Online competitive games have a fine line to walk between staying fresh and staying balanced – something that many of them have troubles with. In fact, if anyone were to name one of them and ask ten gamers, they’d probably get ten different takes on how any particular game manages to do that. Sometimes though, a game can make a change that freshens things up and unequivocally improves balance.

Smite has that rare opportunity as developer Hi-Rez Studios announced at the Hi-Rez Expo. The main 5v5 mode in Smite, known as Conquest, has long featured an asymmetrical map, meaning that players might feel one side or the other had an advantage depending on where they started. With the growing esports push for Smite and the Smite World Championships, this is a point that makes sense to address. The new map is symmetrical, meaning neither side gets an advantage or has a different experience to make the game even for each side. It also lets them do something else they’ve wanted to do – go and do a visual overhaul of the environment, monsters, and a return of the Jungle Fog to help make it clear what you can and cannot see.

smite mid map rift

SMITE Lead Game Designer A.J. “Ajax” Walker on the new map design:

“The Season 5 map will feature perfect vertical symmetry between Order and Chaos. Lanes and Jungle paths will have the exact same shape on top and bottom. This balances the map, and removes timing differences to each side. Overall, this creates a more consistent gameplay experience.”

Speaking on the changes to the visuals Walker said:

“Our goal for these changes is to provide a unified aesthetic that breathes new life into the map, while improving the gameplay experience.”

smite fog

The Jungle Fog makes it clear where you’re looking

The new map will be coming January 17th on the Public Test server.

Beyond the new map, there’s also the announcement of the 93rd character for Smite – Cerberus the three-headed Pupper who guards the entry to the underworld. He’ll be joining the Smite roster in patch 4.25, which is expected to release on January 9th for PC. While we don’t have any details about him at this time, we do have some art that shows his more fearsome side here:

smite cerberus

Who’s a good boy? Cerberus is!

For a limited time, Hi-Rez has announced a special offer for PlayStation Plus members who want to join the free-to-play game – they can get 20 Gods and 31 Skins by going to this link for free. If you’ve wanted to try Smite out on PlayStation, this would provide a good starting pack. Smite is also available on PC and Xbox One.

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Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.