Wot I Think: Tribes: Ascend

By Richard Cobbett on April 17th, 2012 at 12:00 pm.

Wotcha. Bet I don't miss at this range.

Tribes: Ascend is finally out of beta and ready to welcome all-comers in free-to-play jetpack combat. Is it enough to be the series’ true successor though, or just another casualty of its own reputation? We sent Richard screaming through the air to find out.

Mostly, Wot I Think when playing Tribes: Ascend is “Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!” It’s a game of speed and jetpacks, of aerodynamic combat and the satisfaction of launching a perfect hit on a distant dot. There are games where you can just run around and spam bullets like a crazy-person and end up at the top of the leader board like some king or queen of awesomeness.

Tribes: Ascend is not one of those games. Just look at its most famous weapon, the Spinfusor – a slow-moving projectile that doesn’t even hit particularly hard, and seems custom-built to be rubbish against fast moving enemies zooming round on every axis of movement. Score your first aerial kill though and you’ll see exactly why so many people love its glorious blue silliness. This is a game of skill and precision, where teamwork is critical and points have to be earned.

That it’s turned out so well is a genuinely wonderful surprise. Tribes is one of Those Licenses – if not the first multiplayer game that much of its audience played, then at least one of the first team-shooters that showed the joy of going online and racking up a parent-quaking phone-bill. As Irrational Games found with Tribes: Vengeance, recreating that magic isn’t easy.

With Tribes: Ascend, it’s fair to say that while earlier beta versions were decent, they weren’t quite there. Skill based weapons like the spinfusor sat next to much less involved kit like hitscan based pistols for instance. Throughout the process though, developers Hi-Rez Studios have outdone themselves with their responsiveness to community feedback, constantly tweaking and changing elements and creating something special regardless of whether you’re a Tribes newcomer or a more established fan. Most importantly, not only is Tribes: Ascend one of the first games designed to be free-to-play that’s worth playing regardless of the lack of a price-tag, it’s one that comes with every bit as much spit and polish and love as any commercial shooter.

All this senseless destruction... for a flag. At least we should probably put it inside or something...

While it offers several modes, like regular Team Deathmatch and Capture and Hold, Tribes lives and dies on the CTF battlefield. Two teams, two bases, two flags. Between them, a seemingly endless expanse of hills and mountains and scope for clever play. If you’re a flag-capturer, you’ll see it as a blur – your jetpack hurling you through the air, your feet ski-ing down slopes as you hold down the key that sticks two fingers up at the concept of friction. If you’re a Juggernaut, those hills are where you deliver explosive packages from incredible distances. Technicians busy themselves on the homefront, keeping the generators going that power your defences. Soldiers… do whatever needs to be done, with a spinfusor and a smile. A spinfusor, anyway. With nine classes to choose from, there’s a fun role for every style of play.

If you’ve never played Tribes before, expect a few frustrating games to start off with. Your jetpack often seems designed to run out of puff exactly a split-specond before you reach the high-ground, and weapons like the spinfusor take serious practice. Not all combat is at long range, but much of it is, and even most of the weapons with splash damage offer relatively little margin for error considering the aerial nature of the combat. It’s probably best to leap into Team Deathmatch mode first, just to get the feel of things, before stepping up to full-on Capture the Flag where turrets, vehicles, base defences and attacking power generators come into play.

Even at your worst though, you should be able to see light at the end of the tunnel, and be confident that you’re not losing simply because the other guy dropped a billion quid in the store. For all the upgrades you can buy and unlock over time, the only reason skill isn’t the name of the game is that “Tribes: Ascend” apparently had more of a ring to it. Marketing, eh?

Here’s an example of the Spinfusor in action. In case it’s not obvious, a blue-plate special is killing an enemy in mid-air. It is not the easiest thing to do, to put it mildly… though is still a bit easier than enduring this godawful music for the full five minutes. Shudder.

The only real catch is that managing all the complexity can be tricky, partly because of how much your team has to handle, but mostly for the lack of integrated voice chat. At least, so far. On the plus side, this means not being shouted at by the usual screaming waste of semen that infests most online shooters. It does however make instantly responding to an incoming flag-carrier zooming in at an appreciable fraction of the speed of light trickier than it might be, with your main communication method being a short-cut tree of barks like “Need! Covering fire!” and “Warning! Enemies!” that still soak up valuable split-seconds of your attention.

In most cases, the counter to this is that with good play, you should be able to react to most situations on the fly. An Infiltrator going lone-wolf may still knock out the generators that help the flag-catcher get past turrets, while a Juggernaut doesn’t need specific back-up to hurl attacks. It helps that the basic classes you get for free are the most suited for simply pitching in and doing your best, with the more advanced paid options serving more specialist roles like infiltration and holding your ground rather than being pure upgrades. You don’t have to top the leaderboard to make a solid contribution, and it’s tough to be a major drag on your team outside of the special 5v5 Arena mode (which is probably why you have to reach Level 8 to take part in it).

In short, while the level of skill required to play well is much higher than most shooters, there’s no need to be scared off by the challenge. At least at the moment, there’s room for everyone on the maps in at least the more general roles, the player community has been friendly enough on almost all the rounds I’ve played since joining the beta, and there’s nothing quite like the feeling when you start landing hits on a regular basis and can count yourself as a battle-hardened Tribesman/not quite the cack-handed newbie you once were. Delete as appropriate.

Repairing these machines may not be heroic, but... uh... SHUT UP!

Right. So, how much will all this free goodness actually cost? Essentially, not much, and even a free player can be competitive, though you will end up spending money at some point. Not much though, and everything you do buy, aside from XP booster packs, you get to keep.

Most importantly, despite the amount of stuff in the store, most of it can be safely ignored. You’ll soon figure out what role suits you, from flag-capturing to defence, and can focus on that rather than actually having to buy everything. You can also try any class before you buy it via he Training mode, which includes a full set of target drones to play with. It’s not a Skirmish or anything though – they just stand, jump and run in circles rather than fighting back.

Three of the nine classes are available up front – Pathfinder, Soldier and Juggernaut, filling the Light, Medium and Heavy archetypes – and each get something in every weapon slot to start you out. Others can be bought up-front for gold or earned with XP, though just biting the bullet and paying is usually best. Not only does XP take a long time to build, it’s the only currency you can upgrade gear with. Put in context, buying the Soldier’s iconic Spinfusor costs 42,000 XP points, or 240 gold. Upgrading it to max level (giving you extra ammo and bonus damage to armoured targets) costs 7,800 XP. You can see where your points are best spent…

XP can be used to purchase almost everything, though there are a few exceptions – bundle packs, boosters and skins are gold only. Classes range from 160 to 280 gold, though their weapons vary dramatically in price. A Raider’s grenade launcher for instance is currently 240 gold, while the Juggernaut’s MIRV clocks in at a whopping 780. Annoyingly, there’s no in-game way to see the prices for equipment without actually buying the class. As an example though, to fully kit out your Soldier (which you don’t necessarily have to do!), you’re looking at:

240 gold for the Spinfusor
240 for the Eagle Pistol
420 for the Proximity Grenade
240 for the Anti-Personnel Grenade
240 for the Utility Pack

…making for 1380 gold in total. There are also two sets of Perks shared between all of your classes which clock in at 160 each/2800 for the lot – though you can only have two active at once, and not all will fit your class role. If you play Infiltrator, you can safely skip Super Heavy for instance, while only a flag-capturer needs the extra reach of… well… Reach.

