Updated: LoL’s Still The Biggest MOBA In Town

Update: Riot have poured cold water on DFC’s somewhat dubious report, asserting that they see over 500,000 concurrent LoL players in the US and Europe alone (as opposed to Dota 2’s 300,000 odd globally). Riot tell me that DFC “is in the process of pulling their press release promoting this report.” So LoL very much remains king of MOBA castle, whichever angle you look at it from.

An invite-only sequel to a free Warcraft mod is how the West was won. That’s the claim, anyway, but so long as Valve keeps its internal figures locked up there’s no entirely reliable way of knowing exactly who’s playing what in PC-land. League of Legends has, of late, been hailed the most-played PC game in the the Western World, but the DFC Intelligence PC Game Meter (via GamesIndustry) has used assorted surveys (primarily of Xfire’s apparent 23m users) and magick to determine that Valve’s Dota 2 has now overtaken it. A victory for Valve – except LoL is actually far, far bigger than that.

Today’s report doesn’t seem to gel with LoL dev Riot’s recent claim to have over 5m concurrent players globally, as opposed to what Steam’s own graphs suggest (and recently averaged by a Reddit user) is a peak of 300,000 for Dota 2.

The discrepancy is because both of those are global figures – LoL appears to have much more take-up in the East than Dota 2 does. If DFC’s estimates are correct however, Dota 2 is now top dog in this side of the planet. Which is impressive for a game that’s technically still in beta (or at least ‘early access), but ultimately pales into something like insignificance compared to LoL’s global standing. The Riot MOBA’s concurrent user count even outdoes the total Steam concurrent usercount (which hovers around 4.9m) by a nose. I’m a bit scared.

DFC also say that both Dota 2 and LoL are now way ahead of one-time king of PC, World of Warcraft. Bring on Blizzard All-Stars, I guess, and we’ll see which way this particular cookie will crumble next.


  1. RedViv says:

    All hail the laney pushy wotsits!

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  2. Serpok says:

    Can I see a raise of hands her from xfire users?

    *keeps hands down*

    • darkChozo says:

      Yeah, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if LoL and DOTA 2’s playerbases were a lot closer than what Valve’s and Riot’s statistics suggest, but xFire users is an oddly specific segment of the general community to poll.

      • Phantoon says:

        Well, is it any surprise people from Xfire are trying to push the idea that everyone uses it?

    • Dowr says:

      If this were 2005 then I’d raise my hand.

    • mr.ioes says:

      10% of all steam users, that’s like 4 million raised hands.

  3. Thurgret says:

    Huh. I still don’t get the appeal. I tried some Dota 2, along with a friend who had spent a few hours playing it already, and I just found it pretty bland and dull. What am I missing, that makes millions of people play these games at once? I didn’t even know what they were until two months back…

    • Captchist says:

      What can I say in response?

      It’s consistently fun and diverse. You play the same game but it’s different every time like Chess or Tennis.
      But if you don’t like it I ain’t gonna try hard to convince you otherwise.

    • Maxheadroom says:

      I’m the same I think. Doesnt look like much but I guess squllions of people cant be wrong.
      I keep meaning to give it a proper go at some point but im put off by the infamously twattish community.

      If I wanted someone 20 years my junior calling me a retard I’d stay at work

      • deadly.by.design says:

        If you want someone 20 years your junior calling you a retard, go play CoD.

        If you want someone 10-15 years younger calling you a cyka, play DotA 2 on European West server. (All hail the U.S. servers and their low Russian player count. :p)

        But seriously, I mostly play DotA 2 with at least one friend on my team, and that makes it fun. I’ve never been big on gaming with all strangers. DotA 2’s a lot to learn at first, but I’ve come to really enjoy it.

        • 100sr says:

          I am Russian, and it’s a great shame for all the good and sane people out there that we look like a bunch of unbelievably hilarious yet irritatingly idiotic children in the eyes of every single foreigner we play with. Sometimes (well, most of the time) we even have to hide our identity in order not to alienate the others. Though your statement is not unreasonable, of course.

          • 00000 says:

            Then it probably doesn’t help that pretty much every troll has several all chat macro’s written in russian.

          • Ruffian says:

            Ehh, don’t take it personally friend. It’s just a stereotype, really, there are plenty of skillful and cooperative Russian players, and most people know it, I think. I know I’ve personally played with plenty – the best pudge I’ve ever shared a server with was Russian and very mindful of the rest of the team. As well there are just as many annoying ass english speaking players. I think a big part of it, too is that Russian is just harder to make out than the romance languages, unless you have experience with it, and so alot of players might assume that someone is trolling or complaining when they could just be simply trying to communicate.

            The internet is just bitch-central basically. It’s where people go to blow off steam nowadays, or something. Don’t worry too much what the haters say.

          • Stickman says:

            See, I knew Russians and Americans had common ground!

          • Ajsman says:

            It doesn’t really matter to me what language someone uses. But if you can’t communicate with your team trough chat or in-game VoIP than why ppl don’t use the fucking Chat Wheel. Most of the time it is more than enough to get you by and you really don’t have to be a professor of english language to use it.

      • Captchist says:

        My best suggestion to get into it is watch a shoutcast online – they will help paint the picture and if you get into it it helps a lot to have some sense of what heroes do what, and how games play out.

