In the last decade or so, eSports have completely transformed their image. Once seen as nothing more than a waste of time, they have now become a dedicated discipline commanding as much training and concentration as any traditional sport. With mammoth amounts of prize money (and attractive e-Sports betting odds for spectators) on offer, there’s plenty to get excited about in this innovative new area.
Diablo 3 and League of Legends (LoL) are just two of the titles which regularly crop up when it comes to debating the best eSports games out there. Although both are inherently different (the former is a hack-and-slash role-playing game, while the latter is a multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA, game), a comparison of the two can be useful to those new to eSports. With that in mind, we take a closer look into the credentials of each below.
Although not the first MOBA eSport (that particular accolade belongs to Dota 2), LoL has certainly made a strong claim to be the most popular MOBA option on the market. Developed by Riot Games, LoL has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2009.
Ten years on, LoL reached its peak of popularity, with some eight million active players. It’s also the most fiercely contested eSport, with 12 international leagues culminating in the World Championships each year. In 2019, around 100 million viewers tuned in to watch the action fold, with 44 million watching the finals at the same time.
Indeed, viewership and in-person attendance at LoL events has even eclipsed those recorded by major sporting events, such as NBA matches, baseball’s World Series and ice hockey’s Stanley Cup. That has prompted the New York Times to dub LoL "the main attraction" of eSports in the past.
This massive popularity, alongside the huge sums that are earned by the eSport’s most accomplished players, make a strong case for it to be considered more popular than Diablo 3. For example, there are over 20 LoL players who have made more than half a million dollars from their profession at the time of writing, while one (Faker) has earned over $1,000,000. No small chunk of change.
Launched in 2013, Diablo 3 broke records by selling over 3.5 million copies in the first 24 hours of its release. That made it the fastest-selling PC game of all time, while its enduring popularity means that it has sold tens of millions of copies today.
So what makes Diablo 3 such a popular option among gamers? Well, it’s intuitive to play, with easy-to-use controls and a progressive storyline that’s engaging without being taxing. Anyone can pick up a copy of Diablo 3 and manipulate the joystick effectively almost immediately - though of course, it takes hours upon hours of practice to truly master its gameplay.
Another reason why Diablo 3 remains so highly regarded is the variation it offers. Map layouts are constantly changing, while loot drops are always interesting due to the fact that no two are ever the same. That means that every time you launch a new game of Diablo 3, it won’t be quite like any other you’ve played before – and you can continue playing indefinitely if you want to.
Finally, Diablo 3 boasts around one million unique players per day, while the imminent release of Diablo 4 (due out next year) means that it’s likely to experience an upsurge in popularity once again.
While both Diablo 3 and LoL are hugely popular games (and eSports) in their own right, the latter does boast more impressive player numbers and prize pools than the former. However, it’s difficult to conduct a like-by-like comparison of the two due to the vastly different nature of their gameplay.