Try the MOBA that's taking on League of Legends and DOTA 2 free next weekend

Heroes of Newerth developer S2 Games holding trial weekend for free-to-play Strife beginning February 28; you can sign up now.

Looking for a new game to play next weekend? Heroes of Newerth developer S2 Games announced today that it will hold a free trial weekend beginning February 28 and running through March 2 for its upcoming free-to-play "next generation" MOBA Strife.

You can sign up for the free weekend through Strife's website, though you won't be able to get started playing until next Friday. Sign-ups close on February 24.

Speaking with GameSpot, S2 Games monetization director Pu Liu said the principal purpose of the Strife trial weekend is to examine player behavior and gameplay trends on a wider level than what the company is experiencing from its ongoing closed beta--which is smaller.

Pu Liu

Of the "host of variables" S2 Games will be looking at during the trial, Lu said the developer is very much interested in discovering trends about where Strife is most popular worldwide.

"One thing in particular that we're focusing on is getting strong regional data to better understand Strife's appeal to and penetration into different areas of the world," Liu said. "We want to make sure that Strife appeals uniquely to each region and is able to foster strong communities no matter what people's geographical location or culture may be."

Strife is, of course, entering the MOBA scene dominated by heavyweights like League of Legends and DOTA 2. Strife will separate itself from those games, Liu says, by being easier for newcomers to pick up and through its attempts to minimize player "toxicity."

"Strife offers next generation thought process and design," Liu said. "We analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of many titles in the MOBA genre, including our own Heroes of Newerth. From this analysis, we were able to construct a MOBA from the ground up that we think the world both wants and is ready for. Strife offers a focus on the player experience, attempts to minimize toxicity, and increases the intuition in a genre ridden by burden of knowledge and high barriers."

The Strife trial will be offered on PC, Mac, and Linux and everything featured in the closed beta will be available during the trial. For more on Strife and the upcoming trial weekend, check out highlights from our conversation with Liu below.

GameSpot: I've read before that you're tackling toxic behavior in some unique ways for Strife. Can you explain what these are and why they are needed?

Pu Liu: MOBAs are notoriously toxic; the competition for resources between teammates and enemies alike really creates a tense atmosphere. If a teammate does something you don't expect, you tend to react very negatively. Most genre stakeholders acknowledge the toxicity issue, and are trying to address it retroactively - by punishing bad behavior. With Strife, we're uniquely positioned to both address toxic behavior retroactively with our Karma system, and more importantly facilitate positive team behavior with the game design itself. From the ground up, Strife is designed to be less toxic by creating less competition between teammates. For instance, since intra-team conflict is usually the most common and worst offender that contributes to toxicity in MOBAs, we proactively addressed this in Strife with our gold sharing mechanic for brawler kills.

GS: The term free-to-play is not always perceived in the best light; what steps are you taking to ensure that Strife is fair and balanced?

PL: Free-to-play systems are sometimes negatively associated with pay-to-win. In Strife, while we want to reward our players for their activity with external progression systems, we will base our monetization systems primarily off of cosmetics - dyes and gear sets - while also offering shortcuts to things that players could otherwise earn for free. We believe that the key to having a healthy free-to-play game is to have an amazing experience for the free-to-play player. That in turn creates higher organic growth, meaning you have more chances to get players who will spend money on the game, supporting the game for the entire community.

GS: The free-to-play space is exploding in popularity but it still kind of feels like the Wild West; there is no proven formula for success. Can you explain your philosophy when it comes to microtransactions?

PL: Free-to-play is definitely exploding in popularity, and vastly varying implementations exist. Beyond making sure that our monetization systems are not pay-to-win, we're aiming for an elegant and clean system that makes it very clear to the player what their potential purchase decisions are without shoving it in their faces. Strife does not have a dedicated "store." Microtransactions are seamlessly integrated into the free player's core flow. If someone wants to spend, fantastic. If not, we're not cattle-herding them into a premium store under one guise or another. When someone does spend, it will be within the exact context that they are spending on - there's nothing hidden, there's no entrapment agenda.

We also feel that the best implementations of Free-to-play models prioritize the free experience while offering luxury goods that create a high spend ceiling. Some people love spending lots of money to customize their experience. What's important is that people who spend a little and people who don’t spend anything feel that the system is made for them as well.

GS: The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are more PC-like than any consoles before them; have you considered releasing Strife for consoles?

PL: We currently have no plans to release Strife for any console platforms.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
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47 comments
Pieter101
Pieter101

Strife taking on League of Legends and DOTA 2. This is to funny

Strife is't that good for a moba. Dawngate And LoL are the best so far after that Dota2

AuGZA
AuGZA

I really hope they make it easier to learn for newbies but don't dumb down the game... Better trials for all heroes. Examples of how to play. Tutorials. 


Getting rid of elements like denial etc just make the game more shallow. Once you know how to play it you want to be challenged each game. 


