Screenshot of Heroes of Newerth Featured

Heroes of Newerth is a popular multiplayer online battle arena game released in 2010 by videogame developer S2 Games. It is inspired by the Warcraft 3 game mod Defense of the Ancients and can be played on computers powered by Linux, OS X and Microsoft Windows operating systems. Since 2015, the game is a part of Frostburn Studios and new heroes were added, but the game is still free to play.

Key facts about Heroes of Newerth

  • Heroes of Newerth features heroes that are very similar to the ones available in DotA, with different abilities and features.
  • Individual skill is more important in this game than in any other multiplayer online battle arena videogame, including League of Legends.
  • Heroes of Newerth is also played on three distinct lanes and the impact of what happens on these lanes is significant.
  • The game is balanced and has an impressive roster of heroes that relies on team play, but not as much as Heroes of the Storm.
  • Heroes of Newerth appeals mostly to those who don’t have a regular team and play alone, as it has a superior matchmaking system.

The Heroes of Newerth games

The similarities between Heroes of Newerth and other multiplayer online battle arena video games are significant, but so are the differences. There are different game modes that players can choose from and the four choices are Co-op, Player Hosted, Normal and Casual. The game mechanics are the same, but the objectives are different and the level of competition also varies greatly.

The Heroes of Newerth games played in cooperative will have players pit against AI controlled bots, whereas player hosted games allow for greater degree of customization. The differences between normal and casual games are a significant and they come down to the layout and difficulty. On casual level, players collect more resources and they do so much faster, so their mission is greatly simplifies. The Match Making Rating pits players of similar skill level against each other in normal games.

What is Heroes of Newerth

Heroes of Newerth is a dynamic videogame belonging to the multiplayer online battle arena genre developed by S2 Games. Players choose a hero and join a team of five and try to complete various objectives against as many opponents. The team that destroys the opponents’ base emerges victorious and players need to work together to prevail. Compared to other MOBA games, this one rewards individual skill and  single players can carry an entire team.

Gameplay of Heroes of Newerth

Heroes of Newerth is played between 10 players, divided into teams of five players each. One belongs to the Legion and the other to the Hellbourne. They start at opposite corners of the map and advance on three distinct lanes, destroying minions and fighting opponents. The bases consist of creep spawn points, defensive towers and this is also the place where heroes spawn after that. Players try to destroy the central building which is called World Tree or Sacrificial Shrine depending on faction.

Screenshot of Heroes of Newerth Tower fight
Screenshot of Heroes of Newerth Tower fight

In the beginning of the game, players select a hero to play. Ideally they need to choose a setup that will give them a better fighting chance in the long run. Heroes of Newerth is complex and with nearly 130 heroes to choose from, there are plenty of possible combinations. Some serve the role of tanks, others act as damage dealers. Others perform support roles and heal the ones that inflict more damage.

Each hero has several abilities and an ultimate, with all of them improving as they level up. To move up the ladder, one needs to accumulate experience which is earned by killing opponents and AI controlled minions. Maximum level is capped at 25 and players collect gold when killing minions and heroes or when they destroy towers. The other way to improve the quality of heroes is by buying items corresponding to their three main stats. These are Agility, Intelligence and Strength.

Plot of Heroes of Newerth

Heroes of Newerth doesn’t have a single player campaign per se, with action taking place exclusively in multiplayer. Players can still learn more about their heroes of choice, by going over the lore and reading the short description of the 127 characters. The game only has a brief tutorial which explains the basic concepts. Most of the experience is accumulated hands-on by playing a lot.

Development of Heroes of Newerth

Development for this game started 11 years ago. The ones working on Heroes of Newerth unveiled their project to the media in 2009. The gameplay, heroes and their abilities have changed multiple times over those four years. It was worth the effort as the end result looks very different from the initial concept. S2 Games decided to use K2 Engineand put test it in beta for one year until May 2010.

Screenshot of Heroes of Newerth Hero
Screenshot of Heroes of Newerth Hero

The game was officially released in 2010 and since then more players signed up. A total of 3 million unique accounts are now registered. It is constantly updated and the matchmaking was improved to bring together players of similar skill level. The game is still free to play, but micro-transactions now represent the main source of income. In-game currency can be acquired with real cash or unlocked by winning games and completing bonus objectives.

Where can I download Heroes of Newerth?

S2 Games is now owned by FrostBurn Studios, so players can download the game from both websites. Once they install it on their computer they can play without paying a registration fee. Those who choose to spend real cash to unlock heroes faster won’t get a competitive edge over those who play for free.

What are others saying about Heroes of Newerth?

Heroes of Newerth was well received by the community, despite the obvious similarities to Dota. At the time of its release, it looked like a significantly better version. It only started to lose traction after Dota 2 was unveiled. The graphics received praise by professional critics, although some players complained about the excessive special effects. During large-scale battles, it can be difficult to see what’s happening. This is particularly true for beginners who are just making their baby steps with multiplayer online battle arena games.

The game now has a dedicated community and those who play Heroes of Newerth regard themselves as highly skilled players. They take pride in playing a game that is more difficult than League of Legends and one that relies more on individual skill. At the opposite end of the spectrum is Heroes of the Storm, a Blizzard blockbuster that celebrates team play at the expense of individual performance.

Screenshot of Heroes of Newerth Lane fight
Screenshot of Heroes of Newerth Lane fight

Heroes of Newerth tournaments

This game doesn’t have a single player campaign, but it shines brightly in multiplayer. As of the most difficult multiplayer online battle arena games, it appeals to savvy players, rather than amateurs. Heroes of Newerth tournaments bring together the best players in the world and many of them are hosted in Asia. The sheer difficulty of the game explains why it has a smaller community than both Dota 2 and League of Legends. Not surprising, the number of players competing in tournaments is also significantly smaller.

Heroes of Newerth tournaments are every bit as exciting to watch as their MOBA counterparts. Sadly they have smaller guaranteed prize pools and are also rarely featured in the eSports bookies' sections. As a result punters can only bet on the flagship competitions.

My rating of Heroes of Newerth

Dota was the first multiplayer online battle arena I played. I have to admit that I dedicated a lot of time to that Warcraft 3 mode. By the time Heroes of Newerth hit the stores, I was already hooked on League of Legends. I fell in love with its cartoonish graphics so I initially felt a bit overwhelmed by all these explosions. The vivid colors and special effects, made it difficult for me to thoroughly understand what happened on the battlefield.

Heroes of Newerth is a fine game and it had a great run, but it is now hard to recommend to beginners. Those who want a user-friendly and still competitive game will choose League of Legends. Players who emphasize the importance of team play in multiplayer online battle arena games are obviously choosing Heroes of the Storm. Those who fell in love with Dota are unlikely to choose the game developed by S2 Games over the sequel.

The bottom line is that this is a difficult game by MOBA standards and focuses too much on personal achievement. Unless you are an elitist that has something to prove, you’d probably be better off playing any of the three games listed above. Having said this, I spent a lot of quality time playing Heroes of Newerth. I don’t think that a review score of 8.5 out of 10 is wasted on it.

Overall Score


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