Tribes: Ascend 1.2 Patch Coming Later Today

Tribes: Ascend [official site] is receiving another update this evening. Patch 1.2 will bring sweeping balance changes to the gotta-go-fast jetpack FPS, increasing heavy armour there, reducing blast radii here, making it so pressing ‘Q’ selects your previously held weapon, that sort of thing. There’s a full list of changes in this Google Doc and a chart of new weapon values in this here spreadsheet.

In a Reddit post, Tribes lead developer Sean McBride said that they, “will be upgrading Tribes starting Thursday, January 28th 2016, at 10:00am EST (5:00pm CEST)” and that servers will be down for “around 3 hours.” That’s 3pm GMT, Britfans.

Ascend lay dormant for a couple of years until patch 1.1 was released in early December. That update brought larger changes than this one, including a revamp of the class system which traded nine distinct classes for three armour types with customisable loadouts. I haven’t played it since the patch, but that sounds more like how Tribes 2 worked, to me.

Although I haven’t played it in a while, I did once take part in a commentated show match while at cheery RPS fanzine, PC Gamer. Isn’t it cute how hard the commentators try to say nice things about our amateurish shitshow?

I know people are cross that Tribes: Ascend hasn’t had a better post-release life, but to put my head in the internet’s mouth for a second: if a game isn’t popular enough to pay the wages of a development team, then the development team has to do something else. The Tribes games have always had small, loving fanbases rather than breakthrough success – and that’s sad, because I count myself among its appreciators – but I don’t think Hi-Rez can be blamed for the series not being more profitable.

18 Comments

  1. Xzi says:

    WHAAAA?! They didn’t abandon this after all? About time I guess.

    • Abndn says:

      Conveniently around time of “Paladin’s” arrival, too. Makes you wonder if they’re doing this to reassure Smite players that Hi-Rez won’t abandon them.

    • Spakkenkhrist says:

      This is a minor update to a recent big patch.

  2. lagiacrux says:

    regarding your last paragraph:
    you have to question WHY the game had so few players in the end. afaik the launch and the first time after launch showed a good number of players. the problems arised, when hirez decided to bring about several updates with new weapons who were just plain better than anything else. i knew a lot of people who bounced off the game because of this “pay2win” kinda mentality.
    soon after that the game was getting “abandoned” by a lot of players.

    • Calculon says:

      Umm – Hey Graham – check your facts before you spew crap about ‘Poor Hi-Rez’ cant make a profit so why should they support the game. Wow such a terrible statement.

      Here are the facts (as a beta tester of the game):
      -A large part of the appeal of Tribes is the Physics and movement, coupled with the weapons/style of play. The more vetran Tribes player base REPEATEDLY told Hi-Rez prior to release that there were significant problems with the physics of the game – and that it was unlikely to really ‘work’ properly/well. I checked after the recent mega-patch – guess what? Its STILL the same problem. I chatted with folks that were well informed and they basically said – ‘Yep – Hi Rez knows its a big problem, but its too expensive to fix because they would have to re-work all of the maps and that isnt going to happen’.
      2) Veteran Tribes players REPEATEDLY told HI-Rez that their whole pay to play/unlock scheme was broken, the class unlocks didnt work, and that part of the appeal of Tribes was the ability to set your own loadout, inventory station play (part of the strategy of the game), and of course appropriately tweaked armor sets/stats and sizes. Did they listen? Took a few years, so eventually yes they did – but that was ALSO a big reason for the flop at the start of the game
      3) Veteran Tribes players REPEATEDLY told HI-Rez about the fact that the weapon balance was broken. SMG’s, among others were far too powerful, heavy mortars were broken, etc etc etc – it was ignored.
      4) Vehicles? Im not even going to go into this one – completely broken and YES Feedback was given and YES HI-Rez commented.

      In all of these cases and more – Hi-Rez basically said “We know what we’re doing – we’re the professionals. Hush you silly little Tribes players – you know nothing about game design, marketing and developing a brand. Trust us, we love Tribes”

      Ya. Turns out we were right. So NO it has nothing to do Graham with ‘Poor Hi-Rez not being able to make a profit’ but a bunch of arrogant wankers at Hi-Rez who had NO understanding about what made Tribes great, did a TERRIBLE job of making the game, completely destroyed the franchise, and then walked away and said ‘Oops – ya this Smite thing is cooler anyways – come play’.

      Their hack job now will do nothing to address the core issues of the game – as they have already stated before – because its ‘too expensive’ to fix. It would largely amount to wiping out what they have and starting again.

      Oh and btw Graham – maybe you should look at Global Agenda too to see HI-Rez’s history of abandoning games. Check your facts next time ffs.

      • Premium User Badge

        Graham Smith says:

        Hello Calculon.

