New to Tribes Ascend? Read this survival guide

Surviving veteran players in any game can be hard and this is especially true when it comes to Tribes Ascend due in part to the steep learning curve of getting down the basic gameplay mechanics. The Tribes community is over 12 years old with some veterans spanning 4 games.

In this series of articles starting with, Surviving your first day in Tribes Ascend, I’ll be covering everything you need to know in order to become an expert at playing Tribes. There are a number of things to master in this game and I’ll be covering them point by point.

Tribes Ascend introduces a number new ideas while continuing along with some old traditions. Let us start with analyzing what we’re working with.


In just about every game where you are playing in a first person point of view you have a number of default key-bindings which can make you life a whole lot simpler. Skipping the standard stuff like WASD we’ll start off the new additions.

  • Call-Ins

  • 1 on your keyboard by default is a Tactical Strike call in. When you have enough credits to purchase this option you would aim it at a location and hold down the fire key until a circle has fully cycled. A huge explosion will then rain down in the place where you fired it. This is a great tactic to use to clear turrets and players guarding a flag. It does not work inside.

  • 2 on your keyboard by default is a Supply Drop, which is a mobile inventory station. It costs you some credits to deploy it. It can serve as your personal ammo refill and repair station. Most of the bases have their own Inventory station but they are usually buried indoors and hard for any player to immediately access.

  • Melee

  • While standing next to an enemy player you can hit them with a knife using the E key by default. You do more damage to them when you are facing their back, like a rogue would.

  • Spot Target

  • Left Alt by default, this is a very important addition to Tribes. Like other games which use a similar function this works by looking at an enemy and hitting the key, Left Alt. Its importance can be seen because it alerts your entire team within your range where an enemy player is. I find this especially helpful against classes using the Jammer pack, and incoming enemies to the flag.

  • Jump, Ski, Jetpack.

  • I would recommend that you change this by binding your Jump and Jet to your right mouse button and bind only Ski on your space bar.

  • Invert Air Vehicles is checked by default. If you are not used to flying a jet like a normal jet pilot is, I would uncheck this option.

  • Drop Flag

  • Z by default, it allows you to pass the flag to a team-mate or to drop the enemy flag after a pickup to deny the enemy from capping.

  • Team Select

  • P by default, it allows you to switch teams during a match.

  • Suicide

  • This is primarily used by defenders after they have chased down a Flag Carrier because it would take them to long to get back to base, K on your keyboard by default.

NOTE: If you haven’t purchased any Tribes gold then you are starting out with the basic 2 classes. Ranger and Solider. Each one of these classes has their own weapons load out, talents, and perks.

Skiing, Learning to shoot, and playing a role.


Simply put you need to become accustomed to holding down your space bar pretty much all the time. Especially when going down a hill. You never want to be walking, finding yourself with bare minimum power jetting up a large hill/mountain, and skiing at 50 mph or less.

If you let go of the space bar and are now in walking mode, find a hill or slope and run to a high point, then while holding down your space bar, ski down it. You should be holding your right mouse button while jetting up.

The video below will address the points I just made and more.


There is a skill set which you will need to learn in order to be effective at killing other players. Leading your target takes on a whole new meaning here because some of the players can be traveling at well over 250 MPH. You can not shoot at the guy traveling that fast. You have to shoot where he will be in about a half a second or more. This is true for every weapon in the Tribes arsenal. Mastering this takes a long time so be prepared to miss a lot.

In the video above, it shows me leading the target while continually flying towards where he will be in case I were to miss with my first shot. If I did miss would be ready to shoot again when we crossed paths.

One of the easier ways to kill someone at the start is by using a Hitscan weapon; all bullet type guns in T:A are Hitscan. The Ranger load out comes with an Assault Rifle. Which acts as a type of machine gun.

The Solider class comes with a Spinfusor which is a projectile based weapon. You can one-shot Light armor enemies if you hit them in the face. Medium and the Heavy class take more than one to kill.

Grenades, use by hitting F on your keyboard by default, can be thrown at a group of enemies and all will take damage. But you only have up to 2 and the switch time between them and your gun is a about a second long.

Playing a role.

There are plenty of things a new player just starting out can do in Tribes Ascend. You can join some of the veteran players near your flag and help them defend it. You can go below to your bases Generator room and defend it against enemies trying to blow it up. Go offense and attack enemy turrets, sensors, and defenders near the enemy base. Attack the enemy generator. Try to avoid spending too much time in the middle of the map dueling with other players.

When you want some alone time practicing your skiing choose to join a game, under Opponents choose training then select a map. Once in you can switch between every class to practice with.

That is it for now. Next time I’ll introduce you to some veteran concepts which you will want to master so that you can hang with the elitists.

4 Replies to “Surviving your first day in Tribes Ascend”

    • Nathan Aaron Chapman

      If you look at the publish date, which says Nov 18, 2011 then you might surmise that it was made sometime in or on November 18, 2011. If that’s 2 years for you then we need to talk so you can introduce me to your world.

      I get your point though. The 2 screen-shots are old considering they updated the User Interface, though everything I mentioned is still relevant.

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