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New RTS Based on DotA Offers Native Linux Client 173

S2 Games, longtime fans of the "Defense of the Ancients" (DotA) mod for Warcraft 3, have decided to create an entire game based around it (which IceFrog had no objection to). Without offending their still-active NDA, I can say that Heroes of Newerth is shaping up to be a very polished RTS, with the ability to play both via S2's own online service and local games, something that even Blizzard seems to be missing these days. Unlike most publishers, S2 has also decided to simultaneously release Windows, Mac, and Linux clients, making this one of the best looking games that I have ever seen on my Linux box. Additionally, S2 would like to invite another 400 players to the HoN beta, so if you are an RTS fan (and especially if you are a DotA fan) just send an email to scuttlemonkey at slashdot dot org with the subject line of "HoN Beta Key Request" and I'll reply to the first 400 requests as best I can. Update 20:37 GMT by SM: In case you don't notice in your haste to create a beta account, let me remind you that this game is still under strict NDA, so please no specifics in the discussion below. Update 00:01 GMT by SM: Well, given the 800+ emails that flooded my inbox in the first half hour or so we're all out of beta keys, but keep an eye out for a release date. Update 01:00 GMT by SM: Apparently your friends over at S2 games were quite impressed with the level of interest and are furnishing another 2,000 beta keys for me to continue working through the requests in my inbox (I'm at around 1,500 requests total as of this update, and only about 350 keys sent out). Please be patient as I slowly try to catch up. Also a point of clarification, while IceFrog doesn't mind S2 diving in to this space with a game based on DotA (competition is good in the long run after all), he wanted to make sure loyal fans of DotA knew that he plans to continue developing and improving DotA for WC3. Update 7/10/2009 13:06 GMT by SM: to all those still waiting on a beta invite, please be patient. I use gmail as the central repository for my email for ease-of-use, and while I was only expecting to have to hand out 400 keys, apparently gmail has an email cap of 500 per day. Last night my account got locked for excessive use, so I am waiting on the wrist-slap to expire so I can continue my key-spam. It looks like all who have requested a key so far will get one.
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New RTS Based on DotA Offers Native Linux Client

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  • Woo Hoo!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub ( 11606 ) * <> on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:51PM (#28628161) Homepage Journal

    Gaming comes to Linux, this is the end for Tux Racer!
    • Re:Woo Hoo!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cornflake917 ( 515940 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @05:04PM (#28628329) Homepage

      It's multi-platform? Great!

      It supports LAN? Awesome.

      Will it be a fun, enjoyable gaming experience (possibly more fun then DoTA, a game I already have access too)? You seemed to leave out that minor detail.

      Let's not start comparing a game to Blizzard's games until we actually see the game, shall we?

      • Re:Woo Hoo!!! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TheSambassador ( 1134253 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @05:17PM (#28628489)
        A note - DotA isn't made by Blizzard... but is a Warcraft 3 map/mod made by players.
        • Re:Woo Hoo!!! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Cornflake917 ( 515940 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @05:24PM (#28628573) Homepage

          True that. However, the submitter still made a comparison to SC2, almost implying that the game will be better because it supports one feature that SC2 won't. That's like me saying "I can shoot medium to long range shots better than Shaq." Like it really means anything about my Basketball ability.

          • by Lunzo ( 1065904 )
            Can you rephrase that as a car analogy? I'm not sure what this "basketball" thing is.
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by osu-neko ( 2604 )

              Can you rephrase that as a car analogy? I'm not sure what this "basketball" thing is.

              Car A isn't necessarily better than car B simply because car A's stereo has bluetooth support and car B's does not.

              Of course, the original submission contains no such assertion. Cornflake invents an invalid argument, then points out it's invalid. Apparently slaying strawmen is his idea of a fun game... :p

              • My question to you would be then why would the submitter even mention that it supports LAN while Starcraft 2 does not?
                Doesn't that seem odd to you? I can't really think of a better reason for such a statement in the summary. I admit I was making an assumption, but that doesn't mean it's an invalid argument.

