Heroes of Newerth goes free-to-play

S2 Games seemed comfortable, at least over the past year, in not having Heroes of Newerth follow in MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) competitor League of Legend‘s footsteps as a free-to-play title. Apparently, they’ve had a change of heart.

In a rather surprising move, S2 Games came out and announced today that Heroes of Newerth will be transitioning over to the free-to-play model. Similarly to how League of Legends handles it, players will be given a pool of 15 characters to pick from that rotates out every few weeks.

If you want to keep a character for good, you’ll have to fork over some cash to purchase the character. If you plopped down the cash for an account before the transition, however, your account will be labeled as “Legacy”, having access to all characters – including any future characters, albeit a week later than early adopters.

Heroes of Newerth players aren’t particularly known for being very welcoming to new blood, and so S2 Games cooked up a little something to help new players out. New accounts registered will be considered “Basic” accounts, locked into only one matchmaking mode.

In order to move up to the next tier of membership, ‘Verified’, new players will need to spend some cash on Goblin Coins. Alternatively, you can also be bumped up to the next tier after your total playtime reaches a certain number of hours. This gives you access to all modes of play, including the ability to join verified-only games.

“With the transition to free-to-play we’re opening HoN up to new audiences as our players can now easily introduce the game to their friends,” S2 Games CEO Marc DeForest said in a press release. “S2 has a serious level of commitment to our players to continuously improve both the game and their experience. With the new account types and match-making standards in place, both novice and existing players will benefit from the upgraded structure.”