As I don't play real-time strategy games all that often, I never played the Defense of the Ancients map of Warcraft III, nor any of the DotA-like games that were based on it. But having already been surprised this year against expectations how much I like World of Tanks (which isn't a Dota game, but still has arena PvP combat), I decided to give the most successful Dota-game a try: League of Legends.
I am not going to give a description or review of League of Legends, but only my personal impressions and experiences. The first thing that struck me was that I had to wait in a login queue for 5 minutes on my very first login. Given that League of Legends is 2 years old by now, I would have expected them having sufficient hardware and bandwidth by now. Once in the game I was offered a single-player tutorial which explained the basics of the game to me. After that I was encouraged to first try a battle with 4 fellow players against AI bots. Very good new player experience, I must say. World of Tanks is missing that, but somehow I doubt you could program an AI that is playing World of Tanks well. The LoL bots were playing very good, out of 3 games against the AI the bots even won one (okay, helped by one player disconnecting, but still). I bought my first champion with the influence points I earned in these battles, but that is about how far I got yet.
I doubt I will play a lot of League of Legends, or spend any money on that game. There are several things about the game I don't like: Combat is relatively twitchy, but battles are much longer than I would like. But what is probably the deciding factor is that I don't like pet classes in MMORPGs: In League of Legends the brunt of the work is done by AI-controlled minions mindlessly running down the three lanes, and the players always need to stay behind those minions. That is something I find really annoying. You spend half of the battle running away or teleporting back to your base to heal, waiting for the next group of minions behind which you can hide. I don't feel I have enough freedom of action in such a game.
Well, lots of people tell me that popular isn't the same as good for games. It follows that even if a game is good, not everybody has to like it. I don't like League of Legends. I'll play a few battles more to see various maps and aspects of the game, but then I most likely will uninstall the game again.