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DOTA 2 vs Heroes of Newerth

05. August, 2012Tags: Dota 2, Heroes of Newerth, MMO Blog, MOBA

Best MOBA GamesIt’s difficult to try and suggest one MOBA game over another to other people without hours and hours of experience, measuring minute differences and playing with every character available, at least to a decent level. Of course, there are people that actually do that, who write guides and test balancing and a whole manner of things that I wouldn’t even know how to begin with. What more casual players of the genre look at – and there are casual players, really there are – are graphics, ease of use and community. Over the past few days I’ve been playing Heroes of Newerth and DotA 2 quite a bit, so I thought we’d take a look at the ups and downs of both games, and which you should play.




The first thing you notice in any game are the graphics, an instant first impression that can make or break your entire experience. The case of DotA 2 vs Heroes of Newerth, the call is actually pretty difficult to make. DotA 2 definitely looks the better game, but, for a two year old game, Heroes of Newerth definitely brings it. In the end though, DotA definitely looks cleaner, the interface nicer, the quality of the world and the textures better. It’s honestly not quite as wide a difference as perhaps you’d guess though and nobody is going to leave Heroes of Newerth because of the graphics.

Winner: DotA 2


How do you judge two games that are practically identical in terms of  basic gameplay? Both games boast the same objectives, the same types of character – at times, even exactly the same character, but with a different name and body type - and the same items. It really is a difficult one, because while I prefer DotA 2 for its easier, cleaner interface, Heroes of Newerth has a lot going for it as well.

I think it all comes down to personal experience and what you’re looking for in a game. Both DotA 2 and Heroes of Newerth are quality titles, offering drama, excitement and suspense. For me, DotA 2 manages to push that level of quality to a more easily accessible place and for that, it has to be the winner.

Winner: DotA 2 (but it was a close one)

Value for Money

Heroes of Newerth has recently gone completely free-to-play and initially being both a paid-for game and, after that, offering a few characters at a reduced price. DotA 2, still in closed beta, is going to launch free-to-play, with a store offering items starting at £1.99 and with packs as expensive as nearly £50. In the HoN store, almost everything starts at around $10 – we’re talking taunts, alt avatars, account vanity items – but most of them can also be bought with the silver coins earned in-game.

See our new Heroes of Newerth Video Review here->

Once DotA 2 has been publically released and the store has been built up (and Steam Workshop integration has fired up a little more), it might be a bit more of a fair fight, but the fact that the vast majority of items can be gotten without paying a penny (through hard work) in Heroes of Newerth makes it our winner for this category.

Winner: Heroes of Newerth



This one is rather stacked against DotA 2, because it’s not officially released yet and there is work on-going. It doesn’t change the fact though that there’s not a full roster of heroes, only one map to play on and occasional balancing issues which may or may not affect you. Heroes of Newerth, on the other hand, isn’t always perfect in terms of balancing, but has had longer to fix any bugs, add additional heroes and to add a couple of extra maps (although the traditional one is the best, I think).

Winner: Heroes of Newerth


The MOBA genre is notorious for its elitist players and their inability to understand that some people are just new. Many a potential player has been turned off these games completely after somebody with too much time and an itchy keyboard has gone too far in offering, well, we’ll call it constructive criticism.

I’ve yet to play a game of Heroes of Newerth where a teammate hasn’t insulted somebody else on the team. On the other hand, I haven’t seen it once in DotA 2. Does the latter hold a nice community or is the threat of being reported - in a note shown at the start of every match asking people to report others who deserve it - pre-policing the community? Whatever is happening, it works.

Winner: DotA 2

See our DOTA 2 Video review here->


Innovation isn’t an easy one because, again, MOBA isn’t a genre built on innovation and change. (Read our History of the MOBA Genre for more information) Instead, it’s a genre built on forever balancing, adding new heroes (without breaking the roster) and impressing both old time and newer fans. With that said, the inclusion of the fantastic Steam Workshop more than makes DotA 2 the more impressive of the two games in terms of innovation, as well as small, general polish sort of things. It might not move the genre on massively, but it’ll make DotA 2 feel like a different experience entirely.

Winner: DotA 2


Heroes of Newerth definitely held its own in quite a difficult fight. With the powerhouse of Valve and the entire Steam network behind it, DotA 2 should have obliterated Heroes of Newerth but, in actual fact, there are things that the folks at S2 are doing that Valve are yet to catch up with. All this could change in 12 months, of course, as DotA 2 opens to everybody and the developers continue work. Still, if you’re yet to get into the DotA 2 beta, you could do a lot worse than Heroes of Newerth and it’s definitely worth a look if you’re planning to get into the DotA/MOBA scene – just be sure to wear a thick skin.

Overall Winner: DotA 2

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