Smite (video game)
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3|
|Release date(s)||Microsoft Windows
March 25, 2014
August 19, 2015
|Genre(s)||Multiplayer online battle arena|
Smite is a third-person 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 god or other mythological figure and take part in arena combat, using powers and team tactics against other player-controlled gods and non-player-controlled minions.
Smite features many different game modes, with the largest being Conquest. Players are formed into two teams, with three to five players to each team. All players begin at opposite sides of a map at their team's 'fountain'. Before the players enter the map, they are granted an amount of gold (usually 1,500) to buy starting items. These items grant special bonuses or abilities that enhance the player's god. 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 goal of each game is to destroy the opposing team's Phoenixes and the Titan, a giant warrior who must be defeated to win the game. The players are accompanied by 'minions', small soldiers with a weak attack; these minions spawn at the Phoenixes every thirty seconds and run along their lane until they meet opposition and attack immediately. Minions will attack not only players and other minions but also 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, towers will fire upon players if there are no minions nearby or the player attacks an enemy player under their tower. If a game is going badly for a certain team it can decide to surrender, though this requires a majority of the team (4 players to 1) to agree.
With every game, players have to choose a god, (alternatively referred to as an "immortal"), to play. Currently, players can choose between 72 gods and immortals from eight different pantheons: Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, Japanese, Mayan, Norse and Roman mythology. Two players on the same team cannot choose the same god (with the exception of Match of the Day, which rotates daily), although they are free to choose gods from the same or different pantheons. The player controls the 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 such as packs of cyclopes or furies (the latter alternately referred to as harpies) 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), speed (movement speed bonus), or attack speed (in-hand attack speed & power 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), Siege, Clash, and Match of the Day. League is the ranked versions of Conquest and Joust (1v1). Custom contains the Challenge versions of Arena, Conquest, Assault, Joust, and Siege.
- Conquest is the main mode of the game, featuring a regular 3 lane MOBA style map with a Greek visual theme ("The Siege of Olympus".). The match manager will try to give the opposing team better solo players if there are teamed players together on a side. There is also a League (ranked) Conquest mode, and it only allows up to 2 teamed players, who must be in similar divisions in order to play. 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 with a Roman visual theme ("The Grand Colosseum"). 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, a game mode with a Medieval theme, 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 (however, the user may choose to "re-roll" their god for a small price of in-game currency or premium currency) 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. This game mode features a Norse theme ("Ragnarök".)
- Siege is a Mayan-themed ("The end of the great cycle".) game mode 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. Siege used to be a five person team versus another five person team until it was changed after the player base showed a four man team versus another four man team to be more valuable.
- 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 Kukulkan; this is an example of a match type in which there can be multiple of the same God on one team.
- Clash is a 5v5 game mode that features 2 lanes which each lane having 1 tower and 1 phoenix. The main goal is to defeat the enemy objectives and enemy titan. This game mode is meant to be a middleground between the Conquest and Arena game modes, and features Conquest's Gold Fury and Fire Giant neutral bosses.
- In the past, Smite featured a game mode called Domination, with an Egyptian visual theme. Two teams of five players fought for the control of three Obelisks distributed in three lanes. Each side had a Counter of 400 tickets. Controlling two or more obelisks reduced the enemy's counter. Much like in Arena, the objective was to reduce the enemy tickets to zero. Domination was disabled around 2014 due of its multiple bugs & errors and small regular player base, being dropped in favor of another game mode's (Siege) developement.
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. This feature was eventually re-added. Originally, most modes used to operate on queues with 3-minute match-making timers. Every three minutes, matches would be made from the group of people in queue at that time. In late 2014, that system was replaced with a more traditional non-timed queues one (a more popular format in many MOBAs) that look for an optimal match instead of just the best match ups at the present time. In this system, if it takes 5 minutes or more to match a player, the game will gradually lower it's requirements until a match is found.
In Ranked Leagues, players are matched by a variation of Elo, a system that rates players with a number that indicates how well the individual skill of that player is. The player will be matched with players that have a similar rating that them. The goal of this system is to have 2 individual teams that have a similar TOTAL Elo.
|This section requires expansion. (January 2016)|
Smite received generally favorable reviews from critics. The game currently holds a score of 83 out of 100 on Metacritic and 87.62% on GameRankings, based on a dozen reviews by all major video game critics.
Depiction of Hindu gods 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 Hinduism, 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.
Despite the protests, Hi-Rez did not back down from further expanding the Hindu Pantheon roster. After Kali, the Hindu deities of Kumbhakarna, Rama and Ravana were included.
From January 9–11, 2015 Hi-Rez Studios hosted the first Smite World Championship. Teams from North America, South America, Europe, and China traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for the tournament. The $2.6 million prize pool for the tournament was at the time the third-highest in esports, behind the third and fourth iterations of Dota 2's The International, and just slightly ahead of the League of Legends World Championships. One of the North American teams, COGnitive Prime, took home the first place prize, just over $1.3 million.
In July 2015, Stew Chisam, president of Hi-Rez Studios, announced that after discussing the prizing structure of Smite esports with team owners, players, and members of other esports communities, Hi-Rez would be placing a cap on the prize pool for the Smite World Championships at $1,000,000. This decision was based to pay out more money to more players throughout the year instead of paying the bulk of earned prize money at a single event.
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