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Video Game / Tribes

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Tribes is a long-running series of multiplayer-focused First Person Shooters found mostly on PC, with a few exceptions. The original game bears the Starsiege title because it is in fact a sequel of sorts to that game and represents the continuation of the EarthSiege franchise as a whole.

In the distant future, humanity has spread amongst the stars. Beyond the edge of space controlled by The Empire, in a region called the Wilderzone, are various tightly-knit Tribes, who live a harsh frontier existence but otherwise free of Imperial authority. The disparate tribes battle one other for control of planetary territory and resources using Powered Armor and advanced small arms.

  • Starsiege: Tribes, the first game in the series, was released in November 1998 by Dynamix, who also made Starsiege. It established itself as a unique multiplayer shooter with several key differences from its contemporaries, such as sprawling outdoor maps and movement centered around the use of a Jet Pack. Known for one of the great Good Bad Bugs of gaming, which allowed players to abuse the physics engine to "ski" down slopes, so pervasive that it was implemented as gameplay feature in every sequel to follow.
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  • Tribes 2, was released in March 2001 and on Linux in April. It was bigger, badder and came with its fair share of bugs, but it was loved all the same. It received a PlayStation 2 port in the form of Tribes: Aerial Assault in 2002. The Bioderms present in the game debuted in CyberStorm.
  • Tribes: Vengeance was released in October 2004, developed by Irrational Games (the creators of System Shock 2 and the BioShock series) and based on the Unreal Engine. A prequel to the earlier games, it features a story-driven campaign centered around the Tribal Wars, a conflict between "tribal" fringe planets and Earth's Galactic Empire. Executive Meddling and cessation of official support barely a year hence gave this installment a short lifespan. It was critically well-received, but never enjoyed the same fan support as the earlier titles.
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  • Tribes: Ascend is free to play FPS released in April 2012, created by Hi-Rez Studios (creators of Global Agenda) with microtransaction character classes (Each class has some customization - like swapping out a SMG for a shotgun or a shield pack for a sensor jammer, but each class has a clearly defined role). Access is simple, all one needs to do is register an account and download the client; either through Steam or a separate program. There are several game types, all of which revolve around conflicts between the Blood Eagle and Diamond Sword tribes.
  • Tribes: Universe is an upcoming MMORPG, Hi-Rez promises an experience much like the older games and have stated they are using Tribes 2 as a frame of reference. Key differences will be vastly expanded battlefields and player counts. Character progression is stated to be based around "diversifying options in combat" rather then making you "inherently stronger." This installment was put on hiatus while they focused on Tribes: Ascend.

Many of the games have since had their offical master servers shut down: Starsiege: Tribes in July 2007, Aerial Assault in November 2008 and Tribes 2 in November 2009. However, Tribes 1 & 2 now have multiple community-run master servers, and continue to have strong player bases to this day. Aerial Assault, being a PS2 game, was not so lucky.

GarageGames (formerly Dynamix) developed Legions: Overdrive, a Spiritual Successor to Tribes 1. Some former members of Dynamix are also helping create Fire Fall, a MMOFPS which bears many similarities to the Tribes series, such as the extensive use of jetpacks. Midair is an upcoming "I can't believe it's not Tribes®!" shooter that was successfully crowdfunded.

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Trope examples:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Perhaps the most notable is the Spinfusor, also known as the Stormhammer, a weapon that fires glowing blue explosive discs. There have been a ton of them in Ascend: Light, Dueling, (Pathfinder), standard, Spare(Soldier), MKD, MK-X,(Juggernaut), Heavy, Devastator, (Brute), and Stealth (Infiltrator). The stealth Spinfusor shoots red disks, while the MKD shoots green discs and has an increased splash radius relative to the Soldier's version. The Juggernaut can also unlock a Spinfusor as a type of grenade used by manually throwing the disk at people's faces. Also rather lovingly known by players as "the exploding frisbee launcher". Versions that can fire two discs before reloading were later added, known of course as "Twinfusors", as well as "Blinksfusors", whose discs inherit their firer's velocity.
  • Advanced Movement Technique: Players of Starsiege: Tribes discovered a glitch that allowed them to move extremely fast by spamming the jump button on steep slopes. This was dubbed "skiing" and quickly incorporated into the multiplayer metagame — in fact, when Tribes 2 was developed, skiing became an Ascended Glitch and has been the signature mechanic of the Tribes series ever since.
  • Air Jousting: This doesn't really happen due to the imprecise nature of the flight mechanics, but two players flying head-on at each other brandishing Spinfusors comes damn close. As of Ascend, this trope can be played straighter with melee attacks.
  • Alien Sky: Most of the maps in Ascend, but especially "Bella Omega".
  • Appropriated Title: The Starsiege in Starsiege: Tribes was dropped, with the sequels simply being Tribes: Whatever.
  • Arch-Enemy: The Starwolf and Blood Eagles hate each other's guts, and as of Tribes 1 have been fighting it out for a good three centuries. The Children of the Phoenix have long attempted to mediate between the two with varying degrees of success. The Diamond Sword tend to stay neutral, though that's hardly the case in Ascend.
