DOTA, LOL: All Heroes Of Newerth Heroes Going Free

Well, this is something of a nice surprise. Once upon a time, Heroes of Newerth – a pretty solid MOBA that can’t shout quite as loudly as genre giants like League of Legends – cast off its price tag and went free-to-play. Now, though, it’s taking things one rather large step further. Following in DOTA 2’s footsteps, HoN’s sending all of its Newerthian heroes into battle with no strings attached. In other words, starting today, every last one’s totally, completely free.

Developer S2 Games explained the sudden about-face in a forum post, chalking it up to the fact that charging for heroes limited players’ ability to mix and match strategies – even forcing some to steer clear of entire modes altogether.

“We agree with the community that HoN is best played with a full hero pool available to all players and that both the new and the longtime, dedicated players alike can benefit from the change. We want players to have the freedom to invite their friends and to recommend heroes based on playstyle and not a free hero pool. Players will no longer be limited by which heroes they can afford, so when a line-up calls for a certain hero, you can answer the call and focus on what’s important in each game of HoN.”

“This change is equally important in our mission to revitalize the myriad of game modes in HoN. HoN offers so many other fun twists, options, and strategies outside of All Pick that any passionate fan can attest to. We recognize this and don’t want players to be turned away from these modes due to restriction. With all heroes and game modes, players will have the complete HoN experience at their disposal.”

Further, S2 hopes this will keep the competitive scene, well, competitive –  instead of lopsided in favor of those with both the most skill and the fattest wallets.

Of course, HoN’s newfound freedom does present a slight problem: heaps of people have already converted their precious, precious funds into tiny magic people. So first, the good news: purchases made in the last 15 days will be refunded, and everyone who’s ever spent money on the game will get a Mecha Gemini alt avatar. Legacy players, meanwhile, get a lifetime bonus that equates to two extra silver coins per ranked match. If, however, you don’t slot neatly into one of those categories, your money’s sadly long gone.

Still, though, this is – by and large -pretty great. Business models have been shifting rapidly as of late, and there’s certainly a danger of allowing that to torpedo the fundamentals of a game’s design. Depending on whom you talk to, though, it’s a full-on “Nope, no problems here now or ever pay-to-win isn’t real lalalalalala” shutout. It’s good, at least, to see some developers really putting effort into dissecting what works and what doesn’t – especially in the competitive scene. So then: Et tu, LoL?


  1. del says:

    I know it’s weird and I know this is probably better overall but… I kinda like having to grind to earn a new champion in LoL. I see the one I want and play games to win so that I get enough IP to buy them. I think I’d miss that Pokemon-style goal.

    • Xardas Kane says:

      I agree, it really gives you an incentive to save up those points. But HoN has always been playing catch-up, so it’s understandable that they are trying their best to get ahea of the competition.

      • Squirly says:

        I’ve been playing Dota 2 lately and I realized the same thing. However, Dota is fundamentally about being able to pick any hero (or at least any hero pertaining to your side) and that’s a big way in which it’s always been played. Removing that now and charging people IP or real moneyz for it would change the game too much. Instead they let you customize your heroes with various bits of trim. Time will tell if it’ll work out and it doesn’t look like dota 2 has anything that equates to IP from LoL, just normal XP which doesn’t earn you anything new in terms of unlocks, from what i can tell. Could be wrong because i’m still new in the dota 2 pool.

        • Vorphalack says:

          The Dota 2 experience grants you a guaranteed skin customisation random item drop every time you reach a new rank.

        • Smarag says:

          Oh god. Every single one of you get the fuck out of my gaming right now and go back to playing CoD on the console. Holy motherfucking sky and earth. It’s exactly people like you ready to mindlessly grind and pay who made devs ruin so many games.

          • ain says:

            My sentiment exactly.

          • glocks4interns says:

            Are people mindlessly grinding or mindlessly paying? Your point seems muddled.

          • Jerktown says:

            I think it’d be pretty difficult to mindless grind a MOBA. Kudos to anyone who can Zen their way to a LoL victory for max IP.

          • RainFall says:

            I further concur. Capitalism has bred people to think like slaves. They no longer have any way to value themselves or their purpose. They let big daddy do it for them so they have a metric created by an authority they respect to compare to.

          • Ringwraith says:

            I play the matches because I enjoy them, not for the IP.
            That’s just a bonus.
            When you find yourself playing matches despite yourself, you need to take stock of what exactly are you doing.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            @Smarag Twist and turn my words, baby, twist and turn. Who the hell are you to tell anyone to “get out of your gaming”? What an a-hole, Jesus.

            I said that IP gives you another incentive to play. I enjoy the game, but every now and then I get to pick a new hero, which gives me a sense of progression, as a reward for all the games I’ve won. Since when is that a criminal thing, smart guy? I also like leveling up my character in Baldur’s Gate, you think that turns the game into a griendfest?