        Subscribe to PurgeGamers or JoinDota on youtube for some quality content.

      • zin33 says:

        squillions of people cant be wrong?
        normally its the other way IMO :p. if something is too popular then theres something wrong somewhere
        i have over 500 games on steam and except for L4D i have never played any of the top 20 most played games on steam and not because i was avoiding them for some reason

      • Reapy says:

        Millions of people play farmville….just saying ;)

    • Asurmen says:

      Both games feature many heroes, each one different, each one that can be built in different ways. This leads to a large variation from game to game. They both also offer high skill requirement heroes that provide a rewarding challenge. They both also have a meta game revolving around lane and map control and team play is kind of mandatory.

    • danielfath says:

      Addictiveness, fast pace combat, fast rewards. The usual. Also yeah most of DotA’s heroes do lack a lot of the flavor and zest other Wc3 AoS’ had (namely ToB, AotZ, DoE, hell even EotA and RotWC).

    • PikaBot says:

      What you’re missing is the synthesis of gameplay elements, something which isn’t really your fault because it doesn’t start to come together until you’ve begun cresting that initial leaning curve. None of the game mechanics are terribly exciting on their own, but once you gain the ability to read them in concert with each other it becomes an incredibly complex game, with incredibly high stakes.

      Part of the appeal os simple tension. Dying in a (sigh) MOBA isn’t like dying in Team Fortress 2, for example. Die in TF2 and you won’t be there to help prevent your enemies from achieving their objectives, true, but it has no long term consequences. It just sets your team back until you respawn. In DOTA or LoL, though, death is a big fucking deal: in addition to the usual respawn consequences, it sets you behind on gold/exp, and it makes your enemies stronger. So you need to play cautious, but not so cautious that you fall behind. And c then there are the terrifying moments of fleeing at low health, praying that there isn’t a fourth hero lurking to intercept because a strong wind could blow you over. Or the thrill of turning the tables on an assassin and killing him instead.

      But the real pleasure of DOTA is mastery: of squinting at this seemingly spiritual conglomeration of systems, deriving enough to intuit the best next move, and then being rewarded for it. Like chess, or even bridge. The pleasure comes on your stellar early game being rewarded with an item set that turns you into a murder machine. Or when you initiate a teamfight that wipes the other team because they were slightly out of position. Or, as Cara put it a while back, of getting a bad feeling and backing off your seeming-safe lane just in time to see three huge bastards jump out of the bushes right where you were a moment ago. It’s an incredibly feeling.

      • Aaax says:

        Exactly, it’s decision making that matters that makes it awesome.

      • Ruffian says:

        Very well put.

      • Unruly says:

        One of my biggest complaints with the DotA-alikes is that there seems to be a lot of stuff that is never, ever explained to you and it’s assumed that you know it. And then when you don’t, half of your team bitches at you for being a noob with some extreme vitriol. I can’t say if it rings true for Dota 2, as I haven’t played it despite having recieved an invite early on, but in LoL there’s crap like having to pick a certain style of character if you want to play in a certain spot. For instance, picking a ranged attack damage-based character if you want to play the bottom lane. Or that apparently you’re never supposed to have two people in the top lane, ever, because that 5th guy is supposed to be killing creeps in the jungle.

        At no time does the game explain this stuff to you, and so you have to learn from experience. Which, in any other game/genre, isn’t usually too bad. But in the Dota-alikes people take the game so damned seriously that it’s impossible to just have fun. This Penny Arcade comic sums up the scene quite nicely, and there’s no exaggeration to it at all. link to penny-arcade.com People are just total assholes in that game.

        On a somewhat related note about games not explaining rather important things to you, World of Tanks does similar stuff. Me and some friends recently started playing it after having not played since the beta. We all picked tanks that were listed in the same tier, as per their only visible ranking, and kept continually getting tossed into matches that were 3-4 tiers ahead of us. Every once in a while we would get called a “troll platoon” and bitched at because we were bringing these tanks into matches where we were massively underpowered. As far as we knew we were doing no wrong, because our tech tiers were the exact same and we’d still get placed into the occasional match where we were on a level playing field. One guy eventually told us that the tank’s very visible tech tier has almost nothing to do with what tier of match you get put into. Instead, there’s a hidden set of numbers that determine your matchmaking, known as your “battle tier.” Apparently, one of us was playing a light tank that was classified as a Scout, which meant it was consistently placed into a higher battle tier than any of our other tanks would ever get into on their own. Despite the fact that there was nothing to indicate that this was what was happening. The tutorial makes no mention of Battle Tiers, the tank descriptions make no mention of them, and the only way to find out what your Battle Tiers are is to exit the game and go read the wiki for each and every tank because even nearly identical tanks can have extremely different Battle Tiers available to them. It’s retarded. At least the community isn’t anywhere near as hostile as the community in LoL.

    • Aaax says:

      Well, I think it’s genial game design. In dota I’ve finally found a game where strategy matters. Other than that, I love sitting in the bushes with Lion or Magnus, with blink dagger in hand, waiting for perfect opportunity to jump in to start the mayhem.

      That said, you need to find mature people (regardless of age) to play with to enjoy it. My steam profile is link to steamcommunity.com, I’m always looking for fine people to play with.

