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The New Monolith Update Makes a Solid Second Impression

Michael Bitton Posted:
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In a genre full of League of Legends clones, Paragon just never really did it for me. The game looked gorgeous, though generic, and I wasn’t really sure what it was doing to set itself apart from games like Smite other than having a Z axis and a needlessly confusing card-based system for in-game progression. I decided to check Paragon out months ago and came away as disappointed as I expected to be. Its slow traditional MOBA pacing clashed with its more action game look. I only lasted a couple of games before I wiped it off my system.

Even though it didn’t click with me, Paragon appears to have attracted a committed player base throughout its beta, but Epic decided, not without considerable controversy, to make significant overhauls. The new Monolith update replaces the previous map with a revamped, asymmetrical, and more compact version that does a great job to encourage action-packed matches. That’s sort of the theme of the update, really. The game is now living up to its third person shooter look. Paragon is faster across the board. Characters move faster, abilities and attacks fire off faster, and the TTK (time to kill) is quicker.  Did I mention I haven’t uninstalled it yet?

Yeah, the update worked. At least for me.

I recognize that the Monolith update has really stirred things up in the Paragon community, but for players like me who were willing to give it a chance, but ultimately gave up on it, the update likely represents a second shot for Epic to grab some mindshare in an increasingly saturated space.

The new asymmetrical map is interesting as it essentially sets things up for a 1v2 lane on each team. On Monolith, there is something called the “safe lane” and something called the “off lane”.  Essentially, the two outer lanes are split on opposite sides by the river that cuts across the map.  The longer sections of the lane for each team are more defensible and encourage a support and carry to take position, allowing the carry to benefit from the easier farming. The off-lane should generally be occupied by a single, more tanky character. He won’t necessarily win the lane through farm, but his goal is to harass and outlevel the carry. The rest of the map has also been redesigned to encourage more distinct roles in the various lanes. Whether or not this is a positive will depend on your point of view. Personally, I like a bit of structure, so I don’t mind it.

Unfortunately, the game still features an impenetrable card system that I’m struggling to wrap my head around, but if I find myself playing it more, I’ll probably figure it out. That said, I am the type of person who is willing to put in the effort, but I feel this is probably still a pain point that could stand to be tweaked further or at least made more intuitive. I get the idea behind it. You basically create your own item shop to bring into the game for the characters you play, but trying to figure it all out is a bit overwhelming. I know, I know, git gud and all that, but I imagine players with less patience than I may just give up altogether.

Another issue with the card system is that you have to actually unlock new cards (currently you cannot craft missing cards, but that’s coming). I get the benefit of being able to essentially bring your own item game plan into a match, but it’s sort of like looking at the shop in League of Legends and not having all the items available to create a plan around. I’d argue that Epic should just allow all cards to be unlocked, but the earning of cards is tied to Paragon’s out of game progression, so I don’t expect this to change anytime soon. If you do end up wanting to try out Paragon, consider yourself warned that you’ll need to accumulate a collection for the characters you want to play.

Have you played around with the Monolith update? If you’re a Paragon vet, what’s your take on the changes? Newbies, how are you finding the game? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!


Michael Bitton

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB