Hi-Rez Studios

First-ever Smite World Championship coming in January with $600,000 prize pool

Andy Chalk at

Smite was in open beta for well over a year prior to its full release in March, so it's easy to forget that it's still a relatively new addition to the MOBA milieu. But Hi-Rez Studios is going all-out to make its presence felt: It announced today that the first Smite World Championship will take place in January 2015, with more than $600,000 in prizes up for grabs.

Why I love Smite's 4v4 Siege mode

Wes Fenlon at

A month ago, Smite introduced a new game mode to stand beside Conquest, its traditional 5v5 three-lane battleground. Siege cuts the three lanes down to two and adds lumbering siege tower minions, earned through kills and clearing jungle camps, that can quickly knock down towers by themselves. The smaller map and siege tower minions make for a shorter, faster-paced game, and I was still trying to decide how I liked it compared to Conquest when Hi-Rez added another wrinkle. In the latest patch, they cut Siege down to a 4v4 mode, and now Siege produces some of the most fun, fast-paced lane-pushing matches I've ever played.

Smite launches out of beta, asks you to punch gods in the face

Omri Petitte at

The MOBA genre already has colossal communities in both League of Legends and Dota 2, but what's missing is an arena where the greatest gods of mythology toss magic fireworks at each other and roast a couple thousand mortal minions. Enter Smite, Hi-Rez Studios' free-to-play god-on-god rumbler, which launches in full today after a lengthy beta period and is available for all to download on its official website.

Hi-Rez announces $100K Smite Tournament Series

Emanuel Maiberg at

Some people who are much better at playing Smite than you are about to win a lot of money. As much as $48,000, to be exact.

Tribes: Ascend planning map-making tools for the community

Phil Savage at

Last week, Hi-Rez's Todd Harris made a statement to the Tribes: Ascend community, informing them that the free-to-play FPS would not receive any major updates for at least sixth months. That, in addition to an already long period since the last major content drop, seemed to imply that the team were planning on eventually abandoning the game. Apparently that's not quite the case, as Harris has now revealed his desire to plant their development flag in the well-defended base of the game's community.

Tribes: Ascend will not receive a major update for at least six months

Phil Savage at

Hi-Rez studios have dropped the flag of Tribes: Ascend development, and don't seem to be in a hurry to pick it back up. In a statement on the free-to-play shooter's forum, studio co-founder Todd Harris answered a Reddit question asking about the lack of recent updates. He confirmed that no major patches were planned, while the developers ski off to concentrate on their third-person lane pusher, Smite.

Smite catches disco fever, releases huge patch

Ben Kim at

Hi-Rez Studios has just dropped a doozy of a patch for Smite. New skins, new items, and a laundry list of Conquest map changes are accompanied by the star of the update: Afro-dite. Not your standard pun-wielding skin, Afro-dite gets a disco ball-topped staff, a snazzy pink outfit, and a disco floor that follows her around the map.

Watch last night's NATL Tribes: Ascend finals

T.J. Hafer at

Last night, two top Tribes: Ascend teams, VeX and 5150, faced off in a best of five to determine the best team in North America. This grand final was a culmination of the second season of the North American Tribes League, which began back in February. We won't spoil anything, as you can watch the entire 2-hour-plus VOD on the Tribes Twitch channel for free. [VGW]!

Learn to control pets with Dota 2's Lone Druid

Josh Augustine at

This week, we're taking a look at how to effectively control a pet and use it to its full potential in Dota 2. It's not just fanboy rage fueling Dota 2 players who insist their game be labeled as an ARTS instead of a MOBA—there are some very distinct RTS elements that have evolved with the game since it's early days as an RTS mod, including how pet handling functions. Let's break down the mechanics and see how we can use them to our advantage.

Tribes: Ascend Game of the Year update adds new weapon and maps

Phil Savage at

Not content with completely shifting the game purchasing paradigm, Hi-Rez have also announced a new content update that will arrive today alongside the "single purchase" option. It brings new maps, a new weapon, turret shields to enhance Generator battles, and additional physics options for custom servers.

Tribes: Ascend to add "single purchase" option

Phil Savage at

Just as we're all getting used to free-to-play as a payment model, Hi-Rez announce that they're using Tribes: Ascend to trial an entirely new way of purchasing digital entertainment. It's called "buying a game with some money". It'll never catch on.

Hi-Rez's Todd Harris made the announcement on their forum. From February 15, players will be able to buy a Single Purchase Edition of the high-speed online FPS. "This package will unlock all classes, all weapons, and all perks in the current game; everything except the non gameplay affecting items like cosmetics."

