It was so long ago, and the space is now so thoroughly dominated by two games that it’s almost impossible remembering any other way things could be, but for a brief window of time the MOBA genre—basically any and every game that was copying WarCraft III’s DotA map—was a warzone.
For those not around at the time, I’m specifically talking about the early 2010s. Sure, League of Legends and Valve’s Dota 2 were huge even then, but there was also space for other games to try and take them on, and one of the earliest and most dangerous challengers was Heroes of Newerth, which was first released in 2010 as a full-priced game but quickly re-released a year later to match its competitor’s free-to-play model (then going even more free in 2012).
HoN actually launched its beta at the same time as LoL, but while Riot’s game would go on to become one of the biggest things in video game history, Heroes of Newerth, which was harder to play and had one of the most putrid communities this pastime has ever seen, simply couldn’t keep up. I’ll be honest here and say I thought it closed down years ago, so long has it been since I’d heard anything about it, but turns out there were enough fans sticking around to keep the game running into 2022.
But no longer. Newerth’s servers were shut down earlier today for the final time, bringing to an end over a decade of action. Anyone visiting the game’s site is now met with a simple splash message that reads “HON IS NOW OFFICIALLY CLOSED. THANK YOU FOR PLAYING!”. Remaining fans have been leaving tributes in the game’s forums—which are still up—saying stuff like “it is very sad to realize that the game that I spent half of my life with (I am now 26) is gone” and “fuck DOTA”.