Let There Be Jetpacks: Hi-Rez On The Future Of Tribes

By Nathan Grayson on May 28th, 2012 at 2:00 pm.

By most accounts, Tribes: Ascend‘s existence is quantifiably a Good Thing. It is, after all, a PC-exclusive (!) high-quality free-to-play first-person shooter (!!) that’s in no way spit-shining Call of Duty’s combat boots or leaping just high enough when it barks an order (!!!). Almost paradoxically, it’s managed to be both slavishly devoted to the series’ jetpack-jousting legacy while also paving the way for a new breed of F2P FPS. So much gloriously gleaming new, however, makes any lingering flecks of dust and mold stand out all the more. So sure, Tribes may be better than ever, but try telling that to a spinfusor-less Soldier whose already glacial XP gain has basically flatlined because the teams he joins keep refusing to work together. That in mind, I spoke with Hi-Rez about how – if at all – it plans to fix its capture-the-flag flagship’s most fundamental flaws.

“It is a constant balance between delivering more content, additional small features, and additional polish,” began Hi-Rez COO Todd Harris. “Given the long beta process, Tribes emerged fairly polished and feature-rich at launch, but there is always a hunger for content. The majority of our experienced players have found a few favorite classes and now want even more weapon options for those classes. So new weapons are our top priority. We’ve delivered four content updates to date with more on the way. Beyond that we’re working on small enhancements like clan tags. We have been doing patches every two-to-three weeks, so that lets us deliver new things quickly.”

In many ways, then, Ascend’s following a roadmap drawn up by fans. That, however, can be a double-edged sword – given the very likely possibilities of class biases coloring demands (“Nerf the Raider/Infiltrator/Brute! Also tell them they’re ugly and have dumb faces”) and improvements focused on new players getting swept under the rug. Harris, however, argues that separating the good from the bad and stark raving mad has gotten a lot easier over time – even with thousands of players taking a rocket-powered battering ram to Hi-Rez’s walls for even the slightest of balancing oversights.

“The community’s feedback has been very valuable,” he acknowledged. “Early in alpha and beta, the challenge is to maintain your core vision for the game and incorporate the specific fan suggestions that support that vision. For example, we wanted to maintain class-based combat but incorporated fan requests for customization without losing the idea of classes.”

“Now that the game is out, fans pretty much get the vision. We continue to receive feedback but we have the advantage of being able to collect and analyze the playdata from every Tribes: Ascend match ever played. So, there may be a fan perception of say, a certain weapon being over-utilized, but we can see that is not actually the case based on the match statistics. We use the forums as a canary in the mine. Those expert users are often the first to pick-up on issues and improvement opportunities. But we always cross-check against our game vision and the actual play statistics before implementing changes. So when it comes to fan suggestions our philosophy is ‘trust, but verify.’”

But while fans hammer their forks and knives against their plates and constantly demand more, Hi-Rez isn’t afraid to shift around what’s already there – well, to an extent. The biggest elephant in that particular room – or expansive outdoor skiing future funpark, as it were – is almost certainly exceedingly slow XP gain for non-paying players. And while double XP weekends and things of that sort help, Tribes’ item unlocks still present a rather intimidating series of (often literally) uphill battles. It’s a frequent complaint, but Hi-Rez notes that – while it won’t ever rule out major tweaks – there is a reason for the current skew.

“Right now, the XP pricing makes it quicker to unlock new classes compared to unlocking alternate weapons for your existing class,” explained Harris. “The intent was to support players in filling those multiple classes and roles on the battlefield. But we’ll continue to look at that approach as well as the unlock rates themselves.”

“We spend most of our energy trying to make the actual game as fun as possible. Free-to-play works best when the game can grow through positive word-of-mouth. Once you have a fun game, there are all sorts of things to try in terms of bundles and merchandising and sales, and we’ll continue to try things like Deal of the Day to see what players like best. But if the gameplay isn’t good, than the business model doesn’t really matter.”

And while the gameplay is, in fact, very good, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. Teamwork in Tribes, for instance, tends to be pretty hit-or-miss, which can lead to some rather lopsided matches when one side decides personal space bubbles should be at least a mile wide and the other met at a synchronized swimming and advanced military tactics convention. Granted, the issue of failing to provide strong enough in-game incentives for teamwork is hardly an issue restricted to Tribes, but that’s no reason to avoid addressing it. Unfortunately, Hi-Rez seems to have bigger fish to fry right now.

“In general, we incentivize teamwork primarily by having specialized classes and game-modes like CTF that are objective-based with the win going to the best team independent of kill/death ratios,” said Harris. “But Tribes is so skill-based that when a player first joins there is enough to learn around how to ski, and positioning, and how to lead with projectile based weapons, etc. Our first priority is to make sure it is satisfying to learn and master those fundamental individual skills. Then players who want to be more competitive inevitably learn the teamwork dynamics. It is like a real-world sport in that respect.”

