Blue Plate Spectacular: Tribes’ Single Purchase Option

My other spinfusor is an everything ever.

For being the developer of a game all about lightning-quick reaction times, Hi-Rez could be accused of reacting rather, um, glacially. More or less since day one, Tribes Ascend‘s free-to-play pricing model’s taken flack for making new items prohibitively hard to come by, but recent months have finally seen the reigning king of Jetpack Mountain come down and deal with it. First, Hi-Rez halved XP costs for all unlocks last month, and now it’s focusing its Fixification Beam on the other side of the fence. The one that pays for things. In short, those people will soon be able to pay less for the same amount of things – and all at once, no less. Which is much appreciated, but I can’t imagine long-time players are enjoying the stinging red outline of a hand that’s now plastered across their faces.

Hi-Rez posted about the basics of Tribes new single-purchase option on its official forums:

“In response to community requests, we are going to introduce a Single Purchase option for Tribes: Ascend. If you enjoy the game as free-to-play, nothing changes. Additional maps for free. But for those wanting a single purchase – this package will unlock all classes, all weapons, and all perks in the current game; everything except the non gameplay affecting items like cosmetics.”

“We’ll price it in the ballpark of other PC multiplayer shooters. And if you are a Tribes VIP we’ll give an additional discount.”

So probably expect something between $40 and $60. That, of course, is quite a marked decrease from the well-over-$100 it’s possible to spend if the objects of your trigger finger’s affections aren’t bundled together. That said, I had a joyous time after only spending somewhere in the realm of $30, so this isn’t quite Hi-Rez attempting highway robbery.

The current plan is to roll out the new purchasing option on Friday, just in time to coincide with a new content patch that’s been in the works – in various forms – for months. So that’s exciting, but also somewhat poorly timed in the grand scheme of things. I mean, it’s certainly better late than never, but this approach would’ve been much more appreciated oh, I don’t know, a year ago. It is, however, something I’d like to see more F2P games at least try in the future. I mean, I don’t think F2P’s inherently bad, but the ability to essentially buy a complete package with very little hassle would be nice. I’m sort of shocked more games don’t do it already, to be honest. But hey, here’s a start. Hopefully others will soon follow.




  1. mouton says:

    Now, if only it happened a year ago…

    • caddyB says:

      Yeah, I’ve already spent about 70$ or so in this game. And it was worth it. It still stings a bit, but I suppose things get cheaper over time.

      • mouton says:

        It’s not just that. The whole game development pre and post release would have suffered much less from the f2p cancer. A lot of decisions were aimed at driving people to buy new weapons, balance be damned.

        • caddyB says:

          Heh I remember letting my sister play with my Plasma Rifle when it first came out. She finished first, and she only plays management games and has no twitch skills.

          That was ridiculous. I don’t know how it is now though, I haven’t played in months.

        • Beemann says:

          I don`t think it was done maliciously (the plasma cannon, jackal, etc.). If you check out Global Agenda (most notably back when Smash boost and Oathbreaker were added) you`ll probably notice a trend of horrible initial balance with HiRez. The problem with Tribes was that the time span for having new poorly balanced weapons was basically “always” and because they moved away from their previous system (which was class based) they couldn’t try to make up for it by nerfing something else on the class if the item was conceptually out-of-hand

    • Noburu says:

      Yeah this definitely is a kick to the balls for those of us that have already spent nice chunks of change on the game. Someone is now gonna be able to come in and buy all the item unlocks for likely less than I spent on the game.

      I got my moneys worth out of the game for sure with what I spent, but this is still kinda a low blow.

  2. Flappybat says:

    Their moves sound like a free to play in trouble and not something that is going to be common place.

    I imagine Planetside 2 has done huge damage to their numbers. It’s an accessible, more straightforward FPS where it’s easier to play with your friends.

    • rb2610 says:

      From what I’ve heard Planetside can be quite hard to get into unless you have people to play with, the only thing making Tribes potentially inaccessible is the skiing mechanic, which is pretty quick to get the hang of once you’ve done the tutorial and a couple of maps.

      • Flappybat says:

        That’s kind of underselling the learning curve of Tribes. Everyone except base squatting heavies has to deal with managing their jetpack, using decent skiing paths and hitting moving targets at high speed. Planetside has a lot going on but it’s still just a Point Gun At Man game.

        • rb2610 says:

          Yeah it’s a hard curve to master, especially if you use projectile weapons, but not much is required in order to at least be able to contribute to the team. Especially with all the bullet-based weapons available, which means you don’t have to get your head around timing projectile shots until you’re ready.

