Heroes Of Newerth Goes Free-To-Play
S2 Games is taking its DotA-alike in the direction they all seem to be going these days: free-to-play, with a strong base game available to anyone and additional heroes for purchase.
To its credit, S2 is doing right by the players who have previously paid for the game. All existing Heroes of Newerth accounts are now Legacy accounts, which have permanent access to all current heroes and will get free access to all upcoming heroes a short period after their release. Kudos to the company for hooking up the players who got them where they are.
New players can sign up for a Basic account, which has access to a rotating pool of 15 heroes at any time. Should you stick with the game, either by purchasing currency or simply through playtime, your account will become Verified. At that point, you get to swim with the sharks in Verified-only games with other Verified and Legacy players.
The distinction is important, as a single newbie on a team can sink the entire match in Heroes of Newerth. Veteran players won't have their experience compromised by a huge influx of inexperienced players as long as they stick to Verified-only games.
This isn't a last-ditch effort to save a dying game either. Heroes of Newerth may be a near-carbon copy of Defense of the Ancients, but it's doing quite well indeed. S2 released a set of stats to show off its success:
- 460,000 unique active players and 526,000 total paid accounts
- 30,000 people playing at any given time with daily concurrent peaks of over 50,000 players
- 40% of active player base logs in every day
- 90% of registered HoN accounts are active
Will this get you to check out the game, or are you sticking with League of Legends?