  • Ascended Glitch: The "skiing" bug of the original Tribes was so widespread and loved that it became a game play feature in every game to follow, even when the series left Dynamix's hands. Tribes 2 mentioned it in the manual and had brief a tutorial on it, while Tribes: Vengeance and Tribes: Ascend gave it a distinct bind and more unique handling, leaving the jump key to be merged with the jetpack key.
  • Awesome Backpack: Jet Packs for everybody! On top of that, you can equip one of several packs with a variety of effects, From simply extending your energy meter or ammo supply to cloaking or repairing things. Ascend features additional types, such as a turret-scrambling "Jammer" pack.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Most of the weapons aren't designed for air-to-air combat, so you must compensate by leading your targets and generally having damn good aim. Of course, you could just use the Mortar... From a Back Story standpoint, Starsiege HERCs have become this, leading to the rise of highly-mobile infantry in Powered Armor as the favored combat medium.
  • Back Story: A considerable amount, following on from Starsiege. After Prometheus' defeat, humanity began to expand beyond the reaches of the solar system. As of Tribes: Vengeance, the Earth Empire has all but destroyed the few remaining Cybrids, and enjoys great power. This doesn't sit with some Tribal outcasts called the Children of the Phoenix, referring to Harabec Weathers. A force of Imperial Knights called the Blood Eagles were sent to suppress them, but have since come to enjoy the frontier life and have become Tribals themselves. Splinter factions of both emerge, creating the gaggle of warring tribes seen in Tribes 1 and 2. A fairly comprehensive timeline of events culled from Word of God can be found here.
  • Barbarian Tribe: Played with. The Empire sees the Tribes as this, but to be fair the Tribals share the same level of technology but lack the resources and political clout to have their position heard. They are essentially just wayward colonists trying to eek out an existence of their own free from Imperial oversight. As time goes on, technology improves- but civility does not.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Shrike-diving. See Power-Up Letdown below.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: The biggest problem with Ascend in the eyes of many was the large amounts of expensive guns that took an extremely long amount of time to purchase via XP. Not helping this was that several were almost necessary to do well at a class, such as the Infiltrator's default primary being pretty much terrible.
    • To put this in perspective, most of the unlockable items that are considered to be worthwhile were upwards of 70K exp. Generally speaking, it was a rare occurrence for a player to earn 3K exp an hour. It generally took upwards of 25 hours of play to unlock a single gun, pack item, or grenade.
    • And the kicker? The player's rank, which is used to determine matchmaking, is based on EXP. It's quite possible for a level 14 free player to have only unlocked new classes and a couple of perks, while a paying player the same level COMPLETELY DESTROYS THEM because they have access to a full inventory of upgraded guns.
    • Fortunately, a patch in January 2013 halved the XP cost of every item in the game. While the trope still applies, it is now substantially less painful for free players.
    • After years without updates, a major patch was released in December of 2015. Anyone who spent any amount of money on the game over the years had their gold refunded and received the "ultimate pack", automatically unlocking all weapons and equipment, rank be damned. Perks were removed from the game completely.
  • Bottomless Magazines: In the tradition of old-school shooters, no weapon need be reloaded (until Ascend), instead relying on a flat pool of ammunition. Said pool can be expanded with the Ammunition Backpack.
  • Blood Knight: The Blood Eagles, or "Beagles".
  • Call a Human a "Meatbag": One of the insults available to Bots. "Inefficient Meat Bag."
  • Character Customization: Players can customize their load-out to the nines with a choice of three armors, a variety of weapons, grenades, mines, deployable items such as turrets and sensors, and so on. Ascend replaces this with a Class and Level System, giving each class a specific armor, set of weapons and equipment, and the use of Experience Points to purchase upgrades.
    • The December 2015 patch did away with the nine class system, instead allowing players to set their own loadouts, as in previous games.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Blood Eagles are red, Phoenix are yellow, Starwolf are blue-on-white, Diamond Sword are gold-on-grey, and the non-tribal Inferno and Storm teams are yellow and grey, respectively. Imperials are deep blue in Vengeance, the only installment in which they appear. Ascend replaced the Sworders' gray with navy blue and made the gold elements more prominent.
  • Cool Plane: All the games feature some type of high-speed, VTOL aircraft. The ones in Tribes 1, 2, and Ascend actually look like planes, and come in one-man scout and troop transport sizes. Vengeance has a weird flying ball of doom.
    • Worth noting that in Tribes 1 and 2, despite looking like planes they fly like hovercraft. Sideways? No problem. Backwards? Hard to see where you're going but sure. Straight up? They can do it until the thrusters run out. In Ascend and Vengeance, the Shrikes behave more like VTOL jets than hovercraft, alas.
