Once again, the Hi-Rez Expo is under way, having returned to its normal January schedule. Of course, with the pandemic, the developer/publisher did make one significant change to its event. They took it all online via Twitch. The bulk of the event takes place between tomorrow, January 8 and Sunday, January 10. (Those dates should be of particular interest to those of you who want to watch the esports events.) That said, the event really kicked off today with the first ever Hi-Rez Showcase, where they dropped new Season announcements for Smite, Paladins, and Rogue Company.
On January 26, Smite’s Conquest map will receive an overhaul as part of Season 8 Dawn of Babylon. The map’s new look is inspired by Babylonian myth as the game’s next god, Tiamat, has cleansed the map of Cthulhu’s influence by redecorating to her own tastes. Not only is the map glittering with gold and new architecture, but it’s also grown in size making room for new Jungle challenges and opportunities for players to pull off new strategies. Interestingly, the map isn’t getting just one change this season, but instead will “evolve” with quarterly updates that tweak both visuals and gameplay.
Of course, I did mention a new god. And there isn’t just one, but two new gods in the all new Babylonian Pantheon. The headline god here may or may not be Tiamat. But it appears plenty of players were requesting the hero Gilgamesh, who will eventually follow the monster queen into the battleground of the gods.
Tiamat and Gilgamesh aren’t the only gods arriving as part of Season 8. The Titan Forge Games team also teased four other gods that players seem to be guessing are Morgan le Fay of Arthurian lore, the Greek sea monster Charybdis, Clíodhna the queen of the Banshees haunting the Emerald Isles, and the Greek Titan Atlas condemned to hold up the heavens for eternity. Of course, there are other guesses, but these are pretty good based on the video and seem to be the most popular.
As for Paladins, Season 4, titled Calamity, has also been announced. This new season introduces a new Paladin to the lineup, Yagorath, the Devourer. She’s pretty much everything the label on the bottle indicates, a frontline character prepared to eliminate her foes with caustic spray and trails of acid. She has the ability to change form or shield herself, as well as simply devour her enemies — although that last one comes with a bit of risk.
Evil Mojo revealed a map rework of the Timber Mill during today’s event. The updated version can be seen in the video here.
In addition to everything above, the new season also comes with a new season pass — featuring new skins and other goodies — and new ranked rewards. It also rebalances a bunch of characters and implements several bug fixes, all of which can be read about on the Paladins site.
Finally, Rogue Company’s first actual season is on its way, along with a new game mode, battle pass, and Rogue. Unlike Smite and Paladins, there does not appear to be videos posted for each of these individually, but the full HRX stream is available to watch.
Details on Rogue Company Season 1 start around the 19 minute mark on the video below. The rank system has been redesigned requiring players to complete ten placement matches before being ranked. Levels are replaced with tiers and divisions with a total of six ranked tiers each with five divisions.
The first season will introduce eight new Rogues. The first has already been revealed as Kestral. She, like the others, is available with the Battle Pass (which runs $25). She’s a mercenary from India who uses mini-drones in battle.
First Watch Games also teased a bit of the Season One roadmap (I say ‘teased’ because everything past Phase 1 and the name of the new map, “Hollows” in Phase 2 is redacted.) We do however know that Phase 2 will feature a new Rogue and an event, while Phase three will have a Creator Event. Before all that, however, a new game mode is being introduced rather soon. The 2v2 Skirmish Map, Wingman, goes live on all major platforms next week.
The full rundown on all three games is available in the video below. For the full Rogue Company segment, jump to the 13:24 mark.