The Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) genre’s two most popular entries are League of Legends and Dota 2.
Both games utilize an isometric camera perspective, which was much more popular in the 1990s and early 2000s than it is today. As such, younger players, and those who’ve grown accustomed to other types of perspectives, could feel uneasy and restricted by the camera while playing those games.
Smite, released by Hi-Rez Studios in March, 2014, (with a beta version available from 2013), offers players the option to play a MOBA which is balanced and designed with the use of the more modern third-person perspective in mind.
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How SMITE is Played
In a competitive esports setting, SMITE is played in 5v5 matchups between two teams in the game’s “Conquest” mode. Each team’s goal is to destroy the Titan in the enemy team’s base, and these only become vulnerable after the destruction of at least one full lane’s towers and one Phoenix. The game is played on a map of three lanes and a jungle area of neutral monsters between the lanes. Each of the five players on a team fulfill one of five roles:
- AD Carry: Starts the game in the “duo lane.” His or her job is to carry the team to victory in the later game stage, after starting the game with relatively weaker stats.
- Jungler: Focuses on killing minions in the jungle for experience and buffs.
- Mid: Farms the middle lane, and aids with the other lanes when needed.
- Solo: Farms the “solo” lane, and helps with teamfights/other goals when needed.
- Support: Starts in the duo lane and roams around to help the other teammates.
Important concepts to keep in mind are that each character levels up (from 1-20) and gains new abilities as the game goes on. Furthermore, gold is rewarded for successful kills of other players, assists, last-hits on enemy minions, kills of neutral minions, and structure destruction. Gold is used to purchase items which further enhance each character’s strength in various ways, such as by giving them the chance to inflict a critical hit on their basic attack.
SMITE Tournaments and Proleague
The first SMITE World Championship Tournament took place on January 9-11th, 2015, and was held in Atlanta’s 2,750 seat Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. The prize pool was just over $2.6 million USD, with a first place prize of $1.3 million, and just over $522,000 for second place. The tournament was set up by Hi-Rez Studios themselves, and featured the 8 best pro teams in the world. As of this writing, the next World Championship prize pool will be capped at $1 million, but there will be more opportunities to win provided during seasonal leagues and tournaments. Other tournaments and league prize pools vary greatly in size. There are full tournament listings on the SMITE wiki front page,. A listing of proleague schedule and some team profiles can be seen on the SMITE esports page.
Betting on SMITE
The fact that SMITE is relatively new has meant that it, as of this writing, hasn’t been offered regularly by some esports bookmakers. For fantasy esports. Alpha Draft is the best place to go for real money, and Vulcun has yet to offer it (ESL offers a fantasy league of their own, but the reward is the in-game currency called “gems,” and is therefore only relevant for people who play SMITE). Although many sites do not (as of this writing) have specific dropdown menus for SMITE like for League of Legends and Dota 2, some of them (such as Betway and Pinnacle) offer temporary opportunities to gamble on larger events.
It would be difficult to say, however, that an investment of time made into learning more about SMITE would be wasted for would-be bettors, simply because the game is growing at a rapid, too-fast-to-ignore pace. Bookmakers would be foolish to overlook the game any longer for the following reasons:
- The game was released on August 19th, 2015 for the Xbox One console. This makes it the first of the three largest MOBA titles to be playable on a game console, and that will increase awareness of the game dramatically.
- The viewing experience for SMITE is easier than for other MOBA’s due to a freer moving spectator camera, and because the skills are manually aimed in the game.
- Smite has already dramatically proven its viability as an esport by offering such an enormous prize pool for its first annual World Championship, as mentioned above.
The prize pools for these games determines their viability and potential lifespan as esports more than anything; the more money on offer, the more people will try to play the game at an elite level. Esports viewership increases because people have played the game themselves, which gives them a better context for why what they’re watching is so amazing.
It’s also important to realize that Smite is in its infancy relative to other esports: Starcraft 2, CS:GO, Street Fighter, and Dota 2 are all games which are based on previous iterations of games (or mods) which have existed for well over a decade. League of Legends gained its popularity for being one of the first modern standalone MOBAs, having been released in 2009, and it too was heavily influenced by the “Defense of the Ancients” Warcraft III mod that Dota 2 is based on. These games all have prestigious pedigrees, whereas Smite is a brand new, and successful, take on the MOBA genre.
Gaining a Betting Edge on SMITE
The lack of current opportunities should not deter people, as mentioned previously, from wanting to learn more about the game for when betting opportunities finally do arrive. The best way to learn about the game is by watching it broadcasts of it, particularly these clips of the 2015 World Championship Grand Finals matches (that being the first of a five game series).
Anyone familiar with other MOBA concepts will know that statistics such as experience per minute, gold per minute, and K/D/A (Kills/Deaths/Assists) are the points, rebounds, and assists of MOBAs. In-depth explanations of other game mechanics can be found here. Listings of statistics by team for the Hi-Rez run proleagues can be found here, on their esports page.
SMITE is currently the one of the youngest esports, and it will only continue to grow. Learning more now will enable future bettors to gain an edge simply by virtue of being the first to acquire the expertise needed to make smart bets.
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