Paragon, by Epic Games, went into its early access stage just over a month ago, on March 18th, available to those who purchase one of the Founders Packs from the PS Store. As a fan of the MOBA genre I have been playing since early access began, this article will aim to give some insight to those still unsure of what the game is about or whether they want to purchase the early access.
Perhaps, the first thing anyone will notice is the stunning graphics and scenery that feature on the battlegrounds of Agora, even in early access the heroes and environments of Paragon look well polished and to a particularly high standard at that. The only notable exception would be the jungle camps, which currently resemble the correct shape but are yet to be coloured and textured, I will leave it up to you to decide if this is a deal breaker or not in regards to the early access. However Epic Games does release quite regular patches and updates for the game, mostly in the form of adjustments to hero abilities and buffs to keep the battlefield as balanced as possible as well as a new hero every 3 weeks, undoubtedly though these updates will eventually finish off the jungle camps. There are a couple of screenshots posted below to give you an idea of where the game currently is in regard to the graphics.
Of fundamental importance to Paragon, how does it play? Something Epic Games have done a considerably good job of is making the game a very approachable MOBA for beginners, despite the game not yet featuring an in game tutorial mode there are some highly useful tutorial videos that can be watched in the game or you can find them on YouTube. The basic gameplay video is posted below, however you can find tutorials for specific heroes on YouTube or on the character selection screen in game, Paragon will become even more accessible to beginners once it has some in game tutorials live.
Now the MOBA veterans out there may be wondering if it’s too simple a game and I can assure you it is not, as your skill levels progress you will begin to utilize some game mechanics which are quite unique to Paragon, for example the verticality, that I personally have never experienced in a MOBA before. Ranged characters can use the tactical advantage of raised platforms to rain hell upon their melee counterparts. Another interesting concept that Paragon offers is the ‘travel mode’ (that again, I don’t believe has previously featured in a MOBA), after not taking damage for a few seconds you can increase your movement speed to help traverse the map and keep up to the game’s pace, once you attack or are attacked movement drops back to its usual speed. The last new idea put to work comes from what are known as ‘harvesters’, harvesters, once claimed by your team, will generate an experience pool over time that when collected provide experience to your whole team. There are 7 harvesters on the 5v5 map and controlling them can be crucial to keeping a level advantage over the enemy team.
Furthermore, does it feel like a MOBA? The answer to that is a resounding yes, currently there is only a 5v5 map live but we can look forward to more maps in the future (hopefully), the map has 3 lanes, jungle camps complete with 4 different buffs, towers, nexuses and finally the cores which give you the victory once destroyed. Although the early access currently only has the one 5v5 map it does not become boring and in all honesty and I’m sure any other ex League of Legends players can admit that really you only play the 5v5 anyway. In my, potentially unpopular, opinion Paragon could well be the beginning of a new generation of MOBAs. Also worth noting is that the MOBA genre is relatively new to PlayStation with the only other competition really being Smite and if you have played Smite you absolutely should try out Paragon, some may argue the new title Battleborn is also a MOBA and subsequently a bit of competition but…. c’mon.
Ultimately the game will be free to play but we aren’t exactly sure when, the free beta will open up sometime in the summer and there may be some free beta weekends prior to that but not much has been released in terms of actual dates. The Founders Pack will give you access now, a few free skins and a boost, admittedly I was sceptical about paying for a free to play game but so far no regrets and would highly recommend it for both beginners and veterans to the genre alike. Plus when Epic Games do fully launch Paragon you keep the level you achieved during early access.