Nick R P Green blog header photo
Nick R P Green's c-blog
Posts 26Blogs 26Following 0Followers 2



Let's Talk About: Paladins: Champions of the Realm


Let's Talk About: Paladins: Champions of the Realm + BETA Code Give Away - NickRPGreen's YouTube Channel

The above link will take you to the video version of this article, below is the original script for said video, if you'd rather read than listen. Please note, the submissions for the BETA code give away are only accepted on the video's YouTube page. Enjoy!

Hello, you’re reading a Nick R P Green blog and welcome to Let’s Talk About: Paladins. Today I’m gonna discuss my thoughts about the Paladins: Champions of the Realm beta and even give away some beta codes at the end of the blog! Let’s get started!

Let’s talk about is a new idea for a series I have, not going to promise a regular series but hopefully I might throw out a bit more content than I have been doing thus far. Rather than a let’s play, a stream repeat or something like a WTF is, this is a scripted discussion of a particular game or topic, with pre-recorded footage of said game played in the background, the audio and the video being mutually exclusive to one another. Why this way? Well, everyone and their mothers does a let’s play these days plus I’m hoping to do some streaming at some point so that would kind of cover that area. Plus, I like writing scripts, I’ve proven to be not so great at improvised commentary. Anywho, how about we talk about Paladins?

Paladins: Champions of the Realm is a video game made by Hi-Rez studios, you may remember them from games such as the sci-fi shooter Tribes: Ascend or the third-person MOBA Smite. Now Paladins isn’t a MOBA, it’s one of the many new cross breed of first person shooters with moba elements that we’re about to get flooded with. You’ve got Borderlands creator Gearbox’s premium shooter Battleborn; there’s the free-to-play Gigantic the first game from developer Motiga and of course Overwatch, Blizzard’s first new IP in 17 years. Some of these games are straight up FPS MOBAs, Gigantic claims to be one whilst Battleborn certainly feels like it, whilst others liked Overwatch are more first person shooters with MOBA elements often referred to as Hero Shooters, a term I’ve come to use myself. Paladins certainly fits into the less of a moba and more of a Hero Shooter side.

Two teams of five players (of course) battle to destroy the enemies vault (aka Nexus aka Ancient aka Core). You choose one of currently 9 champions to take into said battle, each champion having specific abilities that make them unique. There aren’t specific roles in Paladins, but it’s clear to see which characters are the tanky or support characters and which are the assassin or dps characters. Another major difference with Paladins as opposed to other mobas or indeed Battleborn at least is that there are, at least currently, no melee champions. Everyone is ranged, though ranges do vary, with one champion wielding a flamethrower and practically having to be in melee range to use it. I did find I struggled to play melee characters in Battleborn as melee in first person feels very awkward, even in Team Fortress 2 I struggle using melee. Characters aren’t given a melee alternate attack either which does feel odd at first, though considering how your damaging weapons can be modified and there’s no friendly fire or splash damage to yourself from your own rockets or grenades there isn’t really much reason to have a melee attack. Along with their standard fire, each character has two offensive or defensive abilities and one movement ability which for most champions simply speeds you up and removes any debuffs you may have. You level up five times by getting kills, assists and securing objectives and at each level you are able to choose an additional effect for your character or their abilities through cards you unlock (more on that later). There is a key binding option for a fourth ability, specifically marked as an ultimate ability, which is something Hi-Rez will be adding in the future. Considering how steam-rolly certain points in the game can feel (more on that later) I think the additions of ultimates will make the game a little better balanced, giving teams who are on the losing side of a bad situation a chance to turn the tables. Then again, they could just provide the winning team with a way to steamroll harder, but I’m hopeful.

