Smite preview part 1: Curious beginnings
Welcome to part one of a multi-part series in which I plan to document my time with Smite to show how I grow as a player in the beta, which should help show new players what to expect. I went into Smite with hundreds of hours of League of Legends logged and even more time spent watching professional matches, plusan occasional dabble in Dota 2. One might think that my modest amount of time spent in the genre might translate over into Smite, but I can say without a doubt, it didn’t give me a leg up over the competition, as evidenced by how poorly my first handful of games went.
The game starts with a simple enough tutorial, but, like most MOBAs, it barely even scratches the surface before it sends players on their merry way. The only mode available to players when they first start is called Arena, and that’s where I spent the entirety of my first day.
Arena is shaped like the Colosseum, with jungle camps along the side that provide buffs to players. It’s an excellent place to start, because it avoids the deeper intricacies of a standard match and allows players to focus on finding a god or immortal that fits their play style and novoices to feel good about themselves. Everything seemed to be working well when I first got into a match: the store was easy to navigate; I could decipher what was going on with little problems; and I felt adequately prepared to get started.
Of course I was dead wrong, I finished my first game with a 1/11/11 (kills/deaths/assists) score line as Ares and felt lost. It felt as though I was missing everything, and even though I had these great combos in my head I just couldn’t seem to pull them off. All my skillshots always “just” missed, and I couldn’t seem to land a single auto attack, regardless of if it was melee or ranged. After two more games where I did as bad if not worse than the first, I decided it was time to turn to everyone’s greatest resource: the internet.
After asking some friends about ideal control schemes, it turned out the savage scheme and quick casting were best for me, and turning to forums to find out who my first god should be, Ymir seemed to be the consensus. Armed with this knowledge, I dove back into the Arena. Suddenly it all clicked. Whether it was because of the new control scheme coupled with quick casting or because I was playing an immortal that was in my skill range, I didn’t know, and it didn’t matter. I stopped dying every minute and actually started to get kills and to contribute positively for my team. It felt great. It felt how every MOBA should feel when it’s being played “right,” or at least being played at a higher skill level than it was previously. Arena games are fairly short, only about 20 minutes, so the games went fast, and I just kept on playing.
For any players just starting with Smite, I highly recommend giving Ymir a try. His kit provides enough tankiness that one can dive into team fights fairly often without too much to worry about, but he also deals enough damage to feel like a powerful threat on the map. He is absolutely a wonder to play or at least he is with about five hours clocked. I’m expecting I’ll look back in about a month or so and laugh at my naivety, but at the end of the first day I was at the top of the world — and it felt great.
As I wrapped up my play session, I managed to feel pretty confident about my skills. I had reached level five, unlocking the game mode I’d been looking forward to the most: the three-lane, 5v5 MOBA experience. Of course there is still an incredible amount of information to learn. I have no idea about jungle or item build paths, no idea how the roles play out or what champs are better suited for each lane, and I have zero ideas in regards to which beings are currently in the meta and which have recently been hit with the nerf hammer.
I only managed to fit in one game on my second day of playing, but it was a doozy. I decided to play Conquest, the regular MOBA mode seeing as I had ended my last session with unlocking it. As soon as I entered the lobby someone immediately picked Ymir, the one and only being I felt even a semblance of comfort playing as. With the rest of the picks trickling in, my team agreed that we would still need a carry. Of course I didn’t know what gods or immortals fit that description, so I ended up picking Cupid, whom I had played before just not with very much success.
As the match began to load I suddenly remembered that my actual knowledge about what really matters in this game mode was severely lacking. Heck, I didn’t even know what lane I should have been walking when the match started. I ended up going to the right lane, hoping for the best, but, well, my support and I immediately gave up the first two deaths of the game but remained positive. We actually went back to the lane and started crushing the enemy, and it was wonderful. The feeling of pure domination in a MOBA is like no other feeling in any other game, which is what keeps players coming back for more.
As we progressed through the laning phase, I noticed that creep score (CS) wasn’t really a thing in Smite. In other MOBAs players need to get the last hit on a minion in order to get gold; otherwise they only gain experience. But in Smite it seems that as long as players contribute to the death of a minion then gold is rewarded. Once the laning phase began to end and we started to group up I noticed one other slight issue with the way Smite works: the communication. Communicating in-game is a challenge because it seems to be rare that more than one other person will be using a microphone, and with no in-game chat, like on PC games, it makes it a lot harder to express your ideas to the team. There are predetermined messages that can be sent out to the team via shortcuts, but they are nowhere near as in-depth as I would like to see.
The game dragged on for over 40 minutes due to a lack of communication on our team, but as it finally ended I was proud of myself. I had won my first ever match of Conquest; played an immortal I wasn’t comfortable with; and had picked up a few new ideas for future matches. The prior day I hadn’t really fallen in love with the game, because of only being able to play Arena, but as I began to log off after my sole match of the second day, I could feel the love for Smite start to grow and couldn’t wait to come back the next day.
For anyone new to playing Smite or even veterans of the game, feel free to add me. My gamertag is HubesMaster and maybe we can both teach each other somthing new. I look forward to seeing everyone on the battlefield.