    • Raiyne says:

      Well there are a little over 100 unique heroes, and despite having only 1 map, the incredible multitude of possible permutations in each game makes every match a fresh experience.

      That said, there are trends, and I am a little tired of the current meta-game, as some heroes are certainly more viable than others, but that doesn’t really burn you out unless you’ve really been playing for a while.

      Maybe you haven’t scratched the surface of its depth?

  4. Captchist says:

    Not sure I buy it at all.

    A tangential fact – the Twitch TV viewing figures for LoL – on English Language streams – are almost always consistently 2-3 times the number of Dota, and Dota contains a lot of popular Russian streams.

    Obviously only a small piece of the puzzle. But makes it very hard for me to believe that Dota is more popular than LoL, even if we only restrict ourselves to Europe and America.

    • cyrenic says:

      I was about to raise this exact same point. I think DotA 2 still has a long ways to go to overtake LoL, even in the west. DotA 2 could certainly overtake LoL at some point in playerbase, but it’s not there yet.

    • bonglord420 says:

      That’s because if you want to watch LoL you HAVE to use Twitch or a similar site, while Dota has incredibly robust support for watching matches in client, as well as solid support for professional matches.

      • darkChozo says:

        LoL has had in-client spectate for a while now. Not anywhere as good as DOTA 2’s, and they don’t have replays yet (that’s still in beta), but it’s there.

        • Jockie says:

          Quite a few of the most popular LoL streams are hosted elsewhere – Azubu Tv has exclusive rights to current world champions TPA’s individual player streams, as well as one of the first NA teams with a big following CLG (and EU’s SK). The LCS (league series) is hosted on Twitch, Azubu and a little known site called The YouTubes.

    • Mr. Mister says:

      Don’t forget that on Wednesday Barbie games use get to the top position.

  5. KikiJiki says:

    The thing is that these figures BOTH pale in comparison to official figures released by one of the three main Chinese Dota clients.

    Riot hit 1 billion LoL games last year since launch.
    The Dota client released that they had almost 5 billion games played in that year.

    However I’d take all of this with a large pinch of salt.

  6. VeliV says:

    Has anyone at RPS actually read the report?

    Considering all the info publicly available, it is very weird to assume Dota having more players than LoL. Even in west. The Gamesindustry topic BTW was changed later, it didn’t say anything about “West” at first, as you can see from the URL.

    This is exactly why I tend to disregard most game media. No one bothers to check the facts and just reposts stuff.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Please. This is a blog. We won’t have any of your standards here. The writers will write what they want to, regardless or accuracy.

      The only standard here is if you don’t like it, just leave.

    • scim says:

      The report costs around 6000 US$ so I doubt that many have actually forked over the cash to go in depth. I severely doubt that the numbers they have managed to scrounge up reflect reality. The previous time (when someone crowned League as the #1 PC game) they used similar metrics like time played recorded through services like Xfire and Raptr, instead of actual usage numbers from either Riot, Valve or Blizzard. Granted all companies involved might have something to gain by inflating their numbers, but lets just say that the Steam stats page and the recently released Riot infographic are true.

      Steam stats says that roughly 300,000 people are playing Dota2 at any given time. We are unsure of peak concurrent users but lets estimate it at around 500,000 for now (to the best of my knowledge these are global numbers and Steam/Dota2 has not entered the Chinese market yet, the way it has here).
      Riot on the other hand is owned by Tencent and has a big foothold in the Chinese market and recently showed that they had 5 million concurrent users at one point.
      So if the 500k for Dota2 would actually be their peak concurrent users (and all be considered inhabitants of the western world) than that would mean that <10% of Riots peak concurrent user number would come from the western world. Somehow I very much doubt that. Even if Riot is inflating their numbers (and Steam isn't), the inflated margin has to be quite big for me to draw the same conclusion.

      If we're talking about growth of users it might be a completely different story especially considering the amount of Dota2 invites Valve has been sending out over the past couple of months (quite similar to how Gmail worked before they just opened up sign ups).

  7. rockman29 says:

    DotA is better, and always will be :)

    • cyrenic says:

      Oh yeah? Well my MOBA can beat up your MOBA

      • Trillby says:

        No way dude. My MOBA has like 300 champs and requires so much more skill than yours does. It also has way more ‘splosions.

        • cyrenic says:

          My MOBA is so hardcore you have to solve quadratic equations to get your hero to use skills. All you pre-algebra scrubs can GTFO.

          • Brun says:

            >Implying that the quadratic equation is difficult.

          • darkChozo says:

            My MOBA consists entirely of sending raw binary data encoded in Base64 via passenger pigeon to all other players, who then decode the data, draw out the scene by hand, and respond in turn. Our ping is measured in kiloseconds.

          • Trillby says:

            LoL noob my MOBA requires you to send a copy of your PhD in either the social or natural sciences – none of your antsy pantsy cultural studies will be accepted. All our female characters wear clothing appropriate to their climate of origin. All champs wield pens instead of swords, cos like Bulwer-Lytton said, they kick more scrub ass. You play in binary and the community knows and uses more swears than all the sailors in all the ports in all the worlds. Biatch.