  • Crew of One: Utterly and thoroughly averted for vehicles like the hovertank (which needs a separate gunner) and bomber (which needs a bombardier who controls the underbelly turret and actually drops the bombs)...until Ascend made the hovertank's cannon driver-controlled, though it leaves the chaingun for the gunner to control. Not having the chain gun leads to a quick and unavoidable death at the hands of a Doombringer and his Anti-vehicle missile launcher, so most tankers still prefer keeping one.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Tribes 2 defaults to ESDF for movement, not WASD, which Starsiege: Tribes, Tribes: Vengeance, and Tribes: Ascend default to (not to mention damn near every FPS ever). There is a bundled WASD configuration in Tribes 2 for those who can't adjust, however. In other cases, people convert to ESDF and then get pissed when games can't be remapped from WASD.
    • Tribes is one of those games that has so many controls the ESDF configuration is actually a decent choice, it puts 4 additional functions in range of your pinkie, where with WASD your pinky can only hit Tab and maybe Tilde. Ascend has rectified this somewhat by simplifying the controls: for example, you can no longer drop items.
  • Deadly Disc: The Spinfusor, a hand-held frisbee launcher. Frisbees that glow blue and explode.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: What Tribes does differently from the majority of shooters is having projectile speed instead of hitscan. This leads to concepts like positioning, leading, and object tracking to be fundamentals in combat which weigh just as heavily as aiming. Combined with the the ability to fly over opponents or ski to attain speed and distance, being able to successfully predict where your opponent will be in the next second or two can be the deciding factor in pushing back the offence, disrupting defence, or most importantly retrieving flags to secure a score lead for the team.
    • Juggernauts fall under this as well, due to the nature of their primary weapon. Mortars are incredibly difficult to aim, especially under fire, and the obvious projectiles that they launch means that an enemy will inevitably locate you within mere moments. The Mortar also requires a certain amount of air time before it will detonate on impact, making it nearly useless at anything but long range. While they do have a Spinfusor, they also have amid the lowest speeds in the game, and since Mortars require being stationary to provide any real accuracy, they're easily outmaneuvered by just about any class in a firefight. However, a skilled Juggernaut can utterly waste the enemy team's base structures with impunity, flatten land-based vehicles with little difficulty, break up a turtling team in just a few shots, or bounce Mortar shells off of walls at close-range to annihilate anyone who tries to take advantage of the class's supposed weakness at close range. It's even entirely possible to shell flag carriers and Shrikes from across the map with a bit of foresight and a healthy bit of luck.
  • Doomsday Device: In 3610, either the Starwolf or Blood Eagles (they continue to argue which) deployed an "ecocidal" weapon on the planet Ganges III, turning it into a Death World. Such weapons are later banned by a joint Tribal treaty in 3641.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: If a base isn't floating, chances are it will be mostly underground.
  • The Empire: The, er, Empire. At least, much of the Tribes see them this way.
  • Energy Weapon: Many, from the basic blaster to the plasma gun to the Laser Rifle.
  • Everything Sensor: Large sensors found in bases as well as small deployable ones. They reveal all enemies, vehicles and structures in their radii on your minimap. Ascend retains only the large base sensors, but has deployable motion trackers, available to the Technician class.
  • Everything's Better With Spinfusors
  • Executive Meddling: Suit-wearing types don't seem to like this series much, between shutting down official servers, terminating official support for the games (right before a patch was set to release, in Vengeance's case) and generally being dicks. The Big Bad is of course Vivendi SA and their then-Mooks at Sierra Entertainment, both of whom the average Troper may remember from their dealings with Valve prior to the later going solo a few years back.
  • The Faceless: Everybody, at least in multiplayer. Some of the lighter armors have a RoboCop-esque appearance with a visor over the eyes and exposed lower face, but that's about it. The Diamond Sword don't get that much.
  • Follow the Leader: The Halo series owes a great deal to the original Starsiege: Tribesnote , particularly the seamless transitions between wide open areas and narrow internal spaces and the integration of on-foot and vehicle combat in the same space. The popularity of that in turn would lead to these features becoming more common in first-person-shooters in general.
  • The Future
  • Game Mod: Tribes 1 and 2 were built from the ground up with the Torque engine and designed to be extremely moddable. Sure enough, a staggering array of mods have sprung up over the years, some of which change the games so completely that they cease to be recognizable. As an added bonus, mods that do not have custom models or textures can be played on servers without having to install the mod, ensuring that it's never difficult to get players on a modded server.
  • Gatling Good: The chaingun, though it's compact, about the size of a sub-machine gun. It has a generous ammo supply and is often used as a backup weapon by damn near everybody. Replaced in Ascend by a more mundane assault rifle.
  • Grenade Launcher: Present in every iteration up to and including Ascend. Big splash, spammy, grenades bounce everywhere when firing at close range.
  • Have a Nice Death: The first two games gave very witty death messages in the chat upon a kill, ranging from "[Player] serves [Player] a blue plate special." to "[Player] ends it all. Cue violin music.
