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Heroes of Newerth Preview: Like DotA, But Better

Heroes of Newerth

With an increase in popularity on the “Warcraft 3″ custom map “Defense of the Ancients” over the past few years, many game developers have decided to create their own spin-off version; Stardock made their attempt with “Demigod,” and Riot Games is currently working on “League of Legends”. This isn’t much of a surprise, as there are millions of players around the world who play “DOTA” and is the only reason why “Warcraft 3″ is still selling after so many years. S2Games, the folks behind the FPS/RTS hybrid “Savage” series, are about to throw their hat in the ring with their recreation of “DOTA” called “Heroes of Newerth”. While other companies derive their methods on the “DOTA”-style gameplay, “HoN” does not shy away from the fact that it is “DOTA” 2.0 and even has the blessings from “DOTA”’s current creator, Icefrog.

For the uninitiated, “DOTA” is a tower defense game where each player takes on a role of a powerful hero in (usually) a 5 on 5 skirmish. Your objective is to destroy the enemy’s main structure and this is done by destroying towers, barracks, and your enemy’s creeps. Creeps are grunt AI units which spawn every 30 seconds and follow a pre-determined path called a lane. The camera angle and controls are similar to a RTS game, but you only control one unit for the vast majority of the game. Your hero will have four skills that are updated via an RPG style system where you kill enemy heroes or creeps for experience. Along the way you will gather gold from your slayings, which will be used to buy items, and as your character grows stronger you’ll be able to take on the enemy more effectively, destroying their towers, and finally pushing into their base to win the game.

So what are the differences between “DOTA” and “HoN”? Surprisingly, both “a lot” and “not much” are acceptable answers. S2Games’ goal is to take the “DOTA” custom map and put on its own engine, leaving most of the characters, skills, items, and map intact. The ever powerful Zeus in “DOTA” is now called Thunderbringer in “HON,” while the painful Butterfly is renamed to Wingbow. However, there are new heroes and content in the game as well, such as Puppet Master who will make you hang around with his strings or force you to put on a show by making you attack the nearest unit while he finishes you off. There are even two new maps, one called Darkwood Vale that is a 3-on-3 map, and the less defensive 5-on-5 Watchtower.

While this might sound like a rip off of “DOTA,” the reality is that S2Games wanted to retain what made “DOTA” great, but break free from “Warcraft 3″’s engine limitations. To succeed at this task, S2Games is using their homebrew K2 engine, the same engine used to create “Savage 2,” and, with my three month experience in the beta, it shows. The graphics are top notch for the genre, sporting detailed maps, great character animation, and perhaps the smoothest netcode in a RTS game. The netcode isn’t like a typical RTS, as there is no peer to peer connection, so the possibility of playing with someone in Japan or Europe is more than a likely possibility. The secret behind this is each game is hosted on S2games’ servers, so no worries about opening ports or other technical complications.

Heroes of Newerth

One of the biggest problems with “DOTA” is people leaving the game, either by accident or on purpose. “HoN” has implemented a reconnect feature which gives a player five minutes to reconnect to the game. If they fail to reconnect, their items are dropped at their base, and the player’s gold is split up amongst everyone else in the game. This would be considered a leave, whether intentionally or not, and after a certain times that they drop out, they will be marked as a “leaver.” Having this mark will force you to join games that aren’t marked with No-leavers, thereby decreasing your game options. Players will also have the option to kick out unwanted players during a match, remake within the first five minutes of the game, or concede a game when all hope is lost.

Besides all of these features, S2games plans on implementing more features that could not work with “DOTA” on the “Warcraft 3″ engine, like quick ranked games, custom league implementation, and clan matches. Although these features are not included in the current version of the beta, competitive fans of “DOTA” will have something to look forward when “HoN” is released. There is currently no release date, although you can try to grab beta keys from their Facebook group, or right here on TrueGameHeadz tomorrow where we will be releasing another 300 codes.

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14 Responses to “Heroes of Newerth Preview: Like DotA, But Better”

  1. kenneth kim on September 8th, 2009 7:53 pm

    hi need to test the game O_O can i have 1 beta key please


  2. soZial on September 8th, 2009 7:58 pm

    Hey, can i have a beta key? i want to try this game cause i played now 4 years dota and i still lovin this game =) so i want to try hon :>


    soZial Reply:


  3. MrPhro on September 8th, 2009 8:16 pm

    Hey cool article, I too need a key, please e-mail back ;D


  4. Alan on September 8th, 2009 8:19 pm

    Hey Dota and Hon friends! Me 2 would love to play this great game since I play DOta alot.
    this is my email:



  5. Exident on September 8th, 2009 8:32 pm

    Hi i love dota and would like to test this game
    please email me back



  6. LuNIX on September 8th, 2009 8:36 pm

    i would love to get a key to!

    I really love DotA for years now and from the first picture ive seen, i fall in love with HoN. I realy would love to test it out myself but ive never won a key till now…

    Hope you can change this and give me a chance to play and test this great game.

    Best regards, Lu



  7. agentpogi on September 9th, 2009 12:47 am

    hi, i like to test this game…please give me a beta invite. tnx ^^


  8. Da Psycho Kitty on September 9th, 2009 3:38 am

    I’d like a chance to test HoN out as well. Would greatly appreciate it if you could send me a beta invite/key.

    Thanks in advance,


  9. Andy on September 9th, 2009 3:56 am

    Looks pretty good, would love a chance to trial the new game.
    If possible, an invitation my way would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank You,


  10. akira on September 9th, 2009 5:15 am

    hi, i would really love to try this game. i have been playing lan games for a long time and this really takes my attention. its a game which i would really love to try and would really appreciate it if i could be give a chance to play with a beta key.
    hope for satisfactory reply. thanks in advance

    this is my email add


  11. Infinity2k on September 9th, 2009 9:28 am

    Hey, can i have a beta key? i want to try this game cause i played now 4 years dota and i still lovin this game =) so i want to try hon

    send mail:


    necnax Reply:


    it would be n1 if i would get a beta key.


  12. JonasLocke on September 9th, 2009 1:32 pm

    I need a key.


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