Paragon is a unique concept among the multiplayer online battle arena games. While it retains many of the core elements of the MOBA genre, it introduces something new, namely the third person perspective. This adds more depth to a game that is fast-paced and provides players with the incentive to try new strategies in each game. The similarities to League of Legends, Dota 2 and Heroes of the Storm allow for a swift transition, but players require some time to adjust to the new battlefield perspective.
Gameplay of Paragon
Paragon gameplay is heavily influenced by the third person perspective, even though action unfolds on the same symmetrical maps. Players start from opposite ends and try to destroy enemy structures, while dealing with the threat posed by enemy heroes. In order to advance to the opposing base, one needs to move down the lanes defended by enemy structures. Players are also expected to roam the map and deal with the enemies in the jungle, while exercising control over strategic points.
Resources scattered across the map can be collected to reinforce their positions, which makes the gameplay of Paragon more complex. Teleporting back to defend their own base is possible and players can take shortcuts through shadow pads. The game is played by 10 players divided into two identical teams, so nobody has an advantage over its counterparts. What can make the difference in addition to individual skill is the team composition.
Players control a single hero, with each character harnessing a different set of skills and special abilities. Just like traditional multiplayer online battle arena games, Paragon has minions that spawn from each base and they are controlled by the AI. These characters advance mindlessly towards the enemy base, and are reduced to the role of fodder cannon for players. By killing minions and enemy structures, heroes earn experience points which allow them to level up.
The gameplay of Paragon is centered on individual heroes whose abilities can be enhanced by purchasing items and upgrading abilities. Outside the game, players accumulate reputation points for winning matches, but the defeated team also collects a smaller amount. These are spent on card packs, which can be used to unlock more heroes and try new characters. Developers allow players to purchase cosmetic items with real cash, but no in-game artifacts, so the balance is not affected.
Paragon Heroes and Abilities
Paragon was supposed to breathe fresh life into a game that is inspired by the classic multiplayer online battle arena genre. Epic Games has created a hybrid between traditional MOBAs and third person shooters. Players can switch between the two perspectives, but heroes remain at the cornerstone of the gameplay. Leveling up is a linear process that can be sped up by killing enemy heroes and AI controlled minions, which results in the accumulation of more XP points.
The characters roster fails to impress the audience if the latter looks exclusively at the number of heroes available. On the bright side, each character is unique, both visually and in terms of abilities so many more combinations are possible. Players need to assume certain roles and work together to make the most of the ideal team setup. Some Paragon heroes have the nasty tendency of becoming overpowered in the final stages of the game, something that the developers try to fix through patches.
Paragon Multiplayer and eSports Potential
Paragon took the gaming industry by storm and provided players with a different look at the popular genre. Initially, the game was embraced as a potentially groundbreaking title, but it failed to become an eSports phenomenon. It is in multiplayer where the game shines the brightest and Epic Games kept the servers open for as long as they could. The videogame developer was hoping that their flagship MOBA title will finally take off and challenge established games such as League of Legends and Dota 2.
Unfortunately for the dedicated fans of Paragon, the number of tournaments didn’t follow the upward trajectory they were hoping for. In fact the exact opposite happened and in 2017 there were fewer competitions then in the previous year. It all culminated with Epic Games’ decision to terminate this otherwise promising project. The servers began shutting down in the first quarter of 2018 and the game closed down for good in April.
Popular and Critical Reception
Epic Games won the hearts and minds of MOBA and third person shooters fans alike with Paragon. The game enjoyed positive reviews right from the start from both critics and regular players. The impressive trailers and the sheer originality of the game were responsible for its early popularity. Developers were praised for creating an original title that still captures the very essence of multiplayer online battle arena games. Only a few players found the third person perspective inappropriate for this genre. Most criticism was in regard to the small starting roaster of 13 heroes, something that Epic fixed by releasing more.
Key Features of Paragon
- Paragon was at the time of its release the only MOBA played in third person perspective.
- Epic Games used Unreal Engine 4 to create a fast-paced multiplayer online battle arena game.
- Paragon was criticized for the small roaster of heroes, but more characters were added.
- Players who preorder the game got the Founder’s Pack, Challenger Packs and Master Packs.
- Paragon servers shut down on April 26 and players got a full refund.
The Bottom Line
Paragon was created with high expectations and its developers hoped to breathe fresh life into the MOBA genre. For anyone who had the chance to play the popular League of Legends, Dota 2 and Heroes of the Storm games, this game felt a bit strange. Epic Games did a great job at promoting the game early on and Paragon was acclaimed by both critics and players. This bold undertaking promoted several original concepts and put up quite a fight in its attempt to challenge the established order of MOBA games.
The reasons for why it eventually failed to establish itself as a major eSport were multiple and they were caused mostly by poor management. The decision to shut down the servers in April 2018 didn’t come as a surprise even for the dedicated fans. Unfortunately, Paragon was allowed to fade into near irrelevance until its otherwise dedicated community of players deserted it altogether. In the end, a game that showed tremendous potential strayed too far from the original concepts and met an untimely demise.