Operation Spider Shark Redux

July 29, 2011 by Tim

As I’m sure you remember, last month I started a campaign to reach 10k referrals in League of Legends, so that we could design a champion for the game. I called off the campaign at around 8k referrals, after speaking with Riot games and learning that the 10k referral reward wouldn’t net us what I’d hoped it would.

However it’s said that when a door closes, a window opens, and that’s exactly what happened. Immediately after I made the announcement, I was contacted by S2Games, the folks behind the Savage games, and more recently, Heroes of Newerth. I was a huge supporter of Savage back in the day, and I’ve stayed in touch with the guys at S2 periodically since then. They dropped me a line to let me know that they were impressed with the support you guys showed for Operation Spider Shark.

They also really liked the idea, and offered to flat-out put the Spider Shark in Heroes of Newerth as a playable hero.

The Spider Shark was my jumping off point for a campaign whose goal was ultimately to let you guys submit hero ideas to me, my favorite of which I’d sketch up into concept art and then we’d all vote for the best ones. S2Games is on board with that as well, so that’s what we’re going to do!

I’ve been dying to announce this contest for the past month, but we waited because as of today Heroes of Newerth has gone free to play. I’m not going to open up Hero submissions until Monday. That means that you can take the weekend to check out Heroes of Newerth, brainstorm your idea for a Hero and get ready to submit it on Monday.

To be clear, we’re talking about concepts for heroes only. A basic idea of what the hero looks like, and what he does. Designing its specific abilities will be something we leave largely to the designers at S2Games, because they need to ensure that the hero is balanced and works within the boundaries of HoN. I’ll post details of how submissions should be formatted in a separate newspost.

Submissions will only be open for a 24 hour window to make it more reasonable for me to read through them all. I’ll choose ten or twelve that I like (Spider Shark included), draw them up, and we’ll vote.

If you haven’t played Heroes of Newerth, make sure you do the tutorial, and play in some practice games. It’s invaluable for conquering the learning curve. If you’re a League of Legends player, this is twice as true for you.

They are both MOBAs fashioned after DOTA, but for having such a similar structure, I’ve found that they are very different games.

If I had to describe the differences in Heroes of Newerth, I’d say it can be quite a bit more intricate, and perhaps even a bit more “hardcore”. In the non-practice games, I hear you lose gold when you die in addition to the enemy who killed you gaining gold. You also need to purchase an expendable item in order to “back” to the fountain. That was a huge adjustment from LoL, as it gives new consideration to how you play in-lane and when you go back to heal. Fortunately there is another expendable item you can buy that lets you literally devour a nearby tree in order to get your health back. I always get a kick out that.

Not only do they have more than one 5v5 map (*cough cough*) but a map editor that lets people design their own maps. HoN also has a more flexible structure for creating games of different types. For instance you can set up a game for SD (Single Draft) which offers each player three randomly chosen heroes to choose from, or even DM (Death Match), wherein if your Hero dies in the game, you have to choose a new hero, retaining all levels and items.

I also enjoy that player-made guides for the different Heroes are available right from within the game, via the store interface. Not only does it help you learn a new champion without having to alt-tab out to get suggestions from third-party websites, but you can also directly purchase the items for the build the guide suggests.

All in all, Heroes of Newerth is a game similar to LoL in concept, but fairly different in execution, so be prepared for that. But I like some of the things HoN brings to the table, and I’m super excited that together, we’re going to be able to design a hero that will show up in the game!

So but on your thinking caps, and start brainstorming. And go check out Heroes of Newerth to see what sort of heroes are already in the game, and what sort of hero you think it’s lacking!

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