League Of Legends And Heroes Of The Storm Helped Me Get Into Dota 2

League Of Legends And Heroes Of The Storm Helped Me Get Into Dota 2

Stereotypes might lead you to believe any gamer's love of MOBAs has to be mutually exclusive. I'm here to tell you this isn't true.

Playing More Than One MOBA Makes Them All More Fun

I recently started playing Dota 2. I mean actually playing it, as opposed to kicking around in its tutorials for a little while before intimidation sent me running back to Heroes of the Storm or League of Legends. Everyone has always told me Dota 2 is the hardest of the MOBAs -- a small but very popular genre that's already notorious for its difficulty. Dota 2 certainly is hard to play, but I was surprised by how easy it felt to get into it once I'd gotten my feet on the ground. It was a far more seamless experience than my early days in League of Legends at the beginning of this year, and that's supposed to be the "easy MOBA." (Or at least it was, until Heroes of the Storm came out in April.)

I'm not a great Dota 2 player. Or even a good one. Or an average one. But it still only took me two games on Sunday to find a character I felt I could handle well enough to start enjoying myself.

What changed from January to today? I have well over 1,000 additional MOBA games under my belt. And as much as genre diehards love to nitpick the differences between these games, they're far more similar than they are different. I mean, yes: there are specific mechanical processes that make playing Dota 2 distinct from League of Legends, and others that make League unique compared to Heroes of the Storm. But at their core, these games all rely on developing a specific set of skills. And dodging really isn't that different in one game versus another. Or kiting, or ganking, or peeling, or...the list could go on and on.

The differences between Dota 2, League of Legends, and Heroes of the Storm show themselves in the minutiae one must become knowledgeable and conversant in for applying a particular concept -- say, dodging out of the way of an enemy attack. The concept itself is all but identical across the three games. Once I begun to appreciate what that meant, I was able to enjoy dabbling in each of the big three MOBAs I saw fit, rather

What started to make Dota 2 fun for me was a character named Faceless Void, an agile melee fighter who can survive in combat by outmaneuvering his opponents -- dealing lots of damage to them while avoiding taking any in turn. I immediately noticed that I liked him because he reminds me of Zeratul, a lithe assassin in Heroes of the Storm I've played more games with than any other character.

Both of them have a ton of mobility thanks to special moves that let them teleport short distances. They also both have ults (the most powerful move in a MOBA character's arsenal, and the one that takes the longest to unlock in a match) that summon a large dome which freezes everything caught within. Here's Zeratul's, "Void Prison":

League Of Legends And Heroes Of The Storm Helped Me Get Into Dota 2

...and here's Faceless Void's, "Chronoprison":

League Of Legends And Heroes Of The Storm Helped Me Get Into Dota 2

The main difference between these two is that while Faceless Void can move around and deal extra damage to the enemies caught within his Chronoprison, anything caught within Zeratul's Void Prison is invulnerable until its timer runs out. Still: kinda the same thing, right? Not really, and that's the point.

Playing almost 200 games with Zeratul didn't mean that I was able to step into Dota 2 and start kicking arse as Faceless Void. But at the very least, all those hours spent battling with the Protoss Assassin helped me acquire a general sort of gameplay literacy that meant I was able to understand Faceless Void.

A similar thing happened with me in League of Legends last week when I played my first game as Fizz, a small trident-wielding fish monster who's one of the most notorious assassins:

League Of Legends And Heroes Of The Storm Helped Me Get Into Dota 2

He might teleport instantaneously, but Fizz's ability kit revolves around a similar set of abilities to the ones that a character like Faceless Void from Dota 2 or Zeratul or Illidan from HOTS do. He's the kind of guy who's meant to jump in to attack his enemy with lightning speed, then disappear back to a safe distance before they even have a chance to respond.

By having enough knowledge to take advantage of the similarities between these three games, I was able to start appreciating their differences -- noticing the finer details of how Faceless Void zapped around with his teleportation move compared to the way Zeratul did, or how Fizz benefits from having two types of mobility-enhancing special moves while Zeratul only has his one "blink." It wasn't just HOTS helping me get better at its more difficult brethren, either. I barely touched warrior characters in Heroes until I started playing more melee tank characters in League of Legends thanks to the way the latter game helped me learn how beef up an already beefy type of character over the course of a match by levelling them and outfitting them in a particular way. Obviously HOTS doesn't have items, but again: the core idea of a concept like "build someone tanky" transports from one game to another once you're able to finally grasp it.