          Also, I found that gen rooms are a good place to start as the confined space limits speed so you can just get the hang of jumping and sliding around.

          I’m not pretending I’m an expert, or even good at Tribes, I typically suck at FPS games. Yet I still found it didn’t take long at all to start being able to actually do something useful for the team.

          That said, I haven’t personally played PS2 yet, so I can’t really compare. I just think the ‘barrier for entry’ for Tribes Ascend seems a bit overestimated.

    • mouton says:

      I really don’t get how people can compare the two games. Sure, there is futuristic armor and stuff, but the gameplay is entirely different.

      • Jenks says:

        I’m a huge fan of both, I don’t see why it would be hard to compare two free to play first person shooters. Things don’t need to be identical to be compared.

      • wengart says:

        F2P games usually require a certain amount of grind for the masses to be able to unlock items. Grind = Time. People are therefore less likely to play multiple free to play games.

        On top of that Tribes was released about a year and a half ago, and between then and now a plethora of F2P games have become available. There isn’t a cost to entry on these games so trying them out is trivially difficult and that means that Tribes had to, and needs to, be able to hold on to the casual’s mind share. That is harder to do when you and your competition have no barrier to entry, but heavily reward monogamous relationships.

        These are some of the reasons that you can compare almost any free to play game.

  3. coffeetable says:

    Would buy the PS2 version of this instantly.

    • mouton says:

      And play it with a pad? Do you even know what this game is? Please tell me you are just trolling for fun.

      • caddyB says:

        I think he means PlanetSide2.

        I hope he means that.

        • Spoon Of Doom says:

          I’m pretty sure he means the Polystation, the newest and best in gaming electronics.

        • darkChozo says:

          I dunno, aren’t simultaneous releases a big thing nowadays? I think “all major platforms” should probably include the PS2 in any proper historical retrospective.

      • coffeetable says:

        Either I mean the other big-name F2P FPS, or I mean a 12 year old horrendously obsolete console.


        • mouton says:

          Oh okay. Silly ambiguous acronyms.

          But I agree, F2P had its chance and I really don’t have much hope for it anymore.

    • Schiraman says:

      Yeah, I’d second that. I love PS2, but the price-per-gun and weak subscription package puts me off ever spending any actual money on it. Let me just unlock everything for the price of a full game and I’d be all over it.

  4. killmachine says:

    this is indeed a little too late but it was requested by the community.

    tribes is a niche game and you either like it or not. it’s nothing like any other modern title out there. it’s very oldschool’ish and very “specific”. and it’s a very difficult game on top of that.

    i still enjoy the heck out of it. i’ve payed full price already, because i think hi-rez deserves it and because tribes is an awsome game.

    dunno if it’s in trouble per se. hi-rez is also running smite (beta) which apparently is quite successfull. more money for hi-rez may also be beneficial for tribes as well. but to give you some numbers:

    there are roughly 5-6 ctf servers in the amsterdam region for level 1-10 and 6-8 servers for 10+. each server has a 28 player cap. can’t speak about the other game modes or regions. i only play ctf on amsterdam servers.

  5. Rao Dao Zao says:

    I don’t understand this at all… This concept of exchanging a reasonable sum of money for a complete product…

    Ugh. They’ll be putting things in PHYSICAL BOXES next.

    • benjamin says:

      This Sir, amused me greatly.

    • LintMan says:

      Except it’s STILL not a complete product!

      From the quote:
      everything except the non gameplay affecting items like cosmetics.

      We I saw the article into, I was actually going to applaud them for this move, until I saw that quote, and the price.

      So, they basically want full retail price for a year-and-a- half-old game, and that doesn’t even include any of the cosmetic crap, so player will STILL have to pay extra for that?


  6. ThTa says:

    It’s worth noting that this only applies to content released up until this point (including the unreleased patch) and doesn’t include cosmetics, future content will once again be for-pay.
    link to

    I’ve mixed feelings about this. I really appreciate the concept, it’s just a bit annoying since I’ve already spent a fair bit of money on the game (the Beta thingie, which went for something like 20 euros I think, and the 40 euro Gold pack) and already have most stuff, I do hope there’s a fair discount that takes into account how much you’ve already spent.

    Mostly, it feels like they’re only now starting to act on feedback they got at the start of the Closed Beta.

    • Howard says:

      Thanks, that answers my question. Had I , for a reasonable top-up on top of the money I laid down for the top VIP package, been able to buy all current and future updates they could have had both my money and my time as a player once more, but this is just more shite from them. Hi-Rez have fucked this game up totally with their F2W bullshit and I am just walking away forever. Tribes is officially no more…

  7. pupsikaso says:

    I’ve stopped playing Hi-Rez games because of this after how they handled Global Agenda.

