Paladins is a free-to-play team-based shooter with strategy elements and character progression enabled through decks of ability-boosting collectible cards. Developed by Hi-Rez Studios, the company that brought you Smite, the game that was revealed in August has recently entered its beta phase.
Unlike Overwatch, a game we have reported on recently, and its very limited closed beta that is running at the moment, Paladins is open for everyone who is willing to chip in $20 for the founder’s pack.
“Paladins has been a passion project of ours from the beginning,” Senior Producer Mick Larkins said.
“We’ve dedicated a separate team from Smite to work on it, and while we are still early in development, we know we’re crafting something very special. Paladins is extremely quick, with a great deal of depth in how it blends action, tactics, and teamwork, and we’re excited for gamers to start discovering all it has to offer.”
A new take on a familiar eSports format
The perhaps biggest novelty that the game brings to the table is a level-up system, which is based around a set of cards that players earn through playing or through microtransactions.
Each card can be used to buff player abilities if it’s picked when leveling up. This allows players to customize their characters around their own personal playstyle. The founders pack gives the buyer 20 Card Chests containing five cards each, allowing the player to build a set from the start.
“Paladins combines a rich fantasy setting with the fast action of a team-based first-person shooter,” Hi-Rez noted in a press release. “In addition to the core shooter experience, Paladins also offers deep strategy and in-match character progression through decks of collectible cards, which amplify and augment a character’s core set of abilities.”
Players control characters that have a primary weapon, a set of combat and movement abilities, and a mount to travel quickly between fights. Similar to other comparable games, the goal of the game is for the team to capture and hold control points and ultimately to destroy the enemy’s base.
Promising outlook for competitive eSports play
For the time being Paladins looks fast-paced and fun, featuring a lot of skills, abilities, and weapons that take good aim, movement, and teamwork to use properly. In many ways, the game is very similar to Overwatch, Battleborn, and upcoming shooter titles like Gigantic. For now, it looks like a game that has solid potential for competitive play.
Hi-Rez has already made an attempt in the team-based shooter area with its free-to-play game Tribes: Ascend in 2012. Although the game is still online, the company stopped updating it in July 2013. But the developer has shown it knows how to support a title with popular battle arena game Smite. And judging from what Hi-Rez has accomplished with that game, Paladins just might be one of the next new big eSports titles.
Anyone looking to get into the beta can do so by signing up on the Paladins official site and buying the founder’s pack, which includes the Infernal Warhorse, an exclusive in-game mount.