Back in March of 2013, Hi-Rez broke the news to its Tribes: Ascend fans that they would need to take several months away from the game in order to focus all its efforts on SMITE. Several months became more than two years, and fans were beginning to believe that Hi-Rez would simply never return to Tribes.
But the recent 1.1 update — a.k.a. the Out of the Blue Update — has proven those naysayers wrong.
The recent success of SMITE left Hi-Rez with enough resources and revenue to put together a 3-4 person team that’s dedicated to revamping Tribes: Ascend. The team, led by passionate Tribes fan and long-time developer Sean McBride, is hoping to alter the current game so that it more closely resembles the old series, before Hi-Rez acquired the IP rights.
With the help of significant community feedback, the small development team has made some considerable changes to the existing game in order to streamline the experience without alienating the original Tribes fanbase.
Hi-Rez made it clear that these efforts are not made with the hopes of attracting lots of new fans or bringing in any kind of money. The Tribes initiative is purely an attempt to satisfy veteran players and long-time fans of the series.
It’s purely fan service.
The developers knew that they hadn’t left the game in a good state when they focused their energies elsewhere, and now they’re working hard to make it right for the community.
Changes so far:
A lot of changes have been made thus far, including:
- Faster gameplay: +25% Weapon Impulse
- Compressed classes into armor types (Light, Medium, and Heavy)
- Streamlined equipment choices, due to negative player feedback regarding an excessive number of weapons
- Rebalanced mechanics and character stats
- Fixed long-standing bugs & exploits
- Removed classes entirely in favor of weapon/armor customization
- More weapons can be equipped at once.
- Removed/replaced sidegrade weapons
- Introduced new and reworked old weapons with unique functionalities
- Removed equipment upgrades
- Rolled perks into other equipment (like specialized packs)
Hi-Rez also introduced three new maps that are based on maps from other Tribes games. The first is Icecoaster, based on the Rollercoaster map from Starsiege: Tribes. Next is Perdition, which is their take on the the Damnation map from Tribes 2. The last map is Terminus, based on the Katabatic and Arx maps of Tribes: Ascend.
Benefits of update 1.1
The Out of the Blue update has been very well-received among fans so far. It’s brought about 5-10k unique players per day, and nearly doubled the daily concurrences for the game. There’s also been a resurgence in community content, and fans are currently organizing a series of community draft tournaments via Reddit, which are planned for January 23.
Additionally, Hi-Rez plans to release a follow-up patch in the near future to continue its support of the game.