Is This The End For Tribes Ascend?

By Nathan Grayson on July 15th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

Behind that mask? Bitter, bitter tears. And a cool mustache.

OK, I usually hate misleading question mark headlines, but look at that one. It rhymes!

That is probably the most positive thing you’re going to read in this entire post.

It sounds like Tribes Ascend is – for all intents and purposes – a done deal. Its servers will continue to run (and jump and jetpack) of course, but there hasn’t been a major update since March, and Hi-Rez is making no bones about the reason why. Games like SMITE and inferior high-flying manshoot Global Agenda 2 have taken priority, and that won’t be changing any time soon.

Hi-Rez head Todd Harris explained the situation on Tribes’ forums:

“There are no major dev updates planned for Tribes Ascend in the next six months. For the next six months our primary development focus is SMITE. Beyond that it is GA2. And beyond that a Tribes Ascend 2 would be more likely than a major update to TA; but to be clear no devs are currently working toward TA2.”

A couple new maps are apparently in the works, but those will only see the blue-tinted light of day “if time allows”.

Doesn’t exactly speak well of Hi-Rez’s commitment to long-term service, does it? Tribes Ascend officially launched on April 12, 2012 – just a little over a year ago. Meanwhile, the past six months or so were nearly bereft of substantial updates. It’s a bit strange, too, given that Hi-Rez came out the gate slinging hot patches like delicious rocket-propelled pancakes. But now? Nothing.

It makes me wonder how well Tribes performed after those initial few months, especially in light of later updates that took some of the edge off the experience curve and made the process of spending money less complicated.

I’m hoping to chat with Hi-Rez at length soon to clear up some of the whys and wherefores. Until then, though, are any of you still regular players? If not, why’d you stop?

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98 Comments »

  1. Mr.Snowy says:

    A sequel to Global Agenda? But….it was bloody awful!

    • CMaster says:

      Funny thing about GA was I played a demo at Eurogamer (back when there was a Leeds one) and the PvE element at least was a lot more interesting back then.

      • paddymaxson says:

        I was a bit bemused by the fact they took tonnes of interesting maps out of the pve between beta and release.

    • Reefpirate says:

      See you say that, and I can totally understand you… But for some reason GA remains one of my most played games in my Steam library. I still go back every now and then to see if I can’t get a PvP match. Sadly it never queues up any more.

      There was something really compelling about the PvP in that game. I couldn’t care less about the PvE, but the different classes and how they played against each other was surprisingly addictive. Their Alliance vs Alliance system was hugely flawed, but once again compelling enough to keep me engaged with our Agency and the server politics of it all.

      I remember feeling cheated by Hi-Rez when they quietly turned their backs on GA, so I’m not surprised by this development with Tribes. I find myself really excited by a GA2 if it means a second chance at achieving what I think was possible with GA but was never fully realized.

    • Gnoupi says:

      I don’t know, I had quite some fun on the PvE and PvP in Global Agenda (by PvE I mean the missions, not the awful open zones).

      It required a good synergy of the team to get through objectives, it was pleasant.
      The feel of the jetpacking and the weapons was quite good too, to me.
      The game was quite fun to me.

      I don’t get really all this negativity towards it.

  2. Pich says:

    Cash Shop strikes again.

  3. Skhalt says:

    Well the game was trying to find a middle ground to content both pro and casual players, but unsurprisingly in the end it was too dumbed down for the former and still too hardcore for the latter. I hear the pros are looking forward to an open-source project that would be closer to the original Tribes, no idea where it’s at.

    • zind says:

      I think you’re pretty much on the dot. When I’ve played and had the best time is when I was playing a game within my community where the teamwork was real and we disallowed any automatic hitscan weapons. Having chainguns and assault rifles in the mix is what killed the game for a lot of tribes fans I know, even more than all the f2p trappings.

      Having real dedicated servers without needing to go through GSPs would’ve helped a lot as well, I think.

      • Fiyenyaa says:

        I dunno if this was the case since forever or if they changed it to be the case; but the assault rifles and the chaingun most certainly weren’t hitscan at least by the time of late beta. The only hitscan weapons I remember by that point were the pistols and shotguns (which both have obvious drawbacks; one being weak and plinky, the other being super-short range).

        • hotmaildidntwork says:

          Don’t forget the sniper rifles. I had no idea that assault rifles and chainguns had ever been hitscan though, that sounds horrible.

          And the game did have custom servers by the end, although they all seem to stand empty now. It’s pretty much impossible to get a round of point capture at all, much less a decent one. :\

        • zind says:

          I think you’re right; we hadn’t played since early beta and just assumed they were still hitscan (or traveled fast enough that it felt that way). Regardless, when I compare my time spent in games where we disallow auto weapons to pub games I’ve been in, I find that I rage a lot less. If I get hit with a mortar or heavy spinfusor when I’m headed for the flag then it was a good and well-skilled defense; if I get mowed down by a chaingun then it’s camping bullshit. (Yes I am aware that my rage is my own problem, but still, I can’t be the only one.)

