Swoop In The Tribes: Ascend Beta This Friday

Beta better work
“What do we want?” “More people to get access to the upcoming free-to-play shooter Tribes: Ascend, new maps, gametypes, weapons, and bug-fixes!” “When do we want it?” “Sometime on Friday, maybe. It’s really up to you! We’re just keen to get involved!” Well, good news. Tribes: Ascend developers Hi-Rez Studios have crumbled to the pressure I exerted with my catchy protest chant and will be opening the beta of their online shooter on Friday Feb 24th, at exactly 5pm. So far over 300,0000 players have skied the slopes and spammed their spinfusors, and if you missed out then you’re being welcomed with open arms. The current client will be receiving a major content drop as well, details of which are below.

Some combination of hardware and drivers is keeping me away from the Tribes: Ascend beta. It’s worse to be part of a closed beta and not be able to launch it, than to not have it. I’m so close, and yet nothing I’ve done has lifted me aloft with the other betaneers. They’re in the sky, while I’m down on the ground, looking up. Longing. What? No, I’m not crying. There’s a thing in my thing. So I can’t say to any authority if these updates are welcome, but I’m going to go out on a limb with a ‘yes’. No-one ever complains about balance tweaks and free stuff, right?

All player progress and unlocks will be preserved with no planned character wipes.
In advance of Open Beta, a significant patch this week will include:
New gametype, Arena Deathmatch, with two initial maps
New Capture The Flag map, Temple Ruins
New Team Deathmatch map, Inferno
Two new unlockable items for the Soldier class: Proximity Grenade and Utility Pack
New default suits for Doombringer and Brute
Ability to view either Blood Eagle or Diamond Sword skins from Class menu
Service supporting Name Change
Large number of bug-fixes and balance adjustments.

If you can’t wait, here’s a video of all the cool things that I could be doing if the damn game worked.

No word on when it’s out, but given the pre-orderers get access to the beta right away, does that really mean anything anymore?


  1. SanguineAngel says:

    The time for talking is over. Now call it extreme if you like, but I propose we hit them hard and we hit them fast, with a major, and I mean major, leaflet campaign

    (Also, I am finally starting to warm up to the idea of Tribes Ascend. This is good timing!)

  2. Quasar says:

    I’ve been in the beta for a while, and it’s pretty great. Glad they’re opening it up.

    Fancy an early start? Use this key: VP290-B1CD2-51FC4-D9990-156F6

    • Quasar says:

      Or this one: PGF05067583CC94A4088B4F7E

    • Noburu says:

      Or this one:


    • Herr Dr. Face Doktor says:

      How about these?


    • Chizu says:


      or these?

      I’ve given out so many beta keys its ridiculous.
      VIP’s get a constant stream of them.
      It’s like the least exclusive closed beta ever.
      Not that I mind, I love this game.

    • televizor says:

      Just to save anyone the work, they’ve all been taken.

    • Sarlix says:

      Televizor: I have a working beta key if you want it?

    • luminosity says:

      Also A2708-15B7C-EAA04-E79AE-7CA1E

    • Edradour says:

      @Chizu: Hon’s “closed” beta was equally open :> ( like they gave away 100k smth just for subscribing to some sort of alienware newsletter with your fake email )

      Got some Keys aswell:



    • Aradalf says:

      Yeah, it’s one of the most ridiculously open “closed” betas I’ve been in. Here are some keys:


    • Suits says:

      I will share my keys with you on friday

    • Parable says:

      Here’s another one for anybody who would like to try.


      EDIT: and a bunch more

  3. Enzo says:

    Why there’s no post on RPS about Syndicate? Coop in this game is simply amazing, I’m hooked. Singleplayer is meh, but the game is mainly about coop shooting guys in the face and hacking their brains with your friends.

    • Phinor says:

      It’s not released in the RPS-land yet and there was no PC demo.

      But here’s few impressions: absolutely terrible FOV, a lot of bloom and huge guns. More to follow once the game is actually released and people get their hands on it :)

    • sluttyYutty says:

      i played the demo on ps3 and it has one of the worst ui ever. Teammate name bars take way to much room and the screen was so cluttered so hard to focus with all that stuff in your face. Another forgetable shooter no ones going to remember it in 9 months

  4. pkt-zer0 says:

    Great game, terrible business model (100 bucks worth of “microtransactions” to unlock all the weapons). A painful combination for your wallet. Also there’s enforced grinding which is never a good idea in a competitive game. Would’ve been nice if the game wasn’t F2P.

    • sneetch says:

      You can unlock all that through play without paying a cent, though, can’t you? (The Tribes Ascend site is so poor).

      In which case I don’t particularly mind it, I like the levelling/character building in an FPS, it adds purpose to it.

      link to hi-rez.custhelp.com

      What is the price of Tribes: Ascend?

      Tribes: Ascend is a free-to-play game. All gameplay-oriented content (classes, maps, weapons) can be accessed or unlocked via playing the game itself. However, real-money microtransactions can be used to unlock classes or weapons more quickly and/or to acquire cosmetic items in future patches.

    • Necroscope says:

      Much like a subscription game where you get to see the Dragon art print across the box cover, rare glimpses of him as he scorches the land, by way of trailers he reeks destruction, and over a year later you get the chance to fight him. £89 or so later if you’ve subscribed for the duration

    • mouton says:

      Apparently the “pay 50 usd upfront for an FPS” model is not very viable if you are not Activision or Valve. Add to it the fact the game is certainly not targeted at the lowest common denominator and/or consoles and they probably need that stupid F2P thing not to go bust.

      There is no grind if the gameplay itself is fun and rewarding – which it very much is. And you don’t need all the unlocks all at once, normal gameplay xp will unlock most of the stuff/classes anyway if you play regularly. Throwing the maximum number of money/grind hours you “need” to spend as an argument against the game is a fallacy.

    • Dominic White says:

      In just a couple of days of play, you can unlock all the standard classes and a few variant bits of equipment without paying a penny. Specialist gear takes somewhat longer to save up for, so you can put down a few bucks to boost yourself ahead, but this is entirely optional.

      The alternative is having another retail multiplayer game that is dead in a month because nobody is willing to pay full (or even budget) price for an online-only shooter.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “You can unlock all that through play without paying a cent, though, can’t you?”

      Yeah, it’s like a month’s play for one of the cheaper ones (counting with 5000 XP/day, should be manageable with a few hours of play), so I suppose technically it’s 100 bucks or 3 years to get them.

      “they probably need that stupid F2P thing not to go bust.”

      Right. I still don’t like having game design compromised for purely financial reasons. Surely there’s a way to do F2P properly… Maybe it’s just wishful thinking.

    • mouton says:

      “I suppose technically it’s 100 bucks or 3 years to get them”

      Technically, nothing we do matters anyway. Technically, nothing is truly fun because it stops being fun after some time. Technically means nothing. In practice, the numbers are very much sane.

      “I still don’t like having game design compromised for purely financial reasons”

      You don’t make a relatively niche, non-console, non-casual, high-skill-ceiling game for purely financial reasons. I would even say there is a lot of risk and enthusiasm involved.

    • pkt-zer0 says:


      “In practice, the numbers are very much sane.”

      Funny, people were complaining about Starcraft 2 costing 60 bucks, and you’re claiming 100+ is “very much sane”. Or was your point that taking 3 years to unlock the weapons is practical? Kind of hard to tell.

      “You don’t make a relatively niche, non-console, non-casual, high-skill-ceiling game for purely financial reasons.”

      My point was that they’ve chosen to make a game worse to make more money, which is already disappointing. Not that they’re the next Zynga/Gameloft/whatever.

    • Dominic White says:

      Seriously, you don’t need to grind for ‘months’ to get most stuff. Just a couple of evenings netted me enough XP (albeit with the VIP boost you get for having put any money down – I spent £5) to unlock every base class and a few alternate perks.

      Some of the alternate weapons do have quite high XP requirements, but if you’re enjoying the game and playing it for a couple of hours each night, you’ll get it quick enough.

    • sneetch says:

      @pkt-zer0 says:
      “You can unlock all that through play without paying a cent, though, can’t you?”

      Yeah, it’s like a month’s play for one of the cheaper ones (counting with 5000 XP/day, should be manageable with a few hours of play), so I suppose technically it’s 100 bucks or 3 years to get them.

