Launching into closed beta today, Hi-Rez Studios’ Paladins is a hero-based shooter like Overwatch, but its collectible card-based in-game leveling system is something else.
Here’s how a match of Paladins plays out. Players pick a character out of the eight currently available (no doubling up) and spawn in their base.
The match begins with the spawning of a control point, which must be captured. When the point is captured a siege engine spawns, which the winning team must escort to the enemy base to break down doors. Once either team loses the third door, the match is over.
It’s pretty straightforward, but then the cards come into play.
As they progress through the match, players are regularly offered a selection of three cards to augment their skills and abilities. Each character has their own deck, so the choices are always specific to them. For example, below I have a choice to give Cassie a chance to knockback enemies, a damage boost when firing standing still (which is nice for an archer type) or change the way her explosive Blast Shot skill works.
Cards are drawn from a deck—Cassie’s currently maxes out at 30-something, of which my collection has a little under half—in random fashion. The right cards showing up at the right time can really change the way you battle. The random chance involved also means you can never be quite sure which augments your enemies have until the bullets, bombs and arrows start flying.
Watch my team play a round against robots below. It was just safer that way.
So far I’m having a blast. Of course it’s early on—closed beta only launched today (you can sign up for a spot or guarantee one with purchase of a Founder’s Pack at the Paladins website). There are more characters, maps and cards on the way, so we’ll keep an eye on it to see how it all comes together.
Oh, and you ride into battle on a mount. So it’s Overwatch, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm. It’s a Blizzard Burrito.