          • Brun says:

            wield pens instead of swords

            This needs to be a LoL champion RIGHT NOW. The flavor audio practically writes itself.

          • Berzee says:

            My MOBA can only be controlled with the Power Glove. It’s so bad.

          • Tellus says:

            Who needs swords when you have Ockham’s Razor?

        • Sic says:

          The skill comment is actually somewhat relevant, though.

          DOTA2 is harder, by design. The whole idea of LoL is simplifying the MOBA, and it’s basically the reason it has gotten as popular as it has. It removes a lot of initial skill plateaus that DOTA2 requires to become somewhat competent at the game.

          Not that I’m saying LoL is any less fun or anything. And at the higher levels of play, it’s pretty hard to discern any difference in competence (or difficulty).

          • Brun says:

            The only simplification LoL made over DotA was eliminating the denial mechanic.

            EDIT: I mean the original DotA (mod), not DotA 2. The latter may have introduced some additional mechanics that I’m unfamiliar with.

          • darkChozo says:

            DotA has a lot of fiddly mechanics that LoL doesn’t really have equivalents for. Stuff like couriers, the split shop, trees, minion blocking, pulling, stacking, complex skill sets (hi there Invoker), complex stealth, etc.

            That’s not to say that LoL’s a worse game for it, but DotA definitely has a higher skill floor.

          • Trillby says:

            “Simplification” is also a strange word to use for the denial mechanic. Basically, the same mechanic of last hitting exists in both games. It isn’t any simpler in LoL, but just streamlined to the enemy units. The time or concentration “saved” by not focusing on both one’s own and the enemy minions is not time used to do more simple things, it is used to harrass the enemy champ, or deny him getting cs etc., which are just as, if not more, difficult than last hitting things.

            LoL just allows for less freedom in a choice of broad strategy. That makes it more rigid, but not more “simple”. The skill caps remain equally high.

            Edit for previous comment: Complexity just allows for more tactics, it does not necessarily require more skill.

          • Brise Bonbons says:

            I think the biggest simplification/streamlining in LoL happens in the strategy component of the game: The behavior of the jungle creeps is much simpler (no random spawns, fewer creep varieties, no stacking); you lose some gold on death (gold can be reliable or unreliable depending on its source); the map itself is far more complex, with multiple item shops, trick ward location, trick creep pulling and stacking, and “juke spots” throughout the jungle where gaps in the trees create hiding spots.

            Creep management in lane is also much more complex. You can pull creeps to jungle camps, you can fight them behind enemy towers, you can pull them from the enemy side of the map all the way to your own side…

            These are all pretty advanced concepts, but even the most basic DOTA mechanics are pretty involved. “Why can’t I buy arcane boots in my base?”, “the courier is what now?”, “why do all these items have active abilities?”, “why did I lose a bunch of gold this death but not last one”, “how did their Ursa kill our whole team at 35 minutes even though we were winning every fight up to that point and hadn’t even seen him before?”, etc.

            I’m certainly not trying to say LoL is worse for being streamlined; it’s a coherent part of the design. I don’t personally like the game much, but I get why people might prefer it to DOTA.

          • zeroskill says:

            As somebody who has played a great deal of the original Dota for Warcraft 3, LoL and now Dota 2, I have to say, yes, LoL has a much lower skill ceiling, and the artificial progression system, which at some point goes away, is in my opinion still totally redundant. I really don’t like those in multiplayer games. There is also less depth in the Hero/Champion design in LoL. There is a reason why we used to call LoL “Facebook Dota” and “Babies first Dota” , poking fun at it..

            But that is fine if you are looking for something that is less unforgiving. Lol is clearly tailored towards a different, broader audience, and I don’t really think, in the long run, that they are targeting the same audience. Players that used to play Dota, are playing and will stick with Dota 2 in the future, and players that have become comfortable with LoL will stick with it too. And that is fine.

            “The only simplification LoL made over DotA was eliminating the denial mechanic.

            EDIT: I mean the original DotA (mod), not DotA 2. The latter may have introduced some additional mechanics that I’m unfamiliar with.”

            This isn’t completely accurate. There is much more to Dota then that. Be it the really old school mechanic of having to watch timers for runes ( reminiscent of Quake 3 ), stacking, pulling or the asymmetrical nature of the map.

            Another thing that should be mentioned is that the camera is much more zoomed in, making it harder to spot ganks, and making it a higher priority being good at reading the minimap whenever possible.

            Hero design and roles are also very different in the 2 games. Dota has, in general much more defined niche roles then LoL. Meaning that there are heroes that are basically very specific at what they are good at. A more old school approach to stat’s design, like no attack/spellpower. Items are completely different as well. Most items in Dota have addition spells that need to be micro managed. There are many more differences between the two games, which I can’t cover really without totally going overboard.

            Also: Dota 2 by Valve is the direct continuation of the original Dota mod based on the Warcraft 3 engine. No mechanics have been changed at all.

          • danielfath says:

            LoL is smarter to reduce the skill gap by eliminating a pointless and stupid mechanics like denying. Hell remove last hitting. I’d be all for it. The lesser the skill gap the broader the audience. See for example CoD vs Quake.

