Dota 2 vs League of Legends: Heroes and Champions

7 min read

Lol vs dota 1

When it comes to these MOBA, one of the most important parts is which character you play as. Called Champions in League of Legends and Heroes in Dota 2, there are different approaches to design and release, as well as their various roles. Oh, and don’t forget the controversies about copying.

Across both games, Champions/Heroes are generally seen as falling into one of three general categories: Tank (who can give and receive plenty of damage), Support (who, um, support the other characters), and Carry (who deal a lot of damage per second (DPS) but can take a while to get to that point, hence needing to be carried towards the mid/end game). These can be further subdivided into Ganker (essentially an assassin who gets in and kills other characters), Pusher (the one who keeps “pushing” the lane forward and striving to take out towers), Jungler (who roams around the jungles, leveling up on other creatures and moving from lane to lane as needed) and Initiator (who “initiates” team fights, etc). of course there can be overlap in roles, so you may find the Ganker is generally the Initiator and might tend towards being a Carry. Supports, typically strong early game, might act as Tanks at time until other characters advance enough to take on that role.

League of Legends

Sexy miss fortune

Current Champion count = 119

LoL follows a unique approach to Champions. Each one is built for a specific role in the game – as explained before, the “meta” is incredibly important in LoL and players rarely deviate from the assumed roles of each Champion. However, with so many champions, there is a ton of variety.

In relation to roles, there are plenty of Champions to chose from who fill the various positions, and even overlap between roles. For example, Mordekaiser could be described as a tank thanks to his shield that replenishes when attacking, but some abilities are more magically oriented, so he could also be a mage/DPS Champion. Abilities are generally divided in Ability Power (AP) or Attack Damage (AD); AP scales magical abilities to damage or heal/buff while AD increases physical damage. AD damage is generally reduced by armor whereas AP damage is reduced by magic resist – this helps to further subdivide Champions into physical damage based or magical damage based. For the most part, Champions tend towards one or the other with a select few doing well in both.

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Aesthetically, each Champion has a variety of skins available. These change the look and feel of the champion, as well as some of their animations or sound effects. For example, Fiddlesticks goes from being a creepy scarecrow to an equally creepy party scarecrow, complete with party horn and confetti. Skins are released on a regular basis – often every week or so – and are available for purchase with real money. Champions are on a weekly rotation for free, but you can also buy them with game currency or real money so that you always have access to your favourite champions. New champions are released every few months to much fanfare and video teasing.

Dota 2

Lina is so sexy

Current Hero count = 107

Thanks to the powers and timing of activated items in Dota 2, players have a bit more flexibility about how they use the different Heroes. While there are specific roles that some might tend towards with certain Heroes, they can more easily move from one play style to another and the professionals often make unusual (and wildly successful) choices in this regard.

Rather than using skins to change the aesthetic of Heroes, Dota 2 relies on items and gear. These can be player created and are available for purchase in the in-game shop, or can be received at random at the end of a match. While these can sometimes change the gameplay animations or even abilities, they are mostly there for design customization.

Heroes in Dota 2 are mostly remakes of their predecessors in Dota 1. Some names had to be changed, but for the most part they are the same characters. As such, it isn’t as much for a surprise when new Heroes are introduced – there are only five remaining Heroes from Dota 1 that need to make their debut in Dota 2, after which point we may see a new direction in the form of new characters. Heroes do not need to be purchased; following the initial training matches, Dota 2 players have access to all the Heroes.

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Allegations of copying

Ashe drow ranger

Dota was the first, and most instantly wildly popular MOBA. While mechanics and gameplay differ between the two, many people like to compare and say that LoL copied Dota when designing certain champions. One often cited example is that Ashe is a copy of the Drow Ranger. Now, the idea of an archer shooting ice-powered arrows isn’t exactly unique, however their designs are rather similar. That said, their actual abilities/skills are rather different. Other examples might be Urgot and Pudge or Corki and Gyrocopter. However, again, these rely on many character archetypes in gaming and all have rather varied gameplay mechanics.