    • Hygogg says:

      Fairly close to what I think.

      To help players who weren’t so good at the regular mechanics yet they gave basically every class a hitscan or automatic weapon. Compared to the normal arsenal of a Tribes game, these weapons were exceptional against airborne and fast-moving targets (read: players who were good at what Tribes gameplay is supposed to be about.) At first it seemed sort of novel – there now was a balance between risking explosive weapons by sticking to the ground, and risking being shot down by absolutely anyone by taking to the skies – but these weapons are more reliable in regular combat situations as well and aren’t nearly as interesting or rewarding to use as the explosive, projectile-inheritance-bearing, single-fire weapons that make Tribes what it is. You know you’ve fucked up when PUG play regularly features players skating at low speed along flat plains holding down the fire button on their SMG.

      Now, Tribes has always had a sniper class, as well as automatic weapons. But Tribes 2′s chaingun was laughably weak, inaccurate and affected by inheritance, which made it more of a feeble crutch than a game-changing weapon like Ascend’s automatics are. The sniper has this aforementioned, major advantage that automatic weapon users do (swatting flies), but it’s still very difficult to snipe in Tribes (much moreso than using an automatic weapon) and the sniper isn’t good at anything but shooting the frailer, faster classes, which makes him one of a few targets for the other team’s non-capping offensive players, and one of the goals to defend as the sniper team’s defensive players.

      I don’t think T:A is an example of difficult games getting shafted – other difficult games with even more newbie-unfriendly mechanics like DOTA 2 (and well, MOBAs in general) are insanely popular now – nor do I think it’s an example of concessions to newbies being bad things. Had the automatic weapons been balanced as inferior to the projectile weapons and could only be used if you didn’t take the projectile weapons with you, they would have made excellent newbie crutches and would have left high level pub play/competitive play unaffected. (well okay, I also would have thoroughly preferred 100% inheritance, but I digress. I also digress from actually writing an effective conclusion.)

      • Nurdell says:

        They thought every class should be overpowered on it’s own – to keep the player interested or something. Turned out it doesn’t work for Tribes where since the dawn of time everything was balanced for a team (slow heavies shredding light armored players and dropping in tens on enemy base from the carrier ships were balanced by not regenerating health and if the player took repair pack he was gimped a little) Also the zero friction broke the flag game.
        Now they make smite based on the same philosophy of everything should be OP. Urgh!

  4. Saranis says:

    This game never seemed all that interesting to me. I’m not a hardcore shooter fan and I think thats why and also explains the trouble they had. If you’re game doesn’t jump out at people these days you aren’t going to get noticed. Especially in a genre that seems to have a new release every week.

    • Finjy says:

      Tribes is technically a shooter, but it’s not much like other shooters at all. I don’t think not standing out was the problem.

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        It’s a shooter where the core mechanics are about moving at very high speeds. And yet the game modes—with the exception of team deathmatch, with its 2x bonus for the flag—are built around capturing and defending fixed targets. This mismatch was the main reason I stopped playing.

        • MasterDex says:

          The flags aren’t fixed objects. They’re static but moveable. And the speed comes in when you’ve got a team of guys defending one of those flags and the only way you’re grabbing that flag and getting out of dodge is if you have enough speed to do so.

          Also, the core mechanics aren’t just about going fast. It’s one of the core mechanics but not the be all and end all of them.

  5. scorcher24 says:

    I liked the game but I didn’t play it because of all the unlock stuff.
    I would have bought it for a reasonable price if everything is included and I can just stick my soldier together the way I like it. But constant money drains are not within my gaming policy, so I ignored Tribes.

    • HybridHalo says:

      You could buy it and have everything unlocked, though that’s only been available for the last 6 months or so.

    • sirdavies says:

      You can get it with all the unlocks for 8 bucks or so on the Steam Sale.

  6. Crimsoneer says:

    One of the first “good” F2P games out there – I payed around £15 to unlock everything I wanted to, bit by bit, and had great times. Happy with that. Shame to see it go.

    • mouton says:

      I gave this instance F2P a chance and was cautiously optimistic, but in the end it was the cancer that killed the game. Oh well, had tons of fun, will remember.

  7. portchd says:

    Noo, they just need to add in a shop that sells hats, I want to have a Brute with a tophat…it works for valve…

  8. maximiZe says:

    That’s Hi-Rez for you. The same will happen to SMITE, don’t support their practices.

