From June 2022, Heroes of Newearth will be no more. One of the forerunners of the MOBA genre, HoN laid the foundations for competitive Dota 2.

Old-school DotA players and MOBA fans in general are shocked as news emerges that Heroes of Newerth will cease operation in 2022. In a post on their official Facebook, the developers announced that HoN would go offline on June 20th, 2022. A farewell event will take place over the next few months.

HoN Launched in 2010, as one of the first stand-alone successors to the original Warcraft III Defense of the Ancients mod. A more faithful recreation of DotA than predecessor League of Legends (2009), HoN attempted instead to incorporate elements of its Real Time Strategy roots, with it’s more complex gameplay and Hero design.

A Slow Decline

HoN almost immediately saw massive growth in its competitive scene, with many DotA players switching to the game in search of competitive glory. But the early growth seemed to halter towards the end of 2011 with the announcement of Dota 2 by Valve. 

Hontour Season 1’s Grand Finals took place in Las Vegas in 2013

Still, HoN soldiered on, hosting its first international series in 2012. Hontour Season 1 would run between 2012 and 2013, culminating with a $60,000 World Finals tournament in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, Hontour Season 1 has gone down in history as an organizational disaster, and many of the scene’s brightest stars had already departed for greener pastures by its close.

In 2015 HoN was acquired by Singaporean publisher and esports tournament Garena, a move that seemingly spelled new life for the game. However, in the wake of giants such as League of Legends and Dota 2, HoN never quite seemed to be able to square up. While HoN peaked at a reported 30 million unique accounts, and hovered at around 150,000 concurrent players a day, it always stayed firmly in third place or lower.

By 2018, competative HoN was a side-hustle for Dota 2 pros. Andreas Per “Xibbe” Ragnemalm and Samuel “Boxi” Svahn were part of the fourth-place Team BE3R at the 2018 HoN Tour World Championships. At the time, Boxi was an active player on Alliance.

HoN’s legacy

HoN’s hero design, for the most part, was lifted directly from the original DotA. However, it also included dozens of additional unique heroes. For example, Kraken, Predator, Nymphora, Scout, and others are unique heroes with no analogies in DotA or Dota 2.

Many of Dota 2’s most prominent personalities and pro players got their start in HoN. Two-time TI-winner Johan “N0tail” Sundstein, commentator and former pro Kyle Freedman, along with brother Zakari William Lee “Zfreek” Freedman were multiple-time Major winners in HoN. Kyle and Zfreek, along with Linus “Limmp” Blomdin, and Ramus Johan “Chessie” Blomdin, and Johan “Mynuts” Andersson were first ever HoN World Champions.

Zfreek, Kyle, and the rest of Stay Green celebrate victory at Dreamhack Summer 2013

Beyond that, dozens of current big-names in Dota 2 were formerly HoN players. Players like Fly, s4, PPD, Zai, iNSaNiA, Jenkins, and others first rose to prominence in the game. HoN very much shaped Dota 2 and the scene we have today.

Still a chance to play HoN?

If you’re thinking about trying out HoN, now is your final chance. The game will close registration for new accounts on December 30th, 2021. After that it will be impossible to create a new account. 

But between December 20th, 2021, and February 19th, 2022, a farewell event will take place. Anyone can participate in this event, new players or old. It’s the perfect way to say goodbye to the game. For more information, check out the post on the game’s official Facebook.

Michael Hassall -

Michael Hassall

| Twitter: @hoffasaurusx

Michael is a UK-based content creator who caught the esports bug in 2010, but took eight years to figure out he should write about it. Throwing away a promising career in marketing and PR, he now specialises in MOBAs, covering League of Legends, Dota 2, and esports in general since 2019. When not glued to tournaments taking place on the other side of the globe, he spends time nurturing an unhealthy addiction to MMOs and gacha games.