If you’ve never heard of the MOBA genre in gaming, then you’ve probably been living under a rock these past ten years or so. DOAT2 has the biggest money pools in eSports, League of Legend is arguably the biggest game in the world right now, and Blizzard has big plans for Heroes of the Storm this year. Of course there are several other MOBA games including Smite and even Battleborn, which offer slightly different takes on the genre. Now, Epic Games is getting into the fun with their own MOBA, Paragon.
First and foremost, Paragon resembles Smite more so than League of Legends of DOTA2. Using Unreal Engine 4, Paragon is basically what you get when you take Gears of War and merge it with League of Legends. It’s a third-person shooter that plays by the rules of a MOBA. What does that mean exactly? Well, you have five player teams on a single map that includes three lanes and jungle areas. To win a match you need to defeat the opposing team’s core on the far side of the map.
Paragon will release for the PlayStation 4 and PC sometime this year, and Epic Games is hoping to turn a few heads. While the third-person view MOBA has been done before, what makes Paragon different is that the arena is multi-tiered. Traditionally, you can’t see what’s going on in another lane unless you have minions or teammates in the area. That’s not the case in Paragon as you can clearly see across lanes to determine how to approach almost any situation long before you enter an engagement.
The top lane is the highest of the three lanes, then the middle lane is at ground level and the bottom lane is below that. Between the lanes you’ve got jungle where heroes can hide from the opposing team, but it’s also below the lanes so you can still see across. You still have minions and towers and everything else you’d expect from a MOBA, but the ability to see across lanes will bring a new level of depth and strategy to the genre.
Heroes with vision are popular in MOBAs because it allows you to see sections of the map that would otherwise be hidden. In Paragon that won’t be nearly as important because you can see much of the map without the need for vision. What will be important is planning your attack strategy when you know the opposing team will be able to see you coming and counterattack accordingly.
Another aspect of Paragon that differs from other MOBA games is that there’s a card system. In addition to the item system you find in other titles, you can customize the abilities of your hero using these cards. At present it’s unknown how many cards players will have to choose from or even how many they can set on their character, but there are hundreds of cards currently being planned.
The card system is designed to make it more difficult for the opposing team to counter your hero. Traditionally, you know what the best builds are for any given hero. This makes it much easier to select your items and build a character that can counter the opposing team. With the card system that will be much harder to do as you can use any number of cards to alter your build and really offer more customization than you may be accustomed to in other MOBA titles.
While most MOBAs have eSports aspirations, this is Epic Games’ first MOBA. The company wants to see the game featured in eSports events, but it has a big advantage over other similar titles. Epic Games has plans to release the game on PS4 and PC with the ability to not only use your characters on either platform at any given time, but also promote cross-platform play. There’s even discussion about creating an in-game voice chat system so players on PC and PS4 can easily talk to one another.
Building a game for cross-platform play meant making the controls a basic and intuitive as possible so they could be mapped to a controller. In addition, Epic Games is determined to balance the game so that there won’t be an advantage for mouse and keyboard users. The combat and movement systems will be done in a way that having more precise control options won’t offer an advantage in play.
There’s no set release date for Paragon yet, but paid early access is coming early this year with an open beta to follow sometime this summer. We’ll have more on Paragon as new information on the unique title becomes available!