Battle Arenas: Anti-heroes of Newerth

Monkeys AND breasts? They're really going all out here

After League of Legends and DOTA, Cara brings us her take on S2’s lane-pushing rival Heroes of Newerth.

“I AM DRUNK,” I announce on our Mumble voicechat server at ten thirty on a Friday night. “Let’s play Heroes of Newerth.”

“Ugh, I haven’t played it in years,” Airhorse grumbles, though he once paid for an account back when it wasn’t free to play. He has been trying to avoid playing it because it will be the world’s longest patch.

“Well I created a new account specially so I could give my character a joke name,” I say. (They make you pay $10 to change your name, erk.) “And FRAPS is running. So let’s go.”

It has taken me months to get back to the point where I am even happy logging into Heroes of Newerth, and now I do it drunk because it emphasises the absurdity of the task.

For weeks I was making excuses: I could play more League of Legends, see more of the community there – I could play DOTA 2 (which is the only lane pusher I’m actually above average at) with Quinns and see if I can witness or provoke a flaming. At one point, just to avoid playing Heroes of Newerth, I actually did my tax return. That’s right. I now know that I owe the government £748 in taxes for the tax year 2011/2012, and it is entirely due to Heroes of Newerth. Thanks Newerth.


But it was no use. The real story about the artist-formally-known-as-MOBA community is in this game I had been avoiding. Logging into Heroes of Newerth for the first time is like going naked into a knife fight.

You get cut.

The memory of that first cut was created a while back. I came away with some muscle-deep lacerations: it was freshly downloaded, and filled with raw curiosity, I thought I could just go straight in. I double clicked on a “noob” game, and after two seconds of lobby it loaded right into hero pick. I didn’t know what any of the heroes did, or what DOTA equivalents there were. As usual, I did the worst thing ever. I chose the cool-looking lady character. It was Valkyrie. And there was another experienced Valkyrie player on my team.

The loading bars stretched toward doom.

E-peen measuring begins at home

Those of you who are familiar with these games are wincing and shielding your eyes right now. And you are right to do so. You are feeling perhaps a tenth of the pain of what proceeded. What proceeded was the slow restructure of the DOTA framework into an intense verbal torture chamber, where not only did the other team bear down on me, screwing out my thumbnails and eating my newborn flesh with the sheer joy of a team deprived of real, genuine noobmeat, but my own team were bringing out the age old “delete HoN” “die newb” “use skills” and all the classics of old school.

In many ways, I feel like my first HoN experience is the one that puts everyone off installing a lane pushing game in the first place. A lot of my gaming friends are reluctant to put themselves in a situation where they will be insulted constantly for as long as an hour at a time, whilst slowly losing a game that they can’t leave – which is often what you experience when you first start out, even in games of League of Legends and DOTA 2. However, the HoN mechanism is structured so that you can’t report anyone for their bad behaviour until you are level five (a good number of games in) or have bought an account with actual monies.

In comparison, LoL and DOTA 2 have a free, robust reporting policy enforced at all levels, and emphasised with text at the beginning of every match. Worse still, HoN allows for players to repeatedly vote to kick someone in game, which is something that both LoL and DOTA 2 don’t allow – it is really disruptive and can ruin the flow of the game. It also provokes players mercilessly. I don’t know if there is a maximum amount of times each player can vote to kick the same person – but in that first game it seemed like there was always a vote going on to dropkick me and several others into oblivion. I felt like telling them I’d email them a feedback card after the game had finished, to save them typing.

I’m not really a stranger to this kind of behaviour because of my years of Doting, and going into a competitive game, you expect smack talk. But the sheer intensity and frequency of HoN smack talk in comparison to other DOTA-style games is actually kind of admirable, and I personally feel like the way S2 has developed the community systems is exacerbating bad behaviour. Heroes of Newerth really is best left to professionals… which is kind of ironic, considering that first time I had entered a game labelled for beginners.

If you want a 1 in 10 chance of actually playing with beginners, you click the “casual” button when you search for a game to join. But I say 1 in 10 chance, because even then, you will probably play in a team with a level humungoid smurf account who roars with spittling rage every time a blow isn’t landed properly, and you’ll end up in a bewilderfuck vote/kick cyclone.

Alone and rejected by society, Hell Cannon realises he can no longer live and suicides on a lvl 2 rock golem with a voice like Arnold Schwartzenegger.

Sometimes you get a nice team. My friend Jimmy’s first game was with a bunch of really nice Brazilians who gently advised him on what to buy, whilst they knocked seven shades of shit out of my character on the other side of the map. (They really were very nice, actually, a pleasure to get fucked over by. I’d buy them a post-match pint).

Back in my “casual” drunk game, I am yelling “Let’s go! Aaaaaaaaaaa!” triumphantly, spitting wine all over my monitor. Airhorse reluctantly puts his Newerth hat on and gathers our other friend ManlyMan (he is very manly) for a game. Our years playing the original DOTA have done little to teach us where things are in the Heroes of Newerth shop. We stumble through – but ManlyMan seems to be getting the brunt of the trollspunk. The first thing that happens is that he is told to “Go get exp retard”.

A switch from Legend of Zelda appears to have materialised BUT I HAVE NO ARROWS.

My brain would usually ready a match-long sigh, but, being drunk, I guffaw instead. I inform Airhorse that I am going back to base to buy whatever thing the recommended items tells me to. Dickhead #1 laments ManlyMan’s newbiness, and asks for help. We do not give it. We are also newbs. ManlyMan chuckles to himself on Mumble – we carry on laning hopelessly.

Troll guy asks ManlyMan to leave after his last death. We ignore troll guy. Other troll guy on our team asks why ManlyMan picked Monkey King on first go. Airhorse and I giggle to each other. The three of us hardly know what we are doing. I buy a recipe by accident and can’t stop laughing. ManlyMan types “Yeah sorry, I should have known what hero is hard to play the first time. Since it’s my first time.” Airhorse and I laugh harder. Airhorse keeps dying. So do I, gradually. Some prick called Charles Dance is murdering us all the time. In my head, Charles Dance is an upper class gentleman who apologises every time he messes us up. Charles Dance is farming us and making our dick team unbearable: they are bombarding us with abuse.

I can feel us starting to get reluctant to help the dicks on our team in fights. It will be a long time until we lose for sure. We’re scheming on a thing: it’s sabotage.

The Heroes of Newerth forums agree: the consequence of having no bots is that every new player has to practice in public – which may be a gleeful experience for the pros – but it is a traumatic and slightly unpleasant experience for those with skin thinner than an elephant’s hide. In most reviews of the game this community is represented by the euphemism “the competitive community is not for everyone”. Getting flayed to death is also not for everyone.

“Inrease your speed.”

Here is someone on the forum joking about what would happen if HoN implemented bots:

“I hope trolling is built into bot behaviour to give the realistic HoN experience.
if (player_brown = dead)
then (print.TEAM “fuk n00b /uninstall”)
(print.ALL “brown feed. we cc 15”)
(vote.kick player_brown)”

It’s a shame: S2 built this super-nice, really economical war machine, and then had an international shower of bastards descend on it. They went to all the bother of making new, slightly quirkier DOTA heroes and making a whole host of new items and menu systems, and they made a nice little shop to monetize, just to have people come on and shout abuse at each other, hate on each other, and kick people until they never load up the game again and go and cry in the bath and tell themselves they are fat and unloveable and will never get a boyfriend because her skills are just not good enough in HoN. Pass the wine. I must have the wine! My life from now on will be a failure!

But to be serious: in the history of the world, I have never heard a developer say that they want to make a gamer disconnect from the game as part of the experience, perhaps unless it was a horror game, but I think possibly 90% of the people who start this game actually disconnect fairly quickly and go and watch Morecambe and Wise for an hour to grow back their sense of humanity. I lie back and think of Scotland whilst people are lobbing around insults, but there are getting to be more and more people who are migrating to an online space that is heavily community moderated: both League of Legends and DOTA 2 are that space, though the problem persists there too.


This issue is not going unnoticed by developers: in Develop in April, Managing Director of Valve Gabe Newell asked “How do you properly value people’s contributions to a community? An example is – and this is something as an industry we should be doing better – is charging customers based on how much fun they are to play with. So, in practice, a really likeable person in our community should get Dota 2 for free, because of past behaviour in Team Fortress 2. Now, a real jerk that annoys everyone, they can still play, but a game is full price and they have to pay an extra hundred dollars if they want voice.”

Newell said to the Seven Day Cooldown podcasters: “We’re trying to figure out ways so that people who are more valuable to everybody else [are] recognized and accommodated. We all know people where if they’re playing we want to play, and there are other people where if they’re playing we would [rather] be on the other side of the planet. It’s just a question of coming up with mechanisms that recognize and reward people who are doing things that are valuable to other groups of people.”

