*I posted this as a comment in another thread, but wanted to create a thread for it*
I've been playing HOTS for over 3 years now and have thousands of games under my belt and before that I've played years of league and I've dabbled I'm Dota 2 but ultimately as cool as I felt the characters are designed in Dota I never could get into it.
I've enjoyed HOTS far more than the other two I mentioned and I'm going to list the things I like as well as things I don't like so much and then will wrap up by comparing in a conclusion why HOTS is the game for me (emphasis on 'me' because this is subjective and obviously others will feel differently) over LOL and Dota.
Firstly, I love the characters in HOTS. It's so cool that I can play a MOBA (or Hero Brawler…..) with characters from so many of my favorite universes such as Diablo, Starcraft, Warcraft, etc. I remember being awed by the chance to play as Diablo and the Butcher.
Secondly, the graphics and interactions between the environment and characters are in my opinion way better than LOL and Dota. I remember a game recently after taking the boss on Tomb of the Spider Queen that we were sieging the enemy nexus and the enemy Butcher died in a fight near the boss and his dead body was swirling around in one of the tornados that the boss randomly spawns and another time when I played as Zuljin on Dragonshire and used his Guillotine ult on a Nova, Lili, and Raynor and all three died in a massive explosion with their bodies flying towards the screen and off in different directions. Moments like these pull me in and entrance me.
Thirdly, I prefer the in game progression and combat mechanics over the other MOBAs. I realize that building characters by talents rather than with items may be a point of debate with others but I prefer it and honestly I like building my character on the fly in lane and in fights rather than having to go back to base and buy items or visit secret shops and/or wait for couriers that everyone else is vying for. I like the indispensability of creeps and not having to last hit for XP and gold I can focus on fighting from level 1 rather than farm for the first 10 to 15 minutes so I can then fight. Laning is important in HOTS but not in the same way it is LOL and Dota. With very few exceptions there's not "one-shotting" in HOTS. With years of experience in LOL and HOTS I can comfortably say that comebacks are more possible in HOTS than league. Hyper carries aren't as big in HOTS and it is in LOL and Dota and while all require teamwork in some way, HOTS is defined by teamwork. With very few exceptions a game of HOTS cannot be won without teamwork. Lastly, it's not uncommon for a game of LOL or Dota to last more than 45 minutes which means you're committed to a single game for close to or over an hour when factoring in picks. HOTS games average 20-30 minutes. Some may prefer staying in a single game for an hour, but I don't.
Fourthly, variability in maps and goals in HOTS keeps the game fresh for me. Summoners rift and Radiant/Dire gets old especially after thousands of games. HOTS is always different and more maps are being added. Some maps require more solo work than others (Warhead Junction, Sky Temple) and others are more team focused. Some you capture points and have to hold them to complete objectives and others you have to kill certain minions, or turn in coins, etc. In LOL and Dota you choose characters based on what the other teams pick. In HOTS you choose characters based on what the other teams pick and what map you're playing on which adds a layer of strategy that the other games don't have.
Fifthly, HOTS is more generous than LOL and Dota in rewarding its player base. With the exception of boosts, there's nothing in HOTS that cannot be bought with in-game currency (even boosts can be bought without spending a dime if you play enough). Recently, there were a few skins that had to be bought in bundles with gems but that was done away with and now there's nothing blocked with a pay wall. Every skin in LOL with the exception of a few has to be bought with real world currency. Dota 2 employs a different system that I'm not as familiar with but there are some items that have to be bought. I will however say that I like the way that Dota allows you to be able to equip different armor skins allowing one to mix and match. I wish others could do that as well.
Lastly, the player base is HOTS isn't nearly as toxic as LOL and Dota. I think there are some factors that help this and one of them is the absence of all chat in HOTS. I wish the other games would get rid of it as well. It's a big reason for a lot of the toxicity that exists in MOBAs. Don't get me wrong, I've seen some jerks in HOTS but they're fewer and far in between.
Negatively, the fact HOTS no longer has a pro scene really hurts the game and it's prospects at attracting newer players. Twitch viewership has never been on par with LOL or Dota but it has always been respectable and since the HGC was canceled HOTS typically sits between 1.5 and 2 thousand viewers so in the long run I worry about new players.
I think without a pro league there may be a potential for balance issues as well in the future so I'll be monitoring that. Blizzard announced that developers were being pulled from HOTS and moved to other projects leading to a drop in the release of content for the game with before the news very regularly added new content. The last hero to be released was Imperius and he was dropped in January I believe. It's not April and no new character which is concerning. There have been several character reworks since which is nice and some would even argue for having more reworks for existing heroes than new ones.
In conclusion, I've simply had more fun with HOTS. I've taken breaks, but I keep getting drawn back. My recent break was due to the Blizzard announcements on HGC and Developer/content changes, but I came back and will probably play this game until Blizzard closes it down. LOL and Dota 2 are great games too as evidenced by the thriving pro scenes and the often unreal viewership numbers on twitch so I'm sure I will have many that disagree with me on every point I've made, but this is the game for me and I stand by what I've said. If you haven't tried HOTS I implore you to do so. It's in my opinion more friendly to newcomers than the two. Thanks for reading my take!
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