Even if MOBAs aren’t your thing, it’s highly unlikely that you haven’t heard of League of Legends and Dota 2. They are two of the biggest games of our time, and have both been around for over a decade. Unsurprisingly, during this time they developed their own cultures. Even though the games themselves are very similar, the people who play them are very different. Horrifyingly different.
Because many members of these two communities basically consider each-other rivals, they don’t interact with much. And that’s what makes things even more interesting.
The developers of both games have been fighting to keep the communities as peaceful as possible. They ban players who swear, say racist or sexist things, or are generally acting toxic. And you would expect the two player groups to be on about the same level of infractions, right?
That is not the case at all. A study done in 2019 looked into how much harassment players received in each game. Dota 2 easily claimed the first place, with a staggering 79% of its players reporting being harassed. League of Legends came 4% behind, along with CS:GO, Overwatch and PUBG. I personally think that FPS games should be the hardest to beat at such a “competition”, yet Dota managed to do it.
Even if I just look at my own experiences, I can clearly tell the difference. When I started out with League of Legends, I was never bullied for my lack of skills. Especially not by smurfs. Most of the community accepted that they were dealing with a noob, and just tried to win the game anyways. This was somewhat demeaning, but also made me feel a little less bad.
Dota 2 of the other hand was much different. I got in and if I misclicked, bought the wrong item or used an ability a little too late I was immediately called… Things I can’t really write down here. Extremely rude and explicit things, that nobody would have dared to say to my face. No wonder I thought about quitting the entire game because of this, as do 37% of other players on a regular basis. Dota 2 has the highest rate of turning players away or making them cautious, just because of these negative interactions.
When it comes to toxicity, many people resort to passive aggressive sentences like “Why did you do that?” and “How could you die?”, followed up by worse and much less passive comments. The key difference between the two games is that if you try explaining why you did something in Dota 2, you will get some real criticism back, while in League of Legends you won’t get anything. It’s actually pretty funny considering how negative some players get, and how helpful they become after learning that their teammate just doesn’t know something.
If you die in League of Legends, there is a good chance that you will be spammed with question mark pings. But if you explain what you were trying to do and where it went wrong, the best case scenario is that you don’t get a reply. The worst case would your teammate going on a tirade, ranting about having a noob on their team. Not only is this embarrassing, it’s also very unhelpful.
Conversely, I have had people explain to me what I did wrong in Dota many times. My best experience was when a player told me how to dodge and get away from enemy abilities in detail. And guess what? It helped me die way less during that game.
This isn’t that big of a deal, but I personally enjoy it when everyone from the game comes together – enemies and teammates included – and has some kind of positive interaction. I find that it’s not only fun, but it also starts the game off right. That said, I know that such things aren’t possible in ranked games where something is actually on the line. But I love both games because they have these weird interactions all the time in casual matches.
In League of Legends, we sometimes all come together on the mid lane and have a dance party. It only lasts until the minions spawn, but still. It’s a great way to begin a match. It also opens up the way to forming friendships and talking to each other later on, outside of games. And all it takes is pressing Ctrl and F3. For that minor effort, you might end up making a friend who will be there for years.
Dota 2 is a bit different, although there is still the potential for non-hostile interactions. Read that again: I’m not suggesting that Dota 2 players get friendly regularly, they are just a bit less aggressive than usual sometimes. You know, stuff like laners taunting each other while obviously not wanting to attack, and so on. It’s as close as it gets to our League of Legends dance parties, and I’ll take it over BM any day.