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Heroes of Newerth

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Subject: S2 Games, Garena, Multiplayer online battle arena, List of esports games, Smite (video game)
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Heroes of Newerth

Heroes of Newerth

Developer(s) S2 Games
Publisher(s) S2 Games
Designer(s) James Fielding
Alan Cacciamani
Pu Liu
Brent Wiedmer
Matthew Knizacky
Artist(s) Jesse Hayes
Joseph Crack
Bruce Glidewell
Aaron Holley
Jeremy Moe
Carlos Muchaca
Ari Targownik
Composer(s) Arnej Šećerkadić
Engine K2 engine
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
Release date(s) May 12, 2010
Genre(s) Multiplayer online battle arena
Mode(s) Multiplayer
Distribution Digital distribution

Heroes of Newerth (HoN) is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game developed by S2 Games for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.[1] The game idea was derived from the Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne custom map Defense of the Ancients and is S2 Games' first MOBA title.[2] The game was released on May 12, 2010 and re-released as a free-to-play game on July 29, 2011.[3]



Heroes of Newerth pits two teams of players against each other: the Legion and the Hellbourne.[4] Both teams are based at opposite corners of the map in their respective bases. Bases consist of buildings, creep spawn points, towers, a hero spawning pool, and a central structure. The goal of the game is to either destroy the central structure, the World Tree (Legion) or Sacrificial Shrine (Hellbourne), of the opposite base or force the other team to concede. Players achieve this by selecting heroes with unique skills to combat the other team.

Game modes and matchmaking

The different game modes are: Co-op, Player Hosted, Normal, and Casual. Co-op matches players either with other players or with bots against a team of bots. Player Hosted allows players to customize their games and then host them to a list for others to join. Casual is similar to a Normal game in terms of layout and game play. However, they differ in other ways such as an included courier for each side at the start of the game and increased gold and experience earnings throughout each match.

In Matchmaking games, Heroes of Newerth groups players by their Match Making Rating (MMR) via an algorithm. A new player has an MMR of 1500 and then each ranked game played changes that MMR, going up if the player wins and down if the player loses.

Hero breakdown

As of 18 August 2014 there are 123 playable heroes.[5] Each game, a player chooses one hero to be for the duration of the match. Every hero has four abilities that may be acquired and upgraded as the hero gains experience and levels up, defaulted to keys "Q", "W", "E", and "R". An ability can be leveled up whenever the hero's level goes up. "R" is the hero's ultimate and can only be leveled up when the hero reaches level 6.

Experience is gained for being within the range of enemy units when they are killed. The maximum level a hero may achieve is 25 and the experience required per level gain increases with each new level. The player obtains gold though periodic income and combat experience, which is used for buying items that increase the power of his or her character.

Heroes are grouped by their main attribute. The three types are Agility, Intelligence, and Strength. Usually, Agility heroes rely on their basic attacks and go for damage per second (DPS). Intelligence heroes maximize the use of their abilities and try to maximize the amount of Mana they have. Strength heroes can take the most damage and increase their health and armor.[6]

Heroes also are grouped by their attack type. The two attack types are melee and ranged. Melee can only attack units next to the hero. Ranged heroes can shoot units from farther away, although heroes can use skills that are both melee and ranged.


In October 2009, Associate Game Designer Alan "Idejder" Cacciamani claimed that Heroes of Newerth had been in development for "34 months, but the first 13 were spent on engine development. The entirety of assets, including maps, items, heroes, and art were made in 21 months."[7]

New features, balance changes and new heroes are regularly introduced with patches. Most game mechanics and many heroes in Heroes of Newerth are heavily based on Defense of the Ancients. The additions that differentiate Heroes of Newerth from Defense of the Ancients are features independent from game play; such as tracking of individual statistics, in-game voice communication, GUI-streamlined hero selection, game reconnection, match making, player banlists, penalties for leaving and chat features. Several features added via updates include a Hero Compendium (a list of the heroes in the game with detailed statistics about them), the ability to set a "following" trait on a friend which makes the player join/leave the games that a friend joins (similar to the "party" feature in other games), an in-game ladder system, and a map editor. The game uses S2 Games' proprietary K2 Engine and a client-server model similar to that used in many modern multiplayer games.[8][9]