          • arccos says:

            Aaaaand people like Smarag are exactly why I stopped playing Lords Management games.

          • TheHater says:

            Definitely this. There are waaaay too many nerds with too much time on their hands accepting this mode of playing with any objection. There’s nothing gained from it for them. It’s especially mind boggling in games where the company doesn’t even make any money off of it, like CoD or BF3. If you get your jollies from grinding numbers, go play MMOs or japanese RPGs, don’t try to cram that mechanic into other games. Dota, LoL and HoN should be about the 20-50 minute long game sessions, not about grinding

          • del says:

            I guess I used the word grind and therefore Smarag immediately combusted. How about “I enjoy playing several matches of this AAA quality game, for free, in order to unlock new characters, for free, which will in turn allow me more variety in the matches to come.”?

            I do like the idea of customisations getting unlocked as well but I’m comfortable with the current system. :)

          • salaa23 says:

            yes this money and game points system ruin the games, i would like a game when you play and chill you just have to play it for a round or 2 and then you move on to do something else, like counter strike DotA, Dota 2 ..ect. If you like the grinding system cool go play MMORPGs don’t oppose this on MOBAs HoN and LoL should be like dota 2 aswell, infact this is exactly why i quited playing any mmo/mmorpg type game.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I liked it for a while, but after they increased the speed of updates champions felt incredibly samey and they all came out at too high of a grind. I quit after getting all the low and mid cost champions, partially out of boredom and partially because it would be impossible to get the rest.

      • Claidheamh says:

        Well, they are called heroes in HoN, and they slowed down on their development after weighing in the community’s opinion. The development process of heroes is much longer now.

    • zeroskill says:

      Artificial player progression for the Call of Duty generation, ho!

      We don’t learn how to play games and get better, we watch progression bars go UP!

      • Kdansky says:

        Yeah, that bothers me to no end. I’ve played 400 hours of TF2. I really don’t need the game to give me an advantage for it, such as +20% dmg or health. I want it to be fair. Because don’t you know it, 400 hours of practise means that I’ve gotten rather proficient at it and I can easily crush a beginner anyway. That’s what games should be about!

        Don’t give handicaps to the bad players! They are bad already, that’s enough punishment!

        • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

          You forgot your footnote.

        • derbefrier says:

          this a million times. I hate having to unlock anything in a competitive game this is one of the biggest reasons i cant ever seem to get into modern FPS games. call me old fashioned but i prefer skill to take precedent not the amount of unlocks a player might have. My favorite team based shooter of all time TFC didnt need it. skill decided fights not the fact you have 20% more health and a weapon that does 20% more damage.

          I put 100s of hours into TFC. I could own any noob with any class against any class he chose. I could dance circles around his HW guy, i could hold of entire teams from the sniper roost in 2fort. but not because i had a bunch of uber weapons unlocked that gave me an advantage but because i played the game way too much and got really good at it. As a medic i could cap a flag in 2fort in a matter of seconds if the defense was lax starting from the spawn point and it was all skill using the same tools every single player in the game had available to them.

          Its sad to see this mentality shift in gamers where it more important to have something to unlock than it is to have competitive games and you think i am exaggerating? well how many of you played metro in BF3 for hours spamming rockets and nades in the subways grinding XP or doing the same thing in CoD in similar meat grinder type levels. the fact is the focus has gone from competitive play to grinding unlocks in a lot of multiplayer games. I believe this has all contributed greatly to the detriment of pure competitive play in modern gaming.

        • Devan says:

          I think you guys are misunderstanding the general reason people like the champion unlocking system in League of Legends.

          Unlocking a champion does not make you any better or more advantaged than you were before. Your performance is heavily dependent on player skill; having lots of champions simply provides you a greater variety of ways to utilize that skill. You’re even at a disadvantage at first as you have to practice and learn the subtleties of each new champion you unlock if you want to be good with them.

          There are 100 champions in LoL right now, but I could restrict myself to 10 of them and still be just as effective (maybe even more effective since I’d be more practiced with those ten). The reason I enjoy using a variety of champions is that they can each provide unique and fun gameplay experiences.

          The reason I like saving in-game currency for them is that it adds a progression aspect similar to RPGs. Progression is a key difference between Survival Mode and Creative Mode in Minecraft. How would you enjoy starting off in Skyrim at max level with all the best gear?
          In League of Legends the unlocking isn’t restrictive; it’s easy to unlock champs at the same rate you become proficient with them.
          So overall I don’t consider it a “grind” or “achievement” or anything except a source of progressively increasing variety to the gameplay.

          • RandomEsa says:

            Hardly anything you say invalidates the argument.