  9. Hypernetic says:

    Let it be known that this will be the last time Hi-Rez gets a cent from me. This is the second game (that I’m aware of) that they’ve done this with. The first was Global Agenda. They seem to be chasing that big payday rather than simply settling for what they have. Global Agenda and Tribes might not have had the largest player bases around, but they both had a dedicated one that would have continued to support either game if given the chance.

    They seem to be fairly good at making a game but horrible at the business end of it. Tribes is a good measure of this, they really tried to nickel and dime everyone. $10 for a gun? Blatently imbalanced new weapons that get nerfed after everyone buys them? They weren’t subtle about their desire to rip you off.

    Either way, I’m done with this company. I really like GA and Tribes as games, but their business model sucks and their lack of support sucks.

  10. Mollusc Infestation says:

    I spent several hundred joyous hours with Tribes. Then i started getting ridiculously high ping every second game.

    • Tridae says:

      I really really wanted to be able to play this game but soon found out my ping is way too high as servers are way too far away.

      The joys of living in South Africa.

      Planetside 2 works fine somehow ~150 ping I think and its definitely playable. Tribes with the same ping and I can’t hit anything.

      • Hypernetic says:

        It’s because lag compensation doesn’t work with projectiles, only hitscan weapons.

        • MasterDex says:

          Lag compensation does work with projectiles, it’s just harder.

      • Mollusc Infestation says:

        Yeah, it’s a game which doesn’t forgive high ping. Anything over about 60 would be fairly unplayable. Unfortunately the EU servers seem to vary between 30 and 150 for me, which is… irritating.

        • MasterDex says:

          Doesn’t forgive high ping – unless you’re a pathfinder, in which case you have to ask everyone on the server to forgive you or you’re just an asshole lagger ruining the game.

          ….Just saying. :P

  11. PeteC says:

    I loved it and logged around 150 hours but an update buggered the game up so it wouldn’t even load up. After that I just sort of drifted away and never went back.

  12. benjamin says:

    Weeeeeee! Swooooossshhhh!

    Occasionally I log into a Tribes game and just skate around the map. This game really got movement and the joy of swooping. It’s also a really fun shooter, has a great selection of maps and is still worth checking out.

  13. MeestaNob says:

    Great game hopelessly hobbled by a shitty server and store front system. These games are the reason people ask for a pure Steam integration…

  14. Danny says:

    Hi-Rez is a relatively small studio and while I don’t agree with their decision it makes sense from a business point of view, seeing that Smite is – by far – their most popular game. I don’t know anything about their profitability, but it might just be the decision between staying in business or going bust.

  15. Bootvi says:

    Tribes:Ascend was one of the best shooters I played, I really enjoyed it.

    But the longer I played, the more “pro” players were in the servers I was assigned to, and it took out all the fun out..

    And at some point I joined a PUG and got totally owned which made me want to delete the game. The community wasn’t too friendly and a bit elitist too.

    So I stopped playing :(

    • MasterDex says:

      That’s a shame and perhaps you need to give it another try. From my experience, the Tribes community is a step above other shooter communities. The BF and CoD communities for example are god-awful. They’re filled with children that can do nothing but spit insults at each other every time they die. Tribes, on the other hand, has a few like that and a few “I was here with Tribes 1″ eltists that are generally fine unless you start them off. The rest of us are nice, friendly people.

      If you do decide to try again, the Official All Maps servers in Amsterdam region are always busy – unless they just crashed – and while you get the highest ranks there, there’s plenty of variety in ranks and you might learn a thing or two playing with the higher ranks.

    • mouton says:

      Yeah, well, T:A is, in many ways, an old school brutal twitch shooter. Or at least it was until everyone started just spamming autos, heh. Anyway, it’s one of those games with high rage potential.

    • hotmaildidntwork says:

      It can be difficult not to be angry while fighting with a guy that seems to have forgotten the concept of missing, regardless of how polite he is about it.

  16. Scumbag says:

    Me and a couple of others used to run the RPS unofficial server and, for a while, tons of people were playing. Some point in about November however things started to go down a mite and the games turnouts got worse and worse (sometimes to the point where there were only 2 people playing some nights).
    We have a subforum open for the community (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?19-Tribes-Ascend) but then again the last post was made in Feburary.
    I don’t think I’ve even logged on to Tribes since April, and even then it was just to check a couple of things I was curious about with the shop.

    Do want to play again from time to time, but it’s a kind of empty experience without the community playing.

    • fish99 says:

      November was when Planetside 2 launched.

      • Scumbag says:

        A good point, plus a lot of the former tribes players seem to be playing PS2 a lot.
        Kinda sad, kinda expected.

    • mouton says:

      Maybe it changed later, but for me the custom servers were mostly dead on arrival for one simple reason: unlike in, say, TF2, people who clicked “play now” wouldn’t be assigned to them. They would have to go to custom servers on purpose and choose one. This resulted in poor populations and drying up of most places. Perhaps it changed later, but it sure didn’t look like it would improve back when I stopped playing.

