What Happened to Heroes of Newerth? Game Moba

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It’s never a happy moment when a game closes down, but sadly it is that time for Heroes of Newerth. A Facebook post detailed HoN’s final plans. After 12 years of service, the servers are shutting down in June 2022.

If HoN doesn’t look familiar to you, then maybe League of Legends would  
or Dota 2. Like League of Legends and Dota 2, HoN was developed as the next step to the Warcraft III MOBA mod, Dota. It was released in early 2010, a few months after Riot’s League of Legends’ release. 

Riot had made it clear that League was to have the core concepts of Dota 1 but be its own game. Using the mod as a foundation and adding their own spin to it. But this wasn’t what all Dota fans wanted, so when the developers of HoN, S2 Games, had promised to make a more faithful adaptation of the original Moba, people were excited. 

The idea was to modernize Dota and free it from the Warcraft III shackles by adding matchmaking, voice chat, a streamlined UI, and the ability to track a player’s stats. And when it was discovered that one of the key developers of the Warcraft III mod, the fabled IceFrog, was working with S2 Games, people got even more excited. 

Yet if you follow esports, or the MOBA genre, or even just the video game industry in general, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Dota 2 and League of Legends. But you may not have heard of Heroes of Newerth, so what happened?

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HoN had a lot going for it leading up to its release; it was poised to fill the demand that Riot had left open, of being the next Dota. It would have all the features players asked for, especially matchmaking. It would look better but still feel familiar to veterans. There was no real reason not to jump from Dota to HoN. Until S2 Games gave them some.

Dota was not free to play; you had to own the Warcraft III games to play, but everyone who was playing Dota 1 already owned that. League of Legends was free to play, so there wasn’t a monetary barrier to giving it a shot, if not jumping altogether. 

HoN was $30 on release. Now I’m not going to sit here and act like the developers are so evil or dumb for waiting to get paid for their work. And even back then, $30 was still cheaper than many games at the time. But, in hindsight, it was a mistake, a rather costly one ironically. 

For many people all over the world, MOBA’s lived and breathed in Internet Cafes. And that $30 was steep; it was a barrier. This compounded with the issue that MOBAs are team games, which often meant you played with your friends. So even if you were one of the lucky ones who could afford the new game, there’s a good chance, not everyone in your friend group could.

Also, Dota didn’t shut down with the release of HoN, so if you couldn’t play or your friends couldn’t play, you just kept playing Dota or maybe even tried that new League thing that was free. What could’ve been or should’ve been ‘no reason not to jump to HoN’ ended up being ‘No reason not to stay.’ 

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Instead of swallowing the Dota 1 player base that hadn’t fully jumped to League, it instead fractured the player base. What was once one pool of players in Dota was now three, between Dota, League, and HoN. And while initials sales of Heroes of Newerth weren’t bad, they were the smallest piece of the pie. And it’s almost entirely attributed to the fact that HoN was the one people had to buy out of the three. Unfortunately, it was not the only barrier.

MOBA’s are notoriously difficult games to get into with… we’ll call it an “unfriendly” community. While HoN was a more faithful evolution of the original Dota, it still had its differences. Even though most heroes and abilities carried over, many of them were still tweaked ever so slightly. As minute as some of these changes may have been, a Dota 1 player had to relearn a lot. A player may have hit every Mirana Arrow, but Valkyrie’s Javelin of Light just didn’t feel the same. They may have dominated with Puck but just fed with Bubbles. Oh, and their team is flaming them. 

There will always be a learning curve of some sort when playing a new game, but in this scenario, there was a good chance a lot of their friends were still playing Dota 1. Because, as mentioned previously, HoN had failed to swallow the Dota 1 player base. This meant that instead of new players learning with their friends finding their feet in this challenging genre, it was easy for many players to just go back to Dota. Where a lot of their friends were still playing anyway. Now, if you’re familiar with this story or you recognized Dota 2 at the beginning, you’re probably waiting for the decisive blow. Well, here it is.
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34 thoughts on “What Happened to Heroes of Newerth? Game Moba

  1. marc gonzales says:

    Steam should pick it up from ashes as alternative to dota2, i still believe that this game is graphically pleasing than other moba. Dota2 is too cartoony for me imo

  2. sooooooooDark says:

    u can pretty much break down preferences for the 3 games
    u like hon if u like fast-paced action with a bit of strategy
    u like dota if u like a bit slower game with more strategic nuances
    u like league of legends if u have no pubes

  3. Mikey Corleone says:

    Straight to the point Dota2 is the best game In the world no doubt about it that's why ti had 40million prize pool in eSports who could beat that wtf so rich when you win ti it's like you win lottery 🤣😂😅💥🔥😍☺️😔👍🐎🐴🏆☺️🌍

  4. H.A. Z says:

    Started playing Dota 1 after seeing bunch of dudes having fun, I liked the game learned some, then I saw. Them playing HoN, I liked it it was amazing. My family moved and I stopped playing any of those cz I couldn't find a place or ppl to play with, years later my father gave me his pc as I was browsing told my self let me check on dota1 then boom I saw Dota 2, been playing ever since but I do tell u that, there was something about HoN I can't explain what exactly but it was something special.

    Note : I don't like LOL at all.

  5. Luqman Buang says:

    This is just my opinion, take it or leave it as im also one of the earliest to play HON and enjoyed it.

    Hon was great, it had smooth & better graphics & mech than Dota1. Everything feels so smooth. You may need to adjust to playing with such graphics but it was enjoyful.

    Aside from that, it was also fast paced. Players would reach mid game early with their heroes and the action is kinda non stop.

    For me, the down fall was locking/rotation of the heroes and the restriction of new heroes. It kinda hinders players to keep practicing with their comfortable heroes and the new heroes are definitely OP on their release.