      Really? So that’s 150,000 or so XP? The most expensive thing I’ve seen so far is 100,000 XP. Well, I haven’t looked into the XP costs too much I’ve only played a bit so far but enjoyed it but I’m planning on buying the “full” game by spending either €24 or €40 on it depending on the next couple of days play.

      I think of it this way, I’m enjoying it and I’d have no problem buying it if it were a regular game, by “buying” it this way I’ll get “VIP status” (a 50% XP bonus for life) and a booster (double XP) for a month (which is I think 300% XP for the month) and either 3000 or 5500 gold. I’ll play the game for the month, unlock whatever I unlock during that time and probably use my gold to unlock the expensive things I want after that month.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Okay, correction: my math was off. It’s 1 year 2 months to unlock everything at 5000XP/day, and a month’s play gets you the expensive items, not the cheap ones. (Which are now 100K, not 170K, so it’s also not-quite-a-month) Still, even putting down 60 bucks for the game leaves you with half a year to go.

      Exact numbers here: link to reddit.com

    • mouton says:

      Your math only works if you want everything upfront. You don’t need everything, hell, you can manage perfectly well without unlocking any classes/guns.

      You see, the trick here the game is [i]fun[/i]. You just play it, shoot people in the face, joyously fly around the map, capture the sandraker flag and, all of sudden, you realize you have a lot of xp to spend. If you reduce a game to a spreadsheet and want to “complete” it ASAP, you will never have any fun. If you play only to get all the unlocks, then you shouldn’t play this game anyway.

    • El_Emmental says:

      So with the standard 60 bucks price (that 90% of people pay for new games), with the VIP status, you unlock everything in 5 months and 2 weeks (if you play all day).

      If you look at BF3 or the recent Call of Duty, to unlock you need as much, if not more, time of playing the game.

      Tribes Ascend isn’t forcing you to pay $100 to play the game, it’s just providing a shortcut for people with too much money but too little time (= mostly adults with a full-time job taking up their time) to play.

      => With a few Gold Points, that guy/gal with a job and a family, who can only play 6 hours during the weekend, can still have most classes and perks. Needless to say, all the Gold in the world won’t buy her/him better skiing and prediction skills.

      Also, the most expensive unlocks aren’t mandatory to play the game, they’re alt-primary/secondary weapons with their own drawbacks. Same with half of the perks, they’re not that useful.

    • caddyB says:

      Preordered, got technician with my gold coins or whatever they’re called. Played it last 2 weeks, upgraded the turrets and the starting submachine gun they start with ( I have insane accuracy with that gun for some reason ). Also got some upgrades for the grenade.

      I have lots of gold coins left over, a bit of xp that’s going to get saved and I’m very happy with playing only one class.

      So yeah, you don’t really need to unlock everything.

    • Phantoon says:

      Mouton nailed it. This is the difference between Tribes and Battlefield- Tribes is actually fun. So unlocks don’t matter that much, because except for the perks (and the Thumper on the Engineer, stupid base SMG sucks), you can’t buy your way to an advantage, merely something different. And you can’t upgrade with gold, only XP.

      I think it’s fine they offer a cash shop in an otherwise free game. I finally have a multiplayer shooter that’s fun AND accessible for me and my friends- I can’t even contemplate the complaint that you want Hi-Rez to do what Valve does. They can’t afford it. Also, hats would be silly in this game.

    • Aradalf says:

      I still don’t get how you can call the simple act of playing the game “grinding”. It’s simple: If you like the game, play it, and if you don’t like it, don’t play it. But playing the game != grinding. You get 3 classes by default, each of them are fun to play, and none of the alternative weapons or classes is “better”. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Hell, I’ve been playing for a month and I still only play as Soldier, even though I have enough XP that I’ve unlocked all the other classes.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      The game being fun even with an uneven playing field does not make that fact better. That’s what the pay-2-win games are criticized for as well, that they’re doing it in a more subtle way here is not good, just less bad.

      Saying “hey you should just play for fun” goes counter to calling the game a “relatively niche, non-console, non-casual, high-skill-ceiling” one. For TF2, I can maybe see that. For Tribes? It’d be kind of like having you only start with marines, marauders and medivacs in SC2, and paying for the rest. You can still win tournaments like that, that’s basically what MarineKing did. It’d still be terrible. I certainly hope SC2 doesn’t go that route.