    • SelfEsteemFund says:

      If you’re looking down here for the most sound comment, this is it… this is the comment you should be taking note of. HiRez support/loyalty is utter shit, they’re out to make a quick buck then move on, that’s their ‘business’.

    • mutopia says:

      Yeah I’ve been getting that feel from day 1 since I started playing this. I played Tribes 1 & 2 a lot and after playing this on and off for a few months here are my issues with it:

      1. The absolute best part of Tribes: Ascend are the few classic maps they recreated from the first Tribes games. The new maps are mostly shit, although 1 of them could be improved with tweaks, but they betray the fact that Hi-Rez hasn’t really understood how to make maps for this game, which is odd. And there just aren’t enough maps to even consider this a proper retail game, and what little there is isn’t good enough (except for the remakes of original maps, but that’s just 4 maps, most of which I played to death a decade ago!). Much less a game anyone should spend more than $10-15 on. They are properly insane if they think this should fetch upwards of 50$ even from dedicated players.

      2. There is a sense that in order to fit in all the new weapons, the spinfusor and the other classics were made worse or less versatile. I wish I could provide you with more concrete proof but it would take access to the source code and/or superhuman knowledge of the game’s and engine’s workings to pin down. Or to put it in other words; they couldn’t come up with truly new functionalities so they started diluting and repackaging what was already there.

      3. The pathfinder is the weakest class in the game, and capturing the flag isn’t half as fun as it is in T1&2. Of course it’s supposed to be the weakest combat class, but honestly, every other class is so overpowered in comparison that capturing the flag has gone from being the most fun and challenging aspect to being the most frustrating and unrewarding. To add insult to injury it’s become feasible for heavy classes to capture flags.

      4. There was a reason that Tribes only ever had 1 laser-rifle (sniper-rifle), with properties specifically protecting against making it overpowered. Well, Hi-Rez foolishly added some more rifles and made them more powerful. And it has not come at the cost of mobility for these classes, because snipers have plenty of energy (and regeneration) to get off 2 hits AND make a break for it before a pathfinder can even get a single disc floating halfway as suppressing fire.

      5. The load-out system is atrocious. Not just when compared to the freestyle item/weapon system of the original games, but in general, it’s the polar opposite of everything a game designer should strive for. I get that this is their whole economy but that’s a piss-poor excuse for making the most clumsy loadout system & UI in the history of games.

      6. Contrary to what RPS reported in their WIT, skiing is a joke. Once you get past the initial excitement of jetpacking-skiing again for the first time in years, you will begin to notice that it feels half-done. It’s hard to describe otherwise; it’s not fluid and it feels like shortcuts were taken to code it into Unreal, and the clumsily designed maps, down to the terrain itself, exacerbates it. On top of that the server side lag issues resulting in rubberbanding are getting worse somehow (it’s not a connection issue, but looks like a computation/glitches issue).

      If there were twice as many maps (preferably recreations of classic maps, unless Hi-Rez learn to design proper Tribes maps themselves) and less bullshit filler classes & equipment (restoring some semblance of balance and fun) and some of the most serious issues were resolved I might give it another try (I’ve already spent enough on it tbh). If little or nothing changes I’ll just steer clear of Hi-Rez games from now on.

      Tribes games are all about those wonderful and “emergent” moments, and here those moments are just too rare to come by. I wish more people played TribesNext.

      • Calculon says:

        I pretty much agree with this statement. As a long time competitive player of the Tribes franchise I was optimistic about Tribes Ascend after countless Hi-Rez assurances of “We wont screw this up”. I initially thought that Global Agenda was trying to be a Tribes, but because of IP they couldnt make what they wanted, and this they might actually get TA right.

        Wow I was wrong. I was in the Closed Beta when a significant amount of feedback was provided regarding major balance problems with certain classes and weapons, big issues with the main mechanisms of the Tribes franchise which is flying, maneuverability and twitch skill combat (practically non-existent). Hardly any of the issues were resolved. Feedback was also provided on their UI, loadout issues, vehicle balance problems, and significant issues with the Heavy Class and Mortar that they just couldnt seem to get right and/or didnt care.

        It was clear the “Closed Beta” was merely a mechanism for them to make early money on the game from excited fans of the Tribes Franchise who had to purchase the classes to “test” them out.

        There were a whole host of other problems as well which removed significant class purposes, such as self-repairing generators, and of course the classic Class/loadout/armor switching stations found in T1&T2, but not in TA.

