Tribes Ascend walking a fine line, but dang it looks awesome

I’m one of Hi-Rez Studios’ harshest critics.  I thought Global Agenda was horrible with almost no redeeming qualities.  When Hi-Rez acquired the rights to make a Tribes game, I was happy that we’re going to see a Tribes game but equally disappointed that the fate of the franchise was not in the hands of a group that already failed once at a very similar model.  However, I can’t possibly watch this video of gameplay and not get floored at how awesome a modern Tribes looks.

It has a Halo look to it, yet it’s distinctively Tribes. Of coarse I’m connecting a lot of dots in my head based on my imagination and my experience with Tribes, but that looks to me like a game I definitely want to play. That looks like a game I want to pay $60 for right now. The unnerving reality though is that I won’t get to pay a box price for the game since it is free to play. A FPS or RTS being F2P doesn’t necessarily make it bad, unlike every F2P MMO attempt. League of Legends works just fine, and Hi-Rez has taken notice.

Tribes Ascend is going to use a F2P model that follows League of Legends closely. Instead of having a limited number of free heroes to choose from each week, in Tribes Ascend you’ll have a limited number of loadouts. One week you may get a Disc Launcher and Medium Armor and another you might have a Sniper Kit (obviously more choices). They’re sorta on the right track here if they keep the choices high. EVERYTHING available to paying people MUST be available to those who play for free as long as the freeloaders have to earn it by playing the game and earning in-game points — essentially, exactly like League of Legends. The second Hi-Rez crosses the line and deviates into the Pay to Win category, I’m out.

I for one would like there to be a $60 buy in option where -EVERYTHING- is available to me, save for COSMETIC options like League of Legends’ skins for heroes. I’m all about cosmetic goodies. Let people buy their tattoos and their helmet graphics. As long as all weapons, vehicles, armor, maps, and gameplay impacting assets are available then I’m okay.

Please, don’t screw this up. You have a winner on your hands.

  • The game must be worth a look if you have even a slightly favorable attitude to a F2P game (after the Allods incident that is)…

  • Isn’t this game using the Unreal engine? Looks like it. Consider my expectations officially low but I will keep an eye on it. Tribes was always fun times.

  • Now that the video has digested for a minute, I am now filled with trepidation.

    F2P shooters almost all have one thing in common. The cash shops sell some sort of advantage giving items that would be difficult to earn otherwise.

    The reason we keep seeing this sort of behavior pop up again and again is because it works almost every time. If F2P devs sell an item that gives even the slightest advantage, people will buy it.

    I just need to say it again. I’m terrified they’re going to screw this up. Cash shops are difficult to get right. The few that have, I can name on one hand.

  • Wait, but!

    In LOL, you don’t need to pay a dime. You can earn Influence Points by playing games, and IP are used for buying champions. But realistically, you don’t need to buy any specific champion – many of them are so similar that whatever’s free, works.

    If in TA, you have to spend hard cash to buy heavy armor loadouts… that’s not really F2P. You have to have heavy armor, or be ready to play a loadout with HA.

  • Really don’t see how you could find nothing redeeming about GA. Its classes are well balanced around team play, which makes the pvp matches enjoyable. The pvp maps/objectives allow for a lot of good back and forth. Its only negative is that its a lobby style instance running game, so it feels grindy after a bit. But otherwise really solid gameplay.

    Wondering if you even played Global Agenda Keen, or did you Zitron it?

  • I alpha tested it for over 6 months before it hit beta. Beta tested it during their “Weekend beta events” and then played for a few weeks at launch.

  • It took me a while to search the meaning of “Zitron it”; my first Google hit for Zitron yielded the following:

    “Zitron has always been on the cutting-edge of fiber design. Their line of yarns are environmentally friendly, vibrant in color, and feature amazing pattern…”

    You meant Ed Zitron I presume, which I finally had to get from the Urban Dictionary:

    “A carebear game reviewer in the mmo world who can’t handle harsh ffa pvp with full looting. One who is too stupid to learn new gaming UIs. A liar. A carebear who belongs in World of Warcraft. A one sided individual. A biased individual. One who cannot understand another person’s gaming style. A person who relies on auto-aiming rather than fps style aim.”