Ultimately, then, adding to Tribes is – as ever – like juggling. While wearing a jetpack. And being fired upon by someone in armor that’d be a couple sizes too big for your car. While the formula’s not perfect, barreling recklessly through problems could send the whole thing careening off a cliff. Its fans want new things, but they prize the basics above all else. And so, for now, Hi-Rez is taking things one day at a time.

“We are very conscious of [offsetting balance and key mechanics],” emphasized Harris. “The [Infiltrator's] Jackal and [Raider's] Plasma Gun were both over-powered upon release. Each introduced new mechanics and were not well vetted enough. But we reacted very quickly and adjusted those weapons within two days. Since then we’ve improved our internal test processes around new items. There is no guarantee, but we are deliberate around maintaining balance – both before and after a weapon’s release.”

So probably don’t expect any major, sweeping changes too terribly soon. But then, Ascend’s still quite young, and anything can happen. Even real jetpacks. In the meantime, though, we still have a a PC-exclusive (!) high-quality free-to-play first-person shooter (!!) that’s not utterly beholden to Call of Duty (!!!). I have now officially used up RPS’ entire supply of exclamation points. That’s got to be worth something, right?

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85 Comments »

  1. Snidesworth says:

    Tribes is the only game I’ve found myself sticking with over time. The stream of new content (most notably new maps) keep it interesting and fun, along with the gameplay actually being good.

    Soldiers having to spend 42k unlocking the spinfusor is still a goddamn crime, though.

    • thinbourne says:

      VGW

      • kael13 says:

        Yep, I did a google search of Tribes promo codes and bagged me the Spinfusor a little while ago.

      • Dana says:

        http://www.fileplay.net/keys

        This promotion should be still available.

        • Rattlepiece says:

          Thanks! Managed to get one.

        • frenz0rz says:

          Brilliant, cheers!

        • Snared says:

          Thank you.

        • Arjent says:

          Thank you for the blue plate special.

        • cybrbeast says:

          Thank you so much. That code made me try Ascend. I would have never started a Tribes game without a spinfusor. The game is quite a lot of fun and I felt my extensive Tribes 1 experience really make a difference, top scorer most games :)

          • Berzee says:

            But there are other classes that start with the spinfusor for free! The code is just for that particular class getting it.

      • The Random One says:

        I got a code in the Destructoid giveaway as well… and didn’t use it. I’m so rubbish at this game!

        Plus I prefer heavy classes anyway, and the Juggernaut has a spinfusor to start with.

    • nibbling_totoros says:

      Tribes Ascend is the only PC FPS that I can play now-a-days. FOV slider? Adjustable gun model size? Skill-based combat? It’s all there.

      I think this article brings up a good point- it is easy to unlock new classes, but harder to unlock weapons within each class. I personally think this is pretty fair (though some exp costs are a little high). For the most part, I don’t really think any of the new weapons are blatantly better than the default weapons available to each class (after balancing the plasma gun especially). Hi-Rez just needs to make sure that all the new content remains SIDE-grades, offering new roles, as opposed to straight UP-grades.

      • Phantoon says:

        They mostly are. The only exceptions (and should be the starter, not unlockable) would be the DMB’s mines, the TCN’s Thumper/Repair Gun (unless that’s now his starter secondary) and the INF with the stealth spinfusor or jackal. Oh, and the SEN’s secondary gun. They really need that one.

        The JUG mortar really is a sidegrade- higher rank players don’t use the unlockable one, because it can’t one hit kill light classes. The BRT’s Heavy Spinfusor is really underrated, though the Nova Colt really feels like an upgrade over the Shotgun, it has the same range. The SLD’s starting kit is probably the best for it anyways. I don’t play RDR but the Marshals I know say the starting kit is fine.

        So that’s really just four weapons, five if repair gun still isn’t starter for TCN.

      • innociv says:

        Some of the gold costs are too high too. ~$8 for a weapon is too much. the ~$2 and ~$4ones are alright, I think.

        Even getting the LMG offered at 75% off I didn’t want to buy it, because it was still barely cheaper than one of the $~2 weapons.

        I don’t want to pay $8 for a gun unless it shoots rainbows, or something. One gameplay affecting piece out of over a dozen shouldn’t cost $8.

        But besides that, yeah, I love the game. All the other costs are reasonable except that most expensive tier.

    • Suits says:

      Enough promo codes for soldier’s spinfusor available still.

    • Mistabashi says:

      Also worth remembering that you get 240 gold if you ‘like’ them on Facebook. Horrible way to promote your game, but there we go.

    • jvu123 says:

      are there any other unlocks available?

    • rockman29 says:

      Yes…

    • er910 says:

      I just gave them my money and bought one. Thank you Hi-Rez!

  2. oceanclub says:

    I’m loving Tribes; I’m not usually an online shooter fan, but have put down actual real money on it and usually get a game or two in most gaming sessions.

    Perhaps it’s because I like playing Technician, but I would like to see them unnerf base assets. Currently if there are two decent teams, they simply let the generator/turrets/radar remain broken rather than spend time fixing them, which suggests that all these items are simply too underpowered and/or defensively weak.

    P.

    • youthful cynic says:

      It’s probably more because no one was upgrading them, they become much, much tougher at level 2 or 3.