            While I agree that unlocking a champion only gives you little bit of variety when picking in games, but having that slightly op champion ready to use whenever compared to those that don’t have enough IP or don’t want to spend RP to buy that champion are in a disadvantage. Real issue is with the runes and rune pages. You can’t indirectly buy runes but you can buy boosts to gain more IP after a match gaining them faster. Having more variety in rune pages and having them full of tier 3 runes is an advantage compared to someone with equal skill who doesn’t have a full rune page or exactly optimal rune page for that champion.

            I personally had over 1000 games played. Win/loss ratio at +200 and 100€ worth of RP bought from the store. I wasn’t even close to having all the champions ( and this was back in December 2011) let alone runes / rune pages to make an optimal or even close to optimal rune page to one particular champion ( maybe because I bought gentleman Cho’gath skin but I regret nothing).

            Progress in single-player rpgs or adventure games is completely different than in competitive e-sport titles.

            If you like to fill up progress bars then check this out about gamification I know extra credits did one too but that was just hopes and dreams.

          • TheHater says:

            This isn’t an RPG. This isn’t an MMO where you progression is saved. This is a game where each new session you start with a lvl1 champ with no items. There is 0 inherent need to unlock each champ successively, but having lots of champs really improves your chances to counterpick in draft. Of course, it’s just Riot’s way to make money so whatever, but don’t you try to somehow rationalize this system having any positives for the player

          • Crispy says:

            Free Champion rotation is very noob-friendly
            As a new player to any of the big MOBAs, the amount of new information you have to take in is overwhelming. On top of having to learn the mechanics of the game (last hitting, different roles, tower/creep aggro mechanics, buffs and debuff types etc.) in some MOBAs you are expected to learn how to play and face off against one of 80+ different unique characters. The League of Legends free champion rotation gently introduces the player to the game. During their first week, matches at the lower matchmaking brackets will tend to see new players all using the free champions. Week by week, the initiate’s Champion knowledge is slowly but steadily built up.

            I’ve just moved across to Dota 2 after around 900 matches in LoL. It’s amazing how much harder it is to learn the characters. There’s the fact a lot of them look really similar to completely different characters (guy with a face like a hammerhead shark and a big sword, guy that looks like a lizard-fish thing, guy who’s just a torso rising out of the ether, white-bearded guy with goggles) and there’s the fact that there is no gentle introduction. Dota has some really hardcore mechanics that are not at all transparent, such as not being able to buy all items from all shops, the courier, stash, losing gold on death (it never says how much you lost), the quick buy button you should use if you know you’re going to die. All of this stuff is really important from the get-go, but you’re expected to understand MOBA in general, PLUS these hardcore mechanics PLUS 80-odd heroes, plus a much deeper set of items that any hero could be carrying, most with active abilities that can totally turn the tide of battle.

            I’d very happily play a cut-down ‘introduction’ mode for Dota 2 for the first few weeks where I can get to grips with a few of the more common picks and the less common picks would not be selectable.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      Grinding for heroes is probably the single biggest thing keeping me from enjoying LoL, with the grind for runes being a possible tie. I do not feel like I should have to grind to unlock what is at heart a strategic option or a character that suits my playstyle; this should be something that is just part of the base game. To me it’s a much larger omission than day 1 DLC side quests.

      I know personally, I would be much more likely to throw Riot money if they made unlocking champs extremely easy (or free) and only charged for skins and boosts. TB talks about this a lot, and I agree with him completely on the matter. Charging for, or making the player grind, just to find something that matches your personality or the strategic situation at hand feels thoughtless. It’s not even money grubbing, it just feels like they didn’t work hard enough to come up with a more creative business model, or like it’s a model that’s supposed to appeal to investors and accountants.

      • Xardas Kane says:

        I have absolutely never found myself wanting a hero or a rune badly but not having the IP for it. Never.

        • TheHater says:

          “I felt a certain way, therefore I can’t understand why you didn’t feel that way either!”

    • TACO BOY says:

      everybody knows you buy champions with rp and runes with ip in lol,its how they pace the ip rewards that make it that way and the fact that you cant buy runes with rp,grinding a 6300 takes ages and a game that sells you heroes can never be balanced,i think its a great thing hon is doing this.

  2. Harry Bosch says:

    They conditioned you well, dog.

    On a serious note: Great change, bit late though.

  3. Aemony says:

    I really doubt that League of Legends will change their approach and for me personally, it would remove one of the reasons I like playing it. I love seeing my IP slowly and steadily build towards a new champ or a couple of runes, and I don’t want that changed any time soon.

    • EPICTHEFAIL says:

      Funnily enough, I have the exact opposite reaction. The incredibly slow IP grind means having to play pubs, which is THE benchmark for videogame sadomasochism, IMO.

      • tranchera says:

        “Playing pubs” is playing the game. You are literally sitting down and playing the game. If you don’t like playing the game you should probably stop.

