HoN Interview: New Game Mode in the Works?
Interview by Abubakr Mohammad, OnRPG Journalist
Answers by Pu Liu, S2Games Director of Sales and Creative Design
Lately the game I have been playing the most is Heroes of Newerth, a fantastic MOBA game that offers very fast paced gameplay full of action. Be sure to check out my full review for more info: http://www.onrpg.com/MMO/Heroes-of-Newerth/review/Heroes-of-Newerth-F2P-ReReview
I instantly jumped on the opportunity given to me to interview S2 about one of my favourite games. Read on for a great interview featuring questions from myself and the community.
OnRPG: Hello! Can you please introduce yourself?
Greetings, I’m Pu Liu, Director of Sales and Director of Creative Design at S2 Games.
OnRPG: Heroes of Newerth changed its model to a Free to Play model not too long ago; how is it going?
Things are great. Going Free to Play has opened the door to a lot of new players, and we’re very happy with the continued growth we’ve experienced. We are, however, constantly looking into more ways to lower the barrier to entry for new and casual players. Going Free to Play was a big step, but with such an incredibly deep and tactical game, there will always be more ways for us to bring the HoN experience to more and more players.
Attempting to kill Kongor
OnRPG: Maintaining balance in a MOBA game is very crucial. What is S2’s approach towards balancing or tweaking the game?
We at S2 place great importance on maintaining balance, and treat it very seriously. Due to HoN’s player-driven nature, ‘perfect balance’ is a nebulous and ever-moving objective. When we balance, we run everything – whether it be ideas from our design staff or feedback from our competitive and casual players – through rigorous mathematical and gameplay testing. We want to continue to refine not only the balance of HoN, but also how we conduct balance testing. In line with this, we are currently in the process of growing our balance team.
OnRPG: Are there any other games currently under development? If not, does S2 plan on developing another title?
I am not able to speak on this subject at this time.
OnRPG: The competitive scene for HoN is not looking so great but does seem to be improving. Most competitive players’ last hope is HoN Tour. Can we get any information regarding HoN Tour? When can we expect it to begin and what will be its format?
I disagree what the premise of the question! I was recently at Dreamhack Winter, where HoN had the biggest, baddest booth and the fattest prize purse. The NASL Finals followed the weekend after. There is currently a lull phase, but HoN Tour is coming up, and we are absolutely bursting with excitement. HoN Tour will expand the reach of competitive gaming beyond the super elite, provide a constant standardized metric by which teams are measured, and give consistency to competitive events. As for what to expect, expect it to blow your mind!
OnRPG: The community in all MOBA games is not expected to be the best. How is S2 working to help make the community better?
We are currently putting forth a lot of effort to improve our community, but ultimately, it starts with us. It is our responsibility to carry a fantastic attitude and a positive outlook. If we can do that and encourage our users to participate in earnest, our community will benefit tremendously.
Legion Team’s roster
OnRPG: Are there any plans of offering additional server locations for match making?
We are currently working with several partners to bring an enhanced HoN experience to many regions of the world. Our Southeast Asia region is doing tremendously well, and we’ve recently started a CIS region as well. Look for more regions to pop up in the near future as we continue to look for ways to make HoN more enjoyable for our fans worldwide!
OnRPG: Two weeks for a new hero does seem like a very short time in between hero releases but I am sure all heroes are worked on for longer before they are released. What is the process for creating new heroes? Does the team just focus on one design at a time or are many ideas tried and tested before release?
There are several new heroes being worked on at any given point. There are many steps to hero design, from initial design and art concepts all the way through final bug testing, but each step is given focus and attention by both the design team and other members of S2 Games.
OnRPG: If a gamer was deciding between the various MOBA games, what would you say to convince them to play HoN?
HoN is a feature-rich and polished game that delivers the ultimate in competitive team-based gameplay. We’ve recently added an awesome new feature, Mentoring, which allows you to connect to a player to watch his every move – a great tool for teaching your friends to play! HoN is very action-packed and really rewards players for learning and getting better. We at S2 Games are also very passionate in supporting HoN, and I think that really shows – here at the office, we’re HoN players too!
The HoN interface is the best I’ve seen in a MOBA game
OnRPG: HoN’s steep learning curve is my favorite part about the game but it can be aggravating for new players. Are there any plans to implement new features such as bots to help new players learn about the game?
We’ve recently implemented Mentoring, but we’re also working on other features to help new players ease into the game. We at S2 recognize that if we can lower the entry barrier for new players, more and more people will be able to enjoy and get hooked to HoN’s incredible depth.
OnRPG: Milkfat recently attempted to break the record for longest time spent playing a strategy video game. How did S2 get involved in this attempt? How did the event go?
The event went great! Milkfat shattered the world record and went on for over 76 hours! We’re all awaiting Guiness’s official confirmation and time, but we’re all very proud of and amazed at Milkfat. We’re extremely fortunate to have awesome, passionate community members like Sam! Five S2 staff members were there live supporting Sam’s record breaking attempt, and they’ll be releasing some of the awesome footage they gathered while they were there very soon, so stay tuned.
Additional skins feature great designs
OnRPG: I feel that lower gold coin prices would only help HoN. I could certainly see myself purchasing many cheap skins on impulse rather than purchasing one expensive skin. Are there any plans to tweak the goblin shop?
We’re constantly looking for new ways to make our customization content accessible to more players. Each day, there is at least one item on sale at 50% off! We will continue to offer our customers package deals and discounts so more people can get their hands on the awesome shinies.
OnRPG: A large portion of the community, most likely legacy players, seem to be disappointed by the slow response to balance issues and increasing costs in the goblin shop. How does S2 feel about this and what will be your response?
We are aware of the community’s concerns, and as always, we take them very seriously. We’re currently in the process of hiring another balance designer to help with the pace of balance content. As far as the Goblin prices go, a lot of our players have actually taken the time to run numbers – and the numbers show that gold prices have actually decreased since the store’s initial release.
OnRPG: While the standard DOTA style gameplay is very fun, can we expect any new maps or modes in the future?
You absolutely can! More details to come soon, but the design staff is hard at work putting together an awesome game mode that will serve as an all-action, relaxing change of pace from standard HoN play.
OnRPG: Is there anything you would like to add?
I would like to thank our loyal fans for sharing our passion for Heroes of Newerth. We hope to continue to improve each and every day to meet and exceed your expectations. Game HoN!
OnRPG: Thank you for your time!
Thanks for having me!