In actual money terms, gold costs $9.99 for 800, $29.99 for 3000 and $50 for 5000 – the last two coming with a free XP booster pack. Buying any gold at all also makes you a Tribes VIP and gives you a lifetime 50% boost on any XP earned in-game that will make it considerably faster to buy your unlocks. Put simply, while you will need to spend some money to get the most out of Tribes: Ascend, focus on a couple of roles and it doesn’t have to be very much.

Oh, and no. At the moment, there are no hats to wear into battle.

Should this change however, I demand a “SHAZBONNET!”

DEATH! OR POSSIBLY A DREADFUL MISS FROM ABOVE!

As far as missing features go, only two really jump out – dedicated servers and proper ranking. Both are due to be added, though you won’t be able to host your own games as such. Instead, you’ll have to rent them from within the game. You can check out the options here, but I’ve not seen any pricing information on how much it’s going to cost to get one when they go live. In the interim though, simply playing with friends is a bit of a nuisance – not least because there’s no way to even guarantee getting onto the same team when you join a game.

On the whole though, Tribes: Ascend itself is good to go and well-worth checking out. It promises to have a solid future with new maps and modes, and its handling of free-to-play purchases at least feels fair. It’s a great shooter, fantastic multiplayer fun, and while it’s certainly not afraid to put its own spins on the classic Tribes template, it’s more than worthy of its name.

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135 Comments »

  1. Ross Mills says:

    When I accessed this news post, the first thing I thought was “He’s gonna say ‘Wheeeeeeee!’”.

    I was not disappointed by this.

    I was, however, disappointed that the entire Wot I Think was not “Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…” etc

  2. caddyB says:

    Ok let’s get these out of the way:

    SHAZBOT
    GOTTA GO FAST
    SHAZBOT
    SHAZBOT

    speaking of which this guy is fun, Boku Raider: Shazbot of Darkness:

  3. AmateurScience says:

    Played the Beta, really really enjoyed it despite having no skill. Will definitely be playing more.

  4. caddyB says:

    Also a note, Sentinels ( snipers ) are pretty hard to use right now so don’t go unlocking them with your first few bits of xp or free gold from facebook likes ( you can get it if you don’t use facebook, just make a stupid named temporary account =P )

    You should probably unlock the soldier spinfusor, because it’s pretty good and better than the ratatat gun you start with ( although I’ve seen dudes getting insane amounts of kills with the rifle, it’s all about skill to use it well )

    And yes, it does feel great when a week passes and you notice yourself playing visibly better and start kicking some ass ( as long as the other guy doesn’t play better than you do )

    • BillyIII says:

      I don’t find sentinels to be difficult, it’s my favourite class.

      • caddyB says:

        I’ve had about 5 of my friends go and unlock the class to be camping and sniping and then getting owned in the face and crying about it.

        If it works for you, great!

    • FluffDaSheep says:

      Good Sentinels dominate any CTF game they are in. I can’t do it myself, and it’s boring, but… it’s certainly not ineffective. You are right in that they are hard to use, though sniping skill from other games pretty much carries over directly.

      The Soldier spinfusor is good, but not necessary. I certainly wouldn’t spend your first XP unlocking it… but there was a promotion somewhere offering codes to get it for free, iirc. Should still be going. I didn’t look into it further because I already unlocked it.

    • Norskov says:

      The soldiers spinfusor can be unlocked by visting the key giveaway on MMORPG.com, I tried to post this on the forums as well, but it was probably mistaken for spam.

      http://www.mmorpg.com/giveaways.cfm/offer/330/Tribes-Ascend-Spinfusor-Gift-Keys.html

      Note: You are required to register for an account to get a key.

    • Zanpa says:

      The Assault Rifle is actually better in… Quite a lot of situations.
      The Soldier is only played competitively with the AR/Thumper combo. Gunning down enemy cappers like there’s no tomorrow.

      • Richard Cobbett says:

        Nowhere near as cool as doing it with the spinfusor though. (sniff)

      • ThTa says:

        Yeah, the automatic weapons are the most effective way to take out fast-moving and airborne targets. But the explosive weapons are absolutely devastating in the relatively close quarters of TDM and Arena, since those’ll make it much easier on you to get direct hits and use them to their full potential. (I pity the Pathfinders playing Arena, a single airshot of my Soldier’s Spinfusor is enough to kill them instantly.)

        I wasn’t all that fond of it, initially. But there’s really no other way to chase in T:A.

      • Maktaka says:

        The AR is better for open terrain, particularly against unmaneuverable targets like heavies, and flag defense/chasing against high-speed cappers that barely touch the ground. It is inferior for interior operations, strafing runs on the flag, sniping turrets and radar, and looking friggin’ awesome.

        The big problem with the AR is that it’s the absolute worst automatic weapon in the game. It’s coupled with the worst explosive weapon in the game. Now this combo is certainly the most versatile of all the mediums and lights, but you can only fire one weapon at a time. I’d rather have a GOOD explosive weapon with the Spinfusor coupled with an acceptable finisher with the pistol than an okay explosive and an okay automatic.

        • Brise Bonbons says:

          This comment is spot on, but illustrates one of my key gripes with the game: I’m still not convinced that classes with weapon restrictions actually have a place in Tribes: Ascend. I think it would be a better game if it kept the original Tribes design, where you could mix and match weapons at will. Unfortunately that would be much more difficult to realize within the F2P model…

          As it is, if you’re a soldier on defense and regularly chasing flag cappers, you best get used to that AR. It *will* get you kills on fast-receding, low health enemies.

      • Phantoon says:

        It’s an odd skill curve. You’re better off with the spinfusor when you’re not so good and when you’re really good, unless you’re REALLY REALLY good. If you can land every hit with an AR, chaingun, or any other non hitscan bullet weapon, you’re gonna rack up kills. I can’t hit that accurately, so I stick to my spinfusors, bolt launchers, and thumper.

        But AR is something you really should get good at, because AR + Thumper DX is a far better loadout than Spinfusor + Eagle.

    • wonderpookie says:

      I find it kinda funny/sad that in a unique FPSer such as TA where you can fly and ski about at incredible speeds, pulling off awesome feats of skill with alotta unique/different weps, that some ppl still find joy in sitting around playing hit the dot, as per every FPSer ever made, ever. And yes, I hate being owned by a good sniper, always have, always will :P

  5. pkt-zer0 says:

    Public servers are a bit frustrating because there’s no team shuffling, so team stacking happens fairly often. Also the game’s rather ping-sensitive (anything above 50 and you’re kinda screwed), and the engine seems rather poorly optimized at the moment (I’m struggling to keep above 30FPS even on minimal settings, but can manage Crysis at 40 or so). Controls for the Shrike are really awful, without a first-person view.

    So, anyway. Fun game, still some obvious stuff in it that’d need patching, so a “release” seems a bit premature. But they’ll keep patching things anyway, so that doesn’t mean a whole lot.

    • BillyIII says:

      Ping up to 100 is not a problem IMHO.

