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Eleven months after Tribes: Ascend [official site] unexpectedly received the ‘Out of the Blue’ update, reviving development on the superfast multiplayer FPS, here comes ‘Parting Gifts’. Update 1.4 is now out and seems to be the end for this fleeting reinvigoration. 1.4 is less flashy than some of the recent patches, mostly bringing one last set of balance tweaks and bug fixes. You’re a big boy now, Tribes: Ascend.
The brilliantly weird, and largely unintuitive, Tribes: Ascend has endured a chequered past. It s on-off-on again legacy mirrors that of an afternoon soap opera romance having been brought back from the edge of extinction in late December last year via its first update in two years however its latest update, named Parting Gifts, marks its curtain call.
We caught up with developer Hi-Rez following last year s rejuvenating patch 1.1, where the studio told us its mismanagement of Tribes: Ascend was like death by a thousand cuts . The latest appropriately-named update brings the game to version 1.4 and signals the end of the line.
Full patch notes which include tweaks to gameplay, equipment and vehicles, among other things can be located over here, and a pretty comprehensive weapons statistics spreadsheet can be perused this way.
In conversation with Chris at the start of this year, Tribes creative director Sean McBride who was a member of the original team that pushed for Hi-Rez to acquire the license in the first place spoke of how relaunching in 2015 was more about steadying the ship, not necessarily about turning profit.
We all know that player counts are not going to be super high, he said about the game s diminished community The intention is to at least stretch it out over a longer tail, so, if we do need to leave it, we ll have a planned date, so we can make sure everything s in order. We didn t do that last time. It was like we all need to go onto Smite, right now.
Over on Reddit, it seems the community, what s left of it, is already making peace with the fact Tribes: Ascend is no more. One user, Regginator12 , sums up his or her feeling thusly: This game was so good while it lasted, such a wasted opportunity, I ve never seen such a high speed FPS since with huge maps and no hitscan. RIP.
Following the publication of this story, we changed the original headline, "Tribes: Ascend is no more" to better reflect the fact that Tribes: Ascend is still playable and available. Patch 1.4 is simply the final official update for the game. Ed.
Hi-Rez Studios stopped updating Tribes: Ascend [official site] in 2013 as they shifted focus to their MOBA Smite, but they have recently returned to the free-to-play jetpacking FPS. Following December’s ‘Out of the Blue’ update and another patch in January, last night Hi-Rez released version 1.3. This latest update has brought more balance tweaks and a new map named Hellfire.
Back in December, the free-to-play FPS Tribes: Ascend was updated for the first time in two years, shortly after which developer Hi-Rez Studios talked to us about how it had screwed up the game, and more importantly, what it was doing to try to bring it back. The December patch was a small step forward for the hardcore guys that stuck around, but Creative Director Sean McBride said that more was on the way. Apparently, he wasn't kidding.
The Tribes: Ascend 1.3 patch adds the new Hellfire map for CTF and Blitz modes, increases the votekick percentage from 35 to 45 percent, changes ammo pickup heals to 400 hp across all armor types, and, by community request, removes the Blueshift map from rotations, although it will still be available to play on custom servers.
Changes have also been made to equipment and vehicles, some of them quite dramatic: All automatic weapons have had RNG-based spread removed in favor of skill-based precision—you hit what you aim at, in other words, and miss what you don't—and Thrown Disk damage has been nearly halved, from 600 points to 350; the direct hit multiplier has been increased, however, from 1.5 to 2. Naturally, the update also includes some bug fixes and network optimizations designed to improve the game's performance.
It's not a huge patch but it's fairly extensive for a four-year-old game. What makes it interesting, though, is the fact that it exists at all. Tribes: Ascend doesn't have the worst Steam player numbers I've ever seen, but it's still in pretty dire shape. It enjoyed a nice bump in December thanks to the release of the patch, but quickly settled back into a sub-150 average player count. (Update: As a couple of folks have pointed out, Tribes: Ascend is available outside of Steam using its own launcher, so that's not the total user count. Even so, I think it's a fair reflection of the game's relatively tiny audience.) Those are numbers a studio might understandably be tempted to walk away from (especially when compared to Hi Rez's other game, Smite, which drew nearly 11,000 average players over the past 30 days), and so the fact that it's hanging in there is actually kind of impressive. I hope it works out.
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.