So along with the sweltering heat and colorful explosions this July, also comes a very welcome treat for PlayStation Plus members. Epic Games has made their new MOBA Title Paragon free to play for everyone with a Plus membership for the entire month of July. Paragon will of course be a free to play title when it leaves early access and becomes an open beta on August 16th. I’ve been playing Paragon quite a lot since it became free on Tuesday & in this video I would like to talk how this fresh take on MOBAS will feel familiar to seasoned MOBA veterans and yet will feel like an intensely different experience all at the same time.
So Paragon is a pretty standard MOBA if you want to look at it simply at face value. What I mean to say is that there are three lanes, six towers, three inhibitors and finally a core that must be destroyed in order to ensure victory over the enemy team. So how is it different from every other MOBA you have played? Well that all falls down to the gameplay. The characters all feel incredibly unique with them having a wide variety of abilities at your disposal. You’ll notice the same old MOBA tricks that have been deployed before like Murdoch’s ultimate being the same as Ra’s from Smite or even the tanky Grux who can pull enemies to him much the same way Blitzcrank from LoL does. In many ways this feels very similar to Smite except for the multilayered Jungle that leads to exciting team fights and several unique Jungle responsibilities that can either make or break your team. The laning feels fresh as well when you gain the high ground advantage on your opponent and have them scrambling backwards to safely cower behind their tower. The Jungle also leaves a crazy amount of unique ganks dependent upon what character you are using. For instance if you were using Rampage you could leap from right out of the middle of the lane, use your ultimate and then toss your rock stun and rake and break till everything dies. Then there are characters who can stealth and come in at you completely unawares and completely destroy you. As in every MOBA the main trick is to learn what every character can do so that you can properly evade and counter them when coming face to face against them in open warfare.
Another place where Paragon feels different, and in my own person opinion refreshing, is in the Card system which replaces your standard Shop Items. You can choose between premade decks and even build your own deck to any specific character. As you kill minions and enemies within the game you will earn card power which will be used to unlock the cards in your deck. The cards can be a variety of different things and range from simple healing and mana potions, to items that increase attack speed and critical hit damage. Most cards can also be upgraded a total of three times to maximize the bonuses given through them. This way to build your character gives the added challenge of learning what cards best suit that character and at what pace should you build each item. The premade decks stack up incredibly well though as I used them for the first 5 matches or so and had little problem keeping up with the enemy team. You can unlock new cards for coins and also with the currency rewarded simply for playing the game. You also seem to earn cards at a fairly frequent rate as I always seem to have a pack or two sitting in my profile to sift through in between matches. All in all I personally enjoy the card system. I feel like it adds a simplicity to the actual in-game time and also gives the player that added challenge of making the perfect deck to suit their chosen character.
So as for variety within the characters there seems to be three primary type to choose from, with a variety of roles stemming off from there, such as support or even assassin. This aspect is still very unfamiliar to me so I am just gonna lay out the three primary types and let you know how they actually play. First off let’s start with the mages. These are characters who are going to rely heavily upon abilities and the mana bar to do most of their damage, which from what I can tell, can be extensive indeed. Scorch for example can expel a seemingly limitless supply of fire-spitting turrets, while simultaneously covering the ground and enemies in a highly volatile oil. Also he has a never-ending supply of molotov cocktails, which is and always has been my favorite kind of cocktail. Next up we have the Rangers. These characters are going to rely upon their basic attack to do most of their damage and are therefore going to have to be adept at aiming. These characters also have a wide variety of playstyles available to their specific abilities. For example Murdoch can deploy mines across the battlefield to hinder the enemy’s advance by dealing damage and also slowing them. This is needed indeed since his primary damage dealer is his offhand shotgun, which requires him to be very close to the target in order to deal max damage with the buckshot. With that said Rangers are going to almost always be your ADC equivalent as they will be the ones to deal the most damage to the enemy structures. They also work heavily off of critical strike damage and benefit greatly from some attack speed bonus. Finally we have the Fighters in all their melee fury. These are going to be the most tricky to play in my experience and will require a lot of finesse to balance properly and gain the upper hand against your enemies. These characters seem to always have a little more durability and almost always have some sort of sustaining ability that replenishes their health. Rampage for example will always heal passively while in the jungle, while Feng Mao has a shield that he can pop in the heat of the moment to save him from that final fatal hit and buy him the time needed to make his escape. It’s all these subtle differences between the characters that leave a variety of playstyles not only for certain roles but also for specific characters as well.
So what does Paragon have to offer you? Well for seasoned MOBA players this will feel like a refreshing change of pace, especially if you are like me and have only really played a couple religiously. The combat feels tight and smooth in both the auto attack and abilities and if I miss I know it was because I missed not because there was any sort of problem with the hit detection. I really dig the map layout. I love the design of the game and it looks gorgeous on my console and so far has been running smooth, with the minor exception of a single hard crash during a very intense match that I’m still slightly bitter about. All in all I have enjoyed the time spent in Paragon and must say that it is a top-notch game that I feel is a refreshing change of pace for the genre. If you’re someone who is new to MOBAS and has been looking for an interesting game to pull you in, I think Paragon might be right for you as well. I have some friends who don’t care much for Smite at all and haven’t really played any traditional MOBAS, and they are enjoying the absolute shit out of Epic Games’ fresh take on the genre.
In closing I just want to add a special thank you to Epic Games. Thank you for making a very entertaining free to play game instead of lying to me and making me spend 60$ on it. Thanks for knowing that you are going to make plenty from early access and the micro transactions within the game that the asking price of 60$ isn’t needed in order for you to cover your nut. Yes, the way this game has been presented feels refreshing indeed.