    • Maktaka says:

      Controls for ALL the vehicles suck right now. The game has some sort of inverse mouse smoothing only when you’re in vehicles so that the faster you move your mouse the less you turn. I cannot for the life of me grasp why they did this instead of using the same system as, say, UT3 where you can move your aiming indicator as fast as you want, but the turret/vehicle will line up with it according to its turn speed.

    • Bobtree says:

      Lack of automatic team shuffling is always painful. Stacking seems inevitable when you have skilled players, a learning curve, and quitters. Almost every game gets this wrong too. I’m very tired of it.

    • triple omega says:

      The only two things that really bother me about the game right now are:

      1) There is no ranking system at moment. This means at times you’ll end up playing against players that are way better then you, and that’s no fun.

      2) Some of the maps have terrible design in certain areas. This can lead to classes finding it hard to fulfill their role, or things like generators that are offline nearly the entire match.
      I love the variety of the maps in Tribes Ascend, but it is a bit hit and miss in certain areas.

      Aside from that it’s a very enjoyable game, even when you suck, even when you’re losing, and that’s pretty rare.

  6. BathroomCitizen says:

    This is one of the best FPS that I played in the last years, it requires a set of skills that haven’t been used in a long time in games – taking an habit to verticality, mainly. HiRez really did a fantastic job, because I’m not that easily pleased when talking about FPSs.

    The first betas were a bit disappointing truth to be told, but the current version really has gripped me by the balls!

  7. Pugiron says:

    Wow so an ass-kissing review the same day they have the banner ad on your site? I thought RPS was better than that.

  8. Lone Gunman says:

    I need to start playing this again and get myself a spinfusor.

  9. Casimir Effect says:

    Tribes Vengeance gets way too much flak. I can’t speak for the MP side of things and never was into the MP of Tribes back in the day, but the SP campaign was really fun. It was an overly-dramatic space opera with some excellent open maps and a nicely-told, nonlinear plot. I wish it would get a digital release somewhere as my physical copy has gone somewhere.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      My connection at the time wasn’t up to the multiplayer, but I enjoyed much of the main campaign. It did some really cool things with interlaced narrative and character moments, right down to putting the tutorial in context (a pirate type trying to humiliate a kidnappd princess by showing how bad she is at flying, only to realise that she actually rocks a jetpack damn well.)

      • Casimir Effect says:

        “much of the main campaign” is especially apt, as I’d be the first person to say there are some awful levels in there. Particularly the base-defense one (although the bit after that level is great) and the trials one. That sort of split-narrative game also suffers from the problem of some character being far more enjoyable to play as thatn others; Jericho dull, Mercury awesome.

  10. RedViv says:

    The only thing I still miss are females and mutants. The game itself has shaped up really that nicely during the beta. Was lovely to behold.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Mutants I don’t see much need for, but female soldiers would be a good addition. Doesn’t bug me as much in this game as others – Gotham City Impostors, I’m totally looking at you – but I hold that they should always be a standard inclusion unless dealing with a situation where it would be spectacularly inappropriate for the setting. Something like a realistic World War 2 game counts. Jetpacks in THE FUTURE, not so much.

      • ThTa says:

        Females are confirmed as being planned, but not in the works.
        The reason they’d be especially appropriate here is because all previous Tribes games featured them as well. (Additionally, all but the Light armours would work unisex.)

        edit: And the “mutants” he’s referring to are the Bioderms, another “tribe” from the previous games.
        Not exactly necessary in my eyes, either.

    • Ziv says:

      And in the game.

  11. Checksumfail says:

    If you play Infiltrator, you can safely skip Super Heavy for instance

    Are you sure? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UJv3Qq8Fc8

  12. Mr. Mister says:

    From the footage I’ve seen, the maps seem quite empty, with very few graphic ecorations: mosltly vast extensions of land withone or two texture, and some very sparse buildings.

    • Dominic White says:

      If the maps were cluttered, it’d be almost impossible to move across them at speeds in excess of 250km/h.

    • caddyB says:

      Say that again when you hit one of those damn trees with the flag at 250kmph indeed.

      • FluffDaSheep says:

        I have often suspected that the trees in T:A have their own gravity field, drawing speeding, oblivious pathfinders straight into them.

        • DarkFenix says:

          I don’t think it’s that, I think the game waits until I’m going over 250km/h then places the trees directly in my path.

          • Phantoon says:

            I ejected out of a shrike into a tree once.

            I died on impact.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      I already rage enough at the random ledge/rockpile/icy spike thing getting in the way.

    • Skabooga says:

      I cannot speak for other games in the series, but a vast, featureless wasteland and concrete-slab buildings is very much in keeping with the aesthetic of Tribes 2.

  13. FluffDaSheep says:

    Here’s what I recommend to new players, regarding the unlock system:
    1. Play soldier and/or pathfinder to find out if you like the game. Juggernaut is pretty difficult and frustrating at first, though some people may immediately take to it.
    2. If you like the game, buy some gold and get the permanent 50% XP boost.
    3. Find out which class you enjoy most.
    4. Upgrade your pack, armor, grenades, weapons for that class. Get some perks to go with it.
    5. At this point you should have enough XP to start upgrading other classes you like.
    6. Wheeeeeeeeee!

    Don’t be put off by the massive pricetags on most of the unlockable gear (not classes). Most of them really aren’t that good compared to the default loadouts. I doubt that new players would get much mileage out of them anyway. Focus on upgrading default stuff instead.

  14. Derppy says:

    “This is a game of skill and precision, where teamwork is critical and points have to be earned.”

    I have to disagree. If I go fractal spamming around the enemy base and generator room with survivalist and looter, I usually end up on the top of the scoreboard and it doesn’t take much skill at all. Flag capping and chasing take a lot of skill, but don’t get you to high scores.

    While Tribes: Ascend offers a great setting for organized teamwork and a team that works together would always win a game, that doesn’t happen in public games. Some try to fulfill the role of their class, but most of the people just chase random enemies around the map and call down orbital strikes once in a while.

    For public teamwork to happen, the scoreboard would have to be removed and experience should be awarded only from winning a round. Then playing smart as a team would be the most effective way to farm XP and get new gear/classes.

    That being said, Tribes: Ascend is still the best FPS game in a very long time and extremely enjoyable, just don’t expect to see a team working towards the victory together, rather than competing for the first place in the scoreboard.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Disagree. I’ve seen plenty of teamwork on public servers, if only people following their role, and very little score-chasing, all things considered.

      • Derppy says:

        I thought so at first, when I played technician I’d stay around the base and repair our assets. When I played Doombringer I’d sit on the flag with super heavy, when I played the Pathfinder I’d chase the enemy capper.

        Then I realized that once I quit a role, nobody replaced it. Enemy getting caps? Change to pathfinder and chase, but then the turrets go down and stay down for the rest of the game.

        It got really frustrating, but once I accepted the fact people generally do what they want, T:A became a much better experience.

      • SketchyGalore says:

        I agree with your disagree. Tribes has some of the greatest on-the-fly teamwork I’ve ever seen. It’s not the kind you get by rolling your eyes through 5 minutes of VoIP planning, it’s the kind you get when you have a flag in your hand, you ski two inches under a teammate flying the opposite way, and he distracts/destroys the three pathfinders following you. If you accept teamplay in little sudden instances of two or three people, then it’s absolutely everywhere. If you expect an entire team of 16 people to follow the same plan… well… VGN.

