And It's Not League of Legends: Smite

Hello and welcome to what is most likely going to be a series of articles on games that I’ve managed to convince my friends to play. This week I’ve gotten my good friend Mark to play Smite with me.

Smite is Hi Rez’s answer to League of Legends. Released in 2014 Smite has gained popularity in esports circles while maintaining a causal following. Smite is a third person Multi Player Battle Arena in which each player controls a god or goddess from a collection of pantheons and does battle for control of the realm. Fight for Glory and all that.

What makes Smite different

For starters, Smite is played with an older the shoulder view, rather than the traditional top-down perspective. This initially put me off of playing because it’s “not the way things are done” - all serious MOBAs have to be played with furious clicking and swears. Once I got past the stage of hitting Q and dying when I was supposed to be hitting 1 and you know, not dying. Big, big difference is that you have to aim your abilities (outside of self-buffs). This makes this game a lot more focused positioning and aiming compared to the normal top-down MOBA where auto attacks are guaranteed to land outside of extenuating circumstances This leads to team fights which are a massive mess of missing. If you’re not able to stay cool under pressure you could drastically lose effectiveness as missing an important ability can easily cost you a fight or even the game.

What really makes Smite, at least for me, is that a lot of the abilities are really clever and make smart use of the third person nature of the game. A lot of the characters have abilities that make them fly or leap; or turn into a dragon. Most of the cast have a lot of power on their own, making it feel like you really are controlling a god. I played mostly the mages who focus on large amounts of magic damage or healing or guardians (tanks), spending a lot of time on Fafnir the cursed Norse god of greed or Chang’e the Chinese moon goddess. These are magic damage characters that deal a lot of area effect damage (because I’m bad at video games and can’t aim). Mobility skills are very common many characters will dash around in fights to get out of the way of big spells and fire back with their own.

If you get tired of laning. As we all do. Smite also has a variety of other game modes aside from the simple three laned attack the nexus map. You have an arena, which is an all out deathmatch between two teams. Joust, a single laned map where you and three friends go head to head against another three players. And finally, Clash, a stripped down map with two lanes and a minimal jungle. Clash is optimal for learning new characters.

What’s Not Good About Smite?

The game is not perfect, a lot of the features in it can really start to feel a little samey. Yes, there are many different game modes but all of them are still push to the enemy base to win. There is also a limited free hero selection; If I hadn’t purchased the god pack in ages past when I was first playing the game at release I would get pretty bored.

Smite is probably the only MOBA where I’ve felt the need to up my mouse sensitivity. In a game where aim is very important, there’s a Lot of twitching involved when so much of the cast is devoted to jumping on people before they can react. On the other side of the coin, a lot of the cast have the ability to just get away from anything. Chang’e has the ability to jump into the air and ignore all crowd control and damage for two seconds. Which is, of course, amazing when you’re playing her but frustrating when fighting against her and she’s not alone in the tough to pin down camp.

In All?

I had a good time this week. Despite being very bad at the game. Smite is a great title if you’re looking for something that is free and easy to get into where your ability to lane, farm, and team fight is easily transferred. It has its faults, but the visuals are great. Characters range from very large beefy frost giant to cute and cuddly squirrel. Characters feel very unique, especially the characters that were more recently released if some are a bit gimmicky and frustrating.The game has a lot of heart and I can easily see how it stuck around like it did. Hi-Rez has a way to reacting to its community is very weird ways and the game keeps on picking up additional weirdness. Like Bob Ross Sylvanus. If you enjoy something that’s offbeat but still has a lot of skill involved Smite may be that game for you.