        Anyhoo – Ive come to peg Hi-Rez for what they are – a bunch of money grubbing characters that dont actually care about any games they make other than what they can rip off from the fan base. I personally have no intention of playing any Hi-Rez games in the future. I’ve been fooled twice by them so far, but not again.

        • Gers says:

          Too true. I remember when I first started playing tribes early in the closed beta hearing tales of caution from global agenda players. Stupidly, we all ignored them. They gave up on tribes a long time ago, they’ll give up on smite sometime this year. It’s what they do.

      • MiloticMaster says:

        As a player of TA but not the other Tribes games I’ll give my opinion on your arguments.
        1. Heck yes, the classic maps are the best. The others just dont compare. In general, there are just way too little maps in the game to begin with like 15 I think? Thats including Deathmatch maps too;
        2. Hi-Rez have so many remakes of spinfusors and explosion type weapons; its not creative at all. Their best idea was probably the plasma gun and that was SO op when it came out that it got nerfed hard. I think the relative strengths of the weapons are okay; but variety is not.
        3. Again, I cant compare this with the other Tribes games, but PATH is like one-shot against ever other class. HOWEVER, pathfinder’s have speed on their side. I can out-maneuver pretty much any other class (except Infiltrator) so thats balanced on 1 v 1. But getting the flag alone is torture- pretty much every class can 1-shot you so if there’s anyone on flag u’re dead. But I think this is supposed to emphasize teamwork more- you cant cap anyway if your team cant keep your flag safe or distract flag def. Heavy caps are lame; but that’s just a lazy team if a heavy can cap.
        4. A good sniper can pretty much shut down flag capping. They can literally 2-shot you from full health. The energy rifle is such BS because of this. Not to mention, even if you’re fast and get out of range, sniper’s are fast enough to chase you down and snipe you in while they’re in midair. I know there’s skill involved- but its a hitscan weapon. The energy rifle needs to go.
        5. Dont get started on UI. Its just…. so frustrating at times.
        6. I really cant agree with you on skiing-(probably cause this is my 1st taste). I love it; I dont really see any problems, but sometimes u clam on to the ground sometimes; instead of bouncing off..
        Some of the issues I have:
        -Self-regenerating gens. Just an excuse for people to camp out there and destroy it over and over. This is supposed to be CTF, I know the gen helps with base defense and stuff but it shouldn’t regen itself; it just lets ppl destroy it again. Also Permafrost: No. Please no. Why would you make cappers rely on gen play?
        -Reward system. Completely bonkers at times. Its why people farm EXP in gen rooms instead of helping CTF. Kills reward more than the objective. Plus it makes capping so pointless because you could get some much more EXP by farming; so ppl do that instead of playing objective. Also, I should get rewarded for destroying flag def, like turrents, forcefields, etc. Otherwise I achieve nothing for doing so. Flag rewards need to be buffed.
        I love Tribes; I really do, its the first FPS I’ve played that isnt point-and-shoot and is more physics based and tactical. But I feel that there are 2 problems with it right now;
        Hi-rez just isnt giving it any support. It needs like double the content (both maps and weapons) it has right now to really stand on its own. At the moment it feels half-finished, and thats sad. The number of players are dwindling because there’s nothing new to do.
        The reward system. People dont play as a team because of the reward system. It also makes getting EXP a chore. Please redo it.

  8. Jack-Dandy says:

    I don’t think this is enough.

    The main reason Tribes Ascend’s popularity dwindled is simply because of the limited content it had. People can only play the same bunch of maps for so long before they get tired.

    If only Hi-Rez had the vision and courage to pony up more cash to Epic so they could release mod and map making tools, and then release it as a standalone game…

    It’s a real goddamned shame. I had lots of fun with it.

    • Gers says:

      While I agree map and mod-making tools would help a lot, the reason people quit is not the lack of content. People quit because they rolled out too much too fast, and it was all so unbalanced that the game practically became unplayable. It was just after the brute update that it became too much for everybody I know and they all quit.

    • Phantoon says:

      I had lots of fun too, but as you said, it gets stale with the same maps.

  9. Screamer says:

    I wish Mechwarrioir Online would drop their prices, or implement a once-off purchase. Some Mechs are almost $30, ridiculous.

    • Flappybat says:

      Sadly this is how free to play games are pricing. They are really into the whale approach to customers so they try to skim anyone willing to pay for as much as possible. The $30 mech isn’t even unusual.

      Neverwinter asks $20 for a couple of trinkets. Dirty Bomb wants $30 for a character. My preorder for the new Tomb Raider cost me $31!