  • Heal Thyself: You always have a stash of health kits on hand, usable with the press of a button, and you can loot more from fallen players, or you can don a repair pack to heal yourself at any time as long as you have energy; the repair pack had almost zero energy drain, so players could ski away from danger while constantly repairing themselves. Tribes: Ascend did away with health packs in exchange for Regenerating Health but since it's very delayed, there's a perk which enables you to gain health from ammo packs.)
    • In addition, if you have the repair pack, you can heal yourself with it if there is nothing else repairable in its range.
  • Heroic Lineage: Part of what holds the Children of the Phoenix tribe together is the common belief that they are descended from Harabec Weathers, the fallen hero of the last Cybrid war. They speak of his actions through a scripture called the "Tenants of Harabec."
  • High-Altitude Battle: This can occur, what with floating bases, air vehicles and everyone having jetpacks, though it can be hard to hit your opponent, especially with non-hitscan. Some servers even have a special kill message for mid-air, direct hit Spinfusor kills.
  • Hover Bike: In Tribes 2 and Ascend.
  • Humongous Mecha: HERCULANS. Present in the back story, but they may yet make a return in Tribes Ascend, based on some of the voiceovers present in the game's files.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Each player can carry a lot of stuff. At the bare minimum, you can have three weapons, a backpack, a supply of grenades, mines, and health packs, and a deployable item such as a turret or inventory station. Ascend cuts this back a bit.
  • In Name Only: Of sorts, to Starsiege. The main thing connecting the two series is the plot (which is very lacking in the multiplayer oriented Tribes series) and the ELF gun.
  • Invisibility Cloak: The cloak pack. Careful though, it's an energy hog.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Medium armor. In the older games, only this armor could wield the Shock Lance.
  • Jet Pack: A core gameplay mechanic. It operates via a short but fast-recharging Mana Meter.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!": You can carry a bunch of these and deploy them anywhere, most often near objectives.
  • Magic Tool: The Repair Pack. Fixes everything, even players! These can often be found in bases, so players can quickly grab one and make repairs. This is vital in Ascend, as most of the classes don't spawn with one.
  • Mighty Glacier: Heavy armor. Absurd amounts of health and firepower paired with a suit of armor so heavy that its jet pack can barely lift it off the ground and so cumbersome that it can barely move at a jog without skiing. In all the games it is the only armor capable of carrying the Fusion Mortar, a massive weapon that can rain death from afar. In the older games, it could also carry the most weapons (5) and ammo.
  • Missile Lock-On: Happens when using the missile launcher against a vehicle or a player with too much heat from jetpack overuse (Ascends Saber launcher merely requires that the target player be airborne). It will not fire without a lock, making it primarily an anti-vehicle weapon.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: Nearly every map features floating stuff, from simple platforms all the way up to this trope, with both teams' entire bases being in the air. Good thing you've got a Jet Pack.
  • One Bullet Clips: The Spinfusor plays this literally, only holding one disc at a time.
  • Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: If it's not a box, chances are it's a tube. Ascend takes this to new heights.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: The plasma gun's blasts don't go anywhere fast, so it's best used at medium-to-close range. Careful though, as they cause splash damage.
  • Path of Inspiration: The Diamond Sword tribe appeared from nowhere in 3630, claiming to follow one of these under "The Enlightened Master" — according to the fluff, they're big into ancient East Asian philosophy and their derogatory nickname of "Sandrakers" refers to the Zen practice of meditating by raking a plot of sand.
  • Pinball Projectile: The Blaster in every game fires ricocheting plasma bolts from the suit's energy supply. In Tribes 2, it's a rapid-fire, fairly long ranged, penetrates shield packs, and has infinite ammo, but its slow projectile speed cements it as a Joke Weapon, though "bastards" love it for its ability to plink at defenders to piss them off. Vengeance turns it into a pump-action plasma shotgun with ricocheting buckshot. Ascend turns the Blaster into a laser-revolver for the Sentinel, which does significantly more damage than its Tribes 2 incarnation.
  • Powered Armor: Tools of the trade for the Tribals. In the Back Story, it's stated that these have essentially replaced HERCs, as the parts and knowledge to repair them have become very scarce, while individual armors are far easier to maintain.
  • Power-Up Letdown: The Shrike in Ascend. Despite being the most expensive vehicle (and being tied with the Tactical Strike for the second most expensive call-in in the game), and being unavailable to heavy-armoured units, the Shrike's cannons are virtually impossible to aim while flying (as it flies towards what it's aiming at), not particularly powerful, and have a ridiculously small clip and reload speed (one burst of four shots with roughly six seconds of reload in between). The Shrike itself is fast, but is cannon fodder for a Doombringer's anti-air homing rockets (or a well-placed grenade), difficult to control, and will explode if it so much as brushes against the environment, killing the pilot if they're still inside. It also has less health than the less expensive, land-based Beowulf tank.