        • Brise Bonbons says:

          IMO It’s playing a semi-broken subset of the game, if there are entire strategies and character types that are locked off behind a pay wall. We are not talking about getting a slightly different gun that shoots a little faster here. An illustration: I don’t have a good AP character unlocked – I unlocked and enjoyed Orianna, but she got nerfed a while back – and the rotation this week only offers Brand in that spot, who I really don’t like playing. Nor do I have a good tanky DPS character available, and Wukong, the free one this week, is another character I don’t like at all. If I play a game, the only character on the selection screen I have any interest in is Graves, and he’s almost always picked immediately by someone who loads in before me.

          Granted, I’m picky. I have never meshed well with the character design philosophy in LoL, and I only fully enjoy a small number of the champions on offer. I have friends who unlocked one champion and play that one all the time, but that has never been the way I play games – I’m an experimenter, or have ADD, depending on your perspective – and if LoL is going to try to force me to change how I enjoy strategyRPG games in order to suit its business model, I will go elsewhere.

          • Sir Fally says:

            oh please!
            every week are 10 champs f2p and for every role there are a bunch of champs to a really low price. of course its hard to grind them all, but no one NEEDS all. maybe you want them, but you will never need them. it was one of the most fullfilling moments in my gaming history, when i had enough ip to buy the last champ i didnt own. in fact, all this grinding “problem” only occurs to new players, as you have your base of champs after a while. and if they arent enough: 10 different champs every week free. nothing to complain, imho!

            for me, it keeps the spirit up, to be able to earn me more stuff. if they would change that, they could remove the ip. its not hard to earn the 6300 ip in 2 weeks for the new champ.

          • Ringwraith says:

            There are enough really cheap champions to fill every role reasonably, although if you’re not a fan of those champions it can present a problem, but that’s what the rotation is for. If you don’t like a week’s rotation, and have absolutely nothing else you want to play, you can just sit it out.
            Although really, with a MOBA game, you’re going to get thrust upon you a position you may not prefer or even necessarily like now and again, so it helps to be flexible.

            P.S.: Orianna got buffed recently, so there’s that. Although finding out what selection of characters you want to play on a regular basis is part of the fun, and you do really need more than one.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Also, after being bought out by Tencent, Riot has to keep profits up. Releasing new champs with a horrendous grind is where a lot of their money comes from.

    • Reapy says:

      Don’t you think it is problematic that you would literally stop playing a game if you didn’t have to grind anymore?

      A good multiplayer game should be about actually playing the game and enjoying it… I would think that the idea that you could select any champion and have access to the entire game for once, would be a good thing?

      If the addiction /skinner’s box is what has you primarily playing the game, well, I guess I get why ‘free to play’ works so well.

      • Sensai says:

        It’s like a video game form of Stockholm syndrome or something. I really don’t understand it.

        The same thing happens in WoW, too. It’s weird seeing people pay Blizzard/Riot for the opportunity to do what is seen as a job by some people.

        • TheHater says:

          It’s not too hard too understand when you realize it’s just people with way too much free time. I mean honestly, if you have time for maybe 1 or 2 games and play twice a week, obviously you don’t want to spend your first 100 games grinding IP to buy 5 champs. You want to immidiately have the full roster to experience the game the way you want to play it.

  4. markcocjin says:

    Because in Dota 2, you do not need to accumulate simulated experience.

    Dota 2’s skill ceiling is so high that the XP you earn, is the one you get as a player. You actually notice yourself getting more powerful at the game by being able to include the many nuances that makes a better player better compared to someone with less experience.

    It’s not just click on an enemy to win. No perks, no hero unlocks, no persistent stats. All you have, is your skill as a gamer. You let a veteran LoL player use a fresh account against his equals and he is screwed.

    • Xardas Kane says:

      Everybody eventually hits lvl 30, making everyone equal to each other, so in my eyes it’s basically the same, with rune sets being the only difference.

      • Ringwraith says:

        Even then, without an ideal rune set (I’m not level 30 and regularly playing with level 30’s) you can still get the upper hand if you outplay your opponent. Although having some of the bargain runes help, as they’re still over half the stats of the expensive ones.

        • Kdansky says:

          I bet I could outplay you* at chess** even if you had an additional queen instead of a bishop. It’s still a worse game though.

          *Or anyone else
          **Or any other fair game where I have more experience.

          • Ringwraith says:

            It’s such a minor statistical advantage though (literally a few points), in a game when you can simply out buy your opponent in items anyway.

          • DrGonzo says:

            In fact ranked games are locked to level 30 players. So you can only play proper games once you have a set of runes and characters to play as.

            Really enjoying Dota 2, but the idiotic superiority of it’s players is frustrating. Neither Dota 2 nor LoL are any more or less skill full than each other. LoL is definitely quicker, and certainly different, but ultimately it’s the opposing team you are playing and that sets the skill barrier.

          • Ringwraith says:

            Dota is harder to learn probably, if only because of things like snowballing being much more prevalent in it, due to the gold loss on death that LoL doesn’t have. Tower diving is also somewhat easier to pull off as well, due to the towers doing less damage. Although the main thing is that both games are different, albeit not in ways obvious to the casual observer.

