If You Squint, These Four DOTA Games All Look The Same

If You Squint, These Four DOTA Games All Look The Same

I’m sure that, like snowflakes explanations for the finale of Lost, no two DOTA games are alike. But when a non-DOTA player like me sees a pair of group shots of DOTA games, I can’t help but wonder about the range of visual variation in one of gaming’s hottest genres.

These shots show, clockwise, Warcraft III DOTA, Heroes of Newerth, alleged DOTA 2 screenshots, and League of Legends. They were cobbled together by a DOTA fan named Illien on a DOTA message board.


Illien obviously knows his or her stuff. Me? I’m just now learning that every DOTA game has got to have that map where the river runs diagonal near the grass. If you do enlarge the images, though, you begin to see some differences. If the bottom-right game really is Valve’s DOTA 2, for example, then their game has a softer look than the competition.

Fans of the genre, do you actually see the variety in these games that you want? Do I just sound like one of those cranky know-nothings who belches that every first-person shooter is the same because they all have iron sights and the colour gray?

DOTA2 ingame photos (DB/SF/VS/Rosh+Hero list!) [PlayDota.com Forums]


  • In short: Yes you do (sound like one of those cranky know-nothings who belches that every first-person shooter is the same because they all have iron sights and the color gray).

    It’s easy to look at something on such a superficial level as a series of screenshots that are DELIBERATELY TAKEN to look as similar as possible, but the differences between these games when you go down into the mechanics of it all is massive. LoL and HoN, despite having the same map, are played almost completely differently.

    It’s like saying Japanese and Koreans look similar so their cultures must be identical.

  • Each of the games has a very different art style but the maps are very similar and that’s because the map is very integral to game it self. It’s harder to change the map than it is to change the actual rules of the game in some ways.

    Maybe comparing it to the endless iterations of Risk and Monopoly will make it easier to understand.

    Personally I think that it’s not the Dota game, map or art style that really needs improving or changing but the community. A task I’m not even sure if Valve is capable of achieving.

  • League of Legends has had another map since it’s inception that plays very differently, it’s also adding a new map control capture the flag kinda map thing soon.

  • I can tell you that these all look ‘the same’ to me and the incredibly dull Warcraft style fantasy setting means I don’t even consider playing them. As for the hideous UI overlays..

    • hideous.. they suit the job, they look pretty normal to me. also, every one of your favorite games was influenced by an earlier game, so stfu about copying

  • They all look the same, but the slightest change in game mechanics can change the gameplay. This genre has a steep learning curve, but can be very satisfying if you manage to master it.

    Due to the fact that it has over 100+ heroes, and only a maximum of 10 heroes each game, your team has to devise a different strategy almost every game, which is what makes it challenging, but rewarding if played well.

  • Just let me clear things up for the guys that haven’t played Dota.

    That particular map style (river in the middle, ramps at that specific location, lower forest and upper forest areas) is the end product of countless iterations of different map styles.

    As you may have guessed, one of the hardest thing the creators needed to get right was balance for both teams. There were many maps before where one side could exploit certain map attributes (yes, sometimes even ONE misplaced tree!) to get an unfair advantage over the opponent, be it vision, vantage point, or cheesy traps.

    The map as it is now is what people would call the “stable” map, suitable for tournaments and the like.

    hope that clears things up.

  • They are all very different games so far. The maps are very similar but HoN has another map which is awesome aswell so it’s not only one map for ever and ever

  • Saying “all FPSes are the same” isn’t even in the same goddamn ballpark as the dota games. They’re not just same genre-lookalikes. They ARE the same game. Exactly the same mechanics and aesthetics too..

    Only reason why there are 3 now, is because the original dota creators (largely) split into 3 separate camps that were bought out or founded separate companies.

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