      As for the “you don’t really need everything” argument: if the options are pointless (that is, besides giving you more stuff to spend cash on), they should be removed. If they aren’t, then players should have equal access to them so that the playing field is even. Saying that they’re “sidegrades” changes little: certain loadouts are more suited to certain situations, and since you can change your loadout mid-game, this means that you should if you want to play optimally. I can’t be the only guy who plays all 9 classes in TF2 (which is why I’m mostly medic, because no one else ever goes medic).

      If you look at BF3 or the recent Call of Duty, to unlock you need as much, if not more, time of playing the game.

      I think that’s terrible as well (worse, actually, if it’s just enforced grinding). And no, I don’t care how much money they’re making off of that. A worse game making more money is a fucked up state of affairs, regardless of whether you want to blame the devs for their lack of integrity, or players for not being supportive enough of better business models (which I kind of doubt, refer to the DF Adventure Kickstarter).

      Also, hats would be silly in this game.

      That is what the “skins” option is there for in the class menu. I’d say it’s less silly here than in TF2 because enemies are tiny dots on the screen anyway, so screwing around with their appearance doesn’t screw with the gameplay much.

      But playing the game != grinding.

      You are unintentionally correct, I suppose. “The game” proper would be where the playing field has leveled out since everyone has all the upgrades and whatnot. You’re not playing that until you spend some time gaining XP, which is the grindy part that they should get rid of.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      Really? “Just play for fun” is mutually exclusive to “relatively niche, non-console, non-casual, high-skill-ceiling” games? What, the only games you can possibly enjoy are generic, casual, simple, console games?

      First, your time/XP math is off by my reckoning, assuming you play two games and win one 40-60 mins a day nets you ~3k usually, ~4.5k if you ever laid down a few quid for a cheapo gold pack and got a lifetime boost to VIP.

      Do you count learning to play a game as grinding too then? Because playing a class you’re not used to against an experienced player is definitely not even, and each tribes ascend class takes a good long time to get used to. You know what you have by the time you’ve gotten a good grip on one class? Enough XP to unlock a decent loadout for the next one. Saying it’s not a game untill you’re a pro with every class is ridiculous and will mean 99% of the people who ever played any tribes game never “played tribes” by your definition.

      Also, you start off with a light, medium and heavy class already unlocked, so changing to match the basic needs of the team is somewhat viable already, although I’d argue the team would still perform better overall if everyone just stuck to their best class in all but the most extreme cases (all jugg team).

      So no, really not pay-2-win to your average joe. It stiffles hardcore competitive team-matches a little but even there players tend to stick to designated roles and only need 2-3 classes each. Even so, asuming they fork out £30 like it wasn’t free-to-play they could have everything unlocked in closer to 4 months and 3-4 fully unlocked classes in the first couple of weeks. Thats less time than some competitive scenes took to settle on any particular metagame anyway.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Really? “Just play for fun” is mutually exclusive to “relatively niche, non-console, non-casual, high-skill-ceiling” games? What, the only games you can possibly enjoy are generic, casual, simple, console games?

      That’s not what I meant at all, but that the “just play for fun and ignore the intentionally uneven playing field” line of reasoning wouldn’t go down well with hardcore serious competitive gamers.

      Because playing a class you’re not used to against an experienced player is definitely not even

      A level playing field does in no way imply that you and your opponent will be of equal skill. Just that 1 “unit” of his skill doesn’t count for more than yours. What sense does it make to give the health/damage bonuses to the people who are likely going to be more skilled anyway?

  5. chromeshelter says:

    game is really good. ive never liked any f2p FPS games (blacklight retrib aint that bad, but this one is much better), and i like tribes ascend a lot! looks good, runs great, the whole movement system is nice and it has loads of players (i get around 50 ms to the EU server and all player tend to have around 20-70 ms, so its much better than your usual mmofps). if you are an UT fan (especially UT3, as it uses that engine) this one is a must try!

  6. Icyicy9999 says:


  7. quaunaut says:

    Hey Craig, I had your problem too. Before yesterday, you would’ve had to roll back your drivers(you’re running beta NVidia drivers, aren’t you?)

