Tribes: Ascend, since it was announced in March 2011, has been eagerly awaited by ever-patient gamers. The game is a multi-player only first person shooter that will utilize Epic Games‘ Unreal Engine 3, the same engine behind the dynamic Gears of Wars 3. Tribes: Ascend is part of the Tribes universe of games, a universe that gamers haven’t seen since Tribes: Vengeance was released in 2004.

Hi-Rez Studios is rapidly approaching the launch date for the Tribes: Ascend closed beta, scheduled to go live on November 4th, 2011.

While the studio still has not committed to a hard launch date for the completed game (which has already been delayed once, from Q4 2011 to Q1 2012), they are still accepting applications for the closed beta. Hi-Rez expanded on their ideology behind the need for the beta.

“In general, Hi-Rez Studios believes in an iterative development and release process in which we allow our users to play our games early, provide feedback and help us make a better game. By running an extended beta period using early versions of the game with a limited number of features and content, we hope to provide the best game we can at launch.”

Admission to the closed beta is by invitation only, requiring an activation key to play. Hi-Rez plans to begin the beta with a modest amount of testers and gradually increase that size as the beta progresses. Fans who wish to participate can sign up at the Tribes: Ascend main webpage, but need know that not all applicants will be accepted prior to launch. Hi-Rez has made Hi-Command available to players, the studio’s game launcher and information service. If selected for the beta, your activation key will automatically be uploaded to the Hi-Command launcher.

tribes-ascend gameplay 1

To guarantee a slot in the beta, fans can pre-purchase the Tribes: Ascend VIP Starter package. This package includes automatic admission into the beta program, as well as VIP status in the game, a 30-day Booster and 800 Tribes Gold (at a 33% discount from the standard price).

The VIP Starter package (29.99 USD, 24.99 EUR, 19.99 GBP) includes:

  • VIP Status (Value: $20 USD)
  • 800 Tribes Gold (Value: $10 USD)
  • 30-Day Booster (Value: $15 USD)

“VIP” is a special account status that will be available to those that purchase it in Tribes: Ascend. Those with VIP status will have priority log-in, access to exclusive servers, and will earn tokens and experience faster inside the game, allowing them to unlock items more rapidly.

According to Hi-Rez, many features that are intended for the final product will not be part of the initial closed beta. Some features will only be partially implemented, and, as is the case with any beta release, may contain bugs and generally be difficult to use. One of the core functions of the beta is to gather player stats and metrics related to combat game play balance and character progression.  Based on this, players should expect that some weapons, classes, game rules and features will undergo significant changes during the beta. The following list is are some of the features players can except in the closed beta:

  • A subset of the classes intended for the final game, with additional classes being added over the course of the beta. Note that some weapon models, Special FX and other attributes of the art around the weapons may be temporary.
  • A subset of the maps intended for the final game, with additional maps being added over the course of the beta.
  • The initial closed beta will include the CTF and Rabbit game modes.
  • Initial system for player advancement
  • “Quick Matches” in which players simply hit “Play Now” and are slotted into a new or already-running match based on basic match-making rules.
  • A basic Friends List, that allows you to see whether or not your friends are online and to join the match they are currently playing in (if there is room in the match).

tribes-ascend gameplay 2

The following features will not be included in the initial closed beta (but will be phased into the game leading up to launch):

  • Private Servers
  • Clan Support
  • Ranking/Ladder System
  • Ability to view and browse your match history and detailed player stats/achievements.
  • Advanced Social Features – enhancements are planned to chat, the party system and many other aspect to make it easier for friends to communicate and play with and against each another.
  • Customized player skins
  • Additional maps, classes, and various other features

Are you excited for the beta of Tribes: Ascend? What features of the beta are you most excited to see and experience?

Tribes: Ascend will be available via digital download for the PC and XBox 360 sometime in Q1 2012.

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Source: Hi-Rez Studios