Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Tribes: Ascend [official site] is receiving another update this evening. Patch 1.2 will bring sweeping balance changes to the gotta-go-fast jetpack FPS, increasing heavy armour there, reducing blast radii here, making it so pressing ‘Q’ selects your previously held weapon, that sort of thing. There’s a full list of changes in this Google Doc and a chart of new weapon values in this here spreadsheet.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - lilmamacita


We will be upgrading Tribes starting Thursday, January 28th 2016, at 10:00 AM EST(5:00 PM CEST) Expected downtime will be around 3 hours.
Skin prices have been reduced to 480 gold per skin.

Equipment Changes
  • Heavy Armor
    • Increased mass by 7%
    • Decreased initial jetpack impulse by 25%
  • Most Impact class explosive weapons have received a reduction in radius size.
    • Light Armor
      • Light Spinfusor radius reduced to 360, down from 400
      • Light Blinksfusor radius reduced to 360, down from 400
      • Bolt Launcher radius reduced to 400, down from 500
    • Medium Armor
      • Spinfusor radius reduced to 360, down from 425
      • Blinksfusor radius reduced to 360, down from 425
      • Twinfusor radius reduced to 300, down from 320
      • Thumper radius reduced to 400, down from 530
    • Heavy Armor
      • Heavy Spinfusor radius reduced to 360, down from 450
      • Heavy Blinksfusor radius reduced to 360, down from 450
      • Heavy Twinfusor radius reduced to 300, down from 340
      • Heavy Bolt Launcher radius reduced to 400, down from 565
  • Grenade Launcher explosion radius reduced to 500, down from 530.
  • Fusion Mortar
    • “The Deluxe Mortar Launcher was a fan favorite, so these changes are to bring the fusion mortar more in line with the feel of the DXML”
    • Radius reduced to 650, down from 700.
    • Increased bounce damping to 80%, up from 75% (DXML)
    • Removed direct hit bonus.
    • Now deals full damage (1400) on direct hit.
  • Jackal radius increased to 400, up from 350
  • Phase Rifle
    • Locks an Energy pack in your pack slot.
    • Phase Rifle sets your energy pool max to 75, 90 with Rage active.
    • Damage per energy increased to 5.333 per energy consumed. Up from 3.
    • Fully charged shot consuming 75 energy deals 400 damage. up from 375.
    • Fully charged shot consuming 90 energy, after Rage buff, deals 480. up from 450.
    • With a max energy of 75, time to regen to full charged shot reduced to 5.35 seconds, down from 8.9 seconds.
  • BXT1
    • Locks an Energy pack in your pack slot
    • Charge mechanic removed
    • Deals 250 damage in scope or out
    • Range increased to 20,000, up from 10,000
    • Falloff starts at 2,000 and falls off to 100 damage at max range
  • Saber Launcher
    • No longer locks onto airborne players
    • Projectile speed increased to 845, up from 650.
  • Sparrow, Eagle, and Nova Colt
    • Damage increased to 95, up from 85
    • Magazine size increased to 15, up from 12.
      • Increased ammo carry numbers to support larger magazines.
  • Shock Lance
    • Now deals 500 base damage, regardless of how much energy is available.
    • Consumes up to 50 energy, or less depending how much energy is available.
    • Damage is calculated as Energy Consumed x 5
    • Total damage is doubled when target is struck in the back.
  • Flak Cannon
    • Reduced projectile size to 25, down from 30.
    • Lowered damage per connecting shot to 65, down from 75.
  • Plasma Gun
    • Damage increased to 280, up from 230.
    • Carried ammo increased to 54, up from 48.
  • Chain Gun
    • Damage increased to 80, up from 75.
  • Ammo adjustments
    • Assault Rifle max ammo increased to 216, up from 192.
    • NJ4 SMG max ammo increased to 270, up from 240
    • Nova Blaster max ammo increased to 54, up from 48
    • Sawed Off max ammo reduced to 24, down from 60.
  • Belt Items
    • T5 Grenade is now available to the Light Armor.
      • Explodes after 2 seconds
      • Damage is 800, falls off to 400 at max range
      • Explosion radius is 600
    • Blackout Grenade radius increased to 600, up from 550
    • Cluster Grenade radius increased to 550, up from 500