Heroes of Newerth was in beta from April 24, 2009 until May 12, 2010. Throughout this time, over 3,000,000 unique accounts were registered.[10] S2 Games used a Facebook fan page and word of mouth to attract players to the game. Many people who had bought one of S2 Games' previous games also received an invitation to the game through their registered email.

On August 22, 2009, the pre-sale of Heroes of Newerth began for members of the closed beta. Players who purchased the game at this time received additional benefits, including name reservation, gold-colored nameplate, gold shield insignia, and an in-game taunt ability. Open beta testing for Heroes of Newerth began on March 31, 2010, and ran until May 12, 2010, when the game was officially released.[11][12]

S2 Games released Heroes of Newerth 2.0 on December 13, 2010.[13] Features included in the update were casual mode, a new user interface, team matchmaking, an in-game store, and an offline map editor.[14][15] Microtransactions were also introduced via the in-game store with the use of coins.[16] Coins can be used to purchase cosmetic changes within the game, such as alternative hero skins, avatars, and customized announcer voices.[17][18] The in-game currency can either be purchased with real life currency or earned via Matchmaking games.[19][20]

S2 Games released Heroes of Newerth as a free-to-play game on July 29, 2011.[3] Accounts that were purchased before this date retained access to all content and updates without additional charges. Accounts made after this had 15 free-rotating heroes to choose from; the 15 heroes rotated every week. These accounts only had access to the game mode All Pick. Through purchasing coins or earning them in play, players could purchase the ability to use additional heroes. Players had to pay for tokens to play additional game modes, so that they could temporarily have the hero pool available to provide balance in hero selection.[21]

On July 19, 2012, nearly 1 year after announcing its free-to-play model S2 Games announced publicly that the game would be completely free to play with no restrictions to hero access, excluding Early Access to yet to be released heroes. The in-game store pricing was also reworked to allow easier access to in-game cosmetic content.

In October, 2012, S2 Games announced HoN Tour, a completely automated tournament system built into the game. The tournament is open to anyone and players compete to earn real money. The first "cycle" of the event began the weekend of December 1.

On May 1, 2013, S2 Games released Heroes of Newerth 3.0. Version 3.0 significantly updated the game's graphics, added bots, and dramatically improved features for introducing new players to the game. Part of the change features different looking lanes, cliffs, and towers. Heroes as well, look sharper and more detailed. The features for new players include tutorial videos and AI bots for a stress-free playing environment.[22]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 78.14%[23]
Metacritic 76%[24]
Review scores
Publication Score
Game Informer 3.5/5 stars[4]
Game Revolution B+[25]
GameZone 8/10 stars[26]
PC Gamer US 71%[27]
Publication Award
Independent Games Festival Audience Award (2010)

Heroes of Newerth has received generally positive reviews, with a metascore of 76 out of 100 from Metacritic.[24] Reviews have generally praised the technical aspects of the game, while criticizing the harsh learning curve and the commonly critical nature of the community.[27] When Heroes of Newerth became free-to-play on July 29, 2011, the game had accumulated over 526,000 paid accounts with 460,000 unique players.[3] The number of concurrent players online has also steadily increased over time, peaking at 150,000 as of May 2013. Heroes of Newerth is the third most played game in internet cafés in the Philippines.[28] Laura Baker, the director of marketing for S2 Games, stated that both the "Mac and Linux clients have done well for us."[29]

