Since HoN was based on DotA the competition between them was inevitable. S2 did their best to make a game which offers a better gaming experience in every level – from gameplay, through balance, to technical details. So far, HoN has had huge advantage over the Warcraft 3 mod thanks to the fact that it used its own engine, specifically designed and created for the needs of a moba genre game like HoN. On the other hand, DotA suffered from many limitations in customization, as well as severe connection problems.
By providing a brand new engine S2 successfully dealt with all of the major problems DotA has. They implemented voice chat, reconnection option, build-in stat tracking, a matchmaking system (which works in the best possible way, no matter what most whiners say), plenty of mods, 1 additional map and a map editor, as well as option for fan-developers to make their own mods for the game. They also put great efforts in balancing, which was pretty hard with all the new heroes and items. The final result is a very good competitive game, well worth its price and promising many exciting hours of gameplay.
At the beginning of this year Valve announced they had bought the rights over DotA and together with IceFrog would work on a new game – DotA 2. For long time there were almost no information at all, until on the last GamesCon we saw the game in actual play. In fact, Valve organized a championship inviting the best DotA teams in the world – the winner takes $1 000 000. That definitely grabbed the attention of media. Now, when the championship is over, we can finally decide to ourselves if DotA 2 is going to replace HoN. The question which bothered everyone for months.
Short answer – no. Why? Because it has nothing to offer that surpasses what we already have in HoN. It looks like many people think DotA 2 is ugly, especially regarding hero models, but I am on the opposite opinion – I loved the models, I loved the colours, I loved the whole theme together with the music, sounds, visual effects, voices and everything. When I first moved to HoN, I was honestly disgusted by the look of most of the heroes, they didn’t appeal to me in anyway. Further more, because of the bright colours and loud visual effects in HoN, at first it was absolutely impossible for me to tell what the hell was going on on my screen whenever a team fight would start. It turned out it was a matter of time to get used to it and now I feel pretty comfortable with how the game looks. But let’s get back to dota2. In order to compete with HoN, it has to show that it successfully deals with the major problems, which HoN currently has. Let’s see what are those problems: 1) server issues; 2) poor customer service; 3) …
Seriously, I know that most people complain non-stop about how Matchmaking puts them with low-skill players, how it is not possible to make it out of the 1200 bracket, how there are too many leavers and griefers and trolls and noobs, and the community sux as hell. But there is NO REASON to believe that DotA 2 would be ANY different! There is no way on earth Valve team would manage to prevent this from happening in their game, too. In fact, I am almost sure the same problems will exist in DotA2. The same goes for the server issues. As for the customer service… In 2 years of play I didn’t need to use the customer service even once. I know I am not going to use it in the future.
What about the gameplay? What about the balance? What about the metagame? Well, it will be different, that’s for sure. But would it be better? I doubt it. There is no objective way to judge whether a moba game is well balanced or not, whether the metagame is better or not. It would be up to every player to decide which one suits him and chose which one to play. Almost all HoN players would try DotA 2 and after a while, some would stick with it, some would go back to HoN. DotA2 didn’t dare to be innovative, original and to brake the rules of moba genre that its ancestor set so long ago. It is just the same familiar game, nothing exciting, nothing earth shaking.
Nothing that would make me leave HoN.