It's been a little over a year since its official release, and Heroes of Newerth has enjoyed a good amount of success, garnering a player base of over 500,000. Expect that number to rise, because today S2 Games announced that HoN is going free-to-play.
In the announcement in S2's newsletter, they stated:
"Heroes of Newerth is now free-to-play, operating under a new model designed to expand the HoN community and enhance the gameplay for our existing fan base… With the transition to free-to-play we’re opening HoN up to new audiences as you can now easily introduce the game to your friends."
Going into more detail in their FAQ, S2 discussed one of the news ways they will continue to make profit: "Independent of Free-to-Play is a new feature called Early Access. Players will be able to purchase Early Access to new heroes to play them before they are released for free to the rest of the Legacy [pre-existing] players."
The legacy accounts "are now a rarity, part of our old business model you're getting additional new content (outside of any potential pay for content expansions) for free, which is a perk no longer available to new accounts whom have to unlock new content."