The MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) genre has had a long-sustaining boom of sorts. One of the best MOBA games ever released is the now-famous League of Legends. The franchise has a massive following of dedicated players which has collectively matured into an extremely competitive eSports scene. It’s easy to see why MOBA games like League of Legends are so popular too, what with the huge number of upgradable characters you can pick from and the deep strategic team-play offered.
Of course, League of Legends isn’t the only solid MOBA around. Here are 10 of the best MOBA games like League of Legends for those of you lusting for more creeps to kill and heroes to level up!
Selection Criteria of Our List
- The MOBA game must have a decent to wide choice of characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
- If you’re going to compete with League of Legends then you need to compete on price too. Thus, all of the listed games are free-to play – but some may offer in-game purchases (Note: Our Honorable Mentions section does include one title with a retail price, but none in the main list).
- First-person MOBAs do exist (e.g. Battleborn) but we’ve decided to select only games with a strategic overhead camera to keep things close to League of Legends (however, we did make a few third-person perspective exceptions, just for a little variety).
- We know many diehard fans exist among the various MOBA game franchises. So we’re just gonna make this clear: this is not a judgment of which is the best of the best MOBA game; simply a listed recommendation of solid games similar to League of Legends in terms of genre. Also, selections are in no particular order.
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1. DotA 2 (Duh!)
Why it’s Similar: Okay, let’s just address the elephant in the room. When you’re talking about games like League of Legends, it’s never more than 5 seconds before someone mentions DoTA 2. ‘DoTA’ stands for Defense of the Ancients, which is an old Warcraft mod. Without going into the history books too deeply, DotA is regarded by many as the pioneering modern MOBA (as we know it), with League of Legends being the branch-off. As such, expect lots of similarities in map structures, character upgrades, item powers, and so on. You get the drift.
Why it’s Different: There are entire Reddit threads and lengthy posts dedicated to talking about the differences between League of Legends and DotA 2. To the layman, the differences are subtle and revolve around how you earn experience points and gain gold. However, for players that are deep into League of Legends, you’ll find these nuanced differences have a huge impact on how you approach the game on a strategic level. You may want to check out this link for a more precise fan breakdown.
Overall: So, which is better? Well, I don’t want to get involved in any fanboy wars but what I will say is that if you love standard MOBA games like League of Legends, odds are you’ll thoroughly enjoy DotA 2. This is one of the best MOBA games ever released to date… despite some heavy fan nitpicking (e.g. not being ‘mainstream’ enough for new players, etc.).
2. Heroes of the Storm
Why it’s Similar: Similar to most games like League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm has a whole host of characters to pick from and they all play differently. You’ll be levelling up and taking out AI ‘creeps’ that make their way towards your base. Also like League of Legends, the game is all about knowing when to attack and knowing when to defend with the rest of your path-travelling team mates.
Why it’s Different: The first thing you’ll notice is that the heroes in this game look very familiar. That’s because this is a Blizzard game, and as a result, all characters are taken from the company’s rich back-catalogue. You’ll see characters from Warcraft, Diablo, and even Overwatch. It’s also a slightly more simplified MOBA than League of Legends as there’s no need to buy or equip items during your matches.
Overall: Standing tall among the best MOBA games like League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm is far more colourful and easier to pick up than most standard MOBAs. Plus, it’s got the level of polish you’d expect from a Blizzard game. Some fans even feel it to be superior to LoL (i.e. debatable)!
Why it’s Similar: Smite features a ton of upgradable characters to choose from, just like in other games like League of Legends. There’s also defense towers on the map, half of which belong to you and half of which belong to the enemy. They’ll attack you with especially powerful blasts if you get close to them so you’ll need to be careful when approaching. Like any other MOBA, strategic teamwork is essential to achieve victory.
Why it’s Different: Smite is the first game on our list which is available for both consoles and PCs. The game’s camera angle is different from that of League of Legends, offering instead a third-person perspective that sits a fair way back from the character you’re controlling. Nonetheless, you’ll still be able to easily survey the battle arena in front of you without any real problems.
Overall: It might generally lack the rich eSports culture of other titles mentioned here (especially compared to LoL) but Smite does have a growing fan-base of committed players. Try this game if you’re looking for something a little more action-orientated than League of Legends.
Why it’s Similar: Vainglory takes all of its main elements from League of Legends. There’s towers (called turrets), creeps (in the jungle), and a whole load of upgradable characters to choose from. It’s also got a bunch of people playing it, so you shouldn’t find it too tough to find a match to jump into.
Why it’s Different: As this is designed for mobile, touch screen controls are going to take a little getting used to. Vainglory also simplifies the battlefield you play on, with there being only one key lane. It’s a pretty casual game overall, with simple move-sets for each character.
Overall: Vainglory is a great example of how to simplify the usually complex MOBA genre to meet the unique limits associated with tablets and phones. It still maintains the same fun appeal of most of the best MOBA games like League of Legends but is much easier to pick up. Strongly recommended for those wanting their MOBA fix on the move!
5. Heroes of Newerth
Why it’s Similar: Another game that is extremely similar to League of Legends. It’s honestly easier to say what’s different with Heroes of Newerth rather than state the ways it’s the same. It’s got multiple characters, towers and creeps… basically, everything you’d want from a MOBA!
Why it’s Different: The characters and art style are a little darker in tone in Heroes of Newerth compared to League of Legends. Also, according to some fans, HoN also has a slightly steeper – but very rewarding – learning curve that has gone largely unappreciated by the masses… at least, since DoTA 2’s major release (a shame!). Team matches also tend to be more fast-paced, offering a ton of skill combos that (a few players suggest) even trumps that of League of Legends.
Overall: Despite losing a lot of its shine over the last few years, Heroes of Newerth remains overall one of the best MOBA games like League of Legends released – with an added level of ‘hardcore’ complexity most akin to DoTA 2.
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