A guide about a new, promising e-sports discipline.
Late August, WESA and Hi-Rez Studios announced Paladins Premier League, which was immediately joined by the biggest e-sports organizations. Virtus.pro, Natus Vincere and eight other teams declared their intentions of joining the PPL. VP's general manager Roman Dvoryakin even revealed that the Paladins roster is already decided – what's left is just a paperwork formality.
What is Paladins?
Paladins: Champion of the Realm is a team-based first-person shooter with MOBA elements, akin to Overwatch and Team Fortress 2. Saying that, Paladins is not blindly copying these titles' gameplay – it brings it to whole another level, thanks to its own innovations.
What are the differences?
Besides a huge variety of Champions (31 at the moment), which have different arsenals and abilities, Paladins brings a card system and an economic part – like in Dota 2.
For instance, Viktor – basic champion and a part of the tutorial – wields a scoped assault rifle. This champion's gameplay will be familiar to those who played Counter-Strike or Call of Duty.
Viktor's main abilities: “Hustle” (sprint) and “Frag Grenade”. Ultimate ability - “Barrage”: Viktor brings up his Targeting Binoculars. Click on Enemy players to guide an artillery shell dealing 1400 damage to their location. Your movement speed is slowed while channeling Barrage.
Your gameplay and playstyle would be absolutely different if you were to pick Grohk. His main weapon - “Lightning Staff” - makes him more suitable for Quake veterans.
Orc-shaman's main abilities: “Healing totem” (heals 420 health per second to nearby allies) and “Ghost Walk” (Grohk briefly becomes untargetable and increases his movement speed by 20% for 1,5 seconds).
Champion's ultimate is “Tempest”: Grohk surges with power for 3s, slowing and striking 2 nearby enemies at a time for 200 damage and speeding up and healing himself and 2 nearby allies for 500 health every 0.5 seconds.
Each hero chooses between 16 unique cards, 4 for each ability. Cards are passive modifiers: they change abilities' durations, cooldowns, or modify their effects.
You can bring 5 cards into a match. A card's cost is 1 point. You can allocate multiple points into one card, increasing its potency. The limit is 12 points per deck. Multiple decks can be saved to be used in later matches.
During match, players earn Credits. They can be spent on items in respawn pool shop. Items passively enhance Champions' abilities and can be upgraded over the course of the game. You can choose one item for each category – Defense, Healing, Attack, and Utility.
How is Paladins played?
Game currently has two gameplay modes – Siege and Payload.
Both modes basically are variations of “push the cart with explosives to enemy base to win”. In Siege, teams have to claim a map's central point first, and then push the cart. Points are earned for capturing objectives and successful payload delivery, and for defense. Siege format – best-of-5.
Payload is played on a more massive scale maps in best-of-2 format. That's the main and only difference from Siege.
Will Paladins secure its e-sports niche?
This question can't be answered with certainty yet, but the scene's foundation is already laid – developers attention and support of the e-sports. Hi-Rez Studios will split the Paladins Premier League's revenue between participating teams and will guarantee a minimum salary to players
“Paladins has emerged as an innovative first person shooter (FPS) title and Hi-Rez has a track record of supporting endemic esports organizations and players,” said Ken Hershman, Executive Chairman and Commissioner of WESA. “For WESA, this is an important milestone.”
Paladins is less random than its main opponent – Overwatch. In Paladins, heroes can not be changed mid-match, which makes the pick phase much more crucial.
Besides that, Paladins is more fast paced than its competitors, partly thanks to “Mounts” - special transport, which gives you a slight edge when returning from respawn to the battlefield.
What about the Paladins' tournaments and prize-pools?
Publisher is keenly aware of Paladins e-sports niche. Abundance of tournaments and prize-pool sizes prove that, in addition to official site's attention to Paladins Esports.
As a part of DreamHack Valencia 2017, Paladins Premier tournament was held with a prize-pool of $100.000. Global Series League started on the first of August – its prize pool is $350.000.
Author: Anton Kozlov