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Why I'm sticking with League of Legends and am...

Creator: ZeroHourGaming June 8, 2012 1:01pm
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ZeroHourGaming
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I've looked at the all the various articles & threads comparing League of Legends with DOTA 2 and I've played both games. And, after all things considered, I'm simply astounded by the claims made by DOTA 2 players who argue that it's a more difficult and better designed game. Again and again I see the same old arguments that don't seem to hold water. So... I wanted to take a few moments to debunk some of their claims (which even many die-hard summoners have seemingly conceded).

Foremost of all claims made by proponents of DOTA 2 is that their game has a higher skill-ceiling than League of Legends. I believe that one of the primary reasons for this claim lies in the fact that DOTA 2 champions scale more extremely and thus end up dishing out more damage -- meaning that one false step, or a champion with a slightly better combo, is more likely to instantly kill you (or your entire team). But this doesn't make the game more skillful, it makes the game less fun. Yes, mistakes are punished more harshly, but this is because the champions in DOTA 2 are generally much more powerful and it is easier for a champion to snowball and nuke an opponent down more quickly. This makes comebacks less likely and that, also, makes the DOTA 2 less fun to watch and play.

The next most common argument regarding skill is that creep denying is more difficult and thus more attractive to more capable players. But really... creep denying is just glorified farming -- and it's hardly the most intriguing part of any game in this genre. Not only that, but creep denying delays interaction between opponents in a lane. This is because players can stick closer to their towers to farm. But, at the same time, if they are both competently denied, it delays interaction because leveling becomes more difficult and items take longer to acquire. And then, both the champions of a heavily denied lane probably won't be able to contribute very much to team fights in the mid-game. Because of the need to stay in lane and farm, most DOTA 2 players admit that the first 20 minutes of their game is much slower paced than a League of Legends match (which often has a level one team fight at the red or blue buff camps).

Speaking of the buffs... this is another factor which requires a higher level of play in League of Legends. You can't just randomly run out into the river every couple minutes and pick up a rune like you can in DOTA 2. Instead, throughout the game, you have to keep track of the respawn timers for all four buffs and you have to be prepared to secure them. And you don't just run by and pick up the buffs -- you have to take some time destroying the creeps who provide them. This requires skill, team coordination, and knowledge of who should get the buffs at various points in the game. This is especially true when you are invading the enemy jungle. And, at the same time, the buffs (along with Dragon & Nashor) provide another objective on the map to fight over. This lessens the amount of time that you can sit in your lane farming and it drives the action.

Another aspect which drives action in League of Legends is map size. Because the map size of Summoner's Rift is smaller than the standard DOTA 2 map, it takes less time (for a character with average move speed) to move from one lane to another. Consequently, more unexpected confrontations can occur more frequently in LoL. While it's true that DOTA 2 utilizes "Town Portal Scrolls" to allow players to quickly traverse the large map of that game, it takes up an item slot (making it harder to have in longer games) and only allows teleportation to friendly buildings. LoL, on the other hand, does have the "Teleport" Summoner Spell which any player can take and subsequently utilize every few minutes to move to an allied structure OR unit. Other differences include the Boots of Travel (in DOTA 2 which could also possibly be implemented in LoL), and champions such as Shen who can teleport. Also, in League of Legends, all champions can teleport back to the shop at any point from any location (unless they are interrupted, of course). But the primary issue is the map size -- which encourages people to stay in their lanes in DOTA 2 while conversely facilitating roaming ganks in LoL.

The next aspect is something which I must admit probably does require more skill in DOTA2. That skill which must be mastered is shopping -- and it's an essential skill if you want to survive in a game of DOTA 2. Because the map is so large, and because players in DOTA 2 can't always teleport back to the shop at the spawning pool, the game additionally utilizes a secret shop near the middle of the map (with unique items), two side shops (with basic items), and couriers to retrieve purchased items. The thing is... unless you know exactly what you want and can secure those items quickly from the additional shops, and/or unless you are very good at controlling your courier, you risk being ganked while you're trying to acquire gear from those locations. If you need to get some uncommon item to counter an opponent, and if that item requires components from the secret shop... you better know exactly where that item is at in the list and you better be able to secure it quickly -- because you are right out in the open and often very far from any teammates. However, while I must admit that shopping in DOTA 2 requires more skill and efficiency than shopping in LoL, I don't feel that these enhanced shopping aspects add very much to the game. I'm more interested in combat micro and coordinated team attacks rather than seeing if someone can get an item without being ganked while they are in the shop menu. If you think shopping for items is a fun and exciting aspect of the game... then maybe you will like DOTA 2 more in this regard. I believe it was a conscious choice to leave side shops, secret shops, and couriers out of League of Legends -- and I don't believe these things were left out because of a technical inability to implement them.