Newell’s got it right: if you want to expand your player base, you make them feel comfortable, rewarded, and like you belong. You can still keep the competitive edge: after all, professional football has a strict card system, and if you’re rude to other players you are restricted access to the game. It’s still one of the most competitive and popular sports to be in.

That guy’s head appears to be on fire

Can you imagine a world in which online multiplayer were always a comfortable, safe, rewarding experience to have? One where you rarely if ever encountered a troll? One where the people on your team were welcoming, whom you liked and formed real camaraderie with? Where you didn’t have to be drunk to laugh at your own difficulties? Where you knew everyone’s nickname and personality by memory, because you loved playing with them? You would spend all your time and money there. Friends would join to be with friends. We wouldn’t need bots. It would be a wonderland. It would be that virtual world that our parents always worried we’d be sucked into forever. I would throw my salary at it like the cash were white hot in my hands. Newell just knows that is where we all want to go: to the promised land.

Heroes of Newerth would be, without its community, a cheap well-oiled version of DOTA, but the inability of the game mechanics to manage its community, or to offer a way to practise with bots to avoid that community, makes it impenetrable. It’s out of its depth, and the playing fields of Newerth have become the nihilistic wastelands of Mad Max without any of the cool bikes. And yet, the environment isn’t out with our control. The universal truth is this: you can be great at LPGs without being a cunt. It’s in the DOTA wiki.

They told me to uninstall. So I did.


  1. Zanchito says:

    I thoroughly enjoy Cara’s writing even though I don’t play the games. More, please!

    • McDan says:

      Yes indeed, I’ve tried many times to get into games like these but it’s not that fun for me and it’s far more entertaining go read about them.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      Yes! I haven’t played an LPG game (is that an alternative term to “MOBA”?) in a long time, but I really enjoy reading these articles.

      • Keymonk says:

        I think it stands for ‘Lane Pushing Game’?

        • Premium User Badge

          Bluerps says:

          Yes, I know. But has miss Ellison invented that just now, or is it an established term?

    • FakeAssName says:

      I’d suggest Global Agenda next: PvE level up to 30-ish with the “open world” areas or solo missions, then join a PvP match, or better yet queue up for a co-op mission as an assault rifle based Recon!

      • Tomcat says:

        this comment would be valid if after playing through the open world without seeing another soul, then tried actually getting into a co-op or PVP mission you would be waiting HOURS while the Q status is at 1 assault, 0 medic, 1 robo, 32 recon,

    • Talkkeri says:

      I am, in fact a HoN player. I like(I could even say love) HoN. Its the first seriously played moba or aRTS game i have played,and i have to say, its very satisfying to me to play a game with a great mechanics and heroes. I have played roughly a year or so.

      I tell you all 1 thing. If you don’t really want to learn HoN, you wont. Its not like LoL where you can just go,install the game and start playing, spamm you’r skills and get kills. In HoN,every mistake you make is going to pay you,sometimes a win.

      • wilus84 says:

        All I have to say about HoN is the community is the worst part of the game. Also all the HoN lovers if your game is so amazing and awesome and popular why haven’t you had a 1 million dollar tournament two times in a row?? Oh also how is it when you hold tourneys people give 2 you know whats. So enjoy your broken game and great job S2 on releasing great new powerful heros :).

  2. bit_crusherrr says:

    I tried HoN once and was told to not play casual mode if I don’t know how to play the game.

    What mode am I meant to play then?

    • The Magic says:

      Well if there isn’t an option for you to play, then you’re not supposed to play at all which, if i was in your position, certainly sounds preferable.

    • Claidheamh says:

      Casual mode is good for quick matches. It has mechanics more like LoL, where you don’t lose gold when you die, the XP curve is a bit different, and thus if the other team has a better start than yours, it can easily snowball and you don’t have a chance. Also, carries are much more valuable. Normal mode is the usual mode, where you lose gold if you die.

      As long as you know the differences between the modes, any of them is fine, really. Though the best way to learn is to find some friends and play with them. If you’re a party of 5, then matchmaking is fine. If you’re 3, you can 3v3 as well. But the safest way is to play at least some private games with them (any number of friends up to 10 counting yourself is good) before playing with others, and learn how some heroes work. I suggest picking some from the Core Pool.

      You will still be flamed like Hell, though. For some reason, the buttholes of the community seemed to have taken a liking to this game. But there are some polite players, and I’ve played with a lot of them, and if you’re being polite and someone keeps flaming you, it’s very easy to block all that abuse. Mechanically, HoN is indeed a very good LPG (seems like we finally have a more descriptive name for the genre than MOBA :D). Arguably more sensible than DOTA 2, at least for now.


    • Deano2099 says:

      What amuses is me is how ‘hardcore’ they think they are.

      Y’know what? If you have time to type all that abuse the skill ceiling on the game ain’t that high chaps.

      • Claidheamh says:

        That is usually where you lose a match, really, when you’re paying attention to the flaming instead of the valuable information. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

        • Edradour says:

          Back when i really was into hon i actually found the flame wars to be quite funny with everybody shouting at each other but then again when i was into hon i was actually good enough to not be the target of those insults…

          The article is kind of exagerating it tough i had as many quiet, friendly games of hon than i had in lol and about the same amount of games with somebody who started insulting everyone before creeps even spawned.

          Actually i played a single game a few days ago and not having played for almost a year i got 3 new heroes in singledraft i never played before and only had one of my team mates calling me noob at some point ( my account still has a rating of over 1700, one of the greatest flaws of the game that they dont reset ratings every once in a while…after you quit for over 3 month you basically cant get back into it unless you go through a month or so of relearning everything you forgot against enemys who never stopped playing )

          • sanmu645 says:


            There have been many occasions where I wish there was a surrender option in Dota2. I’d rather not burn 20 minutes of my scarce free time waiting for an Ancient kill that will inevitably come. My opinion is based off of playing Go, where it’s disrespectful to your opponent to continue playing when you’ve already definitively lost.

          • Groove says:

            Yes on surrender. See also, Starcraft.

  3. marrakoosh says:

    Yeah, stick to LoL with us.

  4. pakoito says:

    So you didn’t like the community. Well, ignorechat (/ic) is a quick fix for that. And then you can play the game any way you want, as the core game is still as great.

    And last weekend’s The International 2 showed me that S2 did some good things about avoiding ricing, and taking STR heroes out of the subpar carry stigma, and Dire map dominance.

    I’ll come back to Dota 2 next month but still, the game deserves some recognition for the last 3 years of my life.

    • TCM says:

      And then you get votekicked for reasons you can’t discern because you are ignoring the festering wastes of humanity that are HoN’s players.

      • pakoito says:

        Again, ignore them. Votes rarely pass, if you’re feeding the other team doesn’t want you out and if the loudmouth pubstar carry is the one kicking you nobody will follow him because he’ll be harassing everyone.

        • TCM says:

          I’ve been kicked in every game of HoN I have played.

          I played two before leaving for the greener, happier pastures of League.

          • pakoito says:

            And I’ve been kicked maybe 5 times in a 1000 games, some of my less ragey friends even less…I can’t deny it’s a rager’s paradise.

            Now, LoL gets me angrier because playing support there is even less rewarding, nobody needs teamplay to win. Little CC, few synergy skills, barely no utility skills (not a nuke+effect), spell scalability, free blink, GRASS. All of them against playing pure support in Dota/HoN style. They are not verbally attacking you, they’re just denying the lane-pushing fun by playing like…well, LoL players.

            I’ll stick to the middle grounds of Dota.

          • Ringwraith says:

            “nobody needs teamplay to win”
            I’d totally like to know who you’re playing, as I constantly get dragged down by my team in some games.
            Heck, I’ve ended up with more farm and kills as a support than my AD carry because they were so terrible, so were dead/not in lane so I was doing more work than them.
            More supports are more support-y than others, like Zilean who only has one spell that actually does any damage. Others just hand CC out like the internet hands out cookies. Lulu is personal favourite for that, and the fact you can build her into an auto-attacking machine if you’re carry’s bad enough to let you get ahead of them.

          • pakoito says:


            It may *look* like it, but it doesn’t *feel* the same. I run a (noob) Alistar and the initiation/impact is only but a fraction of a Sand King. Also, it’s not uncommon to do a good to perfect initiation to find your team running back because they don’t know aggression.

            And the utility skills…well, I’ll refer to the TI2 finals game 3 with Disruptor and his Glimpse skill, returns a player to the position he was 4 seconds ago. That for Riot is an “anti-fun” skill that won the game for IG.

            Low brackets here, of course, but I don’t want to invest hundreds of hours just to get to play with the decent players and have a 10th of the hero pool available.

          • bit_crusherrr says:

            League of Legend’s community is just as much of a shitpit as HoN’s really, but the leveling system helps keep the new and experienced players separated so you get less flaming early on.

          • Ringwraith says:

            Honestly, I’ve not got that much morons in LoL, at least comparatively, there’s plenty of games where there’s no form of abuse, even more where the only abuse is simply jerk responses at the end like “easy”.
            The fact all-chat is disabled by default helps a lot with this.

