The MOBA genre wouldn’t be enough to find enough alternatives. We need to look deeper to find the best games like League of Legends.
LoL is one of the top populated multiplayer games, maybe only after Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It has over 700K concurrent players at any moment and about 200K average views on Twitch.
One of the reasons for its success is its continuous influx of new players. However, perhaps you tried it and are looking for something else. Or maybe you don’t want to go back to the Nexus anymore.
Regardless, we’re looking for the best games like League of Legends to satisfy your competitive needs.
Selecting Games Like League of Legends
We believe LoL fans would like games featuring a mix or a twist of Riot Games’ elements:
- Genre: LoL is a team-based multiplayer online battle arena, a MOBA. It also uses a top-down perspective and action-RPG combat.
- Price: The title is free-to-play. Micro-transactions only include apparel for customization.
- Team-based Battle: You play as part of a 5-player team. Each squad defends one-half of the map and needs to destroy the enemy’s base for victory.
- Combat: With isometric detail, you use your click for aiming and moving. You also use your skills and items on your action bar.
- Heroes: There’re over 140 heroes on LoL, and each has five unique abilities.
- Progression: Your hero earns XP and currency by defeating other heroes, mobs, and enemy NPCs.
- Level Up: You gain skill points as you level up on matches. You invest these points to upgrade or unlock your skills until level 18.
- Store: You can purchase items for your hero in your base’s store. The more currency you have, the better things you can buy.
- Snowball Effect: A winning streak can quickly become irreversible because heroes level and buy items by defeating other heroes.
- Individual-level: You earn XP and gold if you make the final blow, so LoL rewards skill level and encourages “carrying” the team and stealing kills.
- Roles: There’re no set “roles,” but each player should fill a role within the squad.
- Lanes: The maps have three lines, plus a middle jungle. Each team member should also occupy one of these lines or the jungle.
- Enemy NPCs: There’re enemy NPCs in jungles and other areas. They drop gold and award XP.
- Mobs: Each base includes mobs and defensive towers. Pushing through the lanes includes defeating towers and mobs.
- Beginner-friendly: You can only access ranked 5v5 PvP after reaching level 30 on your account on other game modes. It allows newcomers to learn.
- Extra Skills: Reaching level 30 also unlock extra skills, apparel, and game modes.
- Extra Game Modes: Additional game modes bend the rules of ranked 5v5, or allow you to play with the AI.
Overall, League of Legends is highly competitive and challenging. The amount of heroes and skills is time-consuming to understand. Moreover, how different heroes counter or complement each other adds extra complexity.
But because you need to level up before playing against others, you may have the time to learn its mechanics.
So, we’re looking for games like League of Legends that maintain these core values. They should be highly competitive team-based games with hero or RPG systems.
Games Like League of Legends
- Developer: Valve
- Publisher: Valve
- Release Date: July 2013
- Platform: Windows, Linux, macOS X, Steam OS
Dota 2, another MOBA precursor, is a sequel to Defense of the Ancients. It’s the second most populated game on Steam, so it’s the biggest rival LoL has. But compared to Riot Games’ title, it’s more complex and has more game modes that alter the rules.
Gameplay-wise, it’s quite similar to LoL. It’s a 5v5 match, and each team must destroy the enemy base. The singular map has three lanes, a jungle full of NPC enemies, towers, and mobs.
There’re over 120 heroes on Dota 2, each featuring three unique skills plus an ultimate ability. As a singular element, they earn skill points when they level up. Then, you get to spend skill points on their abilities up until level 25.
Additionally, you earn currency by defeating enemy heroes, towers, mobs, and neutral monsters. You then spend the currency in the store. Choices seem more complex than on LoL because you can customize your heroes as they level up.
Lastly, rather than just cooldown on abilities, heroes use “mana points” to use skills. Similarly, heroes have primary attributes that affect their health and damage, and you can increase these stats with your gear.