          • darkChozo says:

            Arguably, while DotA has a high skill floor than LoL, the skill ceiling for both is actually fairly close. A lot of DotA’s complexity is basically burden of knowledge, which tends to converge near the skill cap (ie. DotA has a lot more “what is X” stuff that a new player has the learn, but both have about the same amount of semi-obscure “how does skill/item X interact with skill/item Y). Both have high amounts of required mechanical and strategic skill at the pro level (and both have high enough skill caps to sustain pro-level play).

            Besides, skill cap shouldn’t really matter to the vast majority of players in both DotA and LoL, considering that most don’t play anywhere near the cap.

          • The Magic says:

            LoL is simpler than Dota in the same way Starcraft is simpler than LoL. The highest skilled players are still both arguably equal as can be said for many popular competitive games.

            There is merit in saying, simpler means smarter decisions can be made with what you have, but at the same time, the more extreme variety of DotA means a more open field of experimentation.

          • rockman29 says:

            Harassing is way easier than denying creeps for your enemy… I’ve played the game enough to know this…. lol (not a pun…).

            I think someone here is overrating the transferring of skillsets. You have to do all 3 in Dota to compete at high level. The absence is not necessarily filled, just because.

            Imo, I’m not saying denying is “better than yo mama’s LoL,” but I am saying thinking about three things which are inclusive of two others… makes it more dynamic.


          • rosewushu says:

            Here is the real reason LoL does not have the deny mechanic. It simply did not exist in Dota when LoL was created. Denying was added to Dota much later and LoL decided not to copy it, and bring it to LoL.

        • Randomer says:

          People argue that DotA and DotA 2 are more skill intensive than LoL, but I would argue that the DotA games just have emergent gameplay (denying, creep blocking) that adds bizarre and unnecessary complexity to the game. From a design/flavor perspective, denying and creep blocking make no sense at all. The whole point of the creeps is to provide a constant assault on the enemy lines. Your troops are fighting the enemy for you – why would you ever want to kill them? DotA’s answer: Because it helps make your numbers go up and the enemy numbers go down.

          Again, some might argue that denying is a skill-based mechanic. The better you get at it, the more you will succeed at the game. Is that a good reason to include it in the game? By that same line of reasoning, DotA could implement a “feature” wherein you have to push “Ctrl-Alt-7” every 60 seconds. If you don’t, your team immediately loses. This would be a skill-based mechanic – after all, the better you get at remembering to push the buttons, the more you will succeed at the game. But does it make sense as a game mechanic? Moreover, is it a fun mechanic?

          When I play a MOBA, I’d rather focus on killing the enemy team than on killing my team.

          • The Magic says:

            Speaking as a low skill Dota 2 player (around 30 wins), i quite like the denial mechanic, not because of the numbers going up and down or any such thing like that, but because it creates a very tactile sense of competition between you and the person in front of you. Competing with your enemy over who gets the gold and who doesn’t brings character to a conflict. Whereas if you can’t deny, then the minions just act as a little bank that you have to time perfectly to withdraw your funds from. Dota creeps are more like money bags, some are yours, some are theirs, and you’re both trying to grab them at once.

          • Brun says:

            You can deny in LoL as well, although it is an indirect form of denial accomplished by out-harrassing your opponent. If you can be threatening enough to keep them at a distance popping healing potions they will not be able to last-hit.

          • darkChozo says:

            That’s something that happens in DotA too; it’s actually more important if anything because some DotA healing sources can be halted by damage and because denying reduces XP gain, which is typically harder to do via zoning.

            Arguably, LoL’s equivalent to denying (in the sense of a creep/minion-based mechanic that offers skillful decision making in the early game) is the fact that a lot of LoL abilities are blocked by minions. This makes it important to stay behind your minion line against champions with these abilities, which leads to positioning being more important, threat zones being more dynamic, blink/dash abilities being more impactful, etc. The only hero who has to deal with this in DotA (to the best of my knowledge, my DotA knowledge is less than comprehensive) is Pudge.

          • Sidion says:

            You don’t deny solely to make their numbers go down, and your goes up.

            You deny because it helps push your creep wave closer to your tower. This means for whoever is farming your lane they get a far safer time farming as any other hero (namely the mid) roaming will have to come in tower range to pick someone from that lane off.

            Same thing for pulling a jungle creep wave to kill your creep. Except this time it provides the person pulling a secondary way of gaining *safe* exp.

            My creep are going to die and let the lane push to my tower sure, but they’re also going to help me kill higher exp/gold reward creep. So not only is the whole lane safer being nearer to a tower, we’re also not sharing the lanes farm. Ensuring my carry gets as much farm as possible without me being so exp/gold starved I can do nothing.

            Looking at it as unnecessary or unskilled is just a product of you being unfamiliar with it.

          • rockman29 says:

            @comment just above mine

            I think this whole aspect of asking ‘what is skill taking’ needs to be expanded. Not that it is the right question, but the discussion that comes from it is very important imo.

            The comparison between WarCraft III and StarCraft 2 should be a prime example and imo a starting point for discussion.

            These two games are drastically different, totally different skill trees, different races, and emphasis on different aspects of gameplay.

            However, ultimately I think what we would find if we were being as fair as possible to each game, is that StarCraft II is the more difficult and also more demanding game.