                And for future reference, making an invalid statement and making a strawman argument are two completely different things. I'm not even debating with the submitter so I'm not sure how the whole strawman

              • by brkello ( 642429 )
                Then why did they even mention Blizzard? It is an obvious reference to SC2's lack of a feature. Just say it has LAN support and be done with it. Cornflake says "almost implying". He doesn't say it with authority or as a statement of fact. On the other hand, you state as fact that he invents an invalid argument and points out that it is invalid. So in reality, you are the one setting up the strawman and then slaying it. The hypocrisy is delicious. You could work for Fox News.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tylerni7 ( 944579 )
        Just wanted to mention there is a mutli-platform (okay well, Mac support is still iffy :/), LANable, fun, RTS engine called Spring. It's FOSS, of course, and lots of mods are available for playing online.
        Don't mean to preach or anything, I was just really happy when I found a game I could play at LAN parties with my friends without having to reboot. []
      • Well from the very limited amount of screenshots and the 9 second video clip, it seems to look a lot like it does in Warcraft 3, so while it does look pretty awesome and fun, I'm not sure what they'll be able to do that wouldn't be possible using Warcraft 3.

        I'd think the main things this game could have to offer is better graphics and more options (more heroes / the ability to build and repair structures / etc). Plus, it might be cool if they allowed mods, kindof how World of Warcraft does, so that player
        • Then again, just the simple fact that it's "DOTA on Linux" does have appeal in-and-of itself.

          I play DoTA on Linux everyday. It works very well under Wine.

      • by noundi ( 1044080 )

        Let's not start comparing a game to Blizzard's games until we actually see the game, shall we?

        DotA != Blizzard

        • He never said it was. The summary compared the efforts here to a Blizzard quality game on Linux, the GP was merely stating that this judgment might be best reserved for after playing the game. Blizzard is, in many people's eyes, the Gold Standard for RTS (they more or less invented the genre and their efforts have nearly always pushed the envelope at the time of release). To compare an unknown and unplayed effort to something Blizzard would do seems a bit premature.

  • by abigsmurf ( 919188 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @05:00PM (#28628273)
    I've never experienced any game which has such a hostile community as DOTA. The torrent of abuse you can get from your team mates, even if you're winning, is unreal and to say the experience for noobish types is unpleasant is an understatement.

    They're so deadly serious and so intolerant, it spoils a good game. I did stick with it a while and get reasonable with it but I got tired of the abuse hurled around at everyone and gave it up. By contrast Footman Frenzy and Maffarazzo TD are much more tolerable.
    • by dannys42 ( 61725 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @05:12PM (#28628415)

      I've found this to be true of pretty much anything on Or perhaps of anything remotely popular.

      I think part of the problem is the complete anonymity of people and the fact that there are a lot of immature people playing the game that haven't learned yet the value of teamwork.

      What may help is a psuedo social network, where players could rank each other in terms of who're good players, whether people enjoyed playing with/against them, etc. Somewhat like the feedback mechanisms of ebay and amazon. This way unpleasant players will find that they just don't get invited/allowed to many games.

      But of course you still need some way for newbies to get experience and reputation, or else you'll effectively cut off experience players from new players.

      A mechanism like this could also make it easier for people of similar skill levels to find and play with each other.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Fahelium ( 1594145 )
        Perhaps it isn't the community that is so horrible--an equally "horrible" community must also play other games--but rather the method of playing a DotA game that emphasizes the bad apples in the community. If one of the ten players in a DotA game leaves early in the match, the other nine are more seriously impacted than in games in which players can join and leave as they wish.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by brkello ( 642429 )
          DotA has a high learning curve. And while you are trying to learn, people are yelling insults at you for not doing the stuff it took them months to learn. The community is horrible. But to win requires a lot of teamwork. It's like you want to learn football so you go play a Sunday game with the New England Patriots. You don't even know the rules of football and everyone is booing you out of the stadium. Not a great way to learn how to play.
      • Savage 2, also made by S2 games, has this functionality already. At the end of the match you are given the chance to give either good or bad karma to one player, as well as rating the commander.
    • This is only because there's no form of matchmaking in DotA. If you don't want to play with bad people, the only option is just to yell at them until they decide never to play again :)

      Hopefully I can beta test this, and beg them to implement a skill-based matchmaking system (or maybe they already have one, who knows).

