DOTA 2 Through the Eyes of a League of Legends Player

A League of Legends player tries DOTA 2 for the first time and gives his initial impressions on the differences between the two games.

For many people, their first experience with a multiplayer online battle arena-style game has been League of Legends. The game has become increasingly popular since its initial release, exposing thousands of new players to a new kind of competitive gaming experience. Valve's upcoming DOTA 2 (along with Blizzard DOTA) reaffirms the genre's popularity, but to its fans, League of Legends represents the standard by which these games will ultimately be judged.

We asked an avid League of Legends player--who asked to remain anonymous--to give his initial impressions of what it's like to go from LOL into DOTA 2, having never previously played the latter. Here's what he had to say:

On the DOTA 2 Roster:

As a newcomer, I will say that the list was not as daunting as League of Legends from a number standpoint, but how things were laid out--strength, agility, and intelligence--was daunting. In DOTA 2's current state, you have to come to it with preexisting knowledge of what these champs are or what they can do as opposed to LOL, which sorts characters by classes like tank, mage, and melee. Numbers-wise, it wasn't scary, but in terms of abilities, it was a little confusing.

My main character in LOL is Ashe, who is essentially Drow Ranger in DOTA, but even though they look the same, they actually play quite differently. I didn't spend a ton of time in the original DOTA, but I did see a lot of characters that were recognizable, so that's who I gravitated toward.

I like LOL's roster better. They have more character, for lack of a better way to say it, though I'm not saying in terms of skills, but rather how they look. There are a few that are kind of cookie cutter, but for the most part they have a lot of style. I think my view on that is a little biased since I've played so much more LOL, but the character design wouldn't stop me from playing DOTA 2 on and off at this point with friends.

On Character Skills:

Auto-casting abilities are definitely going to be different, or otherwise they would be ripping off LOL characters. But auto-casting was infuriating to me, and since there was no real documentation or videos, it took me a while to find it. One of Ashe and Drow's skills is a frost arrow. The frost arrow in LOL is turned on by hitting Q, and in DOTA 2 it's also Q, but in LOL when you hit Q once, the frost arrow starts and then stops when you hit it again--if you burn through your mana, too bad.

Apparently, in DOTA 2, hitting Q for my frost arrow only queued up one arrow, and it wasn't until I found an option in the settings that I learned I had to right click on the skill to get it to auto-cast and then right click it turn it off. Well, it turns out that pressing ALT and Q does the auto-cast. It's a pain in the butt, and I prefer LOL's way of handling it.

On What It's Like to Learn a DOTA 2 Character:

At this point I would say DOTA 2 [is a little harder], but it's not because of bad character design. Given that LOL has been around a while and Riot already has the infrastructure in place, you get videos called "champion spotlights" that essentially show you how a character plays. It also gives you suggestions on how you can implement your own build.

I would say DOTA 2 [is a little harder], but it's not because of bad character design.
If DOTA 2 had that built into its UI the way Riot is starting to with LOL, it would be great and would take away from the "scariness" of using someone you don't know how to use, burning 30 to 40 minutes of your entire team's time because you are terrible. I wanted to try new characters, but had no idea how to use them, and the "learn" area just talked about skills but didn't give in-depth views, but again, LOL is a much more refined and older product at this point.

On DOTA 2's Maps and Their Structure:

DOTA 2 is much darker than LOL and the original DOTA even though I know both maps (they're essentially the same--although DOTA 2's map is closer to DOTA). It felt a little tougher navigating in DOTA 2 because of the look of the trees, if that makes sense--there were times I could squeeze through an area, but it looked like it was blocked off.

The "backdoor" opening right after the first tower is much closer to the middle of the lane than it is to the second tower in DOTA 2. It allows for more coordinated ganks that didn't have tower backup. Still, I could see new players getting irritated by ganks in that space because it takes a while to get that tower backup mentality into your head. DOTA 2's destructible map (with destruction of trees and whatnot) is interesting.

