Paladins: Champions of the Realm is made by Hi-Rez Studios, the people behind the game Smite. An open beta was brought onto the Xbox One at the end of May 2017 and I’ve been playing it ever since.
For my multiplayer fix, Halo 5: Guardians has been my go to game. But ever since the open beta of Paladins, I’ve sunk so many hours into the game. From a visual perspective, it does look a lot like Overwatch and that’s what made me pause for a second before downloading it. Overwatch is boring to me so I wasn’t sure this being free to play was going to make me like it. But, there was a heavy promotion going on and I was kinda looking for my next multiplayer time drainer. At first I was slagging the game off for being a cheap and blatant Overwatch rip off. Until I completed a match. The aesthetics looks similar but that’s about where the similarities end.
Paladins is very fast paced, exciting and lovable game. I think the decision to have your character on a mount upon respawn is a great idea to get back into the fight. It also adds variety to the pacing of the match. Also, I like the movement of the characters. They’re not all restricted to the ground – some champions teleport, fly and leap. Every champion is different. The versatility of each character means that if you select a supporting character, you’re not doing that 100% of the time (come on, how many people like to play support and just heal people in a shooter?). Even as a supporting champion, you can do other things outside your role. Of course for your team to be successful, you will need to do your job. But at least you’re not doing just the one thing in a match.
Paladins also employ a card system where you can tweak your characters abilities slightly. This means that characters can play very different depending on the cards you have selected and what level you bring them up to. There are balancing strategies in place like Card levels cap at 4 and you can’t spend more than a total of 12 points on each deck.
My favourite character has got to be Evie. She is a “Flank” character but she is incredibly agile. I love the way she looks and the things she says are hilariously delivered. She’ll say one part of the sentence in a sweet voice then the rest in a crazy wacky way. I love the personality. Also, she has a skin that turns her weapon into an electric guitar!! It fires out stars with trailing musical notes! Awesome!
It’s not all good though. I do not like how they’ve split the player base by region. I can’t play with guys from the US (or other parts of the world) if I select the European server and vice versa. It means that I wait up to 20 minutes to find a ranked match on a European server and only 2 minutes on a US server. It means I have higher ping, etc… but if I want to play ranked I have to go onto the US ones because for some reason, there just aren’t that many European players choosing ranked. There’s tonnes in social playlists though, I’ve never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a match (average wait is about 2 minutes I would say).
The progression system is a problem too. It’s not so much for console players as we were given a boost when we joined. But I’ve reached a point where I’ve spent the advantages of console packages (and the Founders Pack) but I still don’t have all the skills unlocked. Unlocking skills require collecting these Radiant Chests through levelling your account and characters or you can simply buy crystals with real money and purchase them with the crystals. It’s a real pain in the ass because these chests drop cards randomly. Meaning I could get a duplicate of cards I already own. I’m not guaranteed to get all the skills for all the champions I use within a set number of rolls. It could be forever! This hasn’t sat well with the PC players who have been playing the game for a while now. It means someone who has lots of real cash has the potential to unlock all the skills in the game than someone who is sinking in lots of hours into the game. I don’t like this. I will not be purchasing anything else for Paladins until this is fixed. If it’s not fixed, I simply won’t buy anything. This is a shame really because Paladins is truly a fun game. I do want to support the devs but if they throw in some pay to win crap like this, it makes it difficult to do so. Vote with your wallet.