A number of days ago, a friend of mine gave me a gift code over steam to play Dota 2. He had way too many codes that were given to him, so he just gave one to me either I liked it or not. I didn’t complain really. However I knew if I started playing Dota 2, I’d look like a massive hypocrite to what I said to my friends about LoL. Long story short, I’m not a keen fan of LoL and somehow my friends think I’m some sort of gamer hipster because I prefer the non-comical, darker, non-clone game that hasn’t officially come out yet and therefore doesn’t have many players…yet.
Now to sum up why I don’t like LoL that much. League of Legends isn’t a bad game. It’s actually far from it. It’s wacky, it’s bright and colourful and rich in lore. The one main reason why it fails to appeal to my taste (as it were) is more of a generic reason: Repetition. Repetitive grinding in games I find a total bore. Hell, I go on World of Tanks quite often, you see me write about it and make videos for it, but even so, I find that boring rather quickly. So in a way, I will very shortly find Dota 2 very boring as well. It’s just who I am and how I’ve always been. However unlike LoL, Dota 2′s appeal may last longer mainly due to the fact that it has all of the characters unlocked. Therefore you don’t need to grind with the same few characters over and over to unlock more.
So I started playing Dota on Sunday, (or two days before I wrote this article) and gave it a shot. I had limited knowledge about Dota, but I did know LoL and Dota were alike. So I knew what to expect. However what I didn’t realise was how alike they were.
So what’s the similarities? Well I’ll be brief with this bit, Dota, the original Dota, had a map where you have both teams on opposite sides of the map and there are three main lanes in order to progress down towards the enemy base. You destroy the Ancient, you win the game. It is a very simple map layout, but is far more strategic than you may think.
Dota ‘clones’ such as LoL and Heroes of Newerth have taken this map layout and applied it with their own versions. The roots are the same, but once you’ve played both Dota and LoL you do realise that there are vast changes.
The map in Dota 2 is far, FAR bigger and more strategically challenging. LoL has a much smaller and slightly easier map. This makes it good for beginners that aren’t used to playing this type of game. Another good thing that LoL offers of which Dota doesn’t have is cover. LoL has many bushes that allow you to hide and recall safely from enemies. With Dota, you need to keep aware of where you are, how low your health bar is and when the best time is to flee, otherwise you’re dead.
However Dota 2 does offer much better graphics and renderings, making it a very nicely polished game. The structures and characters are smooth and dynamic whilst the paths and trees are better textured. So that’s one up top Dota. LoL is several years old now, and one factor that some fans seem to find troubling is the non-existent update to the graphics. A classic case of WoW perhaps? It’s unsure why the developers haven’t done anything about it, but the one main possibility could be due to it’s aging game engine. However these fans fail to keep in mind that LoL is comical and not realistic. Therefore it could be many years until the developers actually say enough is enough and we’ll update the graphics a bit.
On the plus side, LoL has slightly more characters in total. That is however if you manage to unlock all of them, which takes a considerable amount of time or money if you are willing to spend so much on a game.
Sadly one of the factors which I really don’t like with these types of games is the map itself. There is always one. (more or less) Now this is just me talking, I prefer games with far more diversity. If you keep on playing on the same map over and over, it gets boring really quickly, regardless of what character or team you’re on.
So we’re now at the list of positives and negatives. This is a roundup of both games, what they offer and what they lack. The following factors have come from my first hand experience with both games:
DOTA 2 Positives
- Great graphics
- Bigger and strategically better map
- The map is very distinct on both sides. One side being green and good, the other being scorched, dark and evil
- Day/night cycle, allowing you to either gain or lose your view range
- All of the characters are unlocked from the word go
- Each character has their own unique class strengths and weaknesses
- Mid-map secret shops
- Similar gameplay to LoL and vice versa, therefore players of both games can easily adapt to each game.
- Unlockable runes in-game, allowing you decent bonuses
- A universal ability to periodically bulk up your base defences from enemies, giving you a few seconds to push back.
- Due to it being a ‘full-game’, there is no need to wait between 10 minutes to 2 hours for a single update
- Game loading is very quick, especially if everyone connects roughly at the same time
- Each character can be customizable, similar to that of Team Fortress 2, without having to pay
- Developed by Valve… everyone loves Valve right?