      • Malk_Content says:

        That really doesn’t help people getting into the game and I still thing it is silly to tout that as a good thing. “Well all the best/most long-standing players are on an even playing field, only the other players who are at a statistical disadvantage.”

        Why people can stand and even promote unlocks in what is meant to be a competitive environment baffles me. Shouldn’t you play the game over and over purely because it is fun to do so? Yes I play Tribes and Blacklight: Revolution, but I play them despite the progression and because of the game.

        • Reapy says:

          I agree with you 100%, and I won’t keep playing a game unless I really enjoy the game itself.

          I can see the appeal of sidegrades and cosmetic unlocks though. There is that nice added thing of having tons of microgoals in addition to what you are enjoying. I just think that it has gone too far most of the time in that half of the game is locked away.

          There is nothing I hate more than in a multiplayer game that I’m addicted to and skilled at, then having artificial boosts among players. I hate having more stats than them, my victory feels hollow, and I hate getting crushed by someone with more stats than me, as I have a tendency to blame the loss on shiny weapon X they are using, when that might not have been the case.

          Unlocks are good for versatility in specific situations, or pretty hats, anything more, I feel it takes away the game in the long run, but I guess that is why you release a new game next year.

          • Malk_Content says:

            Oh I am all for cosmetic unlocks. After all F2P games have to make their money somehow. Even then I am a bit wary in some games, as cosmetic sometimes means “camouflage and thus a game play advantage” but not often. I’ve even spend money on cosmetics in DOTA2, because if I’ve played a game for nearly 70 hours (eep) I absolutely believe in giving something back to the devs, even if it is only the cost of a Yak skin (omg it is adorable!) and a key to a chest.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Yes, but this way new players have a gentler introduction into the game than Dota’s sink or swim and if you sink we yell at you while it’s happening. A lot of new LoL players actually like the lower levels better than the higher ones, partially because people are a lot nicer there.

      • Vorphalack says:

        Don’t be daft, there is no ”sink” in Dota 2. if you suck, and most new players will, you will firstly be matched against players who also suck, and you can only get better over time. The impossible learning curve for newbies is a complete myth.

        • InternetBatman says:

          That wasn’t my experience when I played the beta, but I only played a game or two.

          • Vorphalack says:

            No game can guess your skill level from a handful of games, not even LoL does that. Also worth mentioning that the player pool in DotA 2 is relativly small at present. Once it opens up to the world then there will be more similarly skilled players to match people with.

        • jezmabez says:

          Unfortunately only partially true. If you’re completely new and have no idea what to do, Dota is not only punishing but gives absolutely no quarter. It has an incredibly high learning curve, and to really learn how to play, you must play with people better then you. If you’re a noob and play with other noobs, it’s a circle-jerk – blind leading blind kind of scenario. Sure you might slowly get better, but at a very slow rate. The amount of ragequitters you get paired up with at extreme low levels is terribly detrimental to learning.

          • Vorphalack says:

            But the point is that new players end up going through more or less the same experience as other new players, with other new players, and don’t spend all their games being demolished by 10 year vets. who play like a well oiled military machine. You might get a few of those games early on until the system works out where you should be, but that’s no different from any other match made game. The skill ceiling in Dota is high but that really isn’t a concern at low levels. If the matchmaking is working properly then everyone should be at around the same level. What the pros can potentially do with specific heroes and team comps isn’t really a factor in low level pub games.

            I’d argue that Dota 2 has the best teaching tool in the genre right now, possibly in any game ever made; spectating live games from the browser. Valve stated a while back that most new players like to spend a long time watching before they jump into a live game. Right from that you can learn really important basics like what team compositions work, who counters who, what items to buy and when to buy them, how to use the map geography, where to ward, etc.. The tools are there in game so that people don’t have to go in blind.

          • MaXimillion says:

            How is DotA2’s ability to spectate live games better than HoN’s ability to watch a replay of any game ever played?

          • Vorphalack says:

            Well the obvious answer is that you learn more by watching other people, especially those who are better than you, than buy watching yourself make the same mistakes over and over again. That’s how most learning works. Additionally, Dota 2 also has a personal replay viewer.

          • MaXimillion says:

            HoN let’s you watch replays of EVERY game ever played, not just your own games.

          • Vorphalack says:

            Oh I see. Still, for learning purposes i’d rather have the high level games on demand with the crap filtered out.

          • MaXimillion says:

            Which you can easily do by only watching pro players’ replays.

          • Vorphalack says:

            That would imply some knowledge of who the good players actually are, which most new players wont have. I’d also argue that early on it would be more beneficial to get a broader knowledge of the game by watching high level pub games, than following a handful of pros who will likely only focus on a few heroes.

          • age says:

            LoL has a spectator mode. All 3 games have ways of viewing matches for new players.

