Earlier today, Hi-Rez Studios announced that Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics will be shutting down its servers effective January 1, 2020. The announcement came via a tweet by the game’s official twitter account.
This news comes less than two years after the game’s full release on February 20, 2018. Prior to its full release, Hand of the Gods was available on Steam Early Access starting in 2017. The game took the gods and abilities from Hi-Rez Studios’ successful MOBA SMITE: Battleground of the Gods and remolded them into a game that combined aspects of both CCGs and turn-based tactics games. In it, players would create decks of cards and use them to battle each other on a tactical grid, like if Hearthstone met Fire Emblem. Though the game initially seemed like Hi-Rez’s answer to Blizzard’s Hearthstone and was generally well-received, Hand of the Gods never quite took off in either the casual or the competitive scene. The game received a total of five core sets during its lifespan, but now it appears that run is over.
As compensation for the shutdown, current Hand of the Gods players will be granted 100,000 free Runes to help them enjoy the game for the remainder of the year. After the servers shut down on January 1, 2020, the game will no longer be playable. Players have until then to summon their gods, sling their spells, and marvel at Zeus’ divine pecs.
I’m actually pretty bummed about this news. I played Hand of the Gods back in the closed beta period. It needed a lot of polish at the time, but I felt like the game had a lot of potential. But still, if it can’t find an audience in two years then it’s probably time to call it quits. It’s not easy to compete with Hearthstone and Magic: the Gathering Arena.