There is no shortage of stories that tell about wars between gods. But the one time the concept was made into a successful multiplayer game was when Smite came along. Here are my thoughts and opinions regarding the game.
Developers: Titan Forge Games (as of 2018)
Publishers: Hi-Rez Studios
Release date: March 25, 2014 (PC)
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Playstation 4, macOS
Genre: Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA)
The gods of all pantheons had a hand in creating the world. Mankind worshipped them and the gods helped the people to prosper and flourish in return. It was when different cultures started learning about each other and the existence of gods outside their own pantheons when sparks began to fly. For no god wanted to lose their followers to a rival. This led to a war between pantheons which manifested as natural disasters and other calamities in the mortal world. Believing the end of the world to be near, humans doubled their prayers and rituals to the gods, making them even stronger. When the connection between mortal worship and the destruction caused by the gods was realised, the humans launched a rebellion of a massive scale against all of the gods. This didn't naturally go unnoticed and the gods were split into two groups: The Old Order whose gods believe that mankind should be forced into worship with intimidation, domination and destruction, and the Elysian Uprising who are confident that true worship comes only from love and free will of the humans. Now the battle rages on and the player has to pick whatever god, goddess or mythological hero or creature he wants to be worshipped and join the fray.
Smite is a free-to-play MOBA. Multiple lanes separate the camps of two opposing teams. Minions of both teams continue advancing forward, providing gold for whoever kills them. The lanes are surrounded by jungles which house camps with monsters. Killing the monsters of the jungle camps will grant bonuses either to the player or to the entire team. The main objective, regardless of the game mode, is to kill the Titan located in the opposing team's camp. The Titan can only be harmed after killing the Phoenix(es) that guard the entrance to the team's camp. While it's necessary to kill only a single Phoenix to harm the Titan, it's highly recommended to kill several, as this weakens the Titan further. In turn, the Phoenix(es) can only be harmed after destroying the towers guarding the way. The main thing that separates Smite from other MOBA:s is that unlike in more traditional titles of the genre, such as League of Legends and Dota 2 is that the game is played from a third-person camera.
Gods and classes
Smite features a vast selection of gods from Greek, Egyptian, Norse, Chinese, Hindu, Japanese, Mayan and Celtic pantheons. New gods are also introduced regularly. 2018 also introduced three new pantheons in a single event: Slavic, Voodoo and Polynesian.
As expected from a MOBA, the gods are divided into classes designed for specific roles on the battlefield.
Warrior: Generalist, melee fighters, the Warriors can fulfill just about any role, depending on abilities and built items. Can perform both offensive and defensive roles. Deal physical damage.
Assassin: High damage dealing melee fighters, the Assassins are highly mobile and can pack a deadly punch, but they aren't well-suited for taking hits so they have to rely on their mobility to stay out of harm's way. Deal physical damage.
Mage: The Mages are ranged casters, all about dealing tons of damage with well-aimed, devastating abilities. They have to keep their distance from big fights, however, as they're practically glass cannons. Some mages can also heal their team members. A couple of mages such as Freya abd Ao Kuang are different in the way that they deal damage at close range. Deal magical damage.
Guardian: The gods with the highest amount of protections, the Guardians usually serve as tanks or supports. They also have the largest amount of crowd control abilities, such as stuns, slows and pulls, which allows them to control the battle. Generally speaking, the Guardians can take a lot of damage, but can't dish it out that well. They can, however, be built aggressively as well and some, such as Ares have ability kits that are clearly designed for more offensive gameplay. Deal magical damage.
Hunter: Long-range fighters, the Hunters rely on basic attacks more than any other class. That's why the correct choice of items is essential. Items that boost attack speed are particularly useful. Deal physical damage.
Several of the gods and their ability kits are highly reminiscent of certain characters from League of Legends. Though definitely not direct copies. For example, Bacchus bears strong resemblance to Gragas designwise, but their playstyles are mechanically different. The permanently free gods are Guan Yu (Warrior), Thor (Assassin), Ra (Mage), Ymir (Guardian) and Neith (Hunter). The rest of the gods can either be acquired with virtual currencies or by purchasing the Ultimate God Pack. The pack unlocks not only every currently available god but also every god that comes in the future. I recommend it -definitely cheaper than buying the gems needed to unlock every god, especially since new gods are added quite often.
Conquest: The standard game mode and the only mode played in professional competitions and tournaments. Two teams of five players with three lanes in a Greek-themed map. The mode that requires adapting to specific roles more than any other mode. The roles are:
Solo: As the name suggests this player works alone. The objective is to hold control over the short lane. Usually a Warrior.
Mid: Holds responsibility of controlling the middle lane. Usually a Mage.
ADC (Attack Damage Carry): The primary damage dealer of the team, who works closely with the Support. Usually a Hunter.
Support: A defensive player whose job is to assist ADC both by providing protection bonuses from items and by soaking up most of the incoming damage from the opponents. Usually a Guardian.
Jungler: The player who roams the jungles surrounding the lanes and attempts to clear as many camps as possible in order to provide bonuses for his teammates. He might also assist in combat with surprise attacks. Usually an Assassin.
However, it's worth noting that skilled players might pick entirely out of character gods for their roles, so these standards aren't set in stone.
As Season 5 shows, it's also the game mode that is the most subject to change. Wonder what it'll look like next year.
Joust: Only a single lane on a Chinese-themed map with two teams of three players. Some distance away from the lane is located the Bull Demon King. Killing him disables the defensive building of the opposing team temporarily.
