Almost a year of development has culminated in this moment: Hi-Rez Studios presenting the official reveal of the Season 5 SMITE
map to thousands of screaming fans at the 2018 Hi-Rez Expo. In case the crowd wasn't excited enough, Hi-Rez topped it off with the presentation of the newest god, Cerberus, and not one but two new pantheons to debut in 2018.
Hi-Rez tied the reveal of the Season 5 Conquest map to SMITE
's ongoing video series The Fall of War
, which were released one at a time with each Odyssey patch. While the other gods were rallying their troops and fighting, Hades was the one who benefited as the population of the Underworld increased with every fallen soldier. Hades' power grew until he was able to create a "rift between order and chaos."
That rift is the Season 5 map, which Hi-Rez segued into following the Hades cinematic. The map is 20% bigger and features updated visuals, much-requested mechanics like the return of fog that obstructs vision, and necessary balance adjustments. Players have seen screenshots before from development updates that Hi-Rez has released periodically, but for the first time, gamers were able to see the map from all angles in a video.
Order and Chaos, the two sides of the map, are perfectly symmetrical. In the past, one side of the map has always been favored over the other due to slight differences. Since the map is now larger, players will have to fully commit to a rotation since they won't be able to get from lane to lane as quickly. Big changes are being made to overall balance in Season 5 to fit better with the new map; for example, lane minions will be tank-ier and do more damage than they do now. According to the developer, junglers will spend more of their time roaming the jungle instead of leeching experience from lanes.
There are also a ton of changes to camps and bosses, both visual and otherwise, some of which players already knew about. The red buff is now a manticore, the Gold Fury has been remodeled in the style of a Greek fury, oracles have a brand-new design, the Portal Demon is now the Pyromancer and provides a movement speed buff to players upon leaving fountain (similar to Swift Wing), Fire Giant has a new model based on the Surtr, and more.
In addition to the Season 5 Conquest map, Hi-Rez announced they are working on a revamped Arena map.
The new content doesn't stop with the new maps, however. The reveals continued as Hi-Rez announced two new pantheons and previewed the next god, Cerberus. Players don't even have to wait until Season 5 for Cerberus; he'll be available in patch 4.25, presumably the last patch of Season 4.
Hi-Rez also welcomed the Slavic and Voodoo pantheons, both coming in 2018. If this seems like a sudden leap for the game, which rarely receives new pantheons and only has nine right now, Lead Designer A.J. Walker, or HiRezAjax, elaborated on the decision, saying, "We want less restrictions on what gods we make. We want to make the single coolest characters we can." He also said Hi-Rez will not be rushing to fill out pantheons and that older pantheons will continue to receive god releases.
Hi-Rez says patch 4.25, which will have Cerberus and slight balance changes, will launch on PC on January 9th with consoles to follow. The PC public test server for Season 5 will begin on January 19th with a full release scheduled for the end of January.