        As for the score issues, I commonly see my score skyrocket to first place as a capper/chaser, but that’s probably because I don’t make those suicidal “can I cap yet?” beeline runs for the flag every time I spawn. A good tech can top the scoreboard, so can a good sentinel, etc. Not to be rude, but I don’t think exploiting a fractal spam on players who really should know better than to walk head-on into a fractal spam indicates a broken system. And if you’re single-handedly distracting 5+ members of a team whilst locking down a generator, I’d say welcome to my team and enjoy those points! That said, one skilled player could easily put a stop to a situation like that and often does, in my experience. And, random people walking into fractals (and most likely learning a valuable life lesson) aside, whoever wins that gen room fight is going to come down to the same thing it always does: skill and teamwork.

        But I didn’t mean to sound hostile. I do adore this game and think it has excellent balance. I just think that the teamwork-with-strangers systems it has in place already are one of the things that make special and not just another clan-based shooter.

        See you on the slopes!

      • El_Emmental says:

        I disagree with your disagree, things have changed since the last 2 or 3 weeks.

        During the early moments of the public beta (when they changed to 9 classes and opened the beta to Facebook likers), people were still learning how to play, most people didn’t have more than 4 or 5 classes (= no brutes, no raiders ; mostly Technicians for the auto-aim turrets kills, Infiltrators for the easy kills on newbies, then Doombringer for the Pathfinder-slaughtering), teamplay wasn’t really there but it was ok : it wasn’t really needed.

        Then, people learned to play each roles, each classes, and started unlocking most classes. Teamwork became mandatory, and people started focusing on teamwork : always a HoF or two, Light Turrets on flag-stand, a Heavy covering the Generator, an Infiltrator harassing the Generator, etc.

        But recently, it became pointless : teamwork would only gain potential victory and nothing else.

        1) You get more points/ credits by maximizing your kills/destructions.

        nb: getting credits mean getting Orbital Strikes and Vehicles.

        Examples :

        - there’s no points awarded for being a HoF, unless you kill a foolish Pathfinder not waiting for the MIRV/GrenadesLauncher/Orbital spam to make a pass. Strangely enough, the capture-and-hold gamemode frequently awards points (“Hold the Fort” accolade) for standing near the capture-point.

        - there’s no points awarded for covering the genny access, unless the genny-haters are foolish enough to get closer and attack one by one.
        => Most genny defenses happen in corridors way before the genny room, with each sides spamming its explosives to keep the other away (grenades being used when low on health, to prevent the other side from pushing for the final blow), resulting in a long (both in terms of duration and ranges) battle, until one side get ridiculous reinforcements like 2 or 3 additional teammates

        - repairing (as a Tech) awards you close to nothing, repairing a full base (Radar + 2 Turrets) barely gives you 750 credits, which is the equivalent of 3 assist kills (or 2 assists 2 kills). The time-spent/credits-gained ratio is clearly on the “KILL EVERYTHING” side.

        - with that in mind, earning credits through generic fighting (= going to the enemy base, get kills/destructions) is much more efficient, both in terms of XP gains (50% of the bonus XP is based on your rank in your team – much easier goal to look for than your entire team victory) and gameplay :
        a) As now, reaching the middle of the map and spamming MIRV/Mortar can not be countered efficiently : any flagstand without a large roof means no defense.
        b) Soon you’ll have a Shrike (4500 credits, 3600 credits with the Wheel Deal perk), so you can chase like a lone-wolf without any problem (Doombringer missile ? get behind a hill or just laugh : he needs 3 missiles to destroy you).
        c) You can also go for the Beowulf tank (2400 credits with the perk), to spam shells from your spawn and on the skiing enemies near your base.
        d) And from time to time, you’ll use your 10k credits to have an orbital strike (minimum of 2 kills), reducing defenses to nothing in a second.

        Want to capture a well-defended flag ?

        a) Play as Pathfinder, try to find a gap in the defense, ask your teamates to help you = “You’re joking right ? :D”.

        b) Play as a Jugger, try to clear the flagstand then switch to Pathfinder = “TOO SLOW *defense-rebuilt*”

        c) Go Raider or Jugger-mirv, keep attacking the enemy base non-stop, once you get 10k credits (or only 4k if you can’t wait), switch to Pathfinder, clear the flagstand with an Airstrike, grab at 200+ without worrying about defense/chasers = “Nice grab !”

        2) The victory XP bonus is 0.25*baseXP, the rest of the BonusXP is 0.25*baseXP/your-rank-in-your-team. BaseXP is only based on the time played.

        Unless you’re so good at the game you can get a victory no matter what kind of team you have, your win/lose ratio will be around 0.5. To get a better ratio, everyone on -your- team would have to focus on teamwork and victory. As an individual member of your team, you can’t really change that ratio on your own.

        Then, there’s something you can do about your rank (to get more XP) : get more points.

        And teamwork is pretty far from the most efficient way to earn points.

        Conclusion :
        - Want more XP ?
        - Want more ingame gratifications (through accolades, credits, rank) ?
        - Want more toys to play with (Orbital Strikes, Vehicles) ?

        => Forget about teamwork, go on your own.

        • El_Emmental says:

          1) You get more points/ credits by maximizing your kills/destructions.

          nb: getting credits mean getting Orbital Strikes and Vehicles.

          Examples :

          - there’s no points awarded for being a HoF, unless you kill a foolish Pathfinder not waiting for the MIRV/GrenadesLauncher/Orbital spam to make a pass. Strangely enough, the capture-and-hold gamemode frequently awards points (“Hold the Fort” accolade) for standing near the capture-point.

          - there’s no points awarded for covering the genny access, unless the genny-haters are foolish enough to get closer and attack one by one.
          => Most genny defenses happen in corridors way before the genny room, with each sides spamming its explosives to keep the other away (grenades being used when low on health, to prevent the other side from pushing for the final blow), resulting in a long (both in terms of duration and ranges) battle, until one side get ridiculous reinforcements like 2 or 3 additional teammates

          - repairing (as a Tech) awards you close to nothing, repairing a full base (Radar + 2 Turrets) barely gives you 750 credits, which is the equivalent of 3 assist kills (or 2 assists 2 kills). The time-spent/credits-gained ratio is clearly on the “KILL EVERYTHING” side.

          - with that in mind, earning credits through generic fighting (= going to the enemy base, get kills/destructions) is much more efficient, both in terms of XP gains (50% of the bonus XP is based on your rank in your team – much easier goal to look for than your entire team victory) and gameplay :
          a) As now, reaching the middle of the map and spamming MIRV/Mortar can not be countered efficiently : any flagstand without a large roof means no defense.
          b) Soon you’ll have a Shrike (4500 credits, 3600 credits with the Wheel Deal perk), so you can chase like a lone-wolf without any problem (Doombringer missile ? get behind a hill or just laugh : he needs 3 missiles to destroy you).
          c) You can also go for the Beowulf tank (2400 credits with the perk), to spam shells from your spawn and on the skiing enemies near your base.
          d) And from time to time, you’ll use your 10k credits to have an orbital strike (minimum of 2 kills), reducing defenses to nothing in a second.

