The inevitable and highly anticipated Christmas themed patch has finally been announced and it is chock full of Christmas spirit as well as some pretty major quality of life changes but as always let’s start off with the new skins!
As you may have already guessed, the Festive Chest is making a return with an old favourite, the Merrymaker Evie Epic skin, which will be one of the returning customisations. Others include Androxus’ antlers and Sha-Lin’s Jolly Long Bow.
I am straight up going for the best one (in my opinion) first! Known as Spitzen, after the reindeer Blitzen, Mal’Damba’s Snake has also stolen Rudolph’s nose which adds a bit of a dangerous, sketchy undertone to the festivities but it is still adorable.
Even a star-soaring god needs good cheer at times, and now you can shoot Christmas spirit straight into the hearts of your enemies with Jenos’ Polaris, which, as you can see showcases a snowflake energy source and a candy-cane, gingerbread hybrid body.
Next up is the Jolly Holly for Willo, which adds a bit of mistletoe to our Realm’s resident fairy. According to Hi-Rez, the new rule for her Fae Flight is that if she flies over two enemies, they have to make out. I’m sorry I don’t make the rules.
Even the primal tortoise, Makoa is getting into the festive season with his Barrier Wreath, which somehow provides, even more, protection than his basic shield. The lights are a very nice touch but might make it a little easier to see him in darkened areas. Christmas lights the way!
Fernando protec and he also snacc with his gingerbread themed shield, Tough Cookie. When expanded, the gingerbread man separates into four sections, which can be seen on each corner with a candy cane stuck right in the middle. In the above photo, you can also see a new pale Unicorn mount, which will also be available within the Festive Chest.
Finally, there is the A-Bomb-Inable Bomb King who roams the halls looking to blast in the Christmas season early. This Bomb King skin is full Epic and is available in the Festive Chest with a unique Spray and voice pack alongside the body and weapon.
Speaking of weapons, A-Bomb-Inable Bomb King throws holly encrusted, ornament-looking Bombs which cover the immediate area in powder snow when detonated. But by far the best thing with this amazing new skin is the fact that when you activate Bomb King’s Ultimate, a Christmas jingle starts to play, in the same way as the Halloween Pumpking and Dutchman Makoa.
Finally, the first ever non-VIP Legendary Emote will be hidden within this Chest, for our very own Evie. Known as Double Axel, Evie becomes a lighter-than-air ice skater, complete with a double, well Axel, which is a form of ice skating jump.
They Heard We Like Free Stuff -VIP
Keeping with the fortnightly rotation of awesome skins in the VIP store, Hi-Rez has given us a gift, a true favourite of the Realm, which is Icewalker Inara. She will be available for purchase for a very limited time, so do not miss out a second time. I’ve already got Direwolf Tyra, and I need to complete the collection.
They are also introducing VIP Tiers into the VIP store which essentially reward you for using VIP Points. There are five announced tiers (1-5) and each one provides a series of stacking bonuses to Gold and VIP Point accumulation, Champion and Account Experience and VIP Discounts. To put it into perspective, if you are lucky enough to get to Tier Five, which I should mention, will occur eventually through regular gameplay, you will earn;
+15% Account Experience Earned.
+15% Champion Mastery Earned.
+10% Gold Earned.
+10% VIP Points Earned.
+20% Discount on VIP Point Items.
So this is quite the big deal! But players will also get special cosmetic rewards at certain tiers, like a Dynamic Spray known as the Slayer Spray, which actively tracks your kills during any particular match. This means, you can throw down the Spray at the start, with a large amount of bravado and confidence and it will actively increase with each and every kill. There is also a brand new title at Tier Three, known as The VIP, which is quite awesome as well as an Epic Mount at Tier Five.
Earning Tier One will see players acquire, for free, this recolour of Androxus’ Exalted skin which fits in with his darker and serious personality.
But if you make it to Tier Four, you will receive a full Epic skin, which may look familiar if you took part in the Community Skin Project earlier in the year. While Demonic may have won, Angelic was a close second so meet Divine Seris.
How gorgeous is she?! And almost a direct counter to the over-sexualised Infernal Seris. Wispy balls of light comprise her Soul Orbs, with gold, white and purple creating an aura of transcendence and beauty. Shadow Travel sees her angel wings unfold amidst golden light, which will only be seen in third person view, or by your allies…or enemies if they run illuminate. Divine Seris will be a free skin for everyone who reaches Tier Four!
New Onslaught Map: Magistrate’s Archives
The Stone Keep has gotten a bit of an extension with the arrival of the custom built Onslaught map, Magistrate’s Archives. This new map is filled with tight corridors for close quarters combat (which I cannot wait to trap people in with Jenos’ Through Space and Time) as well as big open, arena-style spaces which surround the telescope room. There will be hidden lore and secrets to uncover, which surround the Magistrate and Vivian, as we saw very similar settings in her reveal trailer.
The Magistrate has been a shadowy figure in the Realm for a little while, as one of Terminus’ Voice Lines states, “The Magistrate commands – I eradicate”. If we look deeper into his character, Terminus doesn’t have a great relationship with Ash, who seems to have deeply damaged/killed him in some way, as well as Inara who he has harmed or done wrong. It is making me incredibly hyped for lore!
The Character selection lobby has been given a facelift, with the style looking very VIP Store-esque, with the raised platforms in the back with a close up of your chosen champ. It provides a better view at the personality of your Champion, with a divine backdrop for the rest of your team.
In Essence, Essence Is Gone
You read right, the Essence system and everything it leeched into has now been removed. Any Essence players have in their inventories when the new system drops in Paladins OB64 will be converted to Gold in a 1:1 ratio. To be honest, I think it would be better to spend your Essence now instead.
With this new system, every single loadout card for every current Champion and future Champion will be unlocked at Rank One. This makes the game and different gameplay styles more open and accessible for all players. There are five ranks to each card, including Legendaries, and ranking up is done by acquiring duplicates of that card. The rarity of the card plays a factor in this system as well, with Legendary cards only needing four duplicates to completely rank, with common cards needing sixteen.
Players will only have control over card ranks in the new Quickplay Queue which is replacing Casual. In Competitive/Ranked everyone’s cards will be set to Rank Three, no matter what, meaning skill will shine more than anything.
In regards to loadouts, players do not have to worry about a minimum amount of points and can simply add any card they like, which will eventually add up to a grand total of 25 loadout points, assuming every card is fully ranked. The loadout points are more arbitrary at this point. But how do you get cards?
Well, through the same Radiant Chest drops, the card drops will remain unchanged, or through Champion Chests, which are specific chests, providing a more ‘localised’ chance at scoring duplicates for a character you play often. You can get two of these per Champion, per day, with five different Champions. These can be earned through first win of the day or through Mastery rewards.
Finally, every card that you already own when OB64 drops, will be automatically upgraded to Rank three, rewarding the dedication and time veteran players have put into the game.
Christmas definitely came early to Paladins with this patch bringing a whole suite of beneficial changes and awesome skins. Four of my mains got skins, how great is that! OB64 will be coming to PC and Consoles soon. See you in the Realm.