Teams from around the world, including Avant Garde from Australia, have been competing for the SMITE World Championships starting today, but ahead of the tournament's launch Hi-Rez announced details for Season 3 of their game.
This year the game will finally introduce characters from the Japanese Pantheon, beginning with Amaterasu, who joins the game January 12 -- once the World Championships end. The Japanese pantheon has been one of the most requested sets from Smite players since the game's inception, and Amaterasu represents one of the most polished character models the game has ever featured in terms of texturing and animations.
Also coming to Season 3 is ranked matchmaking for the game's popular Joust mode. Joust is the most popular mode played in the Xbox One variant of the game, with just a single lane for teams of three to compete over. Alongside the ranked matchmaking is a map change -- Joust will now take place on a map based on the Sky Palace from the Sun Wukong legend of Chinese lore.
One change which might be controversial is a modification to the Active Items in the game. Now called Trinkets, every player will get these items for free as they progress through the game -- no purchase necessary. They'll no longer be levelled up, so in some ways they'll be less powerful than before, but because they're free they'll no longer be automatic gold sinks for players to use. The other change -- Smite's Executive Producer told us that they'll have new names. The example provided -- Purification Beads will be a trinket called Cleanse from here on out. Other active items will have similar 'verb' names as well.
Avant Garde has bowed out of the competition already, unfortunately, after tough battles against US team Enemy Gaming and China's Qiao Gu Reapers, but the tournament continues tomorrow, and you can watch it on Youtube Live (when it's live).