SMITE Season 5: Can They Get This One Right?

Well, its a new year and with that comes another season of SMITE: Battleground of the Gods. Big changes are coming this year, including a starter items overhaul and a complete redesign of the Conquest Map. The last season the SMITE devs and designers had a reputation of making some very questionable choices about the game and its balance. Hopefully this doesn’t go the same way.

You can read the Update Notes here: SMITE 5.1 Update Notes

Watch my Analysis video here: SMITE 5.1 Analysis

So is SMITE 5.1 a good start to the season or a bad omen for the future?

THE MAP

This is the most obvious change with this new patch. First off, the map is bigger, 20% wider according to the designers. This change expanded the jungle and made it a bit more precarious for anyone wandering through it. They’ve added more landmarks that can lead to great ambush set ups and it makes it quite dangerous to be caught in the jungle alone. Jungle camps have also been changed, each one getting a design overhaul to better reflect the Greek lore. Centaurs, Manticores, Satyrs, and Chimeras now make the jungle their home. Camps have also been relocated to make things a little more efficient. There is also more room for fighting around the phoenixes and Titan room, it makes defending easier since its a good distance from the Titan. A slew of other changes like respawn timer decreases on camps and an enhanced Fire Giant lend themselves to quickening the pace of Conquest matches, which were previously quite long.

BLESSINGS

A new feature, these now replace the old starter items. You can only buy 1 blessing per match, and once you sell it its gone and you cannot buy a new one. This coupled with labeling each Blessing based on character class, make it clearer what blessing you should be getting. As such there is an Assassin’s, Guardian’s, Mage’s, Hunter’s, and Warrior’s blessing. There is also an additional 3 blessings available in other game modes. The 5 Conquest blessings listed above are only usable in Conquest. Each blessing has specific goals for getting stacks on the item and a unique passive once fully stacked. One thing to note, Mage’s blessing does bonus damage when you hit an ability. Unfortunately, its entirely broken since certain abilities will deal the bonus damage more than once. Thoth was actually removed from the public test server to fix the issue of his abilities dealing bonus damage on each tick of damage, up to 6. Apart from this, blessings seem like a good change and you can mix up which one you buy based on how you want to play.

THEY BROKE MAGES

Yes, its exactly what is sounds like. It seems that Hi-Rez did not like the spot mages were in against most other gods, so they got one of the largest buffs across a class I’ve ever seen. They added a slew of new magical items with massive stats. Existing items also got power buffs. It would be easier if I just showed you.

Typhon’s Fang:

  • 2800g
  • +100 Magical Power
  • +200 Mana
  • +15% Magical Lifesteal
  • PASSIVE – Your Magical Lifesteal From items is increased by 50%. Your Magical Power is increased by the 100% Amount of Magical Lifesteal you have.

Soul Gem

  • 2300g
  • +65 Magical Power
  • +150 Health
  • +12% Magical Lifesteal
  • +10% CDR
  • PASSIVE – Every time you hit an enemy with an ability or basic attack you gain 1 stack. At 5 Stacks your next ability will deal bonus damage equal to 25% of your Magical power, and will heal yourself and allies within 30 units of you for 25% of your Magical Power

Rod of Tahuti

  • Decreased Cost from 3300 to 3000
  • Increased Magical Power from 125 to 150
  • NEW PASSIVE – Gain 25% additional Magical Power against targets below 50% Health.

Telkhines Ring (Because Freya wasn’t broken enough)

  • Increased Cost from 2400 to 2800
  • Added +20% Attack Speed
  • NEW PASSIVE – Your basic attacks deal bonus damage of 10 + 5% of your magical power. This effect does not hit structures.

Do I really need to say anything else? So now mages do significantly more damage than they used to and they’re harder to kill. Oh, and a bunch of them got magical protection scaling of 0.9 per level too. Also some of the pen and items that deal bonus health percentage damage got buffed to do more against tanky targets as the game goes on. So tanks aren’t the problem anymore…

Oh, and some physical items got changed, but who cares? Mages are broken.

BALANCE

And quickly, some god balance changes.

Ah Muzen Cab had his movement and attack speed increase from his hives reduced.

Fafnir’s stun on his first ability in dwarf and dragon form was nerfed from 1.5s to 1.0s.

Ao Kuang’s ultimate only heals him once he takes his target up in the air and not on initial contact.

Cu Chulainn’s base HP5 was reduced from 9 to 7 and his ultimate got a 10s cooldown increase.

Loki’s Decoy got a cooldown reduction from 14s to 12s and a damage increase.

Nike’s Rend now makes her knockback immune and the damage was decreased.

Raijin’s Percussive Storm had its damage reduced, Raiju had damage to subsequent targets reduced, and his ultimate, Taiko Drums, got a cooldown increase from 90s to 100s.

Ratatoskr’s Dart got a cooldown increase from 12s to 14s and Acorn Blast had its mana costs increased as you level it.

Ravana’s base health was reduced from 470 to 450 and Mystic Rush has its damage mitigation reduced by half.

Thoth’s Hieroglyphic Assault had its damage increased.

Tyr’s heal on Power Cleave now has 20% physical power scaling.

And a bunch of assorted Guardians and Mages got movement speed increases.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The moral of this story is mages are broken and I hope they nerf some of these items before this thing goes live, otherwise we have a serious problem. Have they learned yet? No, sadly. This design team still tends to do too much to fix problems that aren’t really big issues and ignores fairly obvious ones. There were some good targeted god changes to balance things after SWC but beyond that, there were alot of crazy things in here. Of course it always takes time to adjust things in a new season, but this could be a bad sign…

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