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PAX East 2012: SMITE preview and interview
by Andrew Whipple III

Slowly but surely, the world is being devoured in multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBA). Does the world need another?

Hi-Rez Studios seems to think so with their new game, SMITE. Offering a total skill-based system with a third-person, action-based view and mythological ties, there's no reason to not get excited about it.

SMITE interview with Todd Harris

As a fellow MOBA player, I cut my teeth on the genre with the original Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) and gradually moved on to League of Legends and am now hopelessly addicted to Valve's DOTA 2. The genre has literally exploded over the last couple of years, but SMITE brings a whole load of change to the table.

Once you get your hands on SMITE the first thing you'll immediately notice is the camera perspective. Typically all DOTA-esque games are top-down, but SMITE puts you into a third-person camera and plays like an action game. The difference between moving around with WASD instead of clicking a million times every second is astonishing. To further the point of being an action title, the combat is the game's shining point.

Skill shots make or break your game.

Speaking with Todd Harris, he emphasized how important it was for the combat to be different than other MOBA titles. You see, unlike those games that have targeted abilities, every single ability in SMITE is a skill-shot and that also includes melee attacks. You heard me right. Regardless of what it is, you'll need to presence of mind to use your abilities instead of relying on someone simply being in a radius and then your move auto-follows them.

What's also interesting is the route SMITE is taking with the characters you can choose from. According to Todd, the game draws from five distinct mythologies which include Norse, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek and Hindu. That means you can expect to play Odin, Anubis and Kali in this game. Todd also went on to say that there will be some kind of meta-leveling system put in place - much like runes in League of Legends.

The minotaur is always angry.

While it's too early to tell if it'll be as hardcore as DOTA 2 is, SMITE will still present challenging scenarios as well as familiar territory. You won't lose gold when you die, you can go back to base by pressing 'B' down, and there isn't a strong emphasis on last-hitting or denial of minions. There also will only be one map to start, which is pretty standard in any kind of MOBA. The lower emphasis on last-hits and minion denial is something I'm unsure about, but this only means that combat is going to be a much heavier focus and I'm alright with that.

SMITE is slated to go into closed beta soon and is expected to roll into an open beta sometime later this year.

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- Andrew Whipple III

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