By: Jeff Cater
With a horizon filled with pay-upfront MOBAS (Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas) like Overwatch and Battleborn, a beautiful surprise is in store for those accustomed to the usual price of these games (free).
Paragon is a MOBA by the folks at Epic Games and is currently in early access for both Steam and the PlayStation 4. Paragon is very similar to DOTA2 in terms of how it handles monetization: you get characters for free but can opt to pay for unique skins for each. Since the game is still in early access, the skin selection is limited (I have a feeling the selection will blow up quickly), but you can also purchase card packs.
The latest trend in a lot of games these days is to have booster packs full of cards that you can pay for to unlock bonuses or weapons or something. In Paragon, card packs yield utility items that you can bring into the field of battle with you.
You assemble a deck of cards, with the ability to have a custom deck for each character. These can affect anything from your maximum health to your attack speed. You can also upgrade those cards mid-battle during a shop visit by filling three upgrade bubbles on each card.
Upgrades are restricted to cards that share its type, so for instance you can select a card that boosts your attack speed and only use upgrades that further boost it. Same goes for health cards, defense cards and so on.
Now you say, “So Jeff, it seems that this game is a MOBA about cards… I don’t quite get–“
YOU ARE SO RIGHT! Paragon is a true MOBA down to its core. There are three lanes housing turrets, and walking up said lanes are creeps, or soldiers that fight for your side and “creep” up the lane. You and four others will face a team of five, all working to take down opposing turrets and make a push towards the power core. Destruction of the power core, of course, yields victory, experience for your profile and in-game currency to spend on card packs (and skins, most likely).
Aesthetically, Paragon is quite the showcase. While there is only one playable map at the moment, it’s visually varied and stunning at all times. The frame rate seems to be very stable, with drops only occurring when absolute chaos is happening (like 8-10 players all popping their Ultimates).
The path that Paragon is on looks very bright at the moment. The game mechanics are solid, the card system is unique and it’s flat out beautiful. Looking forward, Paragon will be a necessity for any hard drive. Plus, there’s PC and PS4 cross-play!