      • You talk about "bad people" and "skill-based matchmaking" I've got to assume that you're saying that people are hostile assholes because other players are either new players or have inferior skill in the game. I'd say that neither of those is a good reason to do your best to drive someone away from the game, especially if they're a new player. It sounds selfish and short-sighted, and it's the exact situation where I would stay in the game specifically to make peoples' lives miserable. Because what can
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I have to second this. I have never experienced so many whiny, stupid, inconsiderate assholes in a single game. DoTA games makes Counter-Strike servers seem like Sesame Street. It's really such a shame because I think DoTA is a freakin' awesome game.

      If you are new or somewhat new to the game you can download the AI maps for DoTA which actually has relatively challenging AI, and you can at least learn about all of the weapons and skills. After playing that for awhile you can probably join a few games wit

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Radhruin ( 875377 )

      I have certainly experienced this. The problem is, in general, that just one missing link on the team becomes a major handicap for the 4 other players. All it takes is for one player to give opponents a few easy kills for the opponents to gain enough experience and equipment to become more or less unstoppable. This, combined with the fact that DotA is played on chiefly on where the average age is seemingly mid-teens and you've got a recipe for problems.

      My advice, if you want to get in to it, is t

      • There are just a lot of immature gamers out there and on, there are a lot of people who really, really, really care about their statistics. Their win-loss rating is like a measure of self worth to them.

        A long while ago a roommate and I played Starcraft online together for fun. Most matches were 2v2 so we'd go and do that as a team. Now we were pretty good, in part because we worked together all the time, but we still made mistakes and lost sometimes. So I remember in one match, my roommate screwe

        • by Rycross ( 836649 )

          DOTA, however, doesn't really have stats to track. At least not without using some sort of external program (I don't know if they exist or not). Custom games aren't tracked in WC3/ Within a DOTA match, however, it was quite common for players to try to get the biggest kill/death ratio and brag about that. This got to the point where you would get screamed at if you killed an enemy player that your team-mate was fighting (called kill-stealing).

          • Kill-stealing is one of those courtesy things in a lot of games, not just DotA. It's stupid how seriously some people take it, but I might be annoyed if someone stole a kill of mine, possibly enough to send them a message reminding them that it's rude.
            • by Rycross ( 836649 )

              It depends. If I'm fighting a guy, and I'm whomping him completely, with none of his allies around, and some guy comes along and purposely takes the last hit, I'd probably send him a message saying its rude. If our life bars are roughly even, or there's lots of enemy players around, then its understandable that the other guy might assume that I needed help, and I'd just brush it off. Its also worth noting that your character auto attacks stuff, so in several cases I've been in a situation where my charac

        • DotA wins or losses don't show up anywhere within, being a 'custom' game. It's all about having a 'good game', and unfortunately, a new person on a team can quickly turn it into something else.

          Adding to what I said above, consider that when a team loses, it can take 45 minutes to an hour. If the game is just one team dominating and the other (with the novice player) just waiting for defeat, it's not all that fun. That's a lot of time wasted, which adds to the hostility you see. This can probably

          • by Rycross ( 836649 )
            Its partly a flaw of having to deal with as a matchmaking system. That is, you couldn't kick players, swap players for new ones, mark players to avoid, or re-balance teams.
            • by Lunzo ( 1065904 )
              Back when I played DotA someone had made a program which helped with the match setup. [] was the place to get it, and with a quick check it looks like its still there.