      A terrible choice by Hirez, in my opinion. They probably wanted to preserve the “core” character of their game, with airstrike spam and whatnot but they just ended up strangling custom servers.

      • hotmaildidntwork says:

        I’m sure you’ve correctly interpreted the effect on traffic, but I don’t think that would have been at all the right choice. At least you’d want a separate button so that people wouldn’t have to be joining servers at random without having the slightest clue what they were getting into.

        • mouton says:

          You could have filters like in other FPSes (tag filtering in TF2, for example). This way, custom servers (or specific modifications) would be opt-out, instead of opt-in. Even if some people would prefer the “core” gameplay, it would be a huge population boost to the custom servers.

  17. TwwIX says:

    That was the last time that i supported this shitty company. They’re going to abandon SMITE too once it’s time to announce a new cash cow.

    • mouton says:

      I had a blast with T:A while it lasted and do not regret “supporting” them for a while.

  18. Phinor says:

    Game of the Year edition with all? (correct me if I’m wrong) items unlocked is 75% off at Steam. 8€/£7/$10 that is. Might be worth a try at that price whether they are done with the game or not.

    Constant updates is pretty mandatory in a completely free-to-play game to keep that cash flow running but I can kind of see why they’d stop updating the game after releasing a buyable version of the “full” game.

  19. Shadowcat says:

    I don’t really understand. Most games get a crap-load less than an entire year of patches. I’ve never played this, but maybe the game is just pretty stable at this point, and doesn’t need a new patch every other month? Am I missing something here? I mean, if the game works and the servers are running, then I’m not seeing a problem.

    • Snidesworth says:

      That’s my feeling as well. I rarely play Tribes these days but it was a damn fine game even before they started adding new content. If anything the new weapons tended to create problems, and not just in the people-getting-used-to-the-flavour-of-the-week sense. Just because they’re not adding more stuff doesn’t stop it from being phenomenally fun, and now you can put down money for the complete package and jump in with everything unlocked to begin with. The whole f2p element can be completely sidestepped with that option.

      Loads of multiplayer shooters have survived and prospered without the trickle of new content, and a good few still do. Just because a game isn’t getting an injection of new toys every month doesn’t mean it’s worthless.

      Of course if there are outstanding technical and balance issues that’s another matter.

    • fish99 says:

      Except that with F2P you need to keep adding new stuff to buy or the revenue stream dies.

    • Erkin says:

      Like you, I don’t see the problem. I do not need news updates to play to Tribes.
      As I play all games of Hi-rez, I have no problem with the fact they work on new titles and i’m glad to hear they will work on a Tribes Ascend 2 in the future.

    • MasterDex says:

      Well there’s the issue of the servers crashing multiple times every day – official servers, just so you know. Then there’s the messed up balance between offense and defense in CTF, allowing and encouraging everyone on a team to stay back at base and rake up the points instead of helping capture the flag.

      Then there are the annoying bugs – like base assets being permanently disabled with one of the raiders grenades or your hands disappearing, stopping you from being able to fire or do anything other than get to an inventory station.

      I could go on but seeing as HiRez don’t care, I don’t care very much right now either.

      Suffice to say, this isn’t really news to those of us still playing the game, it’s just the final nail.

    • CptPlanet says:

      This is what I don’t like about RPS. I’ll be damned if they ever write an article that is not editorialized and sensationalist in some way.

      • qrter says:

        They’re not a news organisation. They’re basically a blog, which means it’ll be opinionated.

    • flang says:

      There are still major problems with the game that need to be fixed. Server crashes and lag are still present in every other game I play.

  20. Arona Daal says:

    For me it was:

    Boring Mapdesign (Hills,Hills,some more Hills) , Boring Gamemodes (mainly Ctf and Variations thereof), bland and uninspired Artdesign & Voiceacting (Space Mareens with gruff Voices). Incredibly boring Vehicles and Weapons (Hitscan and explosive Projectiles).
    Except for the novelty Skating it was completely uninteresting.

    • Nogo says:

      Oddly enough everything you’re describing is what made TRIBES so great when it came out. I guess when your community vehemently rejects change and everyone else copies your great ideas things can become dated quickly.

  21. Branthog says:

    Oh, yeah. I’m sure those two other games will sell like hotcakes…

    *eyeroll*

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of good FPS games out there that fail these days, simply because the three or four biggest titles siphon the air out of the room and leave nothing for other great games to build a large strong community around.

  22. Rangerage says:

    Well that’s what happens when you patch a game into oblivion, after the class updates started the game got more and more unbalanced and the core audience got sick of it and left.
    It didn’t help that the newer maps were awful either.

  23. Flimgoblin says:

    Plasma cannons..