Getting back to the more interesting and exciting aspects of play... I've already mentioned that DOTA 2 champions snowball harder (in regard to getting increasingly stronger because they get an early advantage). I don't believe many people are denying that. Because of this, team play is less important. This is another thing which I have yet to see anyone deny. But I believe team coordination is a very important and interesting skill. Rather than having a DOTA 2 hard carry come in and single-handedly melt the enemy team, in League of Legends it's much more important to work together with your team, understand your teammate's champion abilities, and coordinate a plan of attack accordingly. Yes, there are hard carries capable of dishing out lots of damage in LoL, but fights throughout that game generally require more of a dance with opponents -- poking, feinting, baiting, and working with your teammates to get a kill. In DOTA 2 the champions generally dish out more damage throughout the game and one "slam, bam, thank you ma'am" encounter can often decide even early confrontations (which then lead to snowballing). The bottom line is that coordinated team play in League of Legends requires more knowledge and skill about the game, is more interesting to watch (with dozens of spells suddenly lighting up the screen), and makes it more rewarding when a rare penta-kill is achieved.

One final aspect which should be mentioned, regarding skill, has to do with the universal summoner spells which are available in LoL. Players can pick 2 of these spells at the start of each match, in addition to the innate skills of their champions, and these can be very important in high-level play. This is because you may find your team's skill-set lacking in some regard and/or you may need to pick certain spells to counter enemy champions. This requires you to understand your own team's composition as well as the attributes of your enemies. And it's also fairly important that you get some diversity in your team's summoner spells so that everyone doesn't take heal while no one takes ignite, for example. But, more importantly, these summoner spells require each player to keep track of the cool-downs of two extra spells -- which they must know how to effectively use and which they must also be mindful to counter. I believe the selection and coordinated use of these spells adds another aspect of meaningful skill to the game. While it's true that Flash (a short distance teleport spell used to escape) is the most widely used... that makes it important to notice which enemies have flash on cool-down (or if they have it at all) and it also requires you to gank them in a way which negates its utility (possibly with an earlier feint to get them to waste the spell). But again... there are many summoner spell combinations which I feel add another skillful element to the game.

Other differences between the games may be more opinion-based than the things I've mentioned thus far. The champion roster, for example. LoL currently has more champions and they all have fairly unique skills and skill-sets. But the champions in DOTA 2 are also interesting and unique -- even if there are less of them at this point. Items may be a more contentious subject, but again I feel that that there is ample diversity of items in both games. Skillful players in both games will continue to experiment with varying item builds to counter their opponents. And more items can still be added to each game.

The last notable difference between the games is... art and appearance. This, I feel, is largely a matter of preference and not very important to the gameplay or skill cap. However... personally, I like the diverse champion splash screens in League of Legends. I believe the simpler style lends itself well to the variety of champion skins and I believe the varying skins add a big element of fun. And this isn't just in the splash screens -- the in-game champion models also, of course, use these skins. I'm not certain that DOTA 2 champions would be able to wear the skins as well as the champions in LoL and I feel the skins (like Corporate Mundo or Brolaf) are much more amusing than any hat system that DOTA 2 may implement. Again... it's a matter of choice. And if you like the CGI animation of a Jar Jar Binks more than the art of Princess Mononoke, or if you think the former is more mature and profound, it's your right to have that opinion. I, however, believe there is more to gameplay than the latest graphics and simpler art is sometimes better. Frankly... I think League of Legends is a more aesthetically pleasing game.

Now I'd like to point out some things which I feel would improve League of Legends. Fortunately, I don't think most of these suggestions would be too difficult to implement.

First of all... Riot should introduce an in-game method to customize the recommended items for each champion instead of relying on third party software like the LoL Item Changer. In a similar vein, I think each champ should have it's own pre-game settings for which hotkeys the player wants to use for them (this could be featured alongside rune & mastery pages in each players profile). At the very least, a way to change hotkeys in the champion selection screen would be an improvement. These improvements would help drive the action at the earliest parts of the game and wouldn't hinder some players in this regard (while others don't need to set their hotkeys and have the items they want featured on the screen and ready to be purchased).

Next... I'd try to speed up the loading screens so that players can get into the game more quickly. This may be technically difficult to change, and I think the wait is worth being able to play what I see as a superior game, but I hope improvements can be made in this regard.

And my last suggestion for improvement will likely be the most controversial... I think the Summoner's Tribunal has not proven its worth. It has not prevented trolls and belligerent players from ruining the game experience for many players (especially for new players dealing with trolls who have recently been banned and are also playing on new accounts). Further, I think it encourages a petty culture of tattle-tales who constantly threaten to report other players. And finally... I don't think the standards for punishment have been established. I think the Tribunal needs a complete rework. I've already been working on a comprehensive article about how to fix the Summoner's Tribunal which I plan to put post soon.

In closing, I'd like to speculate about why I think League of Legends was inevitably destined to become a better game than DOTA 2. While both games are reworks of the original Defense of the Ancients, it's notable that Riot's Steve "Guinsoo" Feak was the person who introduced the innovations into that game which made it so successful (in the DOTA All-Stars map). For example, he is the one who introduced the recipe system for weapons and the objective of Roshan to drive the action. As he became a game designer of League of Legends, I believe his innovation has carried over and shines through. He understands the MOBA genre, what makes it fun, and how to improve upon it. His innovations and his success speak for themselves.