    Well, now there are new NVidia drivers out, as of last night. Go get those, and it’ll launch for you. See you ingame, good sir.

    • Crimsoneer says:

      This. THe problem was the PhysX drivers, latest release seems to have fixed it.

    • Craig Pearson says:

      Just updated, and the game is down so I can’t check.


    • 626 says:

      Thanks for this… I couldn’t get the game to load either, downloaded the updated nvidia drivers and I can confirm they do indeed fix the loading crash.

      Also, it says on the launcher: Tribes Ascend is now open to all, create an account to play.

      I’ll give it a try see if it works

      EDIT: Yep I’m in, no key required

    • Sarlix says:

      Craig: did you try the repair game option from the launcher window? It fixed up my issues a treat.

  8. MuscleHorse says:

    Unfortunately their updater is awful. About a week ago my installation became, apparently, corrupted. I’ve since deleted, cleaned the registry and manually gone picking any spare files out yet the thing won’t reinstall. Shame, as I’ve been quite enjoying it.

  9. nimzy says:

    Gotta go fast.

  10. youthful cynic says:

    It’s weird people have had problems with it. It’s probably been the most stable beta I have ever played; I haven’t had a single crash.
    I also think that the microtransactions have been done well but, preorder?, whaaaaaaaa?
    Also a damn fun game.

  11. deadly.by.design says:

    Until it feels more like the first Tribes, I’m not sure that I’ll really enjoy it. Give me more maps with big bases! Skiing around wide open spaces is neat, but it shouldn’t be the whole game.

  12. JackDandy says:

    I’ve been having great fun with the game so far.

    They should really put in Custom/Ranked servers already, though.

    Be sure to give this a shot!

  13. frenz0rz says:

    Protip: Dont be the Static Noob

    • Sarlix says:

      Static Noob singing in.

      Honestly I’m terrible. I just stroll onto the flag point and stroll back off. I tend to favor Tech class these days, the gentle hum of the generator room…lovely.

    • Phantoon says:

      The 5 Rules of Tribes:Ascend

      1: GOTTA GO FAST
      2: It’s a team game. Make sure to call out incoming
      3: Don’t llama grab unless it’s an emergency
      4: Shazbot
      5: GOTTA GO FAST

      And that’s it.

  14. Eukatheude says:

    New gametype, Arena Deathmatch, with two initial maps


  15. Davee says:

    It has a pretty neat business model for a free to play game. There’s basically not any ‘pay2win’ involved at the moment (yes, you can skip ahead of your “rank” with real money, but everything can be unlocked through normal play. Although some of the fancy weaponry will take a loooong time to get).

    So there’s not much compromise of the gameplay for the sake of moneymaking. Which, by the way I really like – it’s ludicrously fast at times and with a lot of adrenaline-inducing moments! Quite Tribes.

  16. Derppy says:

    The Rabbit gamemode has been removed from the Quick Match rotation. It will be available through Custom Servers at a later date.

    Guess who spent all his XP optimizing gear for Rabbit :/

    Loved that gamemode, because it was so skill-based. You have to be the fastest and the most accurate skier while shooting a horde of enemies who chase you.

    • Phantoon says:

      I think the issue with it was the few times I joined it, there was NO ONE on the server. So there may just be a problem with matchmaking, or just plain interest in it.

  17. FluffDaSheep says:

    This game is really, really, really good.

    Just so you know.

  18. empfeix says:

    Actually I just downloaded the patch and it seems its open to play now! cheers

  19. Brise Bonbons says:

    I must echo the sentiment that Tribes: Ascend is a remarkably good game. After the last overhaul of the class system, and despite my stubborn efforts, I can’t find much to complain about with the business model and the design decisions impacted by it.

    I think the devs have really improved as designers over time, and are putting out products of ever-increasing quality – and I can’t think of better praise I could heap on a developer. I do think the amount of time or money required to get some of the items in Ascend is still a bit too high, but that can be tweaked still.

    Unfortunately, despite these relentlessly good vibes I’m projecting, I actually don’t play the game much. I get too infuriated by the teams which almost always feel stacked. This is a game, much like LoL, which almost requires that you play with a few friends on VOIP to derive any enjoyment, and none of my friends are interested.