    Somehow ended up in a competitive (ish, we were number 4 in europe technically, so I guess we were somewhat competitive :)) team and the wildly swinging axe of balance between patches/things they promised to do but didn’t eventually annoyed them into giving up, and I really couldn’t be bothered finding another team…

  24. Muzman says:

    When games like this are abandonned are they going to actually release them with a dedicated server so they can have some life away from fickle business interests?

  25. oceanclub says:

    Have to say that Tribes:Ascend was one of the most enjoyable multiplayer shooters I’ve played and worth the tenner I put down on it. Is new content for new content’s sake really a positive? Look how many people complain about TF2 for too many new additions.

    P.

  26. MrLordcaptain says:

    I still play regular (or better I play regular again since GOTY came out). The game has a genius movement system and some of the most satisfying weapons I ever used in a fps.
    But it is terrible balanced and the team balance for an enjoyable experience is harder to reach than in a Lol puplic game. The problem is this game was always the best concept terrible executed.

    I hope that LoRez either learned a LOT or that they let another company on it (someone that can balance)

  27. walldad says:

    Hi-Rez took the existing audience of people who knew what Tribes had to offer for granted.

    Everything else added to the game either enabled their monetization model or makes the game “accessible” in a really lame and uncreative way — I mean really, a CTF game with CPU-controlled defense? Automatic weapons consistently outperforming other projectile weapons in DPS? Please.

    The problem with this design philosophy is that the developers assume unilaterally that the old Tribes games were too hard for a general audience. No actual customer is making this specific demand of them. It’s funny too, because in restructuring the maps to be smaller, and adding fewer ways for players to effectively defend, the game rewarded an even narrower set of skills. A skilled pathfinder can hop on any pub and turn the tide in almost any game single-handedly, making the game even more imbalanced and less diverse for a new player, who’s always trying to find a niche to be useful in.

    In retrospect, it’s clear Hi-Rez expanded the game to nine classes instead of light/md/heavy specifically so Hi-Rez could run TF2 style class updates. Funny too since in doing so it created the typical F2P balance merry go round where the new items are great until the nerf + new update patch a month later. Ironically for them, people catch onto that sort of extortion scam the devs are trying to run on their enjoyment and begin no longer playing the game.

    It’s the same syndrome all updates of “old, good, supposedly hard” games go through. The developers lack a real sense of what made the old games good, and disregard the concerns of their existing fans in favor of courting a new audience — not with a better product, but with a watered down one. In the long run they end up pleasing neither group and the game just dies. This is what’ll happen with Planetside 2 in 6-8 months (I mean hell, it already is).

    • Azmat says:

      The enormous skew between offense and defense was one thing getting on my nerves. I preferred playing defense, but it really did feel hopeless. Map = Crossfire?: “Haha, you want to sit on flag lol?”.
      I really played the game a lot, starting in beta. I enjoyed it for a long time. But get into some higher rank games and it all starts to dull a bit. My main gripes where not the paystore, nor the confined classes, neither the smaller maps or non-existing base assets. My gripes were the tactical and orbital strikes. If you ever wanted to make clear that babysitting your flag was pointless and stupid, then you need to give the offense unblockable utterly devastating off-map strike call-ins. Tac strikes are so cheap and effective that it gives a skilled pathfinder a free run. A heavy sitting on the flag? Smirk at his corpse as you race over his blistering remains after you called in a strike. Orbital strike? Well, time this right and its a points party.
      At least in T2 actual players had to clear the stand. Here you have to deal with players and strikes, and sometimes plain poor map design giving the advantage to capping again. Snipe assest halfway across the map? Sure! Shielding was stupid op anyway. That heavy’s deployed shield? Just lol at it. The only time it was effective is when you are alive, see the capper coming and are able to deploy it in front of his nose.
      Base assets and base defense is another concept that was reduced to nothing. Gens should matter, assets should matter. As it stood, it mattered little to none.
      It’s not a bad game, but it really could have been so much better, if only they’d taken some feedback on board.

  28. Tom Walker says:

    I guess if there’s nothing basically broken about it any more, then that’s fair enough.

    The little hardcore groups that are in to games like this probably prefer it that way. If the developers change anything then they’ll jump up and down claiming it’s suddenly unbalanced.

  29. Jumwa says:

    I’m disappointed the title wasn’t a “Tribes Descend” sort of play.

  30. Megakoresh says:

    Hi-Rez are always where the money is. They have good QA and some decent combat designers but ultimately they are the kind of studio who is ALWAYS going to prioritise for cash and only cash. SMITE is making a ton more money for them and that’s what they are supporting as a result.

    Tribes Ascend would have been a way better game if it was a full price title and not a F2P game. I hope Tribes 2 is going to be just that. As for GA… That game is way behind anything that can keep me interested in playing it again.

