded because the game gives you more graphicwise than you'd expect for an online game, making it's size an understandable and necessary part of the game

It's important to say that low end computers can run DotA 2, but it feels like a whole different game

– League of Legends

League is way lighter than DotA, but it can be a decent looking game from time to time. A low-end computer is more than enough to run the game, and a mid-end computer is sure to run it at it's best. More recent aspects of the game can be very good looking and the animations are great, but, sometimes, the game feels like a punishment for everyone who has a decent hardware.

League is very limited graphic-wise, but it brings some fun aspects that make up to it. Playing either on your best graphic option or lowest graphic option isn't really that much of a change for mid-end/high-end hardware owners.

1.3. Hardware Section – Bugs, Glitches and Lag

– DotA 2

I experienced way more hardware problems with DotA 2 than with League of Legends, but it may be because I player DotA 2 for way longer than I've played League. I'm talking about black screen, random freezes, stuttering and crashes. I played it with low-end, mid-end and high-end hardware, and what I have to say is, DotA 2 punishes hard low-end hardwares who can only reach it's minimun requisitions, and rewards only high-end hardwares. To achieve a playable game in low-end hardwares, you have to give up a lot.

My impression is, DotA is a very heavy game without SSD, you can't really keep it opened without it being a suffering to start a game without it lagging or giving black screen for players. But, Valve seems very aware of that aspect and brings some comeback funtionalities, like the pause system which is very helpful in case your game crashes.

It's important to say thou that every fix I found it was because of foruns like reddit, not because Valve had a group to deal with it. You can try it via Steam, but you'll receive mostly random automatic messages.

– League of Legends

I experience a few hardware problems with League, which is frustrating considering it's not ok to face hardware problems in a light game if you have a high-end hardware like I do. I had black screen, the game not loading properly and loading during the matches. It is very playable thou, and I heard very little complaints from other players.

Riot thou gives you an option to talk to them, and, unlikely Valve, they give you a decent response. Riot tries their best to solve your hardware problem and won't cease communication unless they feel like something is done, which is, at least, the experience I had. Once I fixed the game, I didn't face any other problem.

  • 2 – Gameplay

2.1. Aspects shared between both games

Since we're talking about 2 MobA's, naturally they have similar gameplay. But, for me, DotA and League gameplay can only be trully measured between their differences, mostly because they're insanely huge

Both games features an Arena with 2 bases, each base configuring a team, each team with 5 players who can choose between a wide pool of heroes. Each player have to choose between 1 of 3 lanes, bot, mid and top, and can also play in the jungle, featuring neutral units. Both games features big objectives around the river that splits the map, and both game are heavily team-based.

2.2. DotA 2 gameplay

First things first, even thou the games share similarities, DotA 2 is way more richier and complex than League. I'm talking here about basics aspects needed to play a decent game (farming mechanism, itens usage, objectives, position, etc) not complex ones (micro, abilities, retreat mechanisms, roshan steal. etc)

I think it's important to give emphasis to the rich part, because, even you DotA is complex, it's complexity adds to the game, making it more fun and impressive. A lot of people blame DotA's fail for it's complexity, I think that's where DotA is succesful.

DotA has a way less objectives than League thou. The most important thing is to destroy enemies base, the second one is to kill Roshan. That's about it, the rest is up to your team to work around to make these objectives possible.

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Some of the exclusive DotA 2 mechanics are: avoiding skills and ranged attacks with blink, complex micro skills, creep deny, body block, complex fog usage, high ground/low ground mechanics, and many others that I think you guys can point better than me.

