For many of you I’m that guy who runs to 343i’s aid with a fire proof shield, but I’m also a big ARTS/MOBA player. And I have a story I’d like to share with you.
I used to hate playing DotA in Warcraft 3 with my friends. Plagued by so many issues, horrible interface (it was a mod), the in ability to rejoin games, lack of character appearance, bugs and numerous other things. If I was to play DotA you’d have to put me on the winning team and feed me before I’d even consider playing. Then League of Legends was released. At first I looked at it and went, this looks cool. I sat down started playing it and I decided I didn’t like it.
I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the way Riot games balanced their heroes? Or maybe it was their art style? The unlocking of champions? I’m not sure, but I didn’t like it any more than I liked DotA . One day I got an E-mail informing me of a Beta key for Heroes of Newerth. My friend had given it to me and I asked him why? He knew I had a distaste for these kind of games, but he insisted I try it. And for the first time I enjoyed playing an ARTS/MOBA game.
I liked how heroes were picked to be hard counters to others, I loved the communication, the team work, the match making system, the art work. Everything about this fun competitive game I enjoyed. I would spend my entire weekend just queuing up for match after match. Then a storm cloud rolled in.
Heroes of Newerth was changing. They announced a Free to play model which many of us believed was a good idea as long as there was no pay for power system. League of legends was far more popular and no amount of us promoting and supporting our game could make up for the lack of players or revenue. Shortly after this announcement S2 games also announced a new system called Early Access. A hero could be purchased for a small fee and used for a month before the rest of the community was given access to it.
We raged. People quit. People felt betrayed by S2 before it had even been released. When it arrived I realized though it was unfair to the public community, at the highest level of play these heroes were not available. To add to this you would run into one of these heroes every 6 or so matches. An average match is 30-50 minutes long so maybe once per day. To top it off each of these heroes had another hero And though we had been lied to and betrayed I felt it wasn’t that bad, many people began to return and we continued play as normal…Until the DotA 2 international.
Now Heroes of Newerth’s heroes and items are heavily based off of DotA’s. It’s even rumored that the creator Icefrog was working on Heroes of Newerth, before moving to Valve. The International was massive. One million dollar grand prize. People tuned in from around the world to see the Pros duke it out. I for one was excited, maybe DotA would have changed from the horrible experience I had in Warcaft 3. When I watched, I was not impressed. To me it was like watching the newest edition of Madden being glorified and praised as the king of the ARTS genre. So I stuck with Heroes of Newerth.
The population began to decrease. People began calling Heroes of Newerth a dying game, that the players were just there until they received their DotA 2 beta keys. But me I stood strong, with numbers dropping and a business model that I didn’t like I stood by the game, because it was something I enjoyed. S2 games realized this and began implementing things, a change in the way they balanced the game, the content they were releasing, more contests, more tournaments, communicating more.
Now Heroes of Newerth has never really recovered from taking it’s place as third of the ARTS genre in terms of population and popularity. But we’re still here. Not a day goes by that I don’t try and play a match. I shout cast constantly with friends, and watch the pros play. Only because we’re not on top of the food chain doesn’t mean we’ve failed as a game. Only because a company has made a few blunders, doesn’t mean they don’t care or won’t do their best to make amends.
If you take anything from this let it be these three things:
- 343i needs us as much as we need them. Our feed back, our loyalty will keep this game going.
- We don’t need to be the number one game on xbox live. We can still be competitive, have fun and be an amazing game for fans of all walks of the FPS community to enjoy. It may not be as popular as it once was, but you don’t need 400,000 players on every week night to be a successful game.
- Give 343i a chance, they’ve held up almost every promise and statement they’ve given us so far. They need time to fix the problems that they have. No one is perfect.
TL;DR: Go read it, or don’t comment.