  31. Dominic White says:

    And here we see a grand example of ‘Damned if you do, damned if you don’t’. For all the incessant moaning in RPS comments about how Valve should stop updating TF2 and ruining the ‘purity’ of its design, you know that the moment they announce that they’re finally stopping will result in rage and resentment like you’ve never seen before.

    • MasterDex says:

      I see where you’re coming from but I don’t think this is one of those moments. There’s still enough to do in T:A to warrant at least another patch. HiRez are fine whether they do or don’t. In this case, it’s only the fans that suffer.

      Also, considering that they’ll continue to make money from microtransactions for this game, I think it’s an arsehole thing to turn to your userbase and say “All that money you give us with this game? Yeah, not going towards the continued development of this game. kktnxbai.”

      And if the same happens TF2, and they continue to make money from the game, then I think a bit of outrage is justified.

    • walldad says:

      Don’t be disingenuous (or do, since you didn’t actually address anyone specifically). It’s not a simple dichotomy between “updates please!” and “no, don’t update this game!”, or anything relating to some abstract nonsense like purity.

      Releasing weapons — ones that the developers expect people to pay for, mind you — that are a little too good at first and queuing up a nerf for the subsequent patch that includes the next set does not put the game on the path to long term profitability. Tribes was by no means the worst F2P offender when it did this, but it’s also a game that markets itself as being based largely on player skill.

      In the long run, people catch on to this cynical ploy, and find something else to spend their time and money on. I mean really, even doing these things in the subtle way they did is absolutely awful for a game chasing competitive players alongside a more casual audience. Neither group wants to compete with the “mom’s credit card” crowd every time the game has content added to it. And of course, once sales start dropping off because of fatigue induced by this dumb business model, support for the game from the developers does as well. Don’t try to pin that on the player base, god damn.

      The F2P model isn’t even the biggest problem the game has. Just to give a quick example — T:A offers a more limited style of play than other games in the series. Hopping on a pub for a few rounds means the most effective tactic you’ll see is a team mostly devoted to offense. Covering a skilled flag capper or being one are the two best things you can do, almost categorically. Playing more defensively or guarding the generator is usually where new players would’ve been able to make themselves useful, but that’s largely been de-emphasized in favor of TDMing around a flag stand for 5-10 minutes while a the flag gets captured by a guy no one on the opposing team can viably chase down.

      • Fiatil says:

        Neutering the base system is their biggest problem. Yeah it sucks to have your generators down and not able to get new weapons; but base defense/offense was something that pretty much anyone could get involved in. I was never good at Tribes, but I loved dropping a satchel charge in the generator room as a light, or bunkering down and keeping the power on for the rest of my team.

  32. kwyjibo says:

    They should implement Steam Workshop and just let the community make updates. Freelance hat designer is something you can put on a business card now.

  33. Flappybat says:

    Well this isn’t exactly new to free to play. Retail games got dropped like hot potatoes after a bug fix patch or two if they didn’t sell.

  34. pupsikaso says:

    They did the same thing with Global Agenda. After the first few patches/updates (that broke more than it fixed, and left the most important things unfixed) they just gave up on it and went off to develop this Tribes game.

    Now they are ditching that and developing Global Agenda 2? How do they expect to secure a fanbase with this kind of attitude?

  35. TsunamiWombat says:

    Hi-Rez is a small studio that keeps writing metaphorical checks it cannot cash. It takes on projects bigger than their head and it comes out half assed and half baked. I’ve bought and played three of their games now (yes, I bought T:A and Global Agenda at full price when it came out), and none of them are ‘complete’ or very good. I can almost guarantee you SMITE will eventually be abandoned when the next cash grab comes along.

  36. killmachine says:

    tribes ascend is a good game. it’s just a very niche game and was doomed to fail from the very start. doesn’t change the fact that it’s a very good game.

  37. Mbaya says:

    As a former Tribes 2 player, I played Tribes Ascend a great deal from Beta all the way up until about the time they reduced the XP needed for unlocks.

    Was one of my most enjoyed games of last year but I just sort of fizzled out. I didn’t like it much when they started added similar weaponry with just slightly modified stats (same DPS, but lower rate of fire for example) – would have much preferred different way’s to “play” and more skins.

    They did some things right though. All new maps were available to everyone, hiding maps behind a pay wall is something I can not stand (CoD, BF3 etc) – but even then, the quality was certainly lower than what the game launched with. Also the gameplay was top notch…sure, not quite the same joy as I had when played Tribes 2 back in the day, but as far as modern shooters go it was brilliant to get back into the twitchy speedy play again.

    Still, there has to come a point for most free to play games where the money earned doesn’t cover the cost of the new content being made…but it’s not like they left the game in a bad state – just imho, they needed (or still need) to re-release it now that they offer a buy once unlock everything option.

