SMITE – Hands on PAX East 2015

One of the larger booths at this year’s PAX East 2015 was the SMITE booth by Hi-Rez studios. Fans were flocking to the booth not only to get their hands on the PC or Xbox One version but also to grab convention exclusive skins, Xbox One Early Access codes, and a professional photo with the SMITE cosplayers. With all that, who could really blame the masses for lining up for hours.

We had the fortune of meeting with Todd Harris, co-founder of Hi-Rez Studios and COO. Once we sat down with Todd, he walked us through an Xbox One build as well as gave us some insight as to how Xbox One players will come to enjoy their version of a MOBA.

Currently, there are 63 gods in Smite and this past weekend Hi-Rez unlocked them all for the Xbox One Early Access. Once the console version releases come summer time, Xbox One players will have 10 gods at their disposal. 5 of the gods will be permanently unlocked while the other 5 will rotate out after a short amount of time. Todd explained by rotating the gods out, players will get a taste of different gods at no cost. If they find one that really works well with them, then they are empowered to make an educated purchase. Each god has many different skins which can be purchased or obtained through special events. The skins are purely cosmetic and will not alter their powers. Skins will differ in price and availability. Hi-Rez does offer a gods pack for a one time $30 fee. This pack will unlock all the current gods (default skins only) and any future to-be released gods.

The full version of SMITE will come with 6 different PVP modes. For those who prefer to play either solo (offline) or in co-op, there are offline modes where players can take up arms against bots. At the beginning of each battle, all players start off at the same base level of zero. During the course of combat, players can level up to a max level of $20. Before and during matches, players can enter the in-game store to purchase various items like spells, abilities, and armor. These items can be purchased with gold. Due to the fact that SMITE is a free-to-play MOBA, even the basic abilities like sprinting has to be purchased. Players can buy gem packs to make purchases or use the in-game currency of gold.

If you so happen to have time invested into the PC version of SMITE, you will be able to do a one-time migration of your PC account over to the Xbox One version. Essentially the game will take a snapshot of your current PC game and migrate gods and skins over to the Xbox One version. Therefore, if you acquired any skins codes or packs at PAX East, we recommend setting up a PC account to unlock these codes so you’ll be ready to migrate come summer time.

Being predominately console gamers, it was a relief to be able to tackle an intense keyboard game with the Xbox controller. Learning the in-game mechanics are relatively simple to understand and the training arenas did help getting us up to speed. Unfortunately, the downside of playing so many console games, specifically shooters, is that we wanted our MOBA experience to feel similar to action games. And in talking to veteran MOBA players, they informed us that you’re not going to get the same gaming experience with this genre. Often times when playing as Ra, we wanted to be able to better aim his mid-ranged attack, much like you would do with a twin stick shooter. Also, the hit detection through us for a loop as too often it felt like we were swinging and missing, when actually we were doing damage. Playing a MOBA is an acquired taste for sure. However, the game does look great on the Xbox One and it ran very smooth without any noticeable issues. Since PAX, we have dabbled more with both the PC and Xbox One version. Both looked and played very similarly with the obvious exception of the controller verse keyboard. We look forward to playing more in the coming months and hopefully over time get used to the MOBA experience.