SMITE is getting new maps and gameplay changes for Season 3
In addition to the new Japanese pantheon that Hi-Rez announced for SMITE Season 3, the game will be seeing a brand new map and some fairly significant gameplay changes when the next update launches in early 2016.
Hi-Rez began work on the new map back in March 2015, and today they revealed more details about this Chinese-themed arena that will target Joust mode. 3v3 Joust is the most popular mode on Xbox One, and the second most popular mode on PC. This new map draws heavily from the legends of Sun Wukong and his Sky Palace, and it has lots of floating islands and graceful waterfalls.
Here's a quick dev talk that reveals the map and gives a little bit of insight into its creation:
In addition to the total visual overhaul, the map comes with some gameplay changes, like tightening the jungle down to three camps -- the odd number means that one camp will almost always be contested territory. There is also a new mini-boss. Defeating this boss will temporarily shut down enemy towers, making it much easier to bring them down.
The 3v3 Joust map will be playable in ranked mode, making it the first addition to ranked play in a long time.
No more active items
The biggest gameplay change we'll see in Season 3 has to do with active items. Hi-Rez is doing away with active items completely, and replacing them with "Trinkets" instead. These trinkets are completely free, and will be awarded to players at certain levels. When the game opens, for example, players will be able to pick one trinket to start with. They'll be awarded with another trinket at level 12. According to the devs, these trinkets will be somewhere between Tier II and Tier III items in terms of their power. So for some items, this will be a pretty significant buff, but a considerable nerf for others.
Ranked play is getting a reset
Ranked play is getting an overhaul, as well, to fix some long-standing issues that exist with SMITE's MMR and player standings. We're going to see a lot of alterations made to matchmaking, seeding, and divisions. The most notable change is that the Masters tier is being done away with entirely. Instead, all Masters players will be moved to Diamond 1 rank, and there will be a new Grand Masters rank to replace it. The Grand Masters will include the top 100 Diamond 1 players -- but unlike the old Masters division, Grand Masters rank will rely on a fluid system. Different players will constantly be moving in and out of the GM rank based on their current performance.
When these changes are implemented, players will see a soft reset in their ranked numbers, but nothing too significant.
Log rewards, rebalanced gods, and improved UI
There are also some changes coming to daily log rewards. The usual dailies, which could be redeemed by simply logging in and clicking a button, will be replaced with daily quests. Each daily quest you successfully complete will earn you a favored reward. These quests will mostly consist of role or mode challenges, where you must play/win as a specific class or pantheon to earn the reward. And unlike the daily logs, you won't receive a penalty for missing a day.
Players will also see some changes to the existing gods. Hi-Rez plans to rebalance them to focus a little more on team strategy, and to help compensate for the soon-to-be lack of active items. If all goes well in the next few months, six gods will also be getting remodels.
The last change Hi-Rez has promised is an improvement to player UI that will give us better character outlines and highlights. They're also switching up their debuff icons, so they're no longer represented by the icon for the ability that gave you the debuff. Instead, debuffs will have their own standard icons so players will have a clearer idea of what hit them and how it's affecting their characters.
Nothing has been finalized just yet, so there may be some changes as these updates roll out in the next few months. Hi-Rez is aiming to have everything finished by their projected launch date in February. Stay tuned to GameSkinny to get the latest news as SMITE Season 3 begins.
What do you think of these changes? Will they fix some of the long-standing issues in SMITE's gameplay and Ranked mode? Sound off in the comments!