Tag Archives: Heroes of Newerth

If you thought S2's racist CEO was bad enough, wait until you see their community.

[Trigger warnings for extreme racism]

A few days ago, I mentioned how the CEO of S2 games seems to be a blatant racist, some people who see this information, react with a “who cares” attitude, as if the behaviour of the most important person in the company doesn’t affect anything else. Well, today I noticed a thread on the Heroes of Newerth fora, titled “This game needs a black hero” and I pretty much expected what I found inside. You can take a look for yourself but I’ll post some of the “best” comments to give you an example (and in case the whole thread is taken down)

Definitely Black: , and Kongor

Probably Black:

Black because they’re in the jungle:

Problem OP?

The small images here repressent different heroes. you can probably distinguish the “race” of each if you look closely1. The last hero on the top row is an anthropomorphic simian and “Krongor” refers to the “Big Boss” of the game who is a huge gorilla. I shouldn’t really need explain this.


Looks like some kind of ape and he always steals my kills….

Self explanatory

No thanks. I don’t like heroes with base speeds of 375.

But it would be balanced because the base int and int gain per level would be extremely small.

Again, pretty explanatory (“int” refers to “intelligence”)

If Empath isnt a negro, I dont know what to say.

For reference, this is what Empath looks like.

Whoever the new black hero/alt avatar is, he or she will be the bloodlust kill every single game.

Ha ha. Get it? Because the token black guy always dies first.

A true black hero?He would need shitty skills, and be totally worthless for a team, kinda like gladiator, succubus noobs, blood hunter Brazilians.

His skills and name would of course be somewhat along the lines of

Blackster

1. Poor- Blackster is from the inner city and gets no clothes until he levels this skill up, clothes grant him extra attack damage to creeps.
2. Jump- Blackster is able to jump huge lengths at a time, does no damage, and has a %chance to twist his ankle.
3. Blackwalk- everyone knows black people walk slow as **** for some reason, probably to piss white people off, Blackster can enable blackwalk to move 150ms slower and take 50% reduced damage for 4 seconds.
4. ULTIMATE ABILITY- RACK EM’- Blackster breaks into song and dance also known as the Funky Chicken, he becomes intoxicated and flops around helplessly damaging nearby enemies with holy spirit spit.

Wow, just…wow.

they play the most important role in hon already, they dont need a hero(arguably they already have some)

try playing a game without a courier and see how far it gets you

The “courrier” is a little monkey that you buy from the shop and it serves to bring you items you buy in the map.

Honourary mention:

Game needs a kitchen for all you ladies.

Because what would the HoN community be without at least some explicit sexism.

And then of course, we have the vigilant underdog fighting against political correctness.

The multicult is never satisfied, S2. If you added a black hero who fit in the game, he wouldn’t be black enough. If you added a black-enough hero, he would ‘racist’ and stereotypical. If you carefully added a Black Superstar who is acceptably not black enough, you would now a ratio of 1:hero-count, and the multicult will complain about tokenism. If you added black alts and voices for every single human hero, you would have trolling uses of these alts, the alts would have to be free, you would be racists for defaulting to not-black.

Slam the door in the face of this proposal, at least internally, or you’ll never hear the end of it. The most rabid will already be turned away by screencaps of Maliken’s ‘racism’. The real thorn in the paw of the multicult isn’t that you don’t have black heroes, but that you have any heroes who are white, and you neither can nor want to ‘fix’ that.

You know, because respect and repressentation of other cultures, skin types, and genders/sexualities is a slippery slope…or something. Those “multiculturalists” will never be content until the white race is extunguished. White Pride!

Oh sorry, I got carried over in my in-character sarcasm there…

Some egregious comments have been deleted now that I’ve reported them, several hours later after they were posted. Unfortunately, my comment calling out people on their racism and S2 for tolerating it has also been deleted. And naturally, the reactionary bullshit is still there, as are much of the egregious racist filth that I didn’t have time to report yet. So S2 is just doing the bare minimum on this issue, putting more effort into avoiding any criticism of themselves (they’ve naturally deleted any mention of Maliken’s racism), than preventing racist shit from fermenting in their fora.

The kind of filth posted in there rivals the bigotry one finds in 4chan boards but from what I’ve seen, it’s par for the course given the nature of S2 senior staff, the people they try to market to, and the environment they foster through their (lack of) moderation practices and implicit support.