      Plus disco parties are pretty awful.

  3. Lambchops says:

    I think the title you were looking for was “We Were Promised Jetpacks.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73Onygnmltg&ob=av2n

    In other news I would love a single player Tribes stye thing, that would be nice.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      I would’ve gone with ‘Let the be flight’, myself.

  4. youthful cynic says:

    I think TotalBiscuit was right when he said that what Tribes needs is more contextual rewards for actions. For example, give the Juggernaut a bonus for killing near the flag or give the Raider a bonus for destroying forcefields or light turrets or additional bonuses for turret or radar destruction.
    Do more in terms of visible points rewards to encourage team play and sticking to class jobs. People will understand their role much better and you can always tweak the bonuses later if you want the classes to become more flexible.
    Also make the main weapons less expensive: maybe knock a quarter or a third off?, and then they would still be difficult to get but not quite as impossible as they are atm.

    • youthful cynic says:

      And also change the fractals, they are too powerful for area denial imho. I don’t know if it is practical but what about making fractals have a physical point which you can shoot to disable the grenade. Make it small so it is still difficult to do especially if you are getting shot by it.
      As much as I hate them I see the point of them and they are an important tool for balance but atm all a brute has to do is lob three of these near the flag or genny and everyone has to clear out.

      • Decimae says:

        I don’t think the brute is OP. MIRV spam can do the same for open areas, and for closed areas(i.e. the gen room in CTF) you shouldn’t stay there long anyway(or, mostly, you shouldn’t be there at all, unless you’re in C&H).

        The brute still hasn’t got a particular niche. He is mediocre at HO(a good jug is a lot better as he can keep spamming the flagstand). He’s also a mediocre HoF, as he has no mines nor forcefields(as a secondary HoF he’s okay). He’s no LO because he is a heavy(and a raider is better for such a role). He can be some sort of heavy not on flag defense, but a LD soldier or raider is a lot more mobile, and that’s a lot more important. He’s only useful on crossfire imo, where if he gets indoors, he can do a lot of damage now. Further more none of the other maps put any sort of emphasis on indoor fights.

        To be honest, for competitive play I think that the brute is still very much underpowered. He can be fun to use in pubs though(and arena and C&H).

      • Mistabashi says:

        Yeah, Brute is the least well-defined class. This is why fractals are so annoying, it’s not because they’re overpowered, it’s just that Brutes don’t have anything interesting to do besides spam fractals. It’s the one class I think the game could happily do without (although to be honest, I’m not a particular fan of the Infiltrator either, but you can’t have a class-based game without the Spy apparently).

      • youthful cynic says:

        I don’t think that the brute is OP just the fractal, there is no way to counter-act it, hence my idea.

        I dunno, maybe it’s just because I play DB a fair amount.

        • Decimae says:

          You can’t have the fractal without the brute. The brute has a very important belt item(the fractal) but that’s negated by giving him no use for it. It may annoy you, sure, but I would say that a (good) jug MIRV spamming should annoy you more, as he can continu untill he’s killed.

          • youthful cynic says:

            You seem to have ignored my point of a way to counter the fractal as opposed to negating it and just assumed that I want to get rid of it in complete contradiction to what I said.

        • Jackablade says:

          I think the fractal grenade wouldn’t be quite so bad if there was better feedback on where it is and what its blast radius is likely to be so you can tell in no uncertain terms where you need to back out of.

          Actually the feedback is something that could be improved considerably throughout the game.

        • Mistabashi says:

          As a heavy class, you can actually stand pretty close to a Fractal without taking much damage at all. Since there’s been an influx of brutes there’s been a lot of Fractal spamming of the flagstand, which was annoying at first when playing Doombringer (HoF), until I realised you don’t actaully have to back that far away from the Fractal to comfortably tank the damage, and you can just get on with your job spotting incoming Pathfinders for the duration without it causing too much of a problem. They’re really more of an annoyance than anything else.

          • youthful cynic says:

            Indeed but the major problem is everyone else buggers off

    • Gnoupi says:

      I agree with that, the game needs to reward teamplay more. Maybe not to the extreme of Brink which was literally handing out xp for any interaction with your teammates, but something pushing people a bit more to play together, or to support.

      They started that already, in the latest patch, at least for base support. People who upgrade the sensor or the generator are “investors”, and are getting points regularly from this. People who upgrade turrets are getting “turret support” extra points, when it kills (at least I think it’s when it kills, I have to check that).

      There is a lot of points for destroying turrets, sensor, generator. It would be nice indeed to go further, like you propose, and have points for clearing the enemy flag, for example. Because currently, dealing damage to an enemy device (if you don’t actually destroy it) is in fact giving points to the enemy tech, who will get them for repairing.

  5. Mordsung says:

    I am very happy that Tribes exists and is doing well.

    But, as a 29 year old pot head, my reflexes are no longer adequate to use a spinfusor with any sort of accuracy.

    Hence, I play Juggernaut and rely on getting cheesy kills.

    There is nothing quite as funny as shooting a fusion mortar at your feet while skiing, only to see someone crest the hill and run right into it as it goes off.

