Bikers With Jetpacks: Tribes’ ‘Raid And Pillage’ Update

The third new character skin, giant letters that spell out 'raid and pillage,' was sadly removed from the final patch.

Ah, raiding and pillaging – two activities that, like adorable kittens and cuddling, go hand-in-hand. Tribes: Ascend’s Raider is, of course, extremely proficient in both of the former areas (and possibly kitten cuddling as well, though there’s a perplexing lack of discussion surrounding the topic), but he’s now cruising toward handing out even more bruisings. In tomorrow’s update, the Raider will gain the Plasma Gun, the heavy hitting NJ5-B SMG variant, and base-clearing Cluster Grenades. Also en route: a new “Griever” skin that makes him look like an incredibly disgruntled space biker. Sure, he’ll bust some generators and play a crucial role in a flag capture, but will it finally bring him peace?

Now, the part of me that’s been known to take a Raider for a spin every once in a while is about as close to salivating over this prospect as one can get without it being weird. The Plasma Gun looks like it’ll be oh-so-satisfying to nail mid-range targets with, and Raiders were already ticks burrowed deep within the flesh of opposing bases even without Cluster Grenades. But that’s sort of the problem here: between the old SMG, the shield pack, and these new toys, the Raider’s looking to leapfrog his way to the front of the pack. Here’s hoping Hi-Rez either brings other classes up to speed forthwith (perhaps even fifthwith) or tweaks a few things to make the Raider a teensy bit less monstrous.

Even so, this is all a bit curious, seeing as straightforward attack classes already hog the spotlight on the battlefield. Team-oriented classes like the Technician, meanwhile, aren’t nearly as prized as they should be, given that they’re locked by default and not as evidently “fun” to play. Don’t get me wrong: I love Tribes. But there’s some serious room for improvement, and I’d like to see Hi-Rez start making moves in its general direction.


  1. wodin says:

    Game was just way to faaassst for me.

    • max pain says:

      Whaaat? This game needs instagib railguns. With double fire rate.

    • oceanclub says:

      I’m 41, an old old man, and think it’s just fine.



  2. Joshua says:

    That man sounds like the computer voice from Ghost Bear’s Legacy

  3. BoneyD says:

    Erm… what’s the guy in the back doing to the guy in the front?

    • Jackablade says:

      Oh, it is 2 guys. That’s a bit dull. It looked like one guy wearing Wallace and Gromit Techno-Trousers

      • CheesyJelly says:

        I now want a co-op game where one player plays as those trousers…

      • westyfield says:

        I too thought the rear guy was wearing Techno-Trousers. Or was a centaur.

    • vatara says:

      “Raiding” him, of course.

  4. Scythe says:

    I sincerely hope the addition of special weapon variants for each class doesn’t lead to a L4D2-esque dilution of the game. More isn’t always more. Whenever a weapon is added its role should be carefully examined to see whether it overlaps upon an existing one, and whether the weapon is just adding meaningless variation that will only serve to confuse the newbie.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Surely you mean TF2?

      • Phantoon says:

        I doubt he’s played either of those games.

      • Scythe says:

        I liked the purity of L4D’s weapons. Each filled a niche. The weapons in L4D2 seemed to be gratuitous pandering, rather than worthwhile additions. TF2’s weapons have distinct, unique effects that make them interesting. They aren’t just tweaks of damage and RoF.

        • Greg Wild says:

          I disagree. L4D2 gave you much more room for choosing a weapon more suited to your play style. It was especially the case with the assault rifles – with the SCAR perfect for lining up careful shots, the AK for damage output at the loss of some accuracy and control, and the M4 falling somewhere in between. Sure, you might not always get the one you want, but it made things far more satisfying when you did come across the one you wanted. L4D on the other hand just gave you a 3 way choice between short range, mid-range and long range, with no scope for personal preference on handling.

          Similarly, Tribes looks set to expand by providing slight variations suited to the situation an player.

          I’m definitely looking forwards to this update :D

  5. Gnoupi says:

    Oh great. Because raiders weren’t annoying enough as it is :P
    Cluster grenade on him? Seriously? Had enough difficulties as it was to get my generator room back when being raided.

