September 20th, 2012
Author: Ambrielle Army
Still in its closed beta stage, SMITE appears to be the next major MOBA game on the scene. Though still in its closed beta, many interested players are anxious to see what the hype is about. Although the game is only in its early stages, it is already laying the foundation of its success or failure.
With 19 ‘gods’ or characters to choose from on a three-lane map with symmetrical jungle areas, the structure of the game itself rings fairly familiar to those experienced in other MOBAs. Gods fill various standard roles such as assassin, mage, ranged fighters, tanks and more. Each team struggles to secure kills on neutral minions, enemy gods and structures. The first team to destroy the opposing team‘s final structure, the NPC Minotaur, wins the game.
What is promising about SMITE?
For a game still in its beta stage, the art shows a lot of potential. A lot of the animations and the minimap still feels a bit rough, but the general style of the game is appealing. The amount of strategy it currently requires suggests that it has the potential to emerge on the competitive scene alongside the other major titles in its genre. Stylistically, the game has enough similarities to make DotA, HoN and LoL players feel comfortable with the setup, but also employs a few unique aspects in its lore and mechanics. The ability to change vantage points from an overhead view to a third person view is interesting and allows for real-time customization of vision.
What is lacking in SMITE?
While the ability to change vantage points is compelling, it also forces different control key bindings than the other MOBA games have standardized, which can be a large stylistic adjustment to get used to. Its client and general user interface needs some work before they can handle the same level of player interaction as other popular games. If SMITE wishes to attract a large player base, it will need to have a more user friendly feel to the game as a whole, making it easier for new players to make the transition.
There also appears to be some fairly severe balance issues between some of the gods. An issue that can be easily fixed during the beta stage and number tweaking. Even specific roles such as mages or physical damage carries can be hard to counter with the lack of gap closing abilities. Though many games experience this in the early stages, new players will find themselves facing the same five gods every game until they earn enough points to unlock new gods. This helps players to get comfortable with a small set of champions, but it can become monotonous.
SMITE is a game that holds a lot of untapped merit. On the negative side, its mechanics are currently a little too unbalanced in some areas and its animations and user interface need improvement in order to compete with larger games. The game needs to expand the number of available gods along with its general usability. On the positive side, the overall idea of the game has many fun ideas behind it, which builds off of the MOBAs which came before it. The developers have left themselves a lot of growing room, and how they use it will likely be the deciding factor of the game’s success. If they can recognize and address the current issues that the beta players have and successfully eliminate or minimize them, then SMITE’s unique game aspect will outweigh any issues it may have and SMITE just may be the next big MOBA.