Latest Tribes: Ascend Update Brings Back Disco

You may have noticed something amiss in the above image. No? Are you sure? Then you might have Synesthesia: Disco Edition. And though that image and its accompanying video seem silly, they’re actually quite touching – given recent incredibly unfortunate events. It is, then, extremely awkward for me to now transition into discussing Cool Guns in a Rad Videogame, but, uh, here I go. Tribes: Ascend‘s “Staying Alive” update – whose name is all at once right and wrong in so very many ways – focuses on the Brute with two guns, a new pack, and more (!).

First up, there’s the Gladiator, which strikes me as an indoor powerhouse with its ability to launch sticky blasts that detonate multiple times. Enemy gunning on your heels right around a hallway corner? Simply fire where he’s going to be, and well, he probably won’t be there for long. The Plasma Cannon secondary weapon, meanwhile, is far more straightforward, providing big stopping power at the expense of a slow fire rate. And then there’s the Survival Pack, which gives a more well-rounded boost to energy and shields than the specialized, er, Energy and Shield packs.

Robust in-game video functionality is this week’s big check mark in the “other” column. It’s handily divided into sections, of which “training” sounds especially nice, given all of Tribes’ learning (and regular) curves compared to other shooters. Players can contribute as they please, so it’ll probably become quite the resource before too long.

So then, all-in-all, it’s another fairly meaty update. I continue to be extremely impressed with the sheer volume of content Hi-Rez fires from its patented Gun-Making Gun, which is – yes – a gun that fires other guns. The functionality features, though – like the aforementioned videos and update three’s personalized sales – are also appreciated. The problem at this point, as I see it, is that it’s already possible to spend more than a full game’s price on unlocks, and that number only stands (or jetpacks, as it were) to grow with time. Perhaps some form of optional subscription or upfront one-size-fits-all fee is in order?

At any rate, the time for talk is over. For the next four minutes, you will view a trailer. Then you may resume previously scheduled speech functions.


  1. SmoothUK says:

    Too soon…

  2. cw8 says:

    RIP Robin Gibb..

  3. Sidion says:

    I’m getting sick of these F2P games where even dropping $80 (15+ over retail plus tax) doesn’t unlock everything. Especially when the $60 price point is already looking flawed in a world where digital distribution is readily available.

    I wish F2P games would come with a ‘buy all content’ option for a flat rate. There were most likely a bunch of people who’d have bought it. Then hi-rez wouldn’t have to nickle and dime everyone with a new weapon every few weeks.

    • Jim9137 says:

      Except the most important unlocks are either unlocked right away for you or are cheap upgrades. When you get 1200 xp a day for winning just a match, and 500-1000xp average per match which can go up to ridiculous numbers like 3000-5000xp (depending), it’s not that hard to get competitive gear. I think the stupid health unlocks are like 1800xp a piece.

      I for one, still stick to default soldier ranger with the assault rifle and thumper dx. Lacklustre maybe, but more than enough in most cases. Default weapons are more than enough. Except maybe for the raider and infiltrator, but those people are dicks.


      Also, VIP booster (+50% XP) for life (FOR LIFE) is like the price of the cheapest booster which I think was like $5-$10.

      • Reav says:

        Sorry, mate, but that’s wrong. An average XP income from an average pub match is 200-500XP without boost. Health upgrades are often the last tier of the upgrade tree for armor, which is 12000XP, plus all the previous upgrades. To have even chances against equally skilled players, you have to grind, grind, GRIND and grind HARD.

        The game is a chore. It’s fun still, yes, but if you don’t want to be at a horrible disadvantage (unlock-wise, HP-, perk- and ammo-wise in direct consequence), you have to either shell out a TON of money or grind XP all day and night. The prices for unlocks are WAY too high and the XP income is way too low, as noticed by many, many video game journalists watching the game’s development. That’s the sad truth.

        • Vorphalack says:

          200-500 xp from any game tells me that you are either doing something horribly wrong or haven’t spent any money on Tribes. You don’t even need to buy boosts to get 1000 xp average per game, 1 purchase of anything will get you the permanent VIP boost, which is all you need.

        • Lemming says:

          Whaaaat? Where the hell are you getting those awful numbers? Methinks you are playing team deathmatch and getting no kills.

          Be on the winning side of a CTF game, and work base defense (fixing/upgrading stuff, shooting people as they go for the flag) and you’ll always finish a game with 1-2000 xp at least.

