As most of you, I only expected S2 Games to release the new heroes Drunken Master and Monkey King along with the new announcer, some balance changes and bug fixes. What I didn’t expect was the transition of HoN’s/S2 Games’ business model. In this post I want to break down how the free to play model is going to effect the game.
Hint! The new patch caused several new problems for some users. Here’s a short list with solutions:
When I read about Heroes of Newerth becoming free to play I was like: “Okay, let’s see what advantages paid accounts have in comparison to the free ones”. So I browsed to the official announcement on the forums, read the FAQ, the patch notes and tried stuff on my own. The following information is a summary of my view on these sources.
So your paid accounts already got changed to “Legacy”. These legacy accounts cannot be obtained anymore and free accounts would have to either play hundreds of games or buy lots of coins to have access to all heroes and modes. While “Basic” can only play AP-games, “Verified” can play other modes too, but they have to use Tokens/Passes in order to play them and pick heroes they don’t own. Five of these Tokens will be given to you once your account becomes “verified”. More Tokens/Passes can be bought via the in-game store. Heroes can also be permanently bought for basic and verified accounts.
“Legacy” and “Verified” can choose to play “Verified only”-games, which cannot be accessed by “Basic”. This ensures to play free of griefers/trolls/leavers.
Early Access Program:
The Early Access program allows people, who are willing to spent cash/gold coins, to play specific heroes before anyone else can. Although everyone (whether basic, verified or legacy) can buy early access, this change makes me mad, because it offers an advantage for money. If you have the money and are willing to spend it on heroes, you could roflstomp matchmaking with possibly overpowered new heroes.
How can this be any good? I am totally fine with cosmetic upgrades, but selling gameplay advantages like specific heroes is exactly the opposite of what S2 Games was promising when they added the shop.
Image by Infiltrator
More contradicting statements by S2 Games can be found here.
Of course, Heroes participating in the EAP are disabled in tournament mode.
The new patch brought some nice bug fixes and balance changes, but it also brought F2P. F2P wouldn’t affect the competitive scene at all, but the chosen model limits new HoN players to a small pool of modes and heroes.
Imagine a good DotA player switching to HoN: “Let’s play some scrims…OH WAIT! I don’t have any Tokens left!”.
I am curious how S2 Games is going to address this problem.
I already knew S2 Games would go for the F2P model, but I didn’t expect them to switch so fast…and I didn’t expect them to punch loyal customers in the face. The Early Access Program is the only thing in the new patch which makes me angry and feel like Maliken and Co. where lying to us the whole time. Cosmetics my ass. If S2 Games wants to keep me as a player and customer they should remove EAP asap.
Maybe you already know me under the HoN-nickname “BASH”. I’ve been playing HoN since the closed beta back in 2009 and was always willing to support S2 Games in any possible way. For example I made suggestions, modifications (one got implemented into the game), spread the word about HoN, created about 2000 posts on the forums and became a support volunteer over a year ago (I am one of the few giving technical support on the forums…for free!). And now I am mad.