Tribes: Ascend also going free to play

Built on Unreal Engine 3, Tribes: Ascend is a downloadable multiplayer shooter for PC and Xbox 360, billed as a "multiplayer successor" to Tribes 2. And, surprisingly, it will also be free-to-play.


Tribes: Ascend is being billed as "the multiplayer successor to the much lauded Tribes 2." Built on Unreal Engine 3, Ascend will be a downloadable multiplayer shooter for PC and Xbox 360. And, surprisingly, it will also be free-to-play.

Yes, like Team Fortress 2 and many MMOs, the game will be entirely powered by microtransactions. According to a report by IGN, Ascend is largely inspired by League of Legends' cycling release of warriors. In Riot's game, new "champions" are made available for purchase every two weeks, for about $5-10. Tribes: Ascend will, instead, allow players to buy entire loadouts. One loadout may give players more engineer-type attributes, while another may focus more on stealth. Developer Hi-Rez is hoping to create new loadouts on a regular basis, in addition to making cosmetic enhancements available for purchase as well.

Given the competitive nature of online multiplayer, Hi-Rez faces an uphill battle with making Tribes: Ascend a free-to-play game. In spite of the purchasable loadouts, gamers need to be assured that matches will always be balanced. On the other hand, Hi-Rez must constantly come up with new ways of ensuring gamers are incentivize to buy more. It's an interesting experiment, and definitely a sign of things to come.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 27, 2011 4:15 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Tribes: Ascend also going free to play.

    Built on Unreal Engine 3, Tribes: Ascend is a downloadable multiplayer shooter for PC and Xbox 360, billed as a "multiplayer successor" to Tribes 2. And, surprisingly, it will also be free-to-play.

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      June 27, 2011 4:20 PM

      ugh, can't wait to hear the long long list of how this will be a disaster, a slap in the face to the "community" etc etc.

      I'm willing to give it a shot if this is the only way they can finance it

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        June 27, 2011 4:25 PM

        at this point im surprised any dev or publisher is even willing to touch the franchise name

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      June 27, 2011 4:29 PM

      I'm a HUGE Tribes fan, but this free-to-play stuff ruined it for me. I don't care how many developers and marketing groups tell me everything is "fair" or "balanced" online. IF ALL THE WEAPONS ARE THE SAME THEN WHY ARE WE PAYING FOR THEM?!? More importantly, how will I ever know if I'm a good player or just someone who bought their way up the ladder? The whole concept is flawed!

      Of course the weapons are different, otherwise there would be no incentive to buy them! Of course the players with more money have a better score, otherwise there would be no motive for any company to produce a free-to-play game! Of course the game is unbalanced, or there would be no reason for players to buy new weapons. The idea that an item would cost money but offer no advantage is the most schizophrenic concept in business I have ever heard. Even stranger is... how much money is actually required to have an even playing field with all other players? $50? Right... they're in business to make money selling items, not a package. That number will go as high as the market allows.

      This is the biggest lie advertising and marketing have ever tried to push in gaming. I hope this shit gets old fast, but knowing trends, it will probably take 10 years before anyone realizes it's a scam. I've never had such a strong opinion about anything in the gaming world before. Sorry if this rant seems a bit much... I'm just so fucking angry about the entire free-to-play concept.

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        June 27, 2011 7:10 PM

        sorry to do this but


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        June 27, 2011 10:57 PM

        I wish we still had a front page chat comment bubble

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        June 27, 2011 11:02 PM

        Well, folks are going to have to figure it out, because F2P is going to become an ever larger subset of online-focused games, especially new-IP MMOs from devs not named Blizzard or EA.

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          June 28, 2011 7:44 AM

          F2P is the best way to get a multiplayer game off the ground. Who cares about balance when there's no one to play with?

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        June 28, 2011 1:43 AM

        It's like a gambling addiction, really. I never really thought about it before because I don't really play free-to-play games (they always suck), but you're entirely right.

        The game is no longer skill-based. Everyone should buy into the same game, with the same options.

        I don't even like the idea of "unlocking" better equipment. I remember playing Crysis 2 multiplayer and everyone had the best load-out equipped and I was at a supreme disadvantage, even though I'm really really good at first person shooters (my aim is just really good, from years of practice). But when I'm up against a group of heavily armored, invisible dudes, I could dance around them peppering them with bullets and they would just shrug it off and kill me with one shot.

        And this caveat goes both ways with me. When I would unlock incredible guns in CoD, it became less of a challenge because I would just rule the map - it got easy and boring, fast.

        Some people need that feeling of getting something for their time. But it's a game. All you should get is the FUN OF PLAYING IT, then you should put the game down and move on with your normal life, looking back fondly at the time you spent. BUT NO - now it's about how many points you have and stuff you've unlocked. That's not fun, and it hardly takes skill. This, along with developers making games easier so that they are more widely accessible (to draw a wider crowd - for more profit, of course), and no longer does skill have much to do with games any more.

