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Strife has a plan to beat LoL and Dota 2—and it might just work

Strife has a plan to beat LoL and Dota 2—and it might just work

| August 7, 2014

If you have been paying attention to the gaming trends over the past few years, you will know for a fact that MOBA games have overtaken MMORPGs in terms of popularity. This is why it’s no surprise how many companies have tried to get into the MOBA industry to develop their own game to compete with the big two titles—Valve’s Dota 2 and Riot’s League of Legends (LoL).


S2 Games is no stranger to this competition with its earlier MOBA game Heroes of Newerth (HoN), which was once part of the big three MOBA titles with LoL and Warcraft III (WC3) DotA, but didn’t quite make the cut when Dota 2 entered the fray. Now, S2 Games is looking at once again entering the MOBA fray with its “second-generation MOBA”, Strife. In a recent visit to the Philippines by S2 Games’ Chief Operating Officer (COO) Scott Valencia, he talked more about the future of Strife and its journey of steering away from the shadows of Dota 2 and LoL.

(See: 10 things you need to know about Strife)

Strife as a MOBA game: the plan is to be the ball

Valencia made an interesting comparison of the MOBA genre to basketball. For basketball, the level of play is not dependent on the ball, but on who is playing it. Elementary students can play basketball using the same ball as NBA players use, but still play it on their own level and have as much fun as the pros do when they play for a crowd.


For MOBA games, however, Valencia notes that the opposite applies. Gamers are defined by the title they play. According to Valencia, Dota 2 players are mainly considered “hardcore” while LoL players are more “casual”. This is one thing that Strife is not trying to do. Whether gameplay is casual or hardcore is supposed to be decided by the player, not the game. Now of course this sounds nice, but how is Strife planning to do this? Valencia shares that the key is to listen to the playerbase and give them what they want. Instead of telling players how this game is played, give them freedom to play the game however they want.


In line with this, none of Strife’s heroes fit into one role. Instead, players are able to use these heroes according to their desired play style by crafting and enchanting items. Depending on how you customize an item, a hero may play the role of a support to a damage dealer to a tank when you need or want it to be.

You also have to select your hero first before queueing the game. Aside from reducing toxicity by not having to fight with other players over the hero you want to play, it also allows you to be matched with players who are just as skilled. If you’re playing Moxie for the first time, you won’t get matched with a person who has played a hundred games with Ace.

(See: 5 reasons why you’re probably not going to suck at Strife)

Strife as a competitive game: focusing on the smaller tournaments

ESports is also growing at a very impressive rate. Back then, players used to play for mousepads or bragging rights. Now, we have prize pools as big as $10.9 million in the recently concluded The International 2014 (TI4), which is what S2 Games is doing the opposite of. Instead of giving a giant prize pool to a small group of people, Strife’s tournament prize pools are going to be spread across smaller tournaments to give everyone a chance to be recognized at a game they’re good at.


In fact, S2 Games is planning for two world finals in a year. There will be one short season and one long season with finals held in different locations every year. Aside from this, S2 Games will also be hosting a tournament in the Philippines with a total prize pool of PhP 500,000 ($11,424.66) towards the end of 2014. There will be both online and LAN matches with players being able to “earn prizes as they go” up until the finals where the teams will compete for a grand prize of PhP100,000 ($2,274.54).

(See: Asiasoft brings Strife to 6 Southeast Asian countries)

Strife venturing outside the shadows of LoL and Dota 2

At the end of the day and with what we know so far, Strife is still far from perfect, but at the same time, it is still a game under development. With that being said, there is still room for change and experiments. The idea of listening to your consumers is not entirely new, as Valve is a company known for the policy of “not competing with your customers” and based on what we’ve seen from the company so far, it works. The key here, however, is to figure out is sorting the good from the bad. After all, you can never satisfy everyone.


Strife’s ideas sound fresh and interesting. I’ve said before that you can’t approach Strife the same way you approach Dota 2 and LoL because you will end up looking for features that aren’t there. With that said, I don’t think Strife should be or is focusing to get Dota 2 and LoL’s audience and instead look at the players that these two games haven’t satisfied yet. This is one big reason why I think most MOBA games fail to make it in the industry: you can’t face Dota 2 and LoL head on by making a clone of it. Instead, you should make something new and different, but still within the genre. Blizzard understands this with Heroes of the Storm, but the question of “will it be enough” has yet to be answered.

strife 2013-12-18 22-00-33-62

With the strong impression that the big two have made in the MOBA industry, S2 Games has its work cut out. These two games have basically defined what people think MOBAs are supposed to be and Strife will be met by resistance to change. News of MOBA games failing to break the trend is nothing new, but should S2 Games succeed, it would be interesting to see what this could spell for the genre as a whole.

