Smite in 2015 : Reasons to be Excited post-SWC
Last weekend the inaugural Smite World Championships took place in Atlanta, with the home favourites Cognitive Prime eventually beating Titan in the grand final to take home their share of over two and a half million dollars in prize money, the third biggest prize pot in esports, and some ludicrously well made trophies that will no doubt be an iconic staple of this event is made annual, in the shape of Thors hammers that are detachable from their bases. The event itself was a brilliant spectacle rivalling that of any other ESports production out there, with detailed commentaries and analysis, show matches, behind the scenes features and a cosplay contest, but what I found most enthralling was that the whole thing had an element of relaxed fun to it. No one seemed to be taking anything too seriously, and you got the feeling that everyone there was massively proud of how far the game had come and was clearly enjoying their time in the spotlight.
The SWC is the first major Smite tournament of its kind, and it was the culmination of the years of development Smite has been in. Back in August HiRez started the Odyssey event to fund the SWC prize pool, which allowed players to purchase special skins and in game items that wouldn’t be available again after the SWC, each purchase would add funds to the prize pool pot and in return, those who bought several or even all of the Odyssey items often were granted special exclusive rewards and items as thanks for their support. The Odyssey was a huge success, with the final prize pool reflecting that, and the SWC event brought the whole thing to a grandstand finish that Smite’s developers and fans deserve.
There are plenty of reports of the tournament weekend already by people who were there, but heres a few reasons why looking into the future, I think there are plenty of reasons to be excited for how Smite can grow in the esports world this year:
The Smitegame twitch stream is up nearly 24 hours a day with official HiRez sponsored Smite players all over the world streaming the game. the channel has been so popular another channel, Smitegame2, has been set up to provide even more streamers a platform to be part of the community. The streams constantly run viewer games, giveaways and weekly shows like developer sessions, proleague games and community spotlights.
Gem giveaways not only run on the streams but also by completing in game events. I’ve been able to gain enough free gems to get a good fistful of skins over the course of the last few months by participating in giveaways on twitter and in game. Most in game giveaways give you free gems for getting first wins of the day in various game modes.
Maps, modes, gods and updates
Constant updates are normal in the MOBA genre, with extra characters being added and gameplay tweaks changing the state of the game over time, but Smite takes it one step further. Smite originally started out with the Conquest game mode, which features the familiar three lanes leading to the enemy base, a jungle filled with neutral enemies you can kill for added bonuses, and two boss enemies that give massive rewards. For many, that might have been enough, but since release HiRez have added arena, joust, a domination mode that was removed but due to come back, assault and siege, which all add other intricacies and options for play.
Game of the day
In addition to these new game modes, every 24 hours has a different game of the day, which offers up ridiculous combinations or restrictions on the game, such as 90% reduced cooldowns, infinite gold, or a restricted god pool to choose from. Players can even suggest new variations or themes to add to the pool of possible combinations.
Announced during the SWC, Smite is also soon to be released on Xbox One. It may seem like an odd choice but the third person viewpoint lends itself to control on a pad rather well, and so I see no reason why the game cant be a success on console, if not quite up to the level of its PC release.