    • Vorphalack says:

      Ah, Mechwarrior Online. I had an earlier beta build on my hard drive which I tried to uninstall a few months back. It seemed to have been removed properly, only when I tried to re-download the client and install the game, I was told that it was still on my hard drive and the installation aborts. Now I know for a fact that it isn’t, so all I can assume is that some left over registry entries are fooling the install client into believing the old version is still there. There is no way in hell that i’m going through every registry key to clean that mess up, so my choice for this game is full format or avoid. If that’s what they are charging for Mechs they can screw off.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah, it’s one of the things they still need to fix up. Most things are way above the impulse purchase price, even colours.

      If you want a mech, you supposedly get better bang for your virtual buck buying premium time and getting the C-Bill boost.

      • Phantoon says:

        Yeah. Impulse purchases are the best way to move volume, and more volume means more people playing, means more sales over a longer period, means more money. Wish the Solium Infernum guy would figure that out so I could convince my friends to buy it.

  10. Jenks says:

    I wish all F2P games had this option from the start. I can’t stand cash shop bullshit.

  11. FreshwaterAU says:

    would have probably bought this 5 months ago, already spent around $30 for what I had, no regrets though, I really enjoyed it. Doubt i go back….plus at least from looking at steam the numbers have significantly dropped.

  12. SaVi says:

    If it’lll cost me as much as a Battlefield, then I want at least two thirds of the cosmetics that is out there to!

  13. Brise Bonbons says:

    As many others have said, I would probably have purchased this package at launch when I was excited for the game (but turned off by the business model). However, offering up this option so late just seems like the worst of all worlds. People like me (who refuse to deal with F2P) have probably moved on to playing an old fashioned buy-to-own game like Natural Selection 2 or CS:GO. Many F2P folks have probably moved over to the new hotness in Planet Side 2. Long-time customers get to feel like their purchases are being trivialized by a huge discount bundle/sale.

    At one time I wanted to think that Hi Rez were just lovably befuddled guys who weren’t great at the whole business side of things. But at this point I’m starting to wonder if they’ve got some seriously shady people running the money side of the business. Who knows, really.

    Anyway, I hope Tribes: Ascend keeps chugging along, because even if it’s not my cup of tea I think it’s a great addition to the modern shooter landscape. But… Let’s just say I’m not filled with confidence.

  14. tangoliber says:

    I don’t mind, even though I spent money in the game before. Anyone putting money into a f2p game should expect the prices to drop in the future. You are paying more for early access, and to support the game.
    I think that all regular T:A players have earned enough XP to get everything themselves, but some of them put in money because they view it as tipping the developer, basically.

  15. Deano2099 says:

    I think this is great for the consumer, but makes me worry about the state of the game, isn’t the F2P model based on having a small percentage of rich, obsessed users who buy absolutely everything to subsidise the mass of free players? Although I guess excluding cosmetic stuff goes some way to helping that.

  16. says:

    I really enjoy T:A, as it was the game that dominated my multi-player time during May – September of last year. This single purchase option would have really helped last year, and it may well help in the long term, but I’m afraid it will alienate those who have already spent their fair share unlocking content.

  17. Gers says:

    It’s too late, they keep on doing things like this thinking it will bring people back. The only reason I still play is because I can’t let go of how much fun it was in the beta. Every single time I play the game I recognize the people in the server as the same people I played with the time before, and the time before that. The game isn’t completely dead yet, but it’s close to it and well past the time when it can be saved.

    That said this is a step in the right direction. The next step is to roll back everything to the closed beta, pre-megapatch was the best time the game had. Add in the ability to actually host servers and not just rent them, and a level editor. Who knows, if they did that people might forget how horribly Hi Rez handled literally everything about the development of the game and start playing again.

  18. Yglorba says:

    I don’t think it’s that harsh for old players. I mean, it’s the same with any game — games that cost $60 at launch a few years ago can be got for $5 in a steam sale today. If you want to get things on release, you pay more, and in a tech environment where games age so fast, that’s always been true.

  19. Strangerator says:

    What would have been nice is if when they lowered the EXP cost of everything, they doled out refunds to people who bought things (using exp) under the old model. I have no personal experience with the game, so they might have done this already. I know there’s no direct profit in it for them, but it would buy massive goodwill from long time players, which can have beneficial indirect effects. If you bought stuff with money before the change.. then you actually come out ahead on the deal too. Real money doesn’t buy as much exp now as it used to!

  20. Smarag says:

    Holy shit I’m mad as fuck. That’s what I said when they released this game. This game could have been so great. It could have been king. They had to make it pay2win.