Heroes of the Storm
- Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
- Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
- Release Date: June 2015
- Platform: Windows, macOS
Heroes of the Storm is a unique and free-to-play MOBA. In particular, it uses characters from different Blizzard games as heroes. Each features skills pertinent to their world, characteristics, and games.
On top of iconic heroes like Jim Raynor or Thrall, HotS has another special element. It offers about 15 unique maps, and every map has different layouts, objectives, camps, cores, gimmicks, monsters, and more. That makes the game incredibly dynamic.
More importantly, the hero design is amazing. You earn skill points as you level, and can you every three-level on active and passive skills. Then, upon reaching level 10, you can unlock one of two ultimate skills. You can’t unlock both in a match, but you’ll always have the chance to test a hero again.
Another particular element is progression. The game heavily depends on teamwork, as all team members share experience points. So, you can’t carry a team and won’t be left behind. You either win or lose together.
While it’s not as popular as it used to be, it has about 100K players worldwide, and the community is still active and loyal. The main reason for the game’s devolution since its massively successful debut is the lack of developer support and the non-existent eSports scene.
- Developer: Titan Forge Games
- Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios, Tencent Games
- Release Date: March 2014
- Platform: Windows, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch
Smite is another free-to-play MOBA. The difference is the visuals: it’s not isometric, as it’s instead a third-person title. Also, it has cell-shaded graphics, like Ubisoft’s Immortals Fenyx Rising or Zelda: BotW.
You control mythological creatures like gods, goddesses, or monsters. Then, join one of the various PvP modes and use your mystical powers for your team and against your enemies. Some of the characters available include Thor, Loki, Medusa, Sun Wukong, and the Monkey King.
The game features over 120 playable gods, and each one has four skills tied to your action bar, plus passives and an attack. The visuals result in action-RPG all-out combat. Moreover, as you don’t have a full 360 view, ambushes, stealth, and strategic positioning play a huge role in the game.
The largest game mode is Conquest, which can feature team sizes anywhere from a single player to five players per team. Then, you choose a character from one of the five classes, but you can’t repeat a class within a team.
Lastly, each mode has its map, but all of them are familiar. As typical of the genre, there’re lanes, NPC enemies, a jungle, etc. Also, as you play, you unlock skill points to level up, upgrade your skills, and earn currency to buy items on the map store.
Team Fortress 2
- Developer: Valve
- Publisher: Valve
- Release Date: October 2007
- Platform: Windows, Xbox 360, PS4, macOS X, SteamOS, Linux
Team Fortress 2 is a team-based hero third-person shooter. There’re nine classes to choose from, 16 players per match, objective-based competitions, and various game modes to try.
In essence, you either push towards positions or defense positions. You’d be familiar with the setting if you have played Overwatch. But then, Valve continuously updates the game with modes, rules, maps, equipment, and apparel.
These classes come with unique abilities, weapons, and gadgets. Some are pretty straightforward, but others require some practice to master. Moreover, squads require teamwork and strategy to complete objectives.
Regarding objectives, different game modes alter the victory condition. There’re Capture the Flag, Control Point, Arena, King of the Hill, Payload, and other modes. There’re also hundreds of weapons and apparel to customize your character.
Lastly, Team Fortress 2 is a Steam exclusive because it is a Valve title. And despite its age, it has over 70K concurrent players daily. It’s still massively popular, and I’d say it’s the most fun game on the list.
- Developer: Respawn Entertainment
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Release Date: February 2019
- Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS
Apex Legends is a free-to-play hero FPS and a Battle Royale. It’s like playing Warzone but with powers and super-fast traversal abilities. That makes it incredibly complex, as tactical shooters already require high player skills.
First, you play as part of a 3-player squad on maps with 64 players. Your mission is becoming the last team or the last man standing. You can do it by hiding and running, or you can do it guns blazing.
