Dota 2 and LoL: How They're Alike, How They're Different, and Why They Hate Each Other

Dota 2 or League of Legends? Is there a difference? Well lets find out....

Since the release of Dota 2 into a public Beta, the feud between League of Legends and Dota 2 has been an endless fight with no clear end. Some Players claim that Dota 2 and Lol vary only slightly in difference, yet others claim that they have NO relation at all and snort in disgust at such a preposterous thought. But is there really a difference?

League of Legends fountain(Left)              Dota 2 Fountain (Right)

The most obvious of differences is not in-game play but instead in the graphics of each game.

League of Legends graphics radiate a more cartoon, less serious and easy to handle relaxed tone to the game, achieved through the wonderful art of cell shading.

Dota 2 has a much duller feel, compared to the graphics of League despite the similar use of colour. On the metaphorical brighter side Dota 2 adds a serious manor to the game play, and although it moves slowly compared to the fast pace of League, I felt the player requires more attention to even have a minor successful game in a Pub match.

One of Dota 2's Picking System (Above)

League of Legends' champion buying system (Below)

The second difference easily noticed is the difference in the hero or Champion system.

In Dota 2 the player is immediately presented with 100+ heroes to choose from, which can be a little daunting for a new player but becomes necessary as they  becomes more experienced. In League of Legends the player is presented with a small pool of champions upon beginning who are then later expected to BUY other Champions they may or may NOT like. To counteract this, the Team of Riot games has a system of Trial heroes each week that the player can try and then buy if they so desire. 

Dota 2: 1        League of Legends:0

Dota Shop system (Above)

LoL Shop system (Below)

A point that League of Legends has over Dota 2 is the shop system.

Although each shop slightly differs in design, one still tops the other through sheer convenience.

Although the sort system in Dota 2 does have categories, these cover a far to large amount of items, which can be frightening to new players, but fortunately Valve was kind enough to invent the "Suggested item's" box attached to the shop for that "Noob Friendly" feel to the game.

Yet despite Valves best efforts this is where League of Legends tops Dota 2. The shop in League has a far better sharpened and convenient category system compared to that of Dota 2. The shop contains such categories as “Boots”, "Magic Resist", 'Health Regen" , "Damage" Life steal"etc.. all sub headings under their Adult categories of Defence, Attack, Magic, Movement and Consumables, which just make the finding of items all that much easier to players so as to get us quickly back into the action without spending too much time back at the shop.

Dota 2: 1        League of Legends:1


         Dota 2 Siege Creeps (Above)               Dota 2 Melee and Ranged Creeps(Above)

         LoL Siege Minions(Below)                      LoL Melee and Caster Minions(Below)

Minions in League of Legends, Creeps in Dota.

This difference in name along with appearance is the only thing they don’t have in common, although the creep/minions waves differ slightly.

Dota 2 creep waves consist of three melee creeps and one ranged creep spawning every 30 seconds with a siege creep spawning every seventh wave. All creeps’ stats increase every 7 minutes and 30 seconds.

This is much the same set up for League of Legends with a slight variation being three Melee Minions and three caster Minions, spawning every 30 seconds and Siege minions spawn every 3 waves instead of every seventh wave. The stat increase occurs every 3 minutes, half the time it takes in Dota 2.

Roshan (Dota 2)                                       Baron Nashor (League of Legends)

Health:7500 (+500 every 5 minutes)    Health:8800 (+150 every minute)

DPS:65-65  (+10 every 5 minutes)        DPS:460

Attack Speed:1 second                          Attack Speed:0.208 seconds

One of the biggest differences in the game is what we could call "The Boss" Neutral on each game, both are optional and each rewards the slayer with a well-deserved gift.

In Dota the team that manages to successfully defeat the hulking behemoth that is Roshan will be generously rewarded with 200+ Gold for each individual team member and anywhere between 105-600 experiences for the person lucky enough to get the last hit. Alongside what already is a well-deserved gift Roshan will always drop the Aegis of the Immortal, allowing the lucky holder to respawn on the spot almost instantly upon death.

