10 Games Like League of Legends
League of Legends is played by more than 100 million people and constitutes one of the two successors of DotA, a Warcraft 3 mod that built the foundation of the MOBA genre. The game was developed by Riot Games and was released in 2009. It only took a few years until millions around the globe started to play it.
The reason why LoL is such a loved game has to do with the creativity that the player is allowed to express during each match. You can choose from around 150 characters and then customize the way in which you play your selected champion. From the items you buy to the actions you make, everything is your decision.
League of Legends combines RPG and RTS elements, requiring players to spend thousands of hours in order to master its gameplay. And the action takes place in a rank-based setting, which makes the process of winning and losing very addictive.
If you love LoL for its team versus team format, the strategic elements, and the fact that you can control, customize, and empower your own character, this article will introduce you to 10 games like League of Legends that you should try today. Not all of them are MOBAs, but all of them will give you a similar experience.
1. Dota 2
Dota 2 became available just several years after the release of League of Legends and was built on top of the same foundation: the Warcraft 3 mod named DotA. However, unlike LoL, Dota 2 retained more of the elements that made DotA such a great game.
In many ways, LoL is a simplification of the MOBA experience, while Dota 2 is the full experience with a lot of complexity added on top. You can think of the two games as boxing and MMA. The latter is much more brutal and unpredictable than the former.
In Dota 2, matches last anywhere between 20 and 60 minutes and the fighting is relentless. The goal is to gain as much gold as possible and preferably faster than your opponent. The battle takes place on an almost symmetrical two-sided map split by a river. There are 3 lanes in total and the battle involves all of them.
Dota 2 heroes are very complex and each of them is completely unique. A hero can be leveled up and the maximum level is 30. In the process, you get to unlock 8 talents, at least 4 abilities, and become much stronger.
Another fun part of the game is the items that you can buy using the accumulated gold. Whenever you kill enemy heroes, enemy buildings, enemy creeps, and neutral creeps (like in Warcraft 3), you get gold. Items can cost a few hundred or more than 6000 gold, depending on their strength. And they make your hero even stronger.
2. Heroes of the Storm
In Heroes of the Storm, the MOBA experience is greatly simplified and everything leans more towards real-time strategy than RPG elements. For example, there are no items that you can buy and the experience is shared between the team members. In other words, everyone levels up at exactly the same pace.
For some people, this is not fun at all. But for others it strengthens the need to cooperate and consider not just your own success, but also the success of your teammates. In a game like LoL, if one player has a great start and becomes very strong quickly, the others will expect him to carry the team to a victory.
In Heroes of the Storm, every member of the team is expected to contribute to its success in a major way. The lane swapping is much more frequent and the games finish relatively quickly. There’s also a lot of variety when it comes to maps and their objectives.
In other MOBAs, there’s only one map and the objective stays the same. In HotS, there’s great variety and you need to master multiple game modes if you want to be successful.
Another interesting aspect of Heroes of the Storm is that the game combines characters from all of Blizzard’s Universes. In LoL and Dota 2, the characters are created without any restriction. But Blizzard chose to make HotS a MOBA just for their own worlds.
You can expect to encounter familiar faces from StarCraft, Warcraft, Diablo, and WoW. The game is a lot of fun, but it’s not for everyone.
In Smite, the action revolves around gods. And the fun part is that you get to play one of them. This game has a very unique MOBA flavor and it requires you to compete using a strange perspective.
In League of Legends, the character models are small and you see the action in a very minimalistic way. In Dota 2, because of the character size and the elements of the environment, you feel a bit more that you’re actually there, fighting other heroes. But in Smite you’re fully there, seeing the battlefield through the eyes of your chosen god.
The game was developed by Hi-Rez Studios and was released in 2014. Its player base is not very impressive, but there are more than 10,000 people playing at all times. The total player base is probably somewhere between 500,000 and one million.
Smite’s characters are inspired by mythology and ancient history. You can play for instance as Apollo, the god of music, or Ares, the god of war. There are more than 120 options in total and you can experiment for hundreds of hours without getting bored.
Based on your playstyle, some gods will seem more powerful than others. In reality, they’re all viable if you know how to fully utilize their abilities, but if you’re someone who loves tanky characters you shouldn’t pick a squishy one. Because you’ll only attempt to do things that will get you killed.
Valorant borrows elements from the MOBA genre and masterfully blends them with what is otherwise a first-person shooter. This game is brilliant and since its release in the Summer of 2020, it has gathered a player base of around 15 million. That’s roughly 50% more than what CS:GO has.
Valorant is played in a team versus team format. There are 5 players on each team and they all get to choose a unique character. In old-school FPS games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the characters are all the same and offer nothing to the player.
But in Valorant, they have abilities and unique playstyles. One way to get better at the game is to learn about Valorant agents.
Riot Games wanted to create a first-person shooter that felt different from what was available on the market. So they took the best elements from games like CS:GO, Overwatch, and Call of Duty, and then built a game that’s really fun to play.
Despite being more like RPG characters than FPS ones, Valorant agents do not level up during the game. But they do utilize abilities that can be charged up by dealing damage to your opponents. And based on their skill set, they can be played in a variety of roles.
There are main roles, such as sentinel or initiator, and secondary roles, such as support, sniper or captain. There’s a lot of FPS terminology mixed with MOBA terminology.
The core of the game (around 80% of it) is still a first-person shooter. But the added complexity that comes from the MOBA elements makes it both harder and more replayable.
Overwatch was created by Blizzard and was launched in the year 2016. This is one of those hero-based shooters inspired by much older games like Team Fortress 2.
