Tribes Ascend Improving

Image of the Tribes Ascend Thumper.
Unlocking weapons can be done with experience or gold. Weapons currently cost a ridiculous amount of experience.

On February 2 patch 0.1.742 released for Tribes Ascend.  Before this patch, I was not impressed with Tribes Ascend (TA) at all.  For some reason it didn’t feel like Tribes to me.  Perhaps some of it was psychological trauma from the cash shop model.  Post-patch, though, I’m completely taken with the game.  The ‘feel’ is closing in on Tribes for me.

The patch brought 16 new weapons, a much improve UI, class customization, and upgrading kits.  All of which are huge improvements.

I’m loving the Technician class.  Right now I’m playing completely as a “free” player because I haven’t spent any real money to buy exp boosts or gold.  I’ve played a decent amount over the last two days which has given me enough experience to unlock the Technician and upgrade his turret two times.  As a Technician I can strategically place turrets that, on some maps, make it so that the enemy has to work very hard to cap the flag.

Picture of the Tribes Ascend Technician
You can upgrade the Technician's turrets to unlock the ability to place two.


I love playing the “base maid.”  Like it sounds, I take care of the base.  I place turrets, repair our equipment, and protect the generator and our flag.  Some players enjoy the mid-field fighting, some like being disruptors who just cause mayhem, some like being retrievers who wear light armor and chase flags down, and some like being the flag capturers.  The variety of acceptable play-styles has always been a trademark of Tribes, and TA is beginning to capture the feel.



There are still improvements to be made in TA.

  • Bigger maps are mandatory.  The current maps are too small.
  • Heavies should not be able to drive vehicles. They should rely on transports.
  • More vehicles are needed. “APC ready to go, waiting for passengers!”
  • Base design needs to be rethought, or at least different on future maps.  Flags should be deeper in bases, not sitting out in the open all the time. Intricate base design was a hallmark of Tribes.

If Hi-Rez continues to make improvements like this most recent patch, I think TA will be a very fine game.  I have to be honest, though, and say that Hi-Rez is on my list of developers I can’t trust.  I fear for their ability to handle the cash shop properly.  I’m currently sitting here wondering if I should get the VIP Starter Pack for $29.99 (which would let me unlock all the classes, etc), and the only thing keeping me from pulling the trigger is whether or not I can trust Hi-Rez.  I’ll let you know what I decide.

Update: I went ahead and got the VIP Starter Pack.  I’m enjoying the game enough right now to justify it.

  • TA is has replaced TF2 as my “go to” game when I want a class based FPS fix.

    I feel the VIP Starter Pack is great value, but doubt I’ll spend any more money on the game. It’s a fairly simple game after all

  • I have really enjoyed what I’ve played of the TA beta so far. They did a good job of capturing the Tribes feel in regards to the jet packs, skiing, and spin fusers. One of the biggest problems for me was that almost everyone was a medium because that was all anyone had access to in the beginning. I think that making all three basic classes available to players from the get go will go a long way towards helping to recreate that Tribes feel.

    I definitely agree that some bigger maps are in order and that APC’s would be a better route. I’ve capped flags in heavy armor from start to finish without the use of any vehicles. There’s something about that that’s just not right.

  • @Howdy Doody: It is in beta. You can get in by purchasing the $29.99 VIP Starter Pack. They occasionally invite others to test. Someone mentioned liking them on Facebook?

  • I’ve also been enjoying the technician, I’ve been VIP for a while now and have enjoyed the game even before this patch, however this was a much needed improvement. They’re currently having a few server glitches, I’m seeing some minor freeze ups during game play.

  • I loved Tribes & Tribes 2. I played Ascend a little while in October and I was disappointed. Spawning with you gear (a byproduct of classes) lessened the importance of attacking bases, but even if that were important, flags are in the open every map and very little is destructible save the generator.

    In classic Tribes, with light armor, you spent 85% of the time in the air, 10% skiing and 5% on the ground. Ascend felt like 50% skiing, 35% in the air and 15% on the ground. I feel like a lot of the teamwork you needed in the original game is gone and you have to know what I’m talking about, Keen.

    Also, have they fixed the heavy nuke yet? In the original games that felt so awesome to fire off, but it lacked the “umph” in Ascend. Meh, you’ve got me interested enough to check it out again.

  • @HowdyDoody

    Most VIP players will have a Beta key or two to give away, so check with your friends.

    I’m pretty sure you find it through the website account and NOT the client.

  • The maps are way too small, and it’s sort of just a degenerate DM no matter what game mode is in use. That’s my impression from being a long time T2 player, this just feels off, like a cheap copy. Then again it’s hi-rez, the bar is set pretty low from that studio.

  • @MMOKay: I totally agree. Skiing was prevalent in previous Tribes, but it was not ‘THE’ way to play. It’s bad enough now that people who don’t skii at high speeds to snatch the flags are called “Llamas”, which I find both inappropriately rude (and arrogant) but also ignorant to the true spirit of Tribes gameplay.

    @Darkstryke: The maps are definitely too small. Some matches feel like a death match, but some feel very much about the flags. It just depends on who you get into a game with — and hopefully not one full of skiing elitists who forget that Tribes is about more than seeing who can grab the flag while moving the fastest.

    Before this patch, I agree it felt like a cheap copy. It’s getting closer, though. Bigger maps, more emphasis on team movement and map control, and better base design and we’ll be very close.

  • Thanks for the update. Hadn’t been playing due to disappointment. I’ll give it another try before writing it off.

  • I agree that more intricate bases are required.

    The flag stands on Drydock, (the new) Katabatic, and Crossfire are so open that there’s no real need for generator offense/defense.

  • Thanks for the tip Keen.
    I where not sure if I would liked the game and so my interest was low.

    Gave it a try yesterday. Its fun and I do feel its a teambased game.
    I guess the community still needs to learn how to work together.
    Should improve with time.

    And yes I agree that maps should be bigger right now players have little use for transports. Even as a heavy class you can make it to the other side.

    Also got the VIP starter pack today.

  • Oh and thanks to Renko for the AlienwareArena beta key heads up.
    Took a while, but managed to get a key through that site.

    Should still be quite some left.

  • I played again yesterday. The game seems a little better, but they still need to juice up the jetpacks. They feel about 70% of what they should be.

    The classes are better, but I think you should spawn in with minimal equipment and acquire your class load-out via inventory station. In the original the inventory stations were linked to the power generators and when that went down, your team was unable to arm themselves in powerful load-outs. That made attacking the other team’s generator as important or sometimes a prerequisite to attacking their flag. The game play now is all midfield and chasing with some defense around the flag.

    BTW Keen, have you or do you plan to check out Hawken? They are doing sign-ups for beta right now. From everything I’ve seen on youtube, it looks like it could be a great one.

  • Hawken looks like fun, but I always hav a place for mech games in my heart. I hope mech design is elaborate unlike Mech Commander 2. I signed up for beta.

  • I signed up for the Tribes beta, but I see what you mean about being suspicious of Hi-Rez; what reputable company charges money for a beta kit?