DotA also features voice chat, which is a very important aspect of the gameplay and makes the teamplay very interesting

This is something that I'd like to elaborate on more later, but I think it's important to say that every gameplay aspect is free, but some live gameplay tips aspects are available through paid content (dota plus and battle pass)

2.3. League of Legends gameplay

League mechanism is based less on complexity and more on instant results. I'm note sure how can I explain it, but League gameplay is way faster and immediate than DotA's. Using skills, hitting, fighting, everything hits instantly, making it a fast paced game that requires constant attention because a lot can go on in a second

Here I'll try to demistify that LoL is a basic game. Actually, it feels very full of information because heroes appears out of nowhere, they can jump long distances and there's no animation time for most of the skills. Also, the map is way smaller than DotA's map, so heroes can move from one lane to another in a matter of seconds. Plus, the jungle position is a fixed position in League, so every lane can be ganked and the game features a bunch of objectives. From minute 1 you can steal enemies Blue/Red buffs, from minute 3 you can kill these crabs that gives you vision, from minute 4 you can fight for Dragon buffs, from minute 6 you can fight Harold, later on you can fight Baron and the drags keep respawning and changing.

League doesn't feature many of the complex mechanics from dota, but the game requires a big understanding of the heroes, since you can easily be punished for not knowing the enemy potential, your own hero potential or your teammates potential. It's hard to work around things you don't understand yet, but you can easily understand your own hero since the game hardly features any really hard mechanic, except for few heroes like Aphelios.

It's important to say that League values the animations (no heroes animation, like DotA have. What I mean here is the beauty and graphics of the skills) a lot, so even if a skill is basic, it features a lot of explosions, light, text and lots of stuff to make it interesting.

3. Conclusions about gampelay

What I can say, as a player, is that DotA 2 gameplay values rewarding you for patience, skill and knowledge, and League gameplay values rewarding you for instant results, fast-paced mechanics and beautiful animations.

By that I don't mean that one aspect can't be seem on the other game, it's just a general impression of how things work

  • 3 – Additional Content (Game enhancements and cosmetics)

– DotA 2

DotA 2 main additional features are heroes cosmetics, map cosmetics, sound effects, voice lines and DotA plus. Each year for 4 months it also features the battle pass, with a bunch of new cosmetics. DotA 2 cosmetics are very pricy and they have a big range of quality – from extremely ugly to extremely beautiful. Mostly cheap cosmetics make little difference or even make the hero worse, but it can be balanced because you can mix cosmetics.

Mostly, these cosmectics are random and have no theme at all, except for the Battle Pass cosmetics that will bring specific themes, but they're not necessarily followed. Arcana's are considered the most important hero cosmetic, but it doesn't make them necessarily beautiful (Lina's Arcana, for an example)

DotA 2 content can be acquired by real money in Steam, and can also be sold and bought by players.

Cosmeticwise, DotA can bring a lot of joy with beautiful voice lines, beautiful animations and graphics. It may require thou a lot of money to reach this quality, since a full equiped hero with their prettiest itens can cost more than $1000. Also, by buying cosmetics you can support the competitive scenario, which feels great since DotA is a pretty competitive game.

But you can acquire decent cosmetics for $10 or so, there's no real lore connection or something, you can just make it to your own personal taste.

Game enhancements are available mostly trough DotA Plus, a paid content that needs to be renewed monthly. Even thou it's price, it brings very fun content for hero upgrade. It doesn't feature a lot of new content thou, it feels very static and is bad if you consider it a long term investiment.

The last thing I'd like to mention is that DotA features some graphic improvements content, like Vulkan.

In general, DotA is a very expensive game for cosmetics, but when the game is at it's peak, you feel ok and even good about it. For such a complex game, it's very unfriendly for new players to feature gameplay enhancements for money. Also, new additional content is very unpredictable, you're never really sure when it's coming .

– League of Legends

League main additional content features mostly heroes, battle pass, blitz and skins. Unlike DotA, League heroes are not free, you need to buy them with Blue Shards, which is given to you by playing the game or you can buy it. League skins cannot be mixed between each other, so one skin present you with a full hero change. League has no real cheap content like DotA, but it also doesn't feature any really expensive content. Even the ugliest and oldest skins requires a bunch of money that doesn't make it worth, but the most beautiful cosmetics are very accesible.

