May 30, 2016
Paragon is currently in Early Access Season

Paragon is beautiful. That may sound like a foregone conclusion in an era where we’ve come to take impressive visuals and hyper realism for granted, but Paragon sets a whole new standard with it’s stunningly unique visual style - especially for a free-to-play game. Everything from the environments to the characters to the  epic abilities is sure to inspire awe.

Every aspect of Paragon's visuals are stunning

A little backstory - the term “MOBA” (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) as it’s commonly used today describes a competitive, team-based game, played in matches on one map - similar to physical sports like basketball and soccer. Teams are typically composed of 5 players each, and each player selects an avatar from a large pool of heroes to use for a given match. The genre’s been gaining popularity quickly lately, especially with the success of some of the larger titles’ competitive scenes. As a result, there’s been an influx of MOBA or MOBA-inspired titles trying to get in on the trend, with varying levels of success.

The mechanics of the genre stemmed from its RTS/RPG roots - typically, the perspective is isometric (or top-down), and the mechanics of the more popular MOBAs stick to these roots; instead of total mechanical control, units are commanded by right clicking. This is where Paragon mixes it up - where DOTA and League of Legends pulled from the Real-Time Strategy genre, Paragon draws its inspiration instead from over-the-shoulder shooters. “Basic” attacks are fired manually instead of simply clicking to attack a unit, and must be aimed. Additionally players are able to jump and maneuver vertically.

There are definite benefits to this; many of the larger MOBA titles suffer from gameplay issues and nuances that stem from their roots as Starcraft and Warcraft mods (google “Basic Attack Resets” to get an idea), and Paragon comes with none of this baggage. The gameplay, in that respect, is much more intuitive. That being said, Paragon’s mechanics do have their own issues - the range on your hero’s primary attack can be difficult to gauge, it feels like the game doesn’t leverage one of its unique strengths: vertical movement. This is touted as a strength that adds complexity to the game, but the reality is that it often results in a clunky bunny-hopping affair.

Paragons other quirks, like the gameplay, are a bit of a mixed bag. The map is interesting, and varies in elevation, but that’s not an aspect of the game I saw leveraged much. Certain aspects seem over complicated - for instance, there are structures called “Harvesters” that grant bonus experience, allowing your team to level up and gain strength more quickly. They can be captured, and players with a certain item capture them faster. Out of a good number of games, though, I saw them used maybe once.

Likewise with the inventory system. Where other MOBAs allow you to purchase items that lend your hero certain stat boosts - health, damage, etc. Paragon utilizes a card system that is interesting, but also somewhat cryptic at first.

Overall, Paragon is good - but just good. It’s difficult to come to a different conclusion once you break it down. It does have some interesting and unique ideas, some of which may really catch on once (or if) they’re streamlined during the Early Access period. It probably won’t be pulling loyal (addicted) League or DOTA 2 players, with what seem like unnecessary complications and a less-than-memorable pool of heroes to choose from, but it may provide a more mechanically comfortable option for those getting into the MOBA genre.


A mixed bag - beautiful visuals and interesting innovations, but underwhelming execution and forgettable heroes.