10$ off all smurfs - Back to School Sale


Dota Vs LoL 2019: Which is Better?

Richard Heimer

5 th  March 2017

You are here: Home / Blog / Dota Vs LoL 2019: Which is Better?

Looking to ditch DotA? Jump instantly into ranked and buy a LoL account.

Let’s face it, there are plenty of multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games out there, and everyone is constantly arguing over which is the best. If you read our blog post on games that are similar to League of Legends then you’ll know there are over 11 popular MOBAs out there.

Each game has their own community that enjoys bashing other MOBA communities to defend their games honor. With so many MOBA games out there, can one of them really be better than League of Legends? After all, League of Legends is the most popular game in the world with over 100 million monthly players.

To find out if any MOBA can challenge the mighty LoL, we thought we’d compare the 2nd most popular MOBA game to see how both of them compare.

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last few years then you should know that Defence of the Ancients 2 or DotA 2 for short, is League of Legends biggest competitor. With a die hard community of fans, many DotA players often dismiss League of Legends as "too easy" and "for beginners".

To explore the 2 different MOBA’s we’ll look at the different parts of the games such as the champions and difficulty to see how they compare.

To start off, let’s compare the developers behind the games and their role in the game.

Dota vs. LoL: Developers and their role

valve riot games

League of Legends and Dota are made by 2 completely dissimilar games developers, both with a very different history and background.

Founded in 1996, DotA 2 is developed by Valve Corporation. A huge company who are famous for owning the social gaming network “Steam”. This might be one of their biggest games ever released, but this isn’t the only game Valve has made. Famous for their Half-Life franchise, Valve has also created titles such as Counter-Strike and Team Fortress over the years. With a huge team behind them including the famous founder Gabe Newell, Valve has a big market share of the online gaming market and currently employ around 360 staff.

League of Legends, on the other hand, is developed by a not so well known company called Riot Games. Founded in 2006, the company has grown at an alarming pace and currently employs around 1000 staff in their 17 worldwide offices. Considering League of Legends is actually the only game Riot make, that’s a lot of people who work on the game. Riot Games might sound inexperienced when it comes to making games but don’t let that fool you. From their one game alone they have reported profits of around $1.6 billion in 2015! Now that’s a LOT of money from just 1 game.

As you can see, both developers are successful and it’s hard to say which is better. Both make billions and listen to their customers, while also working on updating and improving their games. Due to the larger staff, budgets and more frequent updates, we’d have to give this one to League of Legends. In the past few years, League of Legends has released a considerable amount of updates, new champions, and skins while DotA 2 has had nowhere near the amount of attention.

Dota vs. LoL: Release Dates

league of legends retail box

The release date of a game can be a very important factor when considering the popularity of a game. Let’s face it, if a game has been around for a long time then it probably already has a well-established foundation. Older games tend to have a well-developed community and must be good to have been around that long. More importantly, the game will have had plenty of updates and fixes which iron out any annoying bugs.

Dota 2 was released on July 9th 2013, after being in beta since 2011. In this time Valve have released plenty of updates for the game including new heroes, bug fixes and graphic changes.

League of Legends, on the other hand, was released on October 27th 2009 and has been around for over 8 years. League of Legends has changed a lot since its release and not only features around 60 more champions, but has also undergone a major graphic engine update.

League of Legends has been around for a lot longer than Dota 2 and we can’t help but say this has helped make it a much more popular game. Sometimes when you’re the first in the industry and take the world by storm, the players come running and don’t want to leave. Like the idiom “the early bird get’s the worm”, League of Legends definitely beat Dota 2 to the punchline.

Dota vs. LoL: Player Base

moba players

No matter which MOBA you prefer, it’s important to make sure there are lots of people who play it with. After all, who wants to play against bots all day?

Both games have millions of active monthly players who play the game, but there is one clear winner. Dota 2 boasts around 13.5 million monthly active players as mentioned on their official blog statistics page. League of Legends on the other hand completely is definitely much more popular. From looking at the League player base, a few years ago the developers reported 67 million active monthly players. LoL now gets over 100 million active players a month. That's a lot of players for an online game!

There are plenty of benefits of having more players to play with. Not only does it make the ranked system fairer but it also allows more competition for experienced players. It also allows players from all over the world to enjoy the game. If most of the player base is from America, then other regions will have trouble finding players at a certain time. Having a huge worldwide player base like League of Legends allows players from all over the world to enjoy the game without these problems.

If you want shorter queue times and more players to play with, then League of Legends is the clear winner with over 100 million active players.

Dota vs. LoL: Heroes and Champions

dota vs lol champions and heroes

In MOBAs, champions are a very important aspect of the game and too little can send a lot of players running. Think about it, if your team has 5 players and there are only say 30 champions, then in just a few matches you’ll most likely see all the available champions. This can often make games very repetitive and boring after a while. Making sure there are lots of champions to chose from with new ones being added constantly is the best way to make a game enjoyable.

Not only do more champions make a game more fun, but with more champions, you can play different strategies and counter other champions easier.

Dota 2 currently has released 113 heroes so far which are based on Dota 1’s 132 heroes; there are still plenty of them to be released. These champions range from different skill sets and abilities which offer great playability in game.

League of Legends, on the other hand, has 138 released champions so far with many new ones planned in the pipeline. 138 champions might seem like a lot but with such a large choice there are plenty of great team composites to play with which make every game interesting.

