Been a while since you haven't played Heroes of Newerth? Then perhaps this is the best time to come back, because there've been a lot of new and exciting changes around those lands. And I mean a lot.
In this article I'll do a quick review of the changes in the game, so you, the player, can decide if returning (or discovering!) the lands of Newerth is worth the trouble. But fear not: while this looks all like sparks and rainbows, it's just the first part of two.
I'm just saving my angry ravings for later.
HoN 4.0 - NEWER AND SHINIER
That's right, in December of 2016 the latest big upgrade for HoN launched, and it really gave a breath of fresh air to the game. To summarize the changes in a short list:
* A revamped MMR system that works with leagues instead of numbers.
* A new RAP system that lets you check your previous and present reports, and it even lets you know if the offender got banned.
* Updated graphics, with comes in the form of new avatars, towers, units, trees, and a changed Forest of Caldavar, with new and interesting hiding and warding spots.
*A million of balance updates and reworks. Pretty much every hero in the game suffered a change in one way or another... for good or bad. Also, a new STR Hellbourne hero was introduced, Apex.
One of the new warding spots in the Legion jungle.
THE NEW RANK SYSTEM - CHAMPIONS OF NEWERTH HAS BEGUN
Before this new patch, the MMR was like any other similar system: your value varied +5/-5 depending on the outcome of the match, which placed you with players of similar skill (like 50 points near your total amount). It worked, but due to the small population of the game, a lot of times finding a match could turn out rather... problematic. This happened mostly from 1800MMR and above, making you wait up until 15 minutes to find a match, depending on your zone.
The new rank system places you in different leagues, divided by sub ranks (the last two are excluded from this): Bronze, Silver, Gold, Diamond, Legendary, and finally Immortal, which is reserved for the most experienced and dedicated players. When the season ends your rank gets reset, then you play a couple of pre-games to decide your new one. Also, you receive a nice reward, which goes bigger depending on how far you made it. It is, to say at least, a new incentive to climb the ladder, and it was welcomed with open arms.
While the queue times were greatly reduced after this implementation, some different issues came out after the change, which I will address in the next part of this article.
As you can see, the MMR is now transformed into a rank.
You can also see the mode of the game at the bottom right (Counter + Banning Pick)
REVAMPED RAP - SMOK'A'TROLL
There isn't much to say about this. If you think a player is breaking a rule of conduct, you can just right click them in game or after it ended and report them. There is now a site in which all your reports are included, detailing match ID, player, and offense. Also, you can appeal a previous ban on your account, or get in contact with a GM.
It is a nice touch to make the players feel like they're being heard. Last week a system message showed up when I logged in, telling me that a previous report I've made was successful, and the offender was banned. Needless to say, I was thrilled to know that something was done about a troll that ruined a game, and gave me a short, almost invisible smile.
UPDATED GRAPHICS - ITS ABOUT TIME!
If you think that Forest of Caldavar got a little old after thousands of games, then you're in for a treat, because the entire map received a new paint coat. A lot of new jukes and ward spots have been added, towers have been slightly moved, and the jungle got a balance touch that made it a little less mandatory than before. Also, there are new monsters for the Ancients camp, and the regular ones got their health adjusted.
Overall, the changes are very nice and, while the new map takes a while to adapt, eventually it becomes part of you, just like the old one. After a couple of months i'm still finding new ward places or hiding spots, and that's just great because it makes you want to discover more and more, and improve your play style.
Finally, the entire soundtrack of the game has been redone, and let me say that is fantastic. It really gets you in the immersion of Newerth, and I strongly suggest everyone there to check it out, even if you don't play the game.
BALANCE CHANGES - LET'S REWORK HEROES FOR NO REASON!
With the arrival of 4.0, the first thing we all noticed when picking our favorite hero was that something changed. It didn't matter which one you chose, it probably had a different skill, stat, speed, or even skin, and it was a little annoying at first.
Of course, it wasn't much of a trouble to get used to this, except that... well... if you read my previous articles about HoN, you'll know how Frostburn, the company in charge, likes to make big "balance" changes and break things. HoN 4.0 wasn't the exception, and many heroes received insane buffs that made them instant picks in every single game, taking us once again to that hellhole of repetitive boredom. While currently mostly all of these broken heroes were fixed, at the moment it was a nightmare. I'll talk about them in detail next time, so stay tuned.
Fortunately, a lot of other, forgotten heroes, received very nice changes, like Shellshock and Rampage. Others got new Staff of the Master effects that provided a new incentive to build it, sometimes making it extremely powerful like Myrmidon, Plague Rider or Draconis, and other times adding a new strategy to your skill set, like Arachna or Nymphora. Of course, a lot of numbers had to be tweaked, but the changes were well done, and nowadays Staff of the Master is a valid option to many more heroes, yet not mandatory.
Shellshock can now target an enemy and charge to it, while
your allies get inside your shell to join the fight. Go for it, brave snail!
With the new Counter Pick system, in which players take turns to chose their heroes, combined with a hidden Banning Phase to block up to two heroes per team, the experience of playing a Heroes of Newerth game is definitely more balanced and rewarding.
Therefore, if you haven't visited the lands of Newerth in a while, I suggest to give it a try once more, because you'll be surprised.
This concludes the first part of this article. I hope you enjoyed it, and found a couple of reasons to return to Newerth to check out the new features on it. Still, don't change the channel, because next time I'll be back, but not as Dr. Jekyll like today, but more as Mr. Hide, because I'll just try to remember every single *****up the guys at Frostburn did during the latest patches...
And boy, they were many...