            Seeing as a team that’s working together will always beat a team that isn’t, teamwork isn’t “lacking” from the game, it’s just that people having varying ability to actually do it.
            I’ve had a few games where the laning phase was a disaster for everyone but as soon as the teamfights rolled around it quickly swung back in our favour, despite being so far behind, simply because we were working together far better than the other team was.

          • Brise Bonbons says:

            I don’t believe anyone is saying that LoL doesn’t reward coordinated teams. I think the point is that League has fewer abilities and items that directly effect teammates, or contribute to team tactics in a dramatic fashion.

            I’m watching the LoL regionals, and in the last couple games there have been 3 team utility abilities on the field. Maokai’s ultimate (reduce incoming magic). Morgana shield. Nunu attack speed buff. These are all important skills, but to me they are not very dramatic. Other than Morgana’s shield, were I unfamiliar with the game I might not notice their use at all. I assume someone gets Shuralya’s at some point (on-use team speed boost); perhaps the best example of this sort of thing in LoL.

            On the other hand, during DOTA2’s international, I saw:

            A player thrown out of danger over cliffs and through trees via force staff.
            A Vengeful Spirit sacrifice herself to swap an ally out of danger.
            Chen sending an ally back to base a split second before dying.
            An AoE heal from someone’s Mekanism, an AoE activated magic shield from a Pipe of Insight, single target heals from an Urn spread over the whole team.
            Hell, someone might just apply their salve to a teammate, or buy regen items only to give them to their carry, a simple sharing of resources that LoL doesn’t allow (if I’m not mistaken).

            Obviously this is not a controlled comparison; just another anecdote. But overall I think it’s fair to say that LoL’s champion design is carefully controlled to feel fair and to limit frustration. Whereas in DOTA, most heroes are so good at their specific niche that they feel broken and overpowered until you understand how to counter them.

            Different philosophies that result in different player experiences.

          • Gnoupi says:

            No teamplay? I play Lulu as a support.

            – I have a strong slow
            – I have a speed (and ability power) boost to cast on allies
            – I have a polymorph spell, to change the enemy into a squirrel for 2 seconds, preventing him from attacking.
            – I have a shield to cast on allies, which is boosting also attack damage
            – I have a damaging spell allowing me to launch a slow from the initial target, towards the other enemies
            – The ultimate heals an ally by a large amount, makes him a giant, and knocks enemies in the air around him, then slows them down if they stay around for a few seconds. Ideal to cast on your initiator (Hi Maokai/Malphite).

            LoL is in my opinion not really a game in which you can play alone. Even the crazily fed carry will get taken down fast, if they play alone.

          • suspectzz says:

            out of all of those LuLu skills only 3 directly effect your team. That’s what he means are moves that directly effect your team. Also, you said crazily fed people can’t play alone, but I played nasus in a ranked match and solo’d their entire team.

          • Gnoupi says:

            Hm, all of them affect your team, that’s my point.

    • Carachan1 says:

      I’m quite happy with HoN’s game mechanics, as I said it’s a pretty well oiled DOTA style thing, but I really wanted to discuss the LPG community, so ignoring wasn’t an option here.

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      Yeah it’s a shame the article didn’t really talk about the mechanical strengths of HoN as an aRTS game and focused entirely on how shitty the community is.
      That’s the kind of people HoN players don’t really want playing their game anyways, so they won’t be missed.

      • pakoito says:

        For me, HoN died with the rise of Dota 2. There hasn’t been much movement in the comp scene since christmas either. I’m moving, but some (a lot) of heroes will be missed :(

        • Memphis-Ahn says:

          Yeah I haven’t touched the game since February either. Kind of a shame, really.

        • Brian_black says:

          Having migrated to Dota2 from HoN (my first LPG experience), I miss me my Electrician something terrible. Maxing Electric Shield early with one point in grip and two in Energy Absorbtion won me so many games, and enraged so many more who felt the only way he could be built was by maxing grip first.

    • Eskatos says:

      What Dire map dominance? At the International 2 Radiant had a 51% win rate. Not a big difference, but it shouldn’t be.

      • pakoito says:

        Basically access to Kongor/Roshan pit. HoN added a ramp in the Radiant side between the mid tower and the rune. There was also a change on the pull timing because the Dire had some advantages there too IIRC.

        • Eskatos says:

          And like I showed, that advantage is small enough that it really doesn’t cause any difference in the long run.

          • Midnightoil says:

            Wrong. This is only because of pro palyers being aware of this advantage and then playing around it. The map is different and the dire has more advantages the later the game goes, thats just a fact

          • pakoito says:

            It’s like playing Black in chess. It’s not going to make you lose per se, it just shuts down a lot of opening moves. Playing Radiant means less/worse Roshan chances.

            Get the statistics for Roshan kills instead.

          • Ruffian says:

            also consider you get a better view of everything on radiant on account of the camera angle.

          • Balm says:

            Dota2 has an option to flip map so you are always playing from SW corner

    • Wynaut says:

      What’s wrong with STR carries?

    • Snowskeeper says:

      Because, you know, shutting down your chat in a game specifically made for team-based play is always such an amazing idea.

  5. Stephen1212 says:

    I once got called a “fat loser noob” within 1 minute of a game of HoN. I followed that player around for the rest of the game, and stood just behind him until he died, then I ran back and picked him up at spawn.

    • Claidheamh says:

      Then you just ruined a match for the other 8 people as well. Congrats.

      • Berzee says:

        M-m-m-monster kill.

      • Stephen1212 says:

        I know my initial comment implies that the rest of the group were a pleasant bunch of beautiful people, but they weren’t. They were quite insulting, not specifically to me, but to lesbian-gay community, black people, Jews, Asians, mentally challenged people, cancer sufferers and to large communities of the world in general.

        The entire match was full of these people, as was all the matchs I played in HoN. There was one guy who seemed nice, but he was AFK for the whole match so I’m not quite sure.

        • Claidheamh says:

          That doesn’t make it right.

          • EPICTHEFAIL says:

            It is not necessarily wrong, either. It`s their own fault for behaving in such a manner, and if they don`t like fire being fought with fire, that is their problem.

          • Claidheamh says:

            It’s his fault for behaving in such a manner as well. My point is he didn’t act any different from the people he’s complaining about. Therefore, he was part of the problem.

          • Vorphalack says:

            ”It’s his fault for behaving in such a manner as well.”

            That neatly sidesteps the fact that he was needlessly provoked. You cannot simply drop that from a moral judgement.

          • PFlute says:

            It’s still kind of a dick move I suppose, but it sure doesn’t make it wrong. Trolling a bunch of assholes isn’t on the same level as being a bigoted venomous jerkhat. False equivalency.

            Ruining a game for people who are obviously taking it waaay too seriously to the point of bile-spitting abusiveness is hardly what I’d call a big deal.

          • Claidheamh says:

            The problem is that kind of thing doesn’t affect only the bile-spitters, but also the quiet people who just want to play a little. You can’t complain about something and then do exactly the same thing.

          • Stephen1212 says:

            Oh I get you, and you are right, but there was no quiet people who wanted to play in that game.

          • Claidheamh says:

            There might have been, and you possibly wouldn’t have remembered because they tend not to be as loud. Another great thing about HoN is it saves the replays. Do you have the match ID? ^^

          • Ritashi says:

            This exact thing is what makes these communities so shitty. You get offended by something (whether legitimately or not) and so you then ruin the game for everyone else playing, which pisses everyone else off and provokes them to act even worse causing you to feel justified in your actions. There’s a false equivalency here, sure; there isn’t an equivalence between saying something offensive in chat and actually trolling in game. What you did was far, far worse. Chat can be ignored, griefers (that’s you by the way) cannot. You ruined the entire game for everyone, including yourself. Congratulations. I hope you get banned from any online game you ever play, because I’m sick and tired of idiots like you ruining entire games. Grow up, and learn that when you join a LPG game you’re making an agreement with 9 other players to play a real game. You don’t get to decide that someone crossed some invisible line that you just made up and cancel that agreement. For one you make the game shitty for the people who actually didn’t do anything to you (and in all my hundreds of games, I have never once encountered 9 people who were being dicks in a single game). For another, you actually sink below their level when you do shit like that.

          • Skabooga says:

            As this is an understanding which seems hard to advance through discussion, I’ll just say that I agree with your actions, Stephen1212, and find them both morally just and hilarious, the best combination.

          • DK says:

            Yes it does make it okay actually. Reprehensible people can be subjected to treatment that would not be okay for the general population. To bring out the old tired analogy: It’s okay to punch Hitler in the face, even though normally it’s not okay to punch people in the face. But you get to punch Hitler, because he’s a dick.

          • jrodman says:

            Playing other than in the intended manner is a FAR FAR MORE ACCEPTABLE action than ceaseless personal attacks.

