Ascension is the first game to win me over for competitive MP in a long time (I'm usually a strictly co-op sort of guy). The maps are fun and engaging, there's a pretty decent amount of different modes, and, as the OP said, the four allegiences are surprisingly balanced.
I do hope that co-op gets some more love soon though. Three maps is kind of paltry, especially considering that, unless you win which is hard to do even at rank 30 unless you've got a great teammate, Desert of Lost Souls is really the only map that gives decent XP. I also wouldn't mind seeing the time limits being made a little less grueling to beat or maybe even a seperate mode which did away with the time limit entirely, maybe at the cost of an XP penalty or tougher monsters.
Other then that I'm really digging Ascension's MP, looking forward to what SSM has in store for the future.
After considerable play with each of the 4 allegiances, I can comfortably say that I am AMAZED at the balance in this game. Kudos to SSM for getting the GAMEPLAY part right on their first try. Most devs need quite a few balance patches before they get it right. Not here.
Whether you're spamming specials with Hades...but dying rather quickly...or you're trying to beast with Ares only to run into a magic user...or tanking with Poseidon and the battle lasts long enough for a helper (or other FFA warrior) to come along and "turn the tide" (BAZINGA!)...or the Glass Cannon™ himself, Zeus...we can argue all day about what allegiance FEELS overpowered when going up against others but it really comes down to skill and THAT is something in short supply in online gaming today, especially out of the gate.
All these threads about who is overpowered, I have been reading them with an open mind while trying out different allegiances and I have to say NOBODY is overpowered. Maybe you guys just ran into players who were better than you? Or perhaps you had a string of laggy matches? I've been there myself.
The weapons - even SOME of the non-God allegiance weapons - are diverse and have their own strengths and weaknesses. The spear, once you get used to its range and deceptively SLOW attacking speed, can be beastly. Nothing is better for combos than the sword, though some of the spears' specials and cooldown rates rank them up there as well. And the hammer is powerful but slow but rings out with ease and some even have some lengthy combos with weak specials.
The armor is one spot that is a bit different. Each of the God-specific sets serve their own purpose and feel pretty balanced, depending on your playstyle. Try Hades with some Physical resist and you'll see what I mean. I do wish other armor was as useful as the God-sets. Some PIECES are valuable. Poseidon with an Artemis piece can pack a major punch.
All in all, just wow. I do love this multiplayer experience, though I will admit some aspects are already getting stale (basically playing OUTSIDE of a party *cough*customgames*cough*). I have faith that SSM will introduce new modes (hardcore or deathmatch anyone?) and hopefully the new maps they introduce will be as interesting as the ones currently playable. Nuthugging complete.
You are right if anything needs some tweaks it would be the armor and weapons stats I started using Poseidon saturday I'm level 30 now and he's freaking good only need to level up Zeus and I already he's good from my experiences.