Honestly, I can’t recommend this game to anyone anymore. If you are not a straight white cis male without disabilities, you will be insulted and marginalized routinely. You will be reminded constantly that most other players of HoN consider you a sub-human, while S2 will  ignore you at best, or join in the denigration at worst. You have been warned.

  1. if you can’t see, it’s not really that important, they’re all obviously caucasian except the last one []

The S2 Games CEO is a blatant racist?

S2 Games logo
Image via Wikipedia

I just saw this on reddit. Apparently the head honcho of S2 games (going by the alias of Maliken) has been outed as a racist with a trend of power abuse. The evidence is not certain but it is pretty damning.

  • This Teafragger character was playing with 4 other S2 employees but wasn’t an apparent S2 himself. That player has a history of playing with other S2 players, so it’s not a single coincidence of a pubbie.
  • His previous gaming stats were the same as Malikens (i.e. same choice of heroes)
  • Once he got upset by an opposing player, that player got mysteriously temp banned from the game.

Those by themselves are damning enough, buit the reaction of the company is the clincher. They have gone into full blown damage control. Threads mentioning this are being deleted. The name of the original player has been changed in the match stats. The Teafragger player has disappeared. It’s a fairly blatant attempt of DELETE FUCKING EVERYTHING!

Well, given their history of sexism, this isn’t such a great moral drop, but it is quite worrying that the manager of a whole gaming company would have no problems not only being a racist scumfuck, but use his power to cover up his tracks when he does. From what I saw before he’s fairly blatant in his homophobia as well so he seems to touch base on all bigotry.

Unfortunately given how this bigotry is not only tolerated by S2 staff, but actively perpetuated by their CEO, it’s no wonder that their community is full of the same bigotry. It’s fairly impossible to play Heroes of Newerth and not encounter insults (usually from teammates) that are at best ableist (“retard” or “tard” is extremely common) and at worst, racist (as you saw in the example above). S2 seems to be doing almost nothing about it and their “Report a Player” function seem to be kind of a joke as well (see second comment). Given the attitude from S2 senior staff themselves, this is not surprising.

At the moment, the only place you can discuss this is in reddit, given that threads on this subject are being deleted from their forums on-sight, so if you’re as dismayed by these acts as I am, come there to express it. I would also appreciate that you spread the news around, especially if you have any contacts within established gaming journalism. S2 needs to be called out on their shit and as long as it’s just a small subreddit that does it, S2 Games will ignore any dissent, delete all awareness in their own fora, and wait until the storm blows over. And then do it again and again. I hope we will not let this happen.

Aside from that, I’m seriously considering switching to DotA2 now because I refuse to support bigots. I don’t know if they will be better at it, but Valve has an OK history so I’m willing to take the chance. Sad things is that I am fairly happy with Heroes of Newerth as a game and wasn’t planning on switching, but I can’t just let this behaviour stand.

Everything is subjective, therefore sexism in gaming does not exist.

A young adult male holding a smug position on a background alternating between red and blue.Title and PDD inspired by this discussion (Full thread starts here)on a subject which I’ve already addressed. This is not a direct quote but rather a personal summary of the argument being put forth by an S2 employee. The argument being of course that one cannot label S2 games sexist according to how females are depicted in their games, because what is sexually suggestive or appealing to males is completely suggestive and thus, where I see a clear sexist trend, most others don’t.

So since what is suggestive or not is a matter of opinion, nobody can measure up how much males and females differ in their presentation within a game or gaming culture as a whole and thus, nobody can rightfully point out a sexist trend.

AKA: Logic! It proves sexism does not exist in gaming, bitches!

Also see: You’re arguing with opinions, not fact.

PS: Naturally my comments in reddit got downvoted to kingdom come. Par for the course.

S2 Games continues to fall short on addressing their sexist tendencies.

Another Female Hero for Heroes of Newerth, another disappointment. True, at least this time it’s not straight up tittilation, I mean, she does wear pants at least…

Is it sad that one considers this an improvement?

Unfortunately either S2 didn’t listen, or they completely missed the point that several people raised. So I’m going to say it again, in the hopes that perhaps it will get through to someone (fat chance, I know).

Dear S2, the problem is not just that most of your females characters are little more than male tittilation, the problem is that apparently for you concept designers, a female cannot be an interesting character unless she is sexually appealing to a horny teenage male audience. Whereas your male heroes are kickass in their own right, whether they are human-looking or disgusting monstrocities, the overwhelming majority of your female characters, are presented as sexual fantasies.

