In the world of FTP MOBA games [Free-to Play Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, but you knew that ;)] there is a heated debate over which is “The Best” and here at GamersBliss.com we’re hoping to clear up some of the confusion.
For those unfamiliar with a MOBA, they are 5v5 matches that can take anywhere from 10 minutes to over an hour to finish. Each player selects a unique hero with their own attributes and skills and set off to destroy the enemy’s base by fighting through AI “creeps”, towers, and, of course, player-controlled heroes. All of these games are extremely rich in content and take a while to get decent at because you need to know not only what your character does, but what your enemy’s and ally’s characters do. It’s a deeply involved and passionate (nice way of saying full of angry racist kids) community that certainly takes some breaking into. All three have great competitive gaming outlets, friend lists, in-game achievements/unlockables, and a great support staff.
With this article I’m hoping to clear up some of the controversy and help you decide which one you want to be a n00b at first, or if you’re already well versed, which one you should be playing.( This may seem harsh, but just wait till you start playing, the communities on these games are absolutely ruthless, there is no end to the verbal bereavement and if you have an aversion to racism, sexism, classism, or any other kind of hate speech, I recommend you play something else.)
This is the sequel to the game that started it all, Dota, originally released as a mod to Warcraft 3, Dota 2 is a faithful sequel and very true to the original. The graphics are updated (though a little “cartoony” so if that kind of thing is your bag, baby, then you’ll love it), and gorgeous, many of the favorite heroes have returned, and the mechanics are the most like the original, which can be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on your perspective. The main difference I have noticed in Dota 2 is the pacing of the game, Dota 2 is incredibly slow. Like, it’s so slow it feels like a beginner version of the original, spells take longer to cast, everybody moves slower, and the game just feels longer than it needs to be. This can be seen as a good or bad thing, but as somebody who learned the MOBA ropes on the original Dota, it just isn’t fast-paced or frantic enough. Dota 2 is a fine option if you’re just starting off, really want to use Steam (It’s the only one of the 3 on Steam), or just want to stay with the name you trust.
Also, Dota 2 is still in it’s “Early Access” stage, anybody can download it, but updates are constant and it is 9.99$ I know I said F2P at the front, and I think it will be once it officially launches, but I just don’t know
Lol is definitely the most accessible of the MOBA games. Lol has an almost identical hero roster and many of the same items as Dota and Hon, so it’s a good way to learn, but the challenge isn’t nearly as satisfying for the experienced player. Lol has no denies , where you can kill a friendly AI creep to prevent your enemy from gaining gold/xp, and a come-back is almost guaranteed, winning feels more dependent on luck than anything. Lol feels like Dota, but without the momentum, it requires little skill and even if you are down 5 levels you can come back after one good gank, gang-kill. Now this can be seen as a good or bad thing, on the one hand, you can come back easily if the other team gets sloppy, but on the other hand you can lose very quickly if one team member starts to suck.
Lol also has a kind of “meta-game” wherein players can level up as a “summoner” and choose to develop offense defense or utility skills which affect certain things in-game, [e.g. Deadliness from the offense tree grants 0.17 / 0.34 / 0.51 / 0.68 attack damage per level (3 / 6 / 9 / 12 at level 18)] This is cool because it lets you customize yourself and pick things that match your play style, but personally, I’m not a fan, it gives players who have been playing a lot an edge over others, and while the matchmaking will steer you from players too far ahead, it can produce some WTF moments. Lol is also the only one of the 3 where the entire roster is not free from the get-go, you can earn in-game currency to unlock champions individually, or pay some cash to get them. Lol definitely has the best match-making, I rarely wait more than 1 minute for a game whereas with Dota and Hon the wait can be anywhere from 1-10 minutes depending on situation.
HoN is where the pros go for their MOBA. This statement will probably get all kinds of people in these communities up in arms, but having played all 3 , I can say this with confidence. HoN is certainly the most difficult to master, a few mistakes during the landing phase, giving up an early kill, or not denying enough can lead to the other team straight up stomping you. Denying is a big part of the game, if you’re playing in Normal mode, and a game can easily get out of hand if you aren’t careful. I’ve had games where an enemy hero has been so fed that (s)he one hit the entire team, all 5 of us, gone in a flash.
Yes, the game can become an exercise in masochism, where your only option is to just sit back and lose, but it isn’t guaranteed. Coming back in a game where you’ve been out leveled and out farmed (the enemy has much better items than you), isn’t impossible; if your team is able to come together, and overcome incredible odds, unlike in Dota 2, you can win. One bad player doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the game, but it most definitely doesn’t make it any easier. The pacing in Hon, as well as the interface, is my favorite of the three. Quick and fun, easy to use, and plenty of information to read up on. However the community on Hon is ruthless, any fault or mistake will be scrutinized endlessly and you gotta have tough skin, or just not care what some 12-year old from England thinks of your ability to play a game. Also, all the heroes are available right away for free, you can get extra stuff (Alternate skins, announcers, etc.) by putting in some real money, or earning silver coins.
If I had to pick one MOBA it would absolutely be HoN, great interface,decent matchmaking, consistent updates, plays on Mac, PC, and Linux, Dota 2 and Lol are PC only. For beginners though, LoL is where you want to start, you can get familiar with the items and heroes in a much more supportive and forgiving environment/community.
So download and start playing, remember its free (except for Dota 2) , so give them a shot and see which you like best!
And If you’re looking for a friend on HoN I’m Samson4200, feel free to add if i’m online, or leave your name in the comments and I’ll add you.