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DotA 2 Vs League of Legends: What's the Difference?

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The main difference between DotA 2 and League of Legends is the availability of playable characters. In League of Legends, a player would have a limited number of “champions” to play with at the beginning. Other champions would be unlocked as the player progresses and purchases them using the in-game currency. On the other hand, all of the DotA 2’s “heroes” are available to each player in every game. So, the champion roster for League of Legends can be a little bit restrictive at first. While DotA 2’s hero roster can be too overwhelming for new players.

What is DotA 2?

dota 2

DotA is actually an abbreviation for Defense of The Ancients. DotA 2 is a sequel to the original Defense of The Ancients game. While they share the same name, the original DotA was a mod developed by the community and DotA 2 was developed and published by a software and game company called Valve.

DotA 2 is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game that has, as of February 24, 2022, 7.6 million monthly active users. Making it one of the biggest game titles on Steam (Valve’s digital distribution service where DotA 2 could be launched from).

What is League of Legends?

league of legends

Also known as LoL, League was developed and published by Riot Games. It was undeniably inspired by DotA a lot from visuals to gameplay. But LoL has a lot of key features that are unique and independent from the concepts of DotA 2.

League of Legends is also a MOBA game. It has 125 million active monthly users around the world (as of April 6, 2022). From the given data above, we can deduce that League of Legends is more popular than DotA 2 by far.

Differences Between Dota 2 and League of Legends

Although they might seem like similar games at a glance because they came off from the same genre, there are a wide array of differences that distinguish one from the other.

Game Mechanics

Game mechanics refers to the rules and procedures that might influence the overall experience and outcome of the game.

In DotA 2, it is possible to “deny”, “buyback”, and “bodyblock”. Denying is killing a friendly unit to deny the opposing team's experience and gold. Buyback is when a player instantly respawns in exchange for a certain amount of gold. Bodyblock is when a player would block the pathway of the creeps, or in League’s case, minions, to gain a lane advantage against the opponent. League of Legends doesn’t have the aforementioned mechanics.

Map Mechanics

In Dota 2, there are night and day cycles, high and low ground vision mechanics, and fog of war. They affect how the game is played and how players interact and plan for the objective.

In League, a champion can hide in the bushes for a certain period of time and be invisible as long as the player won’t input a command action. This could help outplay opponents when used correctly.


In LoL, the Jungle (a part of the map where the creeps or minions are neutral), creatures provide certain buffs. For example, The Dragon, which comes in four forms: Infernal, Ocean, Cloud, and Mountain, when killed, gives off unique buffs like damage, healing, speed, and toughness respectively.

In Dota 2, the Jungle part of the map, for most of the heroes, is just extra sources of experience and gold. The jungle could be just an alternative farming (term used for getting experience and gold) area if the lane is too hard or unplayable.

New Player Experience

Dota 2 is a very cutthroat, highly-competitive environment wherein new players won’t have any form of a warm welcome. Instead, they are faced with smurfs (veteran players playing new accounts), boosters, or players with poor skill or bad behavior scores.

In League, New Players can breeze their way through as its system is far better but is very restrictive when it comes to champions. A player must grind to be able to afford and play desired champions in matches.


Even though League of Legends and DotA 2 are the same in-game genre, they have different terms for their features and assets. Automatic, computer-generated creatures that are the main sources of gold and experience are called creeps in DotA 2 and minions and League of Legends. Playable characters are called heroes in DotA 2 and champions in League of Legends. As for the strongest neutral enemy, in DotA, it is called Roshan and in League, it is called Baron.

Comparison Chart: DotA 2 Vs League of Legends

SpecificationsDotA 2League of Legends
Number of Playable Heroes or Champions123 unique heroes159 unique champions
Average Game Time35 minutes to 45 minutes30 minutes to 40 minutes
Matchmaking Ranking or MedalHerald, Guardian, Crusader, Archon, Legend, Ancient, Divine, ImmortalIron, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master, Grandmaster, Challenger
Player Demographics22 to 25 years old (23.8%)
26 to 30 years old (31.2%)
18 to 20 years old (27%) 25 to 30 years old (22%)
Biggest Prize Pool for an Event$40,018,400 The International 2021$6,450,000 LoL 2018 World Championship

Similarities Between DotA 2 and League of Legends

Dota 2 and LoL came from the same game genre, MOBA. So, the core objective for both of these games is to destroy the enemies’ main structure in their respective bases. Also, both of the games use microtransactions. Wherein, players can buy, using real currency, in-game assets like cosmetics, content, and features.

Also, because of their popularity, wide fan base, and deep lore, Valve and Riot Games have produced their own original Netflix Series. Dragon’s Blood for Valve and Dota 2, and Arcane for League of Legends and Riot games. These two original animated series from both of the games have seen success and positive feedback from the fans and players.

Frequently Asked Questions

Dota 2 or League of Legends, Which Game is Better?

Dota 2 is better for a player who wants to have a dragging, highly-competitive, complex, but rewarding game. League of Legends is best for a player who wants to experience a fast-paced, high-tempo action with unique hero usage. DotA 2 is highly favored by most older gamers. League of Legends appeals more to the younger ones.

Which Game is Recommended for New MOBA Players?

LoL would be the best choice if a new player is trying to have fun while exploring around. But if a new player wants to have a challenge and would like to get around on his own, DotA 2 is a better choice. DotA 2 allows more ground to explore for newcomers while League of Legends guides them.

Which game is easier to play, DotA 2 or League of Legends?

League of Legends is much easier to play. It has a fairly friendly community and has a good reporting system that works, too. DotA 2 is more brutal. DotA 2 is quite notorious for its player base as most of them are uncooperative or “toxic”. DotA 2 has a steep learning curve as compared to League. So, League is much easier to learn because of the fostering environment.


DotA 2 has a highly-competitive environment with a steep learning curve, while League of Legends is an adrenaline-inducing, high-tempo, action MOBA game. Whether a gamer is looking for something casual or a competition, surely these two games are at the top of the list!


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About the Author: Nicolas Seignette

Nicolas Seignette, who holds a scientific baccalaureate, began his studies in mathematics and computer science applied to human and social sciences (MIASHS). He then continued his university studies with a DEUST WMI (Webmaster and Internet professions) at the University of Limoges before finishing his course with a professional license specialized in the IT professions. On 10Differences, he is in charge of the research and the writing of the articles concerning technology, sciences and mathematics.
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