    • As a result of this, there are a surprising number of fairly popular modded servers within the community which decrease the price of the Shrike (in some cases, making them absolutely free), which actually causes them to avert this, but not in the way you might expect. While the Shrikes are still deemed to be garbage for actual combat in most cases, a fairly common tactic on these servers is to buy a Shrike, fly around the enemy base, and then bail out as they reach around the flag, giving the attacker incredible speed as they grab the flag, allowing the momentum to carry them across most of the map. In the core game, this is Awesome, but Impractical as a result of the prohibitively high cost of the Shrike especially considering that the Shrike will NOT survive the attack.
    • Likewise, the airstrikes are not particularly useful for their cost. Unlike in the Call of Duty series, the player calling in a strike must aim at the target uninterrupted for a few seconds with an INCREDIBLY obvious laser pointer. The area of effect is not particularly large, and unless the prohibitively expensive Orbital Strike is used, the timing has to be absolutely perfect in order to take out enemy units or buildings (the Orbital Strike lasts a few seconds longer). The airstrikes have one saving grace, in that a successful hit is an instant kill (and as such can be used as an effective, if not incredibly expensive, way to disable a Base Turret), but considering that there are ways to take them out that do not cost several thousands of credits a pop (such as the Juggernaut's Mortars and the Infiltrator's Sticky Grenades), it's simply not practical.
  • Real-Time Strategy: There are the faintest hints of this in the form of a "command map" that allows players to get an overview of the entire battlefield and issue orders, and there's more to manage then just killing the enemy, such as base defense and recon. In practice, a lot of this stuff gets ignored.
    • The original game had the "Command Map", teams could be set to have limited resources (better plan-out who's buying a vehicle, so you don't run out!), and there were "beacon" deployables you could use to mark targets for teammates. Generally, servers were set to infinite resources, the command map was only used to remote-control turrets (and only then by noobs), and beacons were wholly unused except for certain mods that appropriated them for some other use.
  • Rocket Jump: There are several weapons which give a speed boost with explosions. Since there are jetpacks and skiing, rocket jump is more useful to gain horizontal speed.
  • Sentry Gun: Big ones found in bases that can be repaired if destroyed, and smaller deployable ones.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Shotguns in the series have very low range.
  • Sibling Team: Daniel and Jericho.
  • Single-Biome Planet: The frontier worlds are usually this, such as frozen Ymir and the jungle world Charybdis.
  • Shoulders of Doom: Present in Tribes 2, but Ascend takes it to a whole new level.
  • Shout-Out: Shazbot!
    • Ascend has quite a few sly ones:
    • - One of the post-game wrapup's player stats include a statistic for a kill from long distance called "What The I Don't Even".
    • - Killing a flag carrier earns you an accolade with a medal depicting the Holy Hand Grenade. . . which makes it even funnier when you're playing in the "Rabbit" gametype.
    • - Grabbing a flag at ridiculous speeds in Ascend nets you a "GOTTA GO FAST" accolade. Also used as a "secret code" in the updated version of the game to turn your KM/H value into "SANICS".
    • - One of the Infiltrator class' loadout animations has him doing a very familiar strut.
  • Sniper Rifle: The Laser Rifle, featured in every game until Tribes Ascend. It's capable of killing enemies from across the map with a few well placed shots, but leaves a bright red trail that easily reveals the shooter's location. In addition, it drains the user's energy entirely per shot, with more damage at full energy. Tribes: Vengeance adds an additional limitation in requiring limited ammo in addition to energy for extra damage.
  • Spiritual Successor: Legions: Overdrive (AKA Fallen Empire: Legions) & Fire Fall
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Hoo boy. Between the Spinfusor, Grenade Launcher, missile launcher, hand-thrown grenades and the mortar cannon, there will be much blown to hell by the time a given match is done.
    • This is usually because the players are zipping around so fast and changing direction quickly enough that explosive splash damage is the only reliable way to hit them.
  • The War Sequence: Tribes 1 & 2 represent this. In the former, it's all the tribes at each others' throats in 3940, and in the latter, it's all the tribes versus the Bioderm Hordes.
  • We Will All Fly in the Future: Everyone flies due to ubiquitous nature of jet packs. These are built into every single suit of Powered Armor ever produced, effectively giving every notable character flight capabilities.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: The various Construction mods for Starsiege: Tribes and Tribes 2. Combat is (usually) gone, and players instead will build objects out of variable-length beams and walls. Some of the mods, like Combat Construction, allow players to build a base, then go to battle, or fight off zombies.

    Tribes 2 
  • Artificial Brilliance: The bots in Tribes 2 will usually pay attention to the player if you use a voice menu command while looking at them. For example, if you look at a friendly bot and say "[VDM] Cover me!", the bot will usually follow you around, attacking anything that attacks you. Or they'll just tell you "No." if they're busying doing something else, like staring at a wall.
    • Juggernaut bots with a mortar will also recognize if you're painting a target for them and bombard it accordingly.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The bots in Tribes 2 do not understand how to ski, and they tend to be extremely oblivious to what is going on around them.
  • Backpack Cannon: Usually present in ''Tribes 2' mods. Taking one will allow you to press your pack button to fire, allowing you to use essentially two weapons at once (Backpack + hand weapon).
  • Back Stab: The Shocklance will instantly kill any player if they are struck with it from behind.