But before you join matches, you choose one of the 18 available heroes. Each has a unique ability, a traversal ability, a weapon, and a gadget (commonly). They also fill a role within the squad, and you must be mindful of how to combine your skills.
The squad play is strategic, and the maps are dynamic. You’ll encounter huge open areas, floating fields, and close-quarter Arenas. It means you should be ready to think fast and adapt. Also, you need to explore the map to find weapons and ammo.
Lastly, fast traversal is one of the special elements of Apex Legends. Characters move fast, teleport, grapple, double jump, and similar. Movement and weapons have an innate rhythm you must master to survive, defeat, and win.
- Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
- Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
- Release Date: May 2016
- Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows (cross-play available)
Overwatch is a team-based hero shooter offering 6v6 matches. Compared to others on the list, characters can take a lot of punishment, so battles become intense back & forth struggles.
The tug of war comes courtesy of three classes. Each hero you pick is either a Tank, a DPS, or a Support (healers, buffs, and debuffs). The main game mode forces the team to pick two of each, meaning each member must fill a role and behave in specific ways.
Characters also come with unique skills, and ultimate, a weapon, and sometimes traversal movements. These abilities depend on the class, so a Tank may have two defensive skills. Also, the Ultimate charges up depending on your performance.
Then, matches are objective-based and go in rounds. For instance, you defend or attack positions in the first round and then do the opposite in the next. The competition finishes after various contests, and the team with the most points wins.
Lastly, micro-transactions offer many apparels, gestures, animations, and similar. You can also unlock these items by playing and special events. You can customize your heroes with these skins to make them look different from other players.
- Developer: Riot Games
- Publisher: Riot Games
- Release Date: June 2020
- Platform: Windows
Valorant comes from LoL’s creators, Riot Games, and it’s equally popular. This is a free-to-play hero FPS with deep tactical elements. It’s where Counter-Strike and Valorant meet.
You play as part of a five-team match. Matches go in rounds, and you start with a barebones pistol on round one and the midpoint round. And at the beginning of each round, you can buy items from the store with the currency you earned.
Before joining the competition, you pick an Agent. Each agent belongs to a class and has unique abilities and an ultimate skill. These abilities have a cooldown system, “charges.” You charge your skills by killing enemies, finding orbs, or completing objectives.
Winning a match requires completing an objective. The main game mode is about defending or attacking positions, which is equally challenging. In particular, the game weapons bullet patterns, recoils, and similar mechanics.
Lastly, additional game modes include non-ranked games or tweak the rules of the main competition. For instance, they’re 7-round games, 13-round games, and more. But before joining ranked PvP, you must win a series of unranked matches.
- Developer: Evil Mojo Games
- Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios
- Release Date: May 2018(Full Launch)
- Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Paladins is a free-to-play game, but it’s not a MOBA. Instead, it’s a team-based first-person shooter. Heroes wield magic, guns, customizable abilities, and mounts.
You can select one of the Champions to join 5v5 matches on different maps. Each champion fills one of the five roles, like tank or DPS. Teamwork, as well as filling these roles properly, is key to victory.
Moreover, each role features different types of skills and weapons. They also have four unique skills, plus an ultimate ability. Heroes fall quickly, so battles are short, intense, and frantic.
A unique element is the deckbuilding system. First, you unlock champions plus loud outs for your characters. These are five cards and modifiers, and each hero has a default loadout. You’ll earn more cards as you play to create custom loadouts, which grant skills, passives, and other modifiers.
The loadout system allows you to customize unique heroes to fit your playstyle. There’re no rules, and developers keep adding cards and heroes to grant more “RPG” elements further.
Escape from Tarkov
- Developer: Battlestate Games
- Publisher: Battlestate Games
- Release Date: July 2017
- Platform: Windows, MacOS
If you’re looking for a challenge, you should try Escape from Tarkov, even if it strays far from the MOBA genre. This is a PvPvE FPS that revolves around raids. It also includes localized damage, complex healing supplies, survival stats, and more.