    I’m a technician and I disapprove this update.

    • Phantoon says:

      Get a Thumper. Never have any issues with Raiders again.

      I really don’t know why people are talking about Raider like it’s a good class. I play on servers that are at least half gold and I don’t see Raiders be any more effective than Infiltrators.

      • Gnoupi says:

        I have a thumper, and getting quite effective with it. To be honest, I don’t have much issue with raiders more than something else in a game where everyone actually knows what is going on, and what to do, and when they should step up to clear the gen room.

        But simply, being just after the end of bronze ranks, it has proven difficult to find games with that kind of people.

        And when a more than capable raider camps in my gen room, and no one will help me get rid of it, I tend to have a death streak. Because the thumper might be powerful indoors (well, outdoors too with a good aim), the raider has an extra shield and I tend not to last long.

        But I was more kidding about this, honestly. The main issue I encounter in games is not as much with specific classes, it’s more about team balance, in early ranks. I still get in my games people who are not really sure what to do, either in my team or the other, so it’s frequent to see 0-5 or 5-0.

        • Ertard says:

          If you’re good with the thumper it’s nigh impossible to kill you in a gen room as raider, currently. The plasma gun will surely fix that, cluster as well.

    • f1x says:

      So is this Tribes Ascend good then?
      I mean Tribes1 good, not in a nostalgic way, I know it has to be different now,
      but I have good memories of the fun I had in Tribes crashing a flying motorbye into a transport with 4 heavy armor dudes, oh joy

      • Eclipse says:

        yes it’s very good

      • Gnoupi says:

        It’s very good, but to be honest, vehicles are more a secondary feature now. I used to have fun in Tribes 2 with bomber runs, or with a HAVOC releasing a squad over their base, for example. You don’t have that anymore. You still have the bike, though, a tank, and an air fighter, though, but they don’t feel as necessary, at least at my level of playing.

        Mobility with jetpack and skiing is much easier in my opinion, though, so there is not as much the need for vehicles. It’s more “optimized”, but in my opinion you lose the fun factor which you get from a successful or failed transport run.

        • f1x says:

          Thanks, then I’m afraid its not for me,
          I’m obsolete for this kind of playstyle now,
          but I’m happy to read about the game being good :D

        • ThTa says:

          Yeah, it seems they’ve completely cut out the Havok. Which is unfortunate, since it was in the Alpha, they even had a fully textured model. :(
          link to

          But other than that, I like the implementation of vehicles. They’re not as essential as they are in something like Battlefield, and a “noob” will easily get himself killed in one. But in the hands of a good player, they’re absolutely devastating.

      • FluffDaSheep says:

        Why not just try it? It costs all of nothing.

        • Biscuitry says:

          Not quite true. It costs no money, but I think we can agree that it takes at least a couple of hours of playing a game like this to really work out if it’s for you. Therefore, there is opportunity cost: the time spent playing Tribes is time not spent doing something potentially more rewarding. That’s why he wants an outside opinion before using his time to try it.

          That said, if you have any interest at all in FPSes, Tribes is worth trying. I tried it and didn’t much care for it, but I don’t regret the time spent.

  6. yourgrandma says:

    Stronger pew pew weapons is not what this games needs… but i’ll wait and see if they are actually op.

    • Vorphalack says:

      After playing against the new Plasma Rifle for an evening, it is absolutly safe to say it is OP as fuck. Not like it makes you immortal or anything, but there is nothing this gun does not do well. Relativly easy to aim air shots, large splash, fast projectile, large clip size, high rate of fire, good damage per shot……..

      This is exaclty what Tribes did not need. The only solution I can see coming is custom servers that ban the patched in weapons untill they get nerfed.

  7. Roxton says:

    There are so many problems here. First of all, why upgrade an extremely strong class like the Raider, when classes like Doombringer or Brute could use it more? (DMB is fine but needs more weapon options; Brute is just undefined in CTF).

    Second, why upgrade two offensive classes in a row? If you’re going to do the one-a-month weapon packs (which are economically more sensible, even if they do muck up the game), then at least try and do some kind of balancing.

