In Tribes Ascend, each class has a base loadout of a primary and secondary weapon, as well as a "belt item" and other equipment. There is an option to purchase (with in-game experience or real-world currency gold) an alternate gun, belt item or what not.

Are these alternate purchasable options always an upgrade (more damage, accuracy, etc with no tradeoffs) over the standard loadout or are they simply "different"? Does investing in gold (or playing the game for a very long time) really give a significant advantage over players who do not?

3 Answers 3


It depends on the item. Generally you can't "buy power" by buying other weapons, since weapons suit other situations better or you prefer one weapon over the other. They are not straight-up more "powerful", even if it would seem like by looking at the stats, they mostly require more skill/accuracy in use or just fit better in certain situations.

For example, the new MIRV-Grenade for the Raider deals a lot more damage than the EMP-Grenade if all the shrapnel hits. But it's hard to make the grenade hit for its maximal damage. The EMP-Grenade has a utility effect by draining energy from enemy's making them "immobile". On the other hand the MIRV-Grenade can cover an area over an bigger time (first explosion -> shrapnel explosion).

In some cases the buy-able Weapon isn't a huge change in the usage/effect (e.g. the MIRV-Launcher for the Juggernaut or the new Sub-Machinegun for the Raider). In these cases it's up to you what you prefer.

So, you have to choose your loadout based on your preferences and the role you want to play.

To address your question: If someone gains advantage by buying stuff with gold, it simply depends on the players. But, given same skill-level, you only get situational advantages.

I think you can compare the gold from Tribes: Ascend with Riot points in League of Legends; it speeds up your progression. But you won't dominate in League of Legends by simply having a champion the other players do not.

I hope you get my point. :)

  • 1
    This is what I would've written too. Some weapons can "feel" better, but usually it's up to situation, player style and player skill. Eg. I feel the Plasma gun for the Raider is a lot better than the ARX buster and the Grenade Launcher, but that just because I suck at arcing shots. :)
    – Holger
    Commented May 11, 2012 at 8:58
  • The Jackal is undeniably the best primary weapon for infiltrator at this point. The plasma gun is the best raider weapon for dueling and indoors, although it is less effective at destroying base defenses and clearing the stand. The gladiator feels like much more of a side-grade for those who prefer arcing projectiles, with a bit of added utility to make up for the lack of speed and range. As for secondary weapons, the throwing knives are unquestionably superior, the NJ5B is a side-grade, and the plasma cannon is only an upgrade when indoors. Commented May 27, 2012 at 6:34

There are various aspects to note here:

Are these alternate purchasable options always an upgrade

Firstly, there are weapon and item upgrades. These will indeed improve the statistics of that item and give you a clear advantage over other players with the same item, but less upgraded.

Secondly, there are alternative items for the same item-slot (as you mentioned). In the first two big patches that introduced new, alternative weapons these clearly were overpowered, but have been patched (nerfed) since. The future will show if Hi-Rez has learned on how to balance items, or if they are indeed not capable of releasing well-balanced items - be it because of not enough testing, just not bothering, or a calculation on their end on sales. (I’m talking about release-state ofc. As I said, the previous issues have been solved in a relatively short amount of time as well.)

So alternative items will not give you a clear and/or unconditional advantage, provided you compare them on an equal upgrade level.

This also means, with a given, limited amount of currency, comparing upgrading your default item instead of unlocking a new one, you will probably be better off - stats wise, because your newly unlocked item (which is as expensive as several upgrades) will not be upgraded at all.


Of course. The argument that "free to play" games like to make is that the guns are equal or "sidegrades" and are thus not pay-for-power. This is ludicrous and indicates a failure to understand competitive gaming.

In the case of weapons, either a gun is better than another in every way or it is not. If it is not better in every single way, than the other gun is necessarily better in a certain situation. If that situation comes up and you can't use the other gun, you're at a competitive disadvantage because you lack appropriate versatility. The same is true for unlocking characters or anything else that can affect gameplay.

It's very black and white- any developer that claims otherwise is simply lying to their customers.

  • 6
    Your answer is 10% answer and 90% rant
    – JohnoBoy
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 20:52
  • 3
    @JohnoBoy I think even 10% answer is an exaggeration.
    – kotekzot
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 21:00
  • 2
    Sorry @Decency, that is not really what I am looking for. More of a comparison of base vs purchased weapons from a efficacy perspective, they obviously suit different roles.
    – Resorath
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 21:58
  • @Resorath That will be completely dependent on each specific weapon.
    – Decency
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 22:18
  • @JohnoBoy I'm sure you'll provide a better one then, right?
    – Decency
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 22:19

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