This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Xbox Wire.
The biggest weekend of the year is here for Hi-Rez Studios! We just kicked off our annual Hi-Rez Expo, live from DreamHack Atlanta, featuring the world championships for both our mythological MOBA Smite and our fantasy hero shooter Paladins.
I’m thrilled to tell you about our biggest announcements, but first: You can get the new Smite Arena Bundle free on the Microsoft Store for a limited time! With this bundle’s seven gods you’ll be able to turn your foes to stone as Medusa, summon the might of a volcanic eruption as Pele, or resurrect fallen teammates as Khepri, the Dawn Bringer. The bundle also includes eight great skins, all free!
You may be asking, “Why call it the Arena Bundle?” That’s because of Smite’s biggest announcement: An all-new map for the insanely popular 5v5 Arena mode! This fast-paced brawl is a non-stop clash of the gods, with no complications.
And the new Arena map is available in-game right now! The map’s completely redone visuals both look better and improve gameplay clarity. Even better, the new Arena map tells a story of the ongoing battle between Hera, the Greek Queen of the Gods, and Bellona, the Roman Goddess of War… with the occasional rampaging Minotaur to make things interesting.
A new Arena map wasn’t enough for Smite. Prepare to enter a land called Avalon with Smite’s 99th and 100th gods: King Arthur and Merlin. These two legendary heroes from Arthurian mythology will bring an entirely new dimension to the battleground of the gods when they release early next year.
Paladins kicked off HRX by announcing its 40th Champion (and its most ambitious yet): Imani, the Last Warder. Perhaps more than any other Champion, the dragon mage Imani captures the true essence of Paladins: The shooting elements of modern games crossed with the magic of a fantasy world. This stance switcher slings fireballs and ice bolts… and summons a massive dragon, which is just cool.
Imani’s introduction is part of a new direction for Paladins, driven by the game’s fantasy world. Her arrival was foretold by a lore story arc that began back in August. This consistent story, which evolves from month-to-month, will drive a 2019 full of new Champions, maps, and game modes which combine to tell an ongoing tale.
These monthly major updates will also introduce long-requested features like clans, in-game tournaments and persistent lobbies. And Paladins has so much more in store for 2019, I can’t fit it all in this post. Check out our 2019 teaser video to get a taste for what’s in store for Paladins!
Imani won’t drop until Season 2 begins in January, but the beat has already dropped in Paladins with the Remix Battle Pass, which went live on Thursday as part of the 1.8 update. Check it out and get some sweet skins for Strix, Jenos, Seris, and… a Vulpin from an alternate reality named Pepper?
Realm Royale, our fantasy class-based battle royale, entered closed alpha on Xbox One earlier this year. Today, Realm Royale is taking the next step towards release by entering closed beta on Xbox One! Realm Royale closed beta keys are being sent out every day. Sign up for the Realm Royale Closed Beta here!
Both Paladins and Smite made one more major announcement: The introduction of democratically elected player councils. These councils embrace the philosophy of Hi-Rez Studios of player-driven development and will help guide the direction of both Smite and Paladins. Learn more about Paladins’ Assembly of Champions and Smite’s Olympians, and how you can join!
Don’t miss another moment of Hi-Rez Expo. We’re happy to have partnered with Mixer to stream every moment of HRX 2018 and give away some free loot! If you link your Hi-Rez Account to your Microsoft Account and watch either the Smite channel or the Paladins channel, you can get SPL Bellona and Coldsnap Furia free!
See the rest of the story on Xbox Wire
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