              It did things like:

              • Check if any of the players in the game should be avoided
              • Add players to a local blacklist.
              • Ping all the players in a game (so you can boot people from overseas who would leave because of lag)

              It also allowed you to whitelist as well as blacklist, so you could keep track of people that were worth playing with. Tha

              • by Rycross ( 836649 )

                I tried using banlist. My impressions were that it was flakey technically (sometimes pinging and banning just didn't work for me), and also flakey from a social perspective. I got "banned" for some of the stupidest stuff, including picking the hero that the host wanted.

              • There are a few programs like that out there now (Listchecker and GHost++ being the two that I see most often).

                Also, your comment about switching. DotA recently added a command to switch two players on opposite teams. The intention is if you are in a situation where one team outnumbers the other by two or more because of leavers, you can switch someone from the bigger team to the smaller. Unfortunately, though depending on who switched, the game is usually still fairly imbalanced afterwords due to the
        • Heck for that matter people did stupid things like setup 7 players vs 1 computer to boost their ratings.

          I never understood why folks would setup and play such games until now. Thanks for the insight!

      • by Rycross ( 836649 )

        Ask for help, and in my experience, you'll get it.

        In my experience, if I was in a lane with an opposing hero that was particularly bad against mine (as some heroes have a lot of trouble fighting other heroes), then my request would be all but ignored until I died several times, at which point I would be verbally berated. It was a tossup whether questions about optimal weapon builds would be met with a helpful answer, scorn, or just ignored. Suffice to say, I did not find that the community was willing to help you get through challenges in the game.

    • 100% agree. The DOTA online community is the most hostile online community I've ever encountered. I don't plan on paying these chumps any of my money solely based on my previous experience with these players.
    • The people involved in the original game (I notice how the summary doesn't credit the real original author) weren't too bad. I gave up when the crappy remake came out, which became much more popular because the characters had easy-to-abuse instant-kill abilities.
      • This was true in the 5.84 days, I remember it well. Back when it was RoC DotA or Allstars, I was on the side of the old DotA because Allstars was rife with abilities like Slayer's Laguna Blade that would kill most heroes in a single shot. Now, though, heroes are far more balanced, and insta-kill abilities are non-existent, assuming the hero in question is not fed. There are also a lot more items now, so it's easier to tailor your build for the heroes you're up against using items that still make sense for y
    • by Jimmy_B ( 129296 )
      I think the reason is because for most of DotA's history, there was no way to balance the teams after players left. A large portion of games were spoiled by players leaving early and imbalancing the teams, which is very frustrating, and since you can't yell at someone who's already gone, people take out their frustrations on players they expect to leave, ie noobs. The situation was greatly improved by adding the option to switch teams, so that if two players left from the same team someone could volunteer t
    • by Rycross ( 836649 )
      Yes, the community certain rates as one of the top-3 most hostile I've come across, if not the number one. Once I noticed the hostility starting to rub off on me, I decided to quit playing the game altogether. That kind of thing is poisonous. If one of these spin-offs develops a significantly better community, then I'd consider picking it up.
      • By and large it is an asshole-ridden community (countdown leavers, feeders, rage leavers, pubstomps, lone wolfs, trolls, flamers, etc). However, it's the only game I play anymore (it's that good, IMO), so I just develop a thick skin, try to play to the best of my abilities and work with teammates that are willing to cooperate and ignore the noise.

        The nature of a pub game is that the matchup is random. That's part of what makes it so addictive, as no two games are the same.

    • The problem with DotA is that if one player is not playing well, the rest aren't just playing 4v5 (or whatever), but are playing against an exp and gold advantage because the newbie has died too much. Before going on I suggest you play every hero at least once with the AI, and read guides on each hero and gameplay in general. Or at least play in "noob-only" games, so that you won't ruin the experience for the rest.

