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Heroes of Newerth

Heroes of Newerth is a 3D fantasy MOBA set in the Newerth universe. The game was inspired by Dota: All Stars and features several heroes from the game, along with dozens of original heroes.

Publisher: S2 Games
Playerbase: High
Type: MOBA
Release Date: May 12, 2010 (NA/EU)
Pros: +Over 123 playable heroes. +Lots of skins/voice packs. +Great record/stats keeping. +Good matchmaking system. +Great voice commands.
Cons:  -Steep learning curve. -Community can be toxic.



Heroes of Newerth Overview

Heroes of Newerth is free-to-play Dota-inspired MOBA set in the Newerth Universe with characters from Savage and Savage 2. Like other MOBAs, the game has a strong emphasis on teamwork and is extremely competitive. Despite the game's age (released in 2010), Heroes of Newerth remains incredibly popular with 50k+ players online at most hours during the day. The game features 124+ playable heroes broken down into three categories  Strength, Agility, and Intelligence.

Heroes of Newerth Key Features:

  • Large Variety of Characters – choose from over 124 playable heroes and find the ones that fit your playstyle. None of them need to be unlocked.
  • Robust Player Stats System – APM/GPM/Killing Streaks/KDAs are all saved in a built-in system that is easily accessible.
  • Dota-Like Farming – like Dota, players can last hit their own minions, denying their opponents experience and gold.
  • Various Game Modes – try out different game modes, from All Mid, Casual, Single Draft, and more.
  • Competitive Ladder – features a great matchmaking system with good a solid rating system (MMR).

Heroes of Newerth Screenshots

Heroes of Newerth Featured Video

Full Review

Heroes of Newerth Review

By Huy Luong & Kaneka Chhak

Heroes of Newerth (HoN) is a MOBA developed by S2 Games for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. It was released as a buy-to-play game on May 12, 2010, then re-released as a free-to-play game the following year. Like most MOBAs, it is based around Defense of the Ancients, or “DoTA,” and while it has generally received positive reviews, it has been criticized for the lack of originality.

Deja Vu

Within the realm of Newerth, you choose to fight for either the Legion or the Hellbourne. Immediately, anyone who has played DoTA will notice many features and functions of this game are basically identical. There are multiple maps with different game modes, offering different game experiences. However, the most popular is Forests of Caldavar. It is your gold standard, DoTA-style 5v5. This means towers, a jungle, and a boss monster that grants teamwide buffs when slain. But, do not be deterred by HoN’s striking similarity to DoTA. HoN’s creators, S2, do a fine job in adding originality and uniqueness to the game, making sure it doesn’t just seem like “another DoTA clone.”

Game Modes and Heroes

There are plenty of game modes to choose from: Random Draft, Lockpick, Banning Pick, etc. As the names suggest, they all center around how heroes are picked and banned. In addition to these game modes, you have different maps such as Midwars, which is the colloquially known ARAM mode of MOBAs. There is also Grimm's Crossing, which is a 3v3 map with only two lanes, and one other 5v5 map that is also played in only two lanes. Heroes are divided into three categories: Agility, Power, and Intelligence. Power attributed heroes are designed to be tanks and absorb damage. Agility heroes rely more on their auto attacks and attack speed and are often the “carry” of their team. Intelligence heroes have a huge mana pool and rely on their skills to do damage, making them more casting-based characters. HoN has an arsenal of over 124 heroes and are steadily increasing with S2’s own original characters. HoN also features two settings on top of the various game modes  Normal and Casual Mode. In Casual Mode, called CM for short, players are rewarded more gold for kills, experience gain is faster, and there's no gold penalty for dying. Casual mode games tend to be considered less serious by the community and end faster.


As mentioned before, HoN plays exactly like DoTA with some nuances here and there. Previous experience of DoTA, or any MOBA for that matter, will help you easily transition into HoN. Games typically last anywhere from 20 - 40 minutes, with exceptions of close games lasting up to an hour or more. There are two sides of a map, with creeps being spawned from the bases and moving into their respective lanes. Matches are typically considered to have three phases: early, middle, and late. Certain heroes excel at certain parts of the game. Take advantage of this. Each hero has four abilities, with their ‘ultimate’ usually available upon reaching Level 6. Players ‘last hit’ minions to gain additional experience and gold, which is used to purchase items to increase various stats. Like DotA 2, there is also the option to ‘deny’ a creep, which means you last hit your own minions to negate the enemy of gold and experience. Players who are very good at denying can seriously gimp their opponents in lane.

There are ‘outposts’ in lanes, where players can purchase items on the spot without having to go back to base. This is a very strategic element, as it can help you sustain in lane, or quickly teleport somewhere else with a homecoming stone. Maps like Forests of Caldavar consist of a neutral jungle, that hosts a variety of monster camps that give experience and gold, and a boss called Kongor that gives the team who slays him a slight advantage. Also, his death is announced to everybody in the game once slain. Just like DoTA, there is a courier system. Basically, a little animal can be shared between teammates that will fetch items you have bought in the store and deliver them to you in lane.

Do not make the same mistake I did. Play the tutorial. Multiple times, even. Me, being the idiot that never plays tutorials, jumped straight into a live PvP match. No experience of League of Legends or any other MOBA aside from DoTA could have prepared me for the ass-pounding I received. HoN is an entirely different world from games like League of Legends or SMITE. It is much more fast-paced and there is no recall/back option to your base. You either run back, or teleport back. The use of a courier can help you stay in lane though. I strongly recommend new players sticking to "Casual Mode" until they have a better grasp on the game, as the gold penalty for dying in Normal isn't for the faint of heart. Keep in mind though, Normal is the "standard" and finding Casual Mode games may require longer queue times.