            And not simply due to a more rapid pace. I love both WC3 and SC2 as games in their own right, but I think the discussion of their differences and the hows and whys about it could lead a very good discussion.

          • 00000 says:

            It’s ok. “You just don’t get it.”

            It’s not about raising the skill cap. Although it does raise the skill floor making it a more demanding game.
            But what’s truly appealing is that it add more to the game. More mechanics and thus more meta-game. More things to consider. More decision making. More things you can use to gain an advantage. And in my opinion, this allows for smarter play and makes it a more challenging game to play.

            You might find it bizarre and unnecessarily complex, but you can say the same about the extra game mechanics in Shogi.

          • Ruffian says:

            Zoning someone out is not the same as denying. I agree with the guy with 30 wins completely. It creates a more direct competition between you and your enemy in lane and creates another way for you to take the advantage directly from them.
            Mirana is another one who’s big spell is blocked by creeps.
            0000 makes some more very good points that I agree on as well. A lot of the draw, is indeed, in the simple fact that there is a wider variety of tactics at your disposal.

          • danielfath says:

            I agree wholeheartedly. I’ve played with various versions of deny/last hit mechanics and so far the best I’ve like is where people all get gold if near a dying creep. So essentially no last hit nor deny.

            If you want to see a MOBA that works exactly as expected see is Awesomenauts. There creeps that die drop gold which anyone can pickup. Additionally you can’t damage or even be body blocked by your creeps (some skills might be effected by creeps). If you last hit a creep he auto transfers his gold to you. It works flawlessly without people attacking their own creeps to stall the wave (i.e. as expected) and pushing and supporting your creeps is really important (they are sponge up damage from towers).

          • Raiyne says:

            Denying and creep blocking are just a few of the more advanced, subtle techniques of control that skilled players employ to dominate their opponents. By keeping the creeps closer to your towers, you stay safer and with the right wards you can basically farm undisturbed (if your lane hero-lineup permits). They aren’t HUGE mechanics, but they’re parts that make up the Dota complexity machine.

            Creep stacking and pulling, jungling heroes, creep skipping / pulling enemy wave of creeps to your tower, they’re all little things that can be employed with different heroes. You don’t have to know or use them to enjoy Dota, but they’re there and it rewards skilled players / teams. Hell, in most pub games you don’t even see smokes being used, an item which makes observer wards virtually useless, unless extra sentries were bought to detect, but that would mean extra gold burden on the enemy supports of course.

            There are hundreds, even thousands of decisions being made in every game of Dota.

            My main point is that the path to victory is not a (figurative) straight line to the enemy base. Looking at the hero lineups, there are different strategies that can be taken advantage of, to maximse the potential of your heroes, and exploit the weaknesses of the enemies. Some hero combinations are really potent really on, and reward offensive play, but fall off later on in the game, so turtling and defensive heroes can counter that. Some lineups are great at split-pushing, some lineups are great at team-fights. The game is complex because it simply IS complex. The number of hero combinations combined with the mind-boggling amount of decisions employed each game ensures that, so yes I suppose emergence is a factor, but the reason behind that is because of the ‘unique hero’ design that Icefrog has gone with, to add to the game, rather than the ‘streamlining’ that LoL balance employs, which basically make the heroes all blend into one another within their defined roles.

      • zin33 says:

        Starcraft > your MOBA :p

    • asmodemus says:

      Sadly enough HON is the best of the lot. Best looking models and textures, fastest gameplay and less focus on just farming forever. Looks like it lost the battle of the business models to Lol though and the Battle of ending up with the original name to DOTA 2. Pity…

      • Raiyne says:

        HoN today looks like a relic of the past. Ugly, outdated graphics which were supposed to resemble the Warcraft 3 style. Boring colour palette, uninspired models and ugly textures.

  8. darkChozo says:

    Out of curiosity, are the actual figures available somewhere convenient? (I’m assuming this is a paywall-y industry report) This is interesting and all, but I’m not sure if it can really lead to anything besides fanbase dickwaving and “lol xfire” comments, at least without some numbers.

    • 00000 says:

      link to steamgraph.net (peak: 325,897)
      And Riotgames own claims whenever they release an infographic.

      Conclusion: lol xfire
      PS: That graph doesn’t include Chinese users.

  9. TheApologist says:

    All of this scares me. The numbers. The acronyms. A whole genre of game I don’t understand. It’s all multiplayer-y. The whole thing.

    So, kindly stop it world, you’re making me cry.

  10. misterT0AST says:

    I love both of these games, I feel like stomping around the room and roaring like a dinosaur, because victory is at hand, and all other genres will die.
    Ok maybe not, but still, I’m hyped.

    You should have witnessed the humble times of tinkering with the Warcraft III World Editor to be as satisfied as I am with this data.
    Those were the days. (But also, these are the days).

    Also, generic statement on how the communities are not THAT bad.

  11. 1Life0Continues says:

    Multiplayer Online Bastard/Brat Accumulators

    Hurr hurr, see what I did there?

    Semi-serious jokes aside, I too don’t get the appeal of these games, nor enjoy being insulted for having a (pitiful but still existent) life outside the games or incorrect assumptions about my sexual preference or my feelings toward my mother. I’m also pretty intimidated by the learning curve, and the lack of any direction in-game. It seems to me the game is mainly played outside, in the metaverse, and it’s all about builds and strange acronyms that aren’t explained in-game either.

