MOBAs and me don’t usually mix! I rage quit League of Legends! I dabbled and dropped DoTA2 and my interest in Heroes of the Storm just didn’t spark! With little else to play this weekend and Hi-Rez Studios offering a free chance to play their divinely inspired MOBA Smite, I spent my time in the company of the gods and my PS4.
Let’s get one thing straight from the start, Smite doesn’t do much in terms of breaking the mould of the MOBA genre! It doesn’t really have to! The formula works and Smite happily sings from the same hymn sheet as the other big players in this genre. As a player you’ll take on the role of a champion, in Smite terms you’ll be picking an ‘Immortal’ and join a team. Together you’ll defend your towers, Phoenix and ultimately your Titan while trying to push lanes and destroy the opposing team and their defenses and structures.
The game features multiple modes, ‘Conquest’, ‘Joust’, ‘Arena’, ‘Siege’, ‘Clash’, ‘Assault’ and ‘Duel’. ‘Conquest’ is your standard MOBA mode, three lanes and a jungle with two teams pushing against each other to dominate the map. ‘Joust’ and ‘Clash’ are variations on this mode, the first being a single lane with teams of three and a small jungle and the second is dual lanes, even smaller jungle but teams of five. ‘Arena’ offers something a little different, pitting two teams of ‘Immortals’ together in an arena and both teams aiming to reduce the opposing team’s score of 500 to 0. This is done by pushing your minions to the opposite team portal like scoring goals in soccer or killing enemy gods
like in soccer!You’ll earn gold and experience for killing enemy forces and enemy ‘Immortals’ which can be used to purchase items to boost your stats and up-skill your abilities.
Each champion has five abilities, four active; one of which will be an ‘ultimate’ and an innate passive one giving a unique edge to each playable character.
While the game may be lacking divine inspiration in terms of playability it more than makes up for it with the grace of god or gods! There’s nothing new but there is a fantastic twist! Pitting Grecian god Zeus and Norse god Skadi against Egyptian god Anubis or Hindu god Kali feels so good and Hi-Rez deserve praise for getting it right. The concept for the game’s setting and characters is probably its biggest draw for me and the factor that would not only grab but hold my attention. I don’t know if it’s because I was playing the MOBA on a console for the first time but the game and character just feels like it really is in your hands.
The controls are key to why I think I’ve enjoyed my time on Smite, your ‘Immortal’ really is in your control and my concerns that playing on console were quickly allayed and the champion sits as comfortable in my hands as the controller does. The fact I don’t have a keyboard and rarely have my headset plugged in prevents me from becoming embroiled in a holy flame war but speaking truthfully I haven’t felt the urge to do so anyway. I am not sure if it’s just luck or the Gods looking down on me but I only encountered good-humoured and eager players over the weekend.
After each match win or loss you’ll earn experience to level up your profile but also your mastery of the ‘Immortal’ with the ability to unlock customisable skins to show off your skills with the character.
On that note, each character comes with a range of customisation, you’ll have to pay using in-game currency or real world money but it’s not mandatory. I’m resisting the urge to splurge on skins for Medusa and Freija right now because I’m not sure if I’ll stick with Smite just yet.
That has nothing to do with the game though and more my own personal experience with the genre! I’ve all but turned my back on the MOBA, the toxic levels that bubble and boil over (I am no Saint by the way), the repetitiveness and the cost of playing all proved too much for my gamer soul. This is a matter of faith! I’ve given it all up in the name of LoL, HoTS and DoTA before and I’ve been burned by their false idols (and my wallet has taken a beating too). I’m just not sure if I’m ready to fully commit to the path of Smite but I will say this; the game has serious spirit and it may just have enough to convert me back to the MOBA way of life.
Editor-in-Chief, part-time super villain and hoarder of cats. If you can’t find me writing, I’m probably in the kitchen!