Smite (video game)

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Smite
Logo for the Video game Smite.png
Developer(s) Hi-Rez Studios[1]
Publisher(s) CHN Tencent[2]
Engine Unreal Engine 3
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Xbox One[4]
Release date(s) Microsoft Windows
March 25, 2014[5]
Xbox One
August 19, 2015[6]
Genre(s) Third-person action game, Multiplayer online battle arena[1]
Mode(s) Multiplayer[1]

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.[4] In Smite, players take on the visage of a mythological 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.

Gameplay[edit]

The game features many different game modes, with the most popular being Conquest.[7] 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 69 gods and immortals from seven different pantheons: Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, 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.[8] 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.[8]

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.[9]

Game modes[edit]

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 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.[8]

  • 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.[10] 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.[11]
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Matchmaking[edit]

The matchmaking system uses a modified version of TrueSkill ranking system.[12] 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.

Depiction of Hindu gods[edit]

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.[13]

In response Todd Harris, CEO of Hi-Rez, had this to say:[13]

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.[14] These leaders have labelled the old Kali model as being depicted in a "pornographic style" which appeared to be their main concern.[15] 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. Fan response towards the Hindu deities continued to be warm and they requested more Hindu deities.[citation needed] As a result, after Kali, deities such as Kumbhakarna, and eventually Rama, one of the most revered Hindu heroic deities, were included.

Partnerships[edit]

On August 21, 2013, Hi-Rez Studios partnered themselves with Tencent Holdings Ltd., the company known for making League of Legends explode in popularity within China.[2]

On June 5, 2014, Hi-Rez Studios announced they'd partner with the South American company Level Up! Games to bring the game to the Latin American region.[3]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PC) 88%[20]
(XONE) 80%[21]
Metacritic (PC) 84/100[18]
(XONE) 80/100[19]
Review scores
Publication Score
GameSpot 8/10[16]
IGN 8.5/10[17]

Smite received generally favorable reviews from critics.[16][17][18][20] The game currently holds a score of 84 out of 100 on Metacritic[18] and 87.62% on GameRankings,[20] based on a dozen reviews by all major video game critics.

E-sports Scene[edit]

From January 9–11, 2015 Hi-Rez Studios hosted the first Smite World Championships.[22][23] Teams from North America, South America, Europe, and China all traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for the tournament.[22] The prize pool for the tournament, sitting at ~$2.6 million, was at the time the third-highest in esports, behind the third and fourth Dota 2 International tournaments, and just slightly ahead of the League of Legends World Championships.[24] One of the North American teams, COGnitive Prime, took home the first place prize, just over $1.3 million.[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Smite | Hi-Rez Studios, Inc. Hirezstudios.com. Retrieved on December 10, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Tencent and Hi-Rez Studios Announce Worldwide Cooperation and Publishing for SMITE | Hi-Rez Studios, Inc. Hirezstudios.com (August 21, 2013). Retrieved on 2014-08-15.
  3. ^ a b Hi-Rez Studios and Level Up partner to bring SMITE to Latin America | Hi-Rez Studios, Inc. Hirezstudios.com (June 4, 2014). Retrieved on 2014-08-15.
  4. ^ a b SMITE arriving soon on the Xbox One | Hi-Rez Studios, Inc. Hirezstudios.com (August 12, 2014). Retrieved on 2014-08-15.
  5. ^ "MOBA Title "SMITE" Has A Release Date, Coming This March". DSOGaming. Retrieved November 26, 2013. 
  6. ^ Hillier, Brenna (August 13, 2015). "Smite makes its official Xbox One debut next week". VG 247. Retrieved August 13, 2015. 
  7. ^ Smite Stuff. Smite Stuff. Retrieved on July 21, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c Smite Wiki. Smite Wiki. Retrieved on December 10, 2012.
  9. ^ SMITE Announced – MMORPG.com News. Mmorpg.com. Retrieved on December 10, 2012.
  10. ^ Matchmaking. Smite Wiki (June 2, 2012). Retrieved on 2012-12-10.
  11. ^ Hi-Rez Studios Introducing New Arena Game Mode To SMITE | Hi-Rez Studios, Inc. Hirezstudios.com (November 1, 2012). Retrieved on 2012-12-10.
  12. ^ View topic – MatchMaking, How does it work?. forum.hirezstudios.com. Retrieved on December 10, 2012.
  13. ^ a b Hindu Leaders Unhappy With Smite, Hi-Rez Responds. rtsguru.com (June 27, 2012)
  14. ^ Controversy Over Hindu Gods in Smite Not Over. rtsguru.com (July 2, 2012).
  15. ^ SMITE Offends Hindus, Catholics, Jews, With Porno-Style Depiction Of Kali. Cinemablend.com (July 14, 2012). Retrieved on 2012-12-10.
  16. ^ a b Hicks, Tyler. "I'm smitten.". Gamespot. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Jackson, Leah B. "ALMIGHTY BATTLE". IGN. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b c "Smite reviews". Retrieved March 26, 2014. 
  19. ^ http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-one/smite
  20. ^ a b c "Smite reviews". Retrieved March 26, 2014. 
  21. ^ http://www.gamerankings.com/xboxone/827532-smite/index.html
  22. ^ a b "SMITE World Championships 2015". Hirez Studios. Hirez Studios. Retrieved January 23, 2015. 
  23. ^ Thursten, Chris (January 11, 2015). "Smite World Championship 2015: Grand Finals in review". PC Gamer. Retrieved May 18, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Top 100 Largest Overall Prize Pools". E-Sports Earnings. Retrieved January 23, 2015. 
  25. ^ "SWC Results". Hirez Studios. Hi-Rez Studios. 

External links[edit]