just announced it's surpassed 15 million registered players, with 1.4 million of those playing daily. In an effort to boost its player base of "460,000 unique active players," fellow MOBA title Heroes of Newerth will also be adopting the free-to-play model, says the game's developer S2 Games. "With the transition to free-to-play we're opening HoN up to new audiences as our players can now easily introduce the game to their friends," S2 Games CEO and co-founder Marc DeForest told a press release.
The HoN model will feature three account types: Basic, the most, uh ... basic account, is what new players get immediately upon signing up; Verified status is reserved for players who drop real coin on Goblin Coins, the in-game currency, or surpass "a certain threshold of play time" if that's how you roll; and lastly, Legacy status is reserved for users who've already purchased the game prior to today's free-to-play announcement. "These accounts receive a lifetime of free access to all HoN heroes and are able to play in Verified Only games, to ensure that experts and beginners are separated." Want in on that Legacy action? Sorry, "Legacy accounts can no longer be purchased."
Of course, being free-to-play means there's the requisite microtransaction business model under the hood. While Legacy players get all the characters for free, Basic and Verified players will have access to "a rotating pool of 15 free heroes" with the option to purchase more. S2 is also segregating the player base (similar to what the Team Fortress 2 community is doing itself): "Players with Basic accounts are only eligible to participate in one mode of matchmaking," the press release states, while "Verified and Legacy accounts are eligible to queue up in matchmaking for Verified Only games allowing them to play in higher quality games with more experienced players."
With MOBA titles coming from Valve (Dota 2), Blizzard (Blizzard Dota), and Petroglyph (Rise of Immortals), the genre is about to either greatly expand or bear witness to a lot of failed project launches.