    • EMP Grenade radius increased to 600, up from 550.
    • Sticky Grenade radius increased to 600, up from 550.
  • Drop Station deployables no longer require generators to be up to function.
  • Stealth pack reveal speed increased to 150, up from 100. This is the
  • Tribes:Ascend 1.0 value.
  • Fixed an issue where Drop Stations were still functional after being destroyed.
  • Fixed an issue where Chaff Grenades could permanently jam a friendly player.
  • Fixed an issue where the Heavy Blinksfusor had incorrect reload speeds.
  • It is now in line with the standard heavy spinfusor.
  • Fixed an issue where Nova Blaster MX could still have upgrades affecting
  • various weapon stats.
Vehicles
  • Vehicles are now generated on a team wide timer
    • “At the beginning of the round vehicle timers are started. Once each vehicle's timer has completed, 1 vehicle is generated, up to the limit per vehicle type. Once that vehicle is taken, it is moved from “Generated”, to in play. The vehicle in play still affects the ability to generate more vehicles of that type. For example: The server has limited shrikes to 1. Once generated, that shrike may be claimed by a player. Because the server has limited shrikes to 1, no additional shrikes will be generated until the shrike has been destroyed.”
    • All of the following values are modifiable through custom server settings.
    • Each vehicle type has:
      • Max number in play.
      • Length of time before each vehicle type is generated.
      • Max of one Generated, or “On Deck”. If this vehicle is not claimed and the timer reaches zero, the timer resets to the max time and restarts.
    • Default Values:
      • Grav Cycle
    • Max in play 4
    • Max of 1 on deck
    • Generation time 30 seconds
      • Shrike
    • Max in play 2
    • Max of 1 on deck
    • Generation time 90 seconds
      • Beowulf
    • Max in play 2
    • Max of 1 on deck
    • Generation time 60 seconds
  • Grav Cycle
    • Fire interval increased to 0.1 seconds, up from 0.08 seconds
    • Damage multiplyer vs base assets reduced to 2, down from 4.
  • Shrike
    • Fire interval increased to 0.125 seconds, up from 0.1 seconds.
    • Ammo pool reduced to 9, down from 12.
    • Burst fire count reduced to 3 shots.
Gameplay
  • Pressing Q now selects your weapon that was previously in hand.
  • Grenade throw speed increased by 25%.
  • Votekick now only requires 35% of all players in the server to vote “Yes” to pass. Reduced down from 70%
  • Lifetime for bullet based projectiles has been increased to 1 second, up from 0.5 seconds. This will increase the range of the projectile back to Tribes:Ascend 1.0 ranges.
  • Ammo pickups now restore 20% of your energy pool when picked up. Healing has not changed.
  • Inventory stations no longer refill your energy. This is to prevent energy based weapons from circumventing the recharge time.
  • Fixed an issue where vehicle stations were not taking bonus damage from base asset damage modifiers.
  • Fixed an issue in blueshift where players could abuse the team blocker on the boosters.
    • Everyone may enter the booster, but only friendlies get the boost applied. This will allow an enemy to return his flag inside the booster.
Misc.
  • Music and flag audio queues have been fixed on maps introduced in 1.1.
  • Fixed issues with banning equipment where some banned equipment would unintentionally ban other equipment while customizing a server.
  • Fixed an issue where long distance explosions would not play their explosion FX. This was most obvious on the Mortar Launcher.
  • Fixed an issue on perdition where ragdolls would catapult out of the map.
  • Fixed an issue where the armor select UI would not go up to 100% even though a player had unlocked all items available.
Community Announcements - lilmamacita
Draft date: 23-24 January 2016
Signups now open

Head over to tribesschedule.com and sign up for the January 2016 Draft Event.
Introduction to the website and how to sign up here: https://imgur.com/a/8SBTA done by Flagician the IT magician

Check-ins will open Saturday 23 January at 8 am and close at 4pm Central European Time (CET). After check-ins are closed, the captains will begin picking the teams. Games will hopefully start at 5 pm.

