Anyone well versed in the language of online multiplayer games would have heard of two of the most popular online games in the last couple of decades; World of Warcraft and League of Legends.
However, players just getting started with these titles may find themselves confused about the nature of these two games and what makes them different.
World of Warcraft is a subscription-based MMORPG with various PvP and PvE game modes that revolve around leveling up your character. League of Legends is a free-to-play MOBA that focuses on 5v5 PvP competitive matches.
Understanding all the similarities and differences between these two games can be a bit puzzling at times. So it is our job to guide you through the vast universes formed by League of Legends and World of Warcraft.
Also read: What is Facechecking in LoL?
Overview of World of Warcraft:
World of Warcraft is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) released by Blizzard Games on November 23, 2004 (For NA/AUS) and on February 11, 2005 (For EU). It was originally announced in 2001 and gained popularity extremely quickly because of its predecessor, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.
Free players may only play the game up to level 20 with locked features. A subscription system is in place for people who want to continue playing the game for longer and unlock every feature of the game.
Character creation involves selecting one of the two main factions; the Alliance or the Horde. Communication such as messaging, joining guilds, and talking is limited to players within the same faction. Players must then select a race, which depends on the faction chosen (For example, Human, Dwarf, Orc, Undead).
Pandaren players are not committed to a faction until they finish the starting zone, upon which they must choose one of the two factions. Finally, players must also choose a class (For example, Warlock, Paladin, Rogue).
You start off by creating a character that you will control in an open world. The gameplay mainly revolves around exploring the vast landscape of Azeroth, joining a guild, talking to the different NPCs available in the game, and also to other players walking around in the overworld.
Players begin by joining different “realms”, which are mainly of two types. You are allowed to create characters on all realms, but moving pre-established characters between realms requires a small free. The two types of realms include:
- Normal realms revolve around usual PvP and PvE combat, quest completion, and exploration.
- RP realms are focused mainly on roleplaying as characters in-game.
Players can fight various monsters and look to complete different quests assigned to them. As players gain experience points and complete quests, they level up and gain new skills and talents to enhance their character.
Most end-game challenges require players of different classes to group together to achieve victory. Aside from the PvE aspect, players activate “Warmode” which allows them to compete in PvP as well. Certain areas in the game also allow Free-for-all combat.
World of Warcraft was received extremely positively for its RPG elements and remained the most popular MMORPG of all time, until recently. The title for the game with the highest number of concurrent players was eventually taken by League of Legends upon its release, which will be discussed below.
Also read: What Is Meta in League of Legends
Overview of League of Legends:
League of Legends is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game released by Riot Games on October 27, 2009, for Windows. The developers were inspired by a custom map in Warcraft III (called Defense of the Ancients) and wanted to create a multiplayer game in the same genre.
Unlike World of Warcraft, League of Legends is a completely free-to-play game since its release and supports itself based on in-game customization sales. The game will have 160 unique champions by the time Bel’Veth(the latest champion) hits the live servers.
The main game mode of League of Legends takes place on the map called Summoner’s Rift. Ranked matches also take place on this map. The map consists of three lanes; Top Lane, Middle Lane, and Bottom Lane. Between the lanes is the Jungle, which contains neutral monsters that can be killed by players.
Each lane contains three Towers and one Inhibitor on each side. The base itself contains the Nexus guarded by two Nexus Towers that must be destroyed to gain access to the Nexus.
The map used in an alternative game mode, ARAM, is Howling Abyss. It consists of a single lane. There are two towers guarding one inhibitor for each team and two towers guarding the Nexus.
Currently, League of Legends has two permanent game modes. Summoner’s Rift games (Blind Pick, Draft Pick, Ranked Solo, Ranked Flex) allow for the classic League of Legends experience with extended matches. Ranked matches have a skill-based matchmaking system that places players with and against players of the same skill level.
The current ranks in League of Legends Ranked Mode are Iron, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master, Grandmaster, and Challenger. Players gain or lose League Points (LP) upon winning or losing (respectively) which allows them to climb the competitive ladder.
