I spent two hours or so last night in SMITE, the new third-person MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) from Hi-Rez (Global Agenda, Tribes: Ascend). If you’re familiar with League of Legends, imagine that but with MMO-styled combat, without tab-targeting and relying more on skill-shots. Each match is on the same massive map with three lanes to the other five-person team’s base. You fight AI creeps that march in a continuous stream throughout, while taking out the enemy towers, other team’s players, and ultimately the enemy’s Minotaur Guardian (think of him like dungeon boss).
Downing the Minotaur wins the match, but your opponents can surrender if they’re feeling the pressure, and similarly you can just give up as well if you’re getting killed and see no sense in continuing. I wouldn’t ever surrender, but I’m a little proud. I see why the option’s there, regardless. All throughout the match, your chosen god will level from 1 to upwards of 20, gaining new skills, earning gold to buy gear, and generally getting more and more powerful. SMITE, as you can probably guess is pretty much the MMORPG experience in thirty minute chunks. It’s fast, uproariously fun, and absolutely addictive. I’m not great at ARTS like League or Heroes of Newerth, and therefore SMITE is definitely the MOBA I’ve been waiting for to bring me into the genre and show me why people get so amped over these games. Simply put: SMITE is awesome.
I didn't want to stop. I had to wake up at 5am this morning, but kept watching Kasey
stream the damn thing after Mike and I stopped playing. Watching
it was fun, people. I played solely as Ymir, the Norse frost giant god of awesome tankery. That's what I'm calling him. Mike played as Artemis, the pew-pew making goddess of the hunt. We were a team of death, that's for sure. We lost the first match due to some mid-lane woes, but our second match we forced the other team to surrender so stalwart were our defenses.
I'll admit this right here: I'm a MOBA noob. I never got into them. I appreciate the hell out of the art-form people much better than I have mastered, but I suck too much at RTS to play them competitively like that. I prefer city-builders. But SMITE? Well it takes everything awesome about the competitive lust found in LoL and DOTA and smacks it into an MMO-styled arena. And it simply works with a pure unadulterated zest and vigor. The visuals are crisp, clean, and smooth. Like a good IPA... yes, I compared SMITE to beer. That means I like it a lot, people.
I could gush for hours about this, but really I'm still learning the intricacies of SMITE. I learned quickly not to be too aggressive, to press B to go back to base and heal/purchase items, and to use the Jungle to surprise people frequently. I also learned that a giant wall of ice can trap speedy ranged Gods quite well, letting me make them go squish quite easily.
Overall, I can't speak highly enough of the game. Go spend the measly $20
and get in there this weekend. If you've ever even had a passing interest in MOBAs, but were turned off by the mechanics like me, this is your game. It's the best parts of an MMORPG condensed into little juicy nuggets of awesome. Eat 'em up, yum.