What are check-ins? A check-in is a confirmation that you will be present for the tournament. By signing up you just state that you might/will be there unless something happens. When you check-in you commit to being in the EU mumble in time for games to start.

Captains
Check that captain box when you signup. While it is true that not many people enjoy captaining, without you the draft does not happen. So be a good sandraker/butcher and lead your team to victory.

Tournament Format
Sadly we cannot provide you with a proper schedule. Why? Because this can only be done once we know how many teams can be formed with the players attending. And this is impossible to know until draft day.
That said, here are the scenarios:
  • If 6 or 8 teams we will have a Round Robin group stage with teams evenly split in two groups. Games will be bo2 with predetermined maps. With a single elimination knockout stage (bo3 with map bans)

  • If we have 5 or 7 teams we will have a Round Robin group stage but with only one group. Games will be bo1 and have predetermined maps. Then a single elimination knockout stage (again, bo3 with map bans)
In all of the above cases, the top 4 (or top2 of each group) will advance to the knockout stage, which will consist of semifinals and a final.
It is a bit different with 4 teams. In that case we will do the following:
  • A double elimination knockout tournament, with all games being bo3 except the Grand Final, which will be a bo5. In the grand final, the team that comes into it undefeated will start with a 1 - 0 lead. (Meaning they only need to win 2 maps while the opponents need to win 3)
Schedules for all of this scenarios will be premade and the proper one will be put in a reddit post on draft day while picking happens.
In all of these scenarios, even the last placed team will play 4 - 6 maps while it not being too exhausting as a format. We'll try to space the schedule properly so players can catch a breather in between games.
One thing I would like to hear from you lot: Currently the Final is set to be a bo3 if we have 5 teams or more. Would you prefer it to be a bo5?

Mappool
Arx Novena, Katabatic, Dangerous Crossing, Drydock, Raindance, Terminus and Ice Coaster
There was much deliberation for choosing a mappool. As pretty much every Tribes player seems to despise all maps bar 3 or 4. So pleasing everybody here is a gargantuan task.
The reasoning behind our picks is rather straightforward: Arx, Kata & DX are the golden trio (even if DX can be pretty polarizing). They are the most played maps in pugs for a reason. Drydock and Raindance are tested maps that favour a different playstyle. Drydock makes cluster play more viable while Raindance rewards offense & capper synergy. Terminus and Ice Coaster are included because they are new and fresh. Plus it wouldn't be an Out of the Blue tournament without Out of the Blue maps.

Do you already hate the entire mappool bar 3 - 4 maps? Do not fret! You will be able to ban them in the knockout stage of the draft. Here is how:

Map ban process:
For this tournament we would like to ditch the old map ban process and try something new. You are probably familiar with it if you follow CS:GO.
Previously, the captains would ban one map each and then remove maps until one was left. Then, the loser of the map would pick the next one (couldn't picked the 2 maps that were banned at the start)
The new system is the following: Captains ban 1 map each, then pick one map each. Then, captains ban 1 map each again and the remaining one will be the last map of the bo3.
For the semifinals, the seeded (as in, the team that placed higher in the group stage) team will be the one banning first. For the final, an admin will flip a coin to determine who bans first.
This system is only for the knockout stage. In the group stage, maps will be pre-determined.

Tournament Rules
Gameplay rules
  • Shrike Health set to 50%
  • Maximum of two heavies allowed per team
  • Chaff Grenade banned
  • Throwing Disk banned
  • Saber Launcher banned
This is basically the current EU Pugs ruleset. If the upcoming patch happens to drop before the tournament and changes any of these items to the point that they aren't a problem anymore, we will consider unbanning them. On the same note, if this upcoming patch breaks something horribly, we can make a last second adjustment to ban it. Let's hope that is not needed.

