League of Legends and Dota 2, the ruling kings of the MOBA world, once had a rival in Heroes of Newerth. But as reported by News AU, following a long and slow decline in player numbers, as of today, June 20, the game once positioned to challenge Valve and Riot Games has officially closed down.
Heroes of Newerth, developed by erstwhile US studio S2, launched its first beta in 2009, and initially looked as if it could dominate the then-burgeoning MOBA genre. League of Legends’ first beta also arrived in 2009, with Dota 2 going into public testing the following year – with MOBAs still in their infancy, the comparatively smaller and less-refined Heroes of Newerth nevertheless had a chance of competing with the big studios.
However, the sharper visuals and more tightly engineered mechanics in both Valve’s and Riot Games’ offerings quickly began drawing players away from Newerth, and the smaller-scaled S2 struggled to compete with its rivals’ update schedules. In 2011, the game became free to play, and in 2015, S2 sold it to Singaporean publisher Garena.
The developer released a new MOBA, Strife, but continuing difficulties led to both S2 and Strife’s servers being closed down in 2018. Development of Heroes of Newerth continued via Frostburn Studios, and the game started to receive more regular updates.
By this time, however, League of Legends’ and Dota 2’s stranglehold on the MOBA genre was already well established, and in an official announcement in December 2021, Frostburn confirmed that Heroes of Newerth would be shut down.
“Even though the journey of HoN has come to an end, we believe that all the valuable memories of our players through all these years will never fade away,” the studio said, in a post on its official Facebook.
Marking the game’s closure, Frostburn hosted a series of farewell events, offering players additional XP and in-game rewards. The MOBA’s servers were then deactivated on June 20.