Itemization, Abilities, and the Cash Shop

This is one of the main selling points of HoN: there is almost no exact way to build a hero, even in the same situations. There are so many items with unique abilities, such as being able to blink a huge distance, or giving buffs to allies. In other MOBAs, you are often stuck to a cookie cutter build for characters, but in HoN, you can build them almost however you want them to a certain extent.

A lot of HoN’s abilities look amazing in game, such as the skills of Prophet. All of his abilities look gorgeous in game. My only gripe is that there are a lot of hook abilities. Multiple heroes have a ability that allows them to hook another hero into them, which enables their team to unleash hell on them.

HoN’s cash shop is full of entertaining things, such as announcer packs and different skins for heroes. My personal favorite is the flamboyant pack that screams “Fabulous!” after each kill you get, not to mention, “It’s a threeway!” when you get a triple kill. The skins for heroes sometimes look entirely different from their original model, too. You can even purchase the female/male version of that hero. Talk about a no-gender bias game!

Final Thoughts: It's the Little Things

The reason why HoN is so similar to DoTA is because Icefrog, DoTA's lead designer, collaborated with S2 and gave them all rights to the DoTA heroes. S2 even acknowledges this and has a page on their website telling you what hero from HoN mirrors the hero from DoTA. This gives the game a layer of transparency, so the players know what's going on. Several heroes in HoN are literally identical to their DoTA counter-parts. Wretched Hag is exactly like Queen of Pain while Witch Slayer is like Lion. Aside from Heroes, many items in HoN are copied directly from DoTA  for example, Portal Key is Blink Dagger and Power Supply is Magic Wand. Dozens of items are shared between the games, so those familiar with DoTA should have a much easier time getting into HoN.

A huge plus to HoN is their stat page. They have a full, in-depth stat page that covers anything from the win frequency of a hero to how many certain killstreaks they have obtained. This is huge insight into other players. HoN also includes a killstreak system that goes all the way up to 15 kills which screams “Immortal!” You can believe it’s hard as hell to do this, but very satisfying. Killstreaks give you extra gold at the end of the game to use toward cash shop items. The game keeps track of everything, from GPM, APM, KDA ratios, and killing sprees throughout your entire HoN career. It’s little things like this that make you appreciate Heroes of Newerth.

I admit, the game itself feels the smoothest out of all the MOBAs I have played. The game just feels more "responsive" than other MOBAs, League included. I know DoTA has a specific stat for "turn rate" so it's not exactly a fair comparison, but the game just felt incredibly responsive. I thoroughly enjoy the amount of customization that is available. The UI and gameplay can seem overwhelming at first, but with some dedication and asswhooping, you will get the hang of it and it will be rewarding. I suggest trying out the game, since it might or might not be for you. As always, it is more fun with friends.

Final Verdict  Great

Despite its age, Heroes of Newerth still remains an incredibly fun and in-depth MOBA that can give both DoTA 2 and League of Legends a run for their money. The game has a huge variety of heroes, the best stats/record keeping system of any MOBA, and a great interface. Like other MOBAs, Heroes of Newerth has a steep learning curve, but if you can climb it, there's a lot of fun to be had.


Heroes of Newerth Screenshots


Heroes of Newerth Videos

System Requirements

Heroes of Newerth System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: XP / 2000 / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz / 2 GHz Core 2 Duo / AMD 2400+
Video Card: GeForce 5 / ATI 9800
RAM: 1.5 GB
Hard Disk Space: 4 GB

Recommended Requirements:

Operating System: XP / 2000/ Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo or i3 / 2.2 GHz i5 or I7
Video Card: GeForce 7800 + / Radeon X1900
RAM: 2 GB for Windows XP 3 GB+ for Windows 7 or 8.
Hard Disk Space: 4 GB

Linux Recommended System Requirements

CPU: 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo / AMD 3500+
Video Card: GeForce 7800 + / Radeon X1900
Hard Disk Space: 4 GB

Mac OS X Recommended System Requirements

CPU: 2 GHz Core 2 Duo
Video Card: GeForce 7800 + / Radeon X1900
Hard Disk Space: 4 GB

Heroes of Newerth was originally released in 2010 and was designed to run well on lower end PCs. The system requirements aren't very demanding, but the game does look great on max settings.


Heroes of Newerth Music & Soundtrack

Additional Info

Heroes of Newerth Additional Information

Developer: S2 Games
Designer(s): James Fielding, Alan Cacciamani, Pu Liu, Brent Wiedmer, and Matt Knizacky
Composer(s): Arnej Secerkadic
Engine: K2 Engine
Other Platforms: Mac OS X and Linux

Closed Beta Date: April 24, 2009
Open Beta Date: March 31, 2010

Foreign Release:

South Korea: May, 2010

Development History / Background:

Heroes of Newerth, HoN for short, was developed by Michigan-based game studio S2 Games and built on the K2 Engine. Development for Heroes of Newerth began in 2006, with over a year of development going into engine development alone. The game was in development for over 3 years before finally being released on May 12, 2010 after a long closed beta phase starting on April 24, 2009. HoN was developed to capture the growing MOBA genre that DoTA pioneered and originally launched as a buy-to-play game. Heroes of Newerth was the first MOBA to be developed by S2 Games and has been their most successful game to date with 60,000+ players online regularly. Over 3 million accounts were registered by the time the game officially launched on May 12, 2010. The game went free-to-play on July 29, 2011 and saw a huge increase in active users. Given that DoTA 2 and League of Legends were free-to-play, it didn't make sense for HoN to remain buy-to-play. HoN remains one of the most popular MOBAs in the world and is available globally.