            That any of you gamers don’t understand this is a sad sad commentary on how you have been warped.

          • Claidheamh says:


            It’s not, you just need two clicks to completely block out the personal attacks. But you can’t block out a player griefing.

      • Ancient Algae says:


        Part of the problem? You know nothing of the person other than an instance of them following a guy around the whole game. Did you collate the data of their past games and determine if they indeed ARE part of the problem or did you take a single anecdote and use it to make your conclusion about that person?

        • Claidheamh says:

          Apply that same thought process to his teammates.

          But I did say “was” meaning in that particular instance. Although, I still can’t really believe people are defending griefing here.

  6. RedViv says:

    I found it ugly, unresponsive, and hard to read. And then there’s that community.
    The ingame kick mechanic is probably the only feature, of those I can think of right now, which could be worse for the general attitude than LoL’s surrender option.

    • Brian_black says:

      There have been many occasions where I wish there was a surrender option in Dota2. I’d rather not burn 20 minutes of my scarce free time waiting for an Ancient kill that will inevitably come. My opinion is based off of playing Go, where it’s disrespectful to your opponent to continue playing when you’ve already definitively lost.

      • RedViv says:

        Oh, I don’t think it’s such a bad option either. But it could, potentially, worsen the general attitude.
        Really, like anything it’s a thing of the right (or wrong) people.

  7. Berzee says:

    I’m really quite satisfied with this “lane-pushing” term. I know it isn’t this-very-day fresh and new, but I hadn’t heard it before.
    As soon as someone invents something in the style of DOTA but without concrete lanes, it will of course be inapplicable. But until then. =P

    *end comments about genre name*

    • pakoito says:

      Starvoid, Demigod, SMITE blurred the lane lines.

      • Berzee says:

        I’m not even sure why I remarked on it. I have this weird compunction to talk about the topic even though I play none of the games. Sorry, internet! =P

        (I ne’er played any of those…well, I think I played Demigod the demo, for 2 minutes).

      • Sic says:

        I thought Demigod was rather brilliant for anyone doing DoTA-clone playing casually.

        I played it rather a lot with bots and with friends. Such a shame that they completely miscalculated how many people would buy it on the promise that they would make more content.

        With more heroes and maps, Demigod would have been excellent.

        • Boibi says:

          I didn’t even think they needed that many heroes. The skill trees really made the heroes more diverse, in a way that no other MOBA I’ve seen since has done.

      • Boibi says:

        I would disagree that Smite has blurred lanes. It was actually harder to me to travel through Smite’s jungles than it was in Dota or League. However, you’re spot on that Demigod blurs lanes. And now I wanna check out Starvoid and see if it’s fun. Did you find it to be worth playing?

        • pakoito says:

          No, and there is a reason for that. Paradox barely advertised it. It was released more than a week ago and nobody even made a WIT or something here, nor you’ll see much about the game other than a couple LP by developers. PDX is not putting themselves behind their game and neither am I.

          A pity, it looked decent.

    • EPICTHEFAIL says:

      I myself support something along the lines of Multiplayer Action RPG, since the most popular MOBA/LPG games are, at their core, ARPGs with clumsier combat and movement. You have stat-altering items, what are basically trash mobs, and minibosses (Roshan, Dragon, Nashor, etc.) and bosses (turrets) with enemy players effectively running interference and trying to kill your towers and nexus/ancient/whatever while you do the same.

      • Boibi says:

        This is the best genre description I’ve heard to date. In fact, I think I’m gonna call them MARPGs now. Hopefully it won’t get confused with meuporg.

        But I would argue that the controls in LoL or Dota 2 don’t feel clumsy or sloppy. They actually feel very responsive and tight.

  8. Irishphnx says:

    I enjoyed the other articles but then I got to “Troll guy asks ManlyMan to leave after his last death. We ignore troll guy. Other troll guy on our team asks why ManlyMan picked Monkey King on first go.” Another “gaming journalist” that uses terms they don’t understand. Just another nomination for “The Patrick Klepick Award for Repeatedly misusing phases they don’t understand”

    • The Magic says:

      I don’t see what’s misused in this sentence.

      • Berzee says:

        “Troll”, I expect.

      • Yosharian says:

        I think he’s pointing out that they aren’t really Trolls – just Assholes.

        • Lowbrow says:

          I thought it was a guy playing a Troll character. With a club or something.

        • lowprices says:

          Is there much difference between a Troll and an Asshole?

          • Berzee says:

            Yes, the differences are numerous and range from subtle to obvious. I haven’t time to expound at the moment but I’m confident it’s an easily-researched conundrum.

    • Jesse L says:

      Life is too short for this kind of thing.

      • Ancient Algae says:

        He is on a quest to preserve the meaning of the word ‘troll’ BY ANY MEANS. This includes going on the comments section of an RPS article to chastise the casual use of this sacred word.

        Though, if the opening line of an article is “I AM DRUNK”, one should know that what follows would include quotes of things one says when drunk.

    • jrodman says:

      Perhaps it would make you feel better to realize that a perfectly acceptable definition of the word troll is “horrible person”.

      Oh, no?

      Well I tried.

  9. Askeladd says:

    Oh that wine thing in a Dota 2 game, gonna try this on friday if I can still walk.

    I play Dota 2 always with a buddy of mine, which really eases the way those assholes behave in game. It’s just a game after all.
    Back in 2001 when I played Counter Strike 1.3 the community didn’t feel so ‘elitist asshole’ until I became one myself.

  10. BurningPet says:

    I must admit, I loved HoN so much, i was willing to put out with all the crap talk until the mentality got to me and i found my self becoming the crap talker. the thing is, it doesn’t surprise at all that the community is acting like that when you can see on the official forums so many screenshots of the developers behaving exactly the same. way.

  11. AmateurScience says:

    Thanks Cara


  12. Eskatos says:

    You may call them LPGs but in my heart they’ll always be MOBAs.

  13. Codor says:

    Important question: did you try nexus diving in HoN? Assume not, I think the flaming might have burned out the server. And thanks for validating my decision not to bother trying it!

    • Carachan1 says:

      No – I didn’t Nexus Dive, although we pretty successfully annoyed everyone in LoL with it, it didn’t occur to me to do it in HoN. They were mad enough already.

      Next article on the pure joy of the Nexus Dive?

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        An article on just what a Nexus Dive is when it’s at home would be a good start for me.

        • TCM says:

          Nexus dive is when you charge screaming and giggling into the enemy base, and either massacre them all or get massacred.

          (Or at least, that is how it goes for me)

          • Codor says:

            Nexus diving was something I used to do in LOL to confuse people. In the 1 minute 30 seconds before minions start spawning, you have to get to the other team’s spawn point before they can hit you. You die, because their spawn point basically instagibs you, but they don’t get any gold and you normally have time to get to your lane no problem. Oh and you have to type ‘NEXUS DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE!!!!!!!!’ in all team chat. When I played a few games with this group we got the entire team to go it. Which REALLY fucks with the opponent’s heads. And normally results in them teleporting back to base in order to get a hit on one of you before you can all die :(. Still totally worth it though.

  14. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    lol nub uninstall HoN

    (BTW what’s HoN?)

  15. Nallen says:

    I just read your first article and while I’m rather late to the replace the genre acronym game, how about TBAG – Team Battle (or Based) Arena Game? :)

  16. solymer89 says:

    I am heavily in to SMITE at the moment, and for these games regarding this issue, the journey is the destination. Learning these games is half the fun. Yes it’s super frustrating getting killed over and over by the clown on the other side of the lane, but each occurrence is a learning experience if your paying attention and not raging.

    These games are so dynamic in that you must know the gear (where it is, what it does), your characters strength/weaknesses, other characters strengths/weaknesses, where to be when and for how long. All that takes a lot of time to get down, and reading guides and such don’t really help as much as they might in other games. There is a fairly steep learning curve to those that are new to MOBA’s.

    One thing I will say, at least in SMITE’s case, when you play a good player, pay attention to his build and what he does to be so successful then try to emulate that. In doing so you will gain insight to things within the game that otherwise would stay hidden from you.

    • Carachan1 says:

      VERY tempted to try SMITE next. A lovely reader sent me an invite so I might have to have a go!

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      Out of curiosity (the Wiki only tells me so much): Does smite follow LoL’s path with items that are primarily for stats (and stat auras), or does it have items with unique effects that can be activated?

      Also are there support characters? I can’t see any gods who appear to be support oriented.

      Just trying to understand the game better. I’m not especially interested in trying to pick it up and learn it, because I’m not excited about the 3rd person action combat. But I do at least want to understand what its philosophy is.

      • solymer89 says:

        Most regular items are stat increases with a passive ability when upgraded three times. There are three unique item slots which you can fill and each of the unique items cost 500 gold. These items consist of: Hands of the Gods which is a small PBAE that only works on creeps (its mainly for clearing jungles and getting buffs quickly). Then there’s Meditation which recovers something like 75% of your mana on a two and half minute cool-down. One is a Sprint item, one is an aura speed buff, one is an aura speed reducer. In all there are about a dozen unique items that don’t just build your stats.