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League coins are called RP, and they're required to get any paid content in the game, which can only be sold by Riot. You can't buy it with straight real money.

League also features way more cosmectics than DotA for a more accesible price, but it's graphics limitation can make it less impressive too. Still, even the most casual player will feel okay spending money in the game, cause for a few bucks you can acquire a very nice reward.

League's Dota Plus, which is blitz, is a game enhancer platform that is free and features way more content than Dota Plus. Blitz will tell you win rate, will chance your spell, recommend runes and specific builds that can be change straight at your draft with little to no delay. It feels like a well thought software that make the new player experience extremely pleasant.

League heroes are not free. Actually, League heroes are very expensive/hard to get if you're not willing to pay for it. Heroes can be bought with blue shard, acquired through playing the game, opening chests, watching the competitive or battle pass. Heroes can also be bought with the paid

League is also very active on social media. They have big events, big announcements and a very well organized agenda, unlikely DotA, featuring even a girl band from the game with huge artists.

Battle Pass is featured almost monthly, they're not as polished as Valve's BP, but they reward you with really rare content

In general, League doesn't feature any expensive content, except for heroes. DotA has content with lower price, but League is not even close to reach the most expensive contents for DotA. The game brings additional content almost everyday.

  • 4 – Player Experience (toxicity, trolls, company involvement, updates, communication, etc)

Here I'll talk mostly about how the game is handled and how the player feels playing the game.

I'll start with this: Riot is a company that cares way more about players than Valve. Riot also cares a lot about making the game alive, while Valve cares mostly about a very specific feud that are Tier 1 competitive players.

– DotA 2

In general, DotA player experience is very frustrating. The game features a huge number of smurfs, booster, toxic and problematic players that can easily go unpunished with being literally a piece of trash. DotA features a limited report system that doesn't really work. It punishes mostly for number of reports and not for wrong actions.

Every year the game loses players, making the player experience even more frustrating because you end up playing with the same players every match, long queues, and an avoid list that is paid. So, having a fun game can be very hard sometimes, playing for fun or not knowing yet how to play as a high skilled player is punished way harder than for being toxic or wrong.

Matchmaking can also be very frustrating. Acquiring tickets to play make it even more frustrating, it makes you play lanes and functions you don't really want/know to and be punished hard by it.

Also, DotA has little updates to every aspect. Small gameplay patches come every 2-3 months and balances little to nothing, and big gameplay patches come twice a year and will hardly change until the next big update. Battle Pass only come once a year, and only the competitive scenario have fixed dates for what's about to happen, which has been changed due to Covid, making even the competitive scenario an unstable enviroment.

Also, Valve cares little to nothing about it's player base. They work mostly around tier 1 players, with long gaps between updates and updates that only values few players. Also, Valve has no communication with players, making it a very unreliable game. They don't really announce when new content will be released, they'll, at best, give you a gap between more than a month for it to be released, and it's not sure that they'll respect this release date.

New player experience is even worse. Valve started to release some new content for new player experience, but it seemed more focused on identifying smurfs and sending them to higher ranks than really introducing players.

League of Legends

In general, League player experience is ok. But content and communication is where League really shines. The game features a lot of content that is applied constantly, and punishes hard toxic and problematic players. League has, thou, a similar problem with smurfs and boosters.

League punishes problematic players, has an unlimited report system and an insanely huge player base.

League features a lot of updates in every aspect. At least once a month a patch is launched, there's new heroes every now and then and thematic battle pass release.

New player experience is decent, but not great. The game makes you play a very boring tutorial, which is ok I guess if you're a REAL new player, but it informs little to nothing about some of the basic mechanism. Still, it tells a bunch to get you ready to play the game.

League has a fixed matchmaking and you can find matches really fast, except for high rank players, which suffer from the same problem DotA does: long queues.

