One of the first MOBAs to hit the market has closed its doors. Heroes of Newerth's servers have shut down today following an announcement six months ago confirming the game will cease operations.
"Heroes of Newerth (HoN) has been in service for a long time," wrote Frostburn Studios in its announcement last December. "We would like to extend our sincere thanks to everyone who has been on this journey, created special memories together with us, moved HoN forward, and created a lot of unforgettable stories for HoN, as well as making Heroes of Newerth become one of the most popular MOBA games in history."
Like most MOBAs from the early 2010s, Heroes of Newerth can trace its lineage back to Warcraft 3 and its wildly popular Defense of the Ancients mod. Players face off in two teams, with AI-controlled mobs marching to fight in the center of the map. Towers mark defensive lines on each lane, and wild monsters can be found throughout the area. Players first pick heroes that generally fall into one of several roles (Support, Jungler, Gank, etc), with the ultimate objective of destroying the enemy's main structure.
If all this sounds familiar it's because that's exactly how Dota 2 and League of Legends also structured their games. Heroes of Newerth came out just after LoL in May 2010 with over three million accounts registered. For a while, it seemed like Heroes of Newerth might even become as big as League of Legends.
But things just didn't turn out that way. Initial developer S2 Games was a much smaller studio than Riot and just couldn't keep up with the pace of development. LoL, and later Dota 2, just offered better visuals and more refined mechanics for the MOBA enthusiast.
Realizing that they needed to do something to better compete with the Riot and Valve juggernauts, S2 sold Heroes of Newerth to Frostburn Studios in 2015 to focus on its next MOBA, Strife. That didn't do much to change the MOBA market, and both Strife and S2 Games shut down in 2018.
Frostburn managed to keep Heroes of Newerth going for seven years, but with falling playercounts and revenue, it was time to call it quits. December's announcement was followed by several months of free coin giveaways and special events to celebrate Heroes of Newerth and its remaining players. New account generation was turned off on December 31, and now the servers will shut down for good.
It’s always sad to see a game go like this, but no free-to-play online game lasts forever.
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