Tribes: Ascend's First Patch in 2+ Years Outlined

Classes get merged, weapons get reclassified, and a number of things are now free for everyone.

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Hi-Rez Studios has taken its first step toward making good on its recent pledge to again support its free-to-play shooter, Tribes: Ascend. This weekend, it released an outline for what will be included in the game's first update in more than two years.

The patch is detailed in a Google Doc shared by creative director Sean McBride on Reddit. He notes that what's contained in the notes is not a complete rundown of everything in the patch that will eventually be released to the public. For now, though, it gives an idea of what Hi-Rez has in mind for the future of Ascend.

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Alongside a new map, the most notable change is the merging of Ascend's nine classes. The update condenses those classes down to three core ones, similar to what was available in the older Tribes game: Light, Medium, and Heavy. Each class has nine loadouts (all of which are free) for you to customize, and all weapon, armor, and perk upgrades are now part of the respective items' base stats.

Medium-class characters can carry three weapons at a time, while the Heavy class can carry four. There is no longer a distinction between primary and secondary weapons; instead, there is a new weapon class system that divides things up into groups like launchers, rockets, shotguns, and sniper rifles, which is intended to "limit equipping of similar weapons in all weapon slots."

Other changes include making all of the original paid base class loadouts and default items from Ascend's original class system free. A number of weapons have been tweaked, including shotguns, which have been made more reliable.

All of these changes will first be released on a public test server in order to get feedback from players. Hi-Rez warns those who participate in testing that some things will be broken. "With these class changes we are bringing full build customization to Tribes: Ascend," the notes state. "We know this will leave some weapons statistically non-viable, or lead to some 'broken' builds. These issues will be addressed in a future PTS balance patch. A main focus of this test is to identify the key balance issues created by this transition."

Hi-Rez plans to launch the public test server by September 14; there's not yet a date for when it will launch in full to the public.

The company announced plans to begin supporting Ascend once again in August, stating that the success of Smite means it has "more resources than ever."

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