Do you like MOBAs? Maybe you’ve heard of one called Heroes of Newerth. If not, allow me to enlighten you a little bit.
Heroes of Newerth (HoN) is a MOBA developed by S2 Games, a relatively small development company based in California. This title is heavily based on the acclaimed Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne custom map called Defense of the Ancients, better known as DOTA. Like other titles in the MOBA genre, Heroes of Newerth pits two teams of mystical characters against each other for dominance in a dynamic arena. Heroes of Newerth was originally launched in 2010, with a small, one-time fee that would buy you access to the game. In 2011, the title was re-launched as the F2P flagship of S2 Games.
It might be hard to believe, but Heroes of Newerth actually has a fairly fleshed out storyline. Much of this story was established before the game went F2P, but many of the elements remain intact to this day.
The name of the game actually refers to a time period that occurs within the ongoing Wars of Newerth. The storyline is based in the land of Newerth, in which The Legion, comprised of the tattered remnant of The Legion of Man and the Beast Horde, fight against the embodiments of the world’s negative energies, called The Hellbourne.
Each champion in Heroes of Newerth has a limited back story, allowing players to get a handle of the character that they are playing. Sort of. Listen, the story isn’t anything spectacular, but it does provide some modest depth to a genre that is often devoid of lore.
Heroes of Newerth is a typically MOBA. Two teams of five players compete against one another for domination and, sometimes, bragging rights. The game borrows so heavily from its predecessor, DOTA, that many of the champions are near copies of those that can be found in the WC3 custom map. Many of the same concepts that were established in DOTA, such as jungling, building up your champion through buying items, and creep management, are present in Heroes of Newerth.
Unlike other titles in the MOBA genre, Heroes of Newerth remains true to the core elements founded by DOTA. One of these is creep denying. In other MOBAs (League of Legends, I’m looking at you), players harvest creeps to get the money they need for OP items. In HoN, you can deny enemy players this ability by killing your own creeps. This prevents your opponents from getting the money that’s buried in a creep’s tiny pockets. HoN enthusiasts will argue that this takes a lot more skill that the passive farming that you see in LoL.
Sound and Graphics
MOBAs aren’t typically exemplars of photorealism or Academy Award-worthy musical pieces. HoN is, however, a visually appealing game, if you’re into a darker, grittier, version of LoL. Many of the skills, both in aesthetics and sound, are designed to reflect the harsher tone of the game. Even the announcer is much more threatening than those found in other MOBAs. That means this game’s got a lot of personality. In the Clint Eastwood sort of way.
Even though the graphics can seem dated at times, HoN makes up for what it lacks in originality with its impressive visuals and resonating sound effects.
PvP is pretty much all anyone cares about in a MOBA, honestly. You will, of course, get plenty of it in Heroes of Newerth. Though the game might not pull thousands of viewers on Twitch and OWn3d, there’s still a lot of people to play with.
Each champion has its own set of skills, as you’d expect, and they are all based on the particular theme of that champion. There’s support champions, carries, and all of that. You’ll have to pay attention to your team composition if you want to win, just like in any other MOBA out there. Usually, though, you’ll find that a decent carry will be able to win the entire game, even if the rest of the team are noobs.
If you’re looking for a break from League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth may be a good change of pace. There’s a steep learning curve associated with the game, much more so than LoL, but if you can master it you will arguably be better than any other LoL player in the world, if you listen to the HoN community.
And yes, there’s a lot of comparisons that go on between the two games. The general consensus amongst the HoN community is that their game takes more skill. The LoL community often scoffs at this notion, suggesting that, at least, their game is more accessible. Whatever the case, Heroes of Newerth is worth checking out if you’re a fan of MOBAs in general.