Everyone seems to be getting into the MOBA genre these days. What started with DOTA and League of Legends has boomed into nearly every company out there looking into or in development on a new MOBA title. The latest addition to the MOBA genre, Paragon, comes from seasoned veterans Epic Games. As you might expect from a MOBA running Unreal Engine 4, it’s one of the best looking titles in the genre to date.
With so much competition in the MOBA genre, comparisons are bound to crop up. Many people have already compared Paragon to Smite due to the numerous similarities between the titles. Smite offered a unique take on the MOBA genre, and Paragon seems to be innovating on what Smite started. Let’s take a closer look at how Paragon compares to Smite and a more traditional MOBA such as Heroes of the Storm.
As you might expect, there are a few staples of the MOBA genre that are similar throughout almost all titles. This comes in the form of the objectives needed to win a match. Paragon, Heroes of the Storm and Smite all require players to team up and take down a variety of forts as they make their way to the enemy’s core. Smite offers arena battles as well, but the core gameplay is the same as most other MOBA titles.
Paragon doesn’t differ much from the basic objectives. You still have rows of minions that you can clear to earn experience. Jungle areas are still present and you still have three lanes leading to the enemy’s core. What’s different is that the lanes are tiered and the jungle area is below the lanes so you can clearly see across the playing field. This is something that hasn’t really been done in MOBA titles in the past.
Traditionally MOBA games have a top down perspective. You’ll see this in DOTA, Heroes of the Storm and League of Legends to name a few. Smite took a more action-oriented point of view and moved the camera to a third-person perspective. This made the title feel more like an action game and less like a MOBA. The arena mode adds to this feel and it’s one of the reasons why the game works so well on Xbox One in addition to the PC.
Paragon takes a page from Smite and also features a third-person perspective to bring the player closer to the action. The development team stated that most MOBA titles feel as though you’re giving commands but not really controlling a character. Moving the camera to a third-person viewpoint changes that as players feel they’re actually in control of their characters.
Blizzard is all about taking an established genre and simplifying it while retaining as much of the fun value as possible. We’ve seen this with World or Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm and now Overwatch. With Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard removed the need to purchase items every few levels like you do in other MOBA titles.
Paragon is taking a more traditional route, but also adding its own spin. There are still items you can buy every few levels, but there’s also a card system that enables a wide variety of custom builds. This was done so that an opposing team couldn’t simply counter the most popular build of a strong hero. With the card system there are so many potential builds it’s far more difficult to counter.
Vision is a big deal in MOBA titles. In most cases you can’t see what’s going on in a given area of the arena if you don’t have minions or heroes nearby. Paragon changes this by moving the jungles down below the lanes and tiering each lane so that the top lane is the highest and the bottom lane is the lowest. This allows players to look across the entire arena and see if a friend needs help or if the opposing team is about to converge on a fort.
This new vision vastly changing how teams will play Paragon compared to other MOBA titles. Instead of checking to see if the team is on the boss or working on a camp, you’ll be able to look across the lane and see what’s going on. You can still ambush from the jungle areas, but you won’t have to worry about a team hiding in a lane as you approach. The strategies that come from this way of playing should be very interesting.
If you’d like to know more about Paragon, check out our strategic preview of the title. We’ll have more on the upcoming MOBA as we approach the PlayStation and PC beta periods.