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Heroes of Newerth vs. League of Legends

October 12, 2009

In this post, I compare two stand-alone DotA games currently in beta testing: Heroes of Newerth (HoN) by S2 and League of Legends (LoL) by Riot Games:

HoN is a great game. I love it. Played about 50 games before I decided to give LoL a shot.

My biggest complaint about HoN is that the artistic direction is unimaginative, recycled, bland garbage.

Artistic Direction of HoN

My number one complaint about HoN is the artistic direction. What I mean by this is the character design, character models, animations, general look and feel, and even the loading screens. I regard all of the preceding as just plain bad.

Character design
I have been very disappointed with the character designs – they are mostly dull, hackneyed fantasy archetypes like “fairy” “beefy dude with sword and helmet” “ice wizard” or horrid adaptations of DotA heroes. Some DotA heroes were completely rethought, despite the abilities not making ANY sense in the new context. For example, clockwerk goblin’s remake into the pharaoh. The pharaoh’s abilities are laughably stupid. Wall of mummies???? LOL. sad. Other DotA heroes, it seems, they simply couldn’t think of a superficial change to slap on – like Tiny remaining the same and pudge remaining the same. The inconsistency is bad enough, but the heroes they actually managed to re-imagineI wish they hadn’t.

Character models
I find it extremely difficult to tell characters apart in HoN. They all look so similar. Which is amazing considering an old game like WCIII is able to have 90 different heroes all instantly recognizable, while HoN can’t even cover half that number with unique and identifiable models. I am so disappointed that the vast majority of models are just humanoids walking around. No sand king scorpion, hydralisk, black shadow fiend, twin headed dragon chimera, faerie dragon, etc. HoN’s character models are as boring and uninspired as the character design.

The loading screen art is laughably bad, the animations make it difficult to see what the hell is going on, the colors in the game are dull, and the creeps are the same old same old. BORING!!!!

The game play is tried and true DotA, so you can’t really go wrong there, and the interface improvements are a boon.

I didn’t realize how much the art direction of HoN bothered me until I tried the OTHER stand-alone DotA game being developed out there…League of Legends.

League of Legends

Art direction
LoL’s art direction is stunning. The characters are fun, full of character, colorful, and imaginative. The game is just fun to look at. I hesitated to try it out for so long since everyone talks about how HoN’s graphics are “so much better” than LoL’s…but I beg to differ. It is a totally different graphic and art style from HoN. Instead of going for more realistic, gritty, bland colors, LoL presents players with a vibrantly colorful fantasy world.

Twisted Fate the card master. Gameplay integrates element of randomness like you would expect from a playing-card-themed Hero.

Character design
No DotA ports here. LoL has scores of brand new heroes with really impressive and FUN new abilities. I was surprised at how many good ideas they came up with after seeing HoN’s rehashed DotA ports for so long.

Gameplay and character design innovations
There are several gameplay and character design innovations that makes LoL a unique experience, while maintaining the standards of the DotA (or AoS) genre. LoL truly pushes the genre forward. Every character has an innate ability in addition to their 4 spells, and items have been totally rethought. In addition to all that, there is a bank of 15 “master” spells two of which can be selected before every game for you to use, no matter what hero you have (these spells are like heal, restore mana, blink, etc.). Hero variety and customization in LoL is beyond that of DotA or HoN.

I had to make this its own category because I just remembered how frustrating it was to me trying to find items in HoN. LoL’s shop and item system is FAR superior to HoN’s. The items are fun and fresh and best of all EASY TO FIND!

LoL characters:

Fiddlesticks the Harbringer of Doom. His ultimate is called "Murder of Crows" - hundreds of crows swarm around him, damaging nearby enemies.



Twisted Fate, also seen in the screenshot earlier in the article

HoN characters:

Heroes of Newerth hero Zephyr AKA ORLY?

Heroes of Newerth unintentionally hilarious character design fails at being imaginative or badass in any way.

If you haven’t tried LoL yet -you owe it to yourself to give it a try. It is truly a fantastic game and the art alone sets it apart from its dull competitor, HoN.


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  1. Braxis permalink

    Nice post phosphoro
    you may also want to remember that League of Legends is made from the very team that created DoTa in the first place =P

  2. lmao this post sucks so much, you’re just a lol fanboy, piece of shit

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