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Dota 2 vs League of Legends: Differences Explained

Dota 2 vs League of Legends: Differences Explained

When you hear the term "MOBA", chances are one of two games is the first to come to mind. Either you think of DOTA 2, the MOBA created by Valve, or League of Legends, the insanely popular MOBA by Riot Games. Although they both are part of the same genre, they still have various key differences because of which they both attract different types of players.

There are many differences between DOTA 2 and League of Legends which might make you want to play one over the other. DOTA 2 focuses more on strategy and research, because of which it has more abilities, roles, and a more hardcore fanbase. League of Legends, on the other hand, appeals to the more casual gamer with colorful skins and a rather straightforward system.

We'll be going through some of the ways the two incredibly popular MOBAs are different from each other, so that in the end you're able to decide which one's better suited for you.

Map and Roles

Aerial view of a mystical floating island featuring a fantasy game map with magical elements

Before anything, it's important to go through what makes the A in MOBA, the arena (or map). Both League of Legends and Dota 2 have three lanes, those being the topmiddle, and bottom

lanes, with the jungle area dividing all three lanes. However, unlike LoL, Dota 2's meta does not include a dedicated jungler role, so you can expect every player to be roaming the jungle area.

Inside the jungle area, you can expect to find monsters or creeps (depending on which game you're playing), and they can be defeated for XP and gold. They also have special enemies such as the baron and dragons in LoL and the Roshan in DOTA 2, although LoL's special enemies tend to give more buffs as compared to the ones from DOTA 2 who mostly only give gold.

Additionally, unlike the LoL map which has a mostly empty jungle aside from the occasional monster, DOTA 2's jungle has trees that can block your path, be cut down, or be interacted with in other ways. Because of this, the map of DOTA 2 feels more full.

Playable Characters

Although both League of Legends and DOTA 2 have a large number of playable characters, most of the abilities LoL champions have are similar to each other, because of which most of the characters are rather easy to just pick up and play. Of course, there are some exceptions to the rule such as Twisted Fate and Kled, who have a rather unique combination of skills.

DOTA 2 heroes, meanwhile, are generally very different from each other in terms of abilities. For example, you have one that can control an army of creeps, one that can create copies of itself and go around the entire map, and one that has a whopping 9 spells to choose from. Because of this, it's very important to do research on every hero being able to play them properly.

Dota 2 hero selection screen showing characters sorted by attributes

One VERY big difference between the two games regarding playable characters is that all the heroes in DOTA 2 are unlocked from the get go and don't have to be unlocked or purchased. This isn't the case with League, however, as it requires you to purchase champions by either using in game currency or actual money. This is the reason many gamers consider LoL to be  "pay to win".

Finally, League of Legends champions tends to scale inwards, meaning they have the potential to scale off their own qualities instead of having to rely on teammates, because of which you might very often see single champions dominating matches. They also are built around their respective styles (Assasin, Fighter, Mage, Marksman, Support, and Tank) and can't usually step away from it 

When it comes to DOTA 2, however, heroes scale outwards, because of which teamwork is crucial. Additionally, it's possible to build a hero with any of the in game playstyles (Carry, Support, Nuker, Disabler, Jungler, Durable, Escape, Pusher, and Initiator) depending on various factors such as how the match is going and which role you're playing.


Now that we've covered the roles and characters in both games, let us go through the animations and visuals of both games. Right off the bat, if you play both games at once you'll notice that DOTA 2 will feel much clunkier and sluggish when compared to the smooth and slick feeling of League of Legends.

This is mostly because of the fact that DOTA 2 has champion specific turn rates, which refers to the differing time every hero takes to change directions. Additionally, animation canceling and auto attack canceling is also sluggish and a little difficult to pull off in this game.

On the contrary, League of Legends has various animation cancels such as ability cancellation and auto attack cancellation, which ensure the game's pace continues to be fluid and natural feeling instead of robotic.

It's also possible to change your recall animation in LoL by acquiring a skin that has a different animation already set. This adds an extra sense of flair and personalization, as even if the animation is essentially a cosmetic item and doesn't affect gameplay in any way, it makes players feel like their champion is different than their opponent's champion.

Shop and Items

Where the shop is in the game and how players purchase valuable items during a match also differ depending on which game you're playing. Although they both have a shop at the starting point of the match, only League of Legends players have a habit of recalling in order to purchase items and recover both health as well as mana.

This is because DOTA 2 has a courier system, where you just have to purchase the items you want and they'll be delivered to you. LoL, unfortunately, does not have this extremely convenient method to acquire items.

Speaking of items, as we mentioned above, the items in League of Legends are rather straight forward in how they work. Because of this, players tend to go for the same couple of builds, as almost all of them have the purpose of increasing either the damage dealt or reducing the damage received.

DOTA 2 developers, meanwhile, focus more on introducing a variety of different items, from those with useful active effects you can rely on, to those with situational uses that are perfect to get you out of specific situations.

Extra Content

Although the games themselves are well and good, many players feel that it's important for there to be extra content as well. Although everything else was rather subjective, in this specific field, DOTA 2 doesn't even hold a candle to League of Legends.

Not only does League have extremely intricate lore that keeps on getting expanded in professionally animated music videos every time Worlds comes around, but they also have various side games of different genres with even more on the way. Of course, we can't forget about the extremely hit Netflix show Arcane either.

Promotional image for Arcane: League of Legends featuring a blue-haired character

DOTA 2, meanwhile, only has two seasons of a show, and although the show was well received, it didn't even come close to the amount of love the League of Legends show got.

Professional Scene

The final thing we want to touch on a little is the professional scene of both games. While DOTA 2 does have a significantly lower number of active players when compared to LoL, it still has a rather healthy esports scene, with players from various countries coming together to compete in different leagues and tournaments. 

The scene itself is also considered to be extremely competitive mostly because of the high skill required from players to master a game like DOTA 2 to such an extent. It's so competitive and dedicated that it holds the record for the biggest prize pool in 202, exhibiting a cumulative prize pool valued at 32.85 million U.S. dollars

The League of Legends Esports scene, meanwhile, is MUCH bigger in scale. Not only is it the fastest growing global sport and the pinnacle of competitive gaming as of now with more than 100 professional esports teams and over 860 players, but it's also accessible around the globe on 30+ TV and digital platforms.

This is mostly because of two things. The first is the already existing number of players that either play the game on a regular basis or consume content related to it (side games, shows, music videos, streamers, YouTubers, etc).

The second reason is that Riot Games very heavily markets its Esports, with the biggest ad being in the shape of the yearly music video we mentioned above. The songs are so addictive and the visuals are so appealing that the videos regularly garner tens of millions of views, with some of them even having crossed the hundred million benchmark.

What’s next?

Now that you have learned something new about Dota 2 - it’s time you start playing and get better at the game. We can help! Purchase Eloking Dota 2 Boost right now and start playing at the rank you deserve!

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