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DotA 2 vs HotS – The Definitive Comparison

DotA 2 vs HotS

This comparison is gonna be on the more amusing side, due to Defense of the Ancients 2 (DotA 2) being based on Defense of the Ancients, which was built on Blizzard’s Warcraft 3 servers, the same Blizzard who develops Heroes of the Storm (HotS).

In fact, you will find that most of DotA’s Heroes bare a striking resemblance to a character belonging in HotS’ Warcraft universe. That’s because the original DotA actually used the models from Warcraft 3.

This comparison will focus on each game’s storyline, gameplay and visuals. I will also tell you my occlusive thoughts in the Final Thoughts section. Without further ado:


DotA 2 doesn’t have much of a focus on its storyline. Generally speaking, every Hero is fighting for 1 of 2 Ancients (the Radiant and the Dire) to advance their own purposes.

HotS has deeper lore and has also managed to combine its storyline with its gameplay. In the game, there is a big, multi-dimensional storm called the Nexus. The Nexus can stabilize some Realms. Those stabilized inner universes are called Realms, and each Realm has its own lord. Some Realm Lords fight with each other for dominance. And that’s where you come from. The heroes you choose are on the side of one of the Lords, and are fighting the Lords’ wars.

Obviously HotS has much deeper lore if you take into account that every single Hero has hos own huge background in his/her respective universe.

DotA 2 also has some additional stories through comics.


Both games have what you’d expect from any typical MOBA. You choose your picks, fight along with a team of random people and/or friends, against opponents and both teams’ purpose is to destroy the enemy’s final building (Ancient for DotA 2 and Core for HotS).

Every pick you choose can level up in the game gaining more power and abilities. At a specific level, each pick unlocks its strongest skill, or more commonly known as Ultimate.

In both games, Heroes can choose a Talent. For DotA 2, this happens every few levels. For HotS, every level gives you a new choice. That’s because in DotA 2 you get ability points with every level, which you use to either unlock an ability you haven’t or to strengthen an already learned one.

There are general categorizations for each pick which shows their role in the game.

The maps have these roads called lanes where small weak NPCs called creeps/minions respectively. Between the lanes, there is the jungle which serves a different purpose in each game. They both have jungle camps however; a group of NPCs stronger than the usual which gives an advantage (mostly experience in DotA 2).

As you advance and destroy enemy structures you gain better minions.

Each map has 1 or more Epic Monsters, huge NPCs that usually require multiple team members to take down. They give a huge advantage to their team.

That’s where the common ground stops. The games have some differences that make them completely different from each other.

For example, DotA 2’s gameplay is reliant on you killing enemies (minions and players) in order to gain gold, which is used to buy items, which in turn give an increase in various stats, as well as some bonus effects. Many items also have an active skill you can use, further complicating the game.

HotS doesn’t have any items, nor any currency. You just gain experience by killing enemies (or being near them when they die). Also, unlike DotA 2, experience is shared with the rest of the team, promoting teamplay and cooperativeness, and cutting on solo players single-handedly carrying a team.

DotA’s typical game lasts so much longer than HotS.

The long game is justifiable as both teams battle for control. Maybe some players just have better late game, even the earliest games in DotA 2 take at least 30 minutes, due to its general balancing (things like losing gold on death, long death timers and others).

HotS relies on its objectives.

Objectives are kinda like minigames, where both teams have an objective to fulfill. The first team that does gains a huge temporary advantage. The game gives out objectives up until it’s finished.

Due to this, the games don’t drag as long, as every objective is much stronger every time.

Another difference is the jungle camp system.

DotA 2 ‘s camps just give gold and experience. Sometimes, a champion relies on spending a big chunk of his time there instead of any lane. That guy is called a jungler. Some heroes even excel at battling the jungle camps and relish the lack of PvP.

In HotS, you usually go to the jungle between switching lanes or objectives, as every camp joins you for battle.

The competitive scene is also dramatically different.

DotA 2’s is world-renowned, and one of the most profitable e-sports business in the world. There are many pro teams competing in regional and world tournaments for prize money.

HotS… well, HotS has a ranked mode. There are some tournaments hosted, but they are by no means official, and Blizzard doesn’t support this aspect of the game anymore. So it’s nowhere near as worth it to play competitive HotS.

Their competitive systems are different as well.

DotA 2 only has 1 map, contrary to the many rotating maps of HotS.


The visuals are pretty similar. HotS need slightly better specs though, and DotA 2 will be able to be played on older and worse PCs.

Final Thoughts

Both games give reasons to play them.

DotA 2 is very competitive and complex with all its Heroes and items. It’s also the closest to the original MOBAs.

HotS gives you nostalgia through its Heroes (if you played any of Blizzard’s legendary titles) and a much more casual, team-work oriented playstyle.

Ultimately, is up to you to decide which you prefer. Fortunately, I gave you a comparison to make the job easier.

That’s it for my comparison. Have you played both games? If so, which do you prefer. You can tell me your opinions below.

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