Creativity in female design does not start and end with how much suggestive skin you’re showing. Start being as creative in your female characters as you are with males. As much as you don’t feel the need to make all your male characters show bare chests and wear strip thongs, so you shouldn’t feel the need to make all your females wear chainmail bikinis, have a supermodel’s looks, or have porn-star boobs.

tl;dr: More Wretched Hag and less Empath plz. kthxbai

So it seems S2 Games continues with the proud tradition of sexism in gaming

One of the things I liked in the MOBA game Heroes of Newerth is that it had some female heroes which were more than just cleavage and suggestive show of skin (even if those were never far away). The game was still as sexist as most others, what with a multitude of monstrous or fully clothed males and a minority of females, primarily fregile wizards and archers and overwhelmingly suggestive.

I wasn’t really paying a lot of attention to that until now however, and the reason why I started was when their latest hero was revealed in a leaked newsletter and her concept art looks like this:

A "Bikini" robe with patently ridiculous (for someone going into battle) beach panties

Now generally this is not something to get particularly worked up about. Just S2 Games caching on titillation for their primarily teenage/young adult audience. I was content to stay and perhaps argue a bit on the thread on reddit about how patently ridiculous this outfit and character is for the battlefield. However, others brought this issue up in the fora and against my better judgement, I felt compelled to leave a few comments and links there as well.

That went as well as one might expect, as the audience for which S2 is based on is rightly considered to make up the worst community of any game ever. And in one such community, sexism, homophobia and ableism are never below the surface but rather blaring in your face 24/7. So if you want to see the results and possible bash your heads against the keyboard as well ,because of the sheer stupidity and how much S2 will allow crass ableism and homophobia to shine in their official forums, go check them out.

Thread 1 | Thread 2 | Thread 3 (good points, see what replies it gets)

Of course, all the classic derailment and logical fallacies that one might expect have been presented and supported, at times by S2 staff themselves.Here’s some of the most common samples

  • “But every other game is doing it!” – Frequently used fallacy. Actually repeated by a couple of S2 staff. Most people outgrow this in kindergarten.
  • “Don’t you have more important things to worry about?”Classic Derailment
  • “The audience asked for more boobs, and we delivered” – FSM forbid that you might not indulge your audience’s sexism. Again, actually said by S2 staff.
  • “Sex Sells” – Yeah, for some reason I do not see an equal representation of “sex” for female and LGBT consumption…
  • “S2 is being sexist against males too!” – Repeated Ad Nauseum. Fortunately I only had to link here.
  • “U gay?” (In various expressions) – Not even worth a reply, but mentioned just for the sheer popularity of it.
  • “There’s not so many half-naked chicks and those that are, have a back story which explains why they need to be so.” – Against commonly used and I’m going to expand on this particular a bit more, with pictures, to show just how ridiculous it is.

Part of the last argument is to argue that compared to the overall cast (or other even more sexist games like League of Legends), the amount of “hot” female heroes are not a lot. This argument falls flat on its face when one does even a cursory look at the heroes cast.

  • There’s currently 74 heroes (including Empath)
  • Of these, only 13 (17%) are clearly females (There’s a bunch of characters that are not clear due to their form, but for most of those, their body type and voice pitch is also clearly male)
  • Of these 13, there is only 1 (7%) that is fully clothed (iirc it’s Wretched Hag for which I couldn’t find the concept art) which means showing no cleavage or trying to get some kind of sex appeal [EDIT: I might be wrong here, it may be the case that another hero is fully clothed, valkyrie, as a reddit commenter points out. I seem remember her model as not fully clothed however and I can’t find any official concept art]. All others, including the monstrous females, have a clearly feminine body displaying sexually appetizing forms. Yes, even the monstrous ones. Examples:

A ghost with appetizing cleavage. YumA spider-woman, who still retains a human belly and curves.

And these are the absolutely least sexy females one can find in the game mind you. There’s one more, Moon Queen, for which I don’t have a concept art but only the model, which seems even less suggestive than these, but I can’t tell if her human torso is naked or not.

