One of best parts of attending conventions is talking with the devs. And during my trip to Hi-Rez Expo 2017, I spoke with a number of them about a variety of topics, learning more about the games as well as witnessing their contagious exuberance for their projects first-hand. I spoke with lead designers AJ Walker, Rory Newbrough, and Scott Zier about SMITE's Season 4 changes, Paladins' Season 1, and SMITE Tactics' possible PvE mode respectively. President Stew Chisam also added a tantalizing tidbit, sharing news about the upcoming addition of more limited-time adventures in SMITE. Let's dive in!
If you enjoyed the variety of the one-off arenas Xing Tian's Mountain and Fafnir's Winter Wonderland as I did, this next announcement should make you happy: New adventures will be a regular occurrence! Did you catch when devs mentioned them in previous notes? If not, you are in good company; Chisam noted that these new events were pretty much a hidden line announcement. But he elaborated on the topic for us.
Past, present, and future. While the totality of a game studio encompasses all three aspects, we often focus on only one or two at a time. Over the last week, we heard a great deal about Hi-Rez Studios' present during Hi-Rez Expo 2017, from the tournaments (congrats to all the winners!) to what's immediately in the works for its roster of games. But there are still the two other sides to the studio to consider. And these are the sides I explored in interviews with President Stew Chisam and VP Brian Greyson. Specifically I wanted to learn if the company had plans to connect its past with its future in regards to Global Agenda. I was also curious as to what other directions the SMITE franchise might take.
Join me as we delve into the past and the future of Hi-Rez Studios, the possibility of a Global Agenda 2, and the expansion of the SMITE universe.
By now, it might be apparent that I am a bit enamored with the upcoming cross-platform SMITE Rivals. (Hey, it's the only game I active seek out PvP in!) I've certainly really enjoyed playing the game; it is fun and not just a little addicting. But I have also enjoyed talking with the Project Lead Brian Greyson, Producer Randy King, Lead Designer Chad Wilson, Tech Designer Colter Cvach, and Designer Sean Watson throughout Hi-Rez Expo 2017 about the game. From formal interviews to informal conversations to quick chats between matches, we tackled topics like the copycat concerns, design decisions, tactics, and the future. I even tried to learn more about monetization -- a hot topic in the online gaming community right now. Read on!
Hi-Rez is expected to have plenty of announcements in store for players during the opening ceremony of its 2017 expo this morning, including the news that SMITE Tactics, its 1v1 turn-based strategy game set in the SMITE IP, will kick off its closed beta today.
Announced back in October, the game had alpha testing in November. This beta release will include a full tutorial to show players the ropes. The Greek pantheon will be available immediately, but the Norse and Egyptian pantheons can be unlocked only as players complete a campaign against AI. The Chinese pantheon will be added later in the year.
Players who are interested in getting in to test the game right now can purchase founders packs starting today. These packs will grant immediate access to the beta as well as 15 card packs, an exclusive icon, and a set of legendary cards featuring Greek goddess Enyo for SMITE Tactics as well as an Enyo skin for Bellona in SMITE itself. As a special deal for the expo, the founders pack is 25% off until January 12th.
You don't have to go questing for an adventure in AdventureQuest 3D. Wait... hold on. I'm sorry, that's exactly what you do in the game. It's right there in the title. Boy, do I look dumb. Yes, after a very brief delay, the game is now in open beta, so you can go questing for adventure as you wish all over the place.
But it's not just adventuring and quests this week; there's other beta news out and about. Isn't that something?
- If you want to get in on the League of Legends client alpha, it will end very soon, replaced with the open beta that everyone can access.
- Alpha 4.0 for Empyrion - Galactic Survival is out now! To clarify, it's a game about surviving within a galaxy, not a game in which you play a galaxy struggling to survive. I'm not sure how that version would even work, but if someone makes it, I'll probably play it.
- Love SMITE but hate the relative speed of it? Perhaps you ought to consider the upcoming turn-based battler Smite Tactics, which is slated for testing sometime this year. It's all the deific battles of SMITE, but now everyone takes polite turns to do so.
- Nebula Online is leaving the safe, forgiving waters of early access for the rocky shoals of launch in November. If you were eagerly awaiting the launch, now you know when it's happening; if you didn't even know it existed, well, now you can prepare for launch.
- It's been very quiet around TUG, hasn't it? Never fear, the developers are posting new job openings and plugging away at the game's second version!
- Last but not least, The Exiled has gotten harder, better, faster, and stronger with its most recent update. Note that this is not about the game adding in Daft Punk; it's just really faster now.
Is that enough for you? Aw, heck, we'll give you a full list of games currently in testing just below all the same, but don't tell anyone. Or do tell everyone, we won't stop you. Let us know if something hopped test phases without our noticing, that happens every so often.
We hope Hi-Rez's tease of a new title announcement yesterday
didn't get your hopes up because it's definitely not the Global Agenda 2
some folks were gunning for. In fact, Hi-Rez has formally announced this evening that its new game is an Unreal Engine 4 game called SMITE Tactics
, as trademarked
"SMITE Tactics is a turn-based strategy game set in the same universe as the popular MOBA, so players can expect to see many familiar faces from the Battleground of the Gods. [...] SMITE Tactics is a game of strategy where players will carefully choose which minions to deploy across the battlefield and which gods will lead them. Every unit has unique abilities and players will build their armies prior to battle using collectible cards. Players will be able to compete for prestige in 1v1 ranked competitive modes and experience various adventure modes versus AI."
Testing is slated to begin in 2016; you can already sign up on the official site.