The rewards reaped from Baron Nashor are slightly different. Baron, upon death, will grant each Team member with 900 experience points and 300 gold, but instead of dropping a powerful item he will grant each Champion on the all mighty Team that brought down the enormous sea monster a buff that drastically increases attack damage, ability power , and health and mana regeneration instead.

So far mentioned are only  slight differences,well thats about to change.....

Shown in the above picture is a hero from Dota 2, (Crystal Maiden), denying a creep, an option that does not exist in League of Legends and is consequently the biggest divider between the two games? With the ability to deny through a simple push of a button, the player limits the opposing hero to half of the regular XP and Gold earned from enemy creeps. This one ability alone can make or break ether team if performed with precision and skilful planning. Through denying, it is possible to cause an enemy to drastically drop several levels below yourself, a hero can also anti-push a lane, to draw the enemy heroes under the tower and open for a Gank by other team members. These are but a few simple techniques achievable through denying, which is without a doubt the biggest gap between Dota 2 and League of Legends.

Many players or spectators of the games would likely and willingly agree:

The two are almost the same game.

In the creation of League of Legends, Riot games hired many of the original creators of DotA which is why both games are very similar yet still different. This could also be the source of the war between the two.

So there we have it, a partial answer to an often asked question. The games Dota 2 and League of Legends are in most ways the same game obviously due to the creators of both, but different in some, otherwise why couldn't we just play both?

Featured Contributor

I'm an aspiring game creator and Film Director. In my spare time I can often be seen entering short film competitions or gaming. My passions lie within gaming and film and I hope to become known online. I have helped write various different walkthroughs on various different sites. In terms of skill and experience I have been a gamer for the bulk of my life I'm considered by those who know me to be an above average gamer and are currently the captain of a sponsored Dota 2 team.

Published Oct. 24th 2013
  • Ezalor_2351
    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your bravery to publish such an article. The endless war of fanboyism never ceases between these sorts of games, if this gets out into the communities be prepared for a decent amount of criticism/argument.

    In your article, you've covered why they're alike and different, largely in interface and aesthetic, yet very little about gameplay itself. Sort of like saying: "Call of Duty is a FPS, guys are running around with guns. Counter Strike is also a game where people are running around with guns. Therefore they're the same." There are core gameplay elements which are distinctly different in each game that should be addressed. (By the way, being a Valve game and newer, Dota 2 is in fact more polished in terms of character aesthetics, such as voice acting which they have about twenty minutes worth of lines for each hero, including unique responses which are spoken when meeting certain heroes during the battle.)
    I'm a bit of a Dota 2 fan myself, so I thought I should point out some things that might not seem like much but really change the way the games are played. I'll assume you've played enough Dota 2 and LoL to figure out what these mechanics are so I'll just refer to how they make the games different.
    Denying. Denying isn't in LoL, however it is in Dota 2. Riot has (indirectly) stated that denying apparently makes the game more passive as it encourages pve (working against creeps), adopting the stance that zoning (forcing away your opponent from the creepwave) encourages pvp. You could say that this creates less of a gulf between skilled and less skilled players; in Dota 2, if you pit a skilled player against a newer player, we all understand what happens when your opponent is getting all the lasthits and you're getting half exp, at best.
    Ability Power. In League, you are capable of 'scaling' your abilities by purchasing ability power, allowing nukers to scale into the lategame. Dota has two items that boost the power of your spells, and even these reduce in effectiveness over time, (Veil and Aghanim's). Again, LoL promotes everyone to get farmed so everyone can take part in the game. This has, however, lead to a rather stale game as everyone is expected to pick up certain items all the time. This is less true in Dota; the sheer amount of items with actives requires the player to make an informed choice each time they invest in an item as each item can severely affect the game. While we're on the subject of stale, LoL's ranked play almost always enforces a strict metagame. Breaking the meta? "You're not helping your team win, therefore breaking the summoner's code. Enjoy your ban." The fact that nuking heroes do not scale into the lategame in Dota 2 emphasises the need for team play rather than "I got fed, time to buy lots of AP or AD and continue snowballing as pretty much every non-support hero in the game."
    What a previous commenter said about skillshots. There are actually a fair amount of skillshots in both games, give or take a few. LoL has ezreal, who is pretty much centered around skillshots. However, this does sort of highlight the repetitive nature of champions in LoL. I think if you take a look at the abilities, LoL will tend to have many more 'rehashed' abilities when compared to Dota. This is in line with Riot's aims to lessen the 'burden of knowledge' on players in order to appeal to the casual market.