    That is a lot to lay on Keen. I have always found him to be informative and entertaining, but then again I do think he does enjoy WoW from time to time…

  • I have enjoyed Global Agenda alot after launch. Much more than Battlefield to be honest. It has that MMO’y feel to it with the combat. So i also find it “interesting” that Keen can’t see -any- redeemable quality from Global Agenda.

    The fact of the matter is Tribes is going to be built on top of Global Agenda’s initial platform , much like Star Trek Online was built on top of Champions Online . So if you did not -remotely- like Global Agenda’s CORE GAMEPLAY , then i can’t see how you’ll ever like Tribes:A here.

    When i talk about Core gameplay i’m talking about the actual combat, the flying , the class balance, the damage vs. health etc etc .

    I simply don’t see HiRez studios changing that aspect of the game. Their main obstacle was the limits of the Unreal Tournament 3 engine in terms of the size of the maps [as found in Tribes] , and THAT is the main difference i’m anticipating. I don’t expect the combat [the feel of it] to mysteriously change dramatically from Global Agenda.

  • I am weary of ANYTHING that is F2P, actually hate all of the current ones out so I doubt this one will be any different $$$$$$ baby that’s all they want.

  • I got into LoL a few months after launch. To this day LoL seems to be the only F2P game I will actively play and enjoy. The LoL is pretty damn good.

    The funny thing about LoL was that I received a boxed version with nearly all of the heroes. Over the years I have sunk probably 50 bucks into LoL and have not regretted any purchase (Ok maybe I regret the dual pistol chick.

    This looks game looks like a winner.

  • @ Silvertemplar:

    While I do agree with you to a degree, I think you missed some of the intangibles that made GA feel like GA: Many automatic hitscan weapons with no learning curve, and slow-moving players. It was designed to be accessible to MMO players coming in without a pre-existing FPS skillset.

    These gentle shooting mechanics create an environment where aim and speed is less vital, allowing character build, teamplay, and equipment to play a bigger role. This is neither bad nor good, just a design choice that sets the tone of the game.

    In contrast the weapons in Tribes 2 are mostly projectile based, giving them steeper learning curves and more quirks to deal with. Increased player mobility only compounds this challenge.

    My point is that even built on a similar foundation, if Tribes Ascend gives us weapons and player speeds that are true to the Tribes spirit, it will feel very different than GA.

    But then again, in the trailer we see people moving slowly and a dude with an SMG.

  • This is the first game in a LONG time that made me feel a bit giddy inside. Oh how I miss thee tribes!

  • Aren’t online shooters typically free to play? The only one I recall paying a sub for was Planetside.

    Been a while for me though, as they didn’t really have cash shops either.

    It looks fun, but my FPS skills seem to have waned somewhat as I’ve aged. I dunno though, maybe I am just out of practice.

  • Personally, I enjoy GA a lot. It’s one of those games I play in spurts. Maybe they started off poorly, i dont know. But today the game is a lot of fun. /shrug. So, to be honest, I was rather happy to hear HiRez was developing Tribes b/c GA to me has offered some solid game play.

  • I was hoping that TA would have more of an MMO feel to it but what I was looking at seemed more like a persistent first-person shooter akin to some other recent titles. Hope I am wrong but if not GA is still plenty of fun and provides something close to what I want.

  • I really liked the Global Agenda game-play, but playing a shooter on US servers from Australia blowed hard.

    To their credit Hi-Rez installed an Oceanic server in Singapore, but the network implementation was horrible to the point where latency was only 20ms better than the US servers for Aus/NZ players and frequently worse.

    I sincerely hope that Hi-Rez will allow people to install their own servers, but this will likely destroy their funding model.

  • Agree, I don’t mind paying for a good game, what I don’t want it to have to constantly visit a cash shop to get what I want. What I love about gamers; they’re perfectly fine with buying cigarettes and McDonald’s, but ask them to spend money on something that has actual entertainment value and they throw-up a Hot Pocket.