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Wingflier's take on LoL vs HoN (DBG genre)

The following statements were taken verbatim from Wingflier's post on

WINGFLIER comparing 2 DotA based Games and why HoN is much more superior.

I want to first start off by saying that both games are fun and have their own respective qualities and differences that make them beautiful. I would definitely never go as far as to say that one game is "better" than the other, they both have their advantages and disadvantages that make them fun and interesting in their own way.

However, when it comes to depth and fast-paced gameplay, which both games promise to deliver, it's just no contest.

This does NOT mean that League of Legends does not have it's redeeming qualities. For one, the slower paced gameplay can be a lot more relaxing since you don't have to be on the edge of your seat all the time. However, coming from a completely logical perspective on which game is strategically deeper, there is just no comparison.

I want to go through a list of the most pertinent and important factors that make LoL different from HoN/DotA, but first I want to read a quote that comes directly off of the LoL website when talking about the gameplay:

League of Legends is more aggressive ? DotA includes many mechanics that incent defensive behavior. We want players to get right into the action, so we?ve made being more aggressive more rewarding such as increasing gold earned from Champion kills and assists.
Whether or not you think this is true based on my next points, you decide:

1. Movespeed

Movespeed is obviously one of the most important factors of any "strategy game" or even a game that has many strategical elements involved.

In HoN, your base movespeed is 300 for most heroes, increasing variably depending on what kind of boots or items you get, and some hero abilities that can make you move more quickly.

The reason I bring this up is that if LoL was on the HoN engine, the base movespeed for most characters would be somewhere around 190 or less. This can be made plainly obvious by the fact that the characters walk, not run to their destination.

To the first time LoL player (coming from HoN or DotA), it may seem a bit daunting. You may feel as though your character has been dipped into a tub of molasses or has an invisible pair of ball and chains attached to their feet; but this is the speed at which the game is supposed to move. Considering that the map seems of a similar size, you can probably theorize in your head how this affects the gameplay. Everything. Everything happens more slowly. It takes longer to get places, it takes longer to gank, it takes longer to run away, etc. In my opinion, this is already one step backwards from this "aggressive gameplay" the LoL devs were talking about.

2. No Denying

This continues to be one of the most controversial and heated topics between the game that there is. I'll quote the LoL website on their stance for denying:


* It enlarges the early game imbalance between ranged and melee Champions, and we think it is more fun for all Champions to be at least somewhat competitive at all phases of the game.
* It leads to passive play, and slows down the game. We feel that high-activity; high-action faster games are more fun. By not having denying, there?s a stronger incentive to push. Additionally, it prevents strong lane control which is ultimately about passive play. Team fights more than anything else are what make this genre fun, and faster games mean more team fights.
* It is weird. Killing your own guys?

Now there are a lot of good arguments both ways about whether or not denying is good for the game, promotes fair gameplay, and/or stalls the match or makes it into a "turtle fest" like some people would claim. There is however, no argument that would prove that removing denying does not take an extra level of player skill away from the game. If last hitting is considered a skill, and obviously it must be considered a skill since it is your main source of gold in both games, then removing 50% of the things you can last hit definitely removes the potential skill of any player in the game, this is just common sense.

3. Towers

Coming off of the discussion about denying and why LoL purposely removed it, I think it is very important that we consider towers (in LoL called turrets), their differences, and their effects on the game.

In short, LoL towers are much more powerful than HoN/DotA towers. In HoN, a tower takes about 6 hits to kill a melee creep from full health, in LoL only 2. In HoN, a hero can take a significant amount of damage from a tower before dieing, assuming that he is not being attacked by any other source. In LoL, a tower takes chunks off of your health bar. In the early stages you die in 4 shots, but in LoL it does not scale the way HoN does unless you build your hero to be a hardy tank. You will find that the towers in LoL are much more powerful in general, deal much more damage to you, and also are a lot harder to kill.

Now the effects of this should be instantly obvious to any veteran DotA/HoN player. In LoL, tower diving is very dangerous. You can't get away with it the way you could in HoN, you are taking a much bigger risk and its usually not worth it.

How does this relate to the "more agressive gameplay" the LoL devs were talking about?

4. The Death Penalty

No, I'm not talking about the electric chair. In HoN/DotA, you lose a significant amount of gold when you die, assuming you have any gold to lose at the time of death. I'm pretty sure the formula is still hero level x 30 gold, but it could have changed since then. Either way, it comes out to be a lot, especially if you are farming for your next big item.

In League of Legends, you do not lose gold for dieing.

Once again, you can probably already contemplate in your mind the consequences this has on the gameplay. For one, carries in LoL are much harder to keep down, and are possibly overpowered because of it. It could be argued that not losing gold on death promotes more agressive play, but it could also be argued the opposite. In HoN/DotA, you create a "gold vacuum" when you kill a hero or team, increasing your own coffers, while drastically reducing theirs. In LoL, successful ganking is less rewarding simply because the punishment to the victim of the gank is significantly less!

