Smite Battleground of the Gods

1000px-Smite-game-info

For this week’s blog I decided to play Smite. Smite is a free to play MOBA, Massive Online Battle Arena, developed by Hi Rez Studios. The game was originally released in 2014 but has been rereleased on multiple platforms since then. I played the game on my Xbox One and have been playing Smite for over a year now. Smite is not like your typical game that people think of when you play Xbox. Xbox is typically associated with Call of Duty or Halo. MOBA’s are typically known for being PC games like DOTA and League of Legends. Smite for all intense and purposes is the first MOBA to come to Xbox and is why it caught my interest.

Smite World Championship 2017 NRG

Smite is not your typical MOBA as it is played from a third person perspective, as opposed to the traditional top down view. Not only is the camera placement different it is also the characters. Smite is known as the Battle Ground of the Gods because it takes Gods from different mythologies around the world. There are gods from the Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, Japanese, Mayan, Norse, and Roman mythologies. Having people recognize characters like Zeus or Thor allows players to relate to the game. In total, there are 86 playable Gods in the game. Out of the 86 Gods they are split into 5 different classes Assassin, Guardian, Hunter, Mage, and Warrior.

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A somewhat outdated look at the playable Gods in Smite

Smite’s top game mode, and only relevant game mode, is Conquest. Conquest is a 5 v 5 game mode where the objective is to take out the enemy Titian. Each team has an equal start and the game comes down to team play and communication. The each player has a specific role jungle, solo, mid, carry, and support.

SMITE-Season4-Conquest-Map-Layout

Smite’s current Conquest map

Determining who the “artist” of Smite was difficult, but I decided to go with Ajax. Ajax is the lead designer for Smite. The games been out since 2014 and has been going steadily growing since. The question becomes why? A game 3 years old is growing in popularity because it has been able to adapt throughout the years. The reason for this has been the lead designer. Ajax oversees any change that will make it into the game and has final say on the matter. Stockburger explains, “The Artist is changing a functional or aesthetic element in an existing game. This often critical or ironic intervention is referred to as modification (mod) or patch.” (Stockburger p. 29) Smite is currently on season 4. Smite releases a new patch roughly every two weeks and is currently on patch 4.4. Each Smite patch presents several changes from God balances, item changes, and adding/subtracting elements to the map. This means that the artist, Ajax, is changing the way the game plays every two weeks. This is what makes Smite different from other games as it is constantly changing. Ajax is important because he decides on how Smite changes. For good or bad, mostly bad the community HATES Ajax, Ajax is the artist that paints the Battlefield of the Gods.

A picture of Ajax and the common sentiment of the community.

Reference

Andy Clarke and Grethe Mitchell, Videogames and Art, Bristol; Chicago: Intellect pp. 29
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7 thoughts on “Smite Battleground of the Gods

  1. Smite was a fun game when I played it. I also thought the artwork was amazing for a MOBA. If you compare it to League of Legends, it just visually blows it out of the water. It’s also better visually than Heroes of Newerth, Dota 2, and Heroes of the Storm. As for the artist of Smite, I don’t think any one person can claim responsibility. I think Hi-Rez as a team are the artists behind it.

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    • I agree visually Smite is miles ahead of other MOBAs they make an effort to have a “pretty” game. I know you can’t make one guy the artist but I knew EVERYONE would give credit to teams/studios as a whole so I wanted to stand out. I agree Hi Rez as a team is the artist but I just wanted to point one guy in Ajax.

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  2. “intense and purposes” -> “intents and purposes”
    As for your blog, your pushing the person who changes the work is really interesting, but you don’t explain it enough and your time wasted on summarizing how it is unique as a MOBA is a bit wasted. Yes, it’s relevant to understanding the game, but you don’t spend enough time explaining the artist as modifier. To understand it this way you need to explain the idea that a game is NEVER a finished work of art, but a constantly evolving thing, thus the person pushing the evolution is the artist. However, this would mean that it’s Ajax and the players together in a love/hate relationship, no? In any case, you must work to fully explain your logic/reasoning.

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  3. I don’t think that I would have been able to narrow down authorship to one designer/artist, but I actually understand what led you to make that conclusion. Although, I would argue that the community is also becoming the collective artist of the game too, because the community is able to have some input, yet at a very minor level. This input over time will also have an impact on how the game is played and designed. Thus, I think that your conclusion is too narow and neglects the multi- faceted changes that occur within the game, and I think that you un knowingly are acknowledging one part of the evolutionary process of a game, while ignoring others.

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  4. I like how you tied your blog back to Stockburger’s argument. However, taking his concepts into consideration, how would changing the functional element of the online part make Smite different?

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  5. I find it interesting that you narrowed down the artist to one person. I liked your idea that because Ajax is recreating the playing field then he is the artist. The game sounds really cool and hopefully I can play it soon since I’ve always been into the mythological gods and goddesses.

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  6. Agreeing to everyones else’s comment, i also find it interesting that you thought of ajax as the artist of the game. My opinion of more of the Becker approach of the over development team, in this case being Hi Rez Studios, as the artist for the game. I do like the points that you made with your argument though, with the reference to Stockburger on game modification and how with patches it what really keeps the games alive moderating them as changes are needed. Never would of thought of that good read!

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