Smite (video game)
|Publisher(s)||Hi-Rez Studios (WW)
Tencent Holdings Ltd. (CH)
Level Up! Games (LA)
|Release date(s)||March 25, 2014|
Multiplayer online battle arena
Smite (stylized as SMITE) is a third person action multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game developed and published by Hi-Rez Studios for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One. In Smite, players take on the visage of a mythological god and take part in arena combat, using powers and team tactics against other player-controlled gods and non-player controlled minions.
Players are formed into two teams, with three to five players to each team. All players begin at opposing sides of a map at their team's 'fountain'. Before the players enter their respective lanes, they are granted an amount of gold (usually 1,500) to buy starting items. These items consists of special abilities that enhance their gods. There are one to three continuous 'lanes' running from one side of the map to the other. Each lane is defended by a 'Phoenix' which is accompanied by a pair of extra defensive towers. Phoenixes and towers deal a large amount of damage to any enemies that come too close. The players are also accompanied by 'minions', these minions spawn at the Phoenixes every thirty seconds and run along their lane until they meet opposition and attack immediately. Minions will not only attack players and other minions but towers, Phoenixes and the Titan; in fact, their presence is required for players to deal full damage to these objectives. Defensive positions will prioritize enemy minions over players, allowing players to attack a tower without receiving damage; however, the tower will fire upon players if the minions die or the player attacks another under their tower. If a game is going badly for a certain team then they can decide to surrender, though this requires a majority of the team (4 to 1) to agree.
Players have to choose a god to play, this is akin to champions in League of Legends or heroes in Heroes of Newerth and DotA. Currently players can choose between 57 gods from seven different pantheons, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, Roman, Mayan and Norse mythology. Two players on the same team cannot choose the same god (with the exception of specialty matches which rotate daily), although they are free to choose gods from the same or different pantheons. The player controls their god in a third person perspective, which is a unique characteristic of this multiplayer online battle arena game, as other games of this genre are typically played from a top-down perspective. Each god has a basic attack and four spells with varying effects, such as area of effect damage, crowd control, buffs and many more. These spells are acquired and upgraded when a player's god levels up by gaining experience from being in range of creeps when they are killed, taking down towers or phoenixes and killing enemy players. The maximum level is 20 and each successive level is harder to reach. Gold, which is used to buy equipment that increase power, defense, and passive effects, potions, wards and abilities, is accumulated through standard periodic income, by slaying enemies (player and NPC alike), or by selling owned items.
The large areas between the lanes make up what is called the 'jungle', where computer-controlled monsters periodically spawn at specific locations distributed symmetrically across the map. Killing certain monsters in said jungle causes a 'buff' to drop on the ground, where it can be picked up by a player. This buff grants the player one of the following buffs for a limited time, depending on which monster was killed: mana (mana regen & cooldown reduction bonus), damage (basic damage & power bonus), or speed (attack & movement speed bonus). There are two special neutral monsters who spawn less frequently, the Fire Giant and the Gold Fury. When killed, they grant the entire team who killed it a powerful damage buff for a medium length of time or a set amount of Gold, respectively. There also exist monsters which do not offer a buff, only experience and gold.
There are several game types separated in five main groups: Practice which contains the main tutorial, solo/co-op versions of Joust, Arena, Conquest Map Roam, Assault, and Siege, along with a practice exclusive, Jungle Practice, that allows players to test characters and builds. Co-Op contains cooperative versions of Joust (3v3), Arena, and Assault. Normal contains Arena, Conquest, Assault, Joust (3v3) and Siege, Match of the Day and Conquest Premade. League has the League versions Conquest Joust (1v1). Custom contains the Challenge versions of Arena, Conquest, Assault, Joust, Domination and Siege.
- Conquest is the main mode of the game, featuring a regular 3 lane MOBA style map. Currently, arranged teams (or parties) are limited to three players total in normal matchmaking. The match manager will try to give the opposing team better solo players if there are teamed players together on a side. Conquest Pre-Made is a variant of the regular version. As the name suggests, you can only enter this mode once you have a pre-made team of five players. This mode is more of a challenge than the others because teams will usually have some sort of VoIP software such as TeamSpeak. There is also a League (ranked) Conquest mode, and it only allows solo players. It is considered to be the toughest and most competitive of the modes, and is advised only for those well experienced at the game.
- Arena is played 5 versus 5 with minions and side-objectives including buff camps. However, rather than having lanes, the map mainly consists of an open area. Minions of both sides spawn and attempt to enter the portal located on the front of the enemy base. Rather than a single end objective, in Arena each team begins with 500 points, with the goal being to reduce your enemy's score to 0 by killing their players and minions, or escorting your own side's minions and periodically spawning siege towers to the enemy portal.
