Epic Games’ new console MOBA, Paragon, will be free-to-play when it’s released, but anyone who wants to play now will soon be able to buy their way into the beta.

Paragon is a third-person action-oriented MOBA developed by Epic Games (creators of Unreal Tournament and Gears of War) for the PlayStation 4 and PC. It has been in beta for some time now, granting access to batches of those who signed up on Epic’s website.

But the gates to Paragon are about to be swung wide open for an Early Access period—at least for those willing to pay a price. Starting March 14, the Founder’s Pack will go on sale digitally (on PSN or PC) for $20, unlocking access to the game starting on March 18. Beyond that, Epic says anyone who purchases a Founder’s Pack will “get an awesome value on in-game content, and help shape the future of the game.”

Paragon Hero 3

It’s not clear what exactly that future “value” will be those who buy into this Early Access program, but Epic says “those who opt in now will get huge discounts off in-game purchases in the future.” Paragon is a free-to-play MOBA, with Epic looking to sustain the game with in-game purchases for skins, emotes, boosts, and other “convenience items.” But in a market where some games end up being pay-to-win, Epic is looking to go in the direction of popular MOBA DOTA 2, and is quick to say players will never be able to buy items that give them an advantage over the competition:

Paragon is designed so that all players can compete and win without ever having to spend money. All Heroes are free, and cards can only be earned by playing the game. The game will never be pay-to-win, meaning we will never sell gameplay-affecting items.

Epic says those who play during Early Access will be playing a game still in development, but the developer is offering many incentives for players to help shape the game’s future:

Paragon is still in development. The game is missing features, and some of the content is placeholder. We don’t yet have a lot of features to make it easier to understand for new players, and some systems (for example: cards and deck building) require a lot of patience. Yet, we really want gamers to be able to opt-in and be here with us from the start, to give feedback and help shape the game. During the Early Access Season, we’ll release new (Free!) Heroes every three weeks, hold community events, and offer daily and weekly rewards.

And for anyone worried everything they earn will be lost once the Early Access Season is over, Epic promises that accounts will not be wiped.

For those truly hyped for Paragon, Epic is also offering Challenger Packs ($59.99) and Master Packs ($99.99), which include “a huge number of skins, unlockable items, boosts, a unique skin, and a Founder’s Pack to give to a friend.”

For those still on the fence and willing to wait, Paragon will be in open beta this summer.

Will you pay to get into Paragon‘s Early Access period? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: PlayStation Blog