    Even then…I doubt I’ll get back into the swing of things. Loved it for a time though and it’s still something I’d recommend to FPS gamers to at least try out, but be warned there is rather a high skill ceiling to the game (not as much as Tribes 1 and 2…but top end players will be neigh unbeatable for some).

    As for SMITE…I enjoyed that for a while, but the typical MOBA style leaves something to be desired for me. Losing (or winning) a game before it even gets going really puts me off investing much time into them – good games are great, but typical games tend to either be a pushover or a disaster.

    I’d *much* rather see something else in the Tribes universe than Global Agenda though moving forward.

  38. Berzee says:

    I still play Tribes Ascend at least one or two nights week for one or two hours, sometimes more, but I only bought $10 worth of stuff a long time ago and that was mainly to get the permanent XP boost. So I might be Part of The Problem.

    It’s taking me so long to collect all of the guns that I don’t really miss not having fresh content; but I do notice that I always see the same people in Quick Match for my region and I wonder how small the playerbase has become. As with most games, it seems like the regulars are outpacing me more every day. =P

  39. Cytrom says:

    Smite.. ok, but Global Agenda 2, instead of tribes? Nobody cares about that crap.

    With just a bit more polish, weapon balance and well rounded content in all game modes, TA could have been legendary. It’d also help if it was running on my laptop properly…

    • deadly.by.design says:

      Yeah. I was always under the impression that people played GA because it was kind of like Tribes.

  40. Radiant says:

    Looks like this is the ass end of tribes ascend.

    *puts on glasses*
    yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

  41. deadly.by.design says:

    I did a lot to defend and promote this game after getting into it in May ’12. The trouble is, no matter how much I had reliving my late-90s Tribes nostalgia, I could only defend HiRez for so long. The neglect of the comp scene and too-little, too-late pace of content additions were too much for even a F2P game.

    I will never play another HiRez game again. While it was fun for a while, the way they handled such a great IP leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  42. DarkWeeble says:

    The tragedy of Tribes: Ascend is that the Alpha and Beta community were actually incredibly helpful and enthusiastic about what T:A could do. There were huge, thoughtful posts about how to monetize the game in such a way that people wouldn’t feel cheated and detailed physics threads to discuss velocity inheritance of projectiles. Hi-Rez ignored basically everything the community said they needed, wanted, and were willing to pay for. Instead, they released a “competition” game without the ability to record demos and hacked in a spectator mode. There’s probably a really great article waiting to be written about Ascend’s development and post-release support.

    The bright side of all of this is that Tribes 2 is still free to play at http://www.tribesnext.com/ and there’s rumblings of a community-made SDK for T:A.

    • Mattressi says:

      I’d love to see T:A worked on by the community. For all that I love Tribes and Tribes 2, the one thing I prefer far-and-away in T:A is that skiing actually feels like skiing. I almost forgot how it worked in the originals, so when I played T2 it was a brief shock for me when I remembered it.

      Really, if people could just remake Tribes with the T:A engine, with proper physics (unlike T:A) and proper skiing (unlike T1/2 where it really was just a glitch-turned-mechanic), I would pay $50 for that.

      • Nurdell says:

        I don’t know but I absolutely adored the skiing in starsiege:tribes, even after the ascend. Not so much in tribes 2 though. And yes, numerous threads about how a pathfinder uses unchasable routes show that too low friction can break the game.

  43. Orionmeister says:

    I dearly loved Tribes Ascend and went back to playing it recently. I still had a blast, because the gameplay was extremely rewarding and fun, however after returning from Counter Strike I ran into the previous issue I had with the game, namely the incredibly frustrating problem of having no built in voice chat to communicate with my team. Nothing worse than spamming “VFF” as you build up speed on a run, only to have someone on your team grab the enemy flag at the last second going 20 kph and die soon after leaving the stand. I understand that the Voice Game System is a staple for Tribes, but I see no reason you could not have both, just to enhance communication which is vital for successful caps in this game.

  44. Sidewinder says:

    [Angry Old Man Rant] The problems started when they legitimized skiing! It was an exploit, nothing more, and on any decent server it would get you banned! Accepting it changed the focus from careful, team-oriented movement into a frantic reflex-fest! [/Angry Old Man Rant]
    I’m assuming you meant Ascend, though. I stopped when I realized that the pointless class subdivisions didn’t actually add anything- I’d figured they’d allow for better balance, and the fact that they (for a third game in a row) didn’t add back in any of the other game modes the original had (Capture and Hold, Defend and Destroy, Find and Retrieve, etc.) would also allow them to balance it better, creating a finely-honed system where only superior skill and planning would carry the day. They did kind of lousy job on that, and when the first wave or two of patches didn’t fix it, I found my time could be better spent elsewhere.