  6. Gnoupi says:

    It’s true that as it is, the game doesn’t reward teamplay that much. Some actions are rewarded with special points, but there could be more.

    It’s also complicated to have a “global view” on what is going on, where are forces, etc, without a map. With a map, it would be easier to regroup with teammates. It would also be easier to have a quick view on the state of your base. See the turrets, sensor, generator, and if they need repair. Currently, the only way to do that is to actually check in person is there is a dark steam coming from them.

    Ideally, I would love a map like Section 8 or Nuclear Dawn. It would show sensor range, turret range, and their state. It would also show other players from your team, and the detected enemies.

    My point is that the metagame is a bit complicated/hidden as it currently is. All you see are icons on the far, but you don’t have a plan view of the zone. It’s hard to feel involved in the team effort if you can’t even really evaluate the distance of your teammates. And as a result, you have people rushing for the main objective, or roaming around without a goal.

    • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

      Yeah, the Section 8 model would be nice. Shame that S8: Prejudice is already a wasteland in multiplay, but Timegate have only themselves to blame for that awful launch.

  7. asshibbitty says:

    The F2P model is the problem, as well as the developer. I got out of the newbie pond right after the plasma rifle patch, and that really soured the deal for me. Tell you what, when a specialist MP FPS dev plays stupid after adding something so obviously balance-breaking, it makes me wonder if they also have trouble remembering to wipe their ass after they take a shit, that’s the level of self awareness displayed here. And I was about to give them money too. Maybe I’m spoiled by all these ten year old games that don’t do any of that crap.

    • Lagwolf says:

      Play to win leaves a sour taste to me. I think they need to tweak the system so that you don’t need to grind so much (or pay) to get a build that fits your play-style.

      • Mistabashi says:

        Indeed, I think my main problem with the XP grind isn’t weapons, it’s all the classes, perks, upgrades and utility items. This double XP weekend just shows how it should have been all along, now I get worthwhile XP even if our team lost or I didn’t do so well.

        It’s a shame, because it’s a great game, but having so much of it locked behind such a steep XP wall really stifles it. When you lose a round and find you only got 600-odd XP it doesn’t really motivate you to continue playing.

        • asshibbitty says:

          I pretty much stopped paying attention to XP when I did the math. Remembered another thing that made me stop playing, the daily victory XP thing was broken, otherwise I’d have some incentive to play a game every now and then. Also, the XP system is unintuitive, wouldn’t it make sense to get more XP for downing high lvl players, or doing whatever your class task is? Maybe that’s naive, I’m not used to these shenanigans. It is apparently based on playtime.

          • EPICTHEFAIL says:

            What would you expect from the most incompetent western F2P developer? Don`t get me wrong, I loved my time with Tribes, but the business model is too exploitative, and the weapons far too unbalanced for me to enjoy the game long-term. The moment the raid and pillage update came out I jumped ship, and I do not regret it. If I want a good free shooter, i`ll play TF2, thank you very much. I might get back to Tribes if Hi-Rez ever get their heads back in order, keywords MIGHT and IF.

  8. DrGonzo says:

    Raise the player count and I’m in.

    • Mistabashi says:

      32 players is already too many really. Never understood why people are so obsessed with having more players, all it does is turn the game into a spamfest and nullify most of the tactical elements.

      • Malk_Content says:

        Aye my favourite matches are always towards the end of the night when you start seeing 12 vs 12 or so matches. The game can get quite clusterfucky as is and adding more players to the match wouldn’t help at all. Map sizes, base defence effectiveness, even weapon aoe are all tweaked around the ideal match size and adding more player would just throw that out of whack.

  9. tangoliber says:

    Every team-based/skill-based game I’ve ever played has lopsided matches.. The only games I’ve played where matches are always close didn’t have much room for skill.
    In fact, I don’t think I’ve played a (good) game before where I’ve experienced as many nailbiting/dramatic games as Tribes: Ascend. I feel like 1 out of every 3 games I play is won 5-4 or goes into overtime.

  10. Shortwave says:

    I honestly find the balancing in this game just perfect.
    Be it slightly totally not balanced.. But also at the same time.. Lemme’ explain..

    I can often be found playing the Jug with a score looking like 30-5.
    Which leads one to believe that the Jug in unbalanced, but..
    The real issue is players not knowing what they SHOULD and SHOULD NOT be doing.
    For example.. I constantly have light weak units attack me.
    Naturally I destroy them but of course, they just come right back..
    At which point other people take notice and try lending an hand.
    Before I know it half the team is trying to kill me.. Lol.
    Meanwhile my team is just running laps with the flag.. The end.

    Of course everyone instantly starts freaking out on chat about balance..
    Or the game being broken. Or Jugs being too buff..
    But in actuality, they need to ignore me and continue focusing on winning.
    But no, they never do that.. They forget they move faster than me for some reason.
    Which is exactly why.. The game does still have balance. They have the option of fleeing me.
    And continue getting points and flags.. Be it just at the risk of me catching up. : P

    It’s good to listen to the community and to make changes and fixes.
    But I think the community needs to remember their is probably better things to work on.
    I’m honestly happy with where the mechanics are sitting now and would love to simply see some more weapons and skins for every class.