So let’s talk about the champions themselves. From both a gameplay abilities and a fantasy lore perspective the characters do seem pretty typical, a random lot of champions with bare minimum background cohesion. You’ve got your typical scouting archer in Cassie ala LoL’s Ashe or Quinn or Dota’s Drow Ranger; that one guy who uses a grenade launcher in Pip ala TF2’s Demoman or Dirty Bomb’s Nader; a character that can turn invisible in Skye, see LoL’s Shaco or Evelynn, Smite’s Loki or HotS’s Nova or Xeratul. Even with the mechanics being completely different, you’ve got Ruckus in his mech suit, just as LoL has Rumble, Dota 2 has Timbersaw and HotS has Gazlowe (albeit Gazlowe is a mech riding a goblin rather than the other way round). Basically, the game contains very cliche archetypes that you’d expect to find in this style of game and doesn’t make much of an attempt to bring something particularly original to the genre. Also, whilst League of Legends’ lore does a good job of explaining why Ashe uses a bow and arrow when Graves has access to a shotgun (i.e. technology is engineered magic in the world of runeterra), there isn’t any obvious cohesion between the witch who can create clones of herself, with the assassin who wields a sophisticated wrist blaster and plants bombs. There is a futuristic, technology based theme amongst the characters, for example the typical knight with a shield has a tech based suit of armor, his lance is actually a flamethrower and his shield creates a projection of a larger shield around it. So ok, there is some cohesion to the characters, however with all that technology and futuristic style design, one then has to wonder why A: they’re fighting in either a jungle temple or a forest based castle and B: why they ride horses.

To me, it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever for a goblin in a talking mech suit with miniguns to ride a plain looking horse around a medieval castle. Saying that, why would you use a horse when you’re in a mech suit? Just to be clear here, just like in Heroes of the Storm, outside of combat you can mount a horse (and switch to third-person) to move around the map much quicker, a mechanic absolutely necessary on a map of this size, but using a horse seems like a very lazy way of creating a more interesting way of sprinting. Each character could’ve been given there own way of sprinting, though this does overlap with the movement ability that also switches you to a third-person view and moves you quicker so a mount does provide more clarity for opponents. As you unlock a different horse for purchasing the founder’s pack (a limited chest for 20 bucks or 16 quid that gets you access to the closed beta, the exclusive mount and 20 card chests), it’s clear that mounts are there to be another microtransaction, perfectly valid in a free to play game like this. But a horse just doesn’t make sense in with the futuristic theme and just feels a bit lazy if I’m perfectly honest. Obviously, they’ll release more mounts in the future, but I would hope the default mount is changed for when the game leaves beta. The maps are similar in this sense, a futuristic theme, like a citadel or a spaceport would feel more appropriate thematically. Hi-Rez have stuck to something traditional and gone with a similar style to their maps in Smite when these characters require a little less World of Warcraft in their surroundings and a little more Star Wars instead. Again, only in beta so presumably there are going to be more maps in the future.

On the subject of maps, these ones, as I’ve suggested, seem very generic and rather bland and empty. There’s two bases, one for each team, both consisting of two gates and a vault both guarded by turrets (similar to HotS in that respect) and then a very large space in between with three clutch points, each having a capture point and surrounded by various forms of elevation and cover. The idea being in the siege game mode (currently the only game mode) that a capture points spawns at random at one of the three designated points, the teams fight to capture it and when one is successful, a large siege weapon is spawned that travels to the enemy base and attempts to destroy a gate or ultimately the enemy vault. The defending team can attack the siege weapon to destroy it quicker whilst attackers attempt to protect the weapon and can also freely attack the gate or vault. It should be noted, the siege weapon is automatically destroyed if it is successful in destroying an enemy gate so therefore at least three captures are required to win with two siege attacks almost guaranteeing the destruction of a gate. Now the maps are reasonably large, compared to TF2 you’re looking at something larger than an average control point map, but quicker to traverse thanks to mounting. The thing is, there’s a lot of open space in between the bases and the capture points and travelling from your base to a control point can take a tedious amount of time. When most of the fighting, and certainly most of the interesting fighting takes place in the clutch positions, the vast spacing between becomes nothing more than padding to allow the defending team more time to get some damage down on the siege machine. This padding could easily be eliminated and the game balanced for it by making the siege machine move slower and in the case of getting people back into the fight, making respawn times slightly longer, though I would argue respawn times are a bit too lengthy currently, so keeping them as they are but making the map smaller would be a good balance fix. Currently if you have the upper hand on a capture point it’s difficult for the enemy team to stop you from taking it as respawn timers and map size prevent your team from having enough time to mount an assault and retake it, more often than not it tends to be everyone has one fight over the point and whoever wins instantly takes it. Additionally it takes a lot of effort to destroy a siege machine and very little effort to destroy a gate and I think a balance tweak in that regard along with some more varied battlements around the gates would provide for some more interesting fights rather than the simple bullet hell in open space that it currently is. In general, the maps do need fleshing out a lot more, each needs a lot more character and I don’t just mean from a visual design point but from a gameplay design as well. The battlements, cover and zoning points need much more variety and need to be much more deliberate. Every piece of cover, every corridor, every elevation needs to be placed there for a reason, and right now it feels like 50% has been specifically placed and 50% is there just for the sake of it.

