SMITE Unveils New Babylonian Gods, New Map and More In 2021 Announcements
From my time in games journalism, HRX (Hi-Rez Expo) was my favorite time of year. So many SMITE/Paladins fans coming together to cheer, to see all the new 2021 announcements in person? It was just a week of non-stop hype. Sadly, COVID-19 put a stop to that for now. Even still, I had a chance to sit down with Titan Forge’s own Ajax and Killgoon to discuss the future of the hit 3D MOBA, SMITE. There are some seriously amazing changes coming to the game. Something for everyone awaits you in 2021. Want new gods? There are some killers on the way. Not happy with the Conquest Map? That’s getting an overhaul too! Maybe you want some tactical changes to the map. Got you there too! Are you unfamiliar with roles and want badly to get better? SMITE’s gonna have you ready to learn with the 2021 HRX announcements.
I’d also like to take this time to say: I was right, hah hah hah. I always do homework and prep for these kinds of things. When I saw that a new god (and a new pantheon) was on the way, I dug deep into my knowledge of ancient mythology. What did that grant to me? Chaos.
The Babylonian Pantheon Arrives
There are some people in the SMITE community that are upset at how small some of the pantheons are. Titan Forge, developers of SMITE made it very clear that was not a priority. Those pantheons will get filled out eventually. Instead, we’re looking at new concepts, new gods. It’s too easy sometimes to predict who a god will be, based on the current, available pantheons. The teaser icon on Twitter led me to the Babylonians. When I think of Babylon, the first two thoughts that come to my head are the Dragon Goddess of Chaos and the Oceans – Tiamat, and the legendary hero Gilgamesh.
Do you see that? That’s my degree in English/Literature paying off. The first two gods of 2021 will be Tiamat and Gilgamesh! You can expect Season 8 – Dawn of Babylon to arrive in just a few weeks after this announcement late January 2021 for SMITE, and Tiamat in all of her glorious majesty will appear in the February update. Gilgamesh will arrive in the April update. This is the biggest of the announcements for me personally in SMITE for 2021. I’m a sucker to see how these mythological beings come to life and what’s used on them. A whole season of Babylon is kicking things off!
The Dawn of Babylon Event will have players able to do quests and purchase new skins and other content. If you’ve played SMITE in the past, this will likely be similar to other Major Events in the game. No idea on what skins will be offered yet, but I can tell you that Tiamat and Gilgamesh both look, well, godlike.
Conquest Map Changed – First Time Since Season 5
One thing SMITE does that I wish other MOBAs did more of, was adjust the actual map. Not simply add one or two camps to the jungle, but actual, honest-to-god (no pun intended) changes. The map is being completely redone from scratch, with completely new art assets. The lanes, the jungle – everything is being changed. Another cool feature, cosmetically speaking, of the new Conquest Map is that the Chaos Side will now be Tiamat’s Babylonian Fortress. It will still face off against Mount Olympus, but their base will also have a new look and style to it. Familiar characters will be showing up on the map for SMITE fans too. What we mean is that the traditional jungle buff mobs are staying, but there are some new packs coming. All of the Chaos packs and monsters will be redesigned though, to fit the Babylonian motif.
These will change the game up in exciting ways, offering new tactical possibilities for everyone. The community has really been clamoring for a new Conquest Map, and since it’s been a few years, it’s time to shake it up! The map itself is bigger, wider, and longer in both directions (Order/Chaos). With a much bigger map, it will take a bit more time to rotate, forcing players to make tactical decisions on when to go where. There will also be new Jungle Paths, but most of the locations within the jungle will be in similar locations -speed buff, et cetera.
I love the concept of the new objectives. The first is Scorpions, which are based on Babylonian mythology. There will be two types of Scorpions. The first is Lesser Scorpions, which spawn in the Solo/Duo lanes. They will be the first jungle camps that can be contested directly in your lane. SMITE is different from many other MOBAs, in that it’s less about farming waves of minions. Instead, you farm some waves, then you rotate to the jungle, take a few camps.