    Third, there is now absolutely no reason to play Soldier, a role which was fairly unnecessary anyway.

    There’s also the very real possibility that if these weapons are too strong they’ll just get banned in the competitive scene anyway, as the Jackal was because of its ridiculously easy-to-use airburst mechanics, and the whiteout grenades are in some regions anyway. Of course, whether or not the competitive scene should be banning things anyway is another matter altogether.

    • Derppy says:

      While Brute is sort of undefined, I think it’s already great. Upgrade looter + survivalist and have a huge fractal party around the enemy flag and generator. Clears enemies pretty quickly, even if you are terrible at actually destroying the generator or doing anything with a flag.

      I guess Brute’s role is best defined as baserapist.

      Get super heavy for Doombringer, sit on the flag and keep mines + forcefields up. There’s the current role.

      • Roxton says:

        I understand the role for Doombringer; I’m just saying that it would be nice to have a secondary weapon that’s better than the Sabre.

        The problem with Brute is not that they’re useless, but rather that everything they do is done better by everyone else. Clearing the flagstand? There’s a Juggernaut half a map away who’s doing that faster and more consistently. Generator? Well, if you really have to take it down for some reason then the Brute’s great, but Inf, Jug and Raider are all pretty good at it as well, and why are you in the generator room?. The only thing they’re the ‘best’ at is their spinfusor damage to base assets, and that’s only of use if the Juggernaut lacks the skill to drop mortars on them. Again, I’m not saying that it’s a bad class – in CnH it’s great – simply that it doesn’t have enough of a niche in CTF to make it worth playing, and certainly not at any kind of high level where slots are more limited.

        • Gnoupi says:

          To be honest, a good Brute in the gen room is a pain, especially with their disco grenade which will shred anything in range for a few seconds, including turrets and other deployables.

          If you play on a map with a tiny generator room (like the one with the two ships), a single fractal grenade will be enough to clear most defense in there.

    • kzrkp says:

      Brute is my favorite class to play. Playing brute well is about good spinfusor skill and maneuvering, most people shy from it. That said he could use some upgrades. More so the Soldier could use a lot of upgrades.
      I can’t bring myself to play Doombringer often as it’s overpowered, no sport in it. The chaingun needs a higher ROF, a spread, and much lower damage. It feels like the class is balanced for a new player. For someone who can aim the damage potential is absurd.

      Also I never really feel threatened by Raiders, the grenade launcher is quite easy to avoid.

      • DBones says:

        Doombringer is powerful but I wouldn’t say that they are OP. The chain gun is really powerful… in certain situations. However, Doombringer is awful indoors and the potential for his chain gun to be used as a dueling or chasing weapon is significantly hampered by the Doombringer’s speed.

  8. Derppy says:

    Raider is supposed to be the most effective asset destroyer, but I doubt this update will make it happen.

    Best way to destroy turrets and radar is to shoot them from the midfield with a spinfusor and infiltrator is still probably the best class to destroy a generator, because it’s easy to get in and stickies deal massive damage.

    Plasma rifle will probably make Raider a popular combat / dueling class, because it seems awesome for it’s large projectile, AOE and fast shooting speed and cluster grenades will make it a great indoors combat class, but I don’t see how this would make it more efficient raider than juggernauts and infiltrators.

    • Roxton says:

      The role of Raiders at the moment is not so much to destroy base assets – as you say, that’s better done by Juggernauts – but rather to get into the base itself and kill people on the flagstand and around it. Of course, the Juggernaut also does this pretty well, but by getting up close and personal the Raider can often deal more damage to assets that are protected from shelling (for example on Arx Novena). They can also get involved with the gen if necessary, or harass the enemy sniper. They’re pretty good at all of this anyway, and the addition of these weapons will likely make them even better – the Cluster grenade in particular looks ridiculously strong.

  9. Dowr says:

    Oh boy, can’t wait to try this, if only their system would let me fucking log in with the same password and username I’ve been using for MONTHS.

  10. Larington says:

    I’d sadly abandoned my technician in favour of other classes for gen defence, including the raider, which I’m now speccing towards the mobile jamming ability to counter those darned infiltrators. Then I’ll just switch weapon for doing repairs. I frequently switch over to technician before pulling vehicles though.

