Smite Beta Preview: The new contender in the DotA genre
For the past few years the DotA/MOBA genre has been blooming. League of Legends, with its amazing free-to-play success, and micro-transaction goodies, Heroes of Newerth for the more hardcore DotA players, and finally the upcoming true sequel to DotA, DotA 2. Now we have a new beast in the field and its name is Smite.
Developed by Hi-Rez Studios, Smite plans to reinvent the DotA genre with its 3rd person style gameplay. Smite is very similar to League of Legends, while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it also means that it needs to impress on its own.
Smite does a lot of things right, especially the feel of DotA. Newcomer or not, this feels, and plays like any other DotA game, and the only main difference is the 3rd person view. You would think that the third person view would turn this game into a hack-n-slash, but in reality it does not, and that’s a good thing. The rules are exactly the same as in any other DotA game, with the exception of a few things. The last-hit on enemy minions grants you more gold; you have a shop where you buy items in order to beef up your God; you still attack, and defend towers.
The only biggest difference with Smite as far as gameplay mechanics goes, is the last building that you attack in order to win. Rather it being a building, it’s actually a Minotaur statue that becomes alive. The Minotaur starts to defend himself from being destroyed by the enemy gods. Trying to tackle the Minotaur on your own is not a very smart thing to do as it does a lot of damage, but a group of Gods with a decent tank can take it down pretty quickly. This new gameplay mechanic and the 3rd person view makes Smite truly unique and actually different from other DotA games, while still staying true to the genre.
The Gods are really cool in Smite; each God is aligned with a certain pantheon. There are Greek Gods such as Zeus, Artemis, and Hades. Egyptian Gods like Bastet, and Anubis. Norse, Hindu, and Chinese pantheons are also included with their own gods. One of my favorite Gods is Ymir and Odin from the Norse mythology – both are physical melee attack based that can be tanks. Each God has their own theme/playstyle, for example Ymir is like a frost giant. His a melee God with powerful ablities where he can freeze his enemies with his breath, create a line of ice shards on the floor to damage enemies, create a ice wall in front of enemies to block their escape, or behind him to save himself from oncoming enemies. His most powerful ability is when he creates a floor of ice around him to slow down enemies, while at the same time explodes ice shards from himself and does major 360 degree damage to everyone.
However, Smite is not without its issues either. The character art and environments look great, but sometimes there seems to be inconsistency within the art-style combined. All the Gods look very good, but when you start to look at the game as a whole, there seems to be some sort of gap between the Gods and the environments, and it seemed a bit weird to me. In every other DotA game that I played, the art-style was always consistent and it never threw me off. Hopefully over the course of the beta and post-launch, the art will start improving over a period of time.
Smite plans to follow the same path as League of Legends did with micro-transaction. You can either unlock Gods by playing the game and earning Favor from leveling up, or you can spend real-life money on Gems to buy Gods. Skins can only be bought with Gems, and Gems can only be bought with real-life money. League of Legends does exact the same thing. Hi-Rez Studios plans to add more Gods, features, and skins over the course of the Beta and post-launch. The big question remains, will Smite be able to get in the arena ring along with Heroes of Newerth, DotA 2, League of Legends, and still stand on it’s own? Or will it be burned, and destroyed by its competitors? Only time will tell, but so far I think what the beta has showed me is that it has good potential.
This game was previewed on PC.