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          June 28, 2011 3:46 AM

          You are correct! I feel the same way! I told my roomie (oldschool Tribes1/2 uber-fan like me) that I wouldn't mind paying for 3 different $30 upgrades if the total was $60 and set, but the idea that the upgrades are theoretically infinite? This idea bothers me, and I wouldn't consider something a game anymore. It's a subscription at that point, plain and simple, and as you said, skill has nothing to do with it.

          I don't mine some DLC here and there, it doesn't bother me that there are upgrades, or sequels within a year or so, I don't even mind experimenting (like VALVE is) but there is no way I'm going to let the real world economy ruin the last place I have to feel like a fair and honest champion. It's bad enough money can buy you innocence or guilt, a better education or healthier children... I don't want that fucking commentary entering into ANY virtual world I use as an escape.

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      June 27, 2011 4:30 PM

      Ugh why is it that everytime I see that a game is going to be powered by microtransactions my excitement and anticipation level goes to zero and I automatically write it off.

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        June 28, 2011 3:47 AM

        Because the world is run by microtransactions and it's not much fun either.

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        June 28, 2011 6:00 AM

        Because typically when you pay up front for a game, you usually get more for your money. Instead of being nickel-and-dimed for things like weapons and hats, you can get them all from the start.

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      June 27, 2011 4:38 PM

      While we're talking about it, a lead designer from tribes is working on this game: it's also freemium, pretty fun game!

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        June 27, 2011 6:48 PM

        From what I understand it (firefall) doesn't have skiing. It could still be very cool...but its not really the same thign.

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        June 28, 2011 5:54 AM

        I think firefall is going to be a huge fail. I hope I'm wrong though.

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      June 27, 2011 4:51 PM

      its slowly turning into global agenda 2

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      June 27, 2011 6:22 PM

      if it costs $50 to play seriously then you just paid $50 to buy the sequel to Tribes 2. You pay nothing to play the equivalent of a demo of the full game whats the big deal?

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        June 27, 2011 6:25 PM

        no big deal if they do even 75% as good a job as TF2... but what are the odds

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        June 27, 2011 10:32 PM

        That was my point above. The objective is NOT to get $50, it's to get as much as they can. That's a very different business model, with a different user base motivated by something I have yet to understand.

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          June 28, 2011 1:41 AM

          I think a lot of these developers aren't actually aiming for that, I'd imagine they just want to be successful. I'm sure they understand a lot of people aren't going to buy anything, some people will buy a few little things and a small amount of people will spend hundreds of dollars - It all balances out.

          I get the feeling you think that free to play games are out to rip you off. I've not played a free to play game yet that I've felt that I've had to buy things to feel like I'm actually playing the 'full' game. Now that TF2 is free to play, it's going to set a standard (especially for other FPS games) that others will need to adhere to, to keep themselves relevant.

          Some games do take the piss a little in terms of what they restrict, but it's never to the point that it feels like a demo.

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            June 28, 2011 3:52 AM

            You are 1/2 right. Devs think this. They were sold that shit by the marketing guys. The marketing guys don't give a fuck about the devs. Seems to be a theme in the PC world. How many micro transaction games have you seen be wildly successful? (honest question, maybe I'm in the dark here?) The problem is, micro transactions, if they work, are going to come at a cost (no pu.) that will either be quality, quantity, or speed. Right now it looks like a money grab by over eager marketing and advertising fuckheads (much like the billboards in BF2142 were supposed to "cover additional costs".)

            What I see is an AMAZING game selling for the lowest bidder because no one will fund a project. It's sad.

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              June 28, 2011 4:12 AM

              Just using Lord of The Rings Online as an example, since that went free to play, their profits have sky rocketed, and, this is probably a cheap shot, but, Team Fortress 2 more than doubled it's player base within 24 hours, whether that stays true remains to be seen.

              Microtransactions and the whole free to play model IS essentially a money grab if done poorly, if you do it along the same lines as Valve have with TF2 or LOTRO, Global Agenda, Spiral Knights (All of which I would never have a clue I was playing anything less than what people pay for, If you're enjoying the game, what's the problem?) where you're really not missing out on a lot unless you want to stand out and make a point that you've given money to support the developer.

              There are obviously poor examples of why micro transactions are a bad idea, but, to be honest, I can't think of a game that is free that has fucked up (That I've played, anyway). I can think of horrible, HORRIBLE examples of games that I've paid for and yet the developers (Or rather, whoever pulls their strings, sadly.) seem intent on wanting to rip money out of their customers pockets on a continual basis. Examples, being: S2 with Heroes of Newerth and Pretty much any recent Call of Duty game.

              In short, Micro transactions work, but only in a free 2 play environment. It's free, it gets more punters playing the game and a higher chance of them spending money if they enjoy the game.

              A lot of people get upset with Micro Transactions for seemingly no intelligent reason, again, I understand getting annoyed at it in a game you've already paid for, but in a free game? Just don't buy them! I refuse to believe Tribes: Ascend will be anything other than a fun experience to play, regardless of if you've opened your wallet to their in-game store to buy weapon load outs or whatever.