  • Of the human-form females (in which I’m including “non-humans” who just have a pair of horns or wings to separate them), all of them are suggestive, by which I mean that cleavage and/or naked body/legs are shown. That’s 100%. And while some of them are acceptable (at least in concept, like Valkyrie), most others, by default are absurdly dressed, even for most other games’ standards. (Click for larger images)
Almost naked except for a strip of fabric covering her breasts, a g-string/loincloth on her legs and an absurd hat.
Ophelia is supposed to be one with the beasts and therefore needs to go butt-naked. Of course that means a beach-bikini style cloth and a supermodel body.
Blue skinned assasin female handling a scythe. Her hair and clothes are fading into smoke. She is wearing an elaborate bikini-mail
Fayde is supposed to be a shadow assassin, able to "fade out". I guess that means that anything other than mail bikini is faded out permanently.
A grey-skinned female notching an arrow and riding a skeletal beast powered by green energy. She is wearing practically nothing except a hood and some skeletal bone armor covering her breasts and back
One can only assume that the Forsaken Archer needs to armor towards her front, as she is always running away. Zing!

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Mind you, I am not cherry picking my examples, these are literally the only concept art I could find for the human heroes, with the exception of Valkyrie, which looks like this, which unfortunately does not accurately represent the actual model.

  • If we consider the characters that received an alternative model (through the goblin shop), things become even more sexist. You see, various male and female character are getting alternative models people can buy with real world money or by grinding the game’s currency. When a male gets an alternative male model, it always is something cool. Gladiator (a whip wielding hero) becomes Indiana Jones. Magmus (A burning rock hero) becomes a giant fire scorpion. Kraken (a water-based hero) becomes a giant crustacean.

    But when males become females, or females get an alternative female model, guess what it happens…They become sexier.You remember the spider woman before?

A spider-woman with 6 extra (non-used) legs on her back spread as wings, who still retains a human belly and curves.

Well, she becomes like this.

The spider-woman receives a supermodel body and a face.

And there’s also two male wizards, one of ice, and one of fire. Their transformation from male to female is kinda like this.

An ice-wizard, wearing a long blue robe covering his whole body
Normal for a wizard huh?
The female version of the fully clothed fire wizard. The red robe became a robe-bikini.
Apparently females in Newerth by default can only choose bikini-styled robes.

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Because everyone knows that women can’t compete with men on skill alone. They need to show some cleavage and supermodel looks in order to be their equals. Sigh. Now compare the females with the wide array of looks and builds for the male heroes of which most are not even remotely suggestive, even if they are nominally bare skinned (Because of course the trolls of the forum were all to eager to point to Kraken and complain that he’s too naked as a sarcastic counter-point). You’ve got fat heroes, truly monstrous males, disgusting males, macho males, punk males, mad males, sneaky males and so on, and most of these don’t even need to be remotely suggestive to a female audience to be liked.

And finally of course, the last ditch argument is that all those females are wearing bikinis because their story demands it. Ophelia is “one with the nature”. Nymphora is a nymph (and we all know how those dressed). Valkyrie is a Valkyrie (and Norse concept art shows them as wearing veils and bare breasted) and so on. This argument of course ignores some very important parts. First of all, Valkyries and Nymphs and other historical archetypes were not generally going into battles. When humans do go into battles, they are generally well armoured.

Secondly if all the concepts for your female heroes somehow end up requiring them to wear (chain mail) bikinis in battle, perhaps one should reconsider those concepts because as sure as fuck one can think concepts for heroes which do not end up with them being a titillation product. The fact that S2 seems to be able to think or or choose concepts which require suggestive females shows that their sexism starts from very early on in the design process.

It’s unfortunate that S2 is going this way, when practically both of their competitors are just trying to outdo each other on who can objectify females the most in their games. But I guess one shouldn’t expect better from them anyway given how they treat other similar subjects.

On a last note, I’m going to leave you with an image which shows how the HoN concept artists think of the females in the game. This doesn’t say much but it does display the mentality behind the designers of the game.

5 of the female characters of Heroes of Newerth. All of them showing ridiculous amount sof cleavage and gravity defying boobsTop right to bottom left
Top right to bottom left: Succubus, Ophelia, Andromeda, Dark Lady, Nymphora

A treasure trove of Privilege Denying Dudes

Holy shit, I think I’ve hit the motherlode!

Here’s some necessary background.

Of course, one doesn’t expect much from a community of primarily male teenagers with serious behaviour issues but almost every other post seems to be a PDD waiting to happen. I couldn’t resist making a few and posting them to the privielege denying dude website. And these are just from this 1 post!  I could easily cook up another or two from it as well.

You can see the second one below (click for large image)

Now go forth and mine this thread for glorious PDDs!

Can self-moderation of a game community reduce abuse and dickwadery?