    But I do agree that the 10000 pricing on many of the guns is a bit much.
    Though I suppose it would only take a few days..
    Or one day this weekend (double XP) you could even pull it off easily.
    Just, the price difference between that and other upgrades is seemingly pointless.

    • ZombieDawgs says:

      I’m sorry but I registered here to say you’re flat out wrong, the fact a juggernaut is taking on an entire team points out there’s something wrong with the balance on him, I play with one of my team members and he plays HO, he dominates the entire match with the fusion mortar and attacking their base – you can’t just say they should ignore you when the role of LD is to defend the base, technicians are supposed to keep everything running and by saying they should ignore you as you flat out destroy their entire base’s assets is just ignorant and ignoring the fact that the juggernaut is fundamentally flawed. The argument you brought up that ‘just move faster than me’ is also flawed since the range on the X1 is stupidly far and, despite what people say, Tribes isn’t all about going fast.

      Tribes IS balanced, be it that fucking stupid team-mates are the sole reason the game feels un-balanced, but the juggernaut is one of the classes that is flat out overpowered when you look actually look at it.

      Just look at his loadouts.

      Mortar/MIRV – this is his class’s signature weapon, I’m fine with this.
      Spinfusor – Okay, so now you’ve made him both a heavy offense but you’ve given him the soldier’s spinfusor.
      X1LMG – Now you’ve made him a portable doombringer, good job, couple this with spinfusor disks and you practically have 3 tier one weapons on one loadout

      • Shortwave says:

        Protips for lv30 noobs.
        #1 – Don’t trail behind a Jug, you will get blown into tiny bits and pieces.
        #2 – Always have energy in a 1v1 with a Jug (If you run out, you are dead my friend. Flee or headshots)
        #3 – If a Jug has just killed you 5 times in a row, forget about him and go focus on the flag..
        (Yes, I may be totally destroying base defences but in most cases base defenses are next to USELESS when it comes down to actually WINNING a match. It takes but a split second to zoom into the flag at 200mph and be out of there before you are even touched.. I mean, really..)
        #4 – It only takes one SKILLED player who’s able to keep his bead on me to take me out, QUICKLY.
        #5 – Strafing is your BFF
        #6 – Grenades, use them and learn to hit your mark. If done so my shields are instantly nullified.
        #7 – DO NOT let a Jug have time to regen health. Even a single hit from bullet spam will keep me down.. KEEP THEIR HEALTH DOWN. The smallest of hits are the ones that kill a Jug.

        Follow these very simple instructions and even you, can avoid being raped by a Juggernaut!
        >.> Sorry, but I just don’t buy it. Since I kill Jugs myself just as easy as anyone else most of the time. It’s usually Brutes that are taking me out to be honest… So in all fairness I mean.. Just spawn as a Brute and kill my ass.. Problem solved.

        I mean, it’s not like I’m going to try taking on a sniper when the range is at his advantage.. As long as he can hit me.. He’ll kill me before I even get close.. My only option is to take cover behind hills and keep moving.. And I do, and I survive.. Yup.. Theres a counter for everything, even if you can’t see it..

        • Gnoupi says:

          Point 3: I agree with that. As a tech, I’m more worried about a jugg sitting in our gen room (the mortar is small corridor can be annoying, depending on the map) than about defenses. At worst, he is giving me occasions to repair and earn points.

          Defenses won’t stop a zooming pathfinder, but they are disruptive for other classes, usually. Not unavoidable, but an annoyance for sure which prevents having the enemy party on your flag stand.
          The generator is more precious, though. Because it powers the force fields and light turrets.

          But a jugg lobbing the defenses from far isn’t a priority.

          About the david vs goliath issues, I can confirm that a jugg is far from invincible. Place 3-4 thumper shots correctly, and he is down. Even in corridors. Of course that requires you going fast and avoiding the mortar.

      • Tupimus says:

        The Juggernaut’s Spinfusor MKD is by far the worst of the spinfusors. It deals about the same damage as the light spinfusors but with a slightly larger AoE. The mortars have ranges that are outclassed by the various (sticky) grenade launchers and pitiful blast radii. If you take out the LMG to have any kind of hope of killing anything with half a brain outdoors (HURP DURP FLY AROUND IN CIRCLES), you sacrifice all indoors potential against anything but a defenseless generator.

        • kzrkp says:

          Incorrect. It’s half-way between the light and standard for damage, same RoF as standard, but with a larger explosion. It’s actually one of the better spinfusors. The Heavy spinfusor is the worst. Too slow to make skill-shots frequently, smaller explosion than the MKD. That said I still love playing Brute. Also the LMG is disgusting good.

        • Shortwave says:

          I actually didn’t realize the Spinfuzors varied that much from class to class.
          I’ve mainly focused on two classes only, so that would be why though.

          Just played a round, I had about ten enemies in a perfect line following behind me.. Lol.
          Needless to say.. It wasn’t their best day.

