We preview the new Assault map that just hit SMITE, ARAM anybody?
Yesterday I had the opportunity to play the new SMITE Assault Challenge map before it got released to the public, Assault is basically everything you know and love about the All Random All Mid game mode popularized by the League of Legends community. The idea of everybody running to the same lane to battle to death has been around since the DotA days, but SMITE, with its locked chase camera driven by W, A, S and D, offers a unique experience that some may prefer.
As with other SMITE maps, the objective of this map is to kill the enemy team’s Minotaur, which is hidden in the opposing team’s base. But first the teams must destroy their enemy’s two towers and Phoenix; while the towers do not respawn the Phoenix does.
A group of us got paired up with one of the SMITE community team streamers, Chixy, then we jumped straight into the fray! Once you find opponents and join the game lobby you are given a random God to play and five seconds later are loading into the map. Loading typically takes less than ten seconds.
What first struck me upon spawning in the fountain was how well-crafted and beautiful the map was, the starting zone is a small town center with a single exit into the sole lane on the map. Moving out into that lane I looked up through the falling snow that covers the mountainside to see the beautiful northern sky filled with streaks of light from the aurora borealis.
Still looking around I was surprised by an enemy spell, only 20 seconds into the game and the fight had already begun. The no-man's land between the first two towers – or trees in this case – is a very short stretch of land that has no notable features, not a bush to hide in (they don't exist in SMITE) nor a regenerative health or mana potion spawn. The minions, which themselves look more equipped for the cold north than their Conquest map counterparts, arrived at the middle of the map around 30 seconds in.
When we get down to looking at how the map plays, honestly it is much like ARAM in League of Legends. Once you step away from the fountain and shop you are unable to return, recall is also disabled. Both of the games I played lasted about 20-25 minutes and flew by pretty quickly, even when I got a God I had no idea how to play and got destroyed by the enemy team.
The map is extremely back and forth, one team will kill all of the other and take a tower, then the team that died will respawn and do the same back. This is especially true when teams get to the Minotaur which animates and attacks enemies. To compensate for that added damage you need a good advantage; teams often fail trying and the pendulum swings against them once more.
In both of the games played during this play session I was able to buy a full set of items around the 20 minute mark, and in neither of those games did I play particularly well. The pacing definitely seems good; there is nothing worse than getting stuck in a game where neither team can win and it drags on for far too long.
Overall my experience was a good one. The map itself offers a more fun and casual drop in and play experience than League of Legends does. SMITE is a unique take on the DotA/Moba experience if anything, and while still in beta the team has been working hard to improve the game with additional maps, Gods and other features. If the click to move experience of similar games isn't your thing I would highly recommend trying out SMITE, after-all it is free-to-play.
The Assault game mode was added in today's patch, the details of which can be read on the SMITE site. You can play SMITE for free on Smitegame.com. SMITE Commentator Lionheart created a useful Reddit thread with some tips to take into consideration when playing Assault.