      • TheHater says:

        Disagree. I had to level up another account and the thing is this: Lvl1-3 is full of other smurfs, and the team that gets the 1 legit new player loses. Then they spread out and between 3-12 you get just new players. Somewhere around 12-20 you have surprisingly smooth games because people simply play and tryhard for whatever reason. 20-30 is the most horrible grind, with lvl27 people appearing who only have 20 wins (straight out of Coop vs. Bot games), lvl30s who are bored of ranked and want to troll, etc etc

  5. Turin Turambar says:

    So … how are they going to win money? Cosmetic items?

    • MaXimillion says:

      Yes. Hero skins, announcer packs, custom taunts, chat name colours and icons. And also account stuff like stat resets, subaccounts and renames.

  6. Bungle says:

    LoL players sound like fun and interesting people…

  7. EPICTHEFAIL says:

    Great, finally a reason to play… Nevermind, community is still on speed and paint thinner. I`ll pass.

  8. cliffski says:

    I’m confused. Does this mean this is now a free game? That everything is free? And there is no need to pay any money to the company that made it to access any of the features in the game? including ‘faster’ or ‘more xp’?

    because if they are still charging for certain items withint he game, then the game is NOT free. It has a time-unlimited demo, that’s all. Free games can only exist if they are being subsidised by some rich patron, or done as a hobby.
    I think it’s about time we stopped taking the term ‘free to play’. at face value, when it’s just a demo dressed up to sound more appealing.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Not sure what the point here is, if the game and everything is free, but your charged for optional extras, like skins etc , or there is a way to reasonably earn them during normal gameplay then the free to play moniker sticks. You can still charge for some items and it be free to play as long as the items don’t effect gameplay (skins, early unlocks etc)

      If its got a load of content behind a paywall that you can only access by spending money then yeah sure it shouldn’t be called free to play (like some idiots were claiming guild wars 2 was free to play because theres no monthly subscription)

    • Delusibeta says:

      I’m not sure what your point is. “Free 2 play” is fundamentally different from the traditional “pay once” model because it’s impossible to buy everything with just one payment.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Subsidized by some rich patron you say? That might just be the case.

    • DiamondDog says:

      Who, exactly, is taking the term ‘free-to-play’ at face value? I think when most people see that a game is F2P they realise that means it’s free to try it, there’s no entrance fee. I don’t think demo quite describes it properly, because what you get for free is invariable a lot more involved than a demo. The holy grail for free-to-play games is to be able to make enough money from cosmetic items and things like XP boosts that they can provide the main game at no charge.

      • Lord Byte says:

        Myself I prefer to call them Free-to-Pay. Cosmetic only is the way, but Xp boosts are generally also accepted.
        I guess you could call them “Pay for advantage” where the boost you get isn’t in the game per se, but rather in between games, giving you an advantage (like in WOT the Premium tanks and accounts giving you more cash making it easier to play with fun Tanks rather than grind for cash, or the aforementioned XP boost). Noone gets victimised for this directly (as a direct bonus would), although this does create an environment where the developer gets rewarded for increasing the advantage of this. (Grinding low level tanks so you can play with the higher tier ones is a real problem for non-premium WOT players. It’s hard to even break even on a match once in a tier 8+ tank – and I used to play premium!).

    • Pray For Death says:

      The heroes are all free, meaning how much you pay IRL will not affect your gameplay. All that is left to buy is cosmetic items that have no effect on gameplay, like alternate hero skins.

    • JackShandy says:

      Say they released Starcraft for free. Is it just a demo just because you still have to pay for the expansion, Brood War?

    • RainFall says:

      I think you mean that we need to stop calling things F2P when they are areally P2W. LoL, and previously HoN, was P2W .

      • Ringwraith says:

        They’re not Pay to Win at all, it’s not how it works. Having your character selection limited merely means you’ve got less options available to you, seeing as no one character is ‘better’ than the others (and when they are, they’re often patched down to size, although they tend to be banned in draft pick modes until then, minimising the problem).

        • DrGonzo says:

          But the ‘all free games are pay-to-win’ crowd are becoming so tiring and repetitively wrong that even when they have a point it’s ignored now.

          No, LoL is not pay to win. I can guarantee you that the best players will always win the match, not the one who has spent the most money on the game. But keep shouting pay to win at the few games which aren’t, and more and more people will stop listening and the situation will get worse and worse.

      • del says:

        Trolling? I’ve never paid a penny to LoL and I have a great time playing. And I’m not the only one! :)

        I’m a game designer and I can’t abide Pay To Win games. I’m regularly using the earliest characters you unlock and I think that LoL has a good model and I think that HoN will probably do just fine with their cosmetics model too.

    • DrGonzo says:

      If the game stopped working after a limited time then yes. It would be a time-limited demo, but no it’s not. You can play the game, for free. So the game is free. I really don’t understand this post. Are you just that dim, or am I missing something?

