Well I figured with so much time to kill today I should try Heroes of Newerth. It is another DOTA game that came out at the same time as LOL. Here are my thoughts:
HON is a big steaming pile of meh. The graphics are pretty -- possibly even nicer then LOL -- but the controls, user interface, items all seemed very poorly laid out. It took a very long time to setup a game. (I wasn't allowed to join a match-made game without paying $30). Eventually a friend who was doing the demo with me noticed that we could choose a color -- not sure why we needed to -- and that put us on a team. Once on separate teams we could start the game.
Right off we choose a champion, but unlike LOL you can choose all of them all the time. Nothing is unlocked or earned. No runes, masteries, summoner levels or abilities. To me this is a big part of the depth and gives a much better commitment to my champion. What HON does is much more confusing. Instead of reading through 10 champions I'm looking through 50+. Sure, LOL has a ton as well, but it is a nice touch to not have all of them available at once.
The gameplay was pretty confusing as well. The first thing I clicked on leveled up my attributes instead of a skill. So I start at level 1 with no abilities and no passives abilities (LOL apparently invented those as well). Newb mistake, sure, but why have this option at all before level 18? If your skills are so bad you would prefer stat bonuses, perhaps the champion should be redone! The game starts with 3000 gold, which seems like a ton and turned out really was a ton. I didn't realize that the first items you buy are very important because it will be 20 minutes before you get that much gold again.
So I start fighting and I face a guy with -- I kid you not -- a 5 seconds stun. Luckily I had a half-way-across-the-map stun to counter him and run or I would have died right then. Both spells are ridiculous -- so I run back to my tower and I don't have a B button. No portal home. It turns out this is a consumable item you can buy. One port is about 150 gold. Man I missed my blue pill home.
After a long walk home I'm back trying to buy stuff. Unfortunately the item store is super confusing. It is much better then DOTA, but it is pretty clear that this is something that League of Legends innovated on really well. It was hard to tell what was recommended, what to buy, and what combined into what. Worse it took me a very long time to figure out how to by the final top tier item at the end. I got through the components pretty quickly but the button to buy the final item was really confusing.
Conclusion: Save yourself the time and don't bother trying Heroes of Newerth. League of Legends is
better and RIOT should be congratulated on how much.
And as a special bonus, here is my PERSONAL NOTE OF FRUSTRATION to the RIOT staff: Please fix your servers! We would all prefer to play LOL, but we will eventually stop waiting and try new things. Case in point: me ;-)
P.S. Tomorrow I will be playing LOL, or trying out Dragon Age 2. Stay tuned!
P.P.S. We still love you Riot. For now <3