The price is Smite: win Alienware kit and free in-game stuff in Vulcan's Craftsman Challenge

Andy Hartup at

You like free things, right? Well good news – we’ve got an Alienware TactX mouse and keyboard to give away, and all you have to do is show us how awesome your personalised PC rig is. It’s all to celebrate the announcement of new god Vulcan in up-and-coming MOBA, Smite. Turns out Vulcan, the Roman god of fire, was pretty handy at knocking up bespoke stuff.

Smite now in open beta, download and play for free

Omri Petitte at

Hi-Rez summoned forth the open beta of its gods-vs-gods arena rumbler Smite today, throwing open the golden gates for all players to sign up for an account and download the client for free. A number of graphical updates and menu improvements also arrive, and all character progress and unlocks won't be wiped leading into the official launch.

Tribes: Ascend is halving the XP cost of in-game unlocks

Phil Savage at

If your Spinfusor shots are straight and true, and your grabs quicker than a llama, there's a good chance you've built up a nice XP stockpile in Tribes: Ascend. If so, it's time for a shopping spree. Last night, Hi-Rez CEO Todd Harris posted on the Tribes forum to say, "Effective immediately, we've cut all the item XP prices in half."

How to ward the map in League of Legends with Teemo

Josh Augustine at

We love games like Dota 2, League of Legends, and Smite, but the myriad skills needed to master their complex gameplay can scare new players away. That’s why we occasionally pick a key skill and teach you how to master it, using a character that particularly excels at or relies on that skill in-game.

We've activated League of Legends expert and former Senior Editor Josh Augustine to tackle the science (and art) of wards—the consumable items that you drop to illuminate LoL's ever-present fog of war. No one is better at warding the map than the little scout Teemo, who can toss down his own sight-granting mushrooms in addition to ordinary wards.

The Multiplayer Shooter of the Year 2012: PlanetSide 2

Rich McCormick at

Playing PlanetSide 2 is like being eight and riding a bike without holding on to the handlebars. Mum! Are you watching? Did you see that sniper shot? Were you watching when I jumped off the roof of that building, clamped C4 to a tank’s hull, jetpacked over a cliff edge, and pressed the detonator? Did you see the time I spawned a Liberator gunship and picked Chris up at a base south of a bio lab being taken by the New Conglomerate? He hopped in the gunner seat, mum, and together we destroyed the enemy’s only Sunderer! We blunted their advance mum! Mum! Are you still looking? Keep looking, mum, I’m going to do something cool now!

Smite gameplay video introduces Ares and his fiery chains of war

Omri Petitte at

No, that isn't a euphemism for godlike promiscuity, but it is an ability used by Ares in Hi-Rez's third-person MOBA Smite. Billed as a magic-oriented tank, the Greek god of war shores up his allies' defenses with CC duration reductions, latches onto and pulls rival gods using Very Annoying Chains, and hunkers behind a shield doubling as a flamethrower. His utilitarian appeal jives well with the remaining pantheon's abilities and ultras, making Ares well-suited for wading into the thick of the fray whenever possible -- which is exactly where he prefers to be. Have a look at our hands-on preview from earlier this year, too.

Tribes: Ascend awarding double XP starting tomorrow

Omri Petitte at

Experience gained from Tribes: Ascend matches in public and custom servers will be doubled starting tomorrow and lasting until Tuesday, a perfect excuse for some Labor Day CTF and a string of Shazbots directed at the nefarious moving flag in the recently added Blitz mode.

Hindu leader requests removal of deities from Smite, Hi-Rez declines

T.J. Hafer at

Smite, Tribes: Ascend creators Hi-Rez's upcoming MOBA that lets you, well, smite your enemies as playable gods from numerous pantheons has struck an unpleasant chord with some real-world worshipers of the gods depicted in the game. Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged Hi-Rez to remove the Hindu gods Agni, Kali, and Vamana as their depiction in the game was disrespectful to their followers.

Tribes: Ascend is live on Steam

Evan Lahti at

All you reluctant jetpackers no longer have an excuse to play our current favorite multiplayer FPS: Tribes: Ascend is now available on Steam as a free-to-play game.

Offered with the release is the Steam Starter Pack, a $10 DLC package (on sale from $20 until July 4) that includes a lifetime 50% XP Boost (VIP status, in other words), four bonus Weapons for base classes, two class unlocks, four Perks, and 800 Tribes Gold (about $8 worth of in-game currency).