Heroes of Newerth on free play

DotA clone Heroes of Newerth reached the ripe old age of one yesterday and developer S2 Games is surround its child with new friends. A new update aimed at making the game more welcoming to new players launched last night, and all and sundry are now allowed to play HoN for the next very long "week" without paying the $30 asking price.

Until midnight EST on May 22, curious parties can take part in the HoNiversary and play Heroes of Newerth for free. Simply create an account and download the latest client from S2. HoN comes in Windows, Mac and Linux flavours.

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To help ease new players into HoN, an update launched last night with new features and changes aimed at making it all a little less terrifying. The item shop has been "entirely redesigned," which S2 says "not only reduces the amount of time new players need to learn the intricacies of item purchases, but also adds a layer of clarification for existing players." S2 also added new "fully interactive hero guides," giving advice on how to play particular characters. Plus, new and rewritten tooltips.

S2 is doling out presents to existing HoN players too. Upon finishing your first game during the HoNiversary, you'll receive a bonus 100 Gold Goblin Coins and 100 Silver Goblin Coins. These are used to buy new skins, voice packs and other in-game cosmetic gubbins from an in-game store.

If you fancy buying some Goblin Coins with real cash money, for the HoNiversary you can get a free Heroes of Newerth account--which usually costs $30 by itself--if you buy the $40 pack of 2,415 Gold Coins. If you already own HoN, you'll get a gift code, while those playing for free will have their account upgraded.

"In just the last month, our players enjoyed over 650 million minutes of HoN! We have an average of 30,000 people playing at any given time and daily concurrent peaks of over 50,000 players," said S2 CEO Marc DeForest in the announcement. "We're looking forward to increasing these numbers by continuing to add game updates and reward systems like the HoNiversary F2P session that keep existing players engaged, and encourage new players to join."