          Want to capture a well-defended flag ?

          a) Play as Pathfinder, try to find a gap in the defense, ask your teamates to help you = “You’re joking right ? :D”.

          b) Play as a Jugger, try to clear the flagstand then switch to Pathfinder = “TOO SLOW *defense-rebuilt*”

          c) Go Raider or Jugger-mirv, keep attacking the enemy base non-stop, once you get 10k credits (or only 4k if you can’t wait), switch to Pathfinder, clear the flagstand with an Airstrike, grab at 200+ without worrying about defense/chasers = “Nice grab !”

        • El_Emmental says:

          I’m being marked as spam, my messages got deleted, delayed, and now what is visible is not making any sense :/

          edit: is there anything I could do to prevent such disappointing outcome ? I can recognize some numbers or reCaptcha words, answer weird questions about obscure games, anything proving I’m not selling jeans or iphone pink cases :c

      • El_Emmental says:

        1) You get more points/ credits by maximizing your kills/destructions.

        nb: getting credits mean getting Orbital Strikes and Vehicles.

        Examples :

        - there’s no points awarded for being a HoF, unless you kill a foolish Pathfinder not waiting for the MIRV/GrenadesLauncher/Orbital spam to make a pass. Strangely enough, the capture-and-hold gamemode frequently awards points (“Hold the Fort” accolade) for standing near the capture-point.

        - there’s no points awarded for covering the genny access, unless the genny-haters are foolish enough to get closer and attack one by one.
        => Most genny defenses happen in corridors way before the genny room, with each sides spamming its explosives to keep the other away (grenades being used when low on health, to prevent the other side from pushing for the final blow), resulting in a long (both in terms of duration and ranges) battle, until one side get ridiculous reinforcements like 2 or 3 additional teammates

        - repairing (as a Tech) awards you close to nothing, repairing a full base (Radar + 2 Turrets) barely gives you 750 credits, which is the equivalent of 3 assist kills (or 2 assists 2 kills). The time-spent/credits-gained ratio is clearly on the “KILL EVERYTHING” side.

        - with that in mind, earning credits through generic fighting (= going to the enemy base, get kills/destructions) is much more efficient, both in terms of XP gains (50% of the bonus XP is based on your rank in your team – much easier goal to look for than your entire team victory) and gameplay :

        a) As now, reaching the middle of the map and spamming MIRV/Mortar can not be countered efficiently : any flagstand without a large roof means no defense.

        b) Soon you’ll have a Shrike (4500 credits, 3600 credits with the Wheel Deal perk), so you can chase like a lone-wolf without any problem (Doombringer missile ? get behind a hill or just laugh : he needs 3 missiles to destroy you).

        c) You can also go for the Beowulf tank (2400 credits with the perk), to spam shells from your spawn and on the skiing enemies near your base.

        d) And from time to time, you’ll use your 10k credits to have an orbital strike (minimum of 2 kills), reducing defenses to nothing in a second.

      • Brise Bonbons says:

        I’m with Derppy on this one: I have felt very little organization in my (granted, limited) play time. Certainly much less impromptu coordination than I see in an average TF2 match on a decent server. It is a pretty subjective observation, of course, and exacerbated by the lack of functional private servers and VOIP, but that’s been my experience of it.

        I think as more players learn the idiosyncratic tactics and strategies involved in a Tribes match, things will improve to a degree. But it seems to me that Ascend is tactically a pretty simple game, with more emphasis on individual player success than creative coordination. Tactics and plays seem to come down to “you guys carpet bomb the flag stand right before I blitz through”, or “I’m going to punt the flag before I die if I can hit it out of the air with this spinfuser shot”.

        Perhaps I’m just not familiar enough with the game to see the depth yet. But even watching commentaries of competitive matches, I don’t see many interesting tactical choices being made, nor are they being pointed out by the commentators.

        Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s an excellent game (if not my cup of tea), I’m just struggling to see the depth that other people are describing to me.

        • Phantoon says:

          You’ll see more teamwork in games with higher ranked players. I had a game with half gold on both sides, and every time anyone made a mistake, the whole team felt it. Same with any successes.

          I think the teamwork will pick up more as the game runs, despite more and more Halo-CoD kiddies finding the game. It’s a rare game I have to deal with them running their mouths, so I’m not too concerned.

          They need a better voteban system though…

    • Surlywombat says:

      There are quite a few rounds which descend into scrappy fights around the generators. But luckily those times it really gets out of hand the map is changed pretty sharply because the game is about capturing the flag and one team will hit the cap limit.

      Sure you might get the top of the table. But top a low scoring table.

  15. phenom_x8 says:

    Is there any link to download the client without registering any account ?

  16. flexm says:

    Tribes Ascend is the most fun I’ve had in an online shooter in a very long while.
    I’m one of those old people who played a lot of shooters in teams and leagues and crap in the 96-03 times (quakes, unreals, tribes), and having done that pretty much every new shooter has felt very predictable after you’ve had the initial 20-30hours of learning.

    Be it tf2 or the cods, after some time spent you pretty much are never surprised in the game anymore, the basically the variety choices of what to do and situations that comes up is pretty limited.

    So you know what you suck at and what you’re good at, easily beating up random people and clearly see the time you would need to grind practicing uninteresting mechanics in order to be as good as the best people. All in all, not very exciting.

    But this game, the amount of crazy clutch situations in ctf, or a random string of killing sprees in tdm, or just retardedly spamming disco grenades in C&H, everything is just so much fun and the variety of defense/offense permutations keeps things interesting.
    I’ve played like 80hours so far, and at level 20 I still feel like there is so much shit to learn still.

    The only thing that’s been a let down is the gold system.
    Basically in the game every weapon that’s not a spinfusor or mortar is overpowered in specific situations, and shit in other situations. However when you play the game you only notice the weapons at all when they’re being used against you in the over-powered situation.
    So believing that the weapon is awesome, you being impatient put out the 8bucks for some gold, and end up with a gun that’s actually just a sidegrade to whatever you had before, and thus you feel a bit silly.

    • Snakejuice says:

      “The only thing that’s been a let down is the gold system.
      Basically in the game every weapon that’s not a spinfusor or mortar is overpowered in specific situations, and shit in other situations. However when you play the game you only notice the weapons at all when they’re being used against you in the over-powered situation.
      So believing that the weapon is awesome, you being impatient put out the 8bucks for some gold, and end up with a gun that’s actually just a sidegrade to whatever you had before, and thus you feel a bit silly.”

      This is a GOOD thing! Means the game isn’t pay to win!

      • flexm says:

        Yeah I agree that it’s good for the game that the pay to unlock weapons mostly aren’t stronger than the default ones. But this was before you could test weapons in training mode, so for instance I felt a bit cheated that I couldn’t just hold my button to keep firing bursts with the light assault rifle, but had to be all pistol clicky, probably wouldn’t have got it if I could’ve tried it first.

  17. thessalian_pine says:

    All well and good. Now if that dreaded patcher thingy did actually download something I’d be really interested in giving this a try. It’s just sitting there, “waiting for server”, without ever getting an answer apparently.
    What a shame.

  18. derito says:

    You NEED super heavy for your infiltrator. Seeing unwary cappers go splat on you while invisible is incredibly fun.

  19. westyfield says:

    A competitive, skill-based multiplayer shooter with no dedicated servers? Pffft, jog on son.