But DOTA 2 is almost a complete clone of of the original DOTA Allstars (which Steve Feak created). The map is the same, no second thought was given to things like the side shops or Roshan, and the game is essentially a copy-and-paste job onto a more modern engine. In video game terms it's like taking Pac-Man and making the ghosts look spookier and the fruits look fresher, but it's still the same old game. No real innovations have been made in DOTA 2 beyond superficial changes and almost nothing was reconsidered or deemed worthy of removal or a major rework.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the original DOTA All-Stars map! And I think DOTA 2 looks pretty good and would be worth playing... if League of Legends hadn't been introduced with so many brilliant innovations. But those innovations have been made, Steve "Guinsoo" Feak and Ryan "Morello" Scott have brought their creativity and experience from the original DOTA and have made a superior game.

I think the important thing now, as League of Legends players, is to not just accept everyone doting on the latest thing in regard to DOTA 2. Yes, it is newer. Yes, it has the original title in its name. Yes, the graphics are good. But the idea that it is a fundamentally better game for these reasons, that it requires more skill, or that it's more fun to play... is just ridiculous.
cooper56
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Wall of text nice

I prefer league of legends like it or not

lol= cod of moba games
dota 2 = most hardcore prob arma 2 fps wise.
caucheka
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i don't see your comparison.



dota 2 is bringing literally nothing to the table except nostalgia. i played dota before, i want something different.

plus, i dont think the str/agi/int stats work at all for a moba. but thats a topic for a different time.
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Dota (and Dota 2) as well have imho some bad mechanics. Most Dota players will argue they make the game hard and you got more skill to play this way but for me it is just not fun and just a result of Dota being a mod.
First is the option to deny stuff. Creeps, towers you are pretty much able to make the enemy’s effort wasted by killing your own stuff. You can say " But LaronX this way you have way more strategy in the game" this might be true but is also is a **** move. If the enemy clearly out played you and start to siege your tower and is about to take it down there is not much skill involved if you champ just has high base damage or high range. You just hit it around the number you see in you in you champ window.
Another thing is the buy back. Again it is mechanic that get you back in the game and make the last kill less impotent. Compare it to LoL one single kill because you did stupid stuff means you are dead and out for quite sometime, you can take revive but you get crippled in lane. In Dota you can be far ahead do something stupid get caught and get back making a come back twice the work even though the enemy clearly out played you in that moment. You can say after that he does not have the option any more which is true. But isn't a skill game supposed to not allow a "ups i ****ed up" button that big. Combined with the thing from the big thing on the map it is just frustrating and make it way harder to come back once you fall behind.
And one of the worst things is the courier in combination with the bottle and the runes giving the wining team infinity stuff and the losing team can do nothing about it most of the time. You don't have to make a trade of between going back get stronger or stay in lane and maybe kill the enemy or get more farm. Think about it this way. You get lucky early one or you champ has a better early game and you gain rune control from the second one. The enemy is no behind even though he might is better skilled then you or just got counter picked or had a bit bad luck early on. Punishing something out of the range of the players skill is just like rolling dice.
I think all those thing are just pseudo "high skill" mechanics in dota. While some skill kit are really need skills the general mechanics form the game are quite the opposite as they are taken from dota and are designed to keep you hero alive when you get caught in big map in a moba which is small and the miss of big army’s that could catch them you off-guard they just lead to something that allows you to do stupid stuff without to worry much or get ahead luck and stay there without doing much.
I do not say LoL does not have such mechanics. The concept of the top lane with the early gank at the moment is also this kind of out of reach of the players skill but it is not something dictated my the mechanics of the game itself. It is just how the players turned out to play the game it is also one of the reasons why we see shift to move speed in the meta.
While in Dota you play some champs and the rest is pretty much random and you hope the enemy does not know the match up or at least I feel that is what it looks like.
Also LoL looks better with is cartoony look . Everything is based on my opinion. I don't say Dota(2) is a bad game or anything but I think LoL is just the more competitive game because it follows the golden rule “ easy to learn hard to master” perfectly.
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DOTA2 has Zeus as a playable character, therefore it's automatically better.
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Dota2 is fun, I personally enjoy the heroes more than Lol champions. The problem I have with Dota2, after many years of my life spent on WC3 DOTA, the game hasn't been updated at all. Graphics are nice, but there are literally no quality of life changes for general players. The pros got a few nice handouts, but the average player is left to climb the huge learning curve with little help. Plus beta servers are mad LAGGGGGGYYYY.
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its really not as dramatically different from LoL as people make it out to be.. just have to learn a whole new set of champions/abilities/items... basically takes the same amount of time LoL does to comprehend.

but the shop system sucks

HoN remade dota and we see what happened to HoN. dota 2 is more or less the same thing except much more refined because it's made by valve. i expect it to have more success in the esports scene but it's really not going to change the position of LoL

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EvilDice wrote:
but the shop system sucks


This is the main reason new people hate the game. They have no idea what to buy and the store has terrible navigation. (DOTA2)
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I'm wondering whether or not the first few people even read the post o.o

I agree with you, imho the only thing dota probably has on LoL is it's community :P
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