I like this added bit of depth to the overall map. Greater Scorpions spawn in the jungle itself and should take 2-3 people to kill in the early-mid game. Killing one has a very special power. If you kill one, then the jungle camps on your side of the map will be empowered! So if you clear your Greater Scorpions, and then snag Red Buff, it will have new, enhanced power to it.
Bear in mind that this will have a duration, so it’s not just “Clear G. Scorpions, and pick a buff”. All of the buffs on your side of the map will be enhanced. This should hopefully help deal with snowballing in Conquest. These Greater Scorpions will spawn first in Gold Fury/Fire Giant first. Whichever is killed at that time, the team’s buffs on that side will be activated. This is the first jungle pack that changes locations, and that’s rad. There will be some interesting spots north and south of these points where the Scorpions will spawn, to create new team fights and moments of excitement in your matches.
It’s also important to note that if you kill these on a neutral side, it will shift to the enemy side next time, to make it more challenging, and offer more risk/reward decisions.
There are also Base Gates! Your base now has huge gates that only open from one side. This is the first dynamic geometry for SMITE. You can step on a pad as you exit the base, and the door will open so you can get out. It will open and then swing closed. Players from any side can open them though; not just your team.
You can leap over the gate though, fly over, or use any number of features to get through and open the door for your team. If you kill the enemy Phoenixes, the doors also open. However, you can’t damage the doors – yet. I did ask about that. Ajax said that while it’s not possible now, if that’s something the community wants, then it may be on the list of things to try for SMITE. You guys heard it; try it, ask for it, let’s see what happens! I like this idea as a new tactical change for the MOBA. So many MOBAs feel the same, but SMITE does more and more to stand out every year.
Ajax also told us that there will be quarterly changes to the conquest map. These will be pre-scheduled cosmetic and gameplay changes. Not whole reworks, but adding new components to the map to change how players tactically approach fights and other teams. There will be three of these dropped through the season. I can see why people might get frustrated by this, but I’m not among them. I love the idea of having to learn new things to stay relevant.
Role Guide Changes The Game
One of the major forces of toxicity in MOBAs comes from players not knowing a role. You get locked into Jungler, and you’ve never done it, for example. It’s very hard to practice roles in MOBAs because players just won’t let you. You have to be born good, after all. So with the SMITE 2021 announcements, we have a brand new Role Guide system!
This isn’t just a Role Guide in a little sandbox. This is a system you can toggle off anytime. It works in both PVP and Bot Matches, and it will give you a Waypoint/Quest overlay. So if you’re a jungler and you turn this on, it will show you the way to the first objective a jungler needs – Speed Buff. It will then guide you to other camps you should try. It will remind you when camps respawn, and in the late game will start pointing you towards Tower pushing and other late-game objectives. This isn’t a catch-all. It’s not going to tell you what to do when you pick Loki into Jungle Cabraken, for example.
It’s a dynamic tutorial that teaches as you play. It’s designed as a series of Training Wheels. I love this idea more than any other SMITE announcement for the 2021 season. While I’m most excited for Tiamat/Gilgamesh, the Role Guide will undoubtedly improve the game in a very real, quantifiable way. It’s a way to help players get out of their comfort zones, or if they get stuck doing something they aren’t familiar with, it will help them get familiar. The real skill comes with experience. This will help you get started though, so you can learn more about the game as a whole.
It’s my sincere opinion that this could help players reduce toxicity. If more people felt comfortable doing other roles because the game is actively helping them learn? It can only be a good thing. We’re going to be coming back to this to review it in greater detail once it launches later this month. I love the concept, so we’ll see how it holds up in action.
SMITE is a MOBA that feels like it changes far more than others in the genre. It’s not for everyone, but I think there’s never been a better time to give it a shot. It’s on virtually any platform you could want to play it on, and with a new Conquest map, new gods, and major balance changes, this is the time to get in on the action. If you want to watch all of the action for SMITE Worlds, you can find it on their Twitch.