SMITE was developed and published by Hi-Rez Studios, as an original take on the multiplayer online battle arena genre. It is played from a third person perspective and can be enjoyed on Xbox One and Microsoft Windows. This video game has a smaller roaster of characters compared to popular MOBAs but they compensate through originality. Players control heroes inspired by legendary deities and mythological gods that wage war on a brutal field of battle.
Gameplay of SMITE
The SMITE gameplay differs from what players of classic MOBA games are used to because of the third person perspective. There are several game modes that players can choose from, some of them bearing little similarities to the classic three-lane battles players. Most matches are played in the Conquest mode, in which teams up to five players each compete for supremacy. The two squads begin the game with a preset amount of gold which can be used to purchase starting items.
Heroes level up in a similar manner to what happens in classic multiplayer online battle arena games. Killing enemy and AI controlled characters, destroying structures and slaughtering roaming creatures on the map produces XP points. Most of the action unfolds on the three lanes, defended by towers and a Phoenix which deals a lot of damage. As players level up and unlock new skills, while holding existing abilities, they become capable of taking down defensive structures and even the Phoenix.
The gameplay of SMITE is more challenging because players need to constantly switch from one lane to the other. Destroying all the defensive structures is necessary for players to be able to destroy the giant warrior protecting the enemy base. Throughout the game minions continue to spawn from both bases and they deal the same damage. Initially, these creatures can pose a serious threat to heroes, but later in the game, they are relegated to the role of cannon fodder.
The standard team size in SMITE consists of five heroes, but the team composition can include no less than five characters. Action is fast-paced in both cases but strategy changes, even though the main goal remains the same. Players have the possibility to surrender before the defensive structures have been destroyed, but they need majority. Speaking of which, at least four players need to cast a surrender vote in a team of five, but two out of three will do in a three versus three skirmish.
SMITE Heroes and Abilities
SMITE developers decided to make their games stand out from the crowd of multiplayer online battle arena games. There were two distinct directions that they pursued, one being the third person perspective. The other thing they did to draw interest to their game was to choose mythical heroes and gods for their online battles. There are less than 100 gods and immortals that players can choose from and all of them are inspired by mythology.
There is no SMITE single player campaign, but even so, each hero has a compelling story to tell. Eight pantheons served as a source of inspiration from the deities that are featured in this MOBA, so the game also has educational value. When players choose their starting hero, they can’t select the same character. Furthermore, players are advised to seek a balanced team composition that consists of damage dealers, attack and the support. As in all games belonging to this genre, this increases the odds of winning.
SMITE heroes are unlocked gradually, so players can start with a small roster and add more characters as they spend more time in game. To participate in competitive matches, it is essential for them to unlock enough characters for all team members to pick something different. The abilities and skills of each god differ in terms of visuals, but they can be grouped in a few major categories. Tank heroes protect the group, support characters heal, buff abilities and grand speed, while damage dealers smash up enemies.
SMITE Multiplayer and eSports Potential
SMITE was developed exclusively for multiplayer and soon after its release, the first world championship was held in January 2015. Hi-Rez Studios brought together many of the top teams worldwide and over the next couple of years, the competition returned to the US. This is the only SMITE championship with a guaranteed prize pool of more than $1 million, but smaller events are held worldwide. The number of players competing at the highest level has remained virtually unchanged since the beginning of the game.
The original vantage point and the selection of heroes inspired by ancient gods and mythological creatures made the game popular early on. However, it was its competitive gameplay that maintained SMITE as a popular choice among eSports event organizers. League of Legends and Dota 2 competitions continue to outshine SMITE events in terms of prizes. The fan base is on a constant expansion and there’s a lot of interest for professional games broadcasted on streaming services such as Twitch and YouTube.
Popular and Critical Reception
SMITE was praised by critics and players alike for the ability to bring something new to the popular, but seemingly unchanging game genre. The challenge of mastering the third person perspective didn’t have a deterring effect even on amateur players. The attention paid to details and the manner in which the characters were designed also contributed to the expansion of the fan base. Its lasting success is the direct consequence of a challenging gameplay, constantly improved by new patches.
Unfortunately, the same things that brought SMITE into the spotlight were a cause of criticism from Hindu leaders. There were people upset with the manner in which certain characters were depicted. The developers responded to complaints and requests to remove certain deities by making visual changes to those characters in particular. However, they fell short of removing the contested heroes and players can still choose them in casual and professional matches.
Key Features of SMITE
- SMITE is a MOBA game played from a third person perspective in teams of three or five.
- The characters are beautifully designed and inspired by mythological heroes and ancient gods.
- SMITE is a free to play game and micro-transactions don’t affect its gameplay or balance.
- The video game offers rewards and perks and has original game modes like Match of the Day
The Bottom Line
SMITE is one of the few multiplayer online battle arena games that actually bring something new to this genre. The decision to use gods and deities from eight pantheons made it more attractive to players and history buffs as well. Game developers chose to stick to their decision and held firm when requested to remove characters. The visual and balance changes made over the course of time through patches helped keep the game fresh and competitive at both amateur and professional levels.
In the absence of a single player campaign, the short stories attached to individual deities and heroes give more depth to its gameplay. SMITE tournaments enjoy the backing of Hi-Rez Studios, which keeps the video game relevant in the eSports arena. Despite their inability to close the gap separating it from the most popular MOBA, these tournaments have generous guaranteed prize pools.