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Published on August 9th, 2011 | by Brandon


>Tribes: Ascend News and Impressions from QuakeCon


Image courtesy www.hirezstudios.com
Well, QuakeCon has come and gone, but as promised, I’ve got some news about Tribes: Ascend!
First of all, check out some sweet gameplay footage that may or may not have been shot by one of us at QuakeCon. Take a look at it, then read on below for my impressions:

I had a chance to play a couple rounds of Tribes: Ascend, and I was very impressed with what I got to experience. It’s only in alpha, but the maps looked great, the gameplay was smooth, and the skiing was an utter delight. I also had the chance to talk with a Hi-Rez developer and get answer to some of my burning questions. Please remember that pretty much everything you read here is still subject to change.
As in the original Tribes, there are three class types: light, medium, and heavy. In Tribes: Ascend, there are different loadouts to pick from for each class. For example, I played a light class loadout that was equipped with a light spinfusor (disc launcher) and a shotgun. Different loadouts have different weapon combinations and special abilities.
The two maps I saw were very reminiscent of original Tribes maps. Some maps draw heavy influence from classic maps like Broadside, but I was told that Hi-Rez has some brand new maps in the works as well.
There will be a new gameplay mode called Rabbit. In contrast to traditional capture-the-flag, the Rabbit gametype revolves around a neutral flag that players compete to hold for as long as possible. I wasn’t able to get confirmation on whether or not this gametype will be team-based or free-for-all.
There will be an experience system that will allow all players to rank up and gain points for purchasing things like loadouts. Skilled players will most likely rank up faster. There will also be a kind of leaderboard system that will attempt to rank players based on skill. Measures like kill/death ratio, win/loss ratio, number of flag captures, whether a player often leaves before rounds end, and other factors will affect a player’s rank in this system.
Regarding the monetization strategy for Tribes: Ascend, I was very encouraged by what I heard. It sounds like the developers want this to be a strong competitive game and are keenly aware that no one wants a “pay to win” system that gives paying players an unfair advantage. From what I understand, anything that affects gameplay (such as weapons and loadouts) will be available for purchase with money or through the experience system. For example, there will be a standard set of free loadouts (that I’m guessing will probably revolve over time, similar to champions in League of Legends), but players will be able to purchase new loadouts (again, with money or experience points).
As you might expect, there will likely be custom armor or other aesthetic items available for purchase with money only. There may also be timed exclusives for new content where players can buy access to a new loadout or other item before it’s released to the entire playerbase.
Weapons I saw during the gameplay included classics like the chaingun, spinfusor, mortar, and laser rifle. There are also some new weapons, such as a guided rocket launcher, sticky mines, and more.
Gameplay will support up to 32 players (16v16), and the decision on whether to implement dedicated servers has not been made yet. I told the developer I talked with that dedicated servers is essential for real competitive play, and I implored him to champion our cause to his bosses.
Closed beta is expected to start in the next 4-6 weeks, with open beta occurring around a month after that. The full game is expected to release in Q4 of this year.
PS: Because I like all of you and you’re a trooper if you made it all the way to the end of the article, I’ll mention that, as of writing, this link for QuakeCon attendees appears to still be active. Enter your name and email for a chance to get into closed beta. Enjoy!

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5 Responses to >Tribes: Ascend News and Impressions from QuakeCon

  1. Dex says:

    >I almost can't wait to spend 6 hours going over turret placement on each map and making people smash their keyboards into their monitors.

  2. vol1tion says:


    I think a free-to-play game done right can help a game get off the ground when it releases around AAA titles (in this case, BF3 and MW3). It also helps maintain a consistent revenue stream for the game as long as they keep updating the content. It really all depends on the implementation.


    My mistake, I didn't realize Rabbit wasn't brand new. If it has dedicated servers, I'll absolutely be putting some serious time into this game. I can't wait for the beta to drop so that we can game like old times!

  3. Dex says:

    >Rabbit isn't new. It was one of my favorite gametypes in Tribes 2. All I wanted in this game was Rabbit (YESSSS!!!!) and turret farming that made sense/was effective. I played a whole lot of Tribes 2, I don't think you played very much, but it's okay, I still heart you. =)

    @Bizznichw It's hard to tell sometimes whether or not a game will succeed when you have so many other things out to compete with it. Tribes is still a shooter at it's core, so it has to compete with ALL shooters to win over a large fan base. With games like BF3 and MW3 coming out with so much hype and dedicated fan bases, it's hard to say where Tribes would fit. Tribes would be more similar to a Halo or Unreal, but those games are direct competitors right now.

    It would make more sense and probably more money to offer the game as a 40 dollar purhcase and include all of the loadouts forever. They could then give the game out for free and do like LoL and rotate the loadouts, unless you bought them. That would mean that people like myself could avoid "Capper" loadouts, since I don't plan to cap or "farmer" loadouts for those who have no interest in turrets or defense. I'd still pay more to get the full package.

    @Volition This sounds very promising. I hope that you pick this game up, I know it's something that I've been waiting for and that I will pick up. Hopefully we will get to play together again, like the old days in a more familiar game for both of us. Thanks for such a good write up. When I get home I'll check out the video footage. <3

  4. Bizznichw says:

    >@Vol1tion…Do you think a "Free" game with purchase options is better(either for a company or players) over a game that must be bought with a possible free trial period?

  5. eeVo_ says:

    >Sure hope it has hats.



Brandon started his PC gaming days playing Doom II (IDDQD/IDKFA for life) and has been hooked on online gaming since the original Starsiege: Tribes. The way to his heart is through proper grammar, corn dogs, and cookie cake.

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