Lately I’ve been smitten (see what I did there?) by a multiplayer online battle arena game, or MOBA, called SMITE. It is a free to play game on PC and is now in open beta on the Xbox One. I’ve been playing it for a few months on the Xbox One with no prior MOBA knowledge or experience and am thoroughly enjoying it. The learning curve to the game, for those who are like me and never dabbled with any MOBAs before, is quite steep. There is a lot to learn about the items, classes, roles, and mechanics of over 60 characters that doesn’t happen in a few games. SMITE is also different from other MOBAs as it is played from the third person perspective as opposed to from a top down view.
In SMITE you choose from different mythological gods to fight against each other. There are over 60 different gods from 7 different pantheons to choose from, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, Mayan, Norse, and Roman. Not all are gods, some are myths or heroes but there is definitely a good variety to choose from. You can pick from your favorite mythological gods such as Hades, Hercules, Aphrodite, Zeus, Thor, Loki, Odin, Artemis, Medusa, and many more that you’ve probably never heard of.
The roster is quite impressive for a free game. The game can be played 100% free but you only get 5 gods to choose from, with 5 gods in a free rotation that changes weekly. Additional gods can be unlocked with favor or gems. Favor is earned by playing games and gems can be purchased using real money. You can also choose to buy the god pack for $30, which will unlock all current and future gods as well as give you 400 gems. You cannot buy any kind of competitive advantage in the game. Gems are mainly for buying cosmetic things for your favorite gods. Hi-Rez Studios has done a great job at making awesome skins for the various gods to get people to pay some real money to have them look different. A good example of this is Ra who has his Ra’merica skin which changes his appearance to a bald eagle with red, white, and blue all over him holding a staff that shoots bottle rockets for his basic attack. There are other awesome skins they have for other gods such as a Predator skin, Alien skin, Elvis, Ghostbusters, Crocodile Dundee, Mega Man, a pimp, and many more.
The gameplay itself is very fun and always different. Each game you start at level 1 with a small amount of gold to buy some basic items and go on to level up and get the items you want. There are a lot of different items to purchase to give you added defense, attack speed, health, mana, or other important stats. Each game is kind of like playing a new RPG. You want to get items that will help you do more damage but also to counter who you are playing against. For example, if they have a healer you would want to get something that reduces their healing. So you aren’t always buying the same items every round; you have to pay attention to who you are playing against to know what to buy and what order to pick up the items.
There are five classes of gods in the game, assassin, guardian, hunter, mage, and warrior. A normal game will have one of each class on both sides. Every god has basic attacks and four abilities or spells that cost mana to use.Three of those typically have a short cooldown time before you can use them again and the fourth one is your ultimate which is going to be most gods’ most powerful ability with a much longer cooldown. Of course you can always buy items that reduce your cooldown time of all your abilities.
The main game in SMITE is a 5v5 called Conquest. There are 3 lanes with jungles between them. The standard setup would be that the mage would be in the middle lane, the warrior would be in the short lane (shorter distance between the your tower and the enemy’s tower so you can retreat faster if needed), the hunter and guardian will go together in the long lane (longer distance between the towers), and the assassin will roam around in the jungle helping the lanes as needed. Each lane has two towers for defense which are not easy to take out early on. Once you destroy both of the towers in the lane there is a phoenix as your next objective which, when killed, will respawn after 3 minutes. You have to take out the objectives in order before you can do any damage to anything behind it. After taking out a phoenix, most of the time more than one of them, the final objective is the opposing team’s titan, a massive enemy that deals equally massive amounts of damage if they can hit you. There is also a 3v3 mode, Joust, with one lane and a jungle on either side of it. Siege mode is a 4v4 with two lanes and a jungle between them. Assault mode is 5v5 with one lane, random gods, and no ability to go back to the fountain where you can purchase items unless you die. And finally Arena mode is a 5v5 map with no objectives; it is about killing the other team and trying to get the AI minions to the other side for points as well.
Since I’ve been playing SMITE on the Xbox One there has been new gods added to the game on a monthly basis. The Xbox version is currently a patch behind the PC, but the newest god should be coming out on Xbox any day now. What I’ve gone over here is only the tip of the iceberg but I will be putting together more articles on each class and what their specific roles are and typical items to get with them.
If you have any questions about SMITE or want to know more about something specific let me know in the comments below, or on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.