  • Base on Wheels: the mobile base vehicle in Tribes 2, which when deployed features a Sentry Gun and an inventory station.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Two of the Bioderm voices in Tribes 2. One claims that humans taste like chicken, the other claims that they taste like fish. Players usually end up saying "Humans taste like... shazbot!"
  • Level Editor: Tribes 2 (and all subsequent Torque Game Engine games) came with a simple but fairly powerful in-game level editor, which allowed users to freely place, rotate, and resize (pre-made) buildings and objects, shape the terrain, and so on, with support for custom objects. If the level designer kept to vanilla objects, the map could also be played by anyone without requiring a separate download.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: Courtesy of the Bioderms.
  • Tele-Frag: Players can be killed if someone activates a vehicle pad to construct a vehicle while they are standing on it.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The Combat Construction mod for Tribes 2 has a gamemode for fighting off a zombie invasion. You first build your base, then swarms of zombies attack. The "zombies" have several variants designed to bypass your defenses, like phasing through thin walls, flying, or just tearing the walls down with acid attacks.

    Tribes: Ascend 
  • Achievement Mockery: One of the accolades that earn you points is "llama grab", gotten when you pick up a flag at a very low speed—which is likely to result in you dying before you get much anywhere with it, screwing up a faster moving teammate's grab attempt, and dropping the flag somewhere that's harder for you to pick up until the flag automatically goes back to the stand. While it still gives you points, it's less than even a standard flag grab and the description even says "not for use in any highlight reels".
  • Ascended Meme
    • In a late Beta patch of Ascend, a Secret Code function was added to the menu. The most popular cheatcode, by far, is GOTTAGOFAST. What does it do? It replaces kilometers per hour for SANICS in the speed measurements.
    • The video for the Brute update is called "Staying Alive", in reference to the Fractal Grenade's Fan Nickname "disco grenade".
  • Arch-Enemy: Diamond Sword and Blood Eagle seem to hate each other in Ascend.
    • Also, a couple lines from the Blood Eagle Announcer mentions a treacherous act committed by the Sandrakers.
    • The backstory of Ascend seemingly had a truce mediated out between the Blood Eagle and Diamond Sword tribes, but Diamond Sword broke the agreement and declared war after some unknown event. The Blood Eagle announcer refers to Diamond Sword as "The betrayers."
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Juggernaut in Ascend has a Spinfusor as a secondary. In lower level play it is somewhat successful. Upon leaving level restricted servers the Spinfusor is rather pointless as automatics can pick players off from great distances unchallenged and the Mortar is much more powerful indoors once used right.
  • BFS: Diamond Sword soldiers in Ascend all have large swords on their back, which they use in melee combat. Their Heavy armor has a what looks like a claymore on their back, with a blade that's longer than their upper body.
  • Boring, but Practical: Most of the automatic weaponry in Ascend
  • Canon Discontinuity: Vengeance has been deliberately ignored by Ascend. The e in Ascend's title also resembles a backwards 3, indicating that HiRez at least considers Ascend to be Tribes 3.
  • Competitive Balance: In Ascend, there are 3 light, medium, and heavy classes each, with one offensively oriented one (The stealthy Infiltrator, base-razing specialist Raider, and walking artillery piece Juggernaut) that destroy the opponent's generator and make the opponent's defense's life a living hell, balanced, genericish classes (The high-speed chase/capper Pathfinder, Jack-of-All-Stats grunt Soldier, and CQC beast Brute) that can either defend their own flags and generators, or attack the enemy's, as well as defensive specialists (The Sniper-esque Sentinel, Base maintance guy Technician and Flag defender Doombringer) who shut down enemy offenses.
    • The December 2015 patch did away with the nine class system, instead having players simply choose one of the three armor types, gear and three weapons, four for heavies. Some balance remains in play as each weapon slot can only have certain weapon types in it- you cannot for example take two kinds of spinfusor or automatics. Many weapons have also been re-balanced, and several "superfluous" weapons were removed.
  • Cool Star Ship: The "Crossfire" map in Ascend features low-flying ships hovering in place, as opposed to a static or floating base.. The "Drydock" map has ships flying around in the background, blasting at each other and the ground - sometimes one will slowly hover by the battlefield and block out the sun.
  • Continuity Nod: Most of the spinfusor variants are based on previous game's spinfusors; the Light is from Tribes 2, standard from Starsiege: Tribes, and heavy from Tribes: Vengeance
  • Death from Above: Orbital strikes can be called down in Ascend.
  • Emergency Weapon: Ascend grants players a melee attack. The Blood Eagles have katars holstered to their left. while the Diamond Sword have... well, swords. Shaped like their logo.
    • An update gave the Infiltrator 2 new skins, along with a new melee animation. Said animation is just a Zangeif-style green punch.
