Did League Copy Dota?


MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games have become one of the most popular game genres globally, with games such as League of Legends and Dota 2 leading the pack. Over the years, there have been controversies surrounding the similarities between these two games, with Dota players and fans accusing Riot Games of copying Dota. In this article, we will take a closer look at whether League of Legends copied Dota and the legal disputes that ensued.

The Origins of Dota

Defense of the Ancients (DotA) is a custom map designed for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion, The Frozen Throne. It was first released in 2003 and quickly gained popularity within the Warcraft III community. DotA was created by a group of modders who were inspired by another custom map called Aeon of Strife from Starcraft.

The gameplay of DotA is based on two teams of five players, each controlling a hero with unique abilities, fighting to destroy the enemy team’s base. The game has a steep learning curve, and players must work together to win. The mechanics of DotA include last-hitting, denying, and creep blocking, which require precision and skill.

The success of DotA led to the development of Dota 2, which was released by Valve in 2013. Dota 2 is a remake of the original DotA, with improved graphics and gameplay mechanics. Dota 2 has a massive player base and is one of the most popular games on Steam.

The Rise of League of Legends

League of Legends is a MOBA game developed and published by Riot Games in 2009. The game was designed by a group of developers who were hardcore Dota players and wanted to create a game that was more accessible to new players. League of Legends has since become one of the most successful games in the world, with a massive player base and a thriving esports scene.

While League of Legends shares some similarities with Dota, such as the two-team structure and hero abilities, the games differ in many ways. League of Legends has a faster-paced gameplay, with shorter matches and more emphasis on team fights. The game also has a unique summoner system, where players can choose to take two spells into a game to complement their champion’s abilities.

Accusations of Copying

Dota players and fans have long accused Riot Games of copying Dota, citing similarities in hero abilities, items, and map design. Some players have even gone as far as to create side-by-side comparisons of Dota and League of Legends to prove their point. Dota fans argue that Riots Games copied their game mechanics, which were unique and innovative at the time.

Riot Games has denied these accusations, stating that while they were inspired by Dota, they created a game that was unique and accessible to more players. The company has also taken legal action against Valve, the creators of Dota 2, for trademark infringement and copyright violation. The legal disputes between the two companies have been ongoing for years, with no clear resolution in sight.

In conclusion, while there are similarities between Dota and League of Legends, it is unfair to say that Riot Games copied Dota. Riot Games was inspired by Dota, but they created a game that was unique and accessible to more players. The legal disputes between the two companies highlight the importance of protecting intellectual property and the challenges that arise when creating games within a popular genre.

Legal Disputes

The controversy surrounding the similarities between Dota and League of Legends led to legal battles between Valve, the developers of Dota 2, and Riot Games, the developers of League of Legends. In 2012, Riot Games filed a lawsuit against Valve, claiming that Dota 2 was a derivative work of DotA and that Valve had no right to use the name Dota.

Valve responded by arguing that DotA was a community-created mod and that they had acquired the rights to the name through their acquisition of IceFrog, the lead developer of DotA. Valve also filed a counterclaim, stating that Riot Games had infringed on their copyrights by copying elements of Dota in League of Legends.

After years of legal battles, Valve and Riot Games reached a settlement in 2012. Valve retained the commercial use of the Dota name, while Riot Games agreed to drop their lawsuit and acknowledge Valve’s ownership of the Dota name.


The controversy surrounding whether League of Legends copied Dota or not has had a significant impact on the gaming industry. The accusations of copying have sparked debates among fans of both games, with some arguing that League of Legends is a copy of Dota, while others believe that the games are entirely different.

Regardless of the outcome of the legal disputes, the controversy has brought attention to the importance of intellectual property rights in the gaming industry. It has also highlighted the need for game developers to create original content and avoid copying elements from other games.

In conclusion, while there may have been similarities between Dota and League of Legends, the legal battles have resolved that Valve owns the Dota name. The gaming industry must continue to prioritize originality and respect intellectual property rights to ensure the growth and success of the industry in the future.

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