    • Get hamachi, mumble, a headset and play with your mates

  • by Radhruin ( 875377 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @05:05PM (#28628331)

    For those unaware of what DotA is, it's a team based strategy game where you control a single character (called your hero) with varied abilities. The goal is simply to destroy the enemy team's main structure, which is protected by multiple towers of progressive difficulty and, of course, enemy heroes.

    During the course of the game, you attempt to kill as many neutral computer units as possible in order to collect money, buy items to improve your character, gain experience and skills, and kill enemy heroes. When you get into the strategy a bit more, there are far more goals to attend to, such as harassing enemy heroes and denying them of experience and money, 'ganking' enemies with your teammates, and etc. There is a lot of depth in the game play and lots of general strategies to pick from.

    As the subject says, DotA is really the only game I play these days, and I've been playing it for years. There are around 100 heroes, each with their own set of unique abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. The game is intuitive to play and always interesting. It also runs on old hardware, being based on a blizzard game, although it can take a while to load.

    If this game is even a fraction as fun as DotA, and has a native Linux client, it's a must buy from me.

    • "If this game is even a fraction as fun as DotA, and has a native Linux client, it's a must buy from me."

      You should also check out demigod if you have a more modern system. []

      Demigod is inspired by DoTA

      • by Radhruin ( 875377 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @05:23PM (#28628559)
        Demigod does not have a Linux client and will not run on Wine for various reasons, making it far less attractive to me when regular old DotA is lots of fun and runs with Wine mostly without issue.
      • by Lunzo ( 1065904 )

        Demigod is a fraction as fun as DotA. A very small fraction in my opinion, say 1/1000.

        The main difference is it has 8 heroes, in 2 broad categories. The heroes in each category play exactly the same, so it basically has 2 play styles. It gets old quick. In contrast, DotA has many heroes with a great variety of play styles. Different hero combinations on a team also greatly change the dynamics of the game.

        Also the DemiGod user interface is much harder to use than the War3 interface, making controlling your h

    • by pwnies ( 1034518 ) *
      Care to play a few games later? It'd be fun if we could get a /. team going.
  • by Myrcutio ( 1006333 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @05:11PM (#28628401)
    Demigod only came out a few months ago, turned out to be a worthwhile alternative to DotA, and surprisingly more friendly to newcomers. The biggest downside to Demigod however is the conversion from the Wine-friendly stardock client to the newer Impulse client, based on dotnet2. As yet, mono isn't up to the task of running the client, which basically puts linux out of the picture for what would be a very fun game (note* warcraft3 runs flawlessly). A native linux remake of DotA could be very enticing for us penguin lovers.
  • A Linux client? I'll buy it. Where do I sign up?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by xnixnix ( 31045 )

      Note that the other games S2 games has developed also have native Linux clients.
      Check out Savage 2 for example which is a great game and available for Linux
      for free: []

      • by SL Baur ( 19540 )

        Check out Savage 2 for example which is a great game and available for Linux
        for free:

        I'll check that out, thanks, but I'd *much* rather _buy_ something from them that runs on Linux.

    • Its hard to click the link in the summary isn't it.

      • by SL Baur ( 19540 )

        This is slashdot. I can barely be bothered to read the summary let alone the article.

        The summary did say this game was in beta which implies it is not for sale yet. So let me restate it in plainer words for the Microsoft Windows clingers - "Because there is a native Linux client for this game, I will buy it."

        I hope it's a good game, but people like this must be encouraged and I vote with my pocketbook.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @05:20PM (#28628537)

    Some of the aspects of the game I really enjoy:

    1) Having it so that certain buildings can't be built until you have other supporting structures built before that. It's almost like a "tree" of "things" you can "build."

    2) Being able to highlight a bunch of your army and send them off to fight people on the other side of the map. Tremendous fun.