- In the Joust mode there is only one lane with one tower and a phoenix on each side and you are grouped up with 2 allies against 3 other players, but beyond this it plays in a very similar way to the conquest game mode, complete with a rudimentary jungle. There is also a League Joust mode, and it only allows solo players, who must fight one on one.
- Assault is a game mode that is based on the ARAM (All Random All Mid) custom match mode from other MoBA titles. Each player is assigned a random god and they are all taking charge in one lane with the inability to recall back to base, so the only way to buy items from the shop, is to die. The objective is similar to that of Conquest, destroy the enemy team's 2 towers, Phoenix and their Titan.
- Siege is the game mode most recently added to the game, somewhat similar to Conquest with two lanes, two towers and a Phoenix per lane and a Titan plus a jungle in between the lanes. But unlike Conquest, there is less emphasis in gathering gold/experience to become stronger and more in taking down enemy objectives as soon as possible. To do this there is a special super minion called Siege Juggernaut, which is more resistant, twice as fast as regular minions, deals bonus damage to structures and allows allied gods to quickly teleport to its position. To spawn one, a team needs to fill a counter of 100 points by either killing enemy players (+5 points each), killing enemy minions (+1 each) or clearing neutral camps (+9 each). Once spawned, the Siege Juggernaut will constantly move forward, attacking any enemy units in its path while prioritizing structures. In this mode there is also a special neutral monster, the Wild Juggernaut, which if slain will instantly spawn a friendly Siege Juggernaut, separate from the counter, allowing for two to coexist.
- There are also specialty matches which are on a daily rotation. These matches are called the "Match[es] of the Day" and are abbreviated as MotD. These matches are played on a variety of maps with various rules changes in regards to God selection or the in-match item shop. For example, "Battle of the Beards" allows players to only select from Gods with beards. "The Perfect Storm" allows players to choose from the storm gods, Zeus, Thor and Ao Kuang; this is an example of a match type in which there can be multiple of the same God on one team. It also hosts an old, removed mode called Domination, where two teams of five players fight for the control of Three Obelisks distributed in three lanes. Each side has a Counter of 400 tickets. Controlling two or more obelisks reduces the enemy's counter. Much like in Arena, the objective is to reduce the enemy tickets to zero.
The matchmaking system uses a modified version of TrueSkill ranking system. Around December 2013, there was a feature added that allowed players to choose between US and EU servers, but was later removed from the game due to issues with the matchmaking system. The region lock feature was eventually re-added. Most modes operate on queues with 3-minute match-making timers. Every three minutes, matches will be made from the group of people in queue at that time. This helps optimize match-making.
Hindu god controversy
In June 2012, some Hindu leaders became upset at the inclusion of several Hindu gods in Smite and the fact that they are player controlled. The deities that were in question were Kali, Agni, and Vamana, and there was particular opposition to how Kali was dressed. Rajan Zed, the president of Universal Society of Hindus, released a statement urging Hi-Rez to remove these gods from the game, claiming their presence is trivialized and in other words, offensive to the devoted. Since players control the gods, this is seen as offensive to the faithful.
In response Todd Harris, CEO of Hi-Rez, had this to say:
|“||Smite includes deities inspired from a diverse and ever expanding set of pantheons including Greek, Chinese, Egyptian, and Norse. Hinduism, being one of the world's oldest, largest and most diverse traditions, also provides inspiration toward deities in our game. In fact, given Hinduism's concept of a single truth with multiple physical manifestations one could validly interpret ALL the gods within Smite to be Hindu. And all gods outside of Smite as well. Ponder that for a minute. Anyway, going forward Smite will include even more deities, not fewer.||”|
Despite the response from Hi-Rez, in early July 2012, the Hindu leader who spoke out against the game had not given up on his quest to rid Smite of Hindu deities, and since his initial statement he has gained new backers from other faiths that have come together in support of his stance that the game's content is offensive. Rajin Zed was joined by Rabbi ElizaBeth Beyer and Buddhist Jikai’ Phil Bryan in condemning the game's content as offensive. These leaders have labelled the old Kali model as being depicted in a "pornographic style" which appeared to be their main concern. The Kali character went under a major art and gameplay overhaul in December 2013, which included more concealing armour.
Smite received generally favorable reviews from critics. The game currently holds a score of 84 out of 100 on Metacritic and 87.62% on GameRankings, based on a dozen reviews by all major video game critics.
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