There are many characters that are used as comparisons between the MOBA, however these rely on the roles more than the design per se. For example, two Jungler Carry characters would have more in common if their skills were vaguely similar, regardless of aesthetic differences.

In the end, it all comes down to player preferences. Personally, I hate playing as a Tank or Support and tend towards playing long-ranged Carry characters. I play a mean Tristana (I know, I’m the only one who likes her) or Miss Fortune, and I’m hoping to get good at Drow or Sniper. Who are your Champions/Heroes of choice? Do you tend to stay in your assigned role, or are you more of a renegade in that regard?

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Last Updated: July 3, 2014

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let's get on with it!

  • Admiral Chief Fairburne

    I tend to run around like a headless chicken, is that a role too?

    • hairyknees

      No no we call that the noob role ๐Ÿ˜› *flies away*

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        OH NO SHE DIDN’T!

      • Rince&pop

        *Clips wings*

      • Admiral Chief Fairburne

        Coming from the slut, that’s quite rich ๐Ÿ˜›

    • DrKiller

      They are mostly in the role of “Feeders” ๐Ÿ™‚

    • lol

      Just play Singed

    • wsc2010

      That is called the feeder basically feeds the other enemy team

  • Admiral Chief Fairburne

    I like playing sniper, but only for dose headshots ๐Ÿ˜›

    • Hammersteyn

      When I look at the two archers all I see is Vanu and NC

      • Admiral Chief Fairburne

        Please don’t talk PS2 to me….its still hurts ๐Ÿ™

        • Hammersteyn

          It will get better, after everyone is sick of hossin

          • Admiral Chief Fairburne

            It’s not that so much, the continent locking is kak. I loooove Esamir, and now I can’t? FFS

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      But if you’re also a headless chicken does that mean friendly fire?

      • Admiral Chief Fairburne

        Only if they were naughty, or Russian, or in the line of fire

  • Norm

    I miss playing LOL.
    Played Ashe & Alistair.

  • UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

    Main thing here is that DOTA lets you play all the heroes straight off the bat.

    I tried both of these and HoN and DOTA2 just wins every time for me.

    • S4Go

      So if DotA let you play all the heroes straight it makes it better? Accualy it makes it easyer for the player.

      • Andrei

        There are different game modes in dota that allow you to choose from a limited amount of heroes. The strict limit of the hero list in lol is just for the money.
        PS. No offense here. It’s everybody’s choice to play w/e they want anyway

  • CiNiMoD

    Nunu and Master Yi in the jungle ๐Ÿ™‚ Still new to LoL though, so still finding what characters I like! I also think Ill like Udyr more when I find a build on him that I like.

  • hairyknees

    I really don’t mind playing any role in both games, but I find I really enjoy heroes that are meant to be initiators/gankers in Dota (such as Puck or Pudge, mainly those heroes who play in the mid lane).

    I’m still new to LoL, but I’ve really grown fond of Lux who is a nuker/support of sorts. I recently purchased Nidalee too, and she is a ton of fun ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Admiral Chief Fairburne

      So you buy LoL heroes?

      • UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

        Yup you need to actually pay to get the full roster. Extremely offputting.

      • B3ware_za

        You can either buy heroes with cash($) or with point(accumulated over time). One gets a set of heroes each week. The rest you can buy to keep forever.

        It actually help you to play different heroes, which you might not have done if you could select all from the start.

        • iron_dinges

          Playing all random also helps you play different heroes.

      • hairyknees

        Yeah I’ve only bought a few with the currency earned after playing a few games ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sir Captain Senior the First

    Just one correction there Zoe. In LoL, skins can only be bought with real money. Everything else you can by with IP or RP, but skins are strictly RP only

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      thanks! fixed ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ultimo_Cleric N7

    Outworld Devourer, Timbersaw, Shadow Shaman and Legion Commander in Dota

  • MichaelMatusowsky

    LoL is Rugby
    DotA is football.

    tl;dr, one is boring other one is fun (TIP: Rugby is boring).

