Tribes: Ascend

Tribes franchise…Not in the top drawer of AAA FPS genre, but always lingering near it, due to the strong community embrace and somewhat distinctive and IQ requirement playstyle.

Latest incarnation of the franchise is Tribes: Ascend developed by Hi-Rez Studios (known by Global Agenda MMOFPS, and still in development Smite MOBA game). It’s still in Beta testing stage, but from what is rolled out almost every week from developers, it seems that game is going in right direction. Developers adopted Free 2 Play model and are currently balancing things between community requests and their own vision of profitable interactive entertainment.

The Core of the Game

When you are done with Team Deathmatch (TDM) games in which you will explore capabilities of 9 classes and myriad of weapons and utilities at your disposal, you will inevitably show interest in something more challenging. The core of the game is  Capture The Flag (CTF) mode, in which 2 teams (Blood Eagles and Diamond Swords) are fighting for dominance in terms of bringing the opponents flag to their base while protecting their own flag. In this type of game, the classes and their roles are much more important part than in any other gameplay mode. There are four distinctive roles that players take in CTF mode – Cappers, Disruptors, Chasers and Defenders.

Mostly light classes take role of Cappers and Chasers. Cappers are solely dedicated to capping the enemy flag, while Chasers are dedicated to chasing opponents flag  carriers. Disruptors role is to provide disruption (dooh!) and mayhem in enemy base, effectively distracting defenses for a team Capper to grab enemy flag. Secondary role is to shut down enemy base generator, cutting of power to its defenses. Defenders role is to protect the base, its assets and finally the flag stand.

Unlike other FPS team based games, this mode and game requires timings both from the offense and defense. It’s not about the Kill/ Death ratio. It’s not about sniping night and day. It’s about teamwork. Teamwork is the factor which is emphasized in Tribes: Ascend more than in any other FPS game out there. And that’s why it will never outsell and have the wide audience of the AAA brainless shooters and it sequels. Maybe it’s better that way, since when you join the T:A community, you will find that most of the players have brain. It will seem that you entered a bar, which you didn’t know of, where all those people, you thought are extinct  hang out.

Pub games don’t provide that kind of coordinated teamwork, but are nevertheless good way to start familiarizing yourself with maps and objectives. Camping, turtling and other styles of pub play are widely spread all over pub CTF games, so be prepared. Its free 2 play game, so everyone is allowed, even brainless FPS players. But, time will show that they will leave this game because its too hard or unsoloable (that is not a word, right?).

Mixes, Scrims and Competitive Play

Everyone knows that competitive side of any FPS game is something completely different than regular pub play (Take Team Fortress 2 for example..). Tribes: Ascend is no different. Coordinated teamwork, VOIP communication, the joy of executing the attack right ……mmmmm lovely. The current format for competitive play is 8vs8. There are some rules regarding what is not available to teams, but you will learn that in time for playing your first mix.

To get into it, you should first get the IRC client and go to #TAMixed and #TribesAscend channels on Quake.net. Then, open the account on BeyondGaming.com and apply for acceptance to TAMixed group. When you are accepted (whitelisted), you are ready to add yourself to current T:A mixes in #TAMixed channels.

Also, and I can’t stress this enough, if you don’t have Mumble VOIP, go – download and install it. No VOIP communication, No proper teamplay – simple as that. Then, go to T:A EU community mumble with this parameters:

T:A EU Community Mumble: IP: 213.53.6.96 PORT:64738 PASSWORD: commune

Feel free to ask any questions you might have about mixes and competitive play there. Friendly community of fellow T:A players will answer all the questions regarding all aspects of this game.

I will also mention some good reads for familiarizing yourself with the game terms and flows:

Beginners guide to Tribes: Ascend – digested JPG of everything you need to know.

Readjusting the dominant FPS ideology for better gameplay in Tribes – how to properly play CTF

The Tribes Lexicon – info on terms used in T:A games

Community

As mentioned before, Tribes franchise is known by its strong community. If you are interested in this game, you should check listed websites, irc channels, streams and podcasts.

Websites

http://www.spinfusor.org

http://www.gameshrine.org

http://www.tribalwar.com

Streams and Casts

http://www.twitch.tv/leveluptv

http://www.tribescast.com

http://teamhindsight.com/hindsight-tv/

http://www.twitch.tv/ephixtv

Did I mentioned that game has jetpacks?

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