The third-person MOBA game SMITE, is about to get a sequel which you can easily guess will be called SMITE 2. It’s not a simple sequel, as it will be introducing major changes to the game’s professional esports circuit. This includes new international LAN events and the end of the developer-owned team.
A Brief Introduction to SMITE
With the release of Riot’s League of Legends, which quickly became the world’s leading export MOBA, the developers at Titan Forged Games decided to play with the idea. However, they considered players who would like to enjoy the MOBA experience but without the RTS point of view. That’s how SMITE was born, a third-person competitive action game that uses the same structure as a MOBA but with over-the-shoulder combat.
10 years have passed, and the developers added tons of new content through updates. There are about 130 heroes that are themed around gods from humanity’s ancient pantheons. The company also held regular esports tournaments over these years. However, it now realizes it’s time for a proper sequel. The big news was announced during the ongoing SMITE World Championship in Arlington, Texas. During the event, SMITE 2 was announced. It represents some changes to the esports scene.
SMITE 2 Marks the Migration to Unreal Engine 5 – There will be a Legacy System to Help Players that Invested Real Money
The main difference between the first and second iteration of SMITE will be a massive migration from Unreal Engine 3 to Unreal Engine 5. That will bring a significant overhaul to some of the game mechanics. In addition, due to technical changes, it the impossible for the developers to migrate all paid cosmetics that the users bought from one title to the other. However, to help players deal with the migration, there will be a system dubbed Legacy. It will help those who invested real money in SMITE to get the same amount of premium currency for the sequel.
The launch timeline has already been laid out: A spring alpha testing period that will last the whole summer, which will be followed by a beta will begin in Autumn. A Final release date is still to be determined. However, it will be set for the end of this year.
Meanwhile, 2024 will be a transitional year for the esports scene that will have to adopt SMITE 2 very early on.
The Changes coming to Esports with SMITE 2
To those unfamiliar, the SMITE esports scene is organized around the developer-run SMITE Pro League Circuit. Last year’s World Championship drew 78,000 peak viewers, according to Esports Charts. Despite its modest following, the SMITE Pro League managed to sell out at the Esports Stadium Arlington. With SMITE 2, there will be many changes underway. “The SMITE 2 Founder Series will kick off during SMITE 2 alpha testing. We’re currently targeting this Spring for kick-off, but the exact date is TBD”. Alex Cantatore, Executive Producer for SMITE 2, told Esports Insider.
Alex Cantatore, Executive Producer for SMITE 2:
“We will hold competitive, open online qualifying tournaments during alpha playtest weekends and through beta testing. The best-performing teams in these tournaments will qualify for LAN Majors with associated prizing”.
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During the initial SMITE 2 Founders Series, there will be at least two LAN Majors. At least one will be in The United States and the other one in Europe or the UL. This will be the first time that competitive SMITE will be played in Europe since 2017.
“We believe this change to a Majors-focused esports scene will be good for the SMITE 2 esports ecosystem, as it’ll remove the restriction for full-time SMITE pro players having to be based in Atlanta. We can see the strength of players who are located in other places in this year’s SMITE World Championship: two of the eight SMITE Pro League teams were defeated by the top EU semi-pro teams in group stages. A third semi-pro team from NA was very close to knocking out another SPL team”.
For the past two seasons, developer Titan Forge Games owned and operated all SMITE Pro League teams. Even assuming responsibility for paying players’ salaries. That means traditional esports organizations left the scene. As part of the agreement, all players relocated to and competed from Atlanta.
With the new SMITE 2, there will be an open format. It will allow players to play from wherever and form teams with whomever they choose. This format will be inspired by the struggles of the Overwatch League. The organizers of the competitive circuit will now allow teams to seek sponsors and organizations of their choosing in this new format. The organizers are leaving this model behind to facilitate the rise of a self-sustaining circuit.
The Console-MOBA crosses the road to a new generation
SMITE currently calls itself as the “Console MOBA” having more than 50% of its player base on consoles. SMITE 2 will be a next-gen game due to the Unreal Engine 5 being only supported by the newer consoles. The game is one of the few esports games to have controller optimizations and a center for balancing values. This contributed t oa shit in the title’s audience away from fans of traditional MOBAs like League of Legends and Dota 2
The plan for the SMITE 2 launch is to come out in beta with a roster of 50 new and returning heroes that are as new and player-friendly as possible. It is worth noting that the original game will remain online and will receive updates but not new heroes. SMITE 2 will get new graphics, more tutorials, and major gameplay changes. It will pair nicely with a revamped esports ecosystem.