Arena: The simplest and definitely most played of all game modes. Two teams of five players in an all out battle in an arena, with minions and occasional siege minions attempting to break through and reach the opposing team's portal. Teams start with 500 tickets which are lost when team's minions are killed, opposing team's minions reach the portal or gods fall in battle.
Assault: Only a single lane on a Norse-themed map. All the gods are randomly chosen by the game. On this map, it's not possible to return to the fountain to heal or to buy items, players return there only when they die.
Clash: Two lanes on an Egyptian-themed map. After enough time has passed, Apophis, the malevolent giant snake from Egyptian mythology will emerge to the jungle camp located in the center of the map. Killing him grants a teamwide bonus, but it requires multiple gods to do so -he's far stronger than average jungle monsters. Plus he resurrects eventually and stronger than before.
Siege: Two lanes on a Mayan-themed map. The goal is to gain points by killing minions and the gods of the opposing team in order to summon a siege juggernaut. Alternatively, one will be spawned to whichever team manages to slay a wild juggernaut located in the center of the map. The siege juggernaut is slow and not very useful against enemy gods or minions, but he deals devastating damage to towers and Phoenixes.
MOTD (Match of The Day): A randomly selected map with possible twists. For example, abilities might cost no mana, cooldown times might be reduced or the players might start with enough gold to buy an entire arsenal. As the name suggests, this match type changes once every 24 hours.
Adventures: Unique games that differ from the mainstream modes and are available only for a limited time. Adventures can be played by anyone, but the progress can be saved and rewards earned only by purchasing the adventure bundle with gems.
Ranked: Includes ranked versions of conquest and joust, plus duel, which is naturally a one-on-one
Smite has three resources that can be used to unlock additional content.
Favor: Favor can be gained small amounts by playing games, but the best ways are through daily login bonuses and by completing weekly quests. Can be used to unlock gods, avatars, emotes or recolors of gods.
Fantasy points: A small amount of fantasy points are earned at the end of every match, depending on the length of the match and if you won. Can also be earned by purchasing bundles or completing specific quests. During seasonal competitions it's also possible to vote for the teams. In which case player gains points if the team he picked wins the match. It's also possible to link Mixer account with Hi-Rez account and in so doing earn some rewards by watching live streams of competitions on Mixer. This includes chests that give fantasy points. Primary function of fantasy points is to allow the player to advance through Season Ticket, which unlocks several rewards. Season 5 also introduced a fantasy points store where certain skins can be purchased using fantasy points the player has gained.
Gems: Gems are the currency that can buy pretty much anything in the game, from bundles to gods. By logging in every day a week player gains a total of 50 gems. However, the only way to get large amounts of gems is by purchasing them with real world money. This is somewhat compensated by occasional gem sales.
Pros and Cons
Naturally, these are personal opinions.
+ You get to play as gods of various mythological pantheons
+ New gods added regularly
+ The third-person view gives a far better view both of the characters and the fighting itself than some other, more conventional MOBA:s
+ A lot of humor
+ Although every game (especially free-to-play ones) has it's share of toxic players, my personal experience and opinion of Smite in general are that in that aspect it's far better than League of Legends and Dota 2, even if it's only because Smite didn't become that big of a hit. This is assisted by the fact that the game has a 'Goodwill'-mechanic now.
+ Timed queues mechanic in matchmaking increases the probability of finding games. If the system doesn't find a game for you on the first attempt, the system will prioritize you, pretty much ensuring you'll find a game on the next attempt.
+ This very year Hi-Rez Studios split into three groups so that the groups in question could focus entirely on specific games. With Titan Forge Games now taking the responsibility for Smite, the game will be improved better than before in the future.
+ Apparently cross-platform play is coming in the near future.
+ One thing the devs really deserve credit for is introducing the Slavic, Voodoo and Polynesian pantheons this year. Almost everyone probably knows something about the Greek and the Norse pantheons, but this shows that the devs are perfectly willing to include figures from pantheons most people have never heard of. It's no coincidence I included the pictures of the three new gods in question in this article.
- Apparently only a minority of the game's players play ranked mode. This has led to somewhat unbalanced ranked matches every once in a while
- Aiming abilities might take some time to learn, if you're used to more traditional MOBA:s so to speak.
- Platform bias. Smite was originally designed for PC before being ported onto consoles. It would seem not all features were ported successfully. For instance, according to some comments, pro match voting and Mixer chest drops don't work on consoles.
- Regional bias. Although Smite has regions for pretty much every corner of the world, North America and Europe seem to be the most populated ones. For some have complained about a lack of players in the region of southeast Asia, for instance. Whether this is a problem depends entirely on where you happen to live.
- Technical issues. Some people complain about technical issues and bugs in the game. Rather strange considering I never seem to experience any issues, which makes this somewhat debatable.
- The large number of gem transactions which is usually required for many events.
- The game itself doesn't really have anything to reference the official story behind the game
Smite is definitely a unique game. And I like it a lot. And the mythology that comes with it. The game might have it's flaws, but a flawed diamond is better than a flawless rock. Some shallow folks will no doubt claim it's nothing more than a cheap ripoff of League of Legends, and some Smite veterans will badmouth the game only because it's no longer the way they want it to be. But if you ask me, the game is infinitely better than what any of the complaining detractors claim. If you're into MOBA:s or myths, I recommend!
I am shark god Dakuwanga. And I thank you for reading this article!