SMITE Tactics Closed Beta – Thoughts and First Impressions
Developer: Hi-Rez Studios
Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios
Release Date (NA): Unannounced
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy
Hello everybody and welcome back to the nerdiest bacon around. Have you ever wished that your favorite MOBA was turned into something completely different? Of course not, but change is inevitable. Rhutsczar is here to test out the waters for ye’ (why am I a pirate) with early access to the closed beta of SMITE Tactics. You to can join in on the beta by either signing up on SMITE Tactics or purchasing an early access founder’s pack for $20.
For those unfamiliar with the mega popular MOBA franchise, SMITE has a rather simple concept. Take a multitude of Gods from different pantheons and mythologies and have them drafted by Titans who are caught in a struggle for the fate of the world. Each player selects a God and are selected to one of the opposing Titans. Their job? Force your way through the ranks of enemy soldiers and Gods while wrecking their defenses and charging head forth into the enemy Titan. You will only triumph if you free the Titan from its meager existence.
Believe it or not, there is actually some what more of a concrete story this time around. The single-player campaign begins with the revival of Zeus by the Egyptian god of death, Anubis, informing him that he was assassinated and Mount Olympus has fallen as a result of the chaos and despair. You take control of Zeus and his lesser god as they try to uncover who managed to kill Zeus in the first place. Is it Ra? Could it be Odin? It’s up to you to figure it out. The current beta only focuses on a handful of major gods, but it could lead to a solid story depending on how Hi-Rez incorporates the rest of their released pantheons.
As I mentioned above, their are a significant number of gods and pantheons at Hi-Rez’s disposal. However the beta only focuses on three main pantheons (Upon writing this article, Hi-Rez has since teased that the next pantheon out for release is Roman):
- Major God: Zeus.
- Lesser Gods: Athena, Aphrodite, Arachne
- Major God: Ra
- Lesser Gods: Anubis, Neith, Bastet, Sobek
- Major God: Odin
- Lesser Gods: Thor, Loki, Skadi, Fenrir
- Roman: Very little is currently none about the available Roman god roster.
- Possible Major Gods: Hercules, Mercury, Vulcan, Bellona
Now, let’s move on to the actual point of SMITE Tactics…the battle. Each player takes control of one of the available pantheons and their major god appears on that player’s side of an isometric grid. You draw a handful of cards from your deck, which can be both minions, lesser gods, or spells. You take turns moving your characters across the grid, dealing damage to each other’s major gods until they run out of health. Each god has attack and health traits, which can also be modified or improved by spells. How do you have the power to do all of this? Well you are controlling gods for one. Two, there is a mystical element called mana. I’m pretty sure you haven’t heard of it.
In each battle, how Mana is used actually reminds me quite a bit like magic. Except instead of being expert mages drawing Mana from the life force of the lands, it kind of just increase once per turn. Because you are just that good. Each character or spell needs a set amount of Mana to be able to be used, so since you start with an initial amount of two, it will be very rare for you to summon additional monsters or lesser gods in the first few turns. There are select item cards that can be found on the battlefield from destroyed obstacles that cost zero Mana, but you really need to work for those. At least your Mana increases exponentially, and you don’t have to keep relying on the power of the lands. Save some for the next spirit bomb.
Lucky for us, once you finish the campaigns for each of the three pantheons, there is a limited multiplayer mode that is currently available. Each battle doesn’t feel different than the tutorial or campaign, except that there is more deck customization before each match. Also, did I forget to mention that multiplayer mode has been where most of the known bugs have been occurring? Hi-Rez has plenty to flush out before the multiplayer mode can run optimally. Again, that is why there is a beta. Let’s test this to the best of our ability.
Just like in the original SMITE game, there is a shop that players can use their hard-earned crystals and favor for gifts. Currently there are only a few different types of items available in the shop, which are mainly different kinds of card packs to add to your decks. You can also use favor or crystals to buy additional costumes for the current roster of gods. There is plenty of room to expand the shop and we hope to see a shop similar to the original title’s. While it does push forth the “pay to play” idea/design, it would incredibly work with what Hi-Rez has created.
Unfortunately, SMITE Tactics currently feels not enough close to the finished product. Yes, I know it is still in beta, but it seems like it should be so much further along by now. I almost encounter some kind of bug in each online match such as phasing through obstacles and encountering a multitude of errors while trying to spend my mana. I clearly have three available mana, and my current card costs two…and error. It’s a pain in the ass, as it slows down online matches significantly. In the initial version of the beta the game was almost rendered unplayable by game crashing bugs in the menu and shop, but they have since been fixed. The current SMITE Tactics that we have available is very much the bare-bones of what could be a solid spin-off
Overall, I have to applaud Hi-Rez in their effort to turn their mega successful franchise and spin it off into a completely different perspective. When I first initially heard about SMITE Tactics, I felt that Hi-Rez had decided to try and replicate the additional success that Blizzard had with Hearthstone. While the available version is still only in its beta stages, I can’t wait to see the full final product. Hey Hi-Rez, kick it into gear and let me have the full version already!
This is definitely the new baby of Hi-Rez Studios, but unfortunately there is no release date announced for SMITE Tactics just yet. Continue to follow us @ Nerd Bacon for news and updates as we move closer to launch day!
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