The popular multiplayer online battle arena title Heroes of Newerth is going free to play as of today. The action RPG has introduced three tiered accounts in a bid to attract new players into its community and keep the existing 460,000 active players happy.
New players can sign up for a Basic account which can be upgraded to a Verified account once they've surpassed a certain play time. Players who has already paid for the game will get a Legacy account that will let them play matches against other verified accounts. I suppose this makes sense for a game where you can really see the difference between a first-time player and a veteran. Legacy account holders also have the option of purchasing new heroes early before their free release.
The online gaming space is becoming increasingly crowded, so transitioning your game to being free to play seems like a smart move. "With the transition to free-to-play we're opening Heroes of Newerth up to new audiences as our players can now easily introduce the game to their friends," says Marc DeForest, co-founder of S2 games. "With the new account types and match-making standards in place, both novice and existing players will benefit from the upgraded structure.”
If Heroes of Newerth can attract a new player base whilst keeping the existing one, then I imagine it'll be around for a while to come.