  9. misterT0AST says:

    The problem of HoN now is that it’s pretty much the same as Dota. Well, Dota2 would have the same issue but, you know, Valve.

    • marcusfell says:

      Dota2 is the exact same as Dota because if they change ANYTHING Valve gets attacked by the entire internet.

      • InternetBatman says:

        To be fair, Icefrog hasn’t proven himself at all capable of creating new content, just managing old stuff.

        • zeroskill says:

          Last time I checked Icefrog and Eul, who both work for Valve, are doing pretty well.

        • Kotlh says:

          To be fairer than fair, he did add a lot of stuff to DotA … On top of refining it, which IMO is the most important part of his job.

        • Verity says:

          This is exactly what people want. Good old DotA, port older heroes over and then, once every few months add a new, properly balanced one, instead of dozens to get more money off the cosmetic shop and what not.

          • Solanaceae says:

            I don’t see how he can add any more heroes to the game. Already too many samey abilities being used by different heroes IMO (for example CK, Naga Siren, and Phantom Lancer all rely on loads of illusions late game)

          • Vorphalack says:

            The CK illusions deal full damage, the Siren Illusions are more of a defensive distraction, and the Lancer illusions come from both a single target nuke and his vanish ability (offensive and defensive), and can also self replicate. Just taking illusions as an example you can see there is a lot of room to differentiate within a single game mechanic.

        • Malibu Stacey says:

          Except for all the heroes, abilities & items he added to Dota 1 sure.


  10. rockman29 says:

    And then…. Dota 2 still wins.

    Gee gee, HoN.

  11. televizor says:

    So it’s gonna piss off the people that bought the game (like myself) and the people that bought heroes after the 1st switch. Nice.
    I’m also curious as to what their business model will be from now on, since they have to pay to keep the servers up and selling skins won’t cut it.
    Me, I’m more than happy with my DOTA 2.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      I think that’s the biggest reason you’ll never see Riot do something similar with LoL. Profit from selling characters aside, at this point so many people have payed to unlock several that suddenly giving them all away free seems like a huge problem, PR wise.

      But yes, I agree, DOTA2 is the only business model in this market that sits right with me.

    • MaXimillion says:

      I bought HoN for $30, I’ve spend somewhere between $100-250 on gold coins, and I’m not annoyed by the change at all, in fact it’s great news since it means the queue times for modes other than AP will be much shorter since more people can access them.

  12. Pray For Death says:

    “Further, S2 hopes this will keep the competitive scene, well, competitive – instead of lopsided in favor of those with both the most skill and the fattest wallets.”

    This statement is false. The game has something called “Tournament Mode”, and when you join that mode you will have access to the entire hero pool regardless of how many heroes you have bought. Of course this mode is only available for private games, not in matchmaking (where people can grind xp.) So this mode is only used in competitive matches.

  13. Captain Joyless says:

    A lot of people abandoned HoN when it became clear the owner of S2 was a blatant racist who often used racist language to attack other players ( link to ) and encouraged his designers to make homophobic content, and then got them to lie about the motivation behind it ( link to ).

    After all that nonsense, you couldn’t pay me to play HoN.

    • pakoito says:

      Fuck political correctness, seriously.

      • Captain Joyless says:

        I’m sorry I didn’t realize actually calling people “nigger” was merely “politically incorrect.” It seems to me that actually being an unlikable racist tool is pretty much grounds for people to avoid your product. It seems to me that getting your employees to lie about your product is actually grounds for people to avoid your product.

        Of course, from a position of privilege, I suppose “fuck political correctness” might be the best response. Why acknowledge the concerns of anyone less privileged than yourself when you can simply continue to exercise your privilege in protection of your own privilege?

        • pakoito says:

          Jeesus, calling the flamboyant pack “homophobic”, and calling the public opinion on rising arms screaming. You sound like a fucking politics college junior.

          Real life I have been discriminated for my race and nationality multiple times, and you don’t see me on the front of demonstrations started by male/white/british social-liberals trying to save the poor defenseless discriminated minorities.

          EDIT: Even in the links you provided people in the comments are sharing my views.

          • Captain Joyless says:

            Rofl, so because you’ve been discriminated against and you decided to respond one way, no other responses are valid? Because internet commenters think one thing, that’s what’s right? I think you spend too much time on reddit, kid. The world doesn’t revolve around either of our personal experiences, or a bunch of upvote/downvote comments.

            If your beef with social movements is that they’re all start by white male liberal british whatevers, maybe you should start your own or find one that isn’t – because plenty aren’t – instead of just crying about it and deciding that they’re all sophomoric (or “college junior”).

          • pakoito says:

            Positive discrimination is as bad as discrimination itself, and it has never pushed rights forward. Now, acceptance and normality has.