Awards and nominations
Date Awards Category Result
March 11, 2010 12th Annual Independent Games Festival Awards Audience Award Winner[30]
October 25, 2010 MTV Game Awards 2010 Let's Play Together Nominee[31]
December 1, 2010 4th Annual Mashable Awards Best Online Game Finalist[32]
March 26, 2013 RTSGuru's PAX East Awards 2013 Best MOBA Winner[33]

See also


  1. ^ "S2 Games Announces Heroes of Newerth". 2009-09-02. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  2. ^ Nguyen, Thierry (2009-09-01). "Clash of The DOTAs".  
  3. ^ a b c Biessener, Adam (2011-07-29). "Heroes Of Newerth Goes Free-To-Play".  
  4. ^ a b Marie, Meagan (2010-03-03). "Heroes of Newerth - In Defense of The Ancients".  
  5. ^ "Heroes of Newerth – Heroes". Heroes of Newerth. Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  6. ^ "HoNWiki – Attributes".  
  7. ^ "Ask S2 Games #1 Retrieved on 2009-10-31". Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  8. ^ "Heroes of Newerth Launches Worldwide Today". 2010-05-12. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  9. ^ University of Michigan lecture notes on network programming in games -- Page 7 relevant w/ regards to Peer to Peer disadvantages
  10. ^ Burnes, Andrew (2010-05-12). "Heroes Of Newerth Goes Live". Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  11. ^ Fahey, Mike (2010-04-01). "Savage Take On Defense Of The Ancients Enters Open Beta".  
  12. ^ Jackson, Leah (2010-12-23). "Looking Back at 2010: The Year in PC Games". Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  13. ^ Pavlacka, Adam (2010-12-02). "PC Preview - Heroes of Newerth 2.0". Retrieved 2010-12-03. 
  14. ^ "Heroes of Newerth 2.0 Sneak Peek". 2010-12-02. Retrieved 2010-12-17. 
  15. ^ Gallegos, Anthony (2010-12-08). "Heroes of Newerth Goes Casual in 2.0". Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  16. ^ Quach, Michael (2010-12-07). "Heroes of Newerth: 2.0 mega update!". Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  17. ^ O' Connor, Alice (2010-12-14). "Heroes of Newerth Update 2.0 Launches With New Map, Casual Mode". Retrieved 2010-12-17. 
  18. ^ Senior, Tom (2010-12-15). "Heroes of Newerth update adds casual mode and item store". Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  19. ^ McGee, Maxwell (2010-12-03). "Spotlight On - Heroes of Newerth 2.0". Retrieved 2010-12-04. 
  20. ^ Carr, Jon (2010-12-22). "S2 Games Developers Discuss Heroes Of Newerth". Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  21. ^ Sullivan, Lucas (2011-07-29). "Heroes of Newerth goes Free-to-Play". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  22. ^ Hillier, Brenna (2013-01-31). "Heroes of Newerth Update 3.0 Focuses on Helping New Players". Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  23. ^ "Heroes of Newerth for PC".  
  24. ^ a b "Heroes of Newerth (pc) reviews at".  
  25. ^ Laddin, Josh (2010-06-01). "Heroes of Newerth - PC".  
  26. ^ Miller, Jordan (2010-09-21). "Heroes of Newerth review".  
  27. ^ a b Rossignol, Jim (2010-04-06). "Heroes of Newerth review".  
  28. ^ Maierbrugger, Arno (25 July 2013). "Top PC games in Filipino computer cafés". Inside Investor. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  29. ^ S2 Games Calls Their HoN Linux Port A Big Success Phoronix, September 21, 2010 (Article by Michael Larabel)
  30. ^ Kietzmann, Ludwig (2010-03-11). "Joystiq live at the IGF/GDC Awards 2010". Retrieved 2010-11-05. 
  31. ^ "MTV GameAwards 2010". 2010-10-25. Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  32. ^ "The 4th Annual Mashable Awards". 2010-12-01. Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  33. ^ "RTSGuru's PAX East Awards 2013". 2013-03-26. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Heroes of Newerth on Facebook
  • Heroes of Newerth on Twitter
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