You create a character and join one of the two factions. If you make a private soldier, your character goes in and out of one of the different maps. The idea is to get as much loot as possible and escape through specific areas.
The loot you scavenge, trade, or gain with trader rewards is yours if you survive. You can use it to craft your gear if you return to your offline hideout. Then, you choose your loadout and go to the raids. And if you die on the raid, you lose everything you carry.
Alternatively, you can create a “Scav” character. You’d be part of the enemy NPC faction, a series of mobs and bosses on the maps. Your job would be to stop other players and stealing their loot. As before, you can survive and take the rewards or die to regret it.
Lastly, the RPG systems are deep and complex. You level up in multiple skill trees by doing specific actions. For example, firing pistols increase pistol skills. But then, you lose XP over time if you don’t exercise these areas enough.
- Developer: Rogue Planet Games
- Publisher: Daybreak Game Company
- Release Date: November 2012
- Platform: Windows, PS4
Planetside 2 is a free-to-play sci-fi FPS featuring all-out multiplayer planetside battles. In fact, matches support up to 2,000 players per match, but you wouldn’t find as many players currently.
Maps spawn across enormous continents. Then, you fight on the ground, land, and air. You need teamwork, lots of bullets, and heavy artillery to defeat your enemies in a massive battle.
First, you join a match as one of the two teams and then deploy on a map area. The battles can last for days and weeks, so you can go in and go out at any moment to contribute to your team.
Combat is quite challenging as well, and it requires a lot of skill. That’s because the game includes a class system, a large skill tree, a large arsenal, and massive battles.
Lastly, you join as one of the three rival empires. Each has specific weapons, vehicles, abilities, and attachments. Winning requires taking strategic positions, extracting resources, and conquering territory.
World of Tanks Blitz
- Developer: Wargaming Minsk
- Publisher: Wargaming
- Release Date: August 2010
- Platform: Windows, macOS, Xbox One, PS4, iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch
World of Tanks is an MMO competitive game featuring combat vehicles. It’s a free-to-play game, but it has plenty of premium elements you may want to buy. Also, it’s one of the most popular games for PC.
The title focuses on PvP gameplay. You control an armorer vehicle, and you can choose models from 1910 to 1970. Then, you combat in third-person to take down your opponent’s tank.
You play as part of a 7-player team. The gameplay allows you to move, aim, shoot, and communicate with your team members. Additional game mechanics include shell ricochets, personnel damage, module damage, camouflage, and more.
You can also choose six types of battles. These are random, training, team, solo, stronghold, special, and more. Extra modes add historical settings and vehicles or allow you to play as part of a 3-player platoon.
Overall, the game includes over 300 different vehicles and about 26 battle arenas for free. You can unlock 10 tank tiers, upgrade your tank, and complete the mission for in-game bonuses.
Arena of Valor
- Developer: TiMi Studio Group
- Publisher: Level Infinite
- Release Date: October 2016
- Platform: Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch
Arena of Valor is a 3D MOBA for smartphones only. It’s quite similar to League of Legends, and the scope is massive for a mobile game. For example, there’re over 100 heroes available.
You pick a hero, and each hero belongs to one of the five classes. Then, you join a 5v5 match. As usual, each team defends a base and advances on lanes towards the opposite side of the map. You defeat mobs, enemy heroes, and towers until reaching and destroying their base core.
As you play, you earn gold to purchase items and the shop. You also level up to get skill points, which you use to unlock and upgrade your skills. These skills are tied to the right side of the screen, and because you play with your fingers, the title may feel clumsier – there’s controller support, though.
Matches themselves reward gold for extra purchases. You can unlock more heroes, apparel, and similar. Also, like on LoL, you unlock new game modes as your account levels up.
The main mode is a 12-18 minutes 5v5 match. Additional game modes include 1v1 and 3v3 matches. Also, there’re various modifiers for the main arena battle and constant developer support for new maps and heroes.