Free-to-play Tribes Ascend launches today

Ladies and gentlemen, ready your spinfusors. Tribes: Ascend is out of beta and now available to the general public. More than half a million players have participated in honing the game's balance since the beta began in November. Some of those folks actually had to shell out real money to guarantee entry into the beta, but the final product remains free to play.

To celebrate the occasion, developer Hi-Rez studios has release a new developer diary detailing custom server options and Ascend's take on the classic Raindance map from the old Tribes games. The video is short on gameplay, but it does show a slick-looking user interface.

I'm more curious about how Tribes: Ascend plays, especially since free games like this typically include plenty of paid content that can upset the balance for freeloaders. Rock, Paper, Shotgun reports that new players are competitive from the outset. You might have to adjust your play style to match the fast-paced action, though. You'll definitely need to learn how to ski. Hitting the spacebar removes all friction between the player and the game world, allowing folks to glide down slopes and, with the help of jetpacks, traverse huge distances quickly.

If you want to get in on the action, you can create an account here. The game weighs in at 2.6GB, and it seems to be downloading at a reasonable pace.

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