How does this promote agressive gameplay?

5. Level Cap

Also of importance, I thought I should share the maximum level cap between the to games. The maximum level of HoN/DotA is 25, in LoL the max is only 18. However, leveling occurs at about the same speed in both games, so usually by the end of the LoL game you will be at the max level, where in HoN it rarely ever happens.

The problem with this is that it creates somewhat of a "skill equilibrium" between good and bad players. This may have even been intended! What I mean is that good players will probably almost always be of a higher level (in both games) than less experienced players, simply because they know what to do or where to be in order to get the most experience at any given time. In HoN/DotA, this can mean that in games with a large difference between the skill levels of the players, you can see hero level differences of 8 or more, even on the same team. In LoL, while this is possible, it is much less likely simply because 18 is the cap. At the point where you would have pulled ahead of your opponents (or teammates) in HoN/DotA, you have reached the maximum level in LoL, and therefore your skills as a player are being rewarded less. Eventually, most if not all of the other players will catch up to you, nullifying your (in my opinion) deserved advantage over them for being a better player.

Also, think of the effects this has on ganking and "aggressive play" as mentioned before. Your desire to be more aggressive is obviously going to be significantly less if you realize that you can't outlevel your opponent past a certain (and easily attainable) point. In DotA/HoN, the max level is something that is rarely reached in competitive play, so this factor is something that is almost not worth considering when deciding whether to gank. In LoL, this is something that is definitely worth considering when you are deciding whether to ambush your opponent, or sit in the lane farming.

Another important factor to consider is that in LoL, there are many ways, both inside the game(items/abilities) and outside the game(runes/masteries) that will significantly increase your experience gain. This serves only to reach that level cap even faster. In DotA/HoN, there is no way to artificially accelerate increase your experience gain.

6. Items

I decided it was important to devote an entire section to items because (surprisingly) the role of items is very different between the two games. The first thing you'll notice is that (for the most part), LoL items do not have active abilities. I would once again argue that this removes a strategical "layer" of the gameplay, simply because having items with active abilities opens up so many different hero builds and team options that would be impossible without them.

However, that's not even the main difference between them. The more profound difference between the two games' items is that the LoL items (in general) are a lot more powerful for their cost. Even lower tier items give you damage and magic bonuses that rival the mid-high tier DotA/HoN items, yet the items in general seem a lot less expensive and easier to acquire. Starting items include cheap bracelets that give you a significant (and passive) health and mana regen, while also generating free gold per second for your hero. This makes getting high-tier LoL items a breeze, and ultimately accounts for the large difference the role of items have in the two games. In short, items in HoN/DotA complement your hero, increasing their power by a percentage unless you have farmed an insane amount, which usually takes a long time in a competitive game.

In LoL, items not only complement the heroes, but generally increase their power in multiples.

This does not mean the game is inherently a farm fest, but that your hero can become incredibly powerful with only an average amount of farm. So much so that it is not uncommon to see battles lasting only a few seconds between farmed heroes, as they use their powerful damage items to literally rip each other apart. Also, as stated before, it is much harder to prevent someone from acquiring these items because they do not lose gold on death. At best, all you can do is beat them to it.

7. 2D vs 3D

This may be the most important difference between the two games. The game of HoN has always occurred on a 3D battlefield. I don't mean the zoom function, I mean the elevation differences. The elevation differences account for a huge layer of the strategical and technical depth of the game, where using them can often mean victory or defeat for your team, especially considering the chance to miss when attacking "upwards".

League of Legends occurs (surprisingly) on a 2D battlefield. No ledges, no hills, no elevation differences at all.

The negative effect this has on the gameplay is massive. In my opinion, this development decision in itself created an unbridgeable gap between the two games as far as diversity and depth is concerned.

I could go into detail about how having no elevation differences takes away from the desire to position yourself well, use blink skills or portal keys in innovative or unexpected ways against your opponent, or just serves to make yourself feel like you're playing on a piece of flat cardboard; but I don't think I really need to. The problem speaks for itself.

8. Voice Over IP Support

Anybody who has played HoN was probably originally thrilled when they found out that the ability to talk to your allies (with your own voice!) was an ability designed into the game itself.

It's almost a decade into the 21st century folks. Creating a team-based, strategically oriented game like HoN or LoL without VOIP support is unacceptable.

I can not count on 10 fingers (or 15 or 20 etc.) how many times being able to communicate with my allies using my own voice has meant the difference between victory and defeat for my team. People just naturally respond better to a human voice than some anonymous person typing his mundane comments in a chat box.

Your voice gives you a personality. People listen to it. They pay attention to you and what you have to say. When they can hear that you are just trying to help them or comfort them, they won't get so upset when you criticize them or try to get them to play better. You can co-ordinate your team better when you can talk. It takes less time and you can continue what you are doing in the game while talking, whereas when typing you have to stop what you are doing.

How many times have you died because you were trying to type something to your teammates and couldn't respond to your character quickly enough?

