When you think of MOBAs/ARTS games/Dota clones, you think of vile communities. When you think of vile communities, you think of Heroes of Newerth. Like it or not, the game has earned its reputation for being an unfriendly place. Take the games I played in today, for example. If I had a dollar for every instance of ranging, uncooperative teammates, flaming, griefing, poor language, verbal abuse, and nasty chat between times, I could double the HoNTour Season 2 prize pool. Sadly, things don’t work out that way.
Developer S2 Games believes they’ve found the solution. First, they’re removing the ability to talk to the opposing team. It’s a strange idea at first, but then again, why would you ever want to talk to the other team? Other than to trash talk/throw teammates under the bus, of course, and nobody has time for that.
Next, they’re removing voice chat unless you’re already in a matchmaking party. Once again, this is a strange idea, yet we need to consider the fact that it’s already used on Xbox Live. People are tired of hearing 13-year-olds talk about everyone’s mother when playing Halo 4. Chances are you’ve either muted everybody in the lobby before a game or queued with a party, only allowing that group’s voice that to be audible.
Finally there’s the addition of karma. Valve is already doing something like this with Dota 2, but it appears that S2 wants to expand on it. Well-behaved players are rewarded, foul players are punished, and measures are being put in to avoid abuse of the system.
All in all, it seems that S2 Games is taking the appropriate measures to fix the Heroes of Newerth community for the—
Oh. Wait. These are all features for Strife, their newly announced game that happens to be in the same genre as HoN.
Despite the fact that Heroes of Newerth is “somewhat” of a major player in the genre, it’s nowhere near the levels of popularity of, say, League of Legends or Dota 2. Hell, I’ve seen games like Smite and Runescape regularly have more Twitch.TV viewers.
If you’re a developer and your big project for the past few years is struggling against competitors, why not introduce these fantastic features to that game? This is why you’re player base is worried. This is why the Heroes of Newerth subreddit is so frustrated. You’re saying the support for HoN won’t change, but your actions are saying otherwise.
It’s just interesting that a company that’s struggling to fund tournaments for a competitive playerbase desperate for action is able to fund a brand new game.