Game Systems (Experience): DotA vs. League of Legends

This is an analytical study and comparison of aspects of the experience systems in both DotA and League of Legends. Analysis and conclusions made are drawn from game specific behavioral observations and the experience systems analyzed. No other systems are directly calculated into the conclusions for the purposes of understanding the impact of the experience system exclusively to each game respectively. The experience values calculated are based on the Summoner’s Rift variant of League of Legends.

— Total Experience Required —

Graphs / Data

The total experience required ratios in both DotA and League of Legends are incredibly similar. Both use a functional curve to generate the total amount of experienced required to level per level. We can assume then that the potential experience rate of an individual player is approximately equivalent in both games.

Short Analysis

What is interesting is that while there is a slight curve in both graphs, the distance between two neighboring points are approximately equidistant from one another. This means that, from exclusively numbers, that the difficulty to level per level is approximately the same.

It is also likely that a given player will level at varying rates, which produces a tug-of-war effect among players when it comes to experience gain and leveling. This creates a more dynamic back-and-forth scenario, which adds to the drama and excitement that a player or spectator might experience as the game goes later into a match. Similarly, a snowball effect is an equally viable scenario since the experience required ratio is fairly unbiased from level to level.

— Hero / Champion Kills Experience —

(S-Curve Model for Champion Kill Experience as explained by Riot Games)

Graphs / Data

The experience curves that you see between DotA and League of Legends are relatively different. DotA relies almost exclusively on a functional linear curve, with some variation depending on level. While League of Legends also uses a linear function for same-level kills, their varied level kills is dictated by an S-curve function. This is a result of their experience system taking into account for more or less experience based on the level of the slain champion.

Short Analysis

This is perhaps the largest difference between DotA and League of Legends when it comes to the experience system. In DotA, each kill is a flat amount of experience gained, based on the level of hero killed. Additionally, based directly on numbers and player experience, DotA provides far more experience per hero kill, which could result in multiple level-ups depending on the situation. This allows for snowballing to occur more easily while being able to progress the game at a faster rate.

For League of Legends, the philosophy of this game is demonstrated with their experience system. With this system, varied level kills are more accounted for and tailored to a more casual experience. Since the experience system is derivative of an S-curve, the amount of experience gained for killing lower leveled players is less, and kill higher leveled is more. Fairly simple to understand, however, there are few implications with using this system.

The first is that games will naturally become longer provided players kill other players frequently. Since there isn’t a flat amount of experience gained per level of player, then the experience rate is not constant, and therefore unreliable, resulting in longer games. Additionally, snowballing should be less likely, due to the drop of experience that a player can receive per kill (depending on the situation).

The second notable influence is that this system attempts to promote the killing of higher level players over lower level players. Numerically speaking from the experience system exclusively, this would be a logical conclusion. As a player however, I don’t believe this to be the case. This is due to the fact that a player who is alive, getting gold, and is able to contribute in a team fight (no matter how large or small), is better off being dead than alive as an opposing player. Regardless, the experience system itself does support the notion of killing the higher level players over lower levels.

— Hero / Champion Assists Experience —

Graphs / Data

DotA provides experience to any allied player within 1000 units of an enemy killed, regardless of contribution. This experience is split among all allied players within the specified range. Simply, the more heroes that were in the area of a kill, the less experience each allied player receives.

League of Legends provides an allied player with an assist if a given player has contributed to a fight and was within the last 10 seconds. A player who has earned an assist will evenly split the total experience awarded from the slain enemy player. You must be part of an assist to receive experience.

Short Analysis

This is an interesting distinction between DotA and League of Legends. By DotA providing experience to any allied player in range of a kill, it allows for players to more easily level up, as well as give reward to those players who may have influence a fight without actually fighting (such as blocking a path).

League of Legends demonstrates the concept of rewarding action, so only players who actively participate in a fight, within a specific duration, are rewarded experience. This makes leveling as a group slower while promoting individual contribution through direct action. Based on theory and observation, this difference could be a contributing factor towards seeing better team plays in DotA compared League of Legends.

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~ by rhickman-design on May 4, 2012.