If you've been on the MOBA scene for a while, you know that Heroes of Newerth is a steadfast contender in the genre's market. Developer S2 games and its founder, Marc DeForest, can attest to that, having experienced impressive growth in every region since release and especially in this year.
We recently had a chance to chat with Marc about the industry, S2's successes, and most importantly: HoN 3.0. With the eSports industry's explosive growth in in the past couple years, it's a prime time to be in the midst of the action. From a humble 17-18 person team, to 40 at the beginning of this year, to now close to 100 members, S2 is expanding with the industry and bringing more players service all over the globe.
With a 50% increase in player base this year alone, HoN is seeing more success than ever in not only North America, but in regions like southeast Asia, Latin America, and Russia. Plans to begin operating in China and Taiwan are in motion for 2013, along with something players have been waiting on the edges of their seats for: HoN 3.0.
This visual, functional, and social overhaul has a significant amount of development time already devoted to it, along with a seven-figure monetary investment. What's new?
Art assets, maps, basically all the game's graphics will be refreshed to conform to 2013's standards. A completely new visual feel will take over, including buildings, hero models, wells (shown above), towers, and more.
Social functions are also receiving a complete overhaul, streamlining how chat, friend lists, notificiations, plus reporting works. S2 recognizes how unfriendly the community can be to a new player, and their 3.0 changes certainly reflect this. With the community being such a large part of HoN's overall experience, the team thought it extremely important that players have a system to better police themselves and cut out the bad apples - something many games could benefit from.
In addition, some of the stress of learning the game is being lifted with the addition of NPC bots with advanced enough AI for DeForest to claim that it'll feel like playing against real people! The first bot game a player will land in will also assist in teaching mechanics, though as more of an immersive walkthrough than a standard tutorial.
3.0 is further building on a solid foundation of several years of hard work by the development team, and we have a feeling it will certainly keep veteran players excited while drawing new blood in. We'll keep our eyes peeled for new updates - check back at Curse as we learn more!
In current HoN news, version 2.6.33 dropped yesterday and brought to players lots of cheerful holiday content. Melee initiator Lodestone is now on the Hero menu, along with loads of new holiday and limited edition avatars for all your favorite heroes.
Several heroes got a price cut for celebrating release milestones, and snow is now falling in-game and has blanketed Caldavar! Full release notes can be read at the official site.