Smite – PC
Developer: HI-REZ Studios
Publisher: HI-REZ Studios
Release Date: N/A
Genre: Third-person Multiplayer Online Battle Arena/MOBA
Reviewed by Nidhidki
Smite is a Free to play MOBA, played from the third person perspective. that is currently in open beta with intent to release early spring 2014.
You can download and play the game for free here. http://www.hirezstudios.com/smitegame/home
Now right away those of you familiar with the MOBA genre will notice what makes this game special. The traditional MOBA (see DOTA and League of Legends) is played from a top down RTS style perspective, which in my opinion leads to a cluttered screen and difficulty identifying what is actually happening, making it difficult for players new to the genre to understand and learn the game. Believe me MOBA’s are difficult enough to learn already. Smite tackles this problem with a switch to the third person view, a choice seen most often seen in RPG’s. This change alone rockets Smite above the competition for those of us who have trouble keeping track of tiny sprites on a screen full of tiny sprites. Smite also differs from other MOBAs in that it requires skill shots, (you have to aim) where as other MOBA’s are more of a point and click, this introduces more of a skill element to the game think of other MOBA’s as really complicated chess where stats and placement are paramount to winning, with smite being more like football where stats and placement are important but player judgement and reaction are equally important. The controls are also closer to an RPG using w,a,s and d for movement with mouse being used to aim and fire. Other MOBAs are almost completely mouse driven with the keyboard only being used to select abilities.
The Basic concept of a MOBA is the player chooses a character, in the case of Smite these are gods from an array of mythological pantheons, Greek, Roman, Chinese, Norse, and Mayan are the major ones. The player is then placed on a team with four other players and pitted against another team of five players. Once in the game the map consists of a base housing a Minotaur guarded by three phoenix turrets one for each lane. There are three lanes left, right, and center. also called top, bottom, and middle, (this is a carryover from those top down MOBA’s I told you about.) Each lane has four turrets two for each team. The area between these lanes is the jungle, this area has several camps of non-player controlled enemies, these are “creep camps” some of these camps contain color coded player enhancements that temporarily increase one attribute of the player who obtains them, these are “Buff camps”. After a short timer a marching line of NPC creeps will spawn at both bases and begin marching down the three lanes towards the opposing base. The players main objective during the game is to escort their teams creeps to the enemies base and kill their Minotaur. Although this is easier said than done. As in Smite and all MOBA’s for that matter, there is no in game benefits carried between games, all players will begin each game at level one with 1500 gold, thus ensuring that any benefit gained is gained purely through skill during that particular game. In the early game players are relatively weak and must rely on friendly creeps and turrets for protection. As the game progresses players can increase their strength through leveling up and buying powerful stat increasing items using gold. Gold and experience is gained in a couple ways, first by killing enemy creeps, or the neutral jungle camps, also destroying the enemy turrets and Phoenix’s will grant a hefty bonus. Most important though is the killing of enemy players this will result in the most substantial boost of both gold and experience. This outlines the conquest game mode which is the staple MOBA game type, smite also include several other game modes which are joust, a one v one version of conquest with a single lane. three vs three conquest, Arena, a team death match style game, and domination in which players battle for control of several points on an asymmetrical map also with two teams of five.
The most important part of any MOBA is the players choice of character. In Smite these are gods and each god has a role and a unique set of abilities. First I will explain the roles, there are several major factors in deciding which role a god falls into these are physical, or magical this decides whether the god delivers either physical or magical type damage, ranged or melee, this decides whether a gods basic attacks will be up close and personal or from a distance. other factors are a gods base health, attack and defense statistics, the last and probably most crucial factors are that gods unique abilities. All gods will be assigned a combination of either physical or magical, and ranged or melee attributes, with their base stat amounts and four unique abilities. once these are in place then the role is decided. The major roles are as follows Tank, Hunter, Bruiser, Assassin, and Mage, with more specific roles and combinations within each. The Tank role can be ranged or melee, physical or magical, with the deciding factors being that it has either a very high defense or health stat or both, with low offensive capabilities, A tanks unique abilities will most often be supportive or defensive in nature, with focus on aiding teammates with few exceptions. The Tank players job during a game is to soak up damage from the enemy and overall protect and aid teammates. The Hunter Role is the damage dealer of the group it is always physical and ranged, with a low starting defense and health stat and a high attack stat. The Hunters unique abilities will generally be offensive in nature with high damaging abilities, and stuns. hunters are good at dealing damage to a group of enemies usually with an area effect ability of some kind. The hunters role during a game is to kill enemy gods and destroy enemy turrets. The Bruiser role is a middle of the road type that can be either physical or magical they are always melee however, they have well rounded stats in all categories and are able to deal and take in damage equally well however with nowhere near the prowess in either category as a tank or hunter, their unique abilities vary and can be offensive or defensive but they tend to be more supportive. The bruiser is a flexible role and generally is sculpted to fit the team. The Assassin role is also known as the jungler or roamer, they are always melee physical, with extremely high damage and low defense and health. They wander the map and target enemy gods who are low on health surprising them from the jungle with a burst of damage for the kill then retreating back into the jungle. Their unique abilities usually are either offensive with an emphasis on single targets, or aid them in movement or stealth to take the enemy by surprise. The Mage is always ranged magical, with varied stats usually staying very well rounded, they are the pillar that holds the team together with high sustainability meaning they have little reason to return to base to replenish health or mana as their abilities do that for them. They can be healers or damage dealers even defensive, changing to meet the needs of the team.
The gods in smite are extremely varied but all follow a basic standard, so as there are close to 40 gods available in smite I will provide a link with details on every god here http://www.ign.com/wikis/smite/Gods
Every god has a basic attack which can be used infinitely simply by clicking as well as four unique abilities these abilities are assigned to the 1, 2, 3, and 4, keys with 1, 2, and 3 being the basic abilities and 4 being the ultimate. The ultimate is as the name suggests an extremely powerful move, unique to each god with a long cool down usually around a minute, this means that a player can only use his or her ultimate every minute or so, whenever the cool down resets. Each ability has five levels the ability gains more benefits with each level, players will receive a point to put in one of their abilities each time they level up, the first point unlocks the ability for use, however the ultimate cannot be unlocked until the player has reached at least level five. when the player reaches the level cap (20) they will have all four abilities at max level. Items bought during the game will provide stat bonuses some items can also have adverse effects on enemy’s and aura buffs to friendlies.
I would count Smite among my top five favorite competitive games of all time. It has a strong focus on teamwork and strategy, with a fun and engaging gameplay that keeps me coming back. My experience with the community has been 90% positive which is not something that can be said for most games in the MOBA genre. I would recommend Smite to anyone interested in MOBAs but who is either to afraid or overwhelmed to jump into the black pit that is DOTA and LoL. So Perhaps I will see you on the battlefield.
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