Vivan is the latest Champion to join the ever-growing roster of Paladins and her arrival has been met with some mixed responses. Starting with her design which compared to some other Champions seems kind of bland and a little uninspired. She is essentially another foot soldier, albeit an incredibly intelligent one with a rather interesting backstory.
Vivian has been accused of being another ‘Viktor’, which is basically saying that she is a dull character designed to please FPS players with no real skill needed to play her. That is not necessarily true with skilled Vivian players being able to decimate entire enemy teams, much like any Champ. The problem comes when you look at her abilities and how they function together and against other Champions.
Starting off with her Light Machine Gun which has a massive ammo count of 80 bullets in the mag which is more than any weapon seen in the Realm to date. Yes, I get that it is an LMG and they have larger magazine sizes but come on. Combined with the fact that she can dish out a 200 damage shot every 0.14 seconds means that Vivian is capable of dealing out about 1400 damage every second. Now, her LMG is only effective to medium range, which limits her utility, but it seems like Vivian players tend to sit back and release an unrelenting stream of bullets at targets, which makes her a nuisance and kind of boring. But gameplay is also restricted to the player so I cannot fault her design for that.
Vivian is also granted Precision Sights on her LMG, much like Viktor, which serves to counteract the majority of recoil and hit those precision spots, which is kind of a slap in the face when you consider just how large her magazine is. I have had friends play Vivian and be in the midst of all the action just firing constantly at a clump of enemy Champions, scoring a Pentakill without reloading once. That being said, her reload is decently slow, so if she makes a mistake and reloads early or just runs out of bullets, it is the optimal time to take her down. I should also clarify that I am not saying Vivian is overpowered or anything, in fact, she is quite easy to eliminate if you read the battlefield and have a team that can do the same, but Vivian almost seems like an outlier in the Realm at the moment and not in a good way.
All of Vivian’s abilities seem to play off each other which is good from a synergistic point of view but make her a terror on the battlefield. Take her Sensor Drone for example, which she can toss out to an area, with a literal whip of her hand and she will subsequently be able to see everyone in the immediate vicinity, even through walls. Used defensively it can be a great way to prevent hostile Champions from sneaking up on you without your knowledge but it can also present a unique opportunity to start firing a split second before they come into your line of sight, effectively blitzing them into submission before any form of reaction. This is not limited to defensive strategy but can be used offensively, as you fight for a Payload or even in Onslaught matches, where you can find a cosy spot and essentially spray and pray with a reasonable assertion that you will win.
I like the concept of the Sensor Drone and it feeds in with Vivian’s persona of always knowing every move of her enemies and staying in power. I just think that combined with the sheer damage output of her LMG it becomes almost too easy to score kills when you can see your opponents coming before they see you. It also feeds into the accusation that she takes absolutely no skill to play, and throwing down a Sensor Drone and lying in wait simply takes the smallest amount of intelligent thought.
Defensively Vivian has one of the better abilities for a Damage Champ, which make it harder to engage her in open combat due to the simple fact that she can out DPS most Champions head to head. Her Deflector Shield replaces any potential mobility skill and places her in the same boat as Tyra, minus the fact that Tyra has no defensive capability. The Deflector Shield can endure up to 1400 damage and will last for a grand total of six seconds, although it is not a full body shield. The great benefit for all Vivian players is that it gives you six seconds of protection while you lay down a bevvy of LMG fire eliminating any and all opponents that try and challenge you head-on.
I say head-on because while the Deflector Shield is a powerful force in front of her, it leaves her vulnerable and open to the sides. Not to mention, you tend to orient yourself towards the place of most damage or the Champion you are targeting, leaving you unawares, and for the most part, once a few surprise shots have landed it is hard to win that firefight especially with no mobility and a relatively low health pool. If you want to play Vivian successfully, you have to be more aware of your surroundings than you normally would be, because of your lack of mobility skills. The ball is in your court for damage and intel but it leaves you committed to your course of action.
Finally, Vivian brings forth the Sentinels as her Ultimate, which are two drones that hover by her shoulders with each firing once per second at whatever target you are gunning down. This deals a further 200 damage per shot and remains active until they are destroyed or Vivian is killed. Now, while Vivian is not OP, the fact that the Sentinels remain active for as long as she stays out of trouble is a big deal, especially when you consider that a big strategy gameplay wise is to stay just shy of the main source of the action and fire a neverending stream of bullets with the Sentinels dutifully following suit. But it can also be a great source of additional damage if you once again learn to read the field and know where not to be and when to start shooting. Her Ultimate isn’t unstoppable however and the health pool for the drones is really low so stay away from AOE attacks such as those by Willo, Drogoz or Evie. But if an Evie is pursuing you there might be more pressing problems.
Vivian is not an unstoppable force that many claim she is and inexperience with her character and gameplay mechanics will see her be a hindrance more than an asset. She does have a lot to be desired aesthetic wise and definitely needs tweaks in the way she can blanket an area in damage mainly due to the magazine size of her primary weapon. Currently, she doesn’t seem to slot right into the Realm and it kind of feels a bit off.