On Strategy in DOTA 2:

Last-hits; ganks; pushing towers; knowing when to pull back to yours--all of that's the same in LOL and DOTA 2. However, denying is something that I hate about DOTA 2. In one game, I was pitted against a burst mage and sniper. I was Drow and I kept getting denied on my last hit because the sniper has more range and he was doing it all day. I'd try to get close enough to get a lick in, and the mage would kick me in the face. If I had a premade team, I could have gotten around it by asking for a gank and keeping them honest, but randoms tend to do what they're going to do.

Denying is a big mechanic that LOL players who have never played DOTA would have to deal with. The other thing, and this might have been more character related than anything else, is that the game feels a bit more sluggish in terms of controls. I can last hit very well with Ashe, but Drow almost had visible lag when I'd press attack and when she'd let her arrow fly. It could have been related to animation time, but I wasn't looking that closely. Also, the viewpoint is far more locked in and tighter in DOTA 2 than the LOL viewpoint.

On What DOTA 2 Does Better:

The replay channel is seriously awesome. Valve has built replays and spectating into the game in a way that Riot must wish they were doing or could do. I think the user rating is much better as well since you can grade someone in different categories. I think that's really valuable, and I wonder if they will end up parlaying that into their matchmaking. In terms of communication, text is as good as LOL is, so I can't ding it there, but they really need to rework their voice codec. I don't understand how something like Mumble, which is free and on SourceForge, sounds so much better than everything else that is out there.

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I come back after six years of inactivity and Gamespot starts posting this hilarious crap?

"They have more character, for lack of a better way to say it, though I'm not saying in terms of skills, but rather how they look. "

RIP English


How is the character design bad? is it because the skills are actually consistent rather than patching up a bunch of random skills on any champion and making them look completely different to what they actually do?

The reasons are F**king crap. Oh denying, its hard, i cant do it... it's so challenging... oh... someone... help me... 


Laughing Out Loud.

Who wrote this... seriously? Should I expect you to write more shit articles anonymously, Gamespot?


What's good about LOL? hmmm, it's a copycat of DOTA. i don't get it why people are considering LOL as the mother of all MOBAs. DOTA is undoubtedly THE MOBA of all MOBAs. Not until DOTA 2 that is :)


"or otherwise they would be ripping off LOL characters"

 Is this for real?  Even a braindead LoL fan has to know that LoL transplanted their champions and features almost EXCLUSIVELY from Dota..  Even more then HoN..

This is like "I downloaded Dota 2, I played 2 games, I did bad, it's an awful game that's just stealing from LoL!!!"

Seriously, what the hell is this, hahaha....


LoL is for people who cannot make it in DOTA 2 or Heroes of Newerth.  The elimination of creep dening , tower denying and overall being able to teleport any where on map via home coming stones or town portals takes a lot away from the game. 

I play LoL now but I find my self yawning a lot while playing which is something I do not do in the other two. 

LoL allows almost everyone scale to end game damage wise.. which is something that you can have a problem with in dota2 or HON.   Casters typically are support or there to dominate the early and mid game while the carry farms up. which is fine as those heroes have stuns , snares or other disables that allow them to still contribute late game.

that model is fine but it is very misunderstood by many.  Many of the people who leave dota 2 or hon for lol are the ones who pick pyro/lina or some other caster and expect to carry the game .. but then lose it to chromos/faceless void or some other hard carry because they didn't end the game when they had the advantage.

THe reason I play LoL now is because after not being able to break past 1700 in HON , I decided to play a game where a sub par player like me can be a super star.. which is why it is so popular.

doesn't change the fact that the game just lowers the standard so it caters to more people. 