More information...
PC Gamer
PC Gamer

Things looked so good for Tribes Ascend when it was released in early 2012. Wonderful, breath-clutching games of chicken happen along the z-axis in Tribes: Ascend, wrote Evan Lahti in our review. We loved it. We played it. But it needed love from its developer, too—bug fixes, new maps, tweaks to make it more fun, major changes to the F2P economy. Instead of getting better with patches and updates, Tribes: Ascend got worse. A year later, it was all but abandoned by Hi-Rez Studios, which moved on to its now-successful MOBA Smite. All but a few players were gone, too, and the ones who stayed were angry and bitter.

On the Origin of Tribes

Before Tribes Ascend, Hi-Rez prototyped a Tribes MMO called Tribes Universe. They already had the resources for an MMO thanks to Global Agenda. But it wasn't a good fit (thanks to the high-speed skiing Tribes is known for). 

Tribes Ascend started life as an Xbox Live title. When Quake Live flopped, Microsoft cautioned against an Xbox release. Hi-Rez shifted to PC and F2P partway through development. That's when they split light/medium/heavy into nine classes.

Now, out of the blue—the apt name for Tribes: Ascend s first patch since 2013—Hi-Rez has returned to the game to fix its many, many missteps. It s a small team, and they don t expect to make money off the game. But they may be able to make things right.

We made a lot of mistakes in a lot of different places, creative director Sean McBride told me on a recent trip to Hi-Rez. Pricing definitely was off. Way too expensive in the beginning. Both for XP, our earned currency in the game, and gold. And money was just one of Tribes: Ascend s problems, which McBride talked candidly about. It was a refreshing conversation—you rarely hear developers so openly talk about everything they did wrong.

It s death by a thousand cuts, right? McBride said. In the early days, Hi-Rez patched Tribes, but the patches were bad. Weapon releases bloated the game. So he s ditching those. Ascend s perk system included some overpowered abilities and some worthless ones. So they re getting rid of it. Everything was too expensive, so they re refunding every player the gold they spent to re-buy weapons and equipment as they please.

We re pulling back on a lot of the patches we did post-launch, he said. They had tons of weapons in them. At the time our numbers always bumped up when we had patches with weapons on them. People come back for new content. But it wasn t quality content at all. We were just scrambling to get content in the game, and we had this tiny team. So we created variants of the weapons, basically. And they were useful variants, it wasn t like they were just junk. But it bloated the game.

"It's death by a thousand cuts, right?"

One example: The Jackal, a triple-round burst sticky grenade launcher. Unlike the rest of Tribes: Ascend s weapons, you could detonate it in the air whenever you wanted. That made it a lot of fun—and completely broken in the hands of better players. It wasn t designed to be pay to win, but it ended up being pay to win. Because people are better at your game than you are.

Surprisingly, even at the height of Tribes: Ascend s development, it was being handled by a very small team. I think at our biggest we were like 15, but it didn t stay at 15 for very long, said McBride. It was a passion project from the beginning. I think there were many weeks where I pulled over 100 hours just to try to get Tribes done. That wasn t just me. That was people I was working with as well.

Hi-Rez was a much greener studio at the time, and in a way the positive reviews and buzz for Tribes proved to be its undoing. We didn t really listen to the community, McBride said. Once the high scores rolled in...PC Gamer gave it Editor s Choice, and we got a couple 10s and a bunch of nines and a few eights. We did pretty well on the scores. I think at the time we were very resistant to changing the game. We were like, people like it, it scored really well. It wasn t until the numbers started to fall that we really would consider even changing it. There was a big resistance to listening to feedback from the community, which wasn t the right call.

Another tactical error: releasing Tribes a mere month before Diablo III. McBride remembers being worried that the older PC playerbase, which had played the original Diablo and Tribes in the late 90s, would leave Ascend for Diablo.

As soon as Diablo came out our numbers tanked and we never recovered from those numbers, he said. That definitely wasn t the reason we didn t take off. We were already starting to dip, but once you lose the players it s hard to get them back.