In many ways, Overwatch feels like a successor to this great game that was created by Valve in the early 2000s. But it still has a unique flavor and the characters are very well designed. There’s a lot to love about Overwatch, but to fully enjoy it you need to like the mixture of fantasy, FPS, and tactical elements.
The characters are not just mere models. They have unique weapons and abilities that you must learn to use effectively. The playstyle of a heavy damage dealer like Genji has very little in common with the playstyle of a tank like Orisa.
On the FPS side, Overwatch requires you to understand the principles of good positioning and accurate shooting. If this is your first shooter, you’ll have a lot to learn in those departments.
Overwatch is also a highly tactical game and that’s because of the different map objectives that you need to play around. There are several game modes and each of them demands a different approach. Furthermore, the heroes allow you to heavily customize your chosen approach.
When you put everything together and consider the fact that the game is played in a 6 versus 6 format, you immediately see just how complex and hard to master Overwatch is. But that’s exactly what makes it fun.
6. Apex Legends
Apex Legends was launched in 2019 and was created by Respawn Entertainment. If you played TitanFall 2, you’re probably familiar with Respawn’s style. The game is a masterpiece and will give you one of the most unique experiences you’ve ever had in a shooter.
Like Valorant and Overwatch, this game is a hero-based shooter. The characters are called legends and there are more than 20 options that you can choose from. Each of them is unique and has 3 abilities: a tactical ability, a passive ability, and an ultimate ability.
The game encourages you to be aggressive and take lots of risks. The action is fast-paced and your character’s movement feels great. In some old games, especially from the RPG genre, the way your character moves makes you want to quit the game immediately.
In Apex Legends, the effect is the exact opposite. As soon as you start moving, you become addicted. And if you learn how to get better at Apex Legends, you will love the game even more.
Different legends offer different playstyles. But the general rule is this: risk a lot and you may win a lot. There is no benefit in being passive because this game is a battle royale. Those who take successful fights early on gain substantial advantages over those who try to hide away and wait for the ideal moment to make a move.
Apart from their 3 unique abilities, legends do not offer additional layers of complexity. They have no attributes and their weapons are those that you get your hands on during the game. So the MOBA element is only partially implemented.
Paladins falls into the same category as the previous three games on this list: Valorant, Overwatch, and Apex Legends. However, it was released in 2016, so it was one of the first. The playstyle it offers is very unique, so you will either hate it or love it. There’s no in-between.
Paladins makes extensive use of MOBA elements and often feels like Smite, despite being a hero-based shooter. The design of the game is extremely dynamic and encourages unpredictability. Each character can fully customize itself by choosing cards that give enhancements.
As the game progresses, each champion transforms into something very unique. In all MOBA games, clicking on a character to see what items they bought is important. But in Paladins, if you don’t check what your opponent has picked to customize his character, you’ll have no idea what to expect.
This is the part of the game that polarizes people. Some players would like a more predictable experience, while others love the fact that the level of customization is enormous.
In Paladins, instead of learning only about the characters and remembering their strengths and weaknesses, you need to also learn about the possible customizations and figure out ways to play against certain combinations of talents and abilities.
The champion played by someone is a very flexible instrument that can be transformed significantly during the match.
Battlerite is a MOBA game that disregards everything that’s unrelated to the PvP element. This title is all about the champions battling each other and the action is fast-paced. Instead of lasting for 20 – 60 minutes, Battlerite matches last for just several minutes.
In the world of MOBAs, this is probably the most simple game that you can learn and it’s definitely a fun one to play. However, its replayability is much lower than that of standard MOBA titles, which is why you shouldn’t expect to play it for years. But for the sake of enriching your gaming culture, it doesn’t hurt to give it a try.
Battlerite champions have lots of abilities and the game incentivizes action. The arena in which the battles take place has a key area that needs to be occupied. Doing this gives you experience and helps you to increase your champion’s power. That’s why the battles don’t last that long. If your start is ruined, it’s hard to catch up.
9. Wild Rift
Wild Rift is practically League of Legends but on mobile devices. The game was released in 2020 and has a player base of more than 20 million. This is easily one of the most popular MOBA games in the world and everyone who has a smartphone should try it.
Riot Games’ goal is to gradually transfer all LoL champions to Wild Rift and have a full version of their game on mobile. Apart from that limitation, Wild Rift differs from LoL only in how you control your character.
When using a keyboard and a mouse, the movements you make feel very natural. But when using a phone interface, there’s a huge difference that you need to get used to. Many people can’t, which is why they don’t play complex games on their smartphones. But if you persist, you can learn how to do that in a few weeks.
In Wild Rift, the goal is to destroy the opposing team’s Nexus, which is the main structure located in their base. But to do that, you will need to level up your champion, synchronize with your team, win the crucial battles, and destroy a lot of towers.
10. Mobile Legends Bang Bang
Mobile Legends Bang Bang is a game that copied League of Legends almost completely. However, this MOBA still manages to differentiate itself enough from the original to be worth playing. And on top of that, its player base is somewhere around 80 million.
MLBB was released in 2016. Back then, nobody was thinking about the possibility of creating MOBA games that can be played on a phone, primarily because it seemed like a bad idea. Why would anyone want to play such a sophisticated type of game on a mobile device?
As it turns out, tens of millions were willing to learn how to do it and their reasons are easy to guess. Parents will often see a child who’s playing on the computer. But they won’t notice that he’s playing video games all day on his smartphone.
On top of that, the latest phones can run MOBA games with ease and will allow you to play for many hours without needing a recharge. This makes them perfect devices to take with you on long trips.
Moonton, the company that created MLBB, simply took a big risk and its guess proved to be correct. As a player, you should consider this title because it’s by far the biggest in the genre, at least on mobile. But at this point, you could also just play Wild Rift. Arguably, Riot’s game is better and more reliable in the long run.