For those new to eSports, which originally started as video games in the 70’s, the initial major change was to the multiplayer online battle arena genre, known as MOBA. This was based on the StarCraft Aeon of Strife custom map, with players choosing their own characters from a roster, fighting against the computer-controlled forces, looking to kill off the enemy’s team. The game winnings were minerals, which could be used to upgrade the characters, making them more powerful. This map proved unpopular and attracted few players.
Following the release of Warcraft III, the fans of the original attempted to recreate the custom map on the new, improved engine. Thus, the new incarnation was born, named Defense of the Ancients, or Dota. With the ability to earn better abilities as the game progressed, the game also awarded money for killing the enemies, which could be used to buy beneficial items.
Later, a new game was created using all the heroes from Dota’s previous version, called Dota Allstars. Now, with more fingers in the pot, modifications were balanced and refined, with the move to real characters instead of animated, creating the most popular Dota version ever. This culminated in Blizzard hosting a Dota tournament in 2015 during their initial BlizzCon event. As new versions, with more and improved content, were released so Dota’s popularity soared.
Still confined to the Warcraft III engines, players were demanding more and more features, including penalty systems and matchmaking, which were not possible to add in. With the instant fame of the MOBA genre, Valve Software’s Dota 2 and Riot Games League of Nations were born. Now we start to compare apples with apples.
Dota 2 is the stand-alone version of the original Dota. With an increase from 46 heroes to 111, the new game has many new additions plus a few changes.
League of Legends, or LOL, was inspired by Dota. Their heroes have increased from the initial 40 to 128. It has approx. 65 million players throughout the world, making it more popular in that respect.
Both of them are MOBA games, with the prime objective of destroying a structure in the opponent’s base, Ancient in Dota 2, Nexus in LOL.
Dota 2’s heroes, and champions in LOL, both fight in three lanes alongside their allies. The lanes are defended by towers or turrets, and creeps or minions with other random units attack the opposing base. During this clash, money is awarded. This is where teamwork creeps in – it is important that the team works together pushing and ambushing until a victory is won. Both games appear very similar at this stage.
But the heroes and champions create the first major difference. LOL has 10 free champions for all to use. Players buy champions, boosts, and alternate skins. Boosts increase the gain of Influence Points, which are awarded after the game, or Riot Points that are bought using real money. Dota 2 have all their heroes available but players can use real money to customise their heroes. Or you can use for money to use a Virgin games promo code.
The next difference is hero selection. Dota 2 champions number 25, while LOL’s maximum is 18.
Dota 2’s heroes have three attributes, agility, intelligence, and strength. Each one has a primary attribute, increasing attack damage whilst other specialties may be bought.
LOL does not use this system at all. Rather champions focus solely on building up attack damage, armour, ability power, move speed and more. Here the term attribute signifies the role of champion, i.e. support, assassin, similar to the heroes in Dota 2.
LOL has brush terrain, or foliage, which has the magical quality of making champions invisible as a form of camouflage, whereas Dota 2 rather lets players destroy foliage, carving out new paths to either flee or ambush.
LOL has Baron Nashor providing the Hand of Baron, and Dragon, who provides the whole team with the Dragon Slayer buff. These bonuses are quite powerful, encouraging players to slay two large monsters a priority. Dota 2, on the other hand, has Roshan, a creep, both neutral and powerful, who provides the Aegis of the Immortal upon death, which reincarnates a player with mana and full health.
In summary, play Dota 2 for complex mechanics with cosmetic customisation only. With a higher learning curve, it is unforgiving to mistakes made. League of Legends is faster-paced, is easier to learn for newcomers, and has the bonus of customisation of champions outside of the match.
There are plenty more differences between these complex games, which can only be defined by playing both of them. Each to our own, everyone has their own personal favourite.