As Tribes floundered, Hi-Rez moved what remained of its small team to work on Smite. Two years later, Hi-Rez has ballooned from a studio of around 50 to more than 200 on the back of Smite. That s given them the resources to dedicate a small three-person team to Tribes, with programming and art resources occasionally borrowed from other teams, even if the game can t turn a profit. When McBride took charge of Tribes a few months ago, he dug through forums, reddit posts, and old Youtube videos to assemble a massive list of changes the game needed. There was, as he expected, a lot of hate.

But I listened to what the competitive community wanted, and all of it made sense, he said. It was a lot of the things we were already saying internally. Which is usually the case. We see the game first and look at it and are like, these things are screwed up.

Last week, after a few months of experimenting with the community on a public test server, Hi-Rez released the first new patch in two years, and a lot has been changed. The nine classes have been condensed into light, medium and heavy. The loadout system has been revamped and everything has been rebalanced. Perks were removed and distributed among the armor classes. The hitbox toggling cheat was finally addressed. There are three new maps and fewer useless weapons.

The out of the blue patch isn t a funeral dirge for Tribes, either. McBride said another patch will follow. His hope is to see a bump in player numbers, but he doesn t know if they ll stick around. That s partly why we re experimenting with game modes right now, he said. If we bring back the middle core player, the people who really loved the game but didn t stick around for very long, if they come back around and there s nothing really that new, like a new game mode that is a very different experience, they re probably going to drop out again after about a month.

But this patch, at least, is not concerned with players who might come back and dabble. It s for the hardcore guys that stuck around, he said. There was some concern that the hardcore guys were going to want things that made the game a lot harder. A bad experience for new players. I found that to not be the case at all. They actually wanted things that made it a little easier. They weren t asking directly for things to make it easier, but what they were asking for made it a little easier.

Since its patch, Tribes: Ascend hasn t seen a big enough uptick in players to settle into Steam s top 100 most-played games, but it has grown (and not all of its players launch the game through Steam). I myself, am loving the abundance of players...the return of old players, and of course, the acquisition of new ones, wrote one player on the Tribes subreddit. There is no denying that T:A has seen a dramatic surge in popularity since the launch of Out Of the Blue. The new wave of players has undoubtedly brought both optimism and hope to a subreddit that was previously full of wry humor, bitter sarcasm, and dwindling creativity. While I do not expect this second breath to last forever, I do plan on riding this wave as far as it can take us, wrote another.

The community seems energized—and hungry for more updates, which Hi-Rez says are on the way. For now, people are finally playing Tribes again.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Hi-Rez Studios gave up on Tribes Ascend [official site] for a couple of years, but a few months back made the unexpected announcement that they we working on a big ole update for their F2P jetpacking FPS. And they did release it! The ‘Out of the Blue’ update (or version 1.1, if you have no romance in your heart – if you wouldn’t pash with a plasma rifle) arrived last week, with new maps, new weapons, exploit fixes, and a whole hovershedload of balance tweaks.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - lilmamacita
Hello Tribes fans, and welcome to the patch overview for the Out of the Blue patch.
With the new "Out of the Blue" patch, we wanted to bring back classic elements from older Tribes games, while not alienating Tribes: Ascend fans. This patch is a return to form that will better spiritually align Tribes:Ascend with the series in addition to fixing many longstanding quality of life issues in the game.




An all new map named Terminus has been added to the game. This map is based on well received Tribes:Ascend maps Katabatic and Arx Novena. Two new legacy inspired maps Perdition, based on the T2 classic Damnation, and Ice coaster, based on the T1 classic Rollercoaster are also now available.

We have removed Classes in favor of the classic 3 armor types. Light, Medium, and Heavy. That, by popular request, may carry additional weapons for the classic Spinfusor, Chaingun, Grenade launcher gameplay. With the removal of classes and the addition of extra weapon slots Tribes:Ascend now allows more flexibility than ever in both outfitting your character and playing a role that you enjoy.

Character outfitting has been redesigned. Players now pick 1 weapon from weapon classes to eliminate annoying or broken weapon combinations. In addition to those weapons that offered little to no unique gameplay have been removed from the game to streamline and simplify choices while equipping. New weapons have been added such as the Flak Cannon, and some classic weapons return such as the ELF Projector. Finally, all weapons have been rebalanced and refined based on community feedback.