    Therefore, on a deeper level of analysis I'd (not ignorantly, hopefully) say they are different in many different gameplay as well aesthetic elements. On the surface they do tend to look the same, but the resemblance is really only limited to a quick glance at the aims and the game's map (three lanes and barracks etc.) What i've listed is but a tiny fraction of differences between the games influencing the way they are played, but I'm sure you get the gist of what i'm saying, and can figure out more differences yourself, as you're so well informed as to write an article on their similarities and differences. Or maybe not, considering how much you glossed over when declaring that "The two are almost the same game". Most LoL competitive players will tell you that Dota is in fact the deeper and harder game, however the money's all in LoL at the moment for tournaments because it's popular...because it's easier and therefore reaches a further audience, getting more popularity, and as we know; popularity = money.

    TL;DR: Gameplay is different, aesthetic is different, therefore different games in the same genre.
  • Dravenkai
    Those things you point out may be similer, however the gameplay and skill levels in each game are completely different, for example in League you cannot deny the opposing team gold as the creep deny system does not exist in league. Nor do you lose gold when you die like in Dota 2. Those two mechanics ALONE can make or break the game. In dota 2 there is no such thing as incresing your spell/ability damage through items. You can only increse your physical attack damage, nothing more. To be perfectly honest this comparison is written like someone who only looked at the cosmetics and similarities between the two games. I'de like to use your own quote

    "To those who disagree are proving their ignorance, and although ignorance may be bliss, this is not the case here."

    This comparison only proves YOUR ignorance, nothing else. The two games are "similar" and I use the term loosely, they are very different games and play nothing like each other. I can go on to league and crush whole teams by myself with the right hero and gameplay, meanwhile Dota 2 is a MUCH harder time doing that.
  • Strider1254
    Featured Contributor
    Those are valid points i will give you that, on the topic of spell/ability increase there are a few limited items available that do "upgrade" certain abilities of your hero so its not completely lacking such items but they are scarce . It is true that the deny system does massively change the workings of a match but in debates between Lol and Dota 2 its not something that's often taken into account.

    As for playing like each other they are similar in many ways but are different in many others, for one in Lol every ability that isn't a passive is what would be called 'a skill shot" IF every ability wasn't a skill shot unlike Dota 2, which has a few skill shots but most art ether target,summons or passive
  • Dravenkai
    There are many skillshots in dota 2, if you calculate the skillshots i'm sure there are just as much if not more in Dota 2 simply because dota 2 as far as I know has more heros.
  • Strider1254
    Featured Contributor
    Well thats the thing, apparently the companies are on good terms again somehow , despite the blind hatred that many of the payers seem to have towards each other and for that manor some of the workers from each company. Also thank you for your information, I've corrected my article and I hope this satisfies you.
  • Ashley Shankle
    Associate Editor
    "This is where I will reveal a fact that not all may know. In the creation of Lol , Riot games collaberated with the Dota 2 devalopment team from Valve"

    This is not true. Dota 2 wasn't even a thing they considered until well after League of Legends was in beta, and even then the companies weren't on friendly terms. Riot got several of the people from the original DotA development, but Valve got IceFrog, the man who has been solo developing DotA for years at this point.

    Additionally, there are several more differences between the games than were listed here, and you can use the search bar in the Dota 2 shop. It takes some getting used to, much like the rest of the game it takes familiarity to use properly.

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