If Paladins has a unique selling point, it would probably be its levelling and augment system. There’s no pre-match loadout or in game item shop like traditional mobas, Paladins uses a similar system to Heroes of the Storm and Battleborn in that you choose what bonus effects you want when you level up. Whilst Battleborn only gives you one of two choices per level and HotS unlocks more of its leveling options the more you play each character, Paladins requires you to unlock effects in the form of collectable cards which are then chosen in game. Cards are specific to each character and each level and might affect your basic attack, one of your abilities or how fast you move whilst mounted to name but a few. Every card also increases your health by a specific amount and has a power level that increases your overall damage and regen. Finally, when you die, your cards go on cooldown, each level of card having a specific cooldown, giving you pockets of vulnerability for the enemy team to take advantage of. Collecting cards is how you progress in Paladins and where the theorycrafting is realised. Every Champion is available to play for the get go, though with only nine champions currently, I think you’ll be required to unlock champions when the game leaves beta. You can level up characters by playing as them and your profile has an overall level and currently the only rewards for leveling are unlocking more cards so currently card collecting is the sole means of progression other than for progression’s sake. I like this, as I’ve always liked having some sort of collectable goal to work towards. It makes you want to play and gives you a reason to keep coming back, unlike say Dota 2 where every character is available from the start and there are no strategic advantages to having played more of the game asides from experience (or at least to the best of my knowledge, I’ve played very little Dota 2). In LoL, I like that I’ve had to collect every champion (only 4 left to go!), it’s a great form of progression as limitation makes the game simpler for the new player and gains more substance at a rate that is trackable. Cards in Paladins allows you to tweak a champion to your liking but doesn’t throw every augmentation at you all at once.

I think it’s a really promising system and gives Hi-Rez a lot of room to balance characters and introduce new mechanics to existing champions alongside releasing new champions. It is important to note that you cannot simply unlock or purchase specific cards. Levelling up and completing your first win of the day awards you with champion or radiant chests, the former unlocking one random cards, the latter unlocking five. Radiant chests can also be purchased using in game coins or premium the currency crystals. A radiant chest costs 50 crystals and as crystals become cheaper the more you buy at once, 50 crystals can be valued at anywhere between 57 pence to £1 or roughly 87 cents to 1 dollar 52. I can’t really take any issue with this, the game is free to play after all and this is likely to be the place Hi-Rez makes most of its money, though after about a dozen games I’m halfway to being able to afford a radiant chest with in game gold and I imagine when levelling up becomes a lot less frequent the card intake will slow rather significantly. As a final note, there is a card crafter as well, the cards you unlock aren’t guaranteed to be unique and you can combine 4 of any duplicate rarity to craft a random card of the next rarity, or combine only 3 of any duplicate rarity to craft a random card of the same rarity, though this card is guaranteed to be a card you don’t already own. Again, perfectly sound system, would be nicer if every card was unique but again, Hi-Rez do need to make some money somewhere. My only small gripe with the card system is the rarity system, in that each rarity becomes available in game at a specific level, so at level 1 you pick a speciality, at level 2 you pick a common, level 3 a rare, level 4 an epic and at level 5 you pick a legendary card. Why give the rarities different names, why not just call them level 1 cards, level 2 cards and so on. I only worked out that this was how it works whilst writing the script for this video and this is likely to confuse new players. Also another slight nitpick, radiant chests are fine, but i would have given the champion chests a different name, only because the characters are referred to as champions, and this naming convention suggests that the chest contains a champion rather than a card. This didn’t confuse me, but again, seems like something that could be confusing for no good reason. Call it a card chest or a basic chest, just not a champion chest.