We have increased weapon impulse, rebalanced weapons, vehicles, and base assets. Tribes:Ascend is faster, more refined, and more balanced than ever before. All of this has been made possible by excellent feedback from you, the Tribes community, across multiple PTS server cycles. A huge thank you to everyone that helped us out with our public testing.

These large changes may have you worried about your past purchases. Due to the dramatic changes to the underlying game, all in-game purchases have been reverted. What a well placed sound effect. That’s right, all Tribes Gold and XP has been refunded to your account, so if you have previously purchased the Ultimate Weapon Pack or Game of the Year it will be re-added to your account. If there is any Tribes Gold on your account you will be automatically gifted the Ultimate Weapon Pack.

And on top of all these changes, if you’re looking to dive into the history of Tribes, you can head over to
Tribeuniverse
and download every single game in the Tribes franchise for free.

There are so many changes it's impossible to cover them all here. Head on over to
Tribes Ascend
to check out the full patch notes, and until next time Tribes fans, we'll see you in the wilderzone.


PC Gamer

At 5pm EST today, Tribes: Ascend will undergo six hours of downtime as its first patch since March 2013 is applied. It's a substantial overhaul of the free-to-play, physics-defying shooter that has been cooking on the public test servers since September, when Hi-Rez Studios announced it was ending Tribes' long abandonment.

The full patch notes can be found here, although there's enough to form a small patch-cyclopaedia. The most susbstantial changes concern classes, maps and the premium currency, Tribes Gold. Three new capture-the-flag maps—Ice Coaster, Perdition and Terminus—join the roster, while the class system has been simplified into light, medium and heavy armour-wearers with full loadout customisation. Weapons themselves have also undergone major rebalancing.

All Tribes Gold and XP used to purchase items at any point in Tribes' lifespan is being refunded. If you've purchased Gold or the Game of the Year edition at any point, you'll automatically be given the Ultimate Weapons Pack—every gun in the game.

Hi Rez president Stewart Chisam told us that the team isn't expecting to make much money from the Tribes revival, and the patch does have the feel of doing right by a stonkingly good shooter as opposed to a savvy business move.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Say, reader dear, do you like the future? Do you like jetpacks? Do you like mechs? Do you like first-person shooters? Do you like multiplayer with vehicles and bases? Do you like classic series which folks grumble go forgotten too often? Do you like skill-based movement exploiting weird physics tricks? Do you like free video games?

If you answered yes to at least three of those, hie thee to this website, where Tribes Ascend folks Hi-Rez Studios are offering (almost) the full Tribes world o’games for free, from 1994’s Earthsiege through to 2004’s Tribes Vengeance (their own Ascend, of course, being free-to-play anyway).

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Hi-Rez has made all the Tribes games available for free, as well as the Earthsiege series that predated it. They're all PC titles, with the exception of Tribes: Aerial Assault, which I think might be the first PS2 game released as freeware by its developer. (It comes as an .iso file, so you'll be able to play it in an emulator and on chipped/modded PS2s.)

I'm not sure how active or functional the multiplayer is for the previous Tribeses, but there's some single-player stuff in there, and I'd imagine it would be quite fun to download a few and take a nostalgic jet-pack-powered trip down memory lane. I've not played a Tribes game before, as you may have gathered, but the first-person, mech-based Earthsiege games have caught my eye here.

Here's the full list of newly free stuff (Tribes Ascend, the most recent in the series, was of course already free-to-play):

  • Earthsiege
  • Earthsiege 2
  • Starsiege: Tribes
  • Tribes 2
  • Tribes: Aerial Assault
  • Tribes Vengeance
  • Tribes Ascend

It's not clear if this a time-limited offer, or whether these games are free for the forseeable future, so git downloading, if you're interested. (Thanks, Reddit.)

After a period of absence, Hi-Rez is now working on Tribes Ascend again.

...

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