hi rez studios

A studio known primarily for SMITE, Global Agenda, Tribes: Ascend, and Paladins.

Hi-Rez’s Realm Royale tightens hitboxes in its latest patch

Hi-Rez’s fantasy-themed battle royale title Realm Royale has just received a major update as it continues through alpha testing. The so-called HITBOKS patch brings a number of tweaks to the game, not least of all – as the name suggests – a major reworking of hitboxes, which “are now tighter to the player’s shape and animation,” which the devs say should “significantly improve hit accuracy,” which is always a good thing in a shooter.

Beyond that, the patch also tweaks the skydiving controls to better allow players to land where they want to at the beginning of the game, brings significant buffs to the auto rifle and burst rifle, and adds headshot protection to helmets, allowing players to better guard their precious noggins. The update also fixes a plethora of bugs and expands the game’s localization to include Traditional and Simplified Chinese and Korean language options.

For the complete details, check out the full patch notes on Realm Royale’s Steam page.

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The MOP Up: EverQuest II’s scorched sky policy (July 1, 2018)

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 ElswordCrossoutARK ParkEverQuest IIDark and LightConan ExilesKritika OnlineLineage 2 RevolutionOld School RuneScapeTitan QuestMU OriginWorld of Tanks MercenariesSMITE, and RuneScape, all waiting for you after the break!

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The MOP Up: Neverwinter’s five-year anniversary and Ravenloft campaign (June 24, 2018)

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 World of WarplanesWorld of Warships LegendsPlayerUnknown’s BattlegroundsSea of ThievesSkull and BonesOld School RuneScapeSMITEWar ThunderNeverwinter, and Pokemon Go, all waiting for you after the break!

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The Stream Team: Battle Royale, SMITE adventures style

Everyone is getting in on the battle royale craze, even SMITE. The newest adventure is Medusa’s Deathmatch, and Massively OP’s MJ is jumping in for the first time to check it out. Join us live at 6:00 p.m. to see the gods’ version of battle royale. Will MJ be any better at it with gods involved?

What: SMITE
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 6:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

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SMITE launches Medusa’s Deathmatch

You might not want to look too closely at the latest patch for SMITE. Why? Well, it brings in the new Medusa’s Deathmatch map, and that probably means it’ll turn you to stone. Or it means that you’ll be fighting two enemy teams at the same time, forcing you to adjust your strategy to avoid giving ground to either side while still remaining competitive. If you already feel you know how to handle one other team, you might change your tune when you’ve got twice the enemies and twice the challenge.

The patch has also brought along several new skins and a variety of bug fixes, as patches tend to do. Of course, it’s also brought some issues along with it, which are already helpfully available in a thread on the official site; this includes some after-match placement errors, which are good to know about ahead of time. So jump on in and take on your enemies, possibly while watching everything through a mirror. (It’s a Medusa thing, you see.)

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Hi-Rez launches standalone F2P game Realm Royale, a mix of ‘open-world PvP MMO and your favorite hero shooter’

You can’t accuse Hi-Rez of not chasing trends: Not only is it introducing a battle royale mode to SMITE, but it’s actually just launched a standalone free-to-play battle royale game into Steam early access today. It’s called Realm Royale, and the company is calling it the “first 100-person fantasy Battle Royale” title. You might remember it from its previous incarnation as Paladins: Battlegrounds, a mode originally planned for the MOBA-shooter Paladins (and we liked it when we played it then too).

“Players begin each round of Realm Royale by selecting one of five traditional fantasy classes. Each class offers a unique playstyle; Mages can soar above the battlefield and rain down fireballs, while Engineers deploy turrets and shields in hero shooter-style combat. […] Each round unfolds in true battle royale style, with 100 players dropping from a zeppelin into a massive fantasy-inspired map full of goblin villages and mushroom forests. Players loot weapons and abilities from chests as the fog closes in, customizing their character and effectively creating their own personal champion. In another fantasy twist, players are able to summon a mount at any time to quickly cover open ground and get right into the action.”

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Hi-Rez is basically maintenance-moding Hand of the Gods

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.

Source: Twitter

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SMITE is getting a battle royale mode adventure of its very own in 5.10

Battle royale is the thing to do lately, and by Zeus, SMITE is doing that thing: In update 5.10, the Hi-Rez MOBA will introduce Medusa’s Death Match, another of its adventure side-games, only this one is explicitly a battle royale map.

“The 3v3v3 death match brawler adventure will be played on a new egyptian themed map. Teams will spawn at bases around a center objective, but the true goal is to be the last man standing. The first team to win 3 rounds wins the match. A death fog will quickly close in on the map, until only the center play area is left available. The 3-team game format makes for interesting strategy and the potential for alliances not normally found in SMITE game modes. The killer fog sets a definitive timer for rounds, and it makes matches quick-paced and fun.”

The new adventure should be rolling out to PC and consoles later in June as part of the game’s ongoing fifth season.

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SMITE’s Dragon’s Fortune is live today as Hi-Rez works to fix server crashes

SMITE 5.9: Dragon’s Fortune is technically live on all three major platforms today, with a pile of bug fixes, new skins, new chest items, and the usual round of item balancing tweaks. As for the gods themselves, here’s the breakdown of what to expect:

  • Ah Puch’s Corpse Explosion’s damage will shift around to rely a little bit less on minions, buffing him in the early game;
  • Cu Chulainn is getting a wee nerf to Berserk;
  • Erlang Shen, Neith, Skadi, Zeus, and Nox will see slight buffs;
  • Hachiman and Xbalanque are being nerfed slightly to bring them into parity with other characters of their archetype;
  • Zhong Kui should be a whole lot less frustrating to play;
  • and Chernobog, the game’s newest god, is getting well-earned buffs to make him easier to play.

Of course, that rundown assumes you can actually get in to play, which isn’t a given as the servers have been struggling to stay afloat thanks to tons of people playing and a strange bug, as Hi-Rez’s Stewart Chisam notes:

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SMITE says it’s banned or suspended 20,000 toxic players in season five alone

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.

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It’s been three weeks since Hand of the Gods players have had any news from Hi-Rez

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.

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SMITE launches patch 5.8 with Chernobog and the Divine Uprising

If you’ve ever felt like SMITE has mined out a few pantheons for all the material that’s available, you’ll be happy to know that patch 5.8 doesn’t just mark the launch of the Slavic deity Chernobog. No, this is part of the new Divine Uprising event, bringing out a wholly new balance to the game as well as three new pantheons getting added into the mix. And that’s just the start; after all, there is the aforementioned Chernobog.

The patch also adjust balance for several existing gods and offers new skins, along with some tweaked item balance across the board. Of course, the patch isn’t perfect, and a thread of known issues has already been started; we can only hope that those are addressed sooner rather than later. Still, though, the promise of entirely new groups of myths to fight against? That has to be worth something.

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The Daily Grind: Would you like MMORPGs to have seasonal passes?

Between the waves of MOBA and battle royale phenomenons, I’ve noticed an alternative monetization model that’s apparently proven quite successful in these games. Seasonal passes are popping up everywhere in games like SMITE and Fortnite, and I have to imagine that they’re pretty lucrative money-makers for studios.

The basic idea behind seasonal passes is to sell players a package that contains many rewards that must be unlocked with in-game activities before a certain time frame comes to an end. The sheer number of rewards makes these passes quite alluring, and the excitement of the next season keeps players coming back for more.

My question today is whether or not seasonal passes could work in MMORPGs. Could developers create packs like this and develop enough optional achievements as requirements to unlock rewards? Would the communities snap these up? Would they work? Would you be interested? Tell us what you think!

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