Tribes: Ascend’s First Patch In Over 2 Years

Hi-Rez Studios stepped away from Tribes: Ascend [official site], their free-to-play revival of the classic FPS series, in 2013 to focus on their MOBA Smite. When they recently announced a new F2P FPS, the MOBA-tinged Paladins, well, they chances of them returning to Tribes seemed even slimmer. And yet!

Over the weekend, Hi-Rez announced ‘Out of the Blue’, the first patch for Tribes since March 12, 2013. Emerging from between green and violet onto a public test server later this month, it’ll bring a new map, balance changes, and more.

The game’s creative director popped up on Reddit to announce that the test server will open on, on before, September 14th. The preliminary patch notes list changes like rolling its nine classes into only three – Light, Medium, and Heavy – with different loadouts. All roles will be available to everyone from the start, and loadouts that players once had to buy will be free. The notes go into more detail that doesn’t mean much to me, but Tribers should take a good look.

“Prior to release on the live servers, this release will be made available for general public testing on a test server,” sez Hi-Rez. “The purpose of this server is to allow us to gain end-user feedback and bug testing on the release before we fully finalize the release. In order to make this release as good as we can, we need the Tribe’s community to help us test and to give feedback!”

As well as, you know, working more on a game they loved enough to make in the first place, Hi-Rez are probably partially trying to reassure folks that they won’t give up on Smite once Paladins comes out, that they aren’t forever chasing shiny newness. Which, given that Smite seems to be their first big success, I can’t imagine they would.


  1. CptCasper says:

    inb4 Tribes fans claim HiRez are just doing this so they can abandon the game again because HiRez hates money and abandon successful games.

    • Holysheep says:

      to be honest they seemed to like money so much that they pushed their greed at a point where they couldn’t get any. They really deserved the loss of profit that their stupid economical model spawned.

      • CptCasper says:

        Tribes was making no money from micro transactions so they released the unlock all pack for like £20 and still nobody bought it. It’s only the success of Smite that is funding this new development work. Will a few patches create a new Tribes community? I don’t think so, the masses want to play CoD/BF and Tribes fans clearly don’t spend money on the game.

  2. Holysheep says:

    Tribes ascend was perfect for a while, before they utterly violated it with pay to win stuff.

    I hope this will bring it back to its former glory. I want to believe.

    Please bring back the fast as hell skilled shooter with a minimal number of hitscan weapons and less money based shit.

    • garythehobo says:

      Well they are completely removing hitscan from all weapons but the sniper rifles.

      • Holysheep says:

        Oh my god this is perfect.
        Well maybe except from pistols which were sorta non OP and good to switch on at close ranges but… Jesus this is perfect

      • Boothie says:


        Man when i first read that they were concentrating all the classes into light/medium/heavy (something that the community was asking for years back) i thought that hmm i might give it a go again. Well now its a damn cert, cant say that the hitscan made it OP but it was damn annoying played into the hands of hackers.

        It was also annoying to die to those who hovered just a few meters over the ground peltering you with bullets as you in vain tried to disk them in the face and missing (yeah i know i suck but they could often kill you without touching the ground to let you get a splash hit)

      • Spakkenkhrist says:

        Yeah I’m usually all for “if a thing is a game it’s a valid way to play” but the automatic rifles took a lot of fun out of it for me, that said when you find a game that’s not happening in it’s the best fun you can have with your shazbot on.

    • killmachine says:

      there was never pay2win in this game. moron.

      • Synesthesia says:

        It became obnoxiously grindy, though. I abandoned it because of that.

        • killmachine says:

          no, it was very grindy at the start but at some point they cut all the xp costs in half.

          still, it was never pay2win. you could unlock everything gameplay related through ingame xp.

          • killmachine says:

            also, i still think that tribes ascend is one of the best pc first person shooters out there. there is nothing like it. and despite it being hated by so called “fans”, it is an awesome game.

            unfortunately though, it’s just extremely hard to learn and master. the amount of skill required in this game is not comparable to games like cod, tf2 or cs:go.

      • Canazza says:

        Remember that whenever they released a new pay-for weapon it was overpowered as all fuck for about a week before it was nerfed?

        Happened about 3 times right before they abandoned the game. Nothing fishy about that at all.

        • Asurmen says:

          Sounds like standard game balancing to me. Easier to overshoot and then drag back down then undershoot and get it to a good place. If it was honestly pay to win, it would never be nerfed.

          • Fiatil says:

            I would say the opposite of that is preferable. If you release a new gun and it sucks, then the downside is no one will use it, and those that purchased it will be unhappy until it’s boosted. If you release a new gun and it’s obviously overpowered, you basically shut down the game until it’s patched. Everyone that bought it is better, and everyone else either gets tempted and buys it to stay on the same playing field, or gets frustrated and takes a break.