    • R1ker

      Sorry – bru – had to down vote you on that one
      *Edit: Down vote for Rugby being boring. Dota = Rugby ๐Ÿ˜›

      • asdasd

        also football = for pussies

  • Brendyn Zachary

    I like playing a position 5 Treant in Dota. That thing doesn’t need items or farm, all you need is a buttload of mana and a team that knows how to kill everything when you hit that ult.

  • Sir Captain Senior the First

    My favourite quote in LoL: mid or feed

  • Matthew Holliday

    I usually play the offlane or support.

    Venomancer best hero in game.
    also darkseer is pretty fun, if the team has the right setup.

  • Stan Smith

    “โ€œmetaโ€ is incredibly important in LoL”

    Bwahaha, and that’s why it’s so static?

    Icefrog halp pls.

    • Requiem of Oranges

      I enjoyed you Bowser laugh.

  • iron_dinges

    The topics you’ve chosen for your articles are surprising. When I read “Dota 2 vs LoL”, I expected an analysis of the differences between the two games. These articles, so far, focus almost completely on things that don’t have anything to do with the games themselves. Not a bad thing, mind you, I just find it interesting.

  • Kyratic

    So.. about that copying thing. Yes, Early LoL heros were heavily inspired by dota hero’s, the thing is they had every right to be, Dota didnt exist as a stand alone game at the time, and further more, The guy who created them for the Original Dota, Guinsoo, was the game design lead for LoL so the same guy made similar champs… no big surprise there, only became an issue when dota 2 arrived on the scene, and since then, there is no relation between the new Lol champs and dota champs.

    • iron_dinges

      “The guy who created them for the Original Dota, Guinsoo”

      You don’t have the whole story there.

      Early in Dota’s history, there are many different Dotas, each made by someone else. It was either Guinsoo or Eul (I forget which) that combined the best heroes from these maps into Dota Allstars, and of course adding a few. Guinsoo created maybe 5-10 heroes.

      Not that there is anything really wrong with it, since everything is inspired (a form of copying, really) by something else.

    • Chung Van Dao

      Sorry but you have your facts wrong. Guinsoo didn’t create the original DotA, in fact he didn’t even create the Allstars offshoot of it. He came along after mapmakers Meian & Ragn0r (February 2004) by about 2 months (April 2004) and his last version was 5.84c (January 2005). DotA itself was created by Eul who works at Valve alongside Icefrog.

      FYI Guinsoo only created a dozen or so heroes while porting over a bunch from other variants of DotA at the time. Oh and they were imbalanced as fuck!

  • ElNicko

    Miss Fortune and Vayne FTW……Also because I enjoy watching people rage after another KillSteal !!

  • ElNicko

    Miss Fortune and Vayne FTW……Also because I enjoy watching people rage after another KillSteal !!

  • ElNicko

    Miss Fortune and Vayne FTW……Also because I enjoy watching people rage after another KillSteal !!

  • ElNicko

    Miss Fortune and Vayne FTW……Also because I enjoy watching people rage after another KillSteal !!

  • ElNicko

    Miss Fortune and Vayne FTW……Also because I enjoy watching people rage after another KillSteal !!

  • I’m a support and my alter ego is a solo mid :D. Jakiro and Puck are my favorites in their respective roles. Earthshaker, Sand King, Dazzle, Bane, Lina, Ancient Apparition, Storm Spirit, Templar Assassin, Magnus, Outworld Devourer, Timbersaw, Queen of Pain.

  • Johann

    These days I almost only play as Jinx. That be one crazy lady

  • ido erez

    Personally, i like playing weaver or sniper

  • Random

    Tank in Dota 2? TANK IN DOTA 2? ๐Ÿ˜€
    Pros making fun about that additude 2000mmr player (noobs) are calling for a tank. There is only 1 real tank in Dota 2. Axe.