    I want to enjoy the games, I really do. But it’s just so daunting. I have access to DOTA2, but I give up within a few seconds of starting the game.

    I’ll go cry in my corner now.

    • lasikbear says:

      Both of them have been working on getting better information available for new players, DOTA2’s item guides are a great addition that hopefully LoL will work on replicating (they are doing custom builds soon, so hopefully that’s the next step). It’s probably better to just wait on DOTA2 till its out of beta and all the new player functionalities are in like better tutorials and all that.

      Either way, the first few games you will probably feel totally hopeless and in over your head, but secretly almost everyone else also feels that way, they just think reminding you that your mother’s activities are of a questionable moral standing will cover up how scared they are. Once you get a few more games in things tend to even out and the matchmaking gets a bit more accurate and hopefully you will be matched with players around your skill level.

    • Captchist says:

      Try watching some e-sports on youtube?

      JoinDota and PurgeGamers have some nice content – I got back into Dota2 after playing HoN a lot by watching videos until the point where I couldn’t help but jump back in.
      The community still is questionable, but I play because I have fun. Trying to jump straight in you can’t help but be put off by the community. If you have a strong desire to play already the community isn’t so bad.
      Not a ringing endorsement but, if you’re the type, try watching some e-sports matches.
      The International 2 tournament is all on youtube, and the games are fantastic.

  12. Brainstrain91 says:

    Is the image at the top supposed to be from Dota or LoL or what? It looks like some discarded WoW concept art of Kael’thas and Sylvanas…

    I am not good at math, but 9 million (lowballed number of WoW subscribers) is more than 5 million which is more than 300k, right? So what the hell is going on in this article?

    On Dota 2: I did not even know it was out. I do not know a single person who plays it.

    • darkChozo says:

      It’s DotA art. It probably looks like WoW because, well, DotA.

      5 million is LoL’s claimed peak daily player numbers. They claim about 30 million active players, which is a number that’s slightly bigger than nine million (subject to subscription vs. F2P, but w/e). Not sure if there are equivalent DOTA 2 statistics.

      DOTA 2 is technically in Steam Early Access/beta right now, though for all purposes it’s been released for a while now. It is genuinely popular (has about 4-6x as many concurrent players as the next highest game on the Steam charts).

  13. Vinraith says:

    I have no stake in this fight, and no interest in this genre, but the term “MOBA” is still nonsensical crap so if millions of people are going to play these things they really need a better acronym.

    • Brun says:

      No more nonsensical than the modern usage of “RPG” (which these days tends to apply to any game that has at its core an experience and leveling system, rather than a game in which “role playing” occurs).

      What’s important is that people know what you’re referring to when you say “MOBA”, and they do. While it is nonsensical it is specific enough to distinguish it from other genres in a way that most people familiar with the subject will immediately and unambiguously understand.

      EDIT: I would argue that “MOBA” is more specific than many other genre names in this regard. It refers to a very particular kind of game that, currently, follows a very specific format. Perhaps this is simply due to the youth of the genre, however.

      • Magnusm1 says:

        You can “roleplay” in any game.

        • Kamos says:

          And yet, the “role playing” experience consists of action and reaction. If a game does not even attempt to provide the same experience that a GM is able to provide, it should not be considered a RPG.

        • Brun says:

          On the contrary, your ability to roleplay in a game is limited only by your ability to suspend disbelief.

          • Kamos says:

            Role playing makes no sense if you do it by yourself. In its original form — tabletop — a RPG is a form of interactive storytelling, in the sense that both player and GM are building the story together.

            I can wear a costume and go outside, but it is not a role playing GAME because the other people taking part will think I’m crazy.

          • Brun says:

            a form of interactive storytelling

            Sounds a lot like video games. :-)

            With video games the game itself tends to take the position of Game Master. A game like Skyrim serves this function by creating immersive environments and characters, and providing you with essentially a blank slate of a character with which to make a story. As such you’re essentially crafting a story with the “Game Master” (i.e. the game itself), or roleplaying. Thus a role-playing game, in my mind, would be any game designed for this purpose.

            Obviously the ability to enjoyably roleplay in a game will vary from person to person – the world or stories of a particular game won’t engage everyone with equal strength. But I think if the intent of the game is to facilitate role-playing, then it can be called a role-playing game.

          • Kamos says:

            Yes, video games are interactive. However, video games are inherently inferior because they are limited in the ways in which they can react to you. In Skyrim, in example, I kept hearing about how the queen was responsible for the war. So I proceeded to the city where she was and attempted to assassinate her, only to find out that she was invulnerable.

            Anyway. I’d argue that it is not that “any” game is a role playing game, but that games can make it easier or harder for you to roleplay.

          • Brun says:

            Indeed, current video game role-playing is limited by technology. But I think the defining attribute of any role-playing game is that the players have some means of driving or influencing the story, beyond just participating. Sandbox games like Skyrim are a bit of a special case as it places more of the storycrafting burden on the player, leaving more details to the player’s imagination in return for greater freedom in storytelling direction. Baldur’s Gate is another example though – the story is rigidly defined but it has enough branching and complexity to give the player a degree of influence over its flow.

