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 two lane Siege mode and map on May 6

Wes Fenlon at

MOBAs live and die by their three lane 5v5 maps. Dota 2's map has been passed down from generation to generation as a relic of the ancients. It shall always be as it always has been. League of Legends tried to introduce a new map and game mode with Dominion. It didn't work. Now Hi-Rez Studios' is taking a shot with Siege mode, a new two-lane map for Smite. Siege launches in beta with Tuesday's patch, along with the usual range of balance tweaks and a new god, Egypt's Osiris. Check out the one-minute tutorial video below for a peek at how Siege plays.

The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

Tim Clark at

Each week the PC Gamer convenes an emergency committee of transatlantic editors to discuss the best and worst things to happen in the past seven days. The Elder Scrolls Online appears in both…

Smite review

Wes Fenlon at

"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.

Smite interview: Hi-Rez COO Todd Harris on competing MOBAs, F2P economics, and religious sensitivity

Wes Fenlon at

During the three-day launch tournament for Smite, Hi-Rez Studios' actiony third-person MOBA, I met Hi-Rez COO Todd Harris in the crowded halls of Atlanta's Center Stage Theater. When I found him, Harris was busy corralling a group of popular Youtubers into teams to face off in a just-for-fun showmatch before Sunday's grand finals. As Harris and I headed out of the hallway to find a quiet place to chat, fans kept stopping him, shaking his hand and asking for a card with an exclusive launch tournament skin. I thought it was a little odd, at first, that a COO would be so well-recognized. But Harris is a regular fixture of Hi-Rez's YouTube comedy series. He seems happy to make himself look silly on camera. After the grand finals, he'll get up on stage and proudly proclaim that while Smite isn't the number one MOBA, it is the third biggest. He grins as he briefly chants "Number three!" into the microphone.

The 12 most amazing moments from Smite's launch tournament

Wes Fenlon at

After a weekend of watching the best players from the US and Europe compete in High-Rez Studios' MOBA Smite, I could pick out the most amazing plays by the volume of the crowd. The thousand-seat Center Theater in Atlanta erupted for every kill and chanted for favored teams, but only the best ganks and jukes incited cheers that grew louder and louder and louder. Sometimes the plays were so precise, so obviously above the skill level of any normal player, that I was already writing them down as the crowd went wild.

At least one incredible play happened in every match I watched throughout Smite's three day launch tournament, and I put together a list of the moments that really wowed me below. Each one is embedded with a timestamped video from a Twitch livestream so you can jump straight into the action.

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.

Microtransactions: the good, the bad and the ugly

PC Gamer at

"Free-to-play" and "microtransactions" are dirty terms to some. That's understandable. Famous Facebook Skinner boxes like Farmville have clouded attitudes toward today's free-to-play games, and there's an assumption all microtransaction-driven game design is handicapped by the need to create ways to charge players. For some games, this is certainly true, but there are excellent free-to-play games out there that represent good value for money. Below we've assessed some of the most common methods used by free-to-play games to make money from players, and highlighted some of the fairest examples of free-to-play that are worth your time.

Smite proving more successful than Tribes: Ascend, says Hi-Rez CEO

Phil Savage at

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.

Tribes: Ascend interview - map-making, eSports, and the argument for Tribes: Ascend 2

Tyler Wilde at

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.

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.

SMITE gets Isis as a new playable god

Ian Birnbaum at

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.

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.

Maddest PC rigs ever? Your best entries for our Vulcan's Craftsman Challenge

Andy Hartup at

Last week, we set you the challenge of snapping pictures of your mad, powerful, custom PC rigs with the aim of winning a brand new Alienware TactX keyboard and mouse. It was all to celebrate the release of new God Vulcan (no, nothing to do with Star Trek) in MOBA game Smite.

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.

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.

1000 Smite beta keys up for grabs - plus win ALL the gods

Andy Hartup at

With the Mayan apocalypse imminent, we imagine you’re looking to your god to save you. Well, in a link so tenuous even Kevin Bacon would have trouble joining the dots, we’re giving away 1,000 codes for the closed Beta of Smite, an arena battler where you choose from a selection of gods as your champion.