    • asdasd

      This so much, every hero in the game can be blown up if they dont have farm. There is no real “tank” class, there is only tanky heroes. All that tankiness can be useless with the right positioning and correct item builds.

  • Random

    Invoker and every hero exept: Meepo. Already got a good meepo player in the team. No need to leran that.

  • MrFox

    Why would copying be a problem?

    I’d rather have LoL copy more heroes and have more variety between them. LoL heroes are all designed through a rigid principle, this means they all play very similar. That’s the only reason I’m now playing DotA again instead of LoL, because there almost every hero plays completely differently.

    Also the much of the DotA hero designs are the result of community contributions. Since LoL is free to play I would not mind them copying LoL heroes, if that makes the game more fun.

    • Titan

      i hate lol bcz they create OVERPOWERED new champions. and they set high price for them. an ordinary champion cost is 6300 ip, a new champ costs 7200 ip for a week. OR u pay real money. and after 2 weeks they nerf him. meanwhile u lose ranked games if u dont ban that new champion… cant they make new champions balanced? of course they can, they have enough testers, previewers, followers… and they do test these champions. but an ordinary champion would not worth to spend real money..

      another annoying thing is u cant give back bought champions. for example, a new player gets owned by Talon (a mid lane assassin), buys that, feeds, and cant give it back. game gives u 3 chance to take back IP u spend. u have to wait weeks to play a champion free…

      Runes also expensive to buy. some people say that runes dont give you much, but they actually do. a %20 crit chance runes on attack damage carry vs no rune makes a first blood. or full ability power mid lane can harass u, or move speed/ armored jungler has more chance to survive.

      and there are forgotten champions in lol. like Taric, Urgot, Viktor, Galio, Trundle, Skarner, Yorric, Sion… some players havent even heard about them ๐Ÿ˜€ bcz taric is cheap copy of omniknight, skarner is useless version of sandking, sion is like lifstealer…

      • MrFox

        Yea that’s annoying. I feel the high cost of heroes in general causes the game to be a bit pay to win.

        To fix this they should make new heroes free the first week. That would allow everyone to experiment with it, learn it, and therefore learn how to play against the hero.

  • Accel

    Dota (warcraft 3) came out in 2003 and lol was on 2009 how can they say draw ranger was a copy?

  • Dave

    ha she compared pudge to urgot instead of blitzcrank.. sge must not even care

  • #truth

    Dota 2 has deeper better lore, better graphics, better character design as proven by this picture better ability balance, more hardcore combat, the items are actually really different instead of “+200hp and +2 armor” and actually have active abilities. Every hero is unique and doesnt look like some weeaboo shit. Also there is actually pro micromanagement which is really fun, those tricky beastmaster micromanagement wins you do is just fucking EPIC and makes u feel like a god.
    League of Legends is only for idiots basically, and if you try to deny this you cant. Kappa

    PS. Getting pissed off because “every hero OP BabyRage” is for noobs, look at the map and see where their “OP” heroes are and run like a pussy if you know they are coming for you. One of the big parts of Dota 2 is map awareness and knowing if you can fight someone. Also getting the jump on someone is BIG because you can basically perma CC people on certain heroes.

  • thezion99

    SO is there a character like death prophet (Dota 2) in LoL too?

    • j

      Death Prophet = magic DPS semi-carry.

      That sums up most AP carries in LoL.
      In other words, there are too many death prophets in LoL.

  • Fireking399

    I was gold 2 in LoL and i am just starting Dota 2(but i use to play alot of Dota 1 back in the day). In LoL i main as either support/tank or top/tank. This champs being Maokai, Shen, and garen. But i also do jungle on occasions and even top. I never really liked AP champs so much. In dota so far i am still finding hat my role is but i really play Spirit breaker, Life stealer, and Axe the most. I dont really like range carries in dota us much as i do in LoL. Also my adr of choice in LoL is Tristana and Jinx

  • j

    I quit LoL for DotA even though most of my friends play lol.

