I’ll admit to being more than a little skeptical that another shooter MOBA could be at all what the online gaming world needs. When Hi-Rez announced Paladins somewhat quietly at Gamescom this year, more than a few people here at MMORPG.com rolled their eyes. Then we played it. And we loved it.
All the talk these days in the online shooter arena is focused on Blizzard’s Overwatch, because they’re Blizzard and we all know it’ll be a solid game. But for my money, I’m throwing in with Hi-Rez’ Paladins: Champions of the Realm. It’s grabbed my attention in a way that Blizzard’s game hasn’t been able to i There are fewer heroes (or Champions) than other games of this sort, but it’s closed beta and the characters that are there are all unique in both style and function. More than anything though, Paladins’ action is fun, lighthearted, and addictive. Like SMITE before it, Paladins doesn’t take itself too seriously and because of that even the sting of loss doesn’t feel too great.
There’s only one game mode so far, spread across a few maps you and your team of five will charge on capture points, and the first team to capture said point will spawn a rolling turret that makes a charge for the enemy base. During movement, since a recent patch, the turret is invincible, but once it arrives at the gates of the base it’s fair game for the base’s defenses and for the defending team to fire at will. As the attacking team, you can then also take down the gates or defend your turret from the base defenses.
It’s very rare, unless the defending team goes AFK or is just terrible, for the attacking team to take down the two outer gates and the vault door (the win condition) in one turret attack, but I’ve seen it happen. Instead, matches tend to be a really nice push and pull of attacking and defending and capturing. After the turret is destroyed, there are about 30 seconds before another randomized capture point pops up and players must then fight again to gain control and summon their turret.
This is all made more chaotic by the team compositions and group coordination. Even playing with random people, not in a group, I’ve been fortunate most of the time to have groupmates who know that capturing a point is the main point of the match, not killing other players. The team deathmatch mentality can help when you want to clear out a capture point, but the main goal is to have more players standing in the capture zone than the other team, and to be the last folks standing there when the other team is wiped out.