Signed up anyways, Ex-HoN player and current Dota 2 player

demaffe
demaffe

@AuGZA  Have you ever heard of champion spotlights? Seen MobaFire? Aren't those sites and freakin tutorials? Whole spotlight about HOW TO PLAY the champion. Well i quess we need more of those...yup...

AuGZA
AuGZA

@demaffe @AuGZARelying on external content makes a wall to entry. Most players just run in head first, lose and don't return.

omar_q
omar_q

 You had one chance to be successful in the MOBA business with HoN but you blew it S2.

AuGZA
AuGZA

@omar_q If HoN had started as free to play it probably would have been larger than LoL. S2 had all the ingredients for success and blew it.

bernard978
bernard978

"minimise player toxicity" 


Not going to happen with a free-to-play game, however I do respect the fact that they recognise communies in MOBAs in general are bad.

Tigerbite2
Tigerbite2

@bernard978 More like any competitive PvP game, not just mobas.  If there is some form of communication and you're playing with/against other players, you're still going to have the little kids running around being douchebags.

xilmad
xilmad

I have yet to see a non-toxic moba player. Every time I play a moba I end up with total douchebags snd trolls in my team.

Majkic666
Majkic666

@xilmad  The worst part is the more you play with toxic players the mopre toxic player you will become, i remember  when i installed lol and played it with my friends we had fund winning and lossing.. now its just rage and hate, no more being nice since everyone get their fuse shorter and shorter every day playing with toxic players

Kh1ndjal
Kh1ndjal

if they're trying to attract the non-toxic moba crowd... well, that leaves them only half the moba crowd :P

wezkilla
wezkilla

trying to take on the biggest game in the world olololl well RIP i guess

just another MOBA under League's shadow

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

The problem with Heroes of Newerth is that the people who play it are literally the worst people on the planet.  You get a high ratio of complete assholes on Dota 2 and LoL but you've never seen scum and villainy until you've played HoN.

kolz4ever
kolz4ever

@Thanatos2k So in other words you're trash at the game, cause you team to lose, and feed the other side.. Guess you get that reaction nub when you do that stuff.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@kolz4ever @Thanatos2k  Yeap, and that's the problem. Thank you for demonstrating it so well @kolz4ever, instead of helping new players get used to the game you berate and insult them in an effort to make yourself seem superior.

All you're actually achieving is chasing off players, then later whine that all you have left are assholes and douchebags and a toxic community.

Have fun!

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@kolz4ever @Thanatos2k This is the exact type of attitude I'm talking about.  Ladies and gentlement, a HoN player.  Doesn't he just make you want to start playing the game?

lilflipp
lilflipp

@kolz4ever @Thanatos2k This guy is a HoN player. He's probably here because of the massive wave of free weekend noobs that will flood your forgotten game. I might go and play a game this weekend just to feed. add me bro k

PsyonicPlague
PsyonicPlague

or you could, you know, just play league of legends or dota 2 free any weekend...

Tripwolf
Tripwolf

"while also offering shortcuts to things that players could otherwise earn for free. "


And I'm out. Pay to win.

Illidan311
Illidan311

@Tripwolf  you ignored the first part of that sentence - "we will base our monetization systems primarily off of cosmetics - dyes and gear sets"

jimmy_russell
jimmy_russell

When I read the headline I thought this would be an article about Heroes of the Storm.

meatz666
meatz666

I'll never play a fantasy themed MOBA ever again.

You have to lack too much creativity to not being able to come with a different setting.

Call me when they decide to do a good Marvel MOBA

megakick
megakick

Heroes of the Storm is just going to trump this game.

Llama345
Llama345

@megakick  Already posted for a few minutes and no blizzard haters are here to bash the hell out of you. 

ggregd
ggregd

" increases the intuition in a genre ridden by burden of knowledge and high barriers"

Get ready for 10,000,000 cynics saying it's dumbed down.

Xenro4
Xenro4

How are we supposed to choose between all of these MOBAS? I like their vision so I will try this.

Ombus
Ombus

here waiting for heroes of the storm

Misaki2010
Misaki2010

I'm in the closed beta, hope to see more players in it as soon as possible, I really hate to wait a long time for it to find a match (there is never more than 80 - 90 people online, I presume that not many people have the game yet)  :| Otherwise the game is simply amazing :D really nicely optimized and the heroes feel pretty balanced :)

Xatsuna
Xatsuna

Support taking gold from carriers! Problem solved. Shared gold :D! Super smart move. 


Now they don't have to talk about. WTF kill stealer haha. This moba could kill Dota 2 and LoL with shared gold mechanics.

angry_cowtipper
angry_cowtipper

I think the two biggies have it covered. Do we really need another one of these? What's with the furry? 

Henry_The_Red
Henry_The_Red

@angry_cowtipper  Amen. I am very disappointed that it looks so cartoonish. Making it look a lot more realistic would have helped separate it from the other two. As it stands, it's very cookie cutter.