          Though to be fair, I got my ass handed to me by some straight shooting assault dudes for a bit.
          HA. : ( My poor ego.

      • rb2610 says:

        Played a couple of matches earlier on Kata, and it seems the new ‘thing’ to do as a Jugg is sit in the Gen room by the ammo supplies and spam Mortars/MIRV’s up the entry ramps. Now if the ammo points weren’t there it’d be fair enough as they can’t just spam endlessly. But in 2 matches (on separate servers) for most of the match the Gen room was being dominated by 3-4 Juggs spamming mortars everywhere.

        As an Inf, there seemed to be no way to counter this. There’s the first issue of actually getting in the room without being spammed to death (eventually you manage to get in between shots/resupplies with a bit of luck) but as a light class, even with 4 Stickies trying to clear is hopeless.

        A coordinated group with voice chat could probably take them, but in a public game it seems that this sort of situation is where certain classes (Jugg) become really OP.

        Maybe a solution would be to put caps on classes, as if 3-4 of their team were Juggs in the gen room, there would have probably been a few outside on the map, so a good third of their team would have been playing the same class.

        Some sort of class restriction might prevent this sort of issue. It’d also encourage players to keep the classes in a team more balanced, so roles a team might be missing can be filled by players locked out of their usual class.

        Also, Tribes seems to be the first game I’ve played where even on automatched games I’m consistently coming across the same few players time and time again regardless of the time of day. It seems quite close-knit.

      • gnodab says:

        No this is just wrong. I am still pretty bad at the game, only about level 16 or so, and I almost exclusively play Soldier and Raider. Still I am able to kill Juggs which are way above my league 20/30ish. Maybe it takes a couple of tries but with a little patience you can take them out no prob (well maybe except for the ones with the MG which really hurts, but even then it’s doable). And it’s absolutely reasonable that you shouldn’t stand a chance as a lone Tech. I mean it’s called Juggernaut for a reason! He’s supposed to wreak havoc and besides many of them don’t even bother fighting back when they have a higher priority like shelling the flag stand. I think the only thing that is still kinda off balance is the ability for the Inv to get the jackal and essentially one shot everything besides Heavys while invisible. And maybe the boltlauncher for the Path, I just don’t think light classes should have this kind of firepower. But then again the best PAthys always seem to use the spinfusor anyways, as they should.

      • Flimgoblin says:

        Raider with shieldpack and their SMG = no more JUG, automatic weapons are deadly against heavies (slower moving, bigger target) so a soldier with his AR would do the trick. A well played HO who knows how to use their LMG is pretty hard to kill, of course, but that’s more down to the “well played” part than anything else…

        • Shortwave says:

          I’m so very glad to see some people actually get it..
          Theres a way to counter ANYTHING.
          I seriously think a lot of these moaners are simply lacking creativity and skill.

          And yea’ that setup you mentioned very does often ruin my day as Jug, lol.
          It’s one of the few that can actually make me worried in a fight.
          I know if I don’t get you on the first 2-4 hits I’m gunna’ die likely, unless you go full retard.
          Never mind if multiple enemies are engaging me, which is usually the case.

          Anyways, if any of you guys wanna play together sometime feel free to add Shortwave.

      • Toothsie says:

        Meh. I kill Juggernaut for breakfast. Those fatties don’t stand a chance against my speed , Bolt Launcher and Explosive Nitron.

  11. RegisteredUser says:

    This, just like almost every other game in existance, needs a proper ranking/laddering mechanism that via smart evaluation of player stats matches up teams and people properly.

    Steam has the best resources for this kind of thing. Even across games. Yet I have seen sod all proper attempts at this in any of the MP games I played.

    Sadly, often times the only way to get real fun out of something was/is to have a couple of friends handy that know wtf they are doing. Be it L4D2 (easier there, you only need 1-2 smart people alongside you) or RTCW:ET (even there with just 2 friendly clanners on your side you can dominate a map if only noobs are around). It gets trickier the more crucial large scale teamwork is, and tribes, depending on playmode, is fairly tricky if half your team is just running around.

    Then again the real CTF is kinda so-so to begin with in Tribes. IMO at least. But maybe I just don’t play enough Scout, which may be what makes the huegness feel tedious.

    The biggest issue I have with Tribes is that once you move past level 6 or what it was, you get ranked and lumped together with people who will one-shot you with both their eyes closed and have 10/10 air mail and blue dish special or what it was called.

    I basically went from really having a good time playing against mediocre, but fun opponents(you still die, but you can also kill on an equal-or-better scale) to being omgwtfpwnd by half a dozen supersnipers(whether with Spinfusor or actual sniper rifle).

    Speaking of sniping: Please invent a gamemode or server that forbids sniper rifles. So. Much. Hate.
    Ruined Counterstrike for me.
    The only reason it couldn’t ruin RTCW:ET was that you could just call artillery on the lamers doing the camperwhore thing and that with decent enough uberhealth you didn’t die from one-shots(and medics instantly repaired the damage). Most other games do it 100% wrong and the fun vanishes when 3-4 people decide to whore it out.