            Ideally an RPG video game would be no different than a group of people playing tabletop D&D – the GM presents a story, and the choices of the players (and the results of their dice-rolls) will produce events in that story, to which the GM will react – thus the choices of the players have an impact on the story. Obviously video games will never reach the level of creativity or unpredictability of human GMs*, but nobody claimed they were perfect implementations of the RPG ideal.

            But this gets back to the original point – the video game implementation of the RPG is imperfect, and a huge number of games could enable role-playing. As such, the term “RPG” is a little nonsensical when applied to any game with levels and XP (its contemporary meaning in the context of video games). Most people have a certain expectation when the term RPG is applied to a game, making it no less ambiguous than the term “MOBA”.

            *Dwarf Fortress being a possible exception.

    • Magnusm1 says:


    • shaydeeadi says:

      I personally think FAGGOTS (Fortress Assaut Game Going On Two Sides) is a much better way of describing the gameplay contained therein.

      • jrodman says:

        Are you trying to lampoon the sense of decorum and/or opprobrium evidenced by most players of these games?

        • shaydeeadi says:

          Once you get out of playing with the vile scum that CAN POTENTIALLY appear at the absolute bottom of the pile you will find that most people that play this game are reasonable, friendly and up for a bit of banter. I’m in no way a ‘high-skilled’ player, I’m still in normal MM but I rarely-to-never encounter ragers, leavers and intentional feeders.

          I find the myth that everyone who plays this game to be some sort of venomous lizard hilarious and sad at the same time. This is further perpetuated by people who have never played before, or played for 10 minutes and got upset when they were told in a concise fashion by someone they deem their lesser that they have just made a string of terrible decisions.

          The acronym is unfortunate but actually describes the gameplay within a game of DOTA/LOL/HON.

          • Brun says:

            This really. The community improves greatly (in LoL at least) upon nearing or reaching the Summoner Level cap, when you’re largely placed with high-level people. I only encounter rude or inconsiderate players once every few games, and even those usually aren’t so bad.

    • Phantoon says:

      Nonsense. Imagine yourself as part of COBRA, GI JOE’s enemies, and then shout “MOBA!” a lot. Makes it a lot better.

      • Ruffian says:

        All the points to you, my good man. :D
        LMAO @ this and “FAGGOTS.”

  14. Xyvik says:

    I don’t trust the numbers at all, but hey, that’s what’s fun about the PC games industry: the biggest fish in the pond (Steam) doesn’t have to release any numbers they don’t want to, which makes every attempt at demographics and sales tracking rather pointless. Maybe that’s the point: showing that numbers and graphs and attempting to analyze all these games is rather 90s and needs to go?

    Anyway, to everybody complaining about the communities of either games: stop it. Seriously. It’s called bots. My wife and I play Dota2 together against bots and we’ve got over 100 hours logged, and we’ve never once played an official game against other people. There’s really no point when you can have this much fun without ever needing to go online. Plus, the RPS group here of Dota2 people are awesome, HexagonalBolts helped me out tremendously several times.

    If you don’t like the game that’s fine, but don’t use the “the community is a ravenous raping monster!” excuse. Seriously! Try the bots and have fun!

    • C0llic says:

      Theres definately truth to what you say, but I think if you only play agaisnt bots you really are missing out.

      Get a full group of five together and you will have even more fun. The toxic members of the community really don’t matter when theyre on the opposing team and you can mute them with no consequence to yourself or your game. Team in-fighting and insult flinging is what brings these games down, and when you’re with friends you can easily fix that.

    • Malk_Content says:

      If you like, I know a few relatively new players who are looking to play online more. They currently play with the Casual Dota Chums (Hex’s group) but the experience is often quite hard for them joining our matchmaking teir. Putting newer players together sounds worthwhile, as eventually they won’t be new and can me more comfortable playing with us sad folk with many hundreds of hours.

      If you are interested (and I by no means think you should leave your bot matches if that is what you enjoy the most) you could either invade the RPS mumble, drop a message on the CasDac community page or add me [CC] Jacque (don’t worry the clan take is mostly a joke.)

    • 00000 says:

      link to reddit.com

      How can you not enjoy the friendly banter?!

  15. Berzee says:

    mumble mrmble lords management mffmble…

  16. honuk says:

    LoL is bigger than steam, much less DOTA 2

    • rosewushu says:

      Inb4 LoL joins the Steam community. Honestly one game can not be bigger then a(n) community of games. Steam is like the Xbox or Playstation of PC games.

      Don;t believe me,
      link to store.steampowered.com
      ^ thats just the top games. Steam will only grow and become more powerful.

  17. Screamer says:

    LoL, apparently the “B” in MOBA is for “Battle” XD. All I see is a bunch of kids swearing at each other :/

  18. rosewushu says:

    Just a history lesson for you all, Dota existed before LoL, and LoL was created with the knowledge of Dota that already existed. LoL would not be as it is today if not for Dota which already existed many years before LoL was an idea in the head of it’s creator. If you say Dota copied LoL you already prove to know nothing since LoL was created to be in dotas image, but just more user friendly. In making LoL more user friendly they took away a nice chunk of the competitive aspects.