Tribes: Ascend grew a little bit larger on Friday with the addition of update 6. Classic Tribes map, Stonehenge, has been ported into the Ascend engine, which means it's set at night and has a MASSIVE MOON. The second map, Miasma, is set in an orange forest populated by luminescent bugs that you'll be able to admire in 2 millisecond intervals as you blast past them at 200kph. The spectator mode has been updated so you can lock to the player's view and zoom inside their head to observe their expertise from a first-person perspective.
Hi-Rez have released a video showcasing the next update for Tribes: Ascend. The Staying Alive update focuses on the Brute heavy class and adds three new weapons. The new primary is the Gladiator, a grenade launcher that fires sticky projectiles. There's also a Plasma Cannon secondary weapon that works like the Plasma Gun from the Raid & Pillage update, and the Survival Pack, which increases run speed and energy regeneration.
Many years ago I earned a Zhevra mount for recommending a friend to WoW. I liked the idea of a stripey horse-shaped transportation device. Sadly, my Zhevra has never been ridden or redeemed because I quit WoW soon after.
Despite that sad story, I still like refer-a-friend perks. And, by the looks of it, so do Hi-Rez. In a move that bears more in common with Kickstarter incentives than previous schemes, players could feasibly get the chance to name weapons and even co-create maps if they convince enough people to register and play. It sounds like Hi-Rez are laying down a challenge. A challenge for the internet.
Wonderful, breath-clutching games of chicken happen along the z-axis in Tribes: Ascend. You’re hovering, the guy you want to kill is hovering, and you each have a few sips of battery juice left in your jetpack. Gravity is death: drop first, and you become an instant candidate for one of Tribes’ splash-damage weapons: a grenade, Spinfusor disc, or gamma-ray-green mortar shell.
In these shared seconds of airtime, your brain crunches weapon trajectory paths, shot velocity, topography and damage radii—and there’s a layer of deception happening atop that. Maybe I’ll feint a fall, then right-click to lift at the last second. Maybe he’ll whip out his secondary weapon to harass me out of the air with pistol shots. Maybe I’ll put a grenade under him to force him to spend all his flight energy.
The latest patch for the Tribes: Ascend open beta adds a new capture the flag stage called Sunstar, set in an arid desert full of undulating dunes, perfect for a bit of sand surfing. The grim, volcanic Temple Ruins map has also been rearranged after feedback from fans and new European and Asian servers have been powered up to reduce server load and lag.
Tribes: Ascend will be officially out on April 12, but anyone can play the open beta right now. You can sign up and grab the client from the Tribes: Ascend site. Read on for new screenshots of Sunstar and the reworked Temple Ruins and the patch notes in full, which include bad news for Pathfinders who like to use Nitron grenades, and good news for Heavies who are sick of moving so damn slow all the time.
Tribes: Ascend will be well and truly, properly out on April 12. The free to play game that calls itself "world's fastest shooter" has been in open beta for a short while, and has been regularly updated with new maps, game modes and extra gadgets for its high speed-classes. The splendid Dead Island parody trailer above show what happens when one of those classes snatches the flag when he's not going fast enough, an act known among Tribes players as the Llama grab.
"This video demonstrates the perils of trying to caputre a flag while going too slow," explains Hi-Rez chief technical officer, Todd Harris. "The outcome is predictable but no less tragic."
Tribes: Ascend feels very polished for a game that's still not officially out. You can try it for yourself by downloading the client from the Tribes: Ascend site, and signing up for an account. It's free!
Tribes: Ascend is in open beta. You can sign up, download it and play it right now. It's already good fun, but it's still a work in progress. There are plenty more maps and perks to be added before Hi-Rez consider the game complete. The latest patch has made a few of those additions already, adding a new team deathmatch map called "Outskirts" and two new perks.
The first is Rage. Getting angry will boost your energy regeneration and offer you a 25% heal if you're standing next to your flag when an enemy snatches it, a good perk for defenders who have just been blown off the flag by a Pathfinder's spinfusor disk. The second one is a little more exotic. The Sonic Punch will send out a shockwave when you melee. This can push back enemy players and, importantly, dislodge a flag from an opponent's grasp. It'll be interesting to see how top Tribes players make use of this one.
"AAAEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.” A high-pitched sound was echoing through our Ventrilo server at 20:55 last Thursday. Rich was our sniper. Rich was nervous. Rich was making noises.
A few weeks ago we got a mail from Hi-Rez asking us if we’d like to participate in a Tribes Ascend showcase match against OnRPG and MMOHut. We accepted the challenge. The match was streamed live by LevelUpTV and commentated by top Tribes shoutcaster Ziggy Orzeszek and Hi-Rez eSports and Competitive manager Bart Koenigsberg.