Riot communication skill is great. They have release dates for contents that'll not come until next year, they pre-release patches and heroes, their tickets work and they'll answer them in most of the cases. Following Riot social media is great, they'll share player content/art, inform important things and share lore content.

  • Competitive Scenario / Ranked System

– DotA 2

Competitive Scenario is where DotA really shines. DotA competitive scene is amazing, it features a huge amount of content and is highly expected by the community. It's the biggest competitive scenario for a game and for a reason, watching it feels great and I don't think I need to make a huge case about it.

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The Internatiol is the best single game event. Period. Since this a DotA group, I won't make a case about it, ya'll know how it works.

Whoever follow DotA, knows that from the beggining it's a great game to watch. Professional teams make it a whole new experience

DotA Ranked system, thou, isn't as perfect as it's professional scenario. It features a bunch of problems, feels unbalanced, has long queues, toxicity, smurfs and boosters. It has been recently updated and improved, but still, doesn't feel next to great. Considering DotA was released back on 2012, I can assume that Valve had more than enough that to manage things, but seems like they're not that interested. it also features a huge number of smurfs and boosters.

Medal system was a huge update, but not enough. DotA is a game that needs to value their ranked system because it's based around it's competitive scenario. Withou a decent ranked system, people tend to leave the game.

One last thing to be said is that DotA is way more balanced than most online games in general. Still, the amount of time between updates make it frustrating because you can't unveil much after some time, and some broken features will be abused.

– League of Legends

League competitive scenario is decent, but feels flat in comparison to DotA. Here is where I can't make a case for League. Honestly, watching League competitive scenario feels boring and low on emotion. I can't really make what's wrong with it, maybe I'm used to DotA's competitive scenario, but the connection with the competitive isn't as important for players in League

League values their competitive players way more than DotA, thou. I say this because they don't value only tier 1-2 teams, they have a huge competitive scene even for begginers and tier 5-3 teams. Still, I guess it's easier to value a competitive scenario that isn't as rich as Dota's scenario.

League ranked system is good to great. It can be frustrating sometimes, but I think it's part of playing ranked. The most controversial feature is about to be removed, which is the Best of 3, so I guess there's little to say about it. What can make the Ranked poor is the amount of smurfs and booster, specially for Flex Ranked.

League is insanely unbalanced, but it adds fun to the game. Maybe rankeds don't feel that bad for League because the game itself doesn't want to be balanced, it features a lot of broken heroes with instant kill mechanics, impossible match ups and broken heroes. It still more rotative than DotA thou, since the meta changes a lot.

  • Final Considerations

Basically, what I have to say is: DotA is the better game, but League is way more fun.

I have no doubt that at it's peak, DotA 2 beats LoL in almost every aspect. Right now thou, League features a more friendly player experience, which matters a lot.

The difference between how Valve works and how Riot works it insane, following and playing LoL, casual or competitive, feels way more right, less stressful and more dynamic than DotA.

DotA feels like a great game that was just released and needs a day one patch to fix some fundamental stuff, while LoL goal is just to be fun.

League success is most result of Riot's work, while DotA decline is most result of Valve's work

It saddens me because DotA has the potential, it even reached the top once, but it feels like a dying game with no player experience that is worth. Battle pass was expensive, it featured some busted mechanics like Crystal Maiden wheel shitty 10 cents set, a gap of content between levels, a huge gap between the release of contents. League pass is way cheaper. It it also less complex, but it also rewards you a lot, it's like that year when we had Siltbreaker and could sell our treasures for a high price.

These considerations are about right now. They don't represent the past DotA or past LoL. I welcome everyone to correct me where I'm wrong and add your perception too. This is not about dashing or flaming every other game

So, last but not least: I'm not a native english speaker and I'm not going over it all to correct stuff. So, if you can, point me mistakes so I can correct them.

Thank you 🙂


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