              I mean REALLY, The spin fuser will almost certainly be a free weapon, what else do you need?! :P

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                June 28, 2011 6:43 PM

                I think you're right. It's a wise money-making decision. I think it's a poor design decision. All your points are totally valid and understandable. I agree, that this is the only way some games can be successful. I just don't really consider them games with an even playing field, and I think it's totally unfair and against the concept of a FPS.

            • Zek legacy 10 years
              June 28, 2011 6:09 AM

              League of Legends has been extremely successful. The purpose of a free to play game is that it allows for the largest possible userbase. Initial price is a barrier to entry, and multiplayer games are nothing without players. If I were in their shoes I would do the exact same thing, not for moneygrabbing but because it's best for the game.

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      June 27, 2011 6:47 PM

      If this is well done and they get skiing right (i.e....if its a worthy successor to Tribes) then I'm fine if they charge me 150 bucks and rape me with a lamp!

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      June 27, 2011 9:09 PM

      This needs to have the following:

      - Skiing, and no bullshit "easy mode" hold-down-the-spacebar-to-ski.
      - Voice comms and emotes
      - Custom skins!
      - Dedicated servers!
      - Custom maps or some sort of map editor at some point (not immediately necessary)
      - Crisp movement controls (like better-than-Source-engine crisp)
      - A sniper rifle like the one from Tribes: Vengeance
      - Deployables (not like Vengeance, more like T1)
      - VEHICLES!!!!!

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        June 27, 2011 10:45 PM

        As long as they follow Tribes 2's formula, I really think the game will be great.

        What I want though is that the game is a hybrid type transaction. If you want the game like a traditional game, then you can purchase the box/digital copy with the traditional loadout screen or for those who want the free-to-play model, then they can go that route.

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        June 27, 2011 11:00 PM

        It was so fun to rape people with clever deployable placements. "Oh please, did you really think nobody but you knew about that backdoor into the base? Have fun respawning, noob"

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      June 28, 2011 1:23 AM

      "A loadout determines ... the two weapons they will be carrying ..."


      I mean, this isn't quite as strange as the two-weapon limit in the Game That Shall Not Be Named, and I don't want to be the stereotypical Tribes grump, but I admit that squeezed a little sigh out of me. (And it sounds like the repair tool counts as one of those "weapons".)

      Well anyway, I'm curious to get more details on the loadouts, especially how varied a set will be available for free at any given time.

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        June 28, 2011 5:19 AM

        Man, what the fuck are they doing to this game? Are they seriously doing a 2 weapon limit?

      • Zek legacy 10 years
        June 28, 2011 6:11 AM

        I don't really remember ever using more weapons than that in Tribes 1/2.

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          June 28, 2011 6:13 AM

          Light class had 3 weapons, Medium had 4, Heavy had 5. As a heavy in T2 you would at LEAST use 4: Missile Launcher, Mortar, Plasma Gun, Disc Launcher

          • Zek legacy 10 years
            June 28, 2011 6:17 AM

            Well that loadout right there is pretty much everything a Heavy can do in Tribes. It sounds like you'll be specializing more in this game.

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              June 28, 2011 6:23 AM

              That just tells me they don't understand vintage Tribes. Heavy's specialize in heavy armor, lots of firepower, and generally being walking tanks of death. They're compensated for by being big targets, low on mobility and jumping distance, and unable to use vehicles.

              They should, by nature, carry more than 2 weapons. It should really be something like:

              Light: 2 weapons, 1 utility
              Medium: 2 weapons, 1 weapon/utility dual slot, 1 utility
              Heavy: 4 weapons, 1 utility

              Utility would be something like laser targeter, repair tool (with kit), turret controller, power gun, etc.

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      June 28, 2011 1:35 AM

      I already said in the other thread, but I think I need to say it again, just to be quite sure: YES YES YES YES :D

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      June 28, 2011 6:32 AM

      Exclusive "Shazbot!" voice pack, now only 4$.

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      June 28, 2011 7:03 AM


      Lame shit. Crippled game, unless you buy shit..

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        June 28, 2011 7:49 AM

        You aren't paying anything initially. Did you want it to be completely free? How in the world would that ever make sense?

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          June 28, 2011 10:31 AM

          60 bucks, and you get the game.

          Not, those who pay more, have better weapons.

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            June 28, 2011 6:44 PM

            I'm with this guy. I'd pay $70 bucks for a tribes game, but I'll be damned if I'm gonna compete with my neighbor for some e-product.

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      June 28, 2011 3:38 PM

      If they model it like LoL (the only thing that you can't earn by playing is skins--paying for champs is just a shortcut), and as long as the new loadouts are balanced, I think it's a fine model.

      Though with this model, there is incentive for the studios to make any new content slightly overpowered to drive sales, and then to rebalance later, either by nerfing new stuff or buffing old stuff. Some of the newer LoL champs have been suspicious...

      Though apparently Yorick sucks.

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        June 28, 2011 3:42 PM

        Oh, also! LoL has rotating free champs. That's important. Try before you buy.

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