We think League of Legends clearly wins this one due to their range and number of champions. League of Legends also spends a lot of time developing new champions and reworking old ones. Once they release a champion it's never its final form, they are constantly tweaked to fit in with the current meta.

Dota vs. LoL: Champion Progression In Game

Champion progression refers to how champions progress during a game. In DotS 2, all champions start at level 1 and progress level by level until they reach level 25 and are “maxed out”. Compare this to League of Legends which only has 18 levels for champions, there is a clear difference but what does this mean for players?

Champion levels can be seen as both a good and bad thing. For example, in League of Legends, you are much more likely to reach the max level of 18 during a game before it ends. This means you can use all of your skills and abilities in game to help your team win.

DotA 2 on the other hands takes players a lot longer to get to level 25 which means many players might not even get to max level before the end of the match. The plus side to this is players who do get to level 25 get an array of more powerful skills to use in game as they have “earned them”.

When you look at champion progression, it’s really a trade-off between getting to the max level as fast as possible or having more points to level up your in-game abilities. Depending on which one you prefer depends on which game you will enjoy the most. For this section we will have to give it a time as it is purely a matter of opinion and preference.

Dota vs. LoL: eSports Scene

dota vs lol esports

Both League of Legends and Dota 2 have huge eSports competitions and tournaments every year attracting millions of visitors to watch teams battle it out for eye-watering prizes. Since League of Legends has been around much longer than Dota 2 there have been plenty of more eSports competitions.

A common way to measure the size of the eSports scene for a certain game is to look at the competitions prize pools to see which is larger. Both games have big annual competitions where the best teams in the world battle it out for huge cash sums. In the Dota 2 community this is called the International and in 2017 had a prize pool of $24 million USD!

League of Legends, on the other hand, has the World Championship which in 2016 had a much smaller prize pool of only $5 million USD. As you can see from the prize pools, DotA 2 clearly has the bigger eSports scene. This is mainly due to how they collect money for the prize pool.

By offering players a special virtual book for collecting in-game items, Valve raises additional money for the prize pool while putting some of their own money in. The result is a massive prize pool that seems to be growing every year!

For this section, we think DotA wins it hands down. The International has become one of the largest eSports events in the world and offers millions of dollars to teams who win. League of Legends might have a slightly higher viewership, but with such a small prize pool is it really worth winning?

Dota vs. LoL: The Conclusion

As you can see there are plenty of differences between the 2 games. To help summarize the key points between Dota 2 and League of Legends we’ve made a handy table that covers all the important points. We’ve also added a few more sections to give you a complete comparison between the 2 games. Ultimately we think League of Legends is the superior game due to its large community and player base, great developer and quick to learn champions.

Dota vs. LoL: Comparison Table

Dota 2

League of Legends


Valve Corporation

Riot Games

Release Date

July 7th, 2011

October 27th, 2009


13.5 million active monthly players

80 million active monthly players




Champion Progression

Max level 25

Max level 18

eSports Scene

$25 million prize pool (2017 International)

$5 million prize pool (2016 World Championship)


More mana intense skill shots

Range of skill shots and auto target abilities


3 lane default layout including 2 secret shop locations and Roshan

3 lane map layout including Dragon and Baron Nashor


Considered more difficult and for experienced players

Considered easier to learn and play

Dota Underworlds VS. Teamfight Tactics: Battle of the Autobattlers

While technically both these games are independent of LoL and Dota, they have to be mentioned. Not only is Teamfight Tactics in the LoL client, but you’ll be better at it if you also play League of Legends, which is one of the points we’ll mention shortly.

Which Should You Play?

Teamfight Tactics is undoubtedly the easiest autobattler to learn, and while that’s not an indicator of the quality of the game, a gentler learning curve is always a plus.

It’s easier to combine hero’s in Teamfight Tactics, and creating a winning strategy is as simple as understanding how Origins and Classes work. You can learn everything you need to get started here.

Matches in Teamfight Tactics generally take the same length of time as a game of LoL (20 – 45 minutes) which is shorter than the average game length of Dota Underworlds. Why does this matter?

It’s entirely subjective whether or not long games are preferable over short ones. Plenty of people might argue that media is best consumed in small doses because of low attention spans, but this isn’t true;

Sure, songs all seem to average 3 minutes, and movies average 2 hours, but we’d argue that there’s definitely room for games that go on for hours. After all, plenty of League of Legends players flocked over from World of Warcraft, and some WoW raids can go on all day!

However, if you are one of those people who dislike matches that go on and on, Teamfight Tactics is the game for you. One other way in which Teamfight Tactics and Dota Underworlds differ is that Teamfight Tactics features a carousel of rotating Champions.

This carousel appears every few rounds and allows players in last place to pick first. Getting first dibs on the best Champions often means that they have a better chance at making a comeback. While this can add an interesting element to the game, we don’t recommend it if you’re someone who hates going from first place to last in a matter of rounds.

The Champions you’ll see featured in Teamfight Tactics use the abilities of their LoL counterparts, so while you don’t need to play LoL to get into Teamfight Tactics, it’s a great starting point for devout League of Legends players.

Did we miss something? Let us know what you think in the comments!

unrankedsmurfs author avatar

Richard Heimer

Content Writer
Richard is our resident League of Legends player. He knows everything.

Have Your Say