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.
"They have no idea I'm here," says GamesRadar's Lucas Sullivan as he sneaks up behind two enemy gods in my lane. I'm casually killing minions in front of my tower in Conquest mode, Smite's take on the 5v5 Multiplayer Online Battle Arena codified by Dota and League of Legends. On a strategic level, Smite plays almost identically to League, but it tucks the camera in close behind the back of my character—a god pulled from the pages of Greek or Hindu or Egyptian mythology—and feels more like a third-person action game as I cast magical abilities with the keyboard and sling attacks with the left mouse button.
A few months ago, Hi-Rez's Todd Harris announced that development on Tribes: Ascend was suspended, with the studio focusing its efforts their third-person DoTA-like Smite. As fans of that game grew concerned that its own continued development would eventually be in danger, the studio's CEO Erez Goren has posted a candid address to the Smite Reddit page, addressing Tribes' development, its financial troubles, and Smite's success in comparison. His comments also call into question their plans to release map-making tools for Tribes: Ascend.
Recently, Hi-Rez Co-founder and COO Todd Harris announced that Tribes: Ascend—one of our favorite shooters—will not receive major updates for at least six months, with development almost entirely shifting to in-beta MOBA Smite. Harris later added the news that Hi-Rez is looking into releasing map-making tools for the community, a long-requested feature.
Isis, the ancient Egyptian goddess of motherhood and nature, has just been added to gods-battling multiplayer game SMITE. Isis is billed as the goddess of magic, which makes sense since the historical Isis was the holder of magic in the Egyptian pantheon.
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!
I think I might start playing Sentinel again in Tribes. Though I was courted away from the sniper class by the speed and glory of the flag-capping Pathfinder, yesterday's Marksman update is wooing me. The patch gives Sentinels the SAP20, a more powerful Phase Rifle variant, a secondary shotgun, and speed-activated mines. I could be in the minority, but I quite like all of them.
The next major Tribes: Ascend patch, the Accelerate Update, is coming later this month. It's named for a big change to Tribes' player progression system: weapon and gear upgrades will no longer cost XP. Instead, you'll earn upgrades over time by using your equipment, and only have to spend XP on them if you want a shortcut to mastery. The change will "dramatically speed up" weapon upgrading, says Hi-Rez Studios COO Todd Harris.
Update: It's over! Thanks for playing with us!
PC Gamer now has its very own Tribes: Ascend server -- [VGW]! You can find it in Play Now > Custom Servers in the North America - West region. If you like to go fast, join us -- we're playing from 4:00 pm PST (6 pm CST, 7 pm EST, 12 am GMT) until we're going slow. Watch our livestream inside or at twitch.tv/pcgamer -- we'll be giving out codes for free Tribes Gold in the chat!
Today's Tribes: Ascend version 1.0.961.0 patch adds phosphorescent flora and bunches of updates. The biggest deal is the new CTF map, Tartarus, which is similar in scale and design to Katabatic, but with more green stuff to get in the way. The visual variety is nice, but the mystical forest aesthetic seems out-of-place in rotation with the other maps. But hey: fun new skiing routes to discover! I did some practice-mode exploring of Tartarus in the video above to give you an overview.
"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.
How things change. A few years ago the words "free to play" used to strike fear in my naive mind. I'd think of exploits, affluent winners and infinite credit card debt. No more. Now I associate free to play with a game I can play... for free. It's a payment model that Hi Rez studios controversially adopted for Tribes: Ascend, the competitive team-based shooter that's just gone into open beta.
Executive Producer Todd Harris has the payment model to thank for the boost in the player base of their previous MMO-shooter, Global Agenda: "Just before going free-to-play, we had a very generous free trial, but by changing it from a free trial to free-to-play, we increased the number of people who download and play dramatically. That was a good learning for us... we thought we did an effective job making the game free-to-play, but not pay-to-win and the community tended to agree with us."
"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."
I’ve just become the frosty filling of an ice-wall sandwich. Josh and I are getting hands-on time with Hi-Rez Studios’ Smite, and we’re right at eye-level with the action thanks to the third-person camera angle. Through sheer coincidence, we’ve both chosen Ymir, the leader of the frost giants from Norse mythology, as the tank of our opposing teams. This astral plane isn’t big enough for two ice giants—may be the best frost titan win.
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?