Heroes of Newerth devs bringing out a new MOBA: Strife

Katie Williams at

The first time I played Heroes of Newerth, somebody called me a noob. Somebody else chimed that earwigs had more gaming skill than I did. Then these people began to discuss my mother. Needless to say, I bowed out of HoN rather early in my MOBA career.

MOBAs are notorious for their prickly communities, but that may soon change—thanks to HoN's own developer, S2 Games, who has revealed that it is developing what it calls a "second generation MOBA." Strife is a narrative-heavy, community-driven game that aims to appeal to newbies and veterans alike.

Contrary to the more typical MOBA formula, S2 wants to encourage friendliness rather than hostility. Strife is doing away with leaderboards; instead, communication between players is streamlined with in-client social systems, and teammates will be rewarded for collaboration. There won't be any voice chat. And though the details are scant, gameplay is also reportedly designed to be gently informative, providing immediate feedback that'll teach genre newcomers.

"We've learned a great deal about this maturing genre through a wide range of analytical studies and experience," says S2 Games CEO Marc DeForest. "For Strife, we want to take MOBAs to the next level, utilizing our resources to blend the processes of game development and player engagement to create a more enjoyable experience that grows the community and evolves the idea of what MOBAs can be."

Additionally, Strife also aims to innovate storytelling, admittedly one of the genre's current weak points. The basic premise doesn't sound like much more than your stock-standand fantasy-flavored battle between Dark and Light, but S2 believe that the way they implement the story will encourage players' personal attachment to their chosen heroes.

Coming sometime in winter, you can head over to the Strife website now to register your email for possible closed beta access. And check out the below teaser. No, there's no gameplay and I suspect it'll stay that way for a long time—but I think it's worth appreciating a game that vows to stamp out bad behavior while allowing everyone the chance to wear a badass bird mask.