One big problem with LoL items is driving players to Dota 2

Active or passive?
Some creeps from Dota 2 sweeping up around a shop.
Image via Valve

League of Legends players this week can’t help but admit the item offerings in the MOBA are getting boring compared to rival game Dota 2—to the point where some are preparing to make a switch to the Valve title just for the items and builds on offer.

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The discussion was sparked on Dota 2’s subreddit on Dec. 4 after one player claimed the items are so good in the Valve MOBA, they wished they could take them into League. The player specifically mentioned popular items like Aether Lens, which grants mana and spell cast range, and Refreshed Orb, which resets all spell and item cooldowns, were too fun to pass up.

The Shopkeeper from Dota 2, standing with a staff and pointing as he awaits payment for an item.
Dota 2’s Shopkeeper has wares if you have coin. Image via Valve

The player also mentioned the incredibly unique but complex Aghanim’s Scepter and Aghanim’s Shard—Dota items that enhance each hero’s abilities or passives in different ways—lamenting that such unique and interesting items just don’t exist in the Riot Games MOBA.

Another player added they had only just gotten into League and were shocked at the “dearth” of active items and counter-strategies, noticing it felt more optimized but suffered as a result. “I can see the fun in that but it really is a different game,” they said.

The crux of the complaints about League’s items stems from a lack of dynamic active abilities compared to its Dota counterparts. Many of Dota’s items grant an active effect on a shorter cooldown, making players feel like they have more power and control over a team fight and thus, the game as a whole. Compare that to League, where players feel the incredibly long cooldowns and minimal team fight engagement means they have little to no impact, with most static champion builds preferring passive stat-based items instead.

This matches the approach taken by Riot devs who revealed their stance on the impact items should have in the game as part of their 2024 Mythic item rework. In November, Riot dev Nick “Endstep” Frijia revealed the team believed champions are a “richer, more compelling, and more immersive way to deliver gameplay fantasies and experiences than items are,” adding the team was “unhappy” with how much impact items took away from the game’s champs. “League needs to support players who want to attach to specific characters or gameplay fantasies rather than systemic ones from items.”

That’s not to say Dota’s active items aren’t often overpowered, with the likes of Spirit Vessel, Black King Bar, and Blade Mail all shining brighter than their alternatives over recent patches and at tournaments according to stats site Dotabuff.

All eyes will be on League’s Mythic item rework and how players adjust to the changes in 2024 but in the meantime, there’s never been a better time to try either MOBA if you’ve ever been curious to know the differences. For those coming to Dota, we’ve got a fresh Blink Dagger waiting for you, while for those off to League, I hope you don’t mind waiting five minutes for Flash.

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Author
Nicholas Taifalos
Weekend editor for Dot Esports. Nick, better known as Taffy, began his esports career in commentary, switching to journalism with a focus on Oceanic esports, particularly Counter-Strike and Dota. Email: nicholas@dotesports.com