    By which I mean, the thumper is great and all that, but other classes are far more suited to dealing with infiltration attempts (Either for dealing damage quickly or having enough armour to survive a sticky nade)… Or the brutal heavy/infil combined assault that sometimes makes me go **** the gen and focus on flag defence.

    • Roxton says:

      “[…]that makes me go **** the gen and focus on flag defence.”

      You should be defending the flag anyway. The generator is no-where near as important as the flag, and if they want to live in your gen room, let them. It’s not a big deal and it wastes their time more than yours. People find it hard to believe this, so:

      link to
      This is a link to an article explaining the role of the generator in CtF.

      link to
      This is a link to a video guide for the technician, focusing on flag defence.

      I should probably mention that I made both of those, so apologies for the shameless self-promotion, but it’s a huge shame when people are wasting their time on the generator when they could be really helping their team (and, at least in my experience, having more fun).

      • Larington says:

        Ahh well, I place a lot of value on the ability of radar and base turrets disrupting flag runs or giving away enemy approaches. It doesn’t help that my two mastered classes are Technician and Sentinel, both of which require generator power for certain deployables to function (Also doombringer shields).

        Also being able to pull vehicles to supress assaults and flag runs, I particularly enjoying using the shrike to attack anyone bombarding the base from afar or anyone that’s grabbed the flag, and I don’t want to have to go and repair the gen before I can pull a vehicle.

        • Vorphalack says:

          How much you need the generator really depends on the map. Arx Noveria, Katabatic, and Sunstar benafit significantly from having the powered delpoyables active as they can be placed in areas that are hard to mortar. On Sunstar you even get the free force bubble over the flag stand. Other maps like Crossfire, Drydock and Temple Ruins have much more exposed flag stands, and any half way compotent team can clear the deployables from half a map away. Those maps favour mid field defense and more bodys around the flag stand.

          I don’t think the Tech is useless on any of those maps though. Mid field techs with Thumpers are pretty strong, as you can be aggressive and leave a turret behind to help with flag defense.

      • Gnoupi says:

        Yes, of course flag should be the priority, but without a generator, a lot of your defense is useless, especially as a technician. So yes, as a technician, it is kind of your job to keep that one alive.

        Of course, when it’s going fine, no reason to stay there and not see the daylight.

        • sneetch says:

          It’s especially important when most of your team is defending the flag anyway and doesn’t seem to notice that their deployables have stopped working. I’d like a meatier weapon for the technician though.

          • Roxton says:

            The Thumper is a godly weapon, even outdoors, and the TCN has incredible DPS if you can aim at all. If you want to unlock the others the Sparrow/Shotgun are also pretty good, but to be honest you don’t really need more than one.

      • Howard says:

        Sorry but all that is utter tosh. What you are talking about there is competitive play and competitive play is a tiny fraction of the games played. Most people still just play pubs as this is a FTP game that is easy to jump into. The style of play for pubs is utterly different than it is in competitive.

        Now I am not criticising competitive play: I clanned and laddered my way through QuakeWorld and Tribes 1 & 2 but I’ve just had enough. Tribes: Ascend is just a romp and trying to apply this level of tactics to the “average” game is nonsensical. Assuming you don’t have an army of elite players on your team then generator defence is not only a good strategy but it just “fun” and part of the game-play.

        Trying to gear a game and align its classes towards “competitive” play just ruins it as you end up with a game that only works if everyone in the server is at the same, high level. This why you see the vast majority of players complaining that the Infiltrator is massively OP. Sure, if you have a team that knows what it is doing then Inf’s are easy to handle but the average pub can be utterly massacred by 2 guys with the right unlocks.

        • Roxton says:

          I think I didn’t express myself very clearly: when I talk about FOO strategies not being as useful at higher levels of play, I’m not just talking about competitive play. You don’t have to be a competitive player to be able to cope without vehicles, or light turrets. Furthermore, I’m not saying that going to the generator is completely pointless; I’m saying that the generator itself is underpowered, and that defending it would be a good strategy if it had rather more use.