ARAM (All Random, All Mid) is the other permanent game mode. It consists of 10 champions randomly picked for each player on each team from a certain champion pool. The players start the game at Level 3 and must all engage in a 5v5 environment in a single lane. Passive Gold Generation is increased and games last shorter.
There are other game modes that are temporary and rotated on a regular basis. These include URF, and ARURF among others.
In League of Legends, you pick one champion from the wide array of characters available to you, each with its own set of abilities and statistics. When the match starts, players are placed either on the left or right side of the map (depending on which team they belong to; blue or red).
As the champion kills enemies, it gains Experience Points (Exp) which allows it to level up and learn new abilities to improve current ones. Gold is also obtained through killing enemies and it allows you to buy items that help you grow stronger. NPCs such as lane minions and jungle monsters are the main source of Gold and EXP.
The goal of the game is to destroy enemy objectives (called Towers and Inhibitors) until you gain access to the enemy base (called Nexus). Upon destroying the Nexus, the game ends. The team that destroys the opposing team’s Nexus first, comes out victorious.
League of Legends was received fairly positively upon its release because of its competitive nature offering unlimited replay value.
Since its release, the game continued to evolve and grow in popularity, with MOBA fans finding it easier to get into as compared to DotA. However, it was criticized for the toxicity of its player base and the rate for unlocking champions.
Currently, League of Legends stands as the most played online multiplayer game. With over 180 million active players as of November 2021, League of Legends garnered enough popularity to allow Riot Games to expand it to other projects. These include other games (developed by Riot Games), Music, Comics, and even an Animated Series.
Also read: Most Popular Roles in League of Legends
Summary Of The Differences:
It can be quite tiresome for new players to understand the differences between these games and what they should play. So we have listed the differences in a comprehensive form in this table:
|World of Warcraft||League of Legends|
|Developer(s)||Blizzard Entertainment||Riot Games|
|Release Date||November 23, 2004||October 27, 2009|
|Price Model||Subscription-based||Free to play|
|Platforms||Windows, macOS||Windows, macOS|
|PvE||World of Warcraft has a lot of PvE elements and players can enjoy the game while avoiding PvP.||League of Legends has very little PvE experience, limited to 5v5 vs AI game mode.|
|PvP||World of Warcraft has a much more complex PvP experience than League due to its various PvP game modes.||League of Legends is mainly based on its PvP (5v5) experience which only differs in a few elements across game modes.|
|Player Base||World of Warcraft has a smaller player base than League of Legends currently and seems to be fading in popularity||League of Legends is said to have the biggest player base of any online multiplayer game. And a very successful Esports scene.|
|Progress||Progress is made by leveling up your character and gaining new abilities and equipment that stay with you.||Any progress such as character level, gold, experience, and items made in the match will be lost after the match ends.|
|Updates||Occasionally, new expansions are released for the game which introduce new elements to the gameplay and new areas to discover. New characters and gear are also added.||Most of the updates revolve around balancing the already present elements of the game like champion strength, items, and game mechanics. However, newer game mechanics or drastic changes are introduced periodically.|
|Plot||World of Warcraft focuses heavily on its RPG side and has memorable characters that form its legacy. It inspired a lot of references and crossovers in other media.||While a lot of lore has been fleshed out in recent years in the form of comics, music, animated series, and stories; League of Legends maintains its charm through its 5v5 PvP gameplay and does not focus on its plot as much as World of Warcraft does.|
Which One Should You Play?
While both these games have certain similarities and connections, most of their gameplay aspects vary widely.
If you are interested in MMORPG elements that allow you to clear dungeons, quests, and missions all the while retaining the possibility of collecting new gear/equipment for PvP; then World of Warcraft is probably the game you’re looking for.
If you are a fan of battling out your opponents in a team-based competitive environment, with none of the gains or losses carrying over to further matches; then League of Legends might just be the game for you.
While both games retain their differences and belong to separate genres, each of these games offers a different experience and is based on different ideas of competition and progress.
Players looking to invest time and resources in either game would be advised to keep the gameplay differences in mind before making a decision.