          • Captain Joyless says:

            “Positive discrimination”? What are you even talking about? All I said was I don’t want to play a game made by a guy rages online in his own game and calls people “nigger” and bans people because they’re better than he is and gets his employees to make features that celebrate homophobia and rape, and then has his employees lie about it when people criticize him.

            Seriously it seems like you have some kind of insane axe to grind that has absolutely nothing to do with anything anybody is talking about. Nobody here is talking about affirmative action in colleges or jobs. Go troll reddit more and gtfo.

    • Captain Joyless says:

      Better link to clarify exactly what I am talking about:

      link to

      “I can say that the intent of the “flamboyant” announcer was absolutely unambiguous. The terms “faggoty” and “queer” were used to describe what he wanted the announcer to sound like. Expectedly, this was met with varying degrees of discomfort, but unfortunately nobody was feeling ready to jump on that grenade at the time. The shop was still a long way from actually being implemented, so I personally wrote it off as a battle for another day.”

      Of course, that came to light after Pu Liu made up some complete BS story about the intent behind the “flamboyant pack” : link to

  14. astorax says:

    You know what kind of bothers me…is that everyone brings up “competition, esport, blah blah blah” when they talk about making every champion free.

    I’m sorry, but look at the top tiers of play in the esports scene for ANY of this genre. Not ONE of those players plays every champion at that level of play. Each player has probably 4/5 champions that they play exclusively.

    By the time you hit lvl 30 in LoL, for example,, you have plenty of IP to not only own those champions, but have full rune sets of multiple configurations to support them.

    Competition at that level is not about being able to play every champion at competition quality play. It’s about specialization. That’s like saying an athlete should be able to play Hockey, Baseball and Basketball at a professional level. It just doesn’t happen. Hell, even taken down a peg, it’s like saying a player should be able to play as a pitcher, catcher, shortstop and outfielder at the same professional level of play in baseball. Still not going to happen.

    I’m sorry, but that argument is invalid.

    • MaXimillion says:

      While most HoN pros have a few heroes they prefer, they certainly play for more than a few heroes. This is even more true since Lock Pick mode was introduced as the new competitive game mode, since you may be forced to play oddball picks the other team has locked for the match.

  15. Vorphalack says:

    This has to be one of the most depressing things i’ve read on RPS for months; overtly racist and shamelessly tribal.

    • Captain Joyless says:

      Of course, this is the guy who explicitly just said one post above “fuck political correctness.” Apparently actual racism is mere political incorrectness to that pakoito.

      Of course, this has always been the problem with the dota/hon/lol community: racism, name-calling, and general bad manners.

      • Captain Joyless says:

        “Travel more”? Rofl. I’ve only lived in the US for the past year; before that I lived in 5 different countries in Europe. Before that I was born in the Middle East and lived there until I was 12.

        Nice job assuming that I’m a white male British/American though. Kind of my whole point. Oops for you.

      • Captain Joyless says:

        Holy shit dude, again, what are you talking about? Do you even know what Godwin’s Law is? Where did I violate it? Where did I call you a name besides “kid”? Even if I had called you any name at all, how do you justify your defense of Maliken aka Marc DeForest who habitually calls people “fag” and “nigger” and “gay” and then call me out for non-existent name-calling? What posts are you reading? What are you even talking about?

        You can be a paladin too, by the way. Nobody is stopping you.

    • jrodman says:

      Vorphalak was commenting on you, and I’m inclined to agree.

      • Neut says:


        Legacy hon player here. The only insulting and bashing I ever see are kids like you calling somebody a Russian or BR when they take your mid or don’t ward or mess up a gank etc.

        You’re a racist. Accept it. Deal with it. Stop trying to justify it to yourself by pretending you’re fighting the good fight against Political Correctness Gone Mad.

  16. Interrobangin says:

    Well played. I thought that this would happen in LoL and HoN after Dota 2 was more officially released, but it seems as if the developers of HoN at least have played their cards early. Despite being quite an ardent Valve fanboy, I have to say it was a really smart business move to be inspired by one of their biggest “selling points” (knowing full well that the game will be F2P) for their upcoming MOBA. I do suspect the developers of League of Legends will follow suit—as I said, I expected that it would be after Dota 2 is F2P, but now that HoN has done it, perhaps it will be sooner.

    Also, you shouldn’t really use “Et tu,..” outside of the context of a betrayal. It kind of makes it meaningless. Yes, it makes literal sense, but it’s not really clever, and would only fit if you wrote the entire article in Latin.

  17. RaffyS says:

    In LoL the towers protect the heroes. In Dota, the heroes protect the tiowers.

  18. TheHater says:

    Now I’m wondering, if HoN is free to play, and all heroes are free, where are they making their money from? Do they have skins on sale or what?

  19. vanzer says:

    I said this day one they made this change that the hero pool is unfair for new players.

    12 months later they change there mind.

    They lost me as a customer 9 months ago.