Tribes: Ascend update brings massive changes to the game and makes it completely free to play

I was really invested in to Tribes a couple of years back, and despite some balance hurdles I fully enjoyed the high speed gameplay which made things even sadder when Hi:Rez just announced one day they are not going to update Tribes any more and that they will focus on SMITE instead.

But, a month or so ago they decided they want to restart development on Tribes and as a peace offering gave all of the Tribes series for free. Now, after numerous community beta tests the patch, fittingly titled "Out of the Blue",  is ready to hit the game on December 10th.

There are a LOT of changes in this patch so if you want the full version head over here, otherwise allow me to give you a brief overview of the major changes.

First and foremost, the game is now fully free to play, no more spending insane amounts of in game credits on a couple of weapons or perks, they are unlocked for free. If you have the desire to spend money you can do so by grabbing skins, voice packs or any other cosmetic option available, but nothing gameplay related!

There are now three new maps inspired by some classic Tribes ones. Ice Coaster a large map inspired by Rollercoaster from Tribes 1, Perdition a small CTF map that owes its roots to the Tribes 2 map Damnation and finally Terminus, a mid sized map modeled after Katabatic and Arx Novena.

There are no more classes (so no more pathfinder, juggernaut etc.) instead its all about the loadouts. You can now chose light, medium or heavy armor with its corresponding benefits and any weapon combination your armor allows you to carry around. This is a return to how the old Tribes games have done it and given the balance issues Ascend had I feel this is going to be a massive step forward.

In order to prevent boring people from going double grenade launchers you're now restricted when it comes to equipping similar weapons in primary or secondary slots. In other words you can't take two explosive impact weapons but having a grenade launcher as your main weapon and a timed explosive as your secondary is fine.

Tribes:Ascend update removes classes and adds a really good loadout system

Snipers, your ones completely blow while the enemy ones blow you up

Vehicles are getting a major rework in order to make them far more viable than they ever were. The changes are too numerous to even attempt to summarize but sufficed to say I can actually see a role for all of them and not just using the Shrike (flying vehicle) to ram flag carriers.

Automatic weapons have received a much needed nerf and should no longer be bullet hoses of death. On the other spectrum of weapons there is now a +25% self impulse for all explosive weapons meaning you can launch yourself further and faster with some tactically placed shots.

These are the most important and biggest changes but there are a TON of things coming to the game that will shake up how everything works. 

Honestly? I didn't expect I'd ever be excited for another Hi:Rez product after what they've done with Tribes but they seem to be trying to make amends and what they've done here with Ascend is most respectable.

You can download Tribes: Ascend on Steam in preparation for the patch tomorrow and I'd recommend you do so, all of the complaints I had with the game are being dealt with in a single patch which means the only thing that remains is high speed shooty fun.