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Ramblings of a Saint

Accept it, Dota 2 is better than LoL... Or is it? Part 1

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My blog looks like a wasteland post-2013, so let's fill with an impromptu write-up that was done in the comments section of an article I found to be odd (for many reasons). I still find it somewhat relevant a year later.

I believe at some point in the future when I've experienced both Overwatch and Battleborn, I'll be forced to inevitably come out with a similar write-up? Who knows. Anyways, feast on a tl;dr of epic proportions.

Dota 2 vs League of legends, which is better? A question to certainly bring out the passion and potential vitriol from avid fans of each game trying to sell you on why their game is the better of the two. The answer? It doesn't matter because it doesn't exist. The real question is which is best suited to you?

PART I

Depth in Complexity vs. Depth in Accessibility

The first thing that you'll hear immediately when this debate is sparked, is that LoL is the easier game and Dota 2 has more depth. Well, yes and no. It can't be argued that in terms of game mechanics, Dota 2 is definitely the more complex and difficult of the two which is a double-edged sword because on one end the game always offers a somewhat more dynamic experience because of a multitude of mechanics that range from simple things like denying, turn rates, cast points, to more complex things like how different heroes and spell interact with each other (even allowing special cases that can be uncovered), how different items work on different heroes (not to mention the effect on passive abilities and the like), manipulating the jungle and it's creeps to your own end, using buybacks to your own benefit (or detriment), the map design and how it can be exploited, and don't forget the roster of +107 unique Heroes that fall within different roles and each have unique abilities on top of their different stats and traits (strength, intelligence, agility), and the list goes on and on and on (seriously, this game is complex). While these mechanics offer a complex, deep, and probably more dynamic experience. This deep, and complex experience is probably Dota 2's biggest draw point.

On the flip side, this does mean that the learning curve is one of the steepest out there, and this can do a lot to deter players early on because the amount of things at play in a single game of Dota 2 can be overwhelming especially considering how punishing the game can be if you're not aware of the mechanics at play. It does have a detailed tutorial mode to alleviate this somewhat.

Which is League of Legend's biggest draw point, it's accessibility. There's a reason that LoL has waaaaaay more concurrent and peak players (although a small portion of the numbers can be attributed to the fact that LoL was released before Dota 2), because it's more accessible in it's learning curve, at least early on, as the mechanics aren't as complex as in Dota 2. No minion denying, most of the items in LoL aren't active and tend to offer stats and buffs to champions, turn rates isn't a thing. Champions have somewhat similar characteristics to Heroes in Dota 2, in that attack damage, armor, mana and health regen exist, but these champions aren't given similar traits in the vein of strength, intelligence, and agility. All in all, the game is slightly easier to get into just on mechanics alone, but that's not to say the game is incomplete or lacking in depth as some would have you believe. Though it offers a similar 5v5 three lane experience, because of the map design, there's a slightly different experience (most evident in the jungle and the way it works), where Dota 2 gives you jungle creeps for gold and XP (maybe an ability or creep of your own in certain hero cases), LoL gives you jungle minions for gold, XP, and buffs. Where Dota 2 gives you Roshan, LoL gives you The Baron and the dragons.

On top of that, the Champions in particular (currently in a roster of +119) are worth noting because Heroes in Dota 2 normally have 3 abilities and the fourth being the ultimate, whereas LoL Champions have 4 + an ultimate. Then we've masteries, runes, and summoner spells. Then there are modes that aren't within the same 5v5 tri-lane map concept, while Dota 2's modes are within that concept (I'm not really going to talk events ala Diretide and the like).

So all in all a probably more accessible game that might deter some because the complexity doesn't match its competitor and might appear shallow in light of it.

The meta of both games is constantly evolving or outright changing as the respective developers release patches and balances for the games, this pretty much adds to each game's strong suits and weak points, as the complexity of one game can be overwhelming with the creative leashes being non-existent, and the other game's somewhat more traditional sense of keeping to tried and tested methods of playing, might have it feeling somewhat stagnant.

Heroes/Champions and the Free-to-Play model

Roster count and variety really are a moot point, because both games offer rosters with unique characteristics, abilities, roles, aesthetics that one can't really for one or the other game (+107 Heroes to +119 Champions).

But it does bring up the point of each game's Free-to-Play model.

Valve's model? You get to play the entirety of the Dota 2 for free, and you could play to your heart's content without paying a dime (you probably won't though ). Where they bring in money, is the cosmetic items (purely cosmetic) that are created by Valve and the community since Valve allows artists to create to items and potentially get a cut of the profit, and because their game's design lend itself so well to the spectator sport that this game has become, you also get to buy tickets to view competitive matches in-game with commentary.

Riot on the other hand chose a more conventional approach. You get to play LoL for free, but you have to play a little to get the most of this game as there is what's called a hero rotation which means you can unlock heroes with an in-game currency (or real monies ) while you try out 10 heroes that are available in the rotation. This also goes for Summoner Spell, Masteries, and Runes.

The argument for Dota 2? All of the heroes are available which means you can play whoever you want, whenever you want, regardless of whether you're a noob getting started or a veteran pwning noobs. On the flip side, one must mention that having all these heroes available from the word go can have the issue of being overwhelming considering the game's complexity, and players could end up sticking to what they know rather than actually getting to play every hero on the roster.

The argument for LoL? The free rotation somewhat allows players to test out a good portion of the roster to see where they in the great of things. It also solves the comfort zone issue, it doesn't take that much game time to unlock a champion. The flip side? Well, masteries, summoner spells, and runes are involved in this model as well, and it might smack somewhat of pay-to-win (not saying it is, but it's something to note), because it might make the game feels skewed to those who've shelled out for these bonuses... TO BE CONTINUED...
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