Tribes: Ascend is still in the closed beta state, but for a closed beta, it's surprisingly easy to join up and frag other players in this upcoming free-to-play first-person shooter. Yesterday, the game was updated to version 0.1.742.0, and the changes are significant. Let's see: a new user interface, three classes cut, a new upgrade system, overhauled perks, and so much more. If you want to check out all the changes, peek at the full patch notes. And if you want to join the Tribes: Ascend closed beta, we still have keys left to give away!.
Also included are a number of new weapons. After all, the theme of the patch is weapon customization! In the "old days," as it were, you upgraded your weapons via skill trees. Now, upgrades are weapon-centric. We caught up with executive producer (and Hi-Rez Studios' chief operating officer) Todd Harris to find out what his favorite weapons are in Tribes: Ascend. Looking to make a mark in this speedy shooter? Here are the tools you need.
The Stealth Spinfusor
The spinfusor is the classic Tribes weapon. It fires slow-moving blue discs, so you have to lead your opponent. (As Harris says, "you have to perform trigonometry in your head.") Tribes: Ascend includes a number of different kinds of spinfusors, the newest of which is the stealth variety. This version is equipped by the stealthy infiltrator class and fires red discs rather than the normal blue ones. Wanna feel like a badass? Come out of stealth and fire one of those puppies at the back of an opponent's head.
The Phase Rifle
Tribes: Ascend's sniping class is the sentinel. Until now, sentinels wielded a pretty traditional sniper rifle. Now, they can go with the energy-based phase rifle. Its rate of fire is a little lower than the sniper rifle, and it consumes energy, which you have to watch closely. But if you fire it at full energy, it does higher damage per shot.
The MIRV Launcher
What the hell is a MIRV, you may ask? Well, it's a "multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle." In other words, it's a single missile designed to hit multiple targets. In Tribes: Ascend, the juggernaut uses this bad boy. Normally, juggernauts have wielded the fusion mortar, which fires a green glob of goo that hits targets at quite a distance. The MIRV launcher is sort of a variation of the fusion mortar that does damage to even larger areas. It fires an explosive charge, which then has a secondary set of explosives. If you don't pride yourself on accuracy, or just like awesome fireworks shows, this is the weapon of choice.
Technicians are a stay-at-home defense class for those that don't necessarily wish to ski all over the battlefield. Their default build gives them a turret to place and a repair gun, along with a submachine gun that can be deadly in the right hands. Now they get the thumper, which is a like a handheld grenade launcher. The thumper fires a single grenade that does a good deal of area-of-effect damage, and it can be a real hoot to pull of some fancy kills with it. Try thumping an enemy flying through the air or time your lob right so that it hits the ground just as your opponent does. Explosive! If you play as a technician, you'll appreciate having a weapon with a little more range to it.
The Thrust Pack
OK, OK, so this isn't really a weapon in the traditional sense, and it isn't brand new. But really, anything that allows you to triumph in battle is a weapon, is it not? As in previous Tribes games, skiing up hills and jetpacking through the air in Tribes: Ascend is no less central than firing bullets and discs at your enemies. It takes time to master the sense of momentum, of course. The thrust pack gives the pathfinder class an extra burst of speed, so if you aren't good at disc jumping or just need an efficient way to reach top speed, this pack option is for you.