Today marks the end of an era. Developer Frostburn Studios has shut down Heroes of Newerth after announcing it would do so last December. An official reason for this decision has not been provided, but it’s most likely due to Heroes of Newerth‘s dwindling player base. The MOBA has had difficulties attracting new players for some time.
In the original announcement, Frostburn stated, “Even though the journey of HoN has come to an end, we believe that all the valuable memories of our players through all these years will never fade away.” The studio also took the opportunity to thank its players for their support in making Heroes of Newerth “one of the most popular MOBA games in history.”
To someone unfamiliar with Heroes of Newerth that claim may sound exaggerated, but HoN was once a major player among the most popular MOBA games. It’s difficult to believe now, but Heroes of Newerth was once League of Legends‘ biggest competitor. However, the two games have met very different fates with Heroes of Newerth shutting down, and League of Legends being one of the most-played games in the world.
Even so, Heroes of Newerth had a good run. The support of both its original developer, S2 Games, and its second developer, Frostburn Studios, kept it going for over a decade. Heroes of Newerth entered its first beta in 2009 and was still receiving major content updates by 2019. It may not have been the dream story that its fans wanted, but HoN was never a failure.
Perhaps the biggest mistake Heroes of Newerth‘s developers made was its original pricing. While League of Legends launched as a free-to-play game, HoN set players back $30 USD on release. The latter MOBA did later switch to a free-to-play model, but the damage was already done. A lot of players that may have otherwise tried out Heroes of Newerth were now playing League of Legends. In an industry this competitive, it only takes one decision to seal a game’s fate.