    Sure, dota has more complicated mechanics and powerful spells. But I didn’t really care.

    What I couldn’t stand was the HORRIBLE META of LoL. In this article they talk about it, but they don’t say what’s really bad about it. Basically, in any game, if you don’t have exactly this lineup:

    One player goes mid, almost always a mage.
    One player goes top, almost always tanky fighter.
    One player goes in the jungle, and comes by to help other roles get a kill or two.
    One player goes in the bottom lane to support the marksman/ADC.
    One player is the marksman/ADC (Attack Damage Carry) at the bottom lane.

    You instantly lose. This means that people are constantly fighting to play the most fun roles (usually Top and Mid, but sometimes two people happen to fight over jungle too). “Mid or Feed” is like a meme in LoL, and if you don’t get the fun roles or if two people decide that they are going to take the same role, you’re in for a tough game.

    This works very bad with the fact that ROAMING INTO OTHER LANES IS VERY RARE. This makes it so that even if you get a solo lane, you can get unlucky and be up against an opponent which your character is very bad against (i.e. Garen vs Nasus), and you can’t just leave lane. In DotA, there are heroes that are completely invisible, and yet if you buy a certain cheap item you can see them all the time, which makes you extremely powerful against them. In LoL this would be a serious problem, because that person would be dominated by their opponent the entire game. In DotA, that person will just leave lane, and they can still end up incredibly powerful by the end of the game.

    Everyone says DotA is less forgiving, and that might be true from a team perspective (I’m not sure after the recent updates), but FROM A PLAYER PERSPECTIVE DOTA IS MORE FORGIVING. If you die as a “hard carry”, you can switch lanes and recover pretty easily. In LoL at higher levels, typically if you die twice in a solo lane you have “lost lane” and will hardly be able to fight for the next 15 minutes. Also, cheaper items are more efficient than the expensive ones in DotA, so if you are doing really bad you can always just buy bracers and you will still do pretty well. People often point out that because you lose gold in DotA you can get to a point where you can’t buy anything, but in reality if you’re smart you can spend half your gold before you die and then you won’t lose anything, and the only cases where you can’t do this is when your entire team is losing, or if you’re doing really, REALLY bad. DotA can seem less forgiving because there is no surrender option, which is a problem, but that’s not really less “forgiving” because if you want to surrender then your entire team must have messed up, so there probably wasn’t much you could have done about it. Finally, DotA can be more forgiving to the team if you play it right, for example waiting for the enemy in your base because you can’t fight them head-on or trying to sneak into their base and destroy it because you can’t fight them head-on are stronger in DotA.

    • j

      One more thing. If you’re going to play DotA, I would recommend that you decide on 10 heroes which you are best at, and mark them as your “favorites”, and only play other heroes to decide whether they should be one of your “favorites”. In LoL they force you to do this, in DotA you have to do it for yourself. It will definitely make you win a lot more. Also, as you win more, you will play against people who are also understanding their heroes better and use crazier strategies, so winning is fun. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Ian Grace

    I play Smite most out of all three, but from what I’ve seen, here are the roles:

  • Luke Jones

    one lol was made before dota2 lol made 2009 dota 2013 so any champ that looks like a dota 2 hero is the original and dota 2 copied it

  • Megannium

    I found that dota 2 is more complex and more mature comparing to lol. You can see the diversity within the abilities of each heroes in dota 2 comparing to lol. Most of lol champions have quite similar abiities. How many champions that you can count in lol that have dash abilities and count how many heroes in dota 2 have dash abilities. Each heroes in dota 2 have unique and different abilities for example, the invoker who does not have any ulti instead rely of the combinations of his abiities to create a new and powerful move. Now which lol champions have smilar abilities as invoker? Not just that, i could say that lol creates a character with kinda similar escape mechanic abilites. Unlike dota2 heroes which i found more challenging, not all heroes have escape mechanic abilities. So you can find the diversity in dota 2 instead of lol.

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