The Flag That Runs Like A Man: Tribes Ascend’s Blitz Mode

By Nathan Grayson on August 23rd, 2012 at 8:00 am.

Wait, you mean I could've just shot you from far away? Is that seriously how guns are working now? Oh man, well don't I feel silly.

I have something to confess to you all: I’ve been living a withered up husk of an existence. I honestly haven’t played Tribes in weeks, and every other aspect of my life has suffered immeasurably for it. I’m a mess. A devastatingly attractive mess. But no more. Hi-Rez has revealed Ascend’s latest giant update, and I have turned the most vibrant of all colors: interested. See, in Blitz mode, the flag moves.

Yeah, that mode sounds positively excellent. I’ve been known to occasionally guard the flag in the most obnoxious possible way (find a safe, out-of-sight spot, aim at the flag stand, and wait), and it sounds like constant base-switching will make it far harder to hunker down. Which is good. It’ll also mean multiple capture and defense strategies – craziness all around, really. And, if it’s done well, I imagine the number of total shut-out games will drop fairly significantly. Win-win-win-win. At least, on paper.

As for the Technician tweaks, I can’t say I’ve played the class all that much. Even so, the new primary weapon seems pretty standard, but I’ll be interested to see what people can do with a longer-range turret. Meanwhile, patch notes also reveal a host of balancing buffs and nerfs – including a whole host of damage boosts for the recently added Twinfusors.

So, who’s hopping on to try out Blitz soon? Both my trigger and jetpack fingers are feeling mighty itchy.

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32 Comments »

  1. Phantoon says:

    Shazbot.

  2. Gesadt says:

    VGS VGS VGS

  3. AlwaysRight says:

    I am the greatest!

  4. Bluefox says:

    I’ve been playing this on and off all day. My impressions:

    The TC24 is a decent middleground between the Thumper and the Raider’s Arx Buster. Four shots, minimal range before the payload explodes, not a bad choice for in-base defense. If you’re venturing out into the field a lot, though, I think the Thumper offers more versatility and rage at the expense of reload time.

    Repair Kit is made of pure, concentrated win. Honestly, it’s a toss-up for me between this and the motion sensor (I almost never use the grenades as a Tech). Grab it and the Safety Third perk for multiple deployments, and rack up repairs while you’re doing something else (like getting revenge on an Infiltrator). They’re incredibly fragile (as everything Technician), but also incredibly useful.

    I like the idea of the EXR Turret, but it suffers from the same problems as the standard turret – very fragile, and takes a couple seconds to lock on. Add to that the long interval between shots (about five seconds, at least), and it’s not as good at area denial, especially against pathfinders. The increase in range is just enough to be noticeable, but I don’t think it outweighs the other faults. Again, base/generator defense is where it has an opportunity to shine.

    Blitz is fun, and I’ve noticed a lot more games will run out of time with a 4 – x score. This allows the losing team some time to pull their act together, though going into overtime can take *forever* to resolve. This mode is an interesting change-up to the CTF formula. The downsides: 1) The number of inventory stations has been drastically reduced from the regular CTF maps. That seems an odd change to me, and makes the scramble for new equipment a bit hectic, until you can get a supply drop in place. 2) Only three maps, which means a lot of players have already memorized all four alternate flag placement locations. Memorization for flag cappers is still key, though it may slow down some with the final location inside the base, where the fragile pathfinders have to run a narrow gauntlet.

    As an aside, I really miss the Inferno CTF map. Why did they take it away? So sad. Now if I want Inferno, I have to be a liability on Team Deathmatch.

    • Spengbab says:

      “As an aside, I really miss the Inferno CTF map. Why did they take it away? So sad. Now if I want Inferno, I have to be a liability on Team Deathmatch.”

      wat.

      Inferno was TERRIBLE, one of the worst new maps. Shame that HiRez arent recycling more classic maps.

      • max_1111 says:

        Are we referring to Temple Ruins?
        If so, i really don’t understand why so many people dislike it. I always thought it was one of the significantly better maps in the game.

        …That said though, i agree that they need to just go ahead and port more of the retro maps.

