A fair while ago, Hi-Rez Studios released an open beta for their latest MOBA/Shooter game known as Paladins: Champions of the Realm. However, this open beta was only for PC players and while it went on to have over five million registered players, Xbox One and Playstation 4 users were left wanting. A few days ago, the closed beta for the console version of the Paladins beta went live allowing console players to take their first steps into this vibrant new world that Hi-Rez has created for us.
The main focus of this game is, of course, the Champions that are playable and masterable within it. At the start of the closed beta, players have been given access to a total of 20 characters with promises from Hi-Rez to periodically update the game with new champions to play. Within the PC version of Paladins, two new characters, Torvald and Maeve have been added to the ever-expanding roster, hopefully with plans to extend them to the console closed beta.
Within Paladins, each Champion has a series of four main abilities as well as their ultimate, keeping well with the MOBA type formula. These abilities range from quite tactical, like Mal’Damba’s subsequent healing and damaging venom bombs, to hilarious like Pip using his ultimate to turn the enemies into easily targetable chickens. Or ducks. Some form of bird.
On top of this, each Champion fits into one of four classes, Flank, Damage, Frontline and Support. Damage and Support are fairly self-explanatory but the Flank and Frontline are a bit different and a lot more interesting. Flanking characters are equipped with abilities that allow them to sneak behind the enemy and deal high amounts of damage in a rapid fashion, in essence, Flankers…flank. Frontline Champions are essentially the pushers in any Paladins match, they hit hard and have high health so they are able to remain in the heat of battle. Within any Paladins match, you gain bonus credits and points if you play your role successfully, which is a great encouragement for those who may wish to go nuts and attempt to kill anything in sight.
Maps And Gameplay
While not having a huge number of maps and modes in the closed beta thus far, the ones that are available provide endless fun and a spree of fast paced, tactical gameplay moments. Within Paladins, a true blend of MOBA and Shooter comes forth and any mistake you make in a match can be quite punishing and result in you having to hike your way back to the site of the action.
The maps themselves are vibrant and colourful, with lovely amounts of detail and carefully constructed design elements that make it feel as if you are fighting in a fantasy world that is truly alive. In many of the maps, multiple paths are carved throughout the landscape, providing the series of different characters with differing avenues of attack. From high ledges and caves that lead down and around the buildings, the maps of Paladins provide a lot of tactical options while you go absolutely crazy with the colourful Champions.
One of the more interesting gameplay elements in Paladins is the mode of transportation, being the horse mount. These can be switched out to find your optimal ride and are automatically activated when the battle is about to start or when you have just respawned. The mounts serve the purpose of being a fast way to return to the battle, without having to slowly walk while the match continues without you for what sometimes feels like aeons in other games.
Oh, I forgot to mention one thing and here it is. Paladins utilises a loadout-like card system for each character. I’ll explain. Each Champion within the game has a series of cards unique to them that can be unlocked and selected to craft unique builds of each character. These cards further lean to the MOBA side of things and definitely make the MOBA/Shooter a lot more interesting with identical characters having vastly different talents.
Since Paladins: Champions of the Realm is still in closed beta for consoles, there is a distinct lack of game modes for us to experiment with. Fortunately, the Siege mode, which appears to be the default is quite enjoyable.
Sticking with the MOBA formula of capture and escort, Siege requires two teams of five to battle for control of a capture point. Whoever captures it, spawns an escortable payload that needs to be taken to the enemy base with a time limit of approximately two minutes. This game mode is quite fast paced and enjoyable but certain combinations of characters within Siege definitely seem to have an edge.
Paladins: Champions of the Realm is an extremely fun and fast-paced game that showcases a vibrant cast of eclectic characters and awesome abilities. However, much like what happened with Battleborn, Paladins has come under fire from the Overwatch community who claims that it is nothing but a clone of the popular MOBA. Hi-Rez has addressed this via a statement from Todd Harris in which he states that the main source of inspiration for Paladins has been Team Fortress 2 and a previous IP known as Global Agenda that was also created by Hi-Rez Studios.
While they share similar features in regards to the fact that they are both shooters with MOBA elements, Paladins is not simply a copy and is extremely enjoyable in its own right. It would definitely be a good idea to try and get in on the fun with the betas or jump in on the action when the full game is finally released.