    • flexm says:

      I’m quite sure the game has dedicated servers, it’s just that they’re controlled by the devs, what the article refers to is probably the ability to set up private servers with custom configs, which is kinda in the works.

      • westyfield says:

        Oh, I see. That makes more sense, thanks.

        *extinguishes flaming torches, puts away pitchforks*

      • ThTa says:

        Yeah, Hi-Rez intends on renting custom servers themselves (just another way to monetize their game, really, and I can’t really blame them provided the prices are fair), and they’ll be offering a great deal of customization.
        It’s currently in a “preview” mode, where you can access the custom server browser, but all the servers are owned by the devs, showing off the various ways of modifying the game (changing prices, “naked” spawn, limiting classes, etc.) while they’re working on polishing it for a full release.

        Ranked is also coming, but they’re still looking for ways to rank people most effectively. (KDR means absolutely nothing in CTF and C&H, and you can’t exactly blame a single person for the loss of an entire team.)

      • Vandelay says:

        Any chance that we will be getting an RPS server when the system is up and running?

        • Miker says:

          I’ll look into it, but I don’t think it’ll grow beyond “unofficial” status. It also depends on the pricing structures for the servers, which haven’t been announced yet.

  20. Contrafibularity says:

    Man do I look forward to a new PC that’ll allow me to play this (I might be able to do it now, the beta version I tried didn’t work though, but I don’t want to have to choose between graphics and performance in an excellent game such as this). I literally played Tribes games for hours and hours over the course of years and years, when they closed the servers that was such a shame, and I didn’t find out about TribesNext until it was too late (I mean, by that time most Tribesmen were already busy with the Ascend beta, I’m guessing by the empty TN servers).

    Re: the whole role specialisation thing; I used to love capturing the flag as scout, sabotaging and sniping, but the great thing about tribes was when you got tired of something (or literally tired) you just hopped in another class and off you went. And it’s not like Battlefield where the class differences are minimal and you’re always basically doing the same thing, possibly split between anti-inf and anti-armour, there’s a wealth of variation in the gameplay. Tribes was one of those games which was in some ways decades ahead of its time, whole game genres fit inside the roles you can choose from; making the base defences is like a strategy games, but in 3 dimensions (and geometry, or how you use the spaces actually matters). It was great to alternate between the adrenaline-pumping business of stealing flags, sabotage and whatnot with the somewhat more relaxed task of making sure your team still had an energy supply, enough shields and turrets deployed and so on, and then go back to spinfusing the business end of a jetting enemy skiing through a canyon at 160KM/h. And not to mention you can essentially create new classes as you see fit, in a way, the possibilities are almost endless (and I look forward to the addition of mods).

    Essentially, Tribes spoiled me when it comes to multiplayer in much the same way that Deus Ex spoiled me with single-player games, but I’m glad at least Tribes’ gameplay wasn’t forgotten the way DX has been (in that, nowadays, people even take the abbreviation “DX” to stand for DXHR, which is a totally unrelated spin-off by a completely different devhouse).

  21. wodin says:

    Tried the BETA, was bored in about 20 mins. Seemed to me like another super fast online shooter. Backlight Retribution I much preferred.

    • Surlywombat says:

      “Another”?

      • subedii says:

        Yeah I can’t say I can see too many modern shooters on the kind of speed trip that Tribes has.

        • Brise Bonbons says:

          I must be weird or something, but I’ve never thought of Ascend as an especially fast game. The numbers showing up on your speedometer might be large, but they’ve never translated into a sensation of great speed for me. I think it’s due to the map design and game rules.

          Not that I’m saying anything released recently has been “faster”, mind – and most AAA shooters are notably slower. But overall Tribes feels about the same amount of “fast” as say, TF2. In fact, personally with TF2 I have a greater sense of fast-paced action and split-second decision making on scout, and an equivalent sense of challenging, fast movement while explosive jumping and airshotting on soldier and demoman. Clearly both games have more relaxed “fattie” classes, but while I’d agree Tribes feels slightly faster on the average, I don’t think of it as a substantially faster game on the whole.

          Personally, Ascend doesn’t even register in the same category as games like Quake, Serious Sam, or Painkiller.

          Again, I do think it’s a fine game, not trying to be too critical, yadda yadda. Just don’t get what all the fuss is about.

    • SketchyGalore says:

      Not to be a schmuck but… a single game lasts 20 minutes. I dare say there was more to experience than that.

      • wodin says:

        Really? I think after 20mins you’ve seen pretty much what the game is like…maybe I’m to old now and my reflexes are shot, I juts know I was bored and it was all to damn quick.

  22. Commander Gun says:

    Seems like an interesting game, i’d be happy to try it tonight. Are there any promotional thingies going on to get some gold/free unlocks in addition to the Facebook one?

  23. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Ah, I remember Raindance as the level on the original game which was the only moment in gaming to ever really capture “the sun is sort of peeking out and shining, but it’s still raining”. Meteorological masterpiece.

  24. Duke of Chutney says:

    shazbot

  25. Hirmetrium says:

    This is why free to play sucks.

    For £30, you can unlock a small handful of features, and for hours of gameplay even more.

    Look at Section 8 : Prejudice – Everything, out of the box, for about £15. Sure, you have XP and progression in it, but a game which doesn’t have that nowadays is considered to be missing a key feature.

    I would of been far, far happier plunking down £15 if it meant I had good access to most of the game content.

    I also feel the free to play market is missing the point by a huge amount – I want it to be free with Microtransactions. Not free with MASSIVETRANSACTIONS. I want to play the game, have my credit card details on file, and when I see something I like or want to buy for a bit, click it and immediately have it.

    The fact people have to recommend “buy the 50% exp boost, then do this and this and this” in order for you to get enjoyment out of a game without forking over £50 or so, is outrageous.

    Guess I’ll never be a free to play fan. Even now I’m still bitter than my LOTRO life sub counts for little more than a bunch of extra turbine points, with all new content locked behind a paid for expansion barrier.

    • Vorphalack says:

      If you are approaching Tribes Ascend from a purely FTP perspective then you are doing it wrong. When the game asked for a £20 buy in to the beta, I considered that a fair price from what I had seen. Now i’ve got more gold than I really need, all the classes unlocked, the 3 classes I main set up how I want them, and penty of XP side grades to unlock through playing normally.

      I definatly think the current price of gold / skins is too damn high, but with a fair one time purchase already done I wont need to spend more money on this game ever again. At least with the FTP system you can get a rough idea of weather or not you will like the game before you decide to spend anything.

    • Groove says:

      This, basically all of it, 100%.

      You also reminded me of David Mitchell’s rant about Americans not knowing how to do smalltalk.

      Who needs smalltalk? Why not have MASSIVETALK! Key, life-changing issues all the time!

    • Dominic White says:

      “Look at Section 8 : Prejudice”

      I did. It was fun, and there was nobody playing by a week after release. The few servers that are still standing are ghost-towns, populated only by bots.

      Meanwhile, I don’t think I’ve waited longer than 10 seconds to find a full 32-player match of Tribes: Ascend.

      So, do you want a retail multiplayer game where everything is available off the bat, at the cost of not having anyone to play with, or a game where you might – at some point – have to spend money, but there’s a steady playerbase? I’d pick the latter any day.

