Published on August 9th, 2011 | by Brandon5
>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!