War of the MOBAs: DotA, DotA 2, League of Legends or Heroes of Newerth

Dota VS Dota 2 VS  League of Legends Vs Heroes of Newerth
Which one will you play?

IceFrog did a number on the gaming world when he came up with Defense of the Ancients, a game that appealed to as many people as those who still play the game today. But now a few other developers decided to clamber onto the MOBA(or Real Time Action Strategy-RTAs) bandwagon themselves, namely;

  • Heroes of Newerth
  • League of Legends
  • Valve’s Dota 2 (a development to the already existing Warcraft III map; DotA)

Let’s get a bit into the details of these games, and hopefully by the end of this article we can come to a conclusion as to which one of these games has the best to offer.

Top 4 RTAs :

Dota VS Dota 2 VS  League of Legends Vs Heroes of Newerth


Best Mobas
A screenshot from a game of DotA

1. DotA (Defense of the Ancients)

This is undoubtedly the father of all MOBAs, not because it’s the best, but only because it is the original idea. Like it or not, you have to give credit where it is due, and if it weren’t for IceFrog, Warcraft III and DotA, none of these other games may have even come into existence. Albeit a hard game to understand and play (noobs have such a hard time here), the game does have it’s own charm. It has all the heroes (and that’s a hell lot) from the original Warcraft lore, making it’s gameplay very diverse! The issues with DotA however is that the game is limited by the crudeness of the WC3 engine, which makes it distinctively bland. Secondly and more importantly, there is no counter-measure to prevent leavers from messing up your game. And that is something that is really annoying from any player’s point of view, except of course the one leaving. Third is the graphics that make me want to blind myself. TO be honest, it’s not that bad, but it’s not candy for the eye either! Fourth and last is the absence of a game management system, but that’s not really it’s fault because after all, DotA is a map for Warcraft 3.

Ease of Play: HARD
Fun factor: 7
Visual: 4
Overall Score: 6


Top 4 Mobas
A screenshot from a game of HoN

2. Heroes of Newerth

Similar to DotA in many ways (mostly negative), but different in as many. HoN boasts a faster gameplay, which was welcomed by most people who didn’t have the patience to play a single game that would last over an hour. The game was an improvement over DotA in every way IceFrog had failed to capitalize. The graphics were a huge leap from the eye junk offered by DotA, which made the game even more appealing. A well equipped game management system which incorporated a shop interface, leaver penalties (finally!), stat tracking features and even a reconnect feature, made the game a lot more well organized. Another plus is the game’s matchmaking feature, which allows you to be put into a game with other players that match your skill level. In terms of heroes, HoN has an arsenal of it’s own as well as quite a few borrowed from DotA, though not all. And even the ones that were ported from DotA, were altered slightly in terms of abilities and other characteristics. Another big issue in the game was the item names, which were alien even to those who played a lot of MOBAs, therefore making the inventory the most confusing aspect of the game. The game is also known to be buggy, with a lot of graphics glitches (the units and champions are fairly hard to distinguish) and technical issues regarding kills and assists which obviously causes a rage of ‘KS’ screams all across the in-game chat system (oh brother!). That brings me to the community of HoN, majority of whom are ego maniacal, elitist, super-snobs of the first order and you’d rather deal with a bad case of Herpes than any of these people. Lastly and probably most importantly, is considerably harder to play than DotA. I bet you’re now wishing I said that at the start of this paragraph!