  • Energy Weapon: Largely averted with Tribes: Ascend, which mostly opts for ballistic weapons. Even the melee weapons have gone from short-ranged lightning rods like the Shock Lance (which was added in a patch) to mundane swords - the only energy weapons at first were Plasma Turrets, possibly the Shrike's blaster, the Wildcat hovercycle main weapon, and the Sniper's Nova Colt pistol (which resembles the Blaster from Tribes 2, though it now has a revolver magazine and must be reloaded). Updates added the Phase Rifle, which draws power from the Sentinel's energy pool, as well as the original Plasma Gun for Raiders and a larger Plasma Cannon for Brutes.
  • The Engineer: The Technician, who gets a unique superior version of the Repair tool, turrets, deployable repair kits, and a variety of other tools while still having some usable weapons. The Doombringer also has shades of this with his large arsenal of deployables and heat-seeking anti-vehicle missile.
  • Enemy Civil War: The stress of the war with the Blood Eagle tribe combined with internal struggles within the Children of the Phoenix resulted in the birth of the Starwolf tribe.
  • The Faceless: All the base skins. One of the Infiltrator skins, the "Assassin", has a visible face, though he wears a Vader-style rebreather. The faces of the Pathfinder's "Freerunner", Brute's "Crusher" and Raider's "Griever" skins are visible, while the Sentinel's "Specter" has most of his face visible save a pair of goggles and you can see through the Technician's "Specialist" skin's visor.
  • Flechette Storm: The "Cloak and Dagger" update added throwing knives as a secondary for the Infiltrator. Exploding throwing knives.
  • Gatling Good: The chaingun, though it's compact, about the size of a sub-machine gun. It has a generous ammo supply and is often used as a backup weapon by damn near everybody. Its role in Ascend is occupied by a more mundane assault rifle, while its been upgraded to BFG status and used by the "Doombringer" class.
  • Grenade Launcher: Comes in several flavors.
    • The basic Grenade Launcher, present in every iteration up to and including Ascend. Big splash, spammy, grenades bounce everywhere when firing at close range. Ascend's is an unlockable Raider primary.
    • The Thumper, which looks like a M79 grenade launcher with an ammo readout on it. Detonates on contact with anything, but explodes in air after a certain distance. Available as a Soldier secondary and a Technician primary.
    • The Bolt Launchers, which are crossbows that shoot grenades. Available as primaries for the Pathfinder and Doombringer.
    • The ARX Buster, the Raider's default weapon. Uses three-shot magazines of grenades that stick to any surface and detonate after a short delay.
    • The Jackal, a new primary for the Infiltrator. It functions like the ARX Buster except that it's grenades are detonated manually.
    • The Gladiator, a new primary for the Brute. Projectiles stick to objects and release a series of shockwaves, or detonate instantly if they hit the enemy.
  • Griefer: The "Griever" skin is all but a reference to the Raider Class's tendency to be these.
  • Hand Cannon: The Nova Colt and Nova Blaster in Ascend
  • High-Altitude Battle: Made official, you receive a Blue Plate Special reward for a direct-hit Spinfusor kill. Also applies to more mundane explosives, granting the "Air Mail" bonus, and to plasma weapons with the "Hot Air" bonus.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: The Raider's Plasma Rifle, before the bullet hitbox got reduced by 40% to the size of the actual shot. Shooting under someone jumping and still hitting them was really, really common.
  • Hitscan: The Sparrow pistol, Eagle pistol, and the Sniper Rifle in Ascend. All the other weapons are projectile based. Tribes 2's only hitscan weapons are the Laser Rifle and the Shocklance.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: 'Ascend'' cuts this back a bit, giving it's pre-configured classes two weapons, a backpack, and some form of explosive like grenades or mines.
  • Infinity Plus One Gun: The Buckler in Vengeance. Can one hit kill most enemies, which would be very useful if, as soon as it's introduced, you weren't locked into Light armor for the rest of the game, and thus unable to ever use it in the field.
  • In Name Only: Ascend has been referred to as "COD with jetpacks" as it has an extensive library of automatic and semiautomatic weapons were previous titles have had only the Chain Gun. On the other hand, most of those still require leading, especially the slower bullets of the LMG and Chain Gun.
  • Intrepid Merchant: The Pathfinder's "Freerunner" skin represents these.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Medium armor. The "Soldier", "Raider" and "Technician" classes in Ascend use it, but the "Soldier" exemplifies the trope - good speed, armor, and firepower, but not excelling at any particular task. He retains the Ranger's Assault Rifle and Thumper loadout from Beta, with the basic Spinfusor and Eagle Pistol buyable with Experience Points or Gold.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Infiltrators make for hilarious Light on Flag defenders with the use of its Stealth and the Super Heavy perk.
  • Limited Loadout: Ascend previously only let you carry two weapons, dependant on which of the nine classes you used. The December 2015 patch changed this to allow three weapons for light and medium armors and four for heavies, as in the earlier games.
  • Money Grinding: In Tribes Ascend, hoo boy. When you play, you get XP added to the weapons your current class has equipped and a pool to spend on unlocking new weapons or fully upgrading an already unlocked weapon. At base ratenote  you earn 2100 XP per hour of play.