        • Jim9137 says:

          Ditto what others said. I can totally agree that having to spend 18k XP on health unlocks and whatnot is retarded, but then again, they don’t give as huge advantage as you seem to think. If you are not good, then you’ll get killed. And even if you are good, you’re still just good. They don’t turn into you an terminator. Compare it to BFBC2 where you basically have to get to level 13 to get the bullets that double the damage. Double the damage!*

          *And can be nullified by level 10 with body armor. **

          ** derp grind

          • treat says:

            I’ve been playing since October. I’ve spent $60 on pre-order packages. I’ve played quite a bit, even competitively for a while in the first invitational competitions, and I’m still missing a hefty number of the unlocks, especially the expensive ones. I haven’t even unlocked the Brute yet.

            It’s not so bad if you spend a little bit of money to get you started, but without boosters, unlock progress is just too damn slow to keep most people interested long enough to continue playing. Even with VIP, you’re looking at a about a week of serious tribesing to afford a single 100k xp weapon.

          • Jim9137 says:

            I have been playing since the early beta and I have barely scant unlocked, but that’s just the point. To play competitively, you don’t *need* all that weapons. They give you alternatives to spice up your play, but you don’t *need* them.

            Contrast to this how the beta unlocking worked, you had to grind to get access to the necessary upgrades and most offensively, the perks. And the XP wasn’t shared between classes. I’m very happy with the current model, even though it has its niggles and naggles.

            There is case to be made against “there is just too much to unlock, and it’s all so expensive!” but then again, if you really want to unlock everything, then you can buy gold or whatever. And anyway, since when having too much content was a gripe?

            By the way, I still have roughly 300,000 XP laying around. I just have nothing terribly interesting to spend it upon. And I’m hardly grinding day and night.

          • Phantoon says:

            How strange. I play this game because it’s fun, and gave them money because I thought them deserving. I didn’t think I needed all the weapons and items, so I never bought the things I didn’t think I’d want.

            You don’t have to have everything, you know. And very few people are going to play all nine classes.

        • innociv says:

          Wow, really?

          I get 1200-5000 XP a match(not counting +1200 first day win)
          And that’s with just the +50% xp from VIP.

          I spent $30 and have half of things unlocked, with $24 of gold still left over.
          I have $24 left over because I don’t NEED to unlock everything. I basically got all that I want.

          The only thing that’s too expensive are the most expensive weapons. The 100k ones are too much. All the others are fine.

    • felisc says:

      You dont need every unlocks to enjoy the game!

    • nibbling_totoros says:

      While I do agree with the sentiment that getting nickle and dimed to death is annoying, I also do appreciate that one can enjoy Tribes: Ascend without all the new additions.

      These unlocks are largely side-grades and are not mandatory to remain competitive or enjoy the game.

      My REAL concern is the match making; teams can get stacked too easily.

      Other than that though, I can’t play any other FPS after Tribes; it looks great, the mechanics are solid, and the settings allow for FOV slider and adjustable gun model size (thank god, I don’t have to have 30% of my screen covered up by a gun).

      • Jim9137 says:

        It’s barely as bad as it is in other games. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 seriously suffers from that, as all the guys with the best unlocks (that you have to literally play dozens and dozens of hours to get) that actually affect the game balance stock themselves into one team. I suspect it’s the same with BF3.

    • Suits says:

      You’re saying these unlocks are okay if you pay for the game like BF3?

      • Baines says:

        He’s saying that he wishes games like this came with a reasonably priced flat “unlock everything” purchase.

        Or, if you want a full game, then be able to pay a “full game” price to get a full game. The guys who want free-to-play can play for free, or spend some money to get some convenience, and the guys who decide its “worth a full price game” can pay a full price game price to get a full game. Not pay $80+ and still have to grind, or still find there are (horribly expensive) items that you can’t get, or find the next expansion has added another $20-40 to the “price” of getting everything.

        This logic does hit two snags, though:

        1) Thanks to DLC and expansions, “full price” games are increasingly more than $50-60 anyway. You can complain about paying $80+ to get everything for Tribes Ascend, but it can cost you more than that to get everything in a Capcom fighting game these days. If you ignore “Game of the Year” collections, think about what games like Borderlands ultimately cost if you wanted “everything”. Call of Duty has become a $100+ investment. Games like Dungeon Defenders and Magicka, while not $60 titles, probably have enough DLC to more than double their original prices.

        2) Free-to-play games make money from people “overpaying”. The simple truth is that there are people who will pay $80+, $100+, $200+ or more on a “free-to-play” game. Adding an option to “buy the whole game for a reasonable price” means risking giving up the “unreasonable” amounts that you can otherwise obtain from some people.

  4. Amstrad says:

    The crazy thing here is that this pack was probably going to come out now anyway, as it’s the third of the offense focused unlockable classes (Infiltrator and Raider being the other two). The whole Robin Gibb connection is just a cosmic coincidence.