  45. El_Emmental says:

    Played quite a lot of T:A, thinking it would revive the happy days of Tribes 2 (nb: I was a terrible newbie on T2, but really enjoyed it nonetheless).

    What made me quit:

    Hi-Rez decided to simplify the game by taking out loadouts and tons of weapons/items, and a few vehicles. Fine. I thought “if they can pull a new, enjoyable, Tribes game, why not”. And it was actually fun, really. But after a while, something was off.

    Veterans of previous Tribes weren’t getting important stuff they wanted (like velocity inheritance, took Hi-Rez months to add alt-weapons), vital features weren’t even there (recording matches, proper spectator mode, etc).

    Meanwhile, new players and beginners, were left alone without any help – most quit the game and never came back because they didn’t knew what the game was about, what they were supposed to do. I talked with tons of other gamers who tried T:A, the vast majority gave up because the game wasn’t making any effort at explaining itself. A lack of any tutorial, beginner mode, for a game featuring several unique gameplay challenges/skills you don’t see in any other game.

    Then they added more and more submachine-gun weapons to all classes, putting an insane XP price (or.. Gold price !) on them, so the beginners either left or paid the price. We ended up with half players camping nearby the base (but nowhere near the flagstand), with their SMG, playing the game like any other FPS (with a little jetpack to make high jumps), playing it like TDM, on CTF servers.

    When that happened, Hi-Rez did nothing.

    The actual TDM mode was still featuring a flag doubling the total frags of the team carrying the flag, so any team with a proper Pathfinder always won – and since most people joining TDM were there especially to avoid flag capping/flag chasing, it was super frustrating for them.

    And as there was no “beginners” or “simplified” mode, all the people without much Tribes-related skills were joining CTF servers to play it as a TDM (much easier than going on a TDM server, where beginners get stomped all the time), ruining the balance and enjoyment of these CTF games.

    Hi-Rez could have made a proper, easy, classic TDM mode. They didn’t.

    Hi-Rez could have made an ingame tutorial (with play/pause for all kind of situations) for all the new unique game mechanics. They didn’t.

    Hi-Rez could have made a “Teamplay Enhancer” HUD system, where there is “role” system/menu, where players pick the role they choose (Heavy on Flag, Chaser, Capper, Flagstand disturber, Genny attacker, Genny defender, etc). And if a vital slot isn’t occupied, the slot is coloured in red and flash 3 or 5 times every 30 sec, with a brief sound signal.
    And it would be possible for users to launch a warning for specific roles (like when the HoF die, or the chasers suddenly has to be an escorter), so other teammates could rapidly understand what’s going on.
    And anyone responding to such warning, anyone using that system, selecting an empty role, would get a slight XP bonus.
    And maybe, let’s be crazy, have an ingame tutorial for each of these roles (with XP bonuses for completing them), so people know what “cappers”, “HoF” are, and can learn the basis.

    But Hi-Rez did nothing of that.

    They wanted to appeal to a broader audience and not really go for a niche/competitive Tribes (that would have been quite risky, but at least a choice), but they made no effort to let that broader audience learn and enjoy the game. How many players learned about HoF tactics, chasing, capping routes and all ? A molecular minority.

    That’s also why Hi-Rez never paid attention to the less-than-stellar chasing/capping (and how comp cappers can single-handedly win an entire game by themselves on pubs).

    A real shame, and why I won’t go back to Tribes: Ascend, or any Hi-Rez game.

    I have yet to see a single developer studio capable of adjusting its game post-release, because of the actual game experience not ending up enjoyable/the one the devs intended.

    • TTaM says:

      I’m known in the Tribes community as Lumberjack. I run the EU competitive scene for T:A. I wrote a piece on why I think T:A failed and I liked your comment, offering a different viewpoint on the situation, so, and I hope you don’t mind, I copied it (linking the source) and added it as a comment my article.

      Anyway, if anyone has had any previous Tribes experience, you may (or may not) agree with the points I laid out: http://www.reddit.com/r/Tribes/comments/1ia59f/concise_guide_to_why_ta_isnt_a_huge_game_request/

      • El_Emmental says:

        Oh, no problem Lumberjack – even if it’s not really well-written (was pretty tired that night, and haven’t played much T:A lately)(and I’m still learning english), but at least that’s a point-of-view of a casual T:A player (I might stop being lazy (hehe) and post an ‘update’/precisions on the reddit thread – thanks for linking it btw :) )

  46. MarkB says:

    Well this is a bummer. I was really into Tribes Ascend about a year back. Playing Pathfinder and learning to go insanely fast was amazing.

    I only stopped because I got horribly busy and I kept telling myself that I would get back into it when I had more free time. I still would like to start playing again, even if they aren’t updating, but I fear this news will drive away whoever is still playing.