What's good about LoL is they give the mages a chance to fight with the use of AP, unlike Dota2 wherein mages at late game are only useful for there debuffs.


well some are right and some are wrong. like the slow animation of attacks was a nerf to the hero it self cause in mid game with items it gets really really fast. so if it was fast already whats the point of " Attack speed " items. i hope that LoL players trys it for themselves. other than read what hating reviewers or Loyal LoL fans that wouldn't trash other games. no matter what. am an LoL/Dota2/HoN player. and they are all good. and each offers something. if u want a fun game with no presure. still has skill in it. go LOL. but. there is a factor here. no matter what. a hero couldn't beat his counter if both are on the same skill level.

how ever in HoN. the table turns around a bit. depending on what to level up, and the item build up. a hero could kill his counter. if he levels up faster as well. farm more. farming more is based on. Denying and Jungle farming after pushing a lane to the tower.

but in dota2. you can do many creative things. lets say. two heroes that has 2 passives one to increase each next hit damage by 30 and the other gives 20% Lifesteal Aura and the first hero can stack his next hit buff for over 20stacks if he doesn't get stunned, as in the debuff goes off the target. then they could go to " Roshan " aka Baron or kongor. and solo it at level one. how ever people that have brain might see your combo and know what u are doing. thats a thing about Dota2. " Drafting " cant be very useful as in people knows what gonna happen next. thing is. dota works like this. The more you understand the game and adapt to it. you get better. as a Decent player. not those that spend countless hours without learning anything. Dota2 is Harder than all two. and for some players this is what they are looking for. using an Different example. World of warcraft in 1.5 to 1.13. the game had no clues. no nothing. none to teach you. and the bosses was kinda unpredictable. which made the game fun. up until TBC. when Wotlk came out it came out to make stuff easier which repulsed many. so in a way to say this.

LoL is fun requires abit of skill. but not hard.

HoN is fun. with fast game play. and its a flexible game but how ever they took the WoW turn in makin the game easier. and they made abit of wrong turns by making awful heroes. which from level 1 to 25 doesn't give you a break. which made it hard even if you are 5 level's over your counter you wouldn't be able to kill him in team fights yourself. a one on one fight or even in your dreams. simple he will be a " C^^K blocker " Talking about the Same level of skill players. not comparing a high bracket players to the lowest bracket players. no. 100% the same skill. moving on...

Dota 2 how ever.  its fun not as much as HoN or LoL. but if you are the player that looks for challenge. Hard ways skills and anticipation. Dota 2 offers that. how ever. Drafts are kinda lame in the game. for instance there is in the game 3 sides you gotta know. they are standers.

a Long lane.

a middle lane

a Short lane

short lane means you can stay around the tower farm and use it to you advantage.

long lane is where the enemy short lane is.

mid lane is equal to both. leaving 1 hero there to level more. some use it in a lame way " Drafting " to go as a mid that needs farm and a Support to let the enemy mid stay at his tower. gaining exp how ever not getting 1 single last hit " Creep/minion kill " which means the other is gonna get all as if the enemy is not denying. that means 10 mins after lanning the middle hero. not the support but the one farming. is gonna have atleast 5-6k golds. which hes gonna use in getting nice items. that way you if you have a counter hero vs you. he cant do anything. cause you countered him in " Draft " that way he has to you a draft of another kind and so. kind of like mind games. such as those things are really Popular in dota2. and many use it. 

Final review.

LoL = Fun. simple and easy. but can be hard if at " High Brackets " only.

HoN = Fun. but all the brackets are the same. the better the teamworks the more chance you have to win

Dota2 = Fun. not close to hon. but like WoW TBC / And now. ( as in got easier ) for those who didnt play WoW.

dota2 gets harder as you get into higher brackets. due to " Lots of players / and W/L ratio not K/D ratio " 

so people want to win not get good kill scores.


T.C all


This article is so stupid. The author CLEARLY didn't do his research before writing it.

1) LoL is an older, more refined product than DotA 2? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? LoL IS THE SPINOFF!