PA's Greater Internet Dickwad theoryI’ve recently entered the beta for an upcoming DotA (almost-)clone called Heroes of Newerth (HoN) when I discovered through reddit giving away 100 of ’em for the most absurd names (I submitted the Flying Spaghetti Monster of course). I always wanted to play the DotA experience but I didn’t have Warcraft3 available and Demigod is quite different from it (and a bit disappointing as well). Plus, having a native GNU/Linux client was an offer I couldn’t resist. 😉

But what does this have to do with the title above? Well one of the main issues that DotA has is the sheer number of elitist assholes who heave tons of abuse at people trying to learn the ropes or even just don’t play perfectly. I am talking total nerd-rage here. Unfortunately, this mentality seems to have migrated to the HoN community, most likely because it’s been marketed as the intellectual sequel to DotA (Items and Heroes are almost the same).

While this general level of fucktardery is not such a big issue in a free mod such as DotA, for a commercial game with developers to pay and with big plans for the future, it might make or break their life-expectancy. The less people that are interested in nurturing and increasing their “newbie scene”, the less people will stick around until they won’t be at a level where they suffer abuse simply for not having climbed the (very steep) learning curve.

As I was reading similar sentiments from other people in the fora, I got to thinking on how those who would like to help new players might overcome this obstacle and alleviate, if not reduce the rampart dickwadery. While technical solutions might be proposed and coded, such as improving the match-making system, I think the solution lies in direct action and cooperation from the community.

Of course the community cannot take very good action without the game presenting at least some tools to combat the problem, which is incidentally why the DotA community is what it is. Fortunately, even at this beta stage, the game has some controls that could be used for such purposes. Permaban and Ignore. If I understand the first one correctly, one can mark a specific account as always banned from games one hosts. Ignore just…well, ignores chat messages from a particular player.

So how can these two be used for self-moderation? My idea was through a blacklist. Lets say that a known newbie-friendly player (lets call him/her a ‘Mentor’) while playing in a newb-only game, discovers that one of his team members is constantly ranting and cursing at the others for being worthless, n00bs, sucky and whatnot. The Mentor then, grabs a few screencaps or a replay as evidence of this and adds the dickwad’s alias to a blacklist he maintains. This can be as simply as a blog with each new post being about a particular dickwad and a full list in a prominent location.

Now all the other people who have a likewise mentality, ie they like to promote a healthier community are subscribed to this blacklist. Each time a new person is added to it, people judge the evidence and if solid1, they add this account to their permaban and ignore lists. If just a 10% of the HoN people are subscribed to this blacklist, then the abusive players are going to quickly start running into problems joining games or talking to people.

The effects of this tactic would be akin to peer pressure in a normal social situation. Suddenly the dickwads are going to find out that being a jerk online has some drawbacks. Hopefully some might reconsider as generally, not being a dickwad is not so difficult. They should be then given a chance to take themselves out of the blacklist (probation time?) and who knows, maybe they’ll join the other side for a change.

So why is this better than simply using system based changes? Well first of all because no programmed system is perfect, especially at catching such vague concepts as dickwadery. Matchmaking may not work well enough and options to mark others as abusive (say via a game function like permaban) may in turn be abused themselves for griefing purposes. On the other hand, a self-moderated solution avoids these issues.

Let’s say for example that someone was added to the dickwads blacklist but some think this was wrong. Perhaps his frustration was warranted, or there is not enough evidence and whatnot. What would probably happen is that not all subscribers to the blacklist would add him as they wouldn’t feel he deserves it. As such his “pain” would be much less. Dialogue will be also had and perhaps more evidence requested.

Lets have another example where the Mentor goes on a power trip and starts adding people he doesn’t like to the blacklist without evidence just because he expects to be trusted. Seeing as this is not anything official, nothing would prevent people from calling him out on this, a new blacklist forked from the old under the supervision of another Mentor or even a collaboration of them and the old Mentor might quickly find himself in a prominent position in the new blacklist.

All of these then are ideas that might work to allow a game community to self-moderate itself to a healthy environment which is conductive to new people joining, without requiring any authoritarian measures on the part of the developers or the moderators. Rather it would be based on direct action by the members themselves and as such far less prone to corruption, who would then get the community they deserve.

Who knows, If I stick around with HoN once it comes out (curse my short attention span) I might actually start this for the heck of it. Just to see if a purely community driven initiative can make a difference. It would be an interest test to put some of my principles under. 😉

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  1. Although of course, if the Mentor or the maintainers of the blacklist are trusted, many will not even need to look at the evidence []