        I know about Global Agenda. I played Tribes Ascend at launch. I liked the changes they made to the way systems worked. Yes, it pissed off a lot of veterans – change always does.

        Tribes 2? Not a smash hit runaway success with millions of fans. It had a small userbase. Dynamix were closed down weeks after it came out. The game was weird and complicated and things like the modifiable loadouts made team-based public play a total shitshow. Classes were a fair fix, in my eyes.

        It is fine that you disagree and dislike the decisions they made. They evidently failed to find a larger audience, which means they certainly didn’t work as Hi-Rez presumably hoped, either. But Hi-Rez didn’t drive away a huge audience from a game that otherwise would have been successful; they failed to find a new audience in a game series that had been becoming increasing niche and had been abandoned for years.

        There is nothing factually inaccurate about saying they didn’t make enough money from it, nor is that an attempt to garner sympathy for Hi-Rez. It’s simply a statement of fact that all developers are businesses who must make money from their games, rather than the moustache-twirling villains who set out to ruin a good thing in a greedy lust for cash, as they’re so often portrayed.

        • PrezKennedy says:

          Despite not being a smash hit, the authentication servers for Tribes 2 ran for seven years before finally being shut down. Now unofficial auth servers perform that role. The game did get good reviews across the board too: link to metacritic.com.

          Change is good, and that’s not the problem I have with Ascend. The issue I have is that during every patch, they nerf the weapons that take some reasonable skill and accuracy (the spinfusors and mortars) and buff the spray’n’pray assault rifles and machine guns. In Tribes and Tribes 2, there was ONE automatic weapon — the chaingun, and it sucked for anything that wasn’t up close. Now, everyone is spraying bullets everywhere.

          I deeply respect anyone who can best me with the spinfusor, but that’s rare today, even among the Level 50 No-Lifers. Everyone just sprays bullets everywhere. That’s not Tribes, and it’s why I don’t play much anymore despite having sunk considerably more than $100 into the game.

        • Dranon says:

          Graham, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Hirez was well aware of the failure they would face from the beta where numerous, very detailed and long posts on their forums brought up all the things that would make the game fail.

          The number of players was good for a new Tribes game and would have grown if they had changed what was brought up to them countless times.

          They, Hi-rez, decided they wouldn’t make any of the major changes that would have made T:A a real good game instead of a Pay to win machine guns fest that no one wanted with the weirdest physics a Tribes game had ever seen (even Vengeance had that part figured out). They are the sole reason the game tanked, not the number of players. That number was good at the start, they just painted themselves in a corner with their bad decisions.

          You’re wrong saying But Hi-Rez didn’t drive away a huge audience from a game that otherwise would have been successful; they failed to find a new audience in a game series that had been becoming increasing niche and had been abandoned for years.

          They had the number, they failed to keep it with stupid decisions.

  3. Christo4 says:

    I played around then but from what i remember there were just a few weapons that you couldn’t get by progressing in-game.
    Problem is, most weapons they added were rather better than the previous ones, but the biggest problem was that the grind to get them without paying was too much.
    You had to pay for classes as well and whatever they had and after playing for a good amount of hours i just unlocked all classes and just a few weapons.
    And honestly, i don’t like the new update.
    I liked the classes part better, because if i remember correctly you couldn’t have 4 weapons on you. Now it’s rather weird to have that many, you can do good versus any encounter, there isn’t as much specialization which was pretty interesting imo. It felt nice when all the classes had a different gameplay to them.
    Also, they went without the upgrade part for core and turrets and to get vehicles, which again, i rather enjoyed. I would have liked it to be a bit more sophisticated instead of just losing it completely.

    I think the reason people stopped playing the game was one because of the rather pay to win mechanic, because it took to long to get the new weapons that were overpowered when they first launched and secondly that they didn’t really make any new maps or added anything else to the game. Even dota2 and league of legends add ranking, new maps or game modes from time to time. The only players remaining by the end being mostly level 40-50 and the ones who paid, as a level 15 i didn’t feel like playing all that much especially since the grind was just so tedious and the maps almost always the same.
    If they added some new maps that were more interesting or different game modes every 2-3 months it would have been better i think, but only skins and weapons were the things they added.
    Sorry for wall of text, just my opinion as someone who quite enjoyed the game.
    I think it would have been a lot better as a 10-20$ game. Had a lot of fun with insurgency that way, which i bought at a discount and knowing that there was no pay 2 win or stuff i can’t unlock or not use made me play that quite a bit.

  4. Abndn says:

    This was my favorite FPS when it released. I played it every day. They then proceeded to add easy-to-use, pay-to-win weapons that not only fucked up the balance, but actually made the game a lot less compelling if you used them.

  5. VeNT666 says:

    People seem to ignore the massive skill gap between vets and new players.
    That and the f2p fps markets not exactly sparce right now.
    If new players don’t feel able to jump right in and compete they will move on.

