Heroes of Newerth is your standard real-time strategy game with a slight twist, taking from Warcraft’s most popular game-play mode called “Defense of the Ancients.” This up and coming game looks as though it has a chance to make a large dent in the lagging game market. Currently, the game has been in beta for, a little under a year, with an unknown, but expected release date later this year.
Unlike most RTS out there, Heroes of Newerth does not follow the set-in-stone model of build an army and have the two armies collide somewhere on the map until on side is overwhelmed. Now, what Newerth does instead, creates a siege-like environment where one team or one player is setup in a base that they have to defend by building up its defenses. The other players on the map then have the job of attacking the defending side as they attempt to win the match. Character selection is a sort of new option, most games at best you got to pick your race, and then if you were lucky, maybe your alignment or some similar thing. The number of races would be extremely limited and what you were capable of building was based on this. Instead, you pick from 40 different heroes, each having their own skills and abilities. The heroes are broken down into three times: intelligence, strength, and agility. Heroes of Newerth has stores where one can upgrade their chosen character. Scattered throughout the map are monsters, which players can use to level and upgrade their characters. The armies in Heroes of Newerth are AI-controlled, taking away part of the RTS element many players look forward to. You still command your units, but the players’ view of the battlefield is limited, and your main focus is leveling your hero.
Depending on the players, style of play can be quick, short or long and time consuming. The short games are fun and intense, but lack the build-up that long ones have. Either style of play is good, though sometimes you can’t spend four hours leveling characters to create an epic final battle. Playing as a single hero is fun and really does help to draw the player into the game. This is a vast improvement over most RTS, where the players tend to sit back and critically look at the game as they play it, rather than allow themselves to be immersed in the actions of the units on the screen.
Kind of difficult to come up with negative things to say about the game. For most people, going into this game and expecting a classic RTS, they will be disappointed. While this is an RTS, it falls under the sub-genre of “Arena RTS.” The limited battlefield view will upset people who are use to playing Age of Empires and the like.
While still in beta, this game already has a large following of players. It is nearly impossible not to find a game waiting or additional players at any given time. Though it does not fall into the pure RTS category, the game still should do extremely well, maybe even redefining the entire genre.
Whim Rating: 4.5/5
Cover and story photo from Creative Commons