What happens when you put Zeus, Kali, Skadi, Athena and Amaterasu in a room together? Aside from Zeus attempting to sleep with everyone, you’ve got the makings of one hell of a Godly team fight.
That’s right if you guys haven’t guessed it yet I am talking about Smite, the newly released F2P (Free to Play) game on PS4. Today marks the end of Smite’s beta period on PS4 with its official launch, now for those of you who may have no heard of Smite you’re probably wondering what it is. Smite is a 3rd person MOBA (Mobile Online Battle Arena), for the uninitiated MOBA’s are team based games where groups of 2-5 (depending on the game mode) face off against an opposing team of Gods in an objective based battle where teamwork, positioning and strategy payoff more than the typical “twitch” shooters such as Call of Duty.
I’ve been playing on PS4 since the closed beta and have already clocked in 88hr 42 min of playtime, which is more than I have spent on most AAA titles that have been recently released. Now I know what you must be thinking: “But Josh, Free to Play is a dirty word when it comes to gaming. I don’t want to pay money in order to stand a chance” and I absolutely get where you are coming from! F2P games often have a dirty stigma attached to them, where in order to stand a chance and be competitive you will be making multiple micro-transactions. While Smite does have microtransactions they bear absolutely zero impact on the game, gems (which can be bought with real world currency) are used mainly for unlocking various cosmetic skins for your Gods which give no in-game advantage(aside from making you look awesome), and while you can use gems you’ve bought or earned in game on unlocking new Gods you can also unlock gods by using “Favour” a naturally occurring currency in game that you obtain simply by playing matches making everything obtainable in game without spending a single real world dollar.
If you’re like me however and really get into the game you may look at picking up the “God Pack” which is $29.99 and unlocks every single god right from the get go for you to jump into the battlefield with. If however you decide not to pick up the God Pack, all players instantly unlock 5 Gods one for each class (Guan Yu the Warrior, Neith the Hunter, Ymir the Guardian, Thor the Assassin and Ra the Mage) as well as a rotating list of 5 different free Gods each week so you have the chance to try them out and see if you do want to spend the favour you’ve earned from matches on unlocking them permanently.
Now like many other competitive multiplayer games Smite has various game modes as well as casual and ranked versions of each all of them offering different play styles and objectives.
Conquest is Smite’s main game mode in which Hi-Rez balances and tweaks the Gods around. This for those familiar with MOBA’s is your typical 3-lane 5v5 man game mode with towers and phoenix’s guarding your opponent’s Titan and a large jungle with attack/mana and speed buff camps intersecting between the lanes. Different from the atk/spd/mana camps are the Golden Fury and Fire Giant. This game mode may feel overwhelming to new players unfamiliar with MOBA’s and things such as warding the jungle, single lane or duo lane (You can find a list of terms here) but those that are familiar with similar games will want to jump right in and get the full strategic experience of working in tandem with a 5-man team to take down towers and secure objective kills.
Arena unlike Conquest in played in just that an “arena” no jungle or multiple lanes for the enemy team to sneak behind and gank you, just a full on 5v5 battle. Now with that said this is still not a “death match” ala Call of Duty, each team will start with 500 “tickets” every time you kill an enemy God 5 tickets are deducted from the enemy team. When one team reaches 0 tickets the game is over and they lose, now I know this sounds like your typical deathmatch where you just kill the opposing team, however, located at each team base is a portal that you must guard. Enemy minions (weak enemies) will begin to spawn and push down the centre of the arena in an attempt to make it to your portal, every minion that does counts as 1 ticket subtracted from your total. So not only are you attempting to kill the enemy Gods you also have to try and keep your minions alive and escort them to the enemy portal all the while killing their minions to prevent them from reaching your portal. Oh, and did I mention for every 10 God kills a power Siege Minion spawn? Yup that happens and when it does if he manages to reach your portal that’s 15 tickets for your team.
Arena is probably one of my favourite game modes and IMO one of the best ways to just get a handle and feel for your god and their abilities.
Joust is a 3v3 game mode with a single lane with a tower, a phoenix and a titan at each end with a small side jungle harbouring mana buffs at each end and a single attack buff off to the other side. Unlike regular buffs however there is also the Bull Demon King that when defeated will nullify the first structure on the opposing team such as the tower (or if the enemy tower has been destroyed, the phoenix) as well as give the entire team a damage buff (This is usually the time to push forwards as a team and try and take the win)
Clash is a 5v5 2-lane map with a Titan at the end being guarded by towers and phoenix’s with a small jungle in the middle connecting the two lanes. Often considered training for Conquest due to the similarity set on a smaller scale.
Assault pits two 5 -man teams against each other in a single lane pushing towards each other’s Titan. Unlike in all other game modes you won’t be picking your God, they will be randomly selected for you out of the entire roster(whether or not you have unlocked them). Assault is a fun and quick game mode without too much strategy required that allows you to play as Gods you may not have unlocked yet.
A little Clash mixed with a little Conquest gives us siege. Siege is a 4v4 2-lane map that falls somewhere in between the two size wise and contains a large centre jungle connecting the two lanes and containing jungle buffs and the unique siege minion spawn. Unlike the other game modes in Siege, players have the ability spawn siege minions which are large ogre looking beasts with cannons on their back, these beasts become pivotal when it comes to pushing lanes faster.
The MOTD (match of the day) as it name implies switches up every day and can take place across any of the previously mentioned games modes, the only difference is the constantly changing variables. Maybe one day you’ll be playing in Arena starting at level 20 and with 80% cooldowns, the next day you’re playing a MOTD called “Monkey Business” where you’re playing Joust against 3 Sun Wukongs while your team consists of 3 Hun Batz.
The hardest part about Smite is picking a God, I mentioned earlier that the team over at Hi-Rez has gathered God’s from across 8 different pantheons. Now I have always been a bit of a mythology and folklore lover growing up so seeing such a wide variety featured here is amazing especially lesser known God’s and Goddess’ such as Awilix the Mayan Goddess of the Moon.
So if you’re looking for that intense rush that only comes from going head to head against another player in heated combat while controlling all the powers of the Gods then give Smite a try and be sure to add me on PSN for a few matches.
If you have PS+ you can also download Kukulkan The Mayan serpent of the nine winds for free and his exclusive skin for ps4, Hi-Rez is also awesome and gives you the opportunity to get Nu Wa and Artemis for free as well as a skin for each and for Ra by following them on Youtube, Facebook and Twitter respectively.
Free Nu Wa and Water Dancer Skin
Free Ra Solar Sentinel Skin
Free Artemis and Stalker Skin