Back in May, we covered the bizarre silence surrounding Hi-Rez’s SMITE-infused free-to-play online card game Hand of the Gods. At the time, the information and update flow had completely and dramatically stopped; Hi-Rez was refusing to communicate with the community or the press about the fate of the title, causing players on Reddit and Discord to suspect the game was dead.
As it turns out, it’s not dead, but it’s as close as it gets. Just over a week ago, Hi-Rez president Stewart Chisam finally responded to player inquiries on Twitter.
“We have been working on and off on a nice bug fix patch to come out sometime soon,” he writes. “But no major content updates on the schedule. Servers will stay up as long as we have enough people wanting to play.”
I’d like to say that the game’s subreddit is filling up with farewells, but there are just a few, which probably won’t come as a surprise. Even an attempt at a postmortem hasn’t gotten much traction; players argue that stiff competition, marketing, balance, system requirements, bugs, and the mobile version were all factors in the game’s poor reception.
Toxic players, beware: Hi-Rez may not be talking to its Hand of the Gods
players, but it’s cracking way down on SMITE
miscreants. The studio apparently banned or suspended over 2000 people last week
“based on player reports and in-game behavior,” just a fraction of the number punished this season alone.
“Over 20,000 players have been suspended or banned in SMITE during Season 5 so far. However, this latest action today represents a ramp-up in our suspension activities, especially on Xbox and PS4, where our tools and processes have improved the most. One of our top priorities is making sure the player experience is positive and fun, and we’ve done major work recently to help us handle in game toxicity. We’ve been working hard to improve our machine learning tools to better identify players that have shown trends of negative behavior, as well as ramp up the efforts of our internal team at Hi-Rez that checks player reports and chat logs.”
The company stresses that this is all past of its “initiative to promote positive player behavior and handle negativity in game,” with more on the way. It also requests that players keep the reports coming.
Stretch your mind back to February 20th, when Hi-Rez’s SMITE-infused free-to-play online card game Hand of the Gods formally launched. The studio appeared to be actively supporting the game back then, with patches and tournaments and packs and Twitch promotions.
And then, just about three weeks ago, the information and update flow completely and dramatically stopped.
Reddit is freaking out. Discord is freaking out. The general consensus and concern is that the game is dead. One rumor floated in the game’s chat is that there’s now just one Hi-Rez dev on the game and he’s also working on another game, but we stress that’s just a rumor. Either way, the devs aren’t communicating with the public, players, and press about this launched live title; Hi-Rez’s Stewart Chisam, who recently told SMITE’s subreddit that he aimed to improve patch quality and communication between that game’s staff and players, has not responded to a public inquiry made by a prominent YouTuber. The playerbase is begging for information and simply getting nothing.
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!
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!
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.
Hi-Rez’s turn-based strategy card game Hand of the Gods — you might recall it better as SMITE Tactics or even its internal name, Hotgods — formally launches closed beta on console today, arriving on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
“The beta for Hand of the Gods kicks off by offering special bundles for PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold members–including FREE access to the Closed Beta for those members! Starting today, PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold members can receive the Hand of the Gods promotional bundle for free! Each bundle features a unique Leader Skin and also includes an Exclusive Card Back and Player Icon. In addition, the bundle includes five Core Packs to give new players a jump start in building their decks.”
Want even more stuff? Hi-Rez has granted us codes for the Legendary Greek God Medusa, redeemable on either console (but not PC). Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab one of these keys!
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 Hellion, Hand of the Gods, Wakfu, Hyper Universe, Dark Age of Camelot, Black Desert, Dragon Project, Stardew Valley, and EVE Online, all waiting for you after the break!
It’s patch day in SMITE
, as I remembered this morning when my husband logged in and saw the new “Belly Ache Ymir
” skin. Our header above isn’t even big enough to show you the best part: the chocolate chip cookie codpiece. This game.
Anyhoo, Ymir is just one of the Norse gods getting love in today’s patch 4.18, Odyssey: Journey to Asgard, which also introduces new Norse quests and the Norse Conqueror achievement. As part of its ongoing “Project Olympus” overhaul, Hi-Rez is adding random player loadouts, turning off server rollup, and fixing other annoying parts of spectator mode. Check out the patch notes below, and then… hey, who wants an ice cream cone?
It’s deja vu day! The last time Massively OP’s MJ shared some Hand of the Gods gameplay, she gave away a handful of Founders packs and Venus competitors packs. Today, she’s got more that she brought home from PAX! That means you’ve got the chance to nab one of these prizes, both of which also include a SMITE skin. And if you want even more HotGod goodness, you can grab yourself a Norse starter pack in honor of the Steam launch. Tune in live at 4:00 p.m. for your chance to win more.
What: Hand of the Gods
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 4:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, September 15th, 2017
Hi-Rez’s turn-based strategy card game Hand of the Gods — you might recall it better as SMITE Tactics or even its internal name, Hotgods — is officially coming on Steam. Today, in fact: It arrives on the platform following patch elements much requested by players, says the studio, “including the refinement of Combat Logs and the new additions of Clans and a Deck Tracker.” Yesterday, we wrote about some of the new pantheons coming in the future too; the studio has further elaborated on new cards and the Japanese and Hindu pantheons.
In the meantime, however, we’ve got some free stuff for you courtesy of Hi-Rez: keys for the Norse starter pack:
“The Norse Starter Pack will grant the 3 Norse cards Dagaz, Gift of Munin, and Ratatoskr. These codes can be redeemed in-game and are for PC only. These codes can be redeemed only once per account, so if someone has already redeemed a code previously, they can’t redeem it again on the same account. (Note: This pantheon starter packs is different from the main starter pack in the Steam release that grants the Ra skin.)”
Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab one of these keys!
Just because SMITE
weren’t available to play at PAX West
doesn’t mean that there wasn’t stuff to learn about the games from Hi-Rez!
I got the low down on Hi-Rez projects from Scott Zier, who is VP of Design at Hi-Rez as well as executive producer of Hand of the Gods. We touched on multiple topics, from the flagship MOBA and the shooter to the MIA mobile title and the new mobile title. As Zier said, the studio always has a number of projects going at any one time: “We’re very much a multi-game studio.”
While the full Hi-Rez portfolio wasn’t in attendance at PAX West, Hand of the Gods was on-hand with a fan tournament as well as machines to introduce folks to the game. Devs were also available to discuss this tactical SMITE spinoff. I sat down with Lead designer Scott Lussier and Executive Producer and VP of Design Scott Zier to talk about the game’s name, its progress, the reception at the convention, and plans going forward.
In fact, one of the tidbits Lussier shared is that the Japanese pantheon is next on the list after Hindu is released later this month.