          You don’t have to be a competitive player to realise that if you have five or more people living in the gen room for the whole match, then you’re going to find it significantly harder to defend or attack the enemy flag. More so if you also have five people attacking the enemy generator. If they’re doing exactly the same then fine, but nine times out of ten the team who aren’t over-committing to the generator are going to win. That’s basic mathematics; hardly advanced tactics.

          I explained this in the article, or at least I thought I did. It’s not just about competitive players, it’s about games being fun for everyone. Sure, if you want to have fun in the generator room while the team loses 5-0 then you’re entitled to that; it’s a F2P game and you can play how you like. However, that doesn’t make you immune to criticism when your actions are hindering the team.

          • Howard says:

            Ah, well, in that case, I just utterly disagree with you. You can strip down Tribes’ gameplay to “everyone sprint for the flag and screw the base” but at that point you are just, well – missing the point. =) Sure I have been in matches were a good flag defence and a good bunch of cappers have won it for us but I was bored silly.
            Tribes should be more than that and, if played correctly, *is* more than that. Base defence, flag defence, capping, repairing, deployables: these are all part of the game and to ignore some of them is just crazy and a deliberate attempt to streamline a complex and nuanced game to one simple premise. There are plenty of games out there already that are that limited; why try and makes Tribes just another one of them?
            EDIT – Fool that I am, I had not read your entire blog (got distracted by something shiny) and you do go on to make solid points. You are right that the imbalance between skilled (or I look at it as “focussed”) players and the new guys needs to be sorted. me, I’d just kill for some new maps! =)

      • Antsy says:

        I’ve just started playing Tribes Ascend and its got me hooked so thank you for the links to those. Entertaining and helpful for rusty old noobs like me! ;)

    • Gnoupi says:

      I would suggest you give a try to motion sensors. Not only they are good to warn you, they are also good to annoy infiltrators, as it makes them visible for a while (and your turret can dispatch them if they’re not too careful).

      The tech with motion sensors and thumper is in my opinion nicely equipped against infiltrators.

  11. The Godzilla Hunter says:

    What I don’t understand is why anyone would want to play anything other than pathfinder, after all: weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    • sneetch says:

      Oh I don’t know, there’s a lot to be said for that feeling when you land a fusion mortar shell right on a fleeing flag-carrier and BOOM!

  12. Squirrelfanatic says:

    Official RPS Tribes Ascend Server nao!!

  13. airtekh says:

    To anyone who’s unaware, there’s a Tribes Ascend thread in the RPS forums, and a Steam group that’s used for organising stuff. Currently we’re in discussion about renting a server.

    We had our first event last night and it was a (moderate) success! Moar people please!

  14. killmachine says:

    awsome. a raider update. i like raider, although it’s pretty hard sometimes. love the arx buster. but the plasma rifle just looks kick ass. pretty hard to hit midair i guess but awsome no the less.

    wahh. need to save some xp. actually don’t want to spend money on the game again. spent 25€ for pre-purchase already. wanted to keep it this way but with this cool update… don’t know if i may spend some money on items.

  15. mouton says:

    Yay, more shiney imbalanced weapon updates. Bonus points for one of the characters looking like Halo and the other like GoW.

  16. Suits says:

    lol first arena match 19 air mails

  17. jwoozy says:

    I haven’t followed much high-level Tribes play but surely the Technician is near or at the front of the pack in terms of the most useful class? The Raider update is welcome and probably a bit on the strong side, but I think the point was really to bring his tools to parity with the all-powerfful heavy Thumper so that in-door battles aren’t a mere formality when a Tech is involved.

  18. Shortwave says:

    I decided to try this game again after reading some of the comments here.
    I couldn’t get into it last time I tried, but I also sucked hard at skiing.
    Glad I did because I’m really enjoying it now, just took me a while to get used to it.

  19. Ogun says:

    Awesome game, but on first impressions would agree with the folks saying that the new weapon is overpowered. Played a round of CTF, where it made sense as an anti-tech weapon, but in TDM it really messes the game up (far moreso than the tech’s thumper). You can dump semi-directed spam into a cluster of enemies and score damage far too easily.