        Some of the regular items passive abilities include physical attacks or abilities slowing the target while others increase your attack speed or movement speed, sometimes both depending on the item.

        SMITE is really about chaining your abilities together in a working combo that can either outright kill your opponent or put sufficient pressure on them to back off as well as your positioning, as being ganked from the jungle is a very real threat in that the shroud covers most anyone not standing directly in the middle of the opening and you have to swirl the camera around to even see if anyone’s coming from behind. Not all gods are in and only a couple are dedicated to support, but they all have the ability to kill.

  17. Berzee says:

    Nobody plays Bloodlines Champions? (I don’t either, I just wonder if anyone does =).

    • Kaira- says:

      I do every now and then. It’s quite refreshing and fast-paced and does away with a lot of traditional elements of dotalikes/MOBAs/LPGs, like creeps, towers, shops and equipment, and leaves just a teams of 3 to face off each other. Matches rarely last longer than 10 minutes and so. It’s quite nice.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      I was a very vocal supporter of Blood Line Champions when it first launched, but in my view it has been woefully mismanaged. At this point I refuse to play it due to its corrupted business model and the thoughtless addition post-launch of a brutal persistent progression system.

      It’s a real shame. I think it has some of the best mechanics and ability design out there, as good or better than DOTA. Nearly every skill is interesting, has numerous uses in both offense and defense, and at every turn the player is rewarded for personal skill and thoughtful play. It also has some wonderful art and character design.

      That said I think the arena deathmatch format is pretty shallow, certainly not evocative or engaging for me. Objective-based games are almost always superior for casual team play, in my experience, which includes the territory capture and CTF modes in BLC, which I enjoyed quite a bit.

  18. Milky1985 says:

    Firstly great article, funny read and games like that are best played drunk :P

    I agree that the community needs to change but its not just the screaming ones not tollerent of new players, sometimes its the players themselves the ones who arn’t new.
    You do also have the troll players, the ones either determined to screw you over or the ones playing a team game who don’t get the tream bit of it, in Hon terms I guess they will be the ones picking a int hero and getting strength items and going in for melee combat.

    That sort of thing happens in Strcraft 2 teams games, one game scouted early, saw that 3/’4 of the team were terran and were building lots of marines (all around unit attacks ground and air and in big numbers rips anything out of the sky, countered by aoe attack units), informed the team. Noticed on of the team members didn’t respond, hes going stargate to build void rays (air unit, targets a single unit, medium ish armour , slow , attack can do a lot of damage but takes time to charge up). 10 mintues later when they attack the team member that didn’t respond has a load of void rays! We try o hold off all the marines , other guy finally joins the fight, all void rays die (single attacking unit vs swarm of angry people with guns) guy insta leaves game.

    Another game a guy said at the start of the match “I’m going ghosts for 4 nukes”, all 3 of us say “no get units, better option”, he ignores, again scout early units from other team, still nothing, not even walled off his side of hte base, they attack manage to hold it off (despite theghost player having 0 offensive units) but due to reduced numbers can’t effectivly counter. Long story short the guy only built ghosts, game lost, 20 minutes lost because he had whated to do and he was gonig to damn well do it reguardless of logic or scouting or what the enemy are doing.

    Would be intersting to see how this guy would handle things in the army :P

    These are not “noob” people, this was platinum league (4th league in starcraft 2 , you will ahve played a minimum of 5 games to get to this point, and only put there if the game thinks your ok enough to stay there).

    This sort of thign unfortantly breeds the people that shout , i feel myself on occasion wanting to shout get out of hte game, i do fall foul of being passive aggressive and writing something along the lines of “Seems like one of my teammates doesn’t play as a team” in all chat before quitting.

    Unfortantly one side breeds the other, if you have bad players in team games you can get annoyed, which means the players are more likely to not learn how to play (or deliberatly do the opposite :P) to make it worse because peopel arn’t willing to tell every single player you need to do this and that.

    TL;DR It can be the players as well, not in terms of the ranting but in terms of just not listening to the team, ust as bad as the idiot who scream noob and don’t accept new players.

  19. Berzee says:

    “Can you imagine a world in which online multiplayer were always a comfortable, safe, rewarding experience to have? One where you rarely if ever encountered a troll? One where the people on your team were welcoming, whom you liked and formed real camaraderie with? Where you didn’t have to be drunk to laugh at your own difficulties? Where you knew everyone’s nickname and personality by memory, because you loved playing with them? You would spend all your time and money there. Friends would join to be with friends.”

    This would be fun, but any attempts I’ve seen to guarantee that kind of atmosphere in a game where anyone can join, have ended with the admins in a constant state of hair-trigger paranoia. (Though I guess this article is just talking about having better meta-game mechanics for dealing with grouchy people, rather than with enforcing Niceness via moderation? It might make more sense if I had played HoN / actually read this article =P).

    Anyway, I have a different desire in my multiplayer experiences. It’s less about finding perfectly pleasant Best Friends Forever…I just wish I knew of a TF2 server that was reliably full of people who reliably converse like people. I want them to be funny and chatty more than I want them to be particularly nice, and I would rather be screamed at articulately than have to suffer another hour of monotone:

    “Is my mic working?…ok thanks….*never speaks again*”
    “wtb unusual hats”

    The times when I meet a person who’s *sociable* are great, even when they’re sociably crabby. :)

    • Wololo says:

      I can second that. Most MMO games I actually played, I played because of the people. What comes to my mind now is a hilarious LoTRO tribe and a really mature guild who accepted me even though I didn’t hit 18 yet. It’s the shits and giggles I remember more than anything else back then.

      I’m currently playing lots of CoH and when you play against/with people, they’re either Asian and don’t speak English and have 600 ping, or assholes and/or hackers. The only place where I can goof around are CoH streams and GR, because, that’s where the fun community is at, or so it seems.

      I dunno about you, but I certainly can’t stick to mutliplayer games without some buddies to play with.

      • TCM says:

        I once frequently used my mic to casually chat and joke in a TF2 room, apparently I was muted by most of the room for ‘micspamming’.

        People need to learn to loosen up when playing online.

    • Skabooga says:

      True that on the TF2. It’s amazing how much more enjoyable the game becomes when you have 20 people all good-naturedly chatting and joking with each other, and screaming their undying vendettas against the spy who keeps backstabbing them at the most inopportune times.

    • Brian_black says:

      TF2 gave me a community just like that. A number of the people I played with 5 years ago I still play with today. Lighthearted alltalk makes the game fun to play against your friends as well, though it made playing the asshole spy much more difficult, as inevitably I wouldn’t be able to help but laugh or comment on something, revealing my invisible spy with a very visible chat bubble.

  20. Jesse L says:

    What was your joke name?

  21. Kcalb says:

    Well written article, like the others were.

    But, (yes there is always a but, what what) I think it’s sad that you only speak about the HoN community and not about the game itself.

    In my experience of being quite an invested MoBA / LPG player, i found that the HoN community is quite the same than DoTA 2’s, and at least the matchmaking seems better. With my fellow french friends we usually play DoTA 2 on US East servers to avoid the russian population ruining our game experience. Just to meet the “american russian” aka the brasilians.

    My current gaming experience in DoTA 2 is usually plagued with early disconnection of players and completely one sided games. Perhaps 1 game on 5 are “good games” that I really enjoy playing (be it a win or a lose). The impossibility to concede in DoTA 2 can make the pain really lenghty whereas you can always “vote concede” a “rape game” in HoN.

    In terms of pure gameplay i currently find HoN quicker, sharper and more balanced than DoTA 2. I think S2 did a really good job in making DoTA core mechanics and rules evolve into one heavily balanced game. S2 new heroes like Martyr, Riftwalker or Bombardier are making my days. Actually i’m just missing my good old Dark Seer / Invoker / Goblin Techies to be really fine with HoN hero line up.

    When I switch between DoTA2 and HoN i’m amazed by the rapidity of reaction and decision HoN asks his players.

    I think the real thing to watch will be when Valve is finished with the implementation of DoTA 1 features and when they really start making DoTA 2, with new heroes and stuff.

    • Carachan1 says:

      I really liked HoN initially, but it’s so easy to be distracted from the purity of the game by the people you are forced to play with. I think that’s why I lament the lack of an offline mode, if you will. At least with LoL you can get totally owned by a bunch of super polite bots.

