Heroes Of Newerth (HON) is a flashy, upgraded version of the classic Defence Of The Ancients.
It has a gameplay that is simple to grasp, if difficult to master. Up to 10 players and five per team can choose a hero from 64 characters. The goal is to assault the enemy's base along a path lined with defences and enemy heroes.
Heroes come in different styles and there should be one that suits your taste. Some are more adept at clearing out creatures or helping allies. Others excel in sneak attacks.
There are some nifty feature updates, such as the ability to re-connect to a game should your Internet connection fail. There is also a built-in voice chat feature which lets you communicate in-game. Practice modes are available for players to try out a full game with their chosen heroes.
Visually, HON is a major upgrade over Warcraft 3's ageing style. Take the Kung Fu Panda-styled hero Pandamonium. One of his moves launches him high into the air so that he comes crashing down on enemies like a cannonball, with the floor cracking under him. If he misses anyone, he gets stunned for a few moments. Such details add to the visual feast.
A wealth of server options helps players find exactly the sort of enemies and allies they need. Player rankings are also available.
One problem I had with HON has nothing to do with the game itself, but its community. Made up mostly of die-hard Defence Of The Ancients fans, the community expects you to know how to play the game well.
Playing in the 'newbies-only' section of the game servers, I was subjected to so much scorn and ridicule for not knowing my way around that I double-checked if I was really playing in the newbies' section.
If you can stomach the touchy crowd and get over the initial learning curve, HON is a terrific game. It could well be the best version of Defence Of The Ancients to date and well worth the price.