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.
That's just for upgrades, though -- you'll still need to purchase new weapons with Gold or XP, and there are 27 new variants coming. The new weapons are tweaked versions of existing guns, and offer stat trade-offs rather than new mechanics. The Devastator Spinfusor, for example, does less area of effect damage than the Heavy Spinfusor, but gets a direct hit damage bonus. Aside from the obvious motivation -- having more things to sell -- it sounds like Hi-Rez is attempting to add deeper customization while minimizing the risk of a major balance upset.
On the subject of balance, Harris says that the patch will introduce "the most comprehensive balance changes to date," which were conceived by watching and conversing with competitive players. He didn't list any of the adjustments, but they'll be in the patch notes when it's live. Have a watch of the update announcement trailer below:
Oh, one more thing: Hi-Rez also released a dramatic teaser to announce that the next step for the Tribes series is already on paper (opens in new tab) , along with Todd Harris' head.