    • UmmonTL says:

      The new technician items are pretty neat although I’m sceptical about the new turret. It’s not really good at indoor defense on most maps because it’s just as vulnerable to breaking line of sight, it does less dps and it’s shots can be dodged as well. It’s obviously supposed to be used as flag defense but it can pretty much only hit targets moving in a straight line. Unless you place it right next to the flag where it gets sniped most pathfinders will dodge it with their normal arc of movement. And I’m not sure if it even aims fast enough to get a really fast target. IMHO the rockets should have a slight homing effect to compensate for a slight arc of target trajectory and/or the knockback should be stronger so it can effectively stop a flag-grab.

      With the repairkit you basically get the option of a more combat oriented build with two guns and no time spent staring at the generator while being vulnerable. Alternatively you can repair much faster with both repairkits and your usual repairtool. The motion-sensor allows for a pre-emptive defense where ideally your gen never goes down while you still have some time for looking after the other base assets. With the repairkit you won’t be able to stop infiltrators as reliably but you are not dependant on someone watching your back as you do your job.

  5. Spengbab says:

    Sweet Buddah this game is so good I cannot put it in words BUT THAT WONT STOP ME FROM TRYING. First of all, it’s a game meant for PCs, so that means accurate controls, large interface, great visuals, the works. Not a regurgitated console-title recompiled as an afterhought for those creepy computer nerds. A game designed for mouse and keyboard with great texture quality! In 2012! And its free! WHY ARENT YOU PLAYING THIS?

    Also, it’s good and honest successor to Tribes 2 (None of that prequel crap that was Vengeance and the console game), which was a successor to Tribes 1. All of them have jetpacks! Blue discs! Deployables! Vehicles! Regenerating health and orbital weapons- oh wait, no, my bad, that’s actually pretty shit and console-ish.

    But other than that, its great, just great.

    • thaumoradiance says:

      I’ve been thinking and thinking of trying Tribes, but every time such intentions get to the boiling point, they are cooled down by rumors of the terrible online community on servers (presumably pubs; note that I haven’t tried the game yet) – I get to hear things like players being kicked out for playing in style X instead of Y and so on – and, besides, I’m not exactly the greatest FPS player around. So, for someone like the socially anxious me, is the game still a good recommendation?

      • max_1111 says:

        Since i started playing i have yet to have any genuine issues with the community… most people are a pretty chill, maaaaaybe a little troll-side leaning, but pretty okay none-the-less….
        No doubt there are some shitheads in the bunch, but i mean, that happens with every and any game and most people are quick to make fun of those kinds of players anyway.

        When you’re learning the ropes i recommend playing Team Deathmatch. It’s pretty easy to just kinda blend in with the crowd while you try to learn the basic mechanics of the game.
        Alternatively, you could play CTF and pick a less technical/specific role (i.e. Home Base/Mid-Field/Offensive skirmish etc etc) and just watch how people play while you do your thing, OR just spectate some rounds.

        EDIT: Furthermore, there’s a ‘single player’ tutorial section that teaches you the the basics of skiing/target practice and also one that allows you to roam all of the maps freely so you can get an idea of their layouts.

      • Spengbab says:

        Every PvP focussed community has its assholes, there’s no avoiding that in public games. Then again, I played DotA 2 for a month, good experience to build a thick skin to horrible people (Seriously, there’s no way to express my hatred for most of its players – at best, you play a game where noone talks, at worst you feel like youre playing with people who stomp on kittens and puppies before they take a nap.

        As for the Tribes community, it’s nowhere near as bad. You’ll get the occasional vocal 12-year old that can’t go a round with blaming his team or the word “faggot”, but mostly, it’s jolly good fun (At least on Europe – Amsterdam). There’s also a RPS server, but it’s usually deserted (Have yet to find a full game on it). People have fun with the Voice system, conversing with a limited set of commands, etc. And the Voice system is used to communicate incoming threats, your activities, etc, so most communication is done via that way instead of typing

        And I find it also depends on yourself – give the guy that killed you with a well-placed sniper shot/blue plate special a VGCS (Voice > Global > Compliment > “Great shot!”) – more often than not, you’ll get a VGRT (Voice > Global > Response > “Thanks!”) as a reply. Not to sound like a hippy, but just radiate some positivity, don’t go along with all the hate.