2) Visible lag? You've got to be kidding me. Are you really crying over the attack animation? Do you realize that if Drow's early game attack animation were the same as Sniper's early game attack animation, she would be one of the most OP late game heroes? 

3) Deny. You're crying about denying because you can't even adapt to attack animation. Enough said.

4) Autocast is supposed to be like that. You know. Because a competent Drow player understands that he doesn't have to use his Q constantly and waste mana on a slow. 

Now, it is OBVIOUS that you have no idea how to play DotA 2, or even the history behind the two games. Yes, you are a LoL player trying to make an intelligent comment on this game. But the fact is, this entire article just completely destroyed your credibility because it's obvious you haven't played the game long enough to make an intelligent opinion on the game. And every DotA 2 player who read this article is thinking the exact same thing: "Stick to LoL noob. Let the big boys play DotA".


Lol. It sounds like you are a giant noob to dota 2. You can't judge a game before you get good at it and used to it. That "lag" was an attack animation. And you could try to ask your team to gank


Too shit to play Dota? Please stick to LoL LOL! 


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If you died with a drow, there is nothing that can make me believe you were atleast decent at LoL, therefore this whole article is invalid imo.

Also dota2 has no meta teams like LoL does and LoL is just a dota rip-off. 'nuff said


on characters "LOL is a much more refined and older product at this point." ... really !? LOL is based completely on the original dota ...and just added some funny imbalanced skills etc to keep the less skilled players satisfied.

in dota every hero has a unique animation for casting spells and attacking , that's for the hero itself and drow ranger has a big attacking animation delay ... that's not about the game. you can compare anti mage to drow to know the difference.

you should make a LOL through the eyes of a DOTA player ... that would be fun


hah, gotta love all the butthurt ppl in the comments. This is the perspective of a LoL player playing DOTA 2 for a limited amount of time, you guys act like it was presented as something else. As an overall review of DOTA 2, when in fact it's just how it's presented, one person even writes a whole article of QQ about it. Jesus ppl, just shows that people take online games way too seriously and if half these people took as much interest and showed as much outrage in real life issues that we would be a lot better off. Chill out, this article was just to show a LoL player what to expect when trying DOTA 2, and to be fair the community in DOTA 2 is hard to make it learn. Why would anyone want to spend the time learning it when they are flamed the whole way? The comments reflect the community I guess. Not saying LoL's community is great ( it is far from it), but have some dignity and don't get so offended over an article that presents what it states that it is going to present.


Well, this was made back in april. So some of the points are no longer relevant. Like, valve does organize the heroes by role as well as their primary attribute. And These heroes are directly from DOTA 1, so you can find guides on how to use all of them.But seriously??!?! The art work done by valve is much better than Riot Games. They have pulled off some top notch character design. Every one of those heroes is distinct, and easily read in-game. And the map is farrr easier to read in DOTA2 than LOL. Lol saturates the crap out of everything. The game is a cluster**** of bright colors, and hard, harshly shaped objects. DOTA2 on the other hand has a perfect understanding on when to use brightness, and saturation, to make important things stand out in the midst of battle. You want a toned down environment so when a hero shows up and starts throwing fireballs your eye registers the fireballs immediately. I dont mean to knock riot games, they make some really bad ass art. But the valve artist have a better understanding on color theory and how it relates to a game's interface. Everything about the visuals in DOTA 2 is more appealing and professional. And the engine is top notch. Its highly responsive in terms of speed. Everything reacts instantly, but yes you have to account for animation times. Like it takes a small part of a second before an arrow flies off a bow string, or an axe actually connects with its target, etc. But valve beautifully implemented a unique sound effect for every heroes weapon in the game, that triggers everytime the hit connects with its target. So you can perfect the timing on last hits very well. And, having timed animation before a spell/attack actually goes off, is a great thing. It allows you to cancel that action before it takes place. So if you accidentally start a spell and realize its going to miss you have that split second to cancel it. REally i think it comes down to, LoL is a great starting point for Mobas, but DOTA 2 is for when you want to invest in a challenge. The next step. But there is nothing bad about the production value coming from valve. trully great stuff


so, essentially you figure making an easy to play and better character graphic design this makes a better game... ill never get the 10 mins i wasted on this article back. please stop writing, your opinion is unbased


