Smite is one of the eSports scene’s biggest up-and-coming MOBAs, and as such we’re pleased to announce that we will be hosting a US$50,000 LAN even right here in the ESL studios in Cologne on Saturday the 26th of July, in which the top four qualified teams will do battle for a truly epic prize pool.
In addition to this, the Smite European Championship will also be held right here in Cologne, Germany on November the 15th and 16th, the final two of the top six teams in Europe continuing on to the prestigious World Championship, which has a starting prize pool of US$600,000 that will be further bolstered by community funding.
Todd Harris, chief operating officer of Hi-Rez Studios, said of the announcement:
“As Smite continues to grow, it is quickly becoming a leader in professional competitive gaming. With teams from North America, Asia, Europe and South America, this will be a truly global championship. We can’t wait to host the world’s best here in our hometown of Atlanta for this landmark event.”
Getting to grips with Smite
Almost everyone has heard of League of Legends and Dota, and some will also know HoN, but Smite is perhaps the least well-known of the MOBA crowd. For the uninitiated, Smite is another relatively recent addition to the genre, and while the beta went on for quite some time, the game was only officially released in March this year. Unlike a lot of later additions to the MOBA scene, Smite’s third person perspective give you a whole new way to play, and, with its World Championships having been announced last month, its professional scene is on the rise.
In typical MOBA fashion, Smite’s main map, Conquest, is a 5v5 map with three lanes and a jungle. Players must get past the turrets in each lane to reach the Phoenix (an Inhibitor/Barracks-style turret which respawns several minutes after it dies) and ultimately kill the enemy team’s Titan. All of Smite’s characters are based on actual gods or immortal beings from a wide variety of religious pantheons, meaning you can see Thor and Odin face off against the likes of Hercules and Aphrodite.
Most MOBAs are played from a top-down perspective, giving players a free view all around their character while mouse clicks on the map are used to move around. Being third person, however, Smite’s movement controls are much more like those of an RPG or FPS, with a combination of WASD and the mouse used to move your character. This means you have to be precise in your aiming in order to hit your enemies with even basic attacks. Additionally, you can’t see behind you unless you turn around, making map awareness even more key and ganking a lot more potent.
One of the interesting things about Smite is that it already has a wealth of game modes to choose from. In addition to the the typical 5v5 three-lane Conquest, there’s also a 3v3 map with one lane and jungle camps at the sides called Joust, an ‘ARAM’-style map called Assault, a 5v5 mode in a huge Colosseum called Arena and finally a recently released 4v4 map known as Siege.
Smite is definitely starting to pick up traction competitively, with two of the biggest names in eSports - Team SoloMid (TSM) and Cloud 9 - already having professional teams, and other well-known eSports associations such as Team Dignitas, SK Gaming and Team Coast also having entered the fray. Assuming the professional Smite scene continues to grow, it’s likely we’ll see even more of these well-established gaming organizations joining in.
In addition to this, the first Smite World Championships will be taking place in January 2015, with teams from North America, Europe and China all competing to see who will reign supreme. Teams earn points in weekly tournaments held between May and July, with the aforementioned US$50,000 regional LAN for both North America and Europe being held right here at the ESL studios to see which top two teams will be able to qualify for the playoffs. A wildcard tournament will also be held in October, with another two teams from each region qualifying for their regional playoffs.
The prize pool for the World Championships will be starting at US$600,000, and Hi-Rez have made it clear that this will be added to by community contributions and exclusive content sales in the time leading up to the championships. With such a huge event taking place in January, Hi-Rez are certain to pick up a good amount of new interest in their game.
Outside of this big championship, TSM will be holding one of their customary invitationals, which has already built up a prize pool of around US$25,600 thanks to sales of their TSM Apollo skin, which was released to commemorate TSM’s first place victory at the Smite launch tournament in March.
Smite at ESL
We at ESL are committed to getting you guys involved in as much Smite action as possible, whether that be watching it or playing it. In addition to hosting the aforementioned US$50,000 LAN later this month, we recently hosted a Siege tournament, and we will also be holding more Smite tournaments in the future, so if you didn’t make this one (or aren’t a Siege fan), be sure to keep tabs on our Smite homepage for updates on when our next competitions will be held that you can participate in.
For those of you who picked up Smite during the beta only to put it dismiss it as just another MOBA, I encourage you to try it again. Hi-Rez Studios have done a good job of creating a number of unique modes that you can’t actually play in other MOBAs, and it’s worth going back to it just for those. Additionally, if you thought the concept of a third person MOBA was cool but the lack of characters / some of the graphics turned you off it, Hi-Rez have been working hard to consistently release new gods for you to play while also improving the visuals of some of the older ones to keep the art style consistent and improve the visual quality across the game.
All in all, Smite is a great addition to the MOBA genre, bringing some unique qualities that make it both entertaining to play and watch. What with the World Championships having been announced in their entirety, now is the ideal time to get yourself watching some of the professional action if you haven’t already. Definitely check out the World Championship qualifiers if you’re interested in seeing how professionals play the game, and don’t forget to try your hand at some ESL Smite tournaments if you get the chance! Remember that we will be broadcasting the US$50,000 tournament on the 26th of July, so keep your eyes peeled to stay on top of the action.