League of Legends and Dota 2 have been the biggest games of their kind for years now. Despite the fact that other titles in the MOBA space like Smite, Heroes of Newerth, Paragon, Heroes of The Storm, and even mobile titles like Mobile Legends or Marvel Super War have all brought something new to the table, they still fall short when compared to the popularity that the two titans enjoy.
League of Legends and Dota 2 have completely revolutionized the MOBA/ARTS genre and have generally been regarded as some of the best games of the previous decade. This makes it inevitable for comparisons between the two titles to arise frequently with fans.
While we can acknowledge that both games are great in their own accord with huge esports scenes, there are just a few things that one does better than the other. Invariably these are usually the reasons why people prefer one to the other.
Today we look at the stuff that League of Legends does better than Dota 2.
New Player Experience in League of Legends and Dota 2
Perhaps the most noticeable thing that one will find when they try out League of Legends and Dota 2 is the new player experience. Riot’s title is leaps and bounds ahead of Dota 2 in this respect. LoL is far easier to pick up and there are several factors that make this so:
Fewer Smurfs and A Large New Player Base
Over the years, Dota 2 has had a problem with attracting new players. This has led to low tier matchmaking games being infested with smurfs. So whenever a new player tries out Dota 2 for the first time, they will likely run into an imbalanced match with smurfs and experienced players. This does not make for an enjoyable experience, since they simply will not understand the game as well as the experienced player.
Contrast this with League of Legends, whose player base continues to grow. A new player is far likelier to be matched up with other new players. This allows them to learn the game at their own pace and be matched up with players with an equal skill level.
The Heroes/Champions in each MOBA
League of Legends only unlocks three heroes when they first start the game and finish the tutorial. The players are not overwhelmed with the number of options and choices that they are presented with at the very beginning.
It is also relatively easy to learn these heroes in League of Legends. The champions, while unique, follow a certain pattern in hero design. Almost all of them have similar ability kits which makes it easy for new players to learn these champions since they translate well from one character to the other.
Contrast this to Dota 2, where every single hero is available right from the get-go where almost every single hero has unique kits. New players will likely be overwhelmed by the number of choices they will encounter at the very beginning. Dota 2 does have a Limited heroes game mode which would solve this issue for newcomers, if it only had more players choosing this game mode in matchmaking.
Dota 2 just has way too many small mechanics that could be overwhelming to learn for the average newcomer. Creep denying, blocking, pulling, stacking, courier micro, turn rate are just some of the mechanics that Dota 2 players will have to learn to play the game at a competent level.
These mechanics add depth to the game and in the long run, and in our minds make Dota 2 much more interesting and rewarding to the player. However, it definitely makes the game harder and could be a bit too much for the average newbie.
League of Legends, comparatively, doesn’t present nearly as much of a challenge with simpler mechanics which makes the game easier to learn.
Another place where LoL has an edge in the new player experience is the fact that the average game length is far lower than that of Dota 2. Most LoL games in pubs usually end around the 25-30 minute mark whereas the average length of a Dota 2 game is around 40 minutes. So newcomers usually end up investing far less time into League of Legends rather than Dota 2.
League of Legends also has a tutorial within the game, unlike Dota 2, which gives it a massive edge in this area.
The barrier of entry to the game, technologically, is also far lower than Dota 2. To put it simply, League of Legends can run on a potato whereas Dota 2 requires at least some form of modern hardware to run the game at a playable manner.
The fact that League of Legends is launching its mobile version of the game: Wild Rift also familiarizes the game for casual MOBA players who would be far more likely to pick up League of Legends rather than Dota 2, if they ever switch to PC gaming.
A More Structured Esports Scene By Riot Esports Compared to Valve
Dota 2's Esports Scene:
Recently Valve has been catching a ton of flak for the way they’ve been handling the Dota 2 Pro Circuit (DPC). Players, teams, and the Dota 2 community have been vocal about the fact that there is no proper schedule in place for the competitive scene. For starters, The International 10 has been postponed to 2021.Additionally, the DPC has also been suspended, with Valve delegating the responsibility of keeping the competitive scene chugging to third-party tournament organizers like ESL, WePlay, Epic Esports Events, and Beyond The Summit.
As a direct consequence of Valve’s silence, multiple teams have disbanded and players have been left in the dark about the immediate future of the professional scene.
In smaller regions like SEA and the Americas, not many tournaments have been announced, which leads to a lot of uncertainty around player income.
League of Legends' Esports Scene:
League of Legends’ pro scene, on the other hand, is far more structured. Despite the pandemic, online leagues (sponsored and hosted by Riot Games) have continued to take place with their marquee ‘League of Legends World Championship’ scheduled to kick off on Sep 25 in Shanghai, China.
Players have also continued to receive salaries throughout this duration, with fans also being engaged with a constant slew of tournaments and high tier games.
Communication or Lack Thereof
Valve’s problems with communication have been well documented. Earlier this year, former CS:GO pro player Spencer "Hiko" Martin compared his communication with Valve to Riot Games stating: “I’ve literally talked to more people from Riot in the last month than I have my entire life with Valve.”
However, he also added that the point of the above clip "wasn’t to talk bad about Valve", and that there was a lack of context in it.
Valve as a company operates silently. They almost never communicate with their Dota 2 community and have often left even pro players and teams in the dark with regards to patch releases, tournament announcements, the DPC and more. Only recently, (after much outrage) did they acknowledge these communication issues via a blog post.
Riot Games follow a completely different model of communication in comparison. They’ve constantly maintained a very good track record of communication with the League of Legends community. Of course, fans still have some complaints with the developer, but it rarely goes out of hand when compared to Dota 2 fans’ complaints about Valve. One could argue that Riot Games’ constant communication is largely responsible for this.
Of course, this is not to say that Valve and Dota 2 are inferior to Riot Games and League of Legends. Both games are video game masterpieces. The above mentioned are just some of the things that League of Legends currently does better than Dota 2.
Dota 2 also does so many things better than League of Legends in our eyes. Stay tuned to AFK Gaming to read more about that, when we explore that topic.