First off, this is my surprise of PAX. Smite is a new look at the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) field that most of us MOBA players all secretly wanted to see. Including Gods from different pantheons including Egyptian, Greek and Norse, Hi-Rez Studios brings us a game inspired by the like of DoTA (Defense of The Ancients) and LoL (League of Legends), but gives us a third person camera angle as opposed to our traditional 3/4 view.
Don’t think it’s much of a difference? Well, what’s it like to be wrong? Because this changes EVERYTHING.
Because of the 3rd person view, you will now control your God using your WASD keys, much like a First-Person Shooter. Since you’re using WASD to move, naturally you don’t have the same cursor to just click who you want to hit. So, now you’ll be aiming every attack (yes, even auto attack), which makes the fight much more intense as positioning is a crucial part of victory. Now right clicking (your “auto” attack) too early can make all the difference in a fight. This fast-paced take on MOBAs is unbelievably good. I mean, yeah, I’m a huge fanboy of DoTA and LoL so, of course, I’m biased. But, honestly, I may like Smite the most.
Because Dan, Matt and myself all played this one (4 times for me… I got addicted…), we’ll give you all our own little pieces for a wider scope on our feelings. This is only fair for our readers, as I found Smite to be the best game at PAX, and I would completely ruin the legitimacy of our duty to be unbiased in reviews. With that in mind, here are Dans thoughts:
“The gameplay is tons of fun and this game shines when players use their abilities to stun and control their enemies. The game looks extremely polished, and I was surprised to find out it was in closed Alpha. Smite currently has 15 Gods to choose from, and everything seems to be well balanced. Oh, and yes, this is going to be Free to Play! Now, no game exists without its flaws, and Smite has a few things that bothered me. As someone who plays LoL regularly, you get used to some things like how you level up skills and purchase items. In LoL, you simply click a + button above the move that pops up while leveling, and you click whichever one you wish to skill up. In Smite, however, you bring up the skills menu by pressing the “K” key, and you get a full page description of each move and what it does. From there, you choose which to level up. This was extremely intrusive, especially when you’re in the midst of battle. The screen also does not go away until you press the “K” key a second time. The second thing that bothered me was the item (and skill) purchasing system. Once again, to purchase items you hit the I key and you are shown a full page store that does not go away until you press the I key again. This should just automatically go away on its own once you leave your base where items can’t be purchased. All in all, I had a ton of fun playing Smite and am eagerly awaiting access to the Beta and its full release. ”
Okay, fanboy here. I do have to agree with Dan on the skill menu being far too bulky and in the way. It basically brings up a giant detailed screen that offers little-to-no transparency, which, if you’re in the midst of a battle, is the last thing you want to see. Hi-Rez should really work on this; but, to be fair, this game is only in closed Alpha right now. I’m sure they’ll realize how intrusive this is on a player’s view. The creators may have even made it like that just to showcase the skills to the gamers that were showing up to the booth, who have most likely never played before.
Normally we don’t let Matt express himself to the public, but we’re letting him do so on a rare occasion because he did bring up my same plea. So, here’s a small piece from Matt:
”Here’s this fella’s lowdown on the game Smite: it’s awesome. If you like LoL, DotA, etc., you will probably love smite. The rub is every shot is a skillshot, and it is played from a third person perspective. Besides that, it’s pretty much the same game that everyone has grown to know and love. Here’s my issue with it though: you can’t jump. With the WoW-esque (World of Warcraft) perspective, there’s nothing I want to do more than jump my ass off. I was talking to one of the developers, and he said there was no chance they would ever implement jumping; that made me sad. But consider this my plea to Hi-Rez Studios: I WANNA JUMP. Bottom line though, Smite is awesome, tons of fun, and I can’t wait for it to come out so I have another game that Ruan can be better than me at.”
First things first, I’m “Ruan”. Matt misspelled my name once, laughed for days about it, then never stopped calling me it. I’m just clearing that up before anyone tries to figure out who the hell “Ruan” is.
Matt brings up a good point though; if you’ve played WoW or any similar game before, the second you start playing you’ll be pressing your space bar over and over again in an attempt to jump. I mean, honestly, I don’t even need jumping to have a purpose. I just want to know deep down in my heart that if I want to jump and do a spinning trident through mid-air, I can. I’ll be fair to my new overlords at Hi-Rez and agree that there is little to no purpose in actually implementing jump mechanics. To make them useful you would either have to place obstacles throughout the map to jump over or redo the mechanics of all each Gods unique abilities and make sure they will hit/miss depending on if they’re jumping or not. Besides that, you’re basically adding the jump feature solely because people want to hop. Me? I want to hop. Every spell in every game ever looks cooler being cast two feed in the air.
How do I, fanboy Ryan, feel about Smite? Exited? Eager? Captivated? Brain washed? The answer is E. All of thee above. I was enthralled in this game for days. I was at the point where they actually let me play in the developers chair because the media chair was taken and I still wanted to play. I had played so many times before that they allowed me to use the developers seat and stream for the surrounding crowd because I just couldn’t get myself away. I’m addicted to MOBAs. I play LoL daily, constantly watch DoTA 2 streams (I didn’t get a beta key. Sad face.) and played DoTA for a long time. Not HoN (Heroes of Newerth) though. HoN is kind of terrible.
Having played MOBAs for so long I wanted a bit of a change, but the current gameplay was still so enjoyable I never really thought about looking for that change. It almost felt like a travesty to think of my years of MOBA gaming to be suddenly altered. Hat off to you, Hi-Rez Studios. You did it first, and it’s amazing. Offering great balance in gameplay, adding the 3rd person view to make you more connected to your God as opposed to games in the past where it’s a lot of clicking and waiting while everything is done for you.
Smites overall design of their gameplay and Gods is fantastic. The abilities and looks for each God is great and is relevant to their actually mythology which is really cool. They also made a brilliant balance to each God bringing a lot of crowd control such as stuns, walls, slows, entrapments, etc into play as well as a lot of team buffing skills, distance closers and damaging moves allowing all (at least all the ones we played) the ability to be useful in all situations. With the new gameplay of moving using WASD you’ll be skillshotting everything using your mouse thus making positioning and skill very prominent instead of just being the “lololol my champion hits harder and runs faster than yours lololol” we’ve grown accustom to seeing in a lot in MOBAs. That on top of that fact that instead of just having a stationary structure to whack a few times in order to win you not have to fight a boss at the back of their base before a winner is declared has me sold.
The only thing I am worried about with Smite is that there is always a very lot going on at once on each users screen and the graphics in this game do not seem to be too forgiving. The graphics are really, really good. The environments, Gods, spells and everything else are absolutely beautiful, but I wonder how the system requirements will be as we used top end computers in our Alpha testing. If they can work on the skills menu and can make the game playable on at least mid-tier computers without any hurt in the gameplay and looks we saw at PAX I can assure you I’ll be a daily player. And maybe they will even add jumping! Please?
Hi-Rez hopes to enter Smite into beta phase by the end of this quarter and if you want a chance to get your hands on a beta key you can sign up (and few a pretty sweet trailer) here. This game was my personal favorite game at all of PAX East. It was AUN-believable! Get it? See what I did there? Heh… uh, you should still sign up for the beta even though I just said that…