Tribes: Ascend's Tartarus Update adds new maps, introduces loadouts

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.

The patch also adds a similarly lush new Arena map called Hinterlands. Unlike the other maps, Hinterlands lacks inventory stations and features a circular border.

The biggest feature addition is loadouts, which allow players to quickly swap between customized class presets. Extra loadouts cost 40GP or 5200XP. I generally play Pathfinder or Sentinel and stick to the gear I'm comfortable with, but perhaps others will find more use in rapid tweaking of perks and weapons. The Numpad Enter key can now quick-switch between classes and the new loadouts, which is a nice usability improvement.

On the topic of perks and weapons, a new "daily deal" feature has been added. Players will now see personalized price reductions on items they don't own -- my deal for today is 35% off the Infiltrator's Mercenary skin.

In balance changes, vehicle prices have been reduced, the distance a flag can be punted (knocked forward with an explosive) has been reduced, and the exit speed from a Shrike has been capped at 200kph, which maintains the Shrike grab tactic, but makes its "That Just Happened" moments less ridiculous.

Also notable: players who use the "Super Heavy" perk will now hear a satisfying splat when they body check headstrong little Pathfinders. Those who play the "Heavy on flag" role too often go without enough thanks, but at least now they can enjoy squashing flag grabbers a little more.

See more of the new maps and features in developer Hi-Rez's overview video above (the new "splat" sound is at the very end), and read the complete patch notes here . If none of that made any sense, you should really give Tribes: Ascend a go.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the rise of personal computers, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early PCs his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.