In HoN, these problems are a thing of the past. VOIP may not seem like a big deal to the casual gamer, but to those who know how to use it correctly, it is a weapon in every expert's arsenal.

Once again, LoL boasts of sporting aggressive and team-based gameplay, but how much more aggressive and team-based can you be when you can talk to your own teammates?

9. The Announcer

While many people would consider the game announcer to be a cosmetic aspect of the games at best, I would strongly disagree with them.

Anybody who played DotA for a long time grew to love the announcer, the glorious feeling of getting a double or triple kill, the sheer excitement of being on a godlike streak, humiliating the entire enemy team with bouts of "HOLY ****". You can disagree with me, but I will never change my stance that the announcer was a huge part of the game.

The HoN announcer stays true to the DotA spirit. While not using the actual Unreal Tournament announcer, the person sounds very similar. The enjoyment of that deep, booming voice, announcing to the world how much you own is there in ample supply. HoN even has some new sounds that play in certain situations. "Genocide!" is a great addition, playing when you've killed all 5 members of the enemy team. My personal favorite is "R R R R Rage Quit", playing after a recently killed player promptly leaves the game in a fit of rage.

These things may not seem important, but they are! They give character to the game. They make you want to come back for more.

The League of Legend's announcer is a female, which in my opinion was an odd choice. However, it's not so much the fact that she's a female but that she puts no "emotion" into what she is saying that hurts the game. She'll calmly say "double kill" or "dominating" but you won't really be inspired by it. It all seems forced, probably only there because DotA players would have asked for it, not because the developers grasped why it was so important.

10. Unfair Advantages

This is the killing blow for League of Legends, the negative aspect of the game that seals the deal vs. HoN in strategical depth.

In HoN, the only difference between each player is what hero you choose. The heroes are supposed to be balanced however, so this does not create an imbalance.

In League of Legends, players can have a massive advantage over their opponents before the game even starts. +50% to damage, +100 health, -15% to all spell cooldowns, all this is possible (and more) through the runes/mastery system.

How can a game be balanced or fair when some players have such a significant advantage over each other?

To LoL's defense, the matchmaking system attempts to pair players together in order to create balance even in spite of some people having an unfair advantage over others, but in reality, this is impossible. The matchmaking system just can not account for all the possibilities a certain player can tweak his character outside of the game or alter how his hero was intended to be with "artificial" tweaks. The system simply can not account for the devastating effects it will have on the game when a player using a "carry hero" without outside advantages lanes against a "nuker" dealing +100% magic damage and +3 extra mana gained per second.

To make the problem worse, there is no way to tell which players have these unfair advantages, so you can't strive to create lanes where players are even somewhat equal.

Competitive play for this game is, in my opinion, somewhat of a joke.


I hope you enjoyed my synopsis on the differences between the games. Ask yourself now, do the factors I presented make LoL seem like a more aggressive or "team-based" game than HoN/DotA? If so, please explain how.

Please do not get me wrong, LoL is a very fun game with many quality aspects about it. However, when it comes to competitive gameplay and strategical value, there really is no contest.

Winner in the DBG genre war: HEROES OF NEWERTH


Anonymous said...

WoW. The rune book adds more depth, not removes it. It's not imbalanced because the other players get to have them too, so it doesn't give them a clear advantage -- since you have advantages of your own.

Actives on items are still there in LoL -- yes, a smaller quantity, but you completely ignored the 14 summoner spells.

The 3D vs 2D, argument fails to mention shrubs and bushes. Which can be used to strategically make people waste Skill shots/Make you Untargetable which allows you to take control of an enemy zone. You can even blink into them if need be. Combined with the summoner spell exhaust or any champion with a slow can change the course of a lane.

The death penalty in LoL vs Hon, removing gold on death would make the team in LoL that got the most kills in the first 10 minutes of the game completely victorious. Being benched is a HUGE penalty, as it stifles gold income exponentially. As you said, Items are more powerful in LoL, so if you removed gold on death, the team ahead from the beginning would win 100% of the time.... which would make the rest of the match a waste of time. You would have champions with multiple end gear items fighting champions that are under fed level/gold wise with starter items. Also, the level 18 cap isn't as detrimental to the game as you leave one to believe, since games often times don't reach max level in LoL either. Not to mention, keeping some one benched stops them from leveling, which increases the damage you can do early game which nets your entire team more gold.

Different mechanics are different mechanics. When viewed through a bias such as yours where you fail to mention integral parts of the gameplay in one game just clearly verifies that you did indeed at the time of writing this, have a bias.

Not to mention you can't get +50% damage from a rune book. It's just not possible.

Anonymous said...

Only one word can describe this "analysis"


Anonymous said...

Above anonymous forgot to mention that no spell in LoL has an AP Ratio of 1AP/2 so the OP's "+100% Magic Damage" is invalid.

Anonymous said...

Bias fag is biased.

Barnz said...

Heroes of Newerth is a much better game.
You get what you pay for, I guess.

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