Paragon’s Then and Now … A Tale Of MOBA Anorexia

 

Paragon’s New Dawn…

Over the last year, the Paragon team has tackled its principle issue: pacing. First, the original Monolith map underwent changes to bring lanes closer together, as well as a more consolidated jungle. It no longer took 10 minutes to march minions from one side of the map to the far side. The new slimmer map not only led to shorter matches, but also easier player rotations and teamwork. Attack animations were sped up, providing more gratification and player kills as your hero improved. No one was arguing that these changes were not essential.

The dev team has also been hard at work providing more lore pages, and story snippets finally add flavor to its ambiguous sci-fi backstory. New heroes, more skins, and a visual overhaul of the Monolith map have come along to add even more visual splendor. These are the updates one would expect over time. Fix the glaring and bad aspects of your MOBA and optimize your game engine. If you use NVIDIA’s  Overlay, Paragon will tie into it allowing your best plays to be recorded as highlights for you to watch later or upload directly to Youtube and Facebook. It’s a nice touch! Combined with NVIDIA’s Ansel technology there is no end to the amount of cool screen captures and replays players can whip together after matches. All great things to add to the game, and things players really wanted.

What baffles my mind is the changes that were brought along that, apparently, no one was asking for.

Goodbye intricate card and upgrade system, say to hello to a simplistic wheel you plunk gems into for a power up.

First, the offensive powers were combined into just one. Now, heroes scale according to their type. Regardless if you used a basic attack improvement card or an ability upgrade, it was all focused as offensive power then scaled to your hero. Meaning no matter how much offensive power you stack onto your caster type hero, he will never hit for 300+ basic attack damage. Instead, his abilities will hit for 300+ damage because that’s how it scales power.

Ok. That limits our creativity with hero builds, but it’s not so bad (or at least I told myself that).

In a matter of months, the New Dawn update removed the entire card system and replaced with a simpler one.

What? Who asked for this? No one.

That’s right. The decks of 40 cards players had spent hours painstakingly balancing for their favorite hero. Gone.

Upgrading cards to do just the right damage early, then mid, then late? Gone!

The replacement system leaves a lot to be desired. 40 cards are now 12, and they are a wispy shadow of its former selves. You don’t upgrade them. They just give you a passive, or an active ability, most do not even enhance your stats. Instead, stat building has been flattened into three rings you place gems in as you play. These rings are called Agility (basic attack strength and defense), Vitality (health pool and health regeneration rate), and Intellect (mana pool and ability power). As you play you earn currency and buy points in these rings. Your boost is the same across all characters (scaling still factors in). That’s it. It’s dull.

Jungle class players had a structure called the “Amber Link” to protect from enemies. As they cleared camps, a bonus percentage of currency would accumulate in the Amber Link. After a time this bonus shared with all teammates or could be stolen by enemy players. This was a nice deviation from traditional MOBA jungle metas, and gave junglers something else to worry about. Now? Gone. Replaced with static camps that just give gold.

Hell, even the amber currency is gone. Replaced with gold coins like every other MOBA.

Seen here: Paragon killing it’s old card system with two short swords to the heart

What? Why? Huh?

As I mentioned earlier, SMITE streamlined the snot out of their item trees in hopes of making it easier for players to dive in. Their slimming down efforts have not catapulted them to the top spots in MOBA popularity. No. The kings of the MOBAs still remains DOTA 2 and League of Legends, and like I said, they are not dumbing themselves down for anyone.

So instead of focusing on new map modes, new classes, new cards, new upgrades, or anything that would add more depth to Paragon – the focus seemingly has turned into making this once unique MOBA into Overwatch’s Illegitimate Kid With SMITE? Why?

Popularity?

Overwatch is for kids, quite literally as the only ones who play it are tweens and young boys that recently discovered Monster beverages. SMITE is SMITE, we already have it, why make another version with nicer graphics?

 

Epic Games. Listen just stop. You had something here. All the good players I have befriended over the last twelve months in this game have disappeared and I don’t blame them. Dumbing down the game and pushing players to kill each other at a faster pace at the expense of good depth and strategy is not worth it. Historically it hasn’t worked out for other MOBA devs who’ve tried to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Further, good players in DOTA 2 rack up supernatural ultra killing sprees all the time, finishing games with 30+ kills in one 45 minute match.

Stop, just stop. Overwatch and its marketing team have already killed off poor Battleborn, don’t follow in its wake. Look. It’s simple if players were confused by the card system, explain it better. Lay it out better. Don’t just kill it. Refine and improve it!

MOBA players have plenty of skin and bones superficial options to choose from already where the deepest decision is “Which play of the game should I upload to Youtube?” Don’t want to come to the table with just a nice looking but very bare china set, you need some entrees on those plates! Look at the titans of MOBAs, who a year ago had 20-30 million viewers of their championship tournaments and accrue hundreds of millions of hours of Twitch views a month. Don’t slim down. Add. Add fat yummy things like ranked matches, more game modes, more cards, more in-depth customization of said card upgrade system.

Sorry Paragon but skin and bones are not attractive, at least not for serious gamers. Good MOBA gamers like to see a little cushion for the pushin’. It’s not too late. Paragon is not dead yet. Go back to the freezer, at midnight, get the ice cream and french fries. Start feeding your MOBA the things that made it awesome, the things that made it unique. Don’t stop until we’re all back to face planting a rollie-pollie Victorian-era beauty. A ball of pasty white strategic gelatinous fat we can slather over ourselves day and night as we experiment and tinker once again with limitless decks and our favorite heroes. Pump and slather carb and lard laden depth gravy on every aspect of your game. It’s what good MOBA players really want…

Now I’m kinda hungry.

  • SaltySub™

    Now this is actual game journalism, with a brilliant concluding paragraph.

  • Luca

    Never seen a caster type hero becoming a jungle or support type before v42, also you said a lot of fase things, ability and basic damage never really existed in paragon, in legacy you had heroes with all energy or all basic abilities and the cards that gives you basics/abilities power are ability penetration and basic pen. Now we have power that improves alla the damage and the two types of penetration.

    • Gone With The Win

      You essentially stated what I wrote Luca. There was two types of damage and now one. During the closed alpha you had blue power cards and red. One for ability, one for in hand. There was a lot of experimentation. I ran a Gadget support with heavy health and low CDR. I’ve even run a Lt. Belica jungle. The experimentation options are there, and technically still there but it’s more futile to try and go a whole different direction with a hero. That was my take from the closed Alpha until now. I actually still playing regularly, the core I enjoyed is still there I just fear its being too streamlined. Some say half the cards were useless, that maybe so, but my point was the old card system could have been refined instead of turned into 3 static upgrade rings. That’s my take. I thank you for posting even if you disagree.