      • Major Dick says:

        I and most of the people I know have NEVER seen anyone kicked from a public game, even when they are massive trolls that deserve to be kicked. The pass vote percentage is just too high. Thats a little annoying but Its so rare that someone deliberately ruins the game that I wouldn’t worry about it. I’ve allways found the community friendly enough in publics, over at reddit/r/tribes and in Pick up groups but it can seem abit alienating when people start using abbreviations so heres a list of them, http://www.spinfusor.org/tribes-ascend-glossary/

        And yeah like max said start with TDM and mostly play that until your comfortable with movement and combat. I wouldn’t spend too much xp until you move on to CTF as you may find you like to play as a class that was never that viable/fun on tdm i.e infiltrator.

        If you do end up liking the game and staying I’d say youtube tutorials and stuff are very usefull for helping you improve roles and progressing especially for flag capping (though older flag capping routes aren’t necessarily still doable in the same way as nitron grenades, which are used to propel yourself, have been ‘nerfed’/altered )

      • AngoraFish says:

        Like TF2, the game is too hectic for people to waste time typing insults. Nor is it easy to spot who’s letting the team down. Furthermore, even in team games winning isn’t such a big issue, mostly it’s personal achievement that people are aiming for. Basically, this is as good as it gets online for avoiding torrents of abuse. Expect to get owned for many hours, as there is a high level of skill (which I don’t have, I die often, but still enjoying it), but definitely not PTW (I struggle to find anything worth saving up for in what is more or less entirely sidegrades). You can’t lose if you like a good fast paced FPS.

      • UmmonTL says:

        All trolls can do is spam annoying voice commands (“I am the greatest” or “Is that the best you can do”) while using cheap tactics like fractalspam or actively aiding the enemy team by grabbing their flag and moving it into their base. Sometimes you see stuff like a flagcarrier jumping on a banshee and being kept out of range but unless it’s done to drag out the match it’s really a viable tactic that can be stopped. The worst I’ve seen was a organized group of heavies grabbing the enemy flag, moving it into their base and killing everybody trying to get to it spam-attacks while picking off the few that make it through. As long as they pass the flag around and are quick to rejoin the others if one gets killed they can keep dragging out the game while keeping the top-spots on their sides scoreboard which ends up giving them a lot of XP especially if their team still wins in the end.

      • sinister agent says:

        I’ve played it for about five or six hours, and had a terrific time, picking it up very quickly despite not being all that with shooters (I’m okay, mind), and being on the winning team about 50% of the time. I’ve had no problems with anyone – not so much as cross words in fact.

        Only a few hours of course, and I might have just got lucky. But I was pleasantly surprised by what a good time I had.

        • theallmightybob says:

          yeah my experiance in pubs (noth america anyways) has been overall positive. most people are to busy fighting to be assholes. now and again you get one that thinks they are hot shit and decided to try and talk down to their team, but that happens in every FPS.

    • max_1111 says:

      Also Discoballs… Fuck Discoballs…
      Truth be told i wouldn’t entirely mind either with Friendly Fire turned on. It would make them both significantly less infuriating since you wouldn’t have some capper swooping in without a care in the world whilst your flag defenders are busy scattering.

      • UmmonTL says:

        I think fractal grenades shouldn’t be able to destroy deployable belt items like mines and motion sensors. Then at least that line of defense is left intact. Also they should do less damage to pack items like the DMB shield and turrets. It’s an area denial weapon and deadly enough indoors without destroying any and all defenses in range.

      • mouton says:

        Fractals should disappear when their owner dies, really. Screw suicide Brutes.

        • theallmightybob says:

          agreed, its the mos tlame thing that prople do, I would also love to see the lasers colour coded so i can tell if its my team or the enemy who is spamming the damn things on the point.

  6. njursten says:

    The flag movement seems to be a bit different depending on the map. On Catabatic (I think? The ice one) it’s moved to harder and harder to reach places, making the games last longer as it gets easier for the less good team to defend. On Drydock this doesn’t happen though, not quite as noticeably as in Catabatic at least.

    • max_1111 says:

      Drydock… Bleh…
      Speaking from an HoF’s point of view, eff that map.

  7. Hunchback says:

    Damn, will have to reinstall again… Every time i get bored and around to uninstalling the game they release something new and awesome.

    Also, is it just me or the dude from the videos looks a bit… weird?

    • max_1111 says:

      He definitely seems a little uncomfortable in his own skin.

  8. Tacroy says:

    I want them to re-do Team Rabbit 2. That was so much fun.

    Oh also I played a couple of rounds of this new mode yesterday, and twice my team started off behind 3-(1,2) but managed to pull off a win eventually.