One thing I've found peculiar about MOBAs is the way that they each seem to come with an expectation that you're meant to devote your life to a single game. That type of social pressure stems from the fact that MOBAs are all big online games with vibrant self-contained communities, and they're all super competitive. Oh, and they also all demand a lot of your time. These three factors all lend themselves towards exclusivity. Choosing a MOBA can often feel like a zero-sum game as a result. If you want to play League and play League well, any time spent playing Dota 2 or Heroes of the Storm instead becomes time you could have (and maybe should have) been playing League instead.

It's perfectly fine to look at MOBAs from an aspirational perspective, devoting yourself entirely to one in order to achieve the highest possible rank that you're capable of. But you can also just play a MOBA because, ya know, you just want to have fun. If you're a MOBA player primarily interested in the latter option, I recommend playing more than one game in the genre. You just might find a new character you like even more than your current main.


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Comments

    It's called Chronosphere. Maybe you need a couple more games of Faceless Void?

      Facepalm!!!!

      Gotta love the void
      though a pretty difficult hero to use when you're starting up with Dota

      thought he would have went with someone like sniper

    Dont worry the community will help you get out of Dota 2, for now welcome to the trench.

    Play Heroes of Newerth. It's faster than Dota 2, has more heroes, more items, looks better and the community is more abusive.
    It's the best.

      I tried HoN, it just felt like a tacky, unpopular, ghetto version of Dota

        That's because it's effectively Dota 1.5 and nobody stuck around once they could get into Dota 2.

          It's better than Dota 2 in so many ways lol and more hardcore.
          * Game is faster
          * More heroes
          * More items
          * You can concede after 15 mins if the game is lost. Why this isn't a feature in dota 2...
          * More game modes
          * looks better (this is subjective, but dota 2 looks like arse with muddy graphics) and is more easy to see what is going on at times of high activity.
          * heroes aren't all the same size, this is important for hero recognition and more interesting an diverse gameplay.
          * Samuel Jackson voice pack > dota horrible voice actors.

          Anyway, stick to slowta 2 if that's what you like.

    I really wanted to try Dota 2, then when international came around and Kotaku reported on it i saw countless comments like, "I have played 1000 hours and still didn't fully understand the plays"... or, "I have played "insert insane amount of hours" and still am lost".

    I am all for a high skill ceiling but if after 500 to 1000 hours you cannot understand the core concept of the game something is wrong with the game... high skill ceiling and easy to learn are not mutually exclusive, while I would never expect it to be "easy" 1000 hours and people are still struggling understanding the game seems nuts. People compare it to chess, but chess only takes a day or so to learn and understand the rules and how pieces move... but years to master. 1000 hours and still stuck understanding how the pieces move? Ill just stick to my casual games.

    props to anyone who has the dedication though, truly amazing.

    Last edited 01/09/15 8:20 pm

      It's still fun when youre trying to figure it out. You need to be able to get some sort of enjoyment out of the process of learning but you can enjoy it from your first game easily.

      Just play heaps of bot games. Once you get the hang of it, you can try public and hope you get some fun people, instead of the "I'm the next world champion and you suck" kind of kids you tend to get.

    I'm glad you are enjoying Dota 2, as my most played game (that i am aware of). Void is fun especially when you get farm and kills (like all carries of course).

    Moba's are about fun? Well fun when you win/have a close game in my opinion at least =P

    I played hundreds and hundreds of games of LoL before I finally got to play Dots 2 when it went fully F2P. I played it for a while -probably longer than I should have actually (70 hours logged according to Steam)- and eventually just gave up on for the simple reason that I wasn't having fun.

    Dota 2 isn't designed to be fun. It doesn't care whether or not you're having fun, it's a test of your endurance. It's a game where the strong prosper at the expense of the weak and the weak can suck on their death timers until they ragequit. But for all its defenders like to call it the "mature" MOBA only for the "intelligent" players, it's one of the most IMmature MOBAs I've ever encountered. It's so self-satisfied, so utterly resistant to change that I once heard someone called it a "spoiled brat" game, convinced that it's perfect and it never needs to change, we do. LoL was a reinvention of the MOBA formula that Dota established, but it continues to reinvent itself every season, with major changes to the map, the gameplay and the champions. Dota 2 is still basically the same game that was hacked out of a Warcraft III mod over 10 years ago and anyone who doesn't like it is told "go back to LoL scrub". So I did, and I'm a lot happier playing a game that actually cares about whether or not you're enjoying yourself.

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