      In fact, y’know what? Look at Tribes: Vengeance. That launched as a full-priced retail game with a singleplayer campaign and all. And it sold fuck-all, and the developers had to abandon it because nobody was playing and nothing was going to fund patches.

      That’s why they went F2P.

      • Gnoupi says:

        Have to agree with that.

        S8P was great, really loved it… But even with the low price, people stopped playing it online after a month. With F2P, you are getting a flow of non-paying users to keep your multiplayer community active. It worked for their previous game, Global Agenda.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      I constantly think how much happier I’d be if I could just spend $60 and unlock the whole game (minus the XP progression grind, I think that should be unavoidable). When I think about how much of Ascend would remain unavailable to me after shelling out for $50 worth of gold (“paying full price”), I get turned off instantly. I refuse to give Riot any money for the same reason.

      Nor do I understand how the business model would be harmed by offering an “unlock full game at new-game price” option alongside the “totally free” one. I get the accepted wisdom that you should offset moochers by soaking the tiny fraction of your user base lacking self control, or anything better to do with their money. But I can’t believe every player falls into only those categories. Personally, I refuse to financially reward a company which asks so much to fully unlock what I consider to be the basic features (every class at minimum, and ideally alternate loadouts), and I can’t believe I’m a special snowflake in that regard.

      I could be wrong, but it seems logical to me that they’d convince a bunch of additional players to spend money if they offered a “ye old pre-F2P nostalgia package”, allowing you to buy the game outright for $60. Barring that, I will happily mooch off them and give my money to developers who let me avoid the F2P nonsense entirely (most recently Red Orchestra 2, which has a small community, but I can find a game when I want).

      While the death of niche FPS communities is a real problem, I don’t think making every game F2P using the currently popular business model would actually result in, say, Section 8 Prejudice having players. I think the real problem is the inherent conservatism of nerds and gamers, and poor choices by small developers, such as using GFWL or trying to reach beyond their means, resulting in buggy launches (RO2).

      • Dominic White says:

        “While the death of niche FPS communities is a real problem, I don’t think making every game F2P using the currently popular business model would actually result in, say, Section 8 Prejudice having players”

        I think it would. If shitheaps like WolfTeam (http://wolfteam.softnyx.net/) can survive soundly in the F2P space, then something as polished and refined as S8: Prejudice could.

        • Brise Bonbons says:

          Well, that’s a fair counterpoint.

          What is it about being F2P that lets a game maintain players, though? S8P had people playing at one point, there are clearly enough people who own the game to get matches going. So why aren’t they? I personally stopped playing because I just had other games I wanted to play more. When that happens in large numbers, what keeps the F2P title going where a game like S8P sputters and dies?

          Does F2P just allow a constant stream of fresh blood to come in and keep the servers warm? Does that final dip from $15 to nothing open the floodgate of credit card-less kids? Or is the F2P model compelling in its own way as a collection/value-hunting metagame?

          The problem is, once giants like CoD enter the F2P arena, won’t they just suck up all the F2P players, leaving niche games as ghost towns again?

          I don’t know these answers, of course. I have trouble envisioning where this thing is heading at all, honestly.

  26. Hirmetrium says:

    Ok, comments are marking as spam.

    Why free to play? I’d rather just buy a title and play it, than fork out lots of money over time.

    • sneetch says:

      You don’t have to fork out loads of money. You don’t have to fork out anything you can get everything through playing the game, but as there are no damage boosters and no pay to win there’s no real need to spend money.

      I consider it that I’ve “bought” the game for €24 which gave me VIP status, I’ve unlocked a good bit of stuff with XP (including the classes I want) and I haven’t spent any of the gold I got yet (I’ll probably spend it on weapons at some stage) but I can’t see myself spending any more money on the game.

    • ThTa says:

      It allows for them to have a continuous cashflow and support the game over a prolonged time period. Rather than the usual “release a few bux fixing and balance patches and start working on the next title”.

      And it worked out for them with their previous game (Global Agenda), so I can see why they’d be keen to try it again.

    • NthDegree256 says:

      Then, you know, just pay $30 (or 15, or 50) and play it. You won’t unlock every single thing, but you’ll be in roughly the same boat as most other shooters on the market now, where you have many items to start with, and many more to unlock and upgrade.

      The difference is that unlike CoD/BF3/GCI/etc.etc.etc., you have a remarkably comprehensive free demo to let you decide whether you like the feel of the game before you plunk down your cash.

  27. Wolfman says:

    Is there an RPS social club for this game? Seems like it would be worth it. Tempted to try playing. Might download it tonight.

  28. SketchyGalore says:

    I almost had a tear in my eye as I read this review. Tribes is one of those games that sculpted me as a gamer. I played Tribes 1 as a child, Tribes 2 as a teen, even Tribes Vengeance… somewhere in there. But now, my little jetpacking soldiers have all grown up and it’s absolutely wonderful to see them represented so spectacularly. Hi-rez has done a wonderful job and I can only hope they’ll continue supporting the game with as much skill and direction as they did through the beta.

    This seems to be the age of nostalgia. I can only hope for such excellence from this year(ish)’s other revivals like Diablo, X-Com, and SimCity. Games, you’re making me feel old… and I don’t even care.

  29. Kamen Rider says:

    I can’t say much about the pay to play thing, cause I shelled out $30 during the beta when they first offered that option and that’s left me with enough gold+bonus XP from the boost you get from buying to last me up until now, and I still have a lot of both just hanging around. The thing of it is $30 is less, at worse exactly what I would have paid for this game had it gone with the regular pricing scheme so I see no problems there. It’s not like I NEED to unlock everything either. I unlock what I want for the classes I play and am able to have enough left over to buy those silly cosmetic things that serve no real purpose. Plus, it’s the only FPS I can honestly say I enjoy. I own over 20 FPS’ on steam and the cheapest I paid for any of those would probably be around 10 bucks, and a handful of those haven’t even been installed yet. So actually NOT investing money into Tribes Ascend felt really silly and selfish of me considering how much I love it.

  30. Zanpa says:

    I disagree with Richard’s opinion on the VGS system and the lack of VoIP.
    I think it allows strangers to cooperate in a nice and easy way in a public server (and in private matches, people would be using Skype/Mumble/Teamspeak anyway).
    The commands are really intuitive. See “[VSAF] I’ll go for the enemy flag” : Voice, Self, Attack, Flag.
    It allows people who do not have a mic, or do not want to use it (and a whole lot of players do not want to use their mics for various reasons) to communicate efficiently with their teams.
    Anyway, the only game I played in which VoIP was actually useful was TF2. And TF2 is quite the unusual game.

  31. Giaddon says:

    This game rules. I prefer capture and hold to capture the flag, actually, because I feel the teamwork is easier to wrangle (CTF really relies on high-skill flag grabbers, and if they are not there, or the team can’t rally around them, not much gets done), and even straight TDM is a total blast. If anyone’s on the fence (although who would be, after this glowing review?), download it straightaway.

  32. Lagwolf says:

    I think the price for in-game cash is a bit steep especially if you want to go something other than the three classes you are given. The MERV for the Juggernaut is actually quite a bit better than the base weapon & it is 100k credits or $9 worth of gold. If you are happy with the Soldier then yeah it is cheap to play but if your play style calls for something else you are stuffed unless you want to stump up. The beta was fun at times and frustrating most of the rest of the time.

