Ever since Riot Games’ biggest title came out, a war between the MOBA games has erupted. And if we are to pin down the key differences between Dota 2 and League of Legends, we will need to consider all aspects of the genre.
LoL, and Dota 2 are the most popular video games in this field. Both of them have masses and masses of followers, although one surpasses the other. However, their style of play, their pace, their characters are nowhere the same. Anyone who has tried their hand at both League of Legends and Dota 2 can tell you how different of an experience they provide.
Here we will examine the key points that make the most significant differences between Dota 2 and League of Legends. So let’s start with their history!
The Key Differences Between Dota 2 and League of Legends
It might be well known that Dota 2 didn’t start as a standalone game. Back in the days when there was no League of Legends, Defence of the Ancients was just a game mode in Warcraft III. Now, WC3 was a big hit worldwide, so the mode quickly overtook the world. It introduced a 5v5 PvP arena with much complexity and “fairness” where friends can battle their way to glory through both strategy and skill.
Years forwards, Valve purchased the rights for Dota from Blizzard. They rebranded it into Dota 2 and removed every bit of Warcraft III from their game. New hero designs, new looks, new names… It launched on Steam and soon became one of the biggest Esports scenes. And even though the game has almost no similarity, the die-hard fans of WC3 can still spot all the similarities between Dota 2 and its former self.
On the other hand, League of Legends wasn’t created by random strangers that liked a challenge. Rumors are that many of the developers that worked on Warcraft III and World of Warcraft at Blizzard during that time transitioned over to Riot Games to work on LoL instead. Of course, Dota’s game mode wasn’t supported in any way by Blizzard, so it was only a matter of time when a team would want to flash out its potential.
So, LoL was created to provide a unique, authentic, and powerful 5v5 PvP experience. In the start, it had many trials and errors, but with time Riot Games and the community have made it to what it is today – the loudest name in the world of Esports!
The first thing that comes to mind when examining the critical differences between Dota 2 and League of Legends are their looks. Obviously, the video graphics aspect of both these titles is vastly different.
League of Legends, for example, has a very cartoonish look, with polished and smooth animations that any PC can run at 60 fps. This is a huge plus, in our opinion, since the game’s point is a hardcore PvP where every second matters. Also, it allows more and more people to join Summoner’s Rift.
Dota 2 has much more complex graphics. There are movable grass and tress effects, with deep spells and hero animations. This will be much more favorable to anyone who likes their game to look top-notch and not sacrifice its graphics for “clarity.”
But, the map layout of LoL and Dota 2 is nearly the same. There are two towers spread out in each lane, with three towers defending the base’s outer ring and two towers defending the Ancient or the Nexus. In League of Legends, all the towers look the same, and only their color changes depending on the team they belong to. But in Dota 2, there are two vastly different teams – the Dire and the Radiant. So, the looks of the whole map, including the towers and the Ancient, is different from one side to the other.
And the last notable difference in design is the Nashor or Roshan NPC. It is located in the same part of the river in both games, between the top lane and the mid lane. However, where Roshan drops an item that can bring your hero back to life, Nashor provides a team-wide buff when slain. If you look closely, Nashor is just an anagram of Roshan.
Heroes and Champions
Now, the playable characters in both of these games are termed differently. LoL has its champions, and Dota 2 has its heroes. When you first start playing League of Legends, you’ll see that you have a limited champion pool to choose from. And you’ll have to work towards unlocking more and more characters. However, in Dota 2, you have all heroes unlocked at the start, so you can pick whichever you want to main right away.
But perhaps the biggest differences between the LoL champions and the Dota 2 heroes are their complexity. With an unbiased conclusion, we can safely say that the League of Legends characters are more challenging and difficult to play.
Why is this?
Well, the style of play in League of Legends is such that most champions are designed on one fundamental – skill shots. Skill shots are abilities that you need to aim, either at a targeted location or a chosen trajectory, rather than just pressing them directly onto the enemy. Think of Ashe’s R or Mirana’s arrow. And based on percentage, League of Legends has much, much more skill shots than Dota 2.
Another element that comes into play is the fact that more heroes in Dota 2 have passive abilities in the place of the active ones. Traditionally in LoL, every champion has an active spell on the Q, W, E, and R buttons, while all having a passive effect that defines their playstyle.
This, however, doesn’t mean that there are no difficult heroes in Dota 2. It merely shows that there are more straightforward picks there instead of League of Legends.
One of the biggest differences between Dota 2 and League of Legends are their rules on roles and builds.
In Dota 2, they exist only vaguely, though. Every team needs to have a carry and somewhat of a support. They’re helped by constant ganking of all the other members of the team and vice versa. The heroes are of either of the three categories: Strength, Agility, and Intelligence. Each has its own build path and ways to deal with its enemy.
But in League of Legends, there are fixed rules for every role! The top laner should almost always be a tank or at least a melee fighter who can endure many hits. The mid laner is responsible for doing as much damage as possible with a mage or an assassin style of a champion. In the bot lane, there is always a ranged carry champion and a supportive one. They both work towards the same goal of getting the carry as powerful as possible. And lastly, the jungler is responsible for roaming everywhere and enabling his lanes for success.
Even though there are apparent differences in the roles between League of Legends and Dota 2, the gameplay may seem similar to inexperienced eyes. And it’s somewhat true because in both games, players spread in the three lanes or the jungle, trying to slay minions/creeps and push each other.
But, if you’ve dedicated enough time to both games, you’ll surely notice the difference in pace. League of Legends has a much faster pace than Dota 2. An average ranked game in LoL lasts for about 20 to 25 minutes, while in Dota 2, 50-60 minutes.
In League of Legends, a single mistake can cause you to lose the match simply because you won’t have enough time to recover from it. Your enemy may be experienced and will punish you for every misstep and close the game very soon. But in Dota 2, you have ways to get back on your feet, like the buy-back option, which allows you to purchase your hero’s life while being dead.
Additionally, in Dota 2, enemies can kill their own creeps and deny you the needed experience and gold. This makes the early game much harder, especially against good players. And you’ll have to find alternatives, usually the jungle.
It is no secret that League of Legends has a bigger player base than Dota 2. It is also a more popular Esports scene, which additionally draws in more and more players to try out the game.
But generally, League of Legends tends to have a younger audience than Dota 2. As an older title, Dota 2 has amassed years and years of experience, so it’s a bit hard to get into right now. On the other hand, League of Legends is very accessible, easy, and fun at first sight, so anyone can give it a shot!