    • Equipment upgrades level ranges from 1,200 to 4,000 to 6,200. Fully upgrading at once with pooled XP usually takes 15,000.
    • If you want to unlock another class, the prices range from 7,200 to 14,000 to 18,000, and there are six classes to unlock.
    • Let's say you do not like the default weapon(s) of a class. You probably will, since some of the weapons are downright useless. The most common price for an alternate firearm (as opposed to grenades and perks) is 100,000 exp.
    • Unless, of course, you buy the things with gold.
      • Much of the above has been worked over since the game's release. As of the December 2015 patch, if you spent any real money on the game, your gold has been refunded and all weapons and gear unlocked.
  • One Bullet Clips: In Ascend, which has weapons that need be reloaded.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: Nova Blaster projectiles in Ascend. Imagine the pea-shooter discoball firing Blaster from Tribes 2, but in revolver form.
  • Private Military Contractors: The Raider's "Mercenary" and Brute's "Crusher" skins represent these.
  • Recursive Ammo: The MIRV Launcher in Ascend, a variant of the classic Fusion Mortar. Instead of one green football of doom, it launched a smaller, weaker mortar which will explode into multiple small mortars after about a second in the air. It's extremely effective at shelling groups of players, bases, and tanks, but cannot deal any real damage to enemies close to the firer.
  • Regenerating Health: In Tribes Ascend, to compensate for the loss of health packs. However, the delay before it kicks in is much longer than most other modern FPSs, especially without perks to reduce the delay, thus it cannot be relied on in combat. Taking any damage will reset the regeneration timer, and holding the flag will stop all health regeneration. The inventory station technically don't even heal you directly, they just make your regeneration start immediately.
  • Samus Is a Girl: There are female voice packs, "Femme Fatale" and "Ms. Wilderzone" and the female voices from Tribes 2 though they don't change the player models.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: One of the weapons available to the Technician in Ascend. Pathetic range, but very powerful up close.
  • Sniper Rifle: A more traditional sniper rifle with a Team Fortress 2-style "charge while scoped" mechanic, though you can unlock an energy-based sniper rifle which doesn't require you to zoom in to deal max damage, but requires a full store of jet energy to deal max damage, like the Tribes 2 Laser Rifle.
  • Spam Attack: The Light Spinfusors used by the lighter classes have a stupidly fast rate of fire, especially compared to the Brute's Heavy Spinfusor, which requires you to aim every shot, while the light "Spamfusor" just involves spray and pray at times.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: You start with the multi-purpose light class, the Pathfinder, the Multipurpose medium class, the Soldier, and the.........offensively-focused heavy class, the Juggernaut instead of the multipurpose CQC expert, the Brute.
  • Trap Master: Finally took out that Doombringer on the flag? Your capper screaming in for the final cap to victory? Oh he touched on of the forcefields and is now a corpse that just threw the flag into someone, who then put it back on the floor. Got rid of those? Landmines. Lots of them.
  • Trick Bomb: Ascend has a dizzying array of specialist grenade types. In particular, the concussive "impact nitron" does minimal damage but inflicts heavy knockback in its blast radius, and uniquely causes an enemy carrying your flag to drop it, making it an invaluable chasing tool. It's also pretty good for Rocket Jumping. Others include the aforementioned laser-spewing "fractal" grenade and the "blackout" grenade, which disables turrets and base shields.
  • Tutorial Failure: Tribes Vengeance features a clan proving hall that teaches you some useful advanced movement and how to use the one-hit-kill Buckler. Pity it takes place roughly 90% into the game, and as for the Buckler... see above.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: Brought in on Ascend, thanks to the free-2-play model. Only a handful of classes are available at the start, unlocking extra classes costs EXP gained in combat, and after unlocking the classes, there is a further skill tree for each class that provides straight upgrades for more EXP. The alternate weapons and perks are ludicrously expensive, but they play a significant part in the gameplay by opening up many tactical choices. In a nutshell, new players must try to scrounge all the EXP they can while older players beat on them mercilessly on their way to the next unlock... unless you blow your hard-earned money in perks and weapons.
    • Very much balanced out as of the February 2, 2012 patch - three classes (Ranger, Jumper and Scrambler) have been nixed and their weapons and gear integrated into other classes' loadout selections (which have returned); Soldier, Pathfinder and Juggernaut are available to new players from the start, with many other classes becoming inexpensive to unlock; and class-specific experience and Tokens are gone, making everything available using either a single Experience pool or Gold (the currency you buy with real money), with the straight upgrades of weapons only available via EXP unlocking - Perks are now universal, and the various classes' talent tree upgrades are now attached to upgrading weapons, armor and gear. It still costs large amounts of Experience to unlock some weapons and Perks, but giving players more experience per match to compensate helps a lot.
    • XP-based upgrades and perks were removed entirely in the December 2015 patch.
  • Wolverine Claws: Blood Eagle troops are armed with one as Melee weapons.

Alternative Title(s): Tribes Ascend, Starsiege Tribes


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