So, let’s try to come to some sort of conclusion shall we. Paladins is good-ish. It’s ok right now and it is only in beta and that’s ok-ish. Alright, right now, Paladins feels like it’s more in its Alpha stage than its Beta stage, there’s the promise of a really good game there, but it needs a lot more fleshing out. A lot of the game feels like it’s been made using cookie cutters and right now it’s just a poor man’s Overwatch. The lack of ultimates which we know will be present at some point, the laziness of the maps and the mounts and the cards using placeholder images (which I presume are recycled from smite, but don’t quote me on that I’m just guessing). All these things make the game feel extremely unfinished and a rush to make something to fill the current popular trend. And this surprises me, not because it’s 2015 and this is pretty much what everyone is doing these days (hey did you hear Epic, maker of Gears of War has announced a new moba, i know right!). It’s surprising because it’s Hi-Rez, a company that’s not only made several free to play video game before, but already has a moba. Considering how big Tribes and Smite have become, I would’ve expected Hi-Rez to have this “beta” a bit more fleshed out, considering they have plenty of experience in this area. I’m not expecting tons of lore or hundreds of characters and a dozen or so maps, but I was expecting a little more content and a little better quality content. And it’s a shame, because the mechanics are there, there is a good game at its, but for me, it’s got a lot of work to stand out in this current market. The card system is neat, but right now there isn’t anywhere near enough there to make this game stand out from the likes of Overwatch, Battleborn or even breaking some of the hold Team Fortress 2 still has. All it has going for it is that it’s free to play, and I don’t think that will be enough. Oh and one final note, who, what or where are the Paladins? The game is called Paladins, and there is no mention of any paladins in the game whatsoever as the characters you play as are referred to as champions. There isn’t even a typical paladin character, there’s no Uther or Taric style champion whatsoever. There’s a healer and a couple of tanks, but no paladin. Why is the game called Paladins!?

Thank you for reading today’s let's talk about. Before I finish, I do have two beta codes for Paladins to give out, despite my criticisms it is worth a go and honestly the main reason I’m playing it is because I’m actually good at it. Compared to Battleborn which I really struggled with and even Smite, I struggle at landing skillshots in first person. I don’t come from an MMORPG background so using WASD to move and reach for numbers for skills seems very alien to me, particularly after so much League of Legends. Paladins has been a much easier point of entry for me into hero shooters, and there is a very good chance you’ll enjoy it to. To grab one of the codes, all you have to do is leave a comment on the video’s YouTube page letting me know what your game of the year for 2015 is. Two winners will be chosen at random before the year is out. Like or subscribe if you like what you’ve seen, good luck and thanks for reading. Hopefully I’ll be starting some semi regular streaming at some point, so keep an eye on twitch.tv/nickrpgreen to see that too. Till then, see you next time!

Login to vote this up!


Nick R P Green   



Please login (or) make a quick account (free)
to view and post comments.

 Login with Twitter

 Login with Dtoid

Three day old threads are only visible to verified humans - this helps our small community management team stay on top of spam

Sorry for the extra step!