    • ThTa says:

      It’s not intended to be better, though. It’s supposed to deal less damage over a larger area, which it mostly does. It’s just far too effective in-doors. They’re still working out the balance on a fair lot of weapons.

      My only real balance concern is them allowing for you to truly “upgrade” your weapons and armour through XP. But those take relatively little effort, leaving everyone on a roughly equal playing field in the higher brackets.

      • Arrakiv says:

        The upgrades to weapons (and armor) aren’t too bad for the most part at least, and they’re pretty cheap. I’ve been playing Raider lately, and I can’t say having an extra four shots in my SMG’s clip was super essential, although it is occasionally helpful (although the extra grenade for the Grenade Launcher’s clip has been handy).

        Although I picked up the Grenade Launcher a week or so back in the Beta and unlocked everything for it, I switched over to the Arx Buster last night. I hadn’t really used it before despite it being the starting weapon, but quickly fell in love with it. One circuit through all the CTF maps and it was fully upgraded, with a bunch of XP to spare.

        Armor can take more effort to upgrade than the weapons though, it seems. For example, to get the last upgrade on the Raider armor costs 12k XP, which is more than I spent on unlocking the Tech. Of course, it just gives me a whole +50HP, which is less than the damage of a long range SMG shot. Woo?

        • Brise Bonbons says:

          I think the XP grind is pretty unobtrusive, but I also don’t think it adds anything to the game other than tedium and motivation for people to buy boosters. It’s sadly something which is becoming accepted, but I can’t say in this case it’s a problem. I’ve never thought “that guy killed me because he had 50 more HP!” or anything.

  33. Ernesto says:

    Looks like open world Q3A. And that’s great. Is this moddable as well?

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      Edit: wrong reply!

      To answer the question, I don’t think mods are planned to be allowed, but haven’t heard anything specific either way.

  34. Brise Bonbons says:

    My general feeling for the game (as opposed to specific replies I’ve left throughout the thread) is positive, and in agreement with the review. It is a smart, accomplished piece of game development. The devs have been laudable in their responsiveness to the community. It even manages to not shit all over the memory of a cherished franchise, which is effectively miraculous these days.

    All that said, I just cannot bring myself to enjoy the game. At all. I have tried at various times throughout beta, but without fail uninstall after a few days out of violent apathy and boredom. Unquestionably, part of my issue is the business model, which I find fair enough but intensely unappealing. Put this way: It does little or nothing to argue for itself as a good value proposition, or a sound business idea worthy of support. It’s just one more “probably OK, but still doesn’t feel quite right” F2P system.

    Mostly I’m just left conflicted. I want to support the game, as in many ways it is an exemplary and unique attempt at making a true PC-centric shooter. But neither the gameplay nor the business model succeed in sucking me in at all.

    Perhaps it’s just a simple matter of it not being the right game for me. But I feel like there’s a deeper problem somewhere; I just can’t put my finger on it.

    EDIT: Reply fail.

  35. RegisteredUser says:

    Turns out after level 6 you get rematch-made(i.e. the matchmaking reranks you completely) against the “real” players, i.e. just as you thought you were doing okay, you are playing against 3-4 invisible snipers and thumper masters that NEVER miss a shot and the whole game becomes total and utter unfun shit.

    Having snipers in this game in my opinion completely ruins it, as it already did counterstrike.

    Camping sniperwhores ahoy.

  36. NikonPunch says:

    While it’s really cool you picked a video I made for this article, your comment on the music was a bit over the top. Music taste is subjective. I don’t want you to change the article as it’s your piece and I respect your opinion.
    I went from excited to disappointed quickly after reading that portion of the article. However any news on Tribes is good as it’s a great game in need of more exposure.

    Overall though it’s a great write-up. Keep up the good work.

    • LionsPhil says:

      That’s supposed to be music? I thought the audio track just got badly corrupted on upload and hit mute.

    • Vorphalack says:

      Playing the subjective card when discussing…….well, anything…….is just a cop-out to prevent that thing being judged as objectivly bad. I’m not going to tell you what I thought of the music other than to say it probably wasn’t the best fit for the video. Take some inspiration from Tribes itself and pick something a bit more low key ambient for the next montage. You don’t want your audio distracting from the visual, and that sound track was at the forefront of my mind throughout the entire clip.

    • oceanview says:

      I thought it was pretty good. Could hear a lot of warp records influences in there. You might want to check out Speedy J – A shocking hobby and publick energy n01 albums aswel.

      Also trying to be smart about someone’s music when it isnt your cup of tea doesnt make you look cool. At best you come across as an old fag crying about how kids today aren’t listening to real music, at worst like a 12 year old xbox live kiddy claiming only fps are worth playing.

      A site like rps which wants games to be taken seriously as “art” and promotes indie titles and “daring” new forms of gameplay and design might try to be a little more openminded about other forms of art trying to go a different path than usual.

  37. LionsPhil says:

    I’m confused. I thought I saw this on Steam before, but now there’s no sign of it, so I assumed it wasn’t using it for user auth. And then, in the signup Ts&Cs:

    You will also be required to register for a Steam account with Valve Corporation and accept the Steam Subscriber Agreement which is available for review at http://www.steampowered.com/agreement.

    Is this Steamworks or not?

  38. Dominic White says:

    The Tribes community are quickly becoming as silly as the TF2 folks.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjQ69qkbmU4

    I approve of this kind of malarkey.

  39. Redford says:

    Secretly, the soldier’s increased energy pool makes it the best pick if you want to flag as a medium, and one of the best picks for fighting outside, period. Also, if you bother to unlock the utility pack you can have 1,400 health. This doesn’t seem like much but breaks the weapon damage schedule in a few amusing ways.

  40. Snegletiss says:

    I’m wondering why the hell hi-rez dropped Bella Omega (the epic snowy map)? It was in the early stages of the beta, and suddenly it was no longer in the map rotation! Why? I dominated that map…

  41. MadMatty says:

    “Tribes: Ascend one of the first games designed to be free-to-play that’s worth playing regardless of the lack of a price-tag, it’s one that comes with every bit as much spit and polish and love as any commercial shooter.”

    As if free-2-play wasnt commercial- they make more money on f2p than “commercial” games anyways.

    • Snakejuice says:

      Yes, but a few years ago F2P wasn’t as hot so we only saw low budget F2P games and that is still in the minds of a lot of people I think. :)

  42. DOLBYdigital says:

    I am an old school Tribes gamer although when I played Tribes, I was a youngin that didn’t have tons of skill. However now I constantly surprise myself with Tribes Ascend. I think that is what I like most about the game…. it actually pushes me as a gamer and makes me really focus. It brings out the dormant gamer in me that reminds me of how good I can be at (anything) video games if something challenges me the right way. For the first time ever, I really want to record myself doing these crazy flag grabs and unbelievable shots. It feels good to be playing a real skill based game and not just another corridor shooter.

  43. RegisteredUser says:

    I found out that while the per-match XP is atrociously low, you get 1200 XP for the day’s first won match. So theoretically you could just “play” an hour a day on the side, hoping to be on a winning team or actively helping them win, and collect XP bumps mainly that way.
    Still pricey in terms of time, but good to know I feel.

    Snipers still ruin a lot of the fun.

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