      • malkav11 says:

        Pretty much. I can see why people enjoy competitive multiplayer games – the reward of genuinely advancing your skill as a player, the changing metagame, the unpredictable tactics a human being uses instead of the scripted assaults of the AI, etc. They’re not really things that I value a great deal as I tend to be a gaming dilettante that is more interested in narrative and worldbuilding than the intricacies of approaches to a single set of rules. But I’d be happy to dabble in them just the same as I dabble in other games, or the way I’ll happily play competitive boardgames locally (even though I prefer coop) and delight in goodnatured trash talking and skulduggery…if only online competitive multiplayer with strangers weren’t such a minefield of immature, assholish behavior. The community can and will poison any enjoyment to be derived. I do hope Valve figures those mechanisms out so that maybe that won’t be such a risk anymore.

  22. Dominic White says:

    I can’t help but get the feeling that there’s a bit of venn diagram crossover between the kind of people who make games like HoN a misery to play, and those complaining about ‘nazi censorship’ in Guild Wars 2, where they frequently hand out 3-day account suspensions for foul language, racism or personal abuse.

    The direction a community develops in really does hinge on how it’s managed in the first few weeks. I have a sneaking suspicion that if they’d gone for a zero tolerance policy on asshattery, they’d lose a few hundred unpleasant players, but make up for it by attracting thousands of level-headed, reasonable human beings.

  23. markcocjin says:

    Oh good Lord. It’s the girl who finds it hard to manage Dota 2’s courier controls and occasionally could not find her hero in the game screen.

    A good writer but basically someone who’s born to play League of Legends exclusively. Free teleports for all!

    • Carachan1 says:

      Nah. I’m DOTA 2 all the way. Thank you.

    • EPICTHEFAIL says:

      Insufficient swearing. OP is not a true HoN player.

    • Skabooga says:

      Oh look, it’s the boy who over-seriously subscribes to the LoL vs Dota rivalry.

    • Premium User Badge

      Buzko says:

      Oh look, it’s a patronising little shit.

      Really enjoying these articles. Glad to see somebody exploring the depths so that we don’t have to.

      For a slightly leftfield LPG, you could check out Airmech.

  24. RPSbaddie09 says:

    So another HoN bashing article. The easy way to appeal to readers and get fanboys, kicking it when it’ s down.

    It’s clear since the start of the article that you have a biased opinion over Heroes of Newerth.
    You didn’t want to play it in the first place, and you can’t judge the game from a neutral stand-point. So don’t. Have someone else who is neutral judge it. All in all you were just finding excuses to bash it.

    And what do I see, constant focus on how the community kiddies were mean to you and how the game is only about lane pushing (which is not true but I suppose you wouldn’t care about that anyways).
    I’ve been playing DotA since the early days and I’ve gone through LoL, HoN and DotA2, also tried a few other moba attempts but none worth mentioning. And from my experience, the difference between DotA’s original community and HoN’s isn’t much different. LoL is different due to the tribunal, but then people abuse the kindergarden button every time someone plays badly so… I don’t think it’s that much different, if only it’s less verbal.

    Please, do everyone a favor and next time, write an article when sober.

    • nemryn says:

      lrn2 games journalism, nub

    • Plum says:

      She’s writing an opinion column – why would she want someone else to tell her what that opinion is?

      • TCM says:

        Because I disagree with her opinion therefore she is a bad journalist and I will criticize her for her choices. Clearly. I mean, duh.

    • PikaBot says:

      “And from my experience, the difference between DotA’s original community and HoN’s isn’t much different”

      Is that supposed to be an endorsement of HoN? DotA’s original community was a horrid snake pit.

    • Brian_black says:

      Opinion articles are opinions, etc. My experience mirrors hers, even when fully familiar with all of the heroes, HoN was still much more miserable to play due to the community. Which is a shame, because there are some heroes in HoN that I truly miss.

  25. Lewis Denby says:

    I remember we published an article on this subject back when I was running a little games site called Resolution. Within the day there were like 100+ offensive and abusive comments. Turns out someone had posted it to the HoN community, and they’d planned a comment attack on the website. Beautiful irony.

    • Alec Meer says:

      I am expecting similar here, sadly. The thin end of the wedge is right above your comment, in fact.

      • Skhalt says:

        He may have been needlessly rude, but his point is still valid.
        Why did you ask someone who hates the game in the first place to write about it? Why not giving it the same treatment as DotA 2 and have it explained by someone who likes it?
        I have played both games quite a lot in my carefree student years, and have grown to dislike both of them in time, so I’m saying this pretty objectively: in this article HoN looks like Evil incarnate when the community on DotA is frankly just as toxic. The differences between the two games are barely mentioned, it’s just ranting about a game gone bad – and all this could very well have happened in DotA.

        Now, dont get me wrong: I do think we needed an article about that kind of thing to follow the other articles. They basically showed things as “this is awesome but you’ll get hated and insulted on your first games” which hardly expresses how painful and excessive it actually is, so really, this was needed. But I find it pretty unfair to do this at the expense of what is otherwise a pretty solid alternative to DotA.

        • Vando says:

          “Someone who hates the game in the first place” you say? That seems a tricky position for someone who has never played the game before to take. Sure, there is some evident presupposition about HoN and its community, but when that is immediately borne out when playing: how can you criticise the person writing from the POV of the new player for this?

          HoN has a reputation for not being newbie friendly, or indeed friendly period. That is not a problem with the writer, that is a problem with the game.

          • Skhalt says:

            The beginning of the article seems to imply Cara did play the game a few years ago, before this ill-fated game she’s writing about.

          • Vando says:

            In this case “a while back” means July, this isn’t some old grizzled veteran dumping HoN for DotA/LoL then coming back and trashing it, this is a player new to HoN seeing that there is essentially no way to ease into the game without getting a shit sandwich from experienced players advertising
            “noob games”.

            The sad thing is, it wouldn’t be so bad if the experienced players took just a little time to help out their newbies: getting yelled at doesn’t magically instil within a person the knowledge to work their hero, it just makes them go “well fuck you guys anyway” and stop trying.

            Genuine pro tip: if someone is sucking, being nice to them is statistically more likely to turn the game around for you than cussing them out.

    • Carachan1 says:

      It’s weird, because I really wanted to write extremely honestly about how difficult it is to get anyone to play this game. I really think the developers did a sweet job making the core game, but as you say the community seems bent on the destruction of everything that is good and pure.

      • Brise Bonbons says:

        You could have delved more deeply into some of S2’s laughably adolescent moves, such as the lisping announcer, and asked what effect that might have on their player culture.

        But that would only be so much speculation, I suppose.

        As someone who never played HoN, I feel it’s a pretty fair article. It’s just a topic you can’t really speak to with anything other than anecdotes, which are bound to piss the die hard fans off.

        Then again, who am I to talk? I get rage-y when people insult the DOTA Donkey. I like to think my interest is in the abstract game design and not the Donkey itself (and the merits of a system which adds decision making and rewards mechanical mastery), but if I’m honest I have to admit a certain tribal pride.

  26. Syra says:

    Cara have you tried SMITE? I’m not generally a fan of MOBAs but I had a good run on that one until I felt the old WHY ARE MY TEAM SUCH F*CKING NOOBS creeping up on me and decided to uninstall before I turned into that guy

  27. Atic Atac says:

    Well Heroes of Newerth has the worst community….but they also have the worst developers.

    The company and it’s CEO have a history of sexism, racism and blatant homophobia when playing the game themselves. In particular the CEO has been called out.

    Don’t play HoN kids.

  28. frenz0rz says:

    Have you tried the Mid Wars mode? Stats arent saved so a great deal of the usual tension dissipates, and since you’re all bunched up in one lane it doesnt really matter if you make a mistake. Since, well, the whole thing is a bit of a clusterfuck anyway and nobody really cares. I’d definitely recommend it as the best way to learn the game and try new heroes, particularly with one or two experienced friends.

  29. Kinth says:

    I’m really enjoying Dota 2 currently. I have found it’s community to be less volatile than that of LoL and especially HoN. I have yet to actually be raged upon in Dota 2 (been playing for 2-3 weeks) I’ve had people point out my mistakes but no one has gone so far as to try and insult me. Unfortunately this is likely because the game is still in Beta and being played by people who mostly care about the game and it’s community. I expect the flood gates will open as soon as the free to play switch is flipped. Hopefully Valve will have implemented a reward and punishment system by then, the Low priority pool (explained below) is a good start but we need to be curbing this behaviour from the start not just letting them be assholes and then chucking them in the low priority pool.

    HoN was like the hell of gaming community’s, HoN is where all gaming will end up in 5 years if nothing is done to curb the infantile behaviour of gaming community’s. With the advent of Youtube these asshats can go and make themselves popular for being asshats or “trolls”, then their moronic fans imitate what they do because they think it’s funny and cool to spoil everyone else’s fun.

    LoL’s was a little less volatile, but the pressure of needing IP just sent everyone into rage filled frenzies. If you lose in LoL you get less IP meaning you have to grind even longer for that hero you want. This just promotes raging. No one wants to be told they have to work longer and harder to get something they want because someone else on their team can’t play the game.

