Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018
hi rez studios
Hi-Rez’s online card game Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics is getting a real launch set for February 20th on both PC and console. The game is the studio’s fifth game to make it to this stage (though as we’ve previously written, the studio has quite a lot more in production).
Like SMITE, HOTG will ostensibly be free-to-play, but players will need to buy cards to stay competitive. Hi-Rez says to expect a core bundle plus three pantheon packs to start, with a combined fee of around $45 to nab all the existing cards – more than 300 – at launch.
“Owners of the Founder’s Pack of Venus Competitors Pack will receive the Core Set Bundle for free. In addition, anyone already playing Hand of the Gods will keep their card collection, and will also have any previously spent runes returned to their account. Players can still play for free and acquire cards over time like a traditional CCG. Players can also get a quick start at the game by purchasing just one Pantheon Core Set.”
Check out our most recent stream of the game!
“Da Ji and the Legend of the Foxes transports players to a colorful realm, complete with anime inspired artwork, where they’ll defeat relentless waves of enemies. Lending her talents to this new experience is renowned voice actress Cristina Vee (Sailor Moon, Pokemon, and Hunter x Hunter), who stars as the Adventure’s main character Senpai Da Ji. […] Da Ji needs help defending the sacred fox from waves of various enemies. Surviving the ninja hordes will pit players against one of the epic bosses in an exciting battle. No two Adventure playthroughs will be the same as each bossfight is randomized, with more bosses being added each patch. With every victory, players will level up and earn in-game rewards to help their progress.”
“If you don’t know Isaiah and myself, we’re just a ‘PARA’ community managers for SMITE,” HiRezSt3alth jokes in the clip as the camera zooms his face for the emphasized word.
“Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s ‘GON’,” HiRezIsiah quips. “That’s why we’re happy to invite players from all walks of life, from all platforms and all communities, to join us for our fifth year and season of SMITE’s release.”
“Wow,” HiRezSt3alth replies. “Five years? That sounds like one ‘EPIC GAME.'”
Interestingly, the Paragon Reddit, or what’s left of it, isn’t really outraged over the video; the upset seems to have mild and come from SMITE players on Twitter who thought it in poor taste, along with a popular streamer who merely called it “embarrassing” and cringey while pointing out that Hi-Rez probably shouldn’t be bragging about longevity given the fate of Tribes: Ascend. (Or Global Agenda, for that matter.)
Among the features being developed for console players are more streamlined tools for player reporting when necessary and direct bug fix reports for the game’s console clients. There’s also reassurance to many players within the thread of the original posting to discuss known bugs and the process of isolating and fixing them, even though several of them remain elusive. So it’s not a miracle cure, but if you’ve felt like the console experience is too buggy and not stable enough, you can rest assured that it’s being address and improved.
Cerebus, this week’s new playable character, challenges players to control a three-headed dog from hell with a bad temper. Its tail can spit venom, its breath damages everyone in front of it, and Cerebus can even summon up the souls of the damned to damage and pull enemies. He’s probably not the type to do all this and then roll over for a good ol’ fashioned belly rub afterward, however.
SMITE Patch 4.25 adds a few new god skins, including Sweet Tooth Sol and Brimstone Beast Camazotz, and throws in some more Ragnarok event quests. Get a quick overview of the patch below, and check out our in-depth look at the game’s other improvements!
Hi-Rez Expo 2018: Erez Goren, 10 more games, 400 employees, and Global Agenda’s City of Heroes roots
It is true that the Hi-Rez Expo has wrapped up for 2018, and we’ll need to wait another 12 months to attend the next one. (Folks should be over the effects of the after party by then!) There’s just something awesome about getting to gather with tons of fans in one place as well speaking with devs face-to-face. Every year has been cool, but this year has something a little extra: Founder and CEO Erez Goren attended and mingled, answering questions and sharing his love for gaming.
Goren hasn’t given many public interviews in years, but between the dev roundtable with President Stew Chisam and bumping into him on the show floor and chatting with him individually, I got to learn a number of fun facts about the philosophy and workings of the studio from the tip top man himself. And it is true, everything did come from Global Agenda!
And the expo delivered on both counts. EUnited brought the SMITE trophy back the the US for the first time in years, while devs shared some info about the upcoming Season 5.
I sat down with Executive Producer Chris Larson and Lead Designer A.J. Walker to get more details on the new conquest map, the new pantheons, community feedback, and the next adventure mode.
After a few days of playing Bot Smashers at Hi-Rez Expo 2018 this past weekend, I sat down and talked shop with Rory Newbrough, Bot Smashers Design Director, to get a few more details on the upcoming game. I discovered where the idea came from, and learned more about what to expect in its released form.
What I didn’t learn was that the newly announced game had an MMO version hiding in the wings. Yes, I said that. I think I would totally live in a gaming world of the bots from here. They all have such personality, and they are pretty pleasing to the eye. One of them already has a cloak! The idea just oozes fun. I could see the gruff Topsy trying to maintain order, while the ever-flailing Smashbot runs panicked from life’s crazy stuff. And those Rangerbots? They’ll band together like little green army men to get stuff done. Sadly for me, the mobile game is not an MMO – only a 1v1 battle arena. Maybe someday it could be. (Hey, leave me with my unlikely hopes!) Until that pipe dream can find a thread of reality, here’s what you can expect from the actual mobile game.
Hi-Rez Expo 2018 ended this weekend, which means my opportunity to play the studio’s new 1v1 mobile game Bot Smashers has also ended. And that makes me sad. Like last year’s SMITE Rivals (RIP) that I loved so much, the only place to play was the expo show floor. No expo floor means no playing. Now I must wait for a general release to battle some more bots — and right now there is no set time.
What exactly is Bot Smashers, you ask, and why did it enchant me so much? Well that’s exactly what I am going to share with you. Then we can wait on the game together! Hopefully the wait won’t be too terribly long; Rory Newbrough, Bot Smashers GM and design director, noted that the studio hopes to get testing for the game started in the spring, then follow with a soft launch soon after.
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 7:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 9th, 2018
As much as the battle royale-flavored Battlegrounds is big news, it wasn’t the only Paladins news at Hi-Rez Expo 2018. We also learned that there is a new champion, a new map, and more coming to the shooter. But there is always more to learn about news than an announcement provides. That’s one of the things that makes the expo great: the opportunity to talk face-to-face with devs about the game. And that’s exactly what I did!
I spoke with Art Director Thomas Holt and Lead Designer Garrett Martini about Paladins, its upcoming changes, and the lore and story of the game. I also had the chance to try my hand at the mobile take on the game, Paladins Strike, that we heard about at PAX West. Read on for an inside look from the event!