    About the community, at the early point it was great. Everyone was very competitive and positive. Then it went downhill as toxic behaviour started to become common.

    The devs was great, very engaging and friendly. I love every concept and idea of the heroes but sometimes i feel that the balance of the heroes are slow/not good enough. Sometimes you feel that the balances are very minor and it doesnt scales well for every heroes. It gets worse when HON announced the weekly heroes release(if im not mistaken once per week). So to handle balance and tweaks within that period is kinda hard i guess.

    Overall, it was a great game. I loved the game, the heroes but sadly, moved on to a better game. Thank you HON, best dead game ever.

  6. Zai Fonnn says:

    HoN extra works really something. For me it is the best compared to dota2 and LoL. The announcement like bloodlust till immortal. Thr annihilation. The humiliation. Plus the really detail stats that you can get. So you can keep track your games. It just wonderful.

    The midwar just to release some tension. Its wonderful.

    I play it on sea. Unfortunately in sea, everything on garena will die after few years. LoL cant even growth in sea because it use garena.

  7. Freakattaker says:

    Closed beta player here who bought the game on release and loved it for the few years it was popular.

    Without watching the video, I can confidently say it's because they weren't F2P from the start. When they released and made the game B2P it sealed their fate of irrelevancy against LoL. By the time they went F2P it was already too late with DotA 2 on the horizon and LoL's snowball consumption of the market.

    I can't really blame S2 Games because it was back when B2P gaming was much more common for multiplayer games back then. You could argue it was a competitive game, but competitive gaming was still in it's infancy years. Look at all of the competitive games back then. ALL B2P. ANY RTS, DotA 1, ANY FPS, ANY FG, etc. Even TF2 was well known as a buy to play game designed around lobbies back then. F2P games back then were only known as scummy MMORPGs that either had paywalls to access gameplay related content or were P2W fiestas.

    And it shows in how the game was designed. It was designed with triple A graphical quality and features around an era that was about to leave basically. LoL had nothing on it if price was not a factor.
    You had imbalanced P2W mechanics in LoL (old rune system [spend RP to buy IP boosts = faster runes/rune page acquisition]; having lower tier runes or no runes was essentially the same as losing the lane to your opponent because you'd be behind 900~ gold worth of stats the entire game).
    You had no functioning replay system in LoL for YEARSSSS on end.
    No pause function in LoL (an archaic feature these days, but it was definitely valued at the time in HoN).
    No compensation for a DC'd player in LoL (arguably not that useful and possibly imbalanced, but still a feature HoN had over LoL).
    No way to quit the game early in LoL without penalty if you have a DC (assuming your team isn't choosing to surrender, definitely an edge HoN had over LoL and even over HotS to this day lol).
    No function for automatically balancing teams in a lobby based off of their ELO in LoL (not that useful these days as lobbies aren't considered competitive any more, but was deemed useful at the time and STILL is another feature HoN had over the game).

  8. Morningstar LINK says:

    Used to play this a lot, I used arachna , zephyr and witch hunter all the time. But then they made it pay2win. I lose interest and went to playing league of legends.

  9. escape beyond says:

    s2 didnt balance their heroes and instead sold their imba heroes while the f2p majority playerbase (teenagers) would get rekt until the next patch where a new flavor would come along.

    very unfortunate because they were very innovative with their hero designs but by locking them behind paywalls people left the game for dota2.

    but for a time HoN was the best moba game ever created, and if you didnt get to play it i feel sorry for you

  10. Black Shark Gaming says:

    For me HoN that time was so advance in terms of graphics and gameplay. Wish one day one company revives it. Or port it in mobile games

  11. Chuchvii says:

    I played this game since beta and back then it was best game for me by far . A lot of unique heroes and spells . Honestly i think for many players hon wasnt even a choice just because of computer requirements to play the game . Anyway i had great time trying to push over 1750 rating with randoms 😀 . And btw im little bit suprised there wasnt mentioned how many Pro dota 2 players came from hon. Like N0tail, Zai, Moonmeander, Micke, Insania and so on … Well its very emotional to me that hon is shutting down even that im not playing this game for over 4 years already . But i will never forget what an amazing game it was to me … something trully special to me . Hope you guys enjoyed hon as much as i did . Bye bye

  12. NODHLAN says:

    Sadly the problem with HON was S2… They never fix some bugs, they were greedy, they make heroes with pre-release (with lots of unbalanced skills and stats) and more…

  13. Burp Ium says:

    Gaben outplays them, introducing million dollars tournament which at the time was biggest prize pool ever thus lead all the "influencers" (mainly pros) from dota go to dota 2. This and adding the fact that later on the full version of the game was released for FREE complete the whole agenda of "dota sequel". I never even heard of hon until i have transitioned to dota 2 for like 2 years already back then.
    For toxic community i think its just the nature of the genre, or maybe the "dota" itself, I'd even argue this is the same for the 3 sequels depending on which server you play. "dota brings the best and the worst out of you" as what an ex professional hon and a dota 2 professional player said once.

  14. Johnni Jensen says:

    Solid vid, nothing wrong with it.
    No mention on P2w or Developers catering to pros when it came to ballance.
    Mk was batshit broken for months, was not till moonmeander stomped everyone in the proscene, that they actually went about nerfing MK.
    Same with MoA, and Ravenor.
    There were no bans. So just firstpick gets the hero. I.e. insane grind to maintain MMR

  15. Kents012 says:

    The graphics were too harsh on the eyes. I remember chronosphere and omnislash skills looking amazing. But prolonged game times hurt my eyes.

  16. James Coppe says:

    HoN killed the aussie serves with 1 UI change, that meant the default queuing included all regions. Our servers were full with laggers and shit players. That's when I stopped playing.

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