    One thing I utterly love about DotA 2 is the Low Priority pool, if you abandon too many games or you rage frequently and get reported often you get to go to the Low Priority Pool. This is where they only get matched with other people in the Low Priority pool. It takes 30 mins to find a game in this pool and they get to spend all their time with assholes just like them. So yeah they can play but they get to experience first hand what it would be like to be on a team full of them.

    Also if someone abandons your game, chat will give out a message saying someone has abandoned and the game is now safe to leave, so you don’t have to spend 50 mins 4v5 ing some idiots who think they’re great players for beating a team with fewer numbers.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      I find it interesting that in DOTA2, even when the game is safe to leave, people almost always keep playing. The worst I usually see is someone on the losing team saying “end it please”.

      I don’t know if they think they’re likely to get an item as a consolation prize or what, but the attitude is usually very relaxed and often jovial, with both teams focusing their ire at the leaver. I’ve also personally seen more DOTA2 games end where a team wins despite being one player short, so that might be part of it. With heroes like Tidehunter, Dark Seer, and Enigma floating around, all it takes is one sloppy push towards high ground for a team to lose a 5v4…

  30. Tonkatsu says:

    I didn’t enjoy this article, too much fluff, too little substance. Although I agree that HoN would attract more new players and help ease them into the game if there were A.I. bot matches. DotA2 and LoL have bots, HoN has bots but they haven’t been released to the public… I think S2 could release bot matches as soon as the next patch, but refuse to because they want new players to funnel into the multi-player games to make match-making more efficient. Unfortunately, I think we can all agree that showing new players a terrible time and having them immediately uninstall is not preferable to them getting a solid footing then sticking around to play once they have a little experience under their belt.

  31. chewbaccasdad says:

    Moar articles from Cara, this is the first one I’ve read and I enjoyed it muchly!

    On topic: I’ve never played any of these types of game before but DOTA 2 had piqued my interest. But after reading this, I’m thinking I might give it a miss. I can’t be arsed being harangued by people in computer games basically; I put up with enough of that in real life. So should I just skip this genre?

    • Berzee says:

      My wife and I played quite a bit of LoL and didn’t suffer from much of this treatment.

      On the other hand, we don’t consider this treatment to be much like suffering, so it’s possible we got yelled at without it making a memorable impact. But I don’t think it happened often.

    • ramirezfm says:

      It’s more like you should abstain from every multiplayer gaming. Sometimes I think the basic requirement to be enjoying any multiplayer game is to be an arsehole. I had some luck playing with rather normal people in LoL, but had my share of assholes. Only chance for playing with any nice people is to play some mmorpg, there you have a chance ( still slim ) to find people that play just for fun and not for loot/ stats/ whatever

    • chewbaccasdad says:

      Thanks dudes! Guild Wars 2 it is then! I can always watch spectator games of DOTA 2 and pretend I’m playing, like I used to do in the arcades.

      • jrodman says:

        Jerkface behavior happens in these genres. It seems to be getting a bit rarer in dota 2 as they work out the report system, but it still happens.

        It *also* happens in MMOs, but you can typically avoid it for the most part, and it’s far less common.

  32. NightShift says:

    Great article. Do you think you can make one about Smite? The community are still idiots(They fall for the “Hey! look my password is censored if you type it! *****” scam) but I find it much less stressful.

  33. BooleanBob says:

    Tags for this article make me miss Kieron’s writing, but at least we have Cara’s and that is a salve. Out of respect to them both, I’m off to find something(, anything) to drink. I know for a fact that there’s 15cl’s worth of tourist-grade ouzo in one of these cupboards…

  34. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Personally, if I’m gaming and drinking, I tend to stick to beer, I stay slightly more in control for longer.
    L4D, whilst drunk, with my flatmates is a great way to spend an evening, although they have to be drunk too, otherwise me+drunk+chainsaw isn’t funny anymore.

    What’s your favorite drink+game combo?

  35. Fallward says:

    To be honest, that was a very poor review of the game. Shame on RPS letting someone who DISLIKES the game review it, their opinion is already biased and any developments since their last encounter with the game will be appropriately negative. For those of you who really want to know about HoN, it’s actually very good. The reviewer criticised the fact that there is a kick player option? You require 9 votes out of 10 players to kick that person, if they get kicked then it is CLEARLY justified (e.g feeding on purpose, AFK, giving away team position etc). The reality is: HoN has the best graphics, the smoothest most polished gameplay, and is generally a good game despite the horrific community. (That’s why they have many options in terms of muting/ignoring/kicking players who deserve it). Oh and, i’ve played all three of the big MOBA’s quite extensively. I would agree that it’s less noob friendly, but if you’re any good at MOBA’s at all then HoN is the game for you. Go and play LoL if you’re bad, that’s designed for new players.

    • TCM says:

      Not sure if serious or really good at sarcasm.

      For the record, at least two of the things you mentioned as ‘valid reasons to kick’ could be honest mistakes made by new players.

      • Fallward says:

        Dead serious. Now that i think about it, the big three MOBA’s would benefit greatly from diversifying themselves. LoL can be for new/very casual players, HoN can be for the pros, and Dota 2 can attempt to be a bit of both. That way it would be fair to review each game in what they really do.

        • Brian_black says:

          Unfortunately, that level of arrogance is really what makes the HoN community stand out. Having played all three as well, I don’t see anything about HoN that makes it more ‘pro’ focused than the other two. LoL requires an investment to acquire heroes and runes, but skilled players have strategies there just as they do in HoN and Dota. Arguments could be made about the lack of variance in meta in LoL, but that doesn’t limit the skill of individual players or their collective teamplay. Personally, all three have aspects that frustrate me- HoN has a claustrophobic zoom level, Dota2 refuses to show enemy mana bars without clicking on heroes, or let me view an enemy hero at the same time i’m viewing my own, LoL’s between-game persistence mars the concept of the genre to me, as each fight can be slightly different based on your rune set, even if the same ten champions were in the game.

    • Vando says:

      Tell me more about this bold new games journalism where nobody is allowed to write about games unless it’s been proven beforehand they like the game in question.

      • Droopy The Dog says:

        Oh it’s a brilliant career oportunity, you get to like every game you play and get paid suspiciously more. It truely is the future of games journalism

        [obligatory /sarcasm tag, since any less and someone out there will probably miss the big sledgehammer shaped chunk of irony]

      • Fallward says:

        You’re joking right? I understand this person is just volunteering their opinion, but on a website that seems to carry some substance in their opinion i feel that this review was shrouded in negativity before it even begun. Ideally, reviews would be carried out by those with experience in the genre yet unbiased towards a particular name – that means neither likes nor dislikes the game, as you incorrectly pointed out. In that regard, I’m hugely disappointed in this review.

        • Droopy The Dog says:

          Any negativity she had before writing about HoN was because she’s played it before. How you think that’s unfair in some way I can’t fathom.

          Is not actually playing the game as a part of your reviews another part of this magnificent new breed of journalism you’re building?

  36. ponysong says:

    It’s simple really, you can’t judge something based on community. Bad apples can be found in every bunch and competitive games are just a swarming hive of them. Every one believes they are right because as humans that’s what we believe so refusing to admit wrong people lash out at others especially since people don’t realize when they get mad.

    Games like these turn friends into foes as angry shouting is spouted at one another over little mistakes to evade the blame during mistakes that may of cost them the game.

    As a person who plays all three games I can safely tell you that they do in fact exist in all three.

    All have their own unique feeling to them as HoN slowly takes a step away from its Dota counter-part, LoL is targetting the casual crowd making it hard to be competitive with the restriction of the hero pool. I understand the happiness in earning them but it really limits the amount of plays and champions you will see in competitive play. Dota 2 is sticking to its origins.

    (Don’t compare them :] )
    Hope this clears some thoughts :/

    • malkav11 says:

      The article doesn’t claim those sorts of folks aren’t present with other games in the genre (or competitive multiplayer in general), just that they’re particularly prevalent in Heroes of Newerth and the game design and the company that owns the game have done nothing to discourage that sort of behavior, whereas League of Legends and DOTA 2 have. And you absolutely can judge a game built around playing with other people on the strength of its community, because they’ll be what you encounter day in and day out playing that game unless you happen to be able to field enough friends to fill an entire match on a regular basis, something which is not the case for most.

  37. remoteDefecator says:

    Fully agree with pretty much all the points. Communities are the biggest turnoff to most multiplayer games these days. If I ever stop playing multiplayer games, it will definitely be due to the other players. I honestly don’t understand why assholism is so common in games, and as this article highlights, it’s usually the worst from your teammates.

    It’s easy to write these jerks off as no-lifers who live in their parents basements, but the sad truth is most of them are probably relatively normal people in real life. The G.I.F.T. in action, I suppose.

