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Preview: Paragon

by onMarch 31, 2016
 

On a nice Saturday night, Smite was hitting on League of Legends at a bar. The two hit it off in what we call a one-night stand. Fortunately for us they had unprotected sex thus Paragon was born. This spectacular entertaining game is developed by Epic Games, the masterminds behind the Unreal Engine, Fortnite, Unreal Tournament and much more. Paragon is currently in early access with expected release date in summer 2016.

Now of course, I wasn’t going to wait till summer to get my hands on this game. The second I heard of a MOBA in a 3rd person shooter environment, I was sold. Having over 2000 hours in Dota, I had to check this out.  In this beautifully designed map called Agora, the game follows all aspects of a MOBA genre. 5 v 5 pushing 3 lanes with the help of computer generated creeps with the sole purpose to decimate the opponent. To win, you need to make your way to their base by destroying towers and ultimately abolishing their core.

Paragon Preview VGProfessional (2)The early access gives you 13 heroes to choose from with different abilities & roles. The standard team picks are always the same, you got a tank absorbing most of the damage, a support healing or shielding allies, the main carry which will be dishing out most of the pain, the jungler who is in charge of controlling the map and a ganker for all this extra … well dirty play!!

To start off, this game is very friendly to new comers. Every hero has his own detailed description with a difficulty level for mastering him. As a beginner, they recommend you start off with 1 of 4 characters. It is a very good way to get you prepared for the strategic thinking a MOBA requires from you. Each of these 4 heroes fill a specific role, so there a character for everyone. I personally started with Muriel as was always a support in previous MOBAS.

I had my eyes set on a character Kallari, so I rushed to level 7 in order to unlock the hero and I have been playing her since then. What I really like about this game is that fact that you do not only have your personal leveling to do but also the hero you play. The more you level your hero the more rewards you get up until you successfully get the Master title.

So far my favorite hero is Kallari for several reasons. She is a high risk high reward type of character. Great mobility and insane burst damage however if you do not secure your kill 9 out 10 times you will die making her one of the most difficult hero to master.

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The developers are promising a new hero every 3 weeks and are very serious about staying away from all kind of hero purchase. They designed it so that every player can compete and win without ever having to spend money. Of course that doesn’t mean you can’t purchase certain things but that shouldn’t affect the balance of teams. Having said that, there are 2 different type of currencies in the game. Reputation which can only be earned by playing matches. They let you buy card packs which is pretty much equivalent to buying gear in game. The other currency is coins. They are used to purchase cosmetic and convenience items that do not directly affect gameplay. These coins can be purchased using real money. There is also a mastery and skin tab which remain locked however I believe masteries will be some sort of a talent tree for each role you play enhancing certain aspects of your style of play.

Paragon Preview VGProfessional (11)The most intriguing part of this game is the introduction to cards in MOBA. Cards give heroes unique powers and capabilities on the battlefield. You build your collection by playing, and creating deck that could be the tipping point of winning or losing. These cards can only be earned by playing. This was a very interesting twist to my MOBA experience. In the traditional sense, when you jump in game, you have a shop. That shop lets you buy items based on your role that will help you in fights. In Paragon, I was not able to find the store. Instead they ask you to press G when in base and select a card deck based on the role you’re playing. Keep in mind that you can always customize your deck prior to starting the game. The cards here suddenly become your weapon, gear, healing potions, mana potions, wards … and the cards you decide to take while leveling in the game can be the difference between losing a team fight or winning one. In a nut shell, your store became the card deck. After trying this system, I came to the conclusion that all MOBAs should have a card deck system instead of a shop, the options and possibilities are limitless.

I spent 12 hours already on this game and I am hooked, I actually purchased the master edition as I already know that I will be spending many more hours on this. It seems that they learned from all the other MOBA failures and made sure not to fall into the same mistakes. Overall the game looks good, feels good and sounds good. Thanks to the Unreal engine, it came to no surprise that the graphics where outstanding. The map is so detailed that it made me imagine what would a DOTA map look like in 3D or in an Unreal world. There are some things to fix though, the jungle creeps for example where left there with no skin on them, but in all fairness they did mention that this will be applied after the beta. As for the soundtrack I personally love it, it gives you this mixture of The Hunger Games meets the Crystal Maze show. Ready for ongoing slaughter to get that ultimate reward!!

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Last but not least and I believe this is what will differentiate this game to other similarities in the market is the cross platform deal they worked on. I am playing on a PC with my friends who are on PS4. That for me is awesome. There are couple of things that still need fixing, for example the map needs some refining but overall I believe the pros outweigh the cons here. To be honest, the biggest flaw in the game is not the technical / esthetics but the people playing the game. I do not think that they have gasped the idea that this is a MOBA where strategic decision is key. They play it as if it is another Call of Duty.

But honestly I am very impressed by this early access and it can only get better once the full version is released. Everything so far looks promising for a successful launch, and this is definitely one of my favorite games this year. We all know that a MOBA game is something that you play for years and this one will join the club.

Paragon launch worldwide  in Summer 2016, and it will be free-to-play on both PC and the PlayStation 4. These impressions were only based on the beta access provided to the writer by Epic Games. You can also try to get your own Beta Key or pre-purchase one of their founder packs on their website. This preview was done on a PC running a Windows 10 Home, Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor set at 2.60 GHz, 4 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M and 16GB of DDR3 Ram.

Paragon Preview VGProfessional (4)

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