Ease of Play: HARD
Fun Factor: 6
Visual: 7
Overall Score: 6.5

TOP Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games
A screenshot from a game of LoL

3. League of Legends

Unlike HoN, League of Legends adopts a completely different playstyle than DotA, in a way that makes this game easy to learn and play for even the most hardened newbies out there! While the game might be easy to play, mastering the game and it’s champions are just as hard as they are in DotA. This game has the best game management system among the MOBAs, with a community and chat system, stat tracking, leaver penalties (which include temporary to permanent bans), a jury called the Tribunal to address player grievances and a reconnect feature as well, just in case your net temporarily gives way. Leveling your summoner with runes and mastery trees give the game a very World of Warcraft like feel, and make the game a lot more technical which is a definite plus for those looking to master the game. The game comes with an array of original champions to which frequent additions are made. Champions rotate weekly on a free to play basis, but they can also be bought using Influence Points (which you earn by playing games) or Riot Points (which you have to purchase using money) to make them permanently available to you. Apart from that, there are many more things like skins, runes, etc. that you can buy to enhance your game. The game has recently built up an intense competitive scene which is bringing a lot more people into becoming serious about kicking ass in LoL. The downside is that since the game is easy to play, you run into a lot of casual players who sometimes spoil the game for those who are serious about playing it, which brings me to the game’s awful balancing system. That’s something Riot Games really need to work on, because I’ve never seen a bunch of more pissed off pros on any other game than I have seen on LoL! Also note that the Riot Store can get buggy at times, although that isn’t much of an issue when you’re not buying anything.

Ease of Play: EASY
Fun Factor: 9
Visual: 8
Overall Score: 8

The shinest a MOBA can get!

4. Valve’s DotA 2

Reveling in the past glory of DotA, DotA 2 will undoubtedly attract a horde of right-clicking minions from it’s predecessor making it what is probably the most dominant MOBA available in today’s market. The crisp graphics and smooth animations, and the beautifully redesigned heroes from DotA are both the highlights of this game and the selling point for any hardcore DotA fan. That said, DotA 2 is bound to be attractive only to those familiar with the original map, and wont attract a lot of new players because the game retains it’s technicality and difficulty to learn and play. But the game has indeed taken a huge leap from DotA in terms of gameplay, and is now a lot more fun to play! Well, once you get the hang of it of course. Other than these things, not a lot has been changed from the original, and for a very good reason. The fact that the very basic fiber of DotA has been retained in Valve’s rendition of it, is the main reason why DotA players the world over are willing to shed a couple of bucks to get the game! Because for this one game you can quite confidently say that it has only gotten better!

Ease of Play: MEDIUM
Fun Factor: 9
Visual: 9
Overall Score: 9


Considering future trends, I believe that while most hardcore DotA players will move on to DotA 2, there will still be a good few who will stick to the original, mostly just because they don’t want to spend any money buying a game. Heroes of Newerth will lose a lot of its community (except the snobs) to either League of Legends or DotA 2 while people who play League of Legends will continue to do so, even post the release of DotA 2.

Well that’s my take on the different MOBAs available today, with all the reasons why you would or wouldn’t want to play them. Donut?

A gamer at heart, a writer by passion and a businessman by profession.

8 thoughts on “War of the MOBAs: DotA, DotA 2, League of Legends or Heroes of Newerth

  1. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is magnificent blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

  2. This was a good aricle except for 1 major factual error. Icefrog did not create DOTA. Guinsoo did. give credit where it is due.

  3. Well to be honest, Alex Graham Bell didn’t invent the telephone, nor was it even his idea! The same goes for this. I’m just going by popular consensus.

    If Guinsoo did create it, then i stand corrected.

  4. It’s fine to give credit to the most popular by consensus, however I have never seen anyone credit DotA’s creation with Icefrog. To be completely factual however, it was Eul who first made the game (currently assisting Valve on Dota 2), then after some offshots Guinsoo (currently working with Riot Games on LOL) created the version we know today dubbed DotA All-Stars (later shortened to simply DotA). Eventually he stopped working on the mod and handed it over to Icefrog (currently working with Valve on Dota 2), who, if I’m not mistaken, updates it still to this day.
    I don’t mean to be picky or make any shots. Love the article and was very well written; this is just so people know how it came about. Thanks for the time you put into it.

  5. Nice review. Pretty accurate I’d say, LoL and DotA2 are undoubtedly better than the other 2. Only thing is, I think LoL is the “most dominant” moba if you’re only looking at the largest player base.

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