League of Legends Positives
- Free to play
- Far more colourful than Dota 2, mainly due to it’s comical theme
- Easier learning curve
- Good gameplay quality, making it easy for everyone to play
- Many newer people play LoL
- Simpler map means less strategical tactics, although many players still use them to their advantage.
- Easier to level up
- Far more forgiving when you die. You don’t loose any gold.
- More minions mean more chance to earn gold/be on the assault for longer
- Each character has their own backstory/personality
Dota 2 Negatives
- Only one main map
- Has a much larger learning curve
- If you start off badly, you may end up being left behind in the later game, thus making you an easy target for higher level players
- fewer creeps means less time on the assault
- No ability to recall. You can buy a scroll to teleport back, but that costs over 120 gold
- No ability to recall means that you can’t also retreat safely. And the fact that getting to and from the base to buy stuff takes considerable time
- No starting perks (i.e. the teleport, sprint or heal buttons in LoL)
- You loose gold each time you die
- You can’t really tell if you’ve got a good character until you play it/watch it
- The current wait time for a game is roughly 1 minute
- If one player fails to connect before starting the game, you go back to the menu for a new scan
- If you want rare items to customise your character, you need to pay a sum of money
- Developed by Valve…therefore there will most likely NOT be a sequel in several years time. (Valve can’t count past 3)
- Only one main map
- Very limited amount of characters. To get more you need to repetitively grind your way to get more battle points to unlock newer characters
- The richer players can instantly unlock the good characters with a sum of money. Therefore putting you at a disadvantage almost immediately
- Patches and updates can take between 10 minutes to beyond 2 hours, depending on how good your internet connection is
- Even if you’ve got a super-fast gaming rig, you have to wait for the ‘hamster -driven’ PCs to catch up, which could take up to 10 minutes.
- Slightly outdated graphics and game engine.
- Smaller, simpler map
- Possible fate of being outdated/abandoned when Dota 2 gets released and possibly turned into a free to play
That last point may be a possibility. I’m not saying it’ll happen, they’re two different games after all. But think about it like this. Dota got outdated by the time LoL was released. Almost everyone moved to LoL while the few ‘Elite’ players stayed playing Dota to this day. LoL now however is becoming rather outdated. (It was released in 2006) whilst Dota 2, the original game sequal that started this whole nonsense off in the first place, is back and better than before. Therefore, a large portion of players, especially in the professional area may migrate to Dota 2 as they may see it as a bigger and possibly a better challenge.
It’s a simple scenario of player migration. It happens to games such as CoD or Fifa or even the Total War games. However as I said before and I’ll say it again, because i know there are some people out there who tend to skim over some words. LoL and Dota, despite their similarities, are two different games. They will have their own fans who will endlessly argue which one is better and why that is, although most of the time it’s usually not the case.
But as gaming tradition goes, everything eventually has an end. Look at WoW for example. They’re struggling to keep up with games such as GuildWars 2 now, because they know that WoW is an outdated game. People play it, but for how much longer? It’s the same with LoL. It still has many years still left to go before it becomes REALLY outdated, but as for now, it’s just trailing behind a bit. Unless Riot Games finally either re-release the game with a better engine or better graphics and quality, then it will still remain up there as one of the largest played MMOs.
Dota 2 on the other hand is a ‘full-game’. There is no need to update it. The one big problem is probably when it is time to make a Dota 3 in the future. Valve as we all know cannot count past 3. Portal 2, Team Fortress 2, Half Life 2, Half Life Episode 2, Left 4 Dead 2 and so on. None of these games have third squeals. Some need one (Half Life), some don’t (TF2) But I’m sure that Dota should last just as long as LoL has.
On the whole, it doesn’t really matter which one you go for because they’re both very good games. In the end it’s all down to pointless fanboy arguments and biased opinions. Some of my friends think that going on Dota was hypocritical and utterly confusing, whilst others enjoy my company with them on it and vice versa when I play LoL. Just because a player tries an alternative game doesn’t mean anything. Both games are good in their own right, and they both deserve the popularity. It was the same scenario between CoD and Halo, Forza and Gran Turismo (although they were on different consoles), and even GTA to Saints Row. All are excellent games that are just named and shamed by the endless horde of arguments and one-sided opinions made by players who take games way too seriously. I never take a game seriously because I don’t see the reason why. They’re games for fun. So remember, don’t hate the game, hate the gamer.