          • Asurmen says:

            Didn’t say anything about preferable. I said standard. Preferable would be getting balance right first time. Preferable for Devs would be either right first time or getting it in overpowered, not because it will sell but because it’s easier to nerf something than buff something.

          • Asurmen says:

            I also think it’s slightly hyperbole to suggest an OP item/weapon/whatever shuts a game down until it’s nerfed.

          • ludde says:

            Only if you’re serious about your competitive online games, which most aren’t.

            But yeah, releasing stuff either behind pay-wall or grind – that you can speed up or skip by paying – that’s obviously overpowered seems pretty standard in free to play games. Then nerf and do your next release.

    • Spakkenkhrist says:

      I didn’t pay and I won.

  3. internisus says:

    Didn’t a different company take over Tribes: Ascend? I thought there was some news to that effect some time back that led everyone to basically say it was the beginning of the end for the game, as the company in question was known for ruining things.

    That’s why I have an item in my to-do list (yes, I have a to-do list for games) telling me I should try out Tribes: Ascend sooner rather than later, before it gets run into the ground, but the reaction to the changes outlined for this patch have been universally positive. I’m confused!

    • gunny1993 says:

      Hi-Rez made it, it’s wasn’t very successful (mismanagement or it just being a shit game, I don’t know, probably both) they weren’t making money from it so they canned it and moved onto Smite, which has been a massive success and now they’re restarting dev support for Tribes.

      • Kitsunin says:

        I’m not aware of anybody (who is anybody) who thinks Ascend is shit. There might not be that much of a market for it, however.

  4. banananas says:

    Woohoo! Maybe it’s time to dust off the good ol’ spinfusor then! *crossesfingers*

  5. BathroomCitizen says:

    Great news.

    The condensed classes and the free weapons and loadouts are a thing of beauty.

    If I was Hi-Rez I’d have made Tribes: Ascend totally free to play from the beginning, with only the cosmetic items behind a paywall.
    If they concentrated their efforts on balance of basic weapons and churning out cosmetic items, maybe there wouldn’t have been that debacle.

    Or maybe not, who knows.

    • killmachine says:

      i think the game is just too niche to attract a huge market. the game actually requires a lot of skill and you have to consistently play to stay on this level or improve more.

      not playing tribes for a while will get your ass kicked, unlike any other game. everybody can easily get into cod and score some kills. tribes on the other hand is really tough. when you’re a new player, you don’t stand a chance against experienced tribes players.

      • disorder says:

        This factor is pretty much true. Whatever the reason (and I don’t think it’s down to hirez all that much) Tribes any number/direction of movement never had a great following, only a committed one. There was(is) nothing else like it and in the schism between tribes 1 vets and tribes 2 vets, they did ok seeming to aim somewhere in the middle for its own flavour of graceful death ballet. But they were faithful to a franchise the AAA crowd would never get. It looks interesting, like those 3d chessboards in star trek, but you never see anyone playing them.

        I don’t think HiRez got everything right (if I’ll criticise one thing, it’s tghat they didn’t what I’ll call ‘liberalise’ the servers for people to change rulesets until way too long after release), but even if I think their p2p strategy was one of the least offensive tried (looking at you MWO) I still think wanting to sit on all the keys so they could try to monetize it at some point hurt it. Perhaps grievously. But I didn’t resent them trying, and enjoyed it. More or less. But I can’t think I’d go back.

    • Bugamn says:

      I don’t know if that would help. I stopped playing before because I couldn’t find servers with good latency anymore. If the game had a decent singleplayer mode I’d be all over it though.

      • killmachine says:

        i think with a singleplayer mode, tribes wouldn’t be tribes anymore.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          While it wasn’t 100% Tribes-y, Vengeance was actually a bloody terrific game. Stupid-fast, graceful combat, massive levels with a lot of ways to tackle them, even a pretty good story (a personal fav of mine, in fact). Why COULDN’T such a campaign be done in a proper Tribes game?

    • Graerth says:

      The whole class system really put me off ascend after I played it a bit when it came out.

      I always were a Heavy armor guy (usually HO) in T1 and T2 and felt utterly gimped in ascend.

      I think I should maybe see how it is after they this removal of classes.

  6. Jinarra says:

    Between Green and Violet lies the Indigo Prophecy, that one day Out of the Blue, Tribes Ascend will update.

  7. Scumbag says:

    As much as I’ve said naughty words about T:A post Smite, this is all kinds of nice. May give it a shot again.