At 5pm EST today, Tribes: Ascend will undergo six hours of downtime as its first patch since March 2013 is applied. It's a substantial overhaul of the free-to-play, physics-defying shooter that has been cooking on the public test servers since September, when Hi-Rez Studios announced it was ending Tribes' long abandonment.
The full patch notes can be found here, although there's enough to form a small patch-cyclopaedia. The most susbstantial changes concern classes, maps and the premium currency, Tribes Gold. Three new capture-the-flag maps—Ice Coaster, Perdition and Terminus—join the roster, while the class system has been simplified into light, medium and heavy armour-wearers with full loadout customisation. Weapons themselves have also undergone major rebalancing.
All Tribes Gold and XP used to purchase items at any point in Tribes' lifespan is being refunded. If you've purchased Gold or the Game of the Year edition at any point, you'll automatically be given the Ultimate Weapons Pack—every gun in the game.
Hi Rez president Stewart Chisam told us that the team isn't expecting to make much money from the Tribes revival, and the patch does have the feel of doing right by a stonkingly good shooter as opposed to a savvy business move.