It seems many gamers are very unhappy with Hi-Rez Studio’s recent changes to free-to-play shooter Paladins. According to many players, the changes update the game to a “pay-to-win” structure that may negatively affect the title. Essentially, the developer has changed the rewards structure for Paladins players, which may make it easier for new players to access specific weapons.

Until now, Paladins players could grind for specific weapons by saving up the required Gold, which is the game’s primary currency. With the open beta patch 44, Gold can no longer be used to purchase specific weapons, but is instead used to purchase random card chests, which can be opened for random rewards.

Additionally, Hi-Rez has introduced a new currency, called Essence, which can be used to purchase Legendary Cards, a new card setup that promise high-end rewards to players. Players can attain Essence in two ways: first, selling duplicate items or setting up a new account. While this change does allow current players to grind for Essence, the duplicates don’t payout much Essence to players.

Is Paladins A Ripoff of Overwatch? - Paladins: Champions of the Realm Ruckus

On the flip side, new accounts will have access to plenty of Essence and be able to purchase the Legendary Cards. This, in effect, has led many players to claim the change is a pay-to-win benefit to new players. This issue has driven many gamers to make their way over to Overwatch – a comparable game in the genre.

While the new system will undoubtedly provide additional revenue for Hi-Rez Studios to continue providing new content to Paladins, some players have pointed out that it’s not necessary. As some have shared on Reddit, Paladins already has a cosmetic store available where players can spend real money for items that don’t affect the gameplay, but still provide revenue to the SMITE developer. In many players’ minds, this change is unnecessary and will unfairly reward new players.

For its side, Hi-Rez seems comfortable with the change and will seemingly press forward with the current format. The game’s lead designer provided a short response online to the controversy:

“We firmly believe that the Legendary Cards are a strong addition to Paladins and we will continue to improve them over the coming patches. We also believe the addition of Essence and overhaul to the Radiant Chest system that allows Radiant Chests to be directly purchased with Gold will improve the experience of unlocking new ways to play each champion.”

Hopefully this will get sorted out so current players don’t feel slighted by the developer. Otherwise, Paladins may be in trouble.

Paladins is currently available as a free-to-play title on PC.