  6. cafeoh says:

    I used to play in in the earlier days with friends, and felt the same as most players regarding the grind and balance.

    Anybody played since it came back up and can give a quick overview of how the business model is now? Anything mechanically significant behind a paywall? I can deal with the grind/pay2skip for variety/alternative playstyle if it’s not ridiculous and obviously anything cosmetic.

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      1.1 brought a lot of changes:
      1) The entire load-out system has changed, so all XP and gold you spent on items has been added back into your account.
      2) If you spend money on the game before, you will now own all there is to unlock except cosmetic items.
      3) If you did not spend money on the game before, you can buy the Ultimate Weapons Pack that unlocks all the content there is to unlock (except cosmetic items) for 10 euros.

      Not sure how if the unlocking process is faster now as bullet point 2 applied to me.

      • cafeoh says:

        Thanks for the heads-up, I’ll check that new patch out when I get the chance, hopefully the weapons are balanced!

  7. Rindan says:

    I LOVED LOVED LOVED Tribes back in the day. Man did I love that game hard, which is why playing Ascend was kind of ruinous to my soul. I have just come to understand that I fucking despise free to play games. They destroy the fun, joy, and balance of games so thoroughly. It sends me into a near nerd rage when I look at all the genera that have been laid to waste by F2P games. I would happily have just paid my $60 to enjoy Ascend and have everything unlocked and balanced.

    The same is actually true of World War II flight simulators. I weep to see the fact that there exists no World War II flight simulators that me a buddy can just pop into and have a good time; much less any that deal with my favorite theater, the Pacific War. Instead, you have a bunch of F2P games that have shitty compromises because they have to be built around a shit progressing system that is greased by cash.

    I desperately hope that F2P goes the way of “social gaming”.

    Someone wake me when they make a straight Tribes sequel.

  8. PurePhoenix says:

    You know, it really makes me *irate* when people spread propaganda intentionally.

    I played TA since closed beta, i was in there around a week after it started. All the map bugs, all the physics bugs, all the weapon bugs, all the menu/ui bugs got reported either by myself or others. I’m not referring to just the ‘odd’ or ‘different’ physics to previous tribes btw, ACTUAL BUGS like Nitrons giving ZERO BOOST and small hills acting the same as brick walls at 300+ SANICS.

    TA flopped because Hirez are plain lazy, delusional, money grabbing fools and they INTENDED it to be a hit-and-run release in the first place.

    And even after ~5 years of practically zero FPS gaming due to world of lamecraft, i STILL managed to top server lists with thumpers, DMB Heavy bolt and spinfusors. Anyone who tells you the new guns made the slightest bit of difference, is merely a sore loser.

    I’ve been beta testing and aiding developers for almost 20 years, there’s not a single time i’ve misread trends or been wrong about how a game / gamefeature is going to pan out.

    TA is no exception. I said REPEATEDLY it’ll flop and REPEATEDLY because hirez are too lazy to fix their mistakes. They knew what they were doing, they can try to shrug it off as ‘too expensive to fix’ all they like, they didn’t even make the damn game engine. They modified an existing Unreal series engine that IS KNOWN TO HAVE ISSUES WITH FAST MOVING OBJECTS. There is a REASON fast paced mods like Natural Selection never hit UE based games – it literally CANNOT DO IT.

    The other commenters are right, get your facts straight before you make a joke of yourself.

    • PurePhoenix says:

      Forgot to mention, Tribes 2 sold more than 4 times the Tribes 1 amount.

      Unless you were thinking of Vengeance (Which is tribes THREE) you have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • PurePhoenix says:

        Ok, i calmed down now. People giving uninformed opinions just really irks me because it’s chronic amongst the gaming indsutry right now, has been for years and a loooot of great games have been ruined because of it, like how WOW was made too easy because kids kept whinging.

        That one really hit home. They whinge because they’re kids, it’s what they do and the don’t KNOW WHAT THEY WANT because THEY ARE KIDS, they don’t UNDERSTAND what they want, that level of self perception doesn’t kick in till 16+ that’s why it’s ILLEGAL to have sexual relations before 16 pretty much everywhere.

        Anyway, rant over, thank you for appreciating i wasn’t having a huge go at you and leaving the post up. Theres’ a lot of history in that post which i didn’t really explain or flesh out too well, but essentially it all comes down to the Unreal Engine. Look on any dev blogs, talk to any devs, they’l tell you – Fast Moving Objects in the UE’s is impossible, there’s just so many bugs, usually ti crashes the game.

        How Hirez got the engine to do 300+ SANICS without crashing has honestly impressed me slightly, they must’ve had a genuis coder with them temporarily.

        But clearly they’re gone now and hirez don’t want to admit they actually fired someone who was irreplaceable.