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Hi-Rez Pulls an Ace from its Sleeve

William Murphy Posted:
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To add another layer of strategy to this, your team comps can be wildly different even though the game only has eight champions so far in its closed beta. How is this possible? Paladins uses a card-based system for each of its champions, where at each level you gain in a match you draw three random cards and choose from them to alter or improve your champion’s skills. Barik, the turret building dwarf can turn his bullet shield into a flaming trap of death. Grohk the Orc lightning shaman can turn his healing turret into a movement speed boosting tool, and so forth. You win chests from losses and wins, though the winning chests have better rewards, and each chest contains new randomly chosen cards for each hero. Eventually, Paladins will allow you to craft cards and create decks for your ranked matches. Plus, using good team comps to support your bruisers to capture control points can make quick work of unprepared attacking teams. 

If there are downsides to Paladins in its current state, I’d list the following as areas that need work. Firstly, the game needs more champions. While the 8 available are unique and fun to play, there are only eight.  There are two more on the way, one who was recently temporarily removed (Evie), and another (Androxus) is in the works.  Secondly, there will always be work on balancing the game, but right now it’s a real moving target. Removing the reload mechanic from Skye (an assassin stealthier champion) has really turned her into the game’s most deadly character, perhaps at the cost of balance. Similarly, the invulnerability of the turret as it moves is up in the air as a good or bad decision. On one hand it makes for more tense fights at the base, since the turret isn’t getting damaged en route, but I’m not sold that the movement of the turret from capture point to base should just be used as “time to get back and defend”.

Lastly, like SMITE, Paladins can use more game modes in general. This first capture and push mode is a whole lot of fun, but mixing things up with other maps and other objectives can only work towards making Paladins more sticky. As it is right now, even over Battlefront and Overwatch, when I want a quick dose of shooter action (matches take all of 10 minutes or so), I hop into Paladins. That’s pretty strong praise for a game that’s in closed beta and lacks the tens of millions pumped into the other two mentioned. It’s a bonus that progress on your account, including cards earned and the like, are all supposed to remain from closed beta into the open beta hopefully sometime next year. So there’s no reason not to get in there and enjoy yourself. The game’s essentially in the founder’s access and invite only access phase, similar to SMITE a while back.

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William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.