  38. howudodat says:

    This is easily one of the worst articles I’ve ever read. First to start an article with you spewing “I AM DRUNK” over mumble and writing it with all caps to really emphasize to the reader, is absurd. Can we really trust your judgement, are we sure you have control over the alcohol, or are you just pretending in order to bring more attention to yourself? Regardless its a terrible, and only seems ironic when you begin to complain about how upset the other players are with you. But you only wanted to play a casual game correct? Then don’t play games where there are other players who’re relying on you to win a game. It’s five versus five, not five versus four and a drunk girl who wants to just run around aimlessly.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      Wait, did you just imply that being drunk once is enough cause to legitimately worry if someone has control over their alcohol problem? Classy move!

      I’m going to up the ante and say your one instance of stereotyping gives me cause to worry you’re a massive rascist. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?

      • howudodat says:

        I never implied an alcohol problem, I only questioned her judgement at the time the article was written. What kind of journalist writes about how a community is so vulgar and disrespectful yet judging them while inebriated at the time. Also acting just as childish or even worst by posting an image to impersonate childish behaviors is beyond me in an article.

        • jrodman says:

          This article is a combination of informative and entertaining.
          I think you missed the second part, or don’t generally understand it.

  39. Severian says:

    Great article, fantastic read. I haven’t played HoN at all but was told after I obsessed over Demigod and it died, looking for a new playground, that LoL was friendlier than HoN and it seems to be true. The deeper issue, as you point out, is that the problem persists everywhere and the nature of these games (where one weak link can make for a bad experience for the whole team) seems to cultivate trolling. To be honest, I’m hoping a developer comes up with a truly “casual” MOBA – where players are there just to have fun for a year or so and then move on, rather than develop mad skllz for going pro.

  40. srg says:

    The reason why HON’s community seems worse is the player rating system the game has and its matchmaking rules: the more you win, the better your rating, the better the player quality and the gaming skills/quality. I can guarantee that after a certain level this game is _completely_ different from what you have described in your article. Most people play HON in order to reach that competitive level. Those who just want fun and are decently intelligent will know where to go in order to play no-stats games, designed for fun or learning. Those who do have the will to go to a higher rating but lack the skills and/or the intelect for it (believe it or not, you do need at least the average IQ in order to be successful in a MOBA-type of game), are usually the ones who will enter the matchmaking system and wreak havoc in there. Hence the fact that a lot of players in matchmaking are prone to start flaming you. In HON things are not as simple as “OK, I’m skilled so I’ll just play some games and get to the correct team gaming level soon”, because you depend on your team mates to help you win. If they are bad players, you’re stuck playing in that tier for a long period of time. This is why, although one may have the impression that the less skilled players are the victims, its actually the other way around. I simply gave up after that long period of time and moved to DOTA 2, not because i couldn’t handle the level of difficulty but because the people I played with kept failing all the time and dragged me down.
    The way i see it, HON is built around the concept of “competitive gaming”. Since DOTA 2 does not have a detailed and transparent rating system, people are less motivated to win therefore the “fun” variable is much more present here than in HON. I personally consider the latter as what could be the best game in its class if the developers would improve the system of separating good players from bad players.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      That’s not how rating systems work in team games. Play a statistically significant number of games with equally rated teams and you’ll have played as many games against good players with bad team-mates as you’ve had bad team-mates yourself, which evens out to an overall null effect.

      So the only thing that should affect your rating is your actual personal performance versus the predicted performance of someone at your current rating. If your rating isn’t rising to where you think you should be it’s not because of bad team-mates, it’s because you’re not as good as you think you are.

      Much like MOBAs, statistics does require at least average intelligence I guess.

      • srg says:

        The fact that you’re simplifying this right down to the level of a+b=c points out to the fact that you’re either a spectator in these games at best, or that you’re here just for the sake of trolling. Statistics dictate the chance of something happening, not the event itself. In case of HON, the variables taken into consideration in matchmaking are mainly MMR and K:D, not all the variables that create your profile statistics (that is why a bad player who reached 1xxx MMR by fluke is paired with a better player of the same MMR). There’s also the difference between failing as carry versus failing a support, and many other arguments that create the image of how this system influences your results. I could get into discussing details but it would be out of topic. My advice to you is to do things and comment on that basis instead of trying to teach me the basic principles of statistics.

        • Droopy The Dog says:

          Clearly the lesson is needed though. The point is, everyone else get’s just as many bad team-mates as you do, and in a zero sum system like MMR that means if someone else has a better MMR than you it’s not because you had someone sucking as a carry your last two games, it’s because they’re better than you.

          HoN is unfortunate in that it starts new players out at bang on average rating, rather than starting on some kind of malus on the assumption they don’t know the mechanics yet. So you get a lot of new players with artificially inflated MMRs when their natural should be much lower than the midrange. But even if you’re in that bracket, let me say it again, everyone else gets just as many bad team-mates as you. If you truely deserved to go up in MMR you’d capitalise on their bad team-mates better and claw your way up.

          Stupid backwards handwaving like that is part of the reason the community’s so caustic, half the idiots believe they’re justified in bawling about bad team-mates holding them back rather than being told they’re being ignorant and to shut up, sit down and accept responsibility for their own rating.

          • srg says:

            You just don’t get it, do you… Do you know why streamers like AngryTestie or MoonMeander always have buddies with them while carrying some random baddies to higher tiers for money? And since we’re at it, do you know why neither of these two very good players almost never play Glacius for example? I’ll leave you with these mysteries to think about while i gently retreat from this discussion, clearly we agree to disagree.

          • Droopy The Dog says:

            The answer to both of those is because hero balance has nothing whatsoever to do with the matchmaking system?

            Feel free to back away from the discussion, arguments based on false premises and debating tactics like misdirection annoy me no end anyway.

  41. QiJie123 says:

    i am not going to say dota 2 , LoL or HoN bad or whatever . Just hon got its law and if you want to play then follow . It can vote kick because sometimes we meet some bastard , spoiler or afk . That ‘s all . If you hate to play HoN please fck off . And one more is HoN players more teamwork and smart in my OPINION . THANK YOU !

  42. krzno says:

    Well that’s why noobs like you should not play MM aka match making.
    Go play no-stats public games >.>
    And that’s the only thing wrong with the game.
    You think that DotA2 won’t have trolls and flamers after it goes full free-to-play?
    Hahahaa i think it will. I already had few games with rage quiters so…

    • Snowskeeper says:

      Of course it will, and they’ll be sent screaming by the loyal, relatively friendly community the game’s already built up.

      That’s why noobs like you shouldn’t comment on articles you clearly don’t understand.

  43. Snowskeeper says:

    I know you’ve already got some ‘please play SMITE’ posts, and I’ve noticed you’ve already said you probably will, but I thought I should give you some reasons to try it.

    First off, it’s a closed community currently. That doesn’t mean there aren’t assholes; what it does mean is that there are also some really awesome people. I probably would have spent the entirety of my first match being screamed at for playing a ranged character without… Without… Well, he didn’t really specify. Either way, another player leaped to my defence almost immediately, and the flame war ended much more quickly than it would have.

    Second point: Characters are much easier to understand. The skills are simple but effective, the items do exactly what they say, the recommend items/skills thing actually works pretty well, and every character is capable of killing every other character if used right.

    Third point: The game’s actually different from other MOBAs. I’ve seen a lot of cloning lately, but the third-person camera and required skill-shots in SMITE make it much different from other MOBAs in feel at least, if not in actual play-style. (By skill-shots, I mean non-locked shots, not that you need to use skills to shoot. V_V; Just in case that was unclear somehow.)

  44. randylin26 says:

    “They told me to uninstall. So I did.”
    Exactly. This was my first day of Newerth shit.
    And I did as well.

  45. MaybeBaby says:

    After reading this article I must say it’s rather inept and poorly written. First things first, there is a strong implication that HoN is inferior due to its commnunity, so after a few games while drunk you’ve assumed that the community is the worst. I’ve been apart of the MOBA community since it’s inception and have been apart of the big 3 and can assure you that you’ve seen only a small part of the community. HoN has a pretty decent community and are nowhere near as vile and disgusting as the LoL community, or as pathetic and whiney as the DOTA2 community.

    The problem with the HoN community is their elitist attitude towards others but by no means does that make them the worst. If I had someone in my competitive team oriented game, drunk and expecting a laid back game I’d tell you to uninstall as well. Just because I’m a beginner, doesn’t mean I want to lose because of some drunk airhead.

    You whinge about the kick mechanic, one of the BEST features of the damn game because you MIGHT be kicked? Do you know how many intentional AFKers I have encounted in DOTA2 and LoL compared to HoN? Without the kick feature I would’ve lost most of the 4v5 games I played. There is no Remake option in D2 or LoL, no kick and D2 doesn’t even have a concede or rating system so you’re not paired up with total retards in Matchmaking. As much as I play D2 because I enjoy the game, HoN is still better in every other aspect. Because hey, at least Forsaken Archer doesn’t shoot arrows out of her shoulder like Drow does.

    At the end of the day, HoN’s awesome, you suck, please don’t reinstall. The less people like you in the community the better.