  5. Jim9137 says:

    I always thought they should name the fractals with a g.

    But then again, now I want to play Brute and hipthrust my way through the corpses of the many. Damnations.

  6. caddyB says:

    Your best bet is getting a booster with your gold unless you want skins or somesuch. It’s very expensive if you use just gold to unlock things.

    • FluffDaSheep says:

      Boosters are possibly the worst way to spend your gold unless you get one that lasts a month or more, and play for more than 2 hours every day during that time.

      Get weapon bundles or daily deals instead. These are much, much more cost-efficient.

      EDIT: Though they did just add in an extra 1200xp each day your booster is active, so the math may have changed now.

      • caddyB says:

        Sorry, I never got any booster other than the monthly one, so I wouldn’t know about it. Spoke too soon as usual, I suppose.

    • ThTa says:

      Not since they’ve got the Deal of the Day thing. Now you can just wait until items are 65-75% off and easily get most of them on a budget. I’ve spent roughly 4000 Gold (got 6000 from the pre-order pack), just on bundles and DotDs, and combined with 25 levels of experience, that’s been enough to unlock roughly 80% of all items in the game. To the point where I’ve decided I’ll only use Gold on (marked down) skins and buy the rest with Experience.

      Even so, according to my profile, Soldier (with Spinfusor and Eagle, as the tribal gods intended) is still my most-played class with 49% of my game time.
      I’m not quite sure why people are so obsessed with getting everything immediately, especially when most of them (save for the Jackal, Plasma Gun and Mines) are sidegrades. You’re not complaining about the same thing for Battlefield 3 or TF2 either, are you?

      • caddyB says:

        I suppose I just like having them. I also mostly play a solider with a trusty spinfusor and an eagle pistol that I can’t shoot properly but still manage to finish off people with low hp after spinfusor hits. I think I might have issues.

        • ThTa says:

          Oh, likewise, I just don’t get when “I like having them” turns into the “the potential cost of buying every single thing immediately is too high” so many have expressed. It’s as if they genuinely need everything just to enjoy the game.

          • dE says:

            Since Tribes wants to be a competitive game and competition in games thrives on equal footing… So yes, if you’re a competitive player, you genuinely DO need everything except cosmetic stuff, simply to be able to play competitively.
            It’s also why I don’t play Tribes: Ascend personally. When I tried it some time ago, I quickly found out that I simply couldn’t switch into roles the team would benefit most from. Not only weren’t they unlocked but the necessary upgrades weren’t unlocked either. I didn’t enjoy that very much to be honest, in fact it turned out really frustrating.
            I think if Tribes wants to be big player in the competitive scene, which they do seem to gear up for, they really do need some sort of “unlock current and future gameplay relevant stuff for this much money” pack.

          • Yammo says:

            As dE says, I too have often felt hobbled not being able to switch to special roles needed at times, also in order to “know ones enemies” one has to be able to try out all classes… even if one doesn’t end up playing with them a lot, or even ever other than in practise mode.

            Per definition, these issues, turns Tribes: Ascend into pay-to-win style game… and while I AM willing to pay, I feel there is something inherently “scammy” about not being able to tell how much it would cost to unlock everything… without going through each and every class/outfit/powerup and weapon and doing an excel spreadsheet, there’s no way of telling whether it will cost me $15, $30, $300 or even $3000!

            All I’m saying is, just give me an option to buy the complete game at a fixed price…
            …even if later addons are extra.

          • Suits says:

            If you would’ve wanted to be competitive you should at least have played enough to have your roles unlocked.

          • treat says:

            I played comp primarily as a Sentinel through the first series of invitational matches up to just a couple months ago. I still don’t have the Phase rifle or the T5 grenades. I didn’t even manage to unlock the Falcon up until our last few scrims/matches. The unlocks might help (especially the falcon, jesus fucking christ), but they’re far from necessary (armor upgrades/perks are necessary).

          • Phantoon says:

            Yeah, only a few weapons are basically mandatory.
            The INF needs a different starting weapon for VSAT
            The TCN needs a Thumper because the SMG can’t VSDG and I’d say the mines too
            The DMB needs his mines for VSDF
            And arguably the SEN needs the Falcon for self defense/close combat

            But that’s it. The SLD’s best weapons are the ones you start with, the PTH’s other weapons are arguable and situational, etc.

  7. Derppy says:

    Had ~300k exp saved up, tried the new brute weapons fully upgraded last night.

    Gladiator was awful compared to heavy spinfusor. Direct hit damage was nice, but direct hitting with it is extremely hard. Explosion damage is lame, the range is rather low and it takes long for the projectile to explode. It was good for taking a fully upgraded generator down, but that isn’t enough when HSF is so much more effective against players, indoors and outdoors.

