Tribes: Ascend: The Basics
Get to know the futuristic free-to-play shooter.
What is Tribes: Ascend?
Tribes: Ascend is a multiplayer-only first-person-shooter from Hi-Rez Studios. It's a part of the Tribes series, so players have jetpacks and sweet guns. Oh, and it's free-to-play.
What about skiing? Is skiing in Tribes: Ascend?
Yes, skiing is very much part of Tribes: Ascend. It's actually an essential tool, and incredibly easy to learn. It's tough to master and use effectively, though, and will be a central factor in separating the skill levels of players.
I don't know what "skiing" is. Is there snow or something?
Skiing is a method of gliding across the terrain that was accidentally discovered in the original Tribes due to a bug in the physics. In Tribes: Ascend, it's a full-fledged feature and is controlled by holding down the spacebar. It basically keeps a player's inertia as though they were on a frictionless surface. In combination with clever use of the jetpack, downward slopes can make players accelerate very quickly, and upward slopes can launch them high into the air.
You said it was free-to-play. What kind of model is it following?
Tribes: Ascend is following a model based closely on Riot's wildly successful League of Legends. Essentially, instead of buying champions, players will be buying "loadouts" for Tribes: Ascend, either with real money or a currency earned at a slower rate from playing matches. New loadouts will probably be regularly added, hopefully keeping things fresh.
Tribes: Ascend Gameplay Trailer
What are Loadouts?
A loadout in Tribes: Ascend determines your character type -- light, medium or heavy -- the two weapons you carry, your type of explosive and your "pack", which can significantly augment your character.
Can you give me some examples?
A Soldier loadout had medium armor, a handgun and a weapon that shot explosive disks as the two weapons, a couple of grenades as the explosive (which were very useful in close-quarters) and bonus energy for the jetpack as the pack. An Infiltrator might have light armor allowing for fast movement, a phase rifle (which can snipe) and a handgun, some grenades and the ability to stealth for as long as they have energy to sustain it. Some loadouts can drop turrets and mines, or launch massive explosive energy balls across the map. As a general rule, though, heavy armor characters are very difficult to kill, but also very difficult to maneuver.
How many maps are there?
So far we have seen two, though there are at least two others in development (probably more). The two we have seen included a massive ground-battle, with two bases separated by jutting rocks, trees, hills and a cliff face. There are multiple ways to ski between bases, and some paths can be used to gather immense amounts of speed. The other is a remake of an older Tribes map, where spaceships float parallel on a smaller, much more open map.
What about game types? Are there objectives?
There are currently two game modes -- Capture the Flag, which is an old shooter standby where teams compete to bring the enemy flag to their base; and Rabbit, where all players except the flag holder are on the same team, and killing the flag holder causes them to drop the flag. You get points for holding the flag and killing flag holders. It's pretty cool.
Protip: Disable the turrets before you approach.
Older Tribes games had totally sweet vehicles. Are there totally sweet vehicles in Tribes: Ascend?
Yes! There is a high-speed but delicate cycle, a massive and slow-moving tank, and plans for various flying vehicles as well. They are bought mid-match with credits earned from actions performed during the match. Also, tank' can't be damaged by standard weapons. I found out the hard way. Learn from my mistakes.
Is there any sort of single-player?
Oh. Is there any sort of progression?
Yep. There will be a perks system or some way to customize your character, and likely a leveling system, again somewhat similar to League of Legends.
Will Tribes: Ascend be on any consoles?
It was originally announced for PC and 360, but at the moment it seems like the 360 version is on hold. At least until Microsoft figures out a way to let developers patch their games regularly and with ease.
Awesome. When can I play it?
Hi-Rez is hoping the game will be playable in some form (either a closed or open beta, or a "released" version) by the end of 2011.
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