    For now, I will stick to the few servers on TF2 that I know to be populated by good people who know how to play. That is the best way I’ve found to ensure good matches, and unfortunately is a mode of match-finding Ascend does not support at this time.

    • Phantoon says:

      Clearly, there must be an RPS meetup for the game.

      I mean, I’d join people, but I’m American, so I don’t think I’m even on the same server.

  20. neonordnance says:

    it’s possible i’m missing something, as i didn’t play the first Tribes, but i haven’t enjoyed the beta at all so far. the controls are too floaty, the guns are weak, the maps are boring and there’s no weight to anything. player advancement is a joke, as it takes FOREVER to unlock even the tiniest upgrade, and the upgrades themselves aren’t interesting at all. there’s little chance to change how your class plays through upgrades, you just make your class slightly better at what it already does. granted, i haven’t played since they changed the class system, but i’m not hopeful that it’s gotten better. even the graphics are a letdown– while those weapon models looked nice in the screenies, they don’t fit together at all. there’s very little cohesive style. like UT3, it’s like the developers just threw together a bunch of stuff they thought looked cool.

    i’ll take battlefield 3 any day, and heroes and generals is already looking like a much more promising f2p shooter.

    • Eversor says:

      It seems this game just isn’t for you. This is not a twitch corridor shooter where one upgrade or weapon makes you into a god. Even with the fanciest toys at your disposal, you still will be outwitted and outplayed by a player that knows what he is doing even if he has the most basic of gear. However, those little tiny upgrades do matter, and matter big, when you know how to properly utilize them. 50 extra health may seem little, but I can recall so many times I’ve escaped with just under 50 HP with the enemy flag and captured it. Every single weapon (maybe barring the thumper) has quite high skill ceiling.

      As for cohesive style argument, what does that even mean? Guns are guns, they look functional and that’s about it. That’s all that’s required, really.

      I also see that you haven’t played since the recent update. You would see that the argument about stuff taking ages to unlock would fly out of the window, as everything is XP based.

      TL:DR – this game isn’t for everyone. This game is for those that want to go fast.

    • Sarlix says:

      Neonordnance: I counter your argument with –


      That is all.

  21. killmachine says:

    why not have one of these?


    0% inheritance! if you know what i’m talking about. tribes fans, don’t hit me. 0% it is.

  22. DarkFenix says:

    Been playing this a bit in my spare time. It’s a really good game, spoiled somewhat by its community in my opinion. Games in which one team or the other gets utterly steamrolled by a premade that has clearly been practicing since day one are common as all hell. No fun at all in that situation, they need to add ranked servers so all the ‘pros’ can bugger off and be elitist among themselves.

    • Eversor says:

      As far as I understand, there is no matchmaking to speak of yet, only some weak artificial barrier that doesn’t allow level 10+ people randomly join lower ranked matches (even then that’s doable via joining a low level friend’s game). Stacked teams that steamroll everyone (or worse, drag the game out to the max by turtling hard) aren’t fun to encounter in either side of the match outcome, though.

  23. DOLBYdigital says:

    Very sweet game!!! Love the skill based, fast paced action. They handle the microtransactions very well and it is not pay to win in any fashion. I didn’t spend a dime for the first couple months and I was dominating at the game. I can see myself playing this game for a long time, it scratches an itch I haven’t reached in a while. It actually reminds me of how good I can be at a game when it challenges me.

    Highly suggested for everyone, especially if the only reason you are not playing it is because you have a thing against free to play games. This one is vastly different from the others in both quality and fairness.

  24. RogB says:

    ive been playing this for 2 weeks and rather enjoying it. However, in fear of embarrassing myself to my teammates (by not knowing what to do), i’ve only played Team Deathmatch, and not a single CTF game.

    I was hoping on getting more comfortable with the classes/guns/physics first before making a fool of myself in CTF…

    I do quite like TDM’s ‘flag’ mechanic, makes it far more interesting tham most TDM games.

    might actually get the VIP pack before it launches.. permanent *2 XP sounds quite attractive since I cant spend all day playing it.

  25. thecat17 says:

    Over 3 million players? Wouldn’t this be a record high number for a beta test? ;)