I feel I should give a little bit of back story for this one. This could get long.
I started gaming when I was much younger (with Kingdom Hearts) and have been an avid fan of the gaming medium since then. I have always watched with great interest over what happens in the gaming world, and I love seeing new games that amaze me (Civilization V) or just flat out give me a nerdgasm (SCII).
Eventually I was told to get into anything made my Blizzard, which for me, was World of Warcraft (over 4 years now) and Warcraft 3. I continue to play WoW and WC3 to this day. Eventually in my hubris I stumbled upon DotA. After downloading and playing a few games, I was hooked. I loved the game play, I loved the characters, and I loved the setup. For well over 2 years I was hooked to DotA...Until I heard about League of Legends, which essentially killed my addiction to DotA and gave me this wonderful game to spend my time on. I felt like Riot had taken the concept of a MobA and made it much more user friendly while still challenging. I liked the removal of denying (which was an annoying tactic to use anyway), as well as the easy to use shop. The characters weren’t too hard to pick up, and I am still enjoying myself to this day.
However, I would be beyond digression if I neglected to get to the point of this post.
There was another MobA fighting for my time, and that dear readers, was Heroes of Newerth. My roommate at the time was obsessed with it, and, knowing my love for DotA, wanted me to try it out. So, about a week after starting LoL, I sat down and played a few games of HoN. I was immediately hit with a wave of nostalgia, and not the good kind. Keep in mind, I had previously spent a week with League, which is a much different game. I was thinking that this would be a new way of playing a MobA.
It wasn’t. I felt like I was playing DotA again, and that is NOT a good thing. I was expecting a different take on the franchise, but what I got instead was an almost carbon copy of DotA, in some cases down to the fucking stats. Don’t believe me? Look at the following two heroes, from DotA and HoN respectively.
Sven, the Rogue Knight
Take a good look at these two champions. They are identical almost to the last stat (Sven has 3 more range). And these aren’t the only ones, oh no. Check out Pudge and Devourer, Lycanthrope and War Beast, and my personal favorite, Axe and Legionnaire. Yes, I am aware of the fact that Icefrog was on board for part of HoN’s development, but come on. Were you really so strapped for champion ideas that you had to take from DotA to this degree?
Even the gameplay was the same! Creeps behaved the same, the buffs were in the same spots, hell the MAP WAS AN EXACT DUPLICATE. I’m sorry, but when you can’t even come up with a unique MAP to set your game on that you take the map from another game and just rename it, you should never be commenting on people ripping you off. EVER. This doesn’t even take into account that HoN has a TERRIBLE community, and given what the LoL community acts like sometimes, that’s saying something. I have never in my life thought that ignorance and arrogance were so common. Yes, there were these people back when I played DotA, but they were a minority. In HoN, it’s almost a requirement to be this dickish.
This isn’t to say that HoN is a bad game. It is a good game that is enjoyable to play. But honestly, if I wanted to play DotA, I wouldn’t shill out 30 bucks to play a DotA clone. I’d just play DotA.
TLDR: HoN is a DotA clone, almost to the tee. That doesn't mean it's a bad game, only that there is little difference between the two.