Into its second year of retail , Heroes of Newerth has brought thousands of people joy for the past two years. Though S2 Games may have had their ups and downs, we can safely say that Heroes of Newerth has found success in this niche genre known as the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (or MOBA) genre.
One of three of the major names in the MOBA genre, Heroes of Newerth has advanced MOBA games by being one of the first games with these features. Read on if you’re curious to what these features are!
5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Let’s get it on!
Heroes of Newerth is developed by video game studio, S2 Games (creators of Savage and Savage 2). It is one of the three successors of the massively popular custom map on Warcraft 3, Defence of the Ancients.
S2 Games has brought the best parts of Defence of the Ancients to Heroes of Newerth and created an incredibly action packed team based game with few downsides.
The game pits teams of five against five other people where the first team that destroys the other team’s main structure wins the game. The players each control 1 of the 100 available characters created by S2 Games. These characters are then placed in a symmetrical map with defense towers placed strategically to slow them down.
While attempting to kill each other, there are also non player controlled units with a pre-programmed path way that are constantly being spawned to bring about complexity to the game. Once you’ve chosen a character it is basically like a role playing game where you can customize the character by buying new equipment from the shop in your base and gain experience and gold by killing either the other team’s characters or by killing the NPCs.
Each character has four unique abilities that are leveled up throughout the game and just like any team-based game, you need some sense of synergy with your team to win. S2 Games has implemented features that actually help with your team synergy!
The important features that S2 Games have implemented to make it a unique experience include:
- matchmaking system,
- game reconnection ability,
- leaver protection,
- a client-server netcode,
- re-bindable hotkeys,
- and a built in VOIP system.
The matchmaking system is combined with an ELO system so that instead of each player trying to find a game themselves, there is an algorithm that automatically places 10 different people at the same level to face each other. You don’t have to play alone either, you can group up with up to 4 other friends and the algorithm will place you in a match.
The matchmaking system also does stat tracking which can tell you how well of a player you are. The ability to leave a game then rejoin it within five minutes is an incredibly important feature. Sometimes people accidentally disconnect from a game due to internet issues and to be able to come back means that the game isn’t ruined to the other 9 people. If a player intentionally leaves a game and the 5 minutes they have to reconnect ends, they’re given a “leave” which is added onto their stats. After leaving 10% of their games played, they will be unable to play matchmaking and have to instead play public games till they fix that 10%. This creates an optimal experience for players that don’t want people leaving games.
The client-server netcode feature means that the game created is hosted onto a server owned by S2 games which means that if one player lags then they’re the only ones that lag. Their lag doesn’t affect anybody else so everyone can enjoy it. The re-bindable hotkeys is a feature that lets people customize which keys on their keyboard does what. This gives players control over how they can play their game and not just limiting them to certain keys.
Another incredible feature is the built in Voice over Internet Protocol that S2 Games has implemented. It is basically the ability to talk to one another through the use of a microphone within the game. This improves teamwork and communication on the team. Though there are many advantages there are still some disadvantages!
As mentioned previously, Heroes of Newerth is a free to play game which means you can play the game without spending any money on it. The way that it’s done is that you can purchase the characters with an ingame currency that can be earned from playing or that can be bought (though the currency that’s bought is worth more than the earned ones). Each week there are 12 free characters that can be played by the public and it rotates on a weekly basis. This can be seen as a bad thing for new players because by the time you get used to a new character that week is over and you either have to learn a new character or buy the ones you like.
The good news is that S2 Games noticed this problem and they plan on changing this rotation type of system to simply 30 free characters for everyone so that people can stick to the ones they know. Another downside is the fact Heroes of Newerth has a high learning curve and S2 Games hasn’t implemented anything that helps completely new players how to play the game. Though they have attempted to fix this by adding a tutorial, a guide system in the shop and also a mentoring system where a friend can help you through your game by watching you play. This helps the new players somewhat but to fully comprehend how to play the game is through a very frustrating trial and error which usually ends up with someone on your team yelling at you through their microphones.
Once you’ve learned the basics, Heroes of Newerth is an incredibly fun game that doesn’t disappoint. It brings out the competitive spirit in you that might usually not be there. Feel free to ask any questions or concerns in the comment section below.