S2 Games hints on open beta, touraments, additional features, and a lot of other “exciting things” it has for Strife, but are saving it for a grand announcement sometime at the end of this month so make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for news and updates. If you’re curious about Strife, you can create an account here and sign up for closed beta here.

Learn more about Strife:
  • Strife review: NOT another LoL or Dota clone


The latest second generation MOBA game by S2 Game and Asiasoft has finally entered closed beta. Here's what we think.

  • Tj Naparan


  • Pendekar Afiq


  • Paul Justin Siojo

    What about HON?

  • Ervan Andreas

    impossible for the amount of mobas out there even a unique one can’t even beats dota/lol

  • Kyle Fuentes


  • Van Derps

    good luck beating LOL

  • Christian John Roudier Agcol

    no ty. it looks so ugleeeh

  • Emmanuel Baguiojr

    good luck beating lol and dota 2

  • Kevin Ollicetnom

    What a jokeeee

  • Christian Paolo Tanchoco Talagon

    Dota will always be Dota

  • Emelann Chan

    Wtf is a strife I only know Hon other than lol and dota

  • IMxsonx

    strife is good, but NO!

  • Zeb Zab

    Maybe doing $20m tourney?

  • Kalvli Zetsubo Okalvli
  • Keniver Woo

    Honestly speaking i do not see strife being capable of beating LoL much less Dota2. The reason why Dota2 is popular is because of its gameplay’s difficulty, the cohesion and interaction between mechanism which makes it all satisfying.

    I have played Strife for a good 2 months even when it was in CBT. The game shoots itself in the foot by being too easy to understand and to play. The mechanism and combinations are extremely easy to time and to execute. With a tweak or two with the upgrades and pets, i easily took down the 2 carries of the opponent team with my Ace and then proceeded with a team wipe by myself, alone. No reinforcement or help whatsoever. It is not that the hero is OP but rather the game is too predictable and easy to execute.

    Visual/graphic wise it adopts a stylized look, similar to that of League. However, even with similar look with league, the optimization of the game is neglected. Running on a high end gaming PC, i still experience graphic spikes in between my games. I never experienced it once in League or Dota2. This is the 2nd reason why this game falls short.

    There is still quite a list of things i can mention about it falling short behind the two giants, things like repeated mechanism, minor level design
    defects etc.

    In conclusion, this game still needs about 5 years or even more to at least be slightly underneath the two giants. It takes too much of work to be able to keep up with the two moba giants, much less overtake it.

  • Kiiven Ü Oppa

    i’ve played it, and only in the first games it was awesome, after that i just came back playing dota 2. it was meh

  • Paulo Morla

    Graphics looks like mikey mouse clubhouse, im sure that league of lesbians is a way better than this

  • Louis Daniel

    Is this a satire article? Because frankly, I really do feel that this is a satire article.

  • Paul Wong

    M.I.C.K.E.Y M.O.U.S.E

  • Dion Sevidal

    I played this. Its more fun and much better than LOL, I love the game mechanics and my favorite hero was Rook, this will definitely kill LOL here in the Philippines but not DOTA2. IMO

  • Choon Ho

    fuck you mickey mouse. GO HOME PLEASE

  • Joshua Garcia

    lol is everywhere

  • Ichirei Sakasama

    Its not trying to beat Dota 2 though, its trying to appeal to LoL’s Casual player-base. As far as I’m concerned Dota 2 and LoL are the same genre appealing to different player-base.

  • DyeyDyey Celestial Orquiza

    tang ina anung panama niyan sa lol at dota 2 ee nakakaantok mga laro ng s2games lalo na ung hon pota para kang nasapanaginep pag nilalaro mu yun

  • Jayson Bartolome

    Erik De Torres

  • SAm VM

    strife can kill LoL?nope..!!!10mil prizepool didn’t even hurt is the FUN that people are looking for..not large prizepools or game dificulty level..

  • aj

    lol Strife will never beat any of those mobas.The only moba that will even have a chance is Heroes of The Storm.

  • Happy

    I’m a Strife player but I’ve never played DotA2 and LOL, only DotA. And the game is fast-paced, fun, and easy to play for someone who’s a beginner in MOBAs. They said less toxic ‘cos there’s no all chat while playing, but it’s after the game. And yea, it’s true, you can build any type for most heroes. That’s why it’s fun.

    • Rina Dz

      where to download strife?

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  • Martin Ng

    Good luck!

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