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Smite may, at face value, seem like an attempt to cash in on the recent success of MOBA games like LoL and HoN, as well as the resurgent Dota (and DOTA 2). Beyond face value, it's still a weak - if novel - attempt to cash in on that formula, bringing very little to the table in the way of innovation.
If you're trying to imagine what Smite plays like, take League of Legends, slow down the combat with intuitive (yet, seemingly, unintuitive) directional attacks and finish off by swapping the top down camera angle for some typical third person "over the shoulder" type visuals, with World of Warcraft's graphics, and you've pretty much got Smite.
Smite is a game from a team of people that, frankly, lack imagination. League of Legends may well have not been a huge overhaul to the Dota formula, but it certainly brought enough to the table to be classes as a "step up" in terms of the genre's evolution. Smite, however, is not that way inclined. It's "new" (but not really new) camera angle isn't innovative, and beyond it you're talking about precisely the same game as every other MOBA game that has come before it, without any thought to moving beyond genre boundaries into new territories.
It is Hi-Rez however, and they did a brilliant job bringing Tribes to the F2P world, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt.
Smite is in - regardless of what they call it - a soft launch. Closed beta keys are starting to go out like candy, and shortly the "open beta" (or, as other studious call it, the actual release) will take place, I'm sure. Hi-Rez are already selling gems, they're already selling beta components to beta players for real money. An unscrupulous tactic if ever I've seen it, but whatever. Hi-Rez can't be accused of caring about their integrity as a studio, as can be seen from their aggressive "release overpowered item -> nerf before F2P players can buy it" approach to RMT.
The problem is, however, that Smite isn't even vaguely balanced. LoL is a brilliant game, and it is a brilliant game for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is that, for lack of a better example, it is perhaps one of the most balanced multiplayer games on the market. Smite... is not. "Gods" - or heros - that are high damage, don't actually do high damage, whilst more utility-orientated heros offer little in the way of utility, but seemingly do insane amounts of damage. On one hero, for example, I could two shot most other players simply with a CC and a grab ability, but on Zeus - a high damage hero - it was taking me and age to get in a position to do the high damage the stat sheet claimed he did. And it has NOTHING to do with being outleveled (which rarely happens to me). Hi-Rez simply don't seem to know how to balance RPG combat systems, as can be evidenced by their continued failure with Global Agenda (and now Smite).
The maths doesn't really work on the items, either. After about 2 hours of theorycrafting, me and several other friends realised that the approach to items in Smite is less about "steering builds" (which is what most other MOBA deverlopers do) and more about... just throwing random stat buffs around. "Suggested" items don't seem to actually benefit the hero you play to any great extent, meaning that they are quickly found lacking. Yes, you're encouraged to find a setup that works... but generally there is one (maybe two) horrifically OP item sets that work for each hero... and that's it.
"It's closed beta," the fanboys will cry. Yes, it is... in the loosest possible terms. At best, it's an invite-only release. I fail to see how a company like Hi-Rez can call it a closed beta when they're already selling the in game currency, and you HAVE to buy it to get access to other heros that need testing. It isn't a closed beta. It's a release, and it's being marketed specifically like this to generate interest. They did it with Tribes, it worked there and now they're doing it again.
In short, if you're looking for a good MOBA game... play LoL, HoN etc. They're better, more balanced, and have fairer RMT systems.