To see Tribes: Ascend in its hyper-competitive e-sport glory, you’ll need to watch a set of pros in action. However, if you’re interested in watching the UK staff face off against some less experienced players, click away. Thanks to everyone involved for organising the match, and to OnRPG and MMOHut for being such good sports. As Graham (who fulfilled his infiltrator role admirably) mentioned on Twitter after the game, “We won via careful planning, hard work, and, um, having played it before, unlike our opponents.”
Don’t forget that Tribes is now in open beta. If you like what you see, visit the official site and download the client. You've got nothing to lose apart from your bandwidth.
"People have maybe forgotten about the adrenaline rush of the old school shooters like Quake, Unreal Tournament and, of course, Tribes." Executive producer on upcoming free to play shooter Tribes: Ascend, Todd Harris, misses the twitch shooters of old.
We asked him why he thought they were less popular these days. "I think a lot of it is the multi-platform consideration," he said. "Games have this huge marketing spend so many of these shooters look to go multi-platform, meaning not just the PC but at least two consoles as well."
Todd says controllers don't offer the same freedom of movement as a mouse and keyboard, making it harder for devs to put an emphasis on raw dexterity: "The control scheme on the consoles does limit somewhat the speed and the twitch in which a game can operate – I mean your turn distance is only so far."
There's a strange fear that comes with picking up a flag in CTF. One moment you're the hero, you've broken through enemy lines and snatched the one thing they were supposed to protect, then as a reward all your guns are taken away and every member of the enemy team wants you dead. Tribes Ascend's jetpacks and speedy skiing techniques will let you get away from the enemy base faster, but if you find yourself in the sights of one of the assassins in the trailer above, there's no escape.
It's going to be a great year for free to play shooters, with Firefall and Planetside 2 on the horizon, but Tribes Ascend is a real contender. From what we've played of the beta so far, it already feels smooth, fast, and satisfying. You can register for the ongoing Tribes Ascend beta on the Tribes Ascend page.
Do not adjust your monitor; it's perfectly normal for complex calculus to flash before your eyes when waging war in Tribes' high-speed battlefield. Today Hi-Rez publishes a video that expresses the unique, blackboard-like brains of skilled players in Tribes: Ascend. The game is due next year, though it's sort of soft-launched already—you can access the beta immediately by pre-ordering or by finding yourself a key.
See some of our own skill shots in Gavin's Juggernaut video from last Friday.
As reported on Eurogamer, a Tribes Ascend closed beta is due to kick off on November 4. You can sign up for the beta on the official Tribes Ascend site.
The info came from Cyberlink's interview with COO at Hi-Rez Studios, Todd Harris.
There are three ways to get in the beta. Apply on the website and wait for a code, keep an eye on the Hi-Rez Facebook and twitter pages or pre-order. That'll give you access to the VIP Starter Kit, which includes beta access, a 33% cost saving, and some bonus VIP features. We'll update as soon as you're able to lay down the cash.
Todd highlights that the VIP Starter Kit won't be a "buy one get everything pack" but "a way to get VIP status in the game which will put you in a more elite set of queues." Players will also get a bunch of in-game gold and some form of booster. "It gives you a pretty compelling starter experience," he says.
For more, read our Tribes: Ascend preview. Will you be pre-ordering?
Hi-Rez studios are set to start a Tribes Ascend closed beta testing in a couple of weeks, and they need testers. Head over to the Tribes Ascend site to toss your name into the hat. The beta will include all 12 classes, and testers will be able to battle their way across four maps in two game modes, with three vehicles available. The beta test will keep growing as the year continues ahead of the final launch in early 2012.
Hi-Rez have also released two new screenshots of the free to play sequel, showing more of the sunny alpine environments, a shotgun, and a gun that looks as though it fires glowing blue disks of burning energy. From the looks of the motion blur in the first shot, the player looks as though he's skiing, a technique used by seasoned Tribes players to glide at high speeds across terrain. See the new shots below.
Global Agenda has experimented with a number of different business models since it was released. It started as a typical retail game, then offered an unlimited trial period, and just recently it went completely free to play. We recently spoke with Hi-Res Studio COO Todd Harris about the move to the new pricing model. He told us that Global Agenda is enjoying five times the number of players since the shift to free to play, and revenues "are higher than they ever have been before."
A new Global Agenda update is set to arrive later today, adding new maps and a couple of new stores, one selling jetpacks, and another selling "cosmetic flair." The Global Agenda servers will be down for a few hours while the patch is applied, between 11:00 and 17:00 US Eastern time / 16:00 to 22:00 GMT.
Directly improving our Monday, Tribes: Ascend's Facebook page just revealed the game's first-ever screenshots. Judging by the ammo count and the rounded, blue ordinance loaded into the gun in the second screenshot (within), I'm pretty sure we're looking at the new Spinfusor.
Tribes Universe developers Hi-Rez Studios have been talking recently about their upcoming reboot of the Tribes series. They've revealed more about what the classes in the game will be like, the role vehicles will play and the tech behind the project.