    3) The developers, knowing how much people enjoy 2) have implemented "keyboard shortcuts" to make bundling up a group of units and sending them off as one easier. I can't discuss the specific keys being used, but on ANY STANDARD KEYBOARD, you'll be able to press a combination of keys that will "store" your group selected in memory. Not just that, but you can RECALL this group that was stored at a prior time by pressing yet another patented group of keys. What will they think of next?!

    4) Being able to choose more than one race as the army under your control. So Race 1 can fight Race 2 and employ different tactics!

    5) Not being able to build until you "harvest resources." You have to send out a bunch of little guys (I'd probably call them peons) to get these resources for you before you can build any of the buildings and get a start on your "tech tree."

  • If a post does breach the NDA, will it be deleted?
  • Isn't that what "Post Anonymously" is for?

  • let me remind you that this game is still under strict NDA, so please no specifics in the discussion below.

    Yeah. Right. That will work! </sacrasm>

  • has a long history of supporting linux. Both of their previous titles, Savage 1 & Savage 2 also have native linux clients.

    HoN is the most polished game I've seen from s2games.

    Kudos to them for continuing to provide linux games that don't suck and for taking the time to listen to their community.

    We appreciate it Marc (Maliken)!

  • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @05:54PM (#28628941) Journal

    in World of Warcraft:

    A PvP battleground implementation of DotA.

    Seriously. DotA, first-person perspective. You and 39 of your closest friends plus auto-spawning NPC combatants slugging it out to advance battle lines and destroy opposing infrastructure. The other faction, doing exactly the same thing. And trying to kill you in the process, just like you're trying to do to them.

    Add combat vehicles... maybe aircraft with dogfighting... yeah. That's what Blizz shoulda done.

    • by selven ( 1556643 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @06:13PM (#28629163)
      Alterac Valley ... until they trivialized it into yet another 15-minute game with no strategy beyond rushing to the enemy base.
      • The fact that you can zerg Van or Drek proves it's not DotA.

        Try that with any hero character in the original WC3 DotA and die in seconds.

        Restrictive terrain, swarms of aggressive and advancing NPCs, static defenses... that's DotA. WoW hasn't done it yet.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Chris Burke ( 6130 )

          The fact that you can zerg Van or Drek proves it's not DotA.

          You couldn't zerg the bosses in the original Alterac Valley which is what they were talking about... at least, I'd never seen it done, and if it was possible to do then it would have been done rather than have the games drag out for 8+ hours like they did, with no additional reward.

          Restrictive terrain, swarms of aggressive and advancing NPCs, static defenses... that's DotA. WoW hasn't done it yet.

          That was AV too... not that this means it was good.

    • Sounds a lot like UT2004 Onslought mode... or Battlefield :)

  • I love DotA, and I would be so happy about a game based on the concept which has a native client. I'd hope though that it included some kind of AI script. And similarly, one great thing about DotA is that Icefrog updates the game every now and then, I wonder if they'd do a similar thing for HoN.

  • Someone explain this to me, because I feel like I have to be missing something.

    This is an RTS, based on a mod for an RTS? What does that mean?

    In other words, reading the article and knowing only a little about DotA, I think: Game in the same genre as Warcraft 3, based on a Warcraft 3 mod... won't that just basically be like Warcraft 3? I don't follow how a DotA RTS is distinct from that.

    • by brkello ( 642429 )
      It's nothing like playing a stand WC3 game. It is just a game using the WC3 engine. You have a hero (as do your teammates) you control. You kill stuff to gain xp and gold for your hero so you can level up. The money goes to buying upgrades for your character from different areas on the map. The goal is to push in to your enemies camp and kill their ancient. It sounds simple but has a high learning curve and people are pretty intolerant to people who don't know how to play.
  • Ever since they released the award winning Savage, a very good RTS / FPS combo, with an advertised (!) native Linux client right from the get go, S2 Games has a special place in my heart. They deserve support ever since they started publishing. Buy their Games, they are very cool and fun to play and also run great on older hardware.

FORTRAN is the language of Powerful Computers. -- Steven Feiner