About Nick R P Greenone of us since 4:03 PM on 01.03.2012

So, I haven't edited my bio in four years. Time for an update.

I'm Nick R P Green; English; Theatre Graduate; Amateur Video Maker and Games Journalist; Former President of the Lancaster University Gaming Society. Pleased to make your acquaintance.

I've been playing video games since my parents bought a NES second hand from a friend, which I would guess is about 19 years ago (I'm now 26), and I've grown up with them ever since. Shortly after the NES came a second hand Megadrive, then quite a few years later, a borrowed PS1 and then finally, a brand new PS2, quickly confirming Metal Gear Solid as my favourite game franchise ever made. After starting college in Chesterfield, Derbyshire (I lived in Sheffield, South Yorkshire with my parents) and starting work at a Thorntons store in Crystal Peaks Shopping Centre, my first ever Xmas pay came in which resulted in my first ever console purchase (rather than my parents buying one), my PlayStation 3. Finally, after one year of University, I bought my brother's Xbox 360 off him as he was upgrading to an 360 S, and 2 and half years of being around and living with hardcore PC gamers, my first proper gaming PC. I'm now on gaming PC number 2, my first self-build too. Me and Shagohod (said I was an MGS fan) have been going places lately.

So as you can see, my gaming history is quite open, I've had a lot of experience, with lots of devices and with that has come a lot of fun and particularly at University, a lot of friendship. Joining the University's gaming society was probably the second best thing I ever did at University (the first being making out with the cute girl from the other corridor in a night club, resulting in what has now been a five and a half year fun, loving relationship. She even plays League of Legends as well!). If I could give one piece of advice to anyone going to university, particularly one like Lancaster where it is campus based with a college system, is to get involved with societies and your college. It's the best way to make friends and find people who enjoy doing things that you do, gaming in particular. I met my closest friends through LUGS, and I wouldn't trade them in for the world.

My interests in gaming are very broad, as you can probably tell by my collection of hardware. I'm a Gold League of Legends player, I've dabbled with several MMOs, I've recently got back into Team Fortress 2, and MGSV took my breath away. And with an interest in so many areas, I've grown a great interest in the gaming world and gaming journalism. My first regular viewing was the fantastically worded Zero Punctuation by Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, who teaches us that even the greatest game in the world has its flaws, and talking about it really really fast is the funniest way to tell the world. Escapist also allowed me fall in love with such shows as Doomsday Arcade and There Will Be Brawl, which made me laugh, cry, reminisce and drink (drinking games, with friends, on gaming videos, is hilarious fun!). Regular viewing now consists of Jim Sterling's Jimquisition, Rooster Teeth, cjszero01, and MovieBob.

I decided a few years ago I wanted to start getting into games journalism, as I realised it was something I was very much interested in. As a Theatre Graduate, and a hopeful actor, I've always enjoyed working with live performance, and video editing has been a past hobby, editing compilations, home movies as well as camera, writing and editing work as part of my university course. So it seemed natural to follow in the footsteps of my inspirations. I've made a lot of progress in the past four years, with new hardware and editing software making my videos look and sound better than they've ever been. My regularity usually peaks during points of low employment, I worked for The Entertainer Toy Shop for over two years and saw video releases drop immensely. I'm working very low hours right now in my current job, so productivity has risen once again. Hopefully it won't dip too much when my career finds its feet.

So that pretty much all I can say about me and gaming. If you haven't managed to catch any of my videos yet, check out my YouTube channel amongst the links below, or just have a look at my blog posts for links and scripted versions. And please comment on them! I'm always on the look out for some useful constructive criticism. In my opinion, practice and criticism are the two best ways of learning!

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next time!

Nick R P Green

YouTube Channel


Xbox Live

PlayStation Network


Xbox LIVE:Nick R P Green
PSN ID:Viper-1-9-89
Steam ID:nickrpgreen


Around the Community