Dota is the first moba of all time if dota didn't existed so lol


actually.. i love dota for many year already.but since im addicted to lol which is more simple and there are multiple champions(heroes) which each of them have its own unique skills which we cant found in Dota. example Tryndamere where he dont using mana but fury instead. and his ulti where stoping him from dying.the items also cool. example Banshee's Veil where it canceled the enemy skills. even the enemy is very fed they cant use their ulti.Also Guardian Angel where u died but respawn again even not with full health. their items unique passive also cools. example Rabadon's Deathcap increase 30% of the ability power and also armor that reflects damage received.this make the game more competitive.  and also the thing i love the most is.they have recall button and extra 2 spells which can be used without using any mana.  so what i want to say here is. lol make people being a critical thinker where their could make counter each other by using the correct items.


@reivaxavier02  the some of the makers behind Dota moved onto LOL while Valve hired Icefrog(lead dota designer) to head the atrocity that is Dota 2. Moba's were not popular until League.


@larongemini Try different items other than "Recommended". And see how int heroes can dominate games early / mid / end state all the time. Dont be a "recommended" player. Create your own style.


@Hairzor Hon = all barckets are the same ? Probably never played above 1750 or something ?


 @Jobless_man Dota doesn't lose to uniqueness against LoL. If there's non-mana heroes in LoL, Dota has subskills (including Invoker) and real multiple-unit-control (Chen, Meepo, etc). Effect-wise? They both shares most of the effects and buffs/debuffs. Just like Dota doesn't have fear, sight-radius reduction, etc, LoL doesn't have disarm, Ethereal, etc.


And, Tryndamere's ulti you have mention does pretty much same thing as Dazzle's Shallow Grave in Dota.


In terms of item uniqueness, same thing applies again. LoL might have more unique passives but Dota wins pretty easily in terms of actives. And unlike LoL's items' passive which is mostly to increase the champion's effectiveness, Dota's items have purpose of increase your hero's effectiveness and/or counter enemy hero's effectiveness; this actually makes Dota item builds to be much more flexible than LoL; thus makes it kinda more competitive.


And, Linken's Sphere does pretty much same thing with Banshee's Veil, Aegis gives same thing with GA (though it's slightly different normal item, nevertheless, an item). the armor you're talking has same effect with old Blade Mail in Dota; which is currently remade for better use.


And sure, free recall is good. But thinking that it is taking over the TP scroll and courier of Dota, not rly. Though it invests money, able to fly to any tower and get items from anywhere has much better use than simply going back to base. And for 2 summoner spell, sure, it's good but again, it's a complementary spell for so much actives Dota items have (most obvious example Flash instead of Blink Dagger / FS) which in other words, if Dota required you to work hard to get those abilities, LoL gives you free which is hard to be called "more competitive" because of this aspect.


For the last, your conclusion shows that you have no real idea of both Dota and LoL. Dota is the one that requires you to change your item builds against enemies and more specific (example : Ghost Scepter against Ursa, TP scroll against Bloodseeker, etc) while LoL does similar things somehow but fairly limited and more general (change on item build is mostly about which item you build first; thus only about order, or about which defensive stats you should increase)


@james_condie7 mostly because the term MOBA was made by riot just to avoid saying "it is like DotA" since it was unexistant. DotA had such impact that w3 sold more copies during that timespan; if you are guessing why you came to know about LoL as a moba, it's because they actually make money out of it, while dota was only a community supported map mostly played in Russian and China, that abomination called LoL is just a rip off with simplied game design for dummies.