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Official Site: SMITE
Studio: Hi-Rez Studios
Launch Date: March 25, 2014
Genre: Mythological Fantasy MOBA
Business Model: F2P (Cash Shop)
Platform: PC, Xbox One

Hi-Rez Expo 2018: Our hands-on with Hi-Rez’s new game Bot Smashers

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.

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The Stream Team: Drowning sorrows in SMITE’s arena

As much as Massively OP’s MJ really wanted to keep playing SMITE’s adventures, the latest round turned off today. To hide her tears and try to get over the heartbreak and anguish, she’ll be partaking of some Arena Therapy. Tune in live at 7:00 p.m. and help MJ through this difficult time. (There will also be plenty of Hi-Rez Expo talk!)

What: SMITE
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 7:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

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Hi-Rez Expo 2018: Paladins’ story, previewing new toon Moji, and hands-on with Paladins Strike

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!

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The best SMITE and Paladins cosplay at Hi-Rez Expo 2018

While the bulk of Hi-Rez Expo 2018 is taken up with the various tournaments, the fans have their own contest open to them: Welcome to cosplay. I’ve been bumping into Paladins and SMITE characters out and about all weekend, but the contest showcased some super impressive costumes. If you’ve ever wanted to see a Ao Kuang in real life, good news for you: He won first place! Second place went to Skadi, and third was Bellona.

Congratulations to all the participants, both on stage and off! If you weren’t able to make the event, you can still admire many of the costumes in the video and gallery below.

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Hi-Rez Expo 2018: Hands-on with Paladins Battlegrounds, the game’s new battle royale mode

Paladins got not one but four announcements at this year’s Hi-Rez Expo. There’s a brand-new team death match mode coming as well as new battle cat mounts and a unique new champion. And then there was the biggest news revealing the upcoming Paladins: Battlegrounds.

But announcements only gloss the surface of things, so I sat down with devs to discuss the new modes. Todd Harris, Hi-Rez COO and Paladins Producer, and Erez Goren, Founder and CEO, shared details and answered questions on Team Deathmatch and Paladins: Battlegrounds. I also got to settle in and play a few matches of Battlegrounds. Here’s what I learned in the interviews and my hands-on.

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Hi-Rez Expo 2018: Paladins introduces battle royale mode, new champion Moji, and battle cat mounts

Big brother SMITE isn’t getting all the attention at this year’s Hi-Rez Expo 2018 – Paladins is definitely seeing some love too. The team-based shooter got quite the reveal of its own during the keynote address this morning: a new Battle Royale game mode! Paladins: Battlegrounds will consist of 100 players broken into teams trying to survive while exploring and looting on a massive open map that slowly constricts with a deadly fog. The 20-minute matches play out on a map 300 times the square footage of a typical Paladins siege map. An early alpha version is playable here at HRX, so keep your eyes out for our hands-on!

Devs also revealed other tidbits, including the game’s 35th champion, Moji (a magical Flank that gets to ride into battle on a summoned two-headed dragon); a new Team Deathmatch mode with a new map (Trade District); and new battle cat mounts. The first battle cat, the Primal Prowler, will be given away exclusively to Twitch Prime members. Members will also get a Twitch Prime King Bomb King skin. Check out the trailers for all the reveals below!

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Hi-Rez Expo 2018: SMITE Season 5 heralds art update, gameplay overhaul, and new god Cerberus

Hi-Rez Expo 2018 is kicking off this morning with a big announcement for SMITE. More than just introducing a new god (Cerberus, the three-headed guardian of the underworld) and revealing the next two pantheons to join the ranks later this year (Slavic and Voodoo), the keynote address is set to reveal that SMITE is getting a makeover with Season 5. And not just any makeover – the biggest change ever.

Players will see upgraded art on the Conquest Map as well as significant – and highly requested – gameplay changes to the 5v5 mode. That jungle fog? It’s back! And the playing field leveled out, quite literally; the newly symmetrical map creates a fair playing field no matter what side you begin on. On the new map design, Lead Game Designer A.J. “Ajax” Walker says that “the Season 5 map will feature perfect vertical symmetry between Order and Chaos. Lanes and Jungle paths will have the exact same shape on top and bottom. This balances the map, and removes timing differences to each side. Overall, this creates a more consistent gameplay experience.”

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Perfect Ten: The best MMO updates and expansions of 2017

Last year was positively stuffed with updates, expansions, and cool stuff. A lot of years I struggle to remember which major updates happened in the past year, due partly to my own faulty memory but due largely to the simple fact that not a lot of them really stuck out for me. This year? We were awash in updates. Some games literally gave me multiple choices about which update I thought was “the best” just because, well, there were so many.

So the list that follows is, honestly, a fragment of what could be chosen. At least one of them is something you will probably disagree with. And that’s fine, because thankfully, last year (as mentioned) contained tons of great updates for people to enjoy. So without further ado, let’s delve into the best updates of 2017 and gush for a bit about how many cool things got added to games last year.

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The most popular Massively OP MMO articles of 2017

One of my favorite things to do every year is drill down the top articles on the site for our readers. I don’t mean the most controversial, the most fun, the most important, or the most commented-on; I mean the single articles that actually brought in the most hits. And what I find most interesting is that most “popular” aren’t always the ones we expect! As we’ve noted before, a well-timed link from a major website – Reddit, Fark, or a game dev – can elevate an entire month. (That’s why we’re so grateful when our fans share our work across social networks!)

Just remember that the list favors posts made early in the year (and in some cases, evergreen articles from earlier years) as later pieces haven’t had as much time to percolate, so when you do see big articles from December on a list like this, that means a popular post indeed!

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The MOP Up: Honoring RIFT’s Wintercharm (December 24, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from War ThunderSMITEKritika OnlineArmored Warfare, Stardew ValleyDofusElswordJustice OnlineThe Black DeathWarfaceRIFTValnir RokWakfuMapleStoryHeroes and GeneralsMiranda, and League of Legends, all waiting for you after the break!

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SMITE launches Frostfire Ullr, new Odyssey content while teasing what’s coming in January

SMITE has been stricken with Frostfire this week, and it’s a good thing: It’s a unique skin for the game, for Ullr specifically, acquirable for people who charge through the latest round of Odyssey content.

“Players will witness Ullr’s appearance change as he levels up, going from a fledgling elementalist to an avatar of fire and ice,” Hi-Rez explains. “When switching between Ullr’s melee and ranged stances players will see him transition from fire to ice with custom special effects, animations, and voice lines for each stance.”

Hi-Rez has also given players a peek at what’s coming early next year; in fact, expect new information rolling out even next week when everyone else is slacking. Of note, the January 5.1 patch will have a brand-new map for season 5. Have fun in there!

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Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: Best Not-So-Massively Game of 2017

Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Best Not-So-Massively Game, which was awarded to Overwatch last year. As you might surmise, the games eligible for this category are online games that generally aren’t considered traditional MMORPGs – they’re MOBAs, online dungeon crawlers, ARPGs, online shooters, survival sandboxes, and other games that tread into MMO territory but aren’t full MMORPGs. Once again, we’ve opted to include pre-2016 titles, as long as they accomplished something truly notable in this calendar year. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

The Massively OP staff pick for Best Not-So-Massively Game of 2017 is…

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