    Plasma Cannon was a really nice weapon. I find it odd it’s a secondary weapon, would work much better as alternative to HSF. Don’t really see a reason to switch between HSF and Plasma Cannon, during combat, unless I want to snipe base assets.

    Not sure if it’s worth it to use Plasma Cannon, because it’s only slightly better than HSF in regular combat and I’d have to give up Eagle Pistol. Cannon was a primary weapon, I’d probably use it way more.

    Still the best way to get crazy killing sprees is to spam fractals around the enemy base and generator with maxed looter and survivalist perks. For each dead enemy you get two more fractals, which means insane disco party.

    • Suits says:

      The reason the plasma cannon is secondary and gladiator primary, is that you’d have to get both to stay effective. Gladiator is obviously not meant for outdoor dueling and it’s more of an area of denial weapon like the fractals but more versatile since you shoot it instead of throwing. Essentiallly you have more fractals only these do damage to base assets like the gen and you can use it as direct fire if you want. Less range, but higher warm-up speed and harder to avoid.

      Obviously it’s meant to be used in combination with the plasma which is specifically used for taking out enemies. Outdoor it’s easily way better than the HSF for doing this, the high fire rate makes it much more effective against airborne targets and since it has splash damage, it’s still as good indoors.

    • Phantoon says:

      You should’ve just tried them out in the training mode first. You can usually tell if you’re going to like something or not.

      I found out I didn’t like the Plasma Cannon as much as I thought I would, and saved myself 100k XP on a class I don’t even play.

    • codename_bloodfist says:

      I really wish I hadn’t unlocked the Gladiator. Then again, it doesn’t make much sense to unlock most of the other stuff I’m modestly interested in because whatever comes out with the next update will almost certainly be better.

  8. Shortwave says:

    I’ve been playing Tribes now for a week or two.
    I am constantly the highest score on my team and have a + win ratio.
    I did this on a free account and can often be found with 5 enemies wasting their time trying to kill me while I jump around in circles destroying them entirely.

    And THAT is why this is the first free to play game I have ever paid for.
    I decided to buy a prem the other day just to stream line to a specific unlock I wanted.
    I could of just saved up for a few days and got it, but I felt these devs deserved ten bucks.
    I got the gun I wanted, few other quick unlocks.. And yea, felt good about it.

    I think people who complain about balance issues are just generally not very skilled players.
    There wasn’t anyone I couldn’t destroy as long as I was doing what my class was attended to do.
    There might be slight imbalances as always, but that just makes me fight harder and only makes me better. Nothings perfect. : P Plus that’d just be boring.

    I think these guys have been doing a great job and I’m glad I decided to give it a try.
    It’s now my favorite FPS of 2012 and I didn’t even have to pay a cent. : )
    Just decided to.

    • treat says:

      FYI, the game will automatically match you with fresh, supple, pink skinned, low-rank players until you hit level 8, at which point the matchmaking system will pluck you out of the kiddie pool and toss you into the deep end with the big boys. I would be worried if I *weren’t* dominating prior to rank 8, ’cause it’s a whole new game once you cross over the threshold.

      • Shortwave says:

        I only use private servers.
        Ones that seem to usually have a decent mix of all ranks.
        I never really use match making in games.
        I find it counter productive fighting only easy targets.

        • Phantoon says:

          But you clearly are only fighting easy targets.

          Not to ruin your fun, but the game really is even better when you have two coordinated teams, which only comes at higher levels.

          And yeah, hit level 8, and superman grabs you by the collar and chucks you into the Atlantic Ocean.

    • kaiserbob says:

      If you are dominating in 5 vs 1 fights you are either not fighting against good or even mediocre players, or you never miss a shot.

      I’m going to say its the former.

  9. nimzy says:

    Disco party in the Gen Room. No Sandrakers allowed.

    • Phantoon says:

      Sandraker status:

      Terrible taste in music
      Not invited to the party
      Pushed off this world

  10. says:

    While the Brute definitely needed more items, and the Plasma gun looks like an excellent secondary, I’m afraid that this will just make the gen trolling happen even more. Without the Thumper unlocked, TCNs don’t really have any ways to fight against them. So, it means switching to a heavier class to clear them out, which destroys your turrets, etc.

    On the other hand, when three or four enemies are having a Brute-fest in your gen room, it means they’re not defending their flag… So, the Tribes adage of “switch classes when you feel useless” still applies.

    • Phantoon says:

      Yeah, the Thumper really needs to be easier to get, or the sawn-off needs to be upgraded and made the starting primary. Starting TCNs really have trouble with clearing the Gen room without a Thumper, and that thing is pretty ridiculous.