A new third-person MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) is currently in the works for both PS4 and PC, and I was lucky enough to get my eager hands on an early access Founder’s Pack. The game in question is none other than Epic Games’ Paragon. Epic Games is a gloriously beloved company responsible for the creation of Unreal Engine, a software used to create hyper realistic-looking games. They have also produced various popular games such as Gears of War, Unreal Tournament, and Infinity Blade. All that said, there is definitely some hype present to the coming of Paragon.
Side note: This game is still incomplete, and as such there will be no commentary on the current balancing, bugginess, or amount of content. Instead, we will be learning about what the purpose of the game is, how the game’s client feels, and finally, how the game actually plays.
(If you know what a MOBA is, skip the following paragraph as it does get lengthy.)
Paragon may seem to be more of a third-person shooter game than anything else, if watching promotional videos or quick snippets of gameplay, that is. It would be wise to scrap this idea instantly. The game is nothing like a third-person shooter. Instead, there is a serious focus on the MOBA aspect of the game. What this means is that there are two teams of five champions per game whose purpose is to make the most use of all the resources available in order to become stronger and more present within the map than the opposing team. The game’s map is based off of those seen in traditional MOBAs such as League of Legends or DOTA. In other words, in the innermost region of your team’s half of the map there is a base that is home to a spawning point near a core which must be defended at all cost. The base branches out into three separate lanes, each of which holds an inhibitor turret followed by two regular turrets. Each lane is surrounded by a maze-like jungle that is full of monsters to be slain. The enemy, of course, has their own mirrored version of your team’s base on the opposite side of the map. Throughout the game there are minions that periodically spawn in each of the three lanes and make their way down until finally intercepting the enemy’s corresponding minion wave. When minions or jungle monsters die they drop card points (which is kind of like this game’s version of gold) and experience. Landing the last hit on an enemy minion grants more card points than simply having one of your minions kill one of theirs. As such, it is of utmost importance to land every last hit possible in order to maximize your team’s global resources. To win the game, you must work together with your teammates and minion waves in order to destroy enemy structures so that you can expose the enemy core and destroy it. This is most easily done by maximizing your resources to the point where you have an advantage over the enemy team. Still here? Awesome! You’re now a natural-born MOBA expert just for braving through this paragraph, as this is precisely what games like League of Legends or DOTA are all about. Open the game client up now, as you are ready for war.
At first glance, the game’s client will appear rather simple. As a newcomer to the game, your attention should be entirely invested between three different options: the “Decks” option and “Heroes” option found under the “Profile” tab, and also the “Play” tab. Start by clicking on the Profile tab followed by the Decks button. As a newb, your responsibility is not to create a deck just yet, but simply to begin developing a familiarity with what decks are. You receive cards through booster packs that you can only buy with in-game currency received from playing games. To give you a quick idea of the importance of mastering deck building, there are no shops in Paragon. In-game, you do, however, have the option to buy cards from your decks and use those as your equipment or your equipment upgrades. Keep in mind that the system is a lot easier than it seems, all it takes is time and practice.
After having exposed yourself to the deck system, proceed to click on the Heroes button, also found under the Profile tab. In this area you will be able to see a list of all the champions to choose from along with their abilities and stats. In Paragon, as is the case with most MOBAs, there are five types of champions: Ranged Carries, Tanks, Mages, Supports, and Assassins. A champion’s role and purpose may easily be discovered after checking out their page. Use all of this information to decide which character looks fun to play. In order to get into a game, click the Play tab at the top of the screen and select your champion. Once you’ve decided which champ you will pick, hit the “Ready” button at the bottom right corner and prepare for team searching. After finding a team, you will be automatically sent to a game. Good luck!
Once in a game, you will be prompted to select a deck. Since you are a scrub, simply choose the Starter Deck for now and make your way into lane. There are two means of travel: you may walk briskly to your destination, or you can charge up a sprint by holding the shift key. While running, however, make sure you do not get hit by enemy champs as this will stun your character for a few precious seconds. This is an awesome addition as travel does not feel tedious. The running option makes it feel as though you are actually rushing to whichever situation you may be trying to reach.
As you’re running, take a second to absorb the aesthetics. The game may be hefty to run, but holy bewinged heck are the graphics fantastic. The colors are very vibrant and mix well with each other. Hostile particles and the sort stick out within the terrain and are attention-grabbing, yet never difficult on the eyes.
Once you’ve reached your lane, it is a wise choice to ignore your lane enemy, stay behind your minion wave at all times, and simply focus on last-hitting monsters while keeping an eye on enemies from within the jungle. This is a somewhat slow process, yet is made up for by the fast-paced feeling of team fights that will happen later on in the game as the teams focus their attention more on objectives rather than on resources.
Getting a kill or having any form of participation is highly satisfying, as it will always feel as though you have out-played the enemy. Since this game is a third-person MOBA, it is actually quite easy to remain focused during a team skirmish as well, as your focus will be limited to whatever is in front of you or on the minimap. What’s more, every champion feels impactful in their own way, and they are honestly all really well designed and aesthetically pleasing. There are a few hero concepts that seem cheesy, yet this is easily ignorable due to how fantastically their physical appearance is designed.
Really, the most prominent feature that people may not agree on is the inclusion of a Deck system used to buy items rather than having access to a shop. This may lead you to feel as though the game is somewhat luck-based. The solution to that, though, is to keep playing, as you will eventually have enough cards to make a proper deck, as well as learn how to make intelligent builds.
After a fair amount of hours spent in-game, my verdict on what the game is like is now on the table. I can immediately conclude that the game will be worth your time if you are into MOBAs, and that you absolutely should look into it. Whether or not you buy the Founder’s Pack or wait to get the game for free during the summer will be up to you. The client isn’t overwhelming, and the game itself is easy to pick up and a true beauty to behold. It is important to note that if you are not a fan of MOBAs, then this game will most likely not be the one for you. Stories of players who dislike other MOBAs yet have come to love Paragon are not unheard of, so hope is not all lost. At the very least, give it a try when it becomes free to play. I’ll be waiting for your inbox!
Written By: Mikhael L’Heureux
Join Mikhael on his Paragon Stream at “www.twitch.tv/KingPeuche”