    • kzrkp says:

      It feels vile to get shot out of the air by some little shrew standing on a post across the map. A shriveled tribal degenerate who understands neither speed nor ballistics, the lowliest tribesman!

      Anyway, the Plasma weapons are still obnoxious. Remove the knockback from them. Plasma didn’t have knockback in T2 for a reason: it’s obnoxious. Rapid-firing weapon with splash damage, fine. Rapid firing weapon with splash damage that bats you around faster than you can recover and thus un-dodge-able after the first hit, not fine. Fix it.

    • Snidesworth says:

      Sentinels are powerful, but they’re not much good in a straight fight. Their real utility is finishing off injured people at range, which makes them fantastic at downing flag carriers who don’t have their runs cleared for them by teammates and/or who fly high on the way back to base. A high flying Pathfinder is pretty much immune to any other weapon, save Doombringer missiles (which can be shot down/are slowish) or getting splattered by a Shrike.

      Just send someone to tie them up and they’ll likely end up dead. If the enemy team has a good Sentinel I’ll usually devote myself to making their life hell. Even if I don’t kill them quickly it forces them to focus on me, which keeps them from picking off whoever’s running the flag.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        Well good, then remove them from Team Deathmatch completely. :P

      • Phantoon says:

        Go Brute.

        Disco party in their generator room.

        Then melee kill Sentinels.

        Push sandrakers off our world.

        Profit.

    • Gnoupi says:

      The fun thing about snipers, is that I’m mostly annoyed by the ones in my team, not the other one. I’m particularly annoyed when we suddenly have 3-4 sentinels in crossfire, who are fresh out of 2fort. Because suddenly, you feel that there is not really a heavy defense or offense. A quarter of your team will spend the game sitting in a place, self-satisfied because they killed some lost guys around.

  12. Reav says:

    >>“It is a constant balance between delivering more content, additional small features, and additional polish,”
    Oh dear god, no. Additional content should be the least of your concerns. You’ve still to fix glaring flaws in the CORE GOD DAMNED GAMEPLAY. Deadstops, hit detection issues, retarded hitboxes (most prominently the FM), bugs that you claim you’ve fixed but which statement is complete bollocks (point in case: the vanishing weapons bug that I can easily replicate manually, even after it’s been “fixed”), FIX THESE FIRST.

    No more paid weapons.

    No more glitchy, untested maps.

    No.

    FIX

    THE

    GAME

    FIRST

    Then you can worry about “additional content.”

    It isn’t so hard, HiRez.

    • Mistabashi says:

      I think you’re going way over the top there, sure there’s quite a few bugs, glitches and balance issues but nothing that glaringly bad that they should cease adding features and content altogether.

      Incidentally, have you actually posted this bug and how to replicate it on their forums? It’s all very well complaining about bugs if you’ve made the devs aware of them, but all too often people expect them to somehow be able to fix problems that they don’t even know exist.

  13. Jackablade says:

    I’m hoping the Technician gets some new kit soon. Even with a few of them and a couple of other punters defending, it’s mighty tough to keep a persistent group of enemies from blowing up the generator on most of the maps. Less so if you’ve got someone to leave a jamming device nearby, but even then you’ve still got to worry about the armies of brutes and raiders tromping about and exploding things

    • Gnoupi says:

      The thing is, it’s all about balance. Usually, a good setup with one or two techs will be enough to defend a gen room. If the enemy attacks with 4-5 brutes and camps your gen room… then it’s 4-5 players who are not defending or chasing your flag.
      And it will often lead to games in which your generator was down most of the time, but which you win because your attackers overwhelmed them.

      Besides, while it would be nice to see what they can give to the tech, I don’t really need a lot as it is. Two turrets, 4 motion detectors, and most of all, a thumper are all what I need to explode anything which gets in my room.

      • Shortwave says:

        It’s nice a few people here in the comments seem to understand the concept of teamwork and countering attacks.

      • Flimgoblin says:

        Would quite happily lose a turret for a sensor pack (as in a radar rather than the mines) but yeah options rather than firepower.

  14. biz says:

    it’s pay to win. sadly, they’ll make their money because they have enough people buying overpowered and unbalanced crap weekly, but the only reason they aren’t dead yet is because the game has no competition.

    the expensive unlocks have basically sucked the life out of the game. people play for XP instead of playing to win. that’s horrible for CTF. they dragged out matches long after they were over just to get the bonus XP for long games. nearly every game had horribly stacked teams.

    i find it hilarious that he gets away with saying people want more weapons and unlocks. maybe the paying customers want more of that because god forbid someone actually gets enough XP to compete with them on a level playing field.

    what people actually want is a balanced game where they win because of great teamwork and where individual contributions matter. they want matches that are close and full of epic caps and stops. instead they turned it into an arms race.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      From what I have seen a really good player can dominate anyone on the battlefield with the default unlocked weapon.

      Although there are 1-2 items that seem a bit tilty-shifty in terms of balance, overall they don’t help you to actually aim, shoot and play better.

      If you are saying that someone with 10-20% more energy/shields comes out on top against someone at identical skill with himself over a lot of matches on average, then yes, sure. There is an “edge”.

      But in my opinion proper ranking and matchmaking would matter infinitely more. Not that that’s been done yet.

      And not that I don’t think XP gain could be faster for free players. Or at least that some of the monster gaps on stuff couldn’t be smaller. One thing to get 8k, another to get 40k+

    • Gnoupi says:

      I don’t know why people make such a big deal out of unlocks. I bought the 15 euros gold pack, which was enough to unlock all items from a class, with leftovers to spend on other ones.
      And I play mostly this class (tech), because that’s the role I prefer. When I have to switch to other classes for team balance reasons, I may not have all gadgets, but I have far enough to be useful.

      So as a result, I play a great multiplayer FPS, which will have for sure a large community for a while, and it costed me 15 euros.

      It’s not pay to win. You had some balance issues with the plasma, but that’s mostly all, and was fixed in the following week.

      Of course there is grinding if you take it as a free game. But if you take it as a cheap FPS (15 euros, for example), then you have enough to unlock mostly everything you need.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        Plasma is still unbalanced as fuck. You can wipe the entire opposing team out with one, even as a mediocre player.

        • Gnoupi says:

          I don’t know. I saw that happening the first week, but not really anymore. So maybe I got lucky on that topic.

      • Shortwave says:

        TBH, I’m a jug and didn’t even notice the plasma gun is an issue.
        Perhaps just switch to him and go pay that dude a visit again.. Ha.

    • Shortwave says:

      I find it so terribly sad you feel so passionately about that opinion.
      The fact is I’m a top player in every game and had been on a free account for weeks.
      Before deciding to make my first payment in a free to play game ever.
      For the single reason that I was totally able to dominate and have fun without paying for it.

      The fact that you got so brutally destroyed to the point that you think the upgrade system is too slow or that the core weapons are too weak, or whatever it is you think it is.. Only tells me you seriously need to rage less and practice more. Or simply go play another kind of game that simply -clicks- with you more.
      Because clearly this game is outta’ yer’ league.

      Oh and btw, this weekend I unlocked two classes and every single upgrade for them.
      On saturday.. : / Lol, yea. What a money grab that was!

  15. Rugged Malone says:

    I’m overall quite pleased with T:A. I’d personally be happier if they stuck to the original weapon types but that’s largely due to familiarity bias and personal preference.

    There are some things that still need work imo:

    - shrikes should take more damage when they hit a player. Shrike collisions are starting to be overrused and are difficult to counter, to the point of being an exploit on some of the servers I play on. You can just keep plowing through armors with no consequence. Doombringer isn’t an effective AA against a half-decent shrike pilot. Something in the balance needs to be tweaked here I think.

    - the CTF maps are balanceda bit precariously for technicians on pubs. I suspect they’re balanced for matches and coordinated teams. I’m hoping they make some more pub-friendly maps, for example with multiple gens like we had in T1/T2. It’s tough to do that without making every game a deadlock between good teams, but you (a) don’t get good teams on both sides very often and (b) close matches are fun matches, imo.

    - the feel of the plasma sniping rifle (not plasma gun) doesn’t seem right; I used to play LD almost exclusively in T1/T2, used to midair snipe from midair, and I couldn’t use the new weapon if my life depended on it. I know the hit box is tighter, but it also feels like the timing changed. Parking the reticle used to work but really doesn’t any more.

    None of these are a big deal…like any game you either adjust; play a different role; or go play a different game. But my gut tells me there are some game “feel” issues in the roles the devs don’t play as much.

    Oh, and although there isn’t the same need any more, I do miss client side scripting. :)

    • Mistabashi says:

      I’d very much like for them to add some official servers with a lower player count, 32 players is a bit cramped and spammy for me. TCN is much less of a pain to play when the player count becomes a bit more manageable.

      Shrikes would probably be less of an issue if the Saber Launcher was a bit more effective, as it stands it can be a bit finicky to get a lock-on and when you do the missiles are too easy to avoid or shoot down so a lot of DMBs rarely seem to use it, in pubs anyway.

      I’d also add that call-in spam can get ridiculous towards the end of a long game, it’s really no fun to play defense when you’re getting multiple orbital strikes in a row. Some sort of shared cooldown timer might be a good idea.

  16. Mayjori says:

    the price of weapons unlocks are fucking obscene

  17. killmachine says:

    i play tribes from time to time. it’s pretty damn hard for newcomers. but when you learn how to shoot and really understand ctf mechanics, you will start to love this game.

    in ctf, the core gamemode, there are so many tactical options… sady though, one of tribes more major problems, you don’t get rewarded for clearing up flag stands but for killing the generator over and over again.

    it’s part of the game to destroy base assets, sure, but it’s more important to clear the flag stand so the capper can safely get the flag.

    this needs to change imho. add some special points and badges when you destroy force fields, mines etc that are near the flag stand. this hopefully will attract more people to do the *actual* ctf objectives. and ones this is achieved, players will get even more rewarded when they helped making a cap even possible.