The first Paragon technical alpha is beginning and Epic Games today released an introduction trailer tutorializing many of the MOBA’s main gameplay systems.
Prospective players of Epic Games’ in-development MOBA, Paragon, have received a small tease of gameplay up until now. Yet the promises of an Unreal Engine-powered, third-person MOBA shooter from the studio behind Gears of War stirs a level of excitement that’s surprising in today’s over-saturated market. Epic Games seems willing to strike while the iron’s hot, however, kicking off a technical alpha test and releasing a lengthy introduction tutorial trailer for Paragon‘s first players.
While the trailer is exciting, fans shouldn’t expect any newly revealed characters, as Epic Games is most likely saving them for larger, higher stakes marketing opportunities. All of the characters shown in the first gameplay trailer from Paragon seem to be included, luckily. This includes several characters that aren’t “officially” unveiled, as the game’s website continues to show only five of Paragon‘s Heroes. Most of the time spent in the trailer follows Steel, a melee brawler with a few cybernetic tricks up his sleeve.
The “Intro and Tutorial” trailer for Paragon is surprisingly revelatory, providing early details on many of the MOBA’s core gameplay systems. First and foremost, it would be unfair to go on without making clear that this is alpha footage. The systems, gameplay, graphics — basically no aspect of the game — is where Epic Games wants it to be yet. Nevertheless, Epic wanted to get Paragon into the hands of players to being talk about mechanics, including the following systems:
- Leveling Up – Much like other MOBAs, Paragon will feature a system for leveling up a Hero as they earn experience. Each level allows the player to pick one of their Hero’s skills to level up, with the skills that can be leveled highlighted when available.
- Itemization – Another standard MOBA system, players in Paragon can equip their Hero with items. Shopping in base will open up the menu of item “cards,” as well as the “card points” available to invest into items. Individual items can be further upgraded with more points. Consumable items were also shown.
- Recall – Similar to League of Legends, players can press “B” to recall from the field back into base. The recall animation takes a few seconds to complete and will be canceled if the Hero takes any damage.
- Travel Mode – Perhaps inspired by Heroes of the Storm‘s mount system or League of Legends‘ “Homeguard” boots, Travel Mode is something every Hero can activate while moving if they want to travel faster. It takes a few seconds to activate and will be canceled by using any abilities or attacking. If an enemy hits the Hero while its in Travel Mode, the Hero will be rooted in place.
- Jungle – In addition to the three lanes of the map, each with periodically spawned ally and enemy minions, Paragon will feature a “jungle” — the more dangerous areas between lanes. Paragon‘s jungle will feature neutral camps which drop buffs when defeated, as well as “Harvesters” which will harvest “Amber” for the team.
- Amber – Consider Amber the monetary unit of Paragon which provides both individual Hero experience and card experience. Amber can be collected from Harvester platforms or from fallen enemy minions, towers or Heroes and is shared between nearby allies. Once enough Amber has been collected, it will convert directly into card points which can be spent.
- Team Comms – Paragon currently features no chat! It’s unclear whether this is a permanent decision. For now, players can select from several provided commands which can be directed at a specific location by aiming.
Obviously this short list of gameaplay systems doesn’t capture the entirety of Paragon. Rather, it’s an introduction to some of the facets of the game that new players may not be able to solve on their own. Joystick movement, shooting with the trigger and abilities mapped to different keys should go without saying. That goes for aiming towards things that make the reticule turn red, as well. MOBA strategy is another matter entirely, and who knows how the meta of Paragon will shake out compared to other games.
Paragon‘s most clear message with this trailer is that Epic Games is 100% making a MOBA. They’re not messing with the formula in terms of systems like itemization, in-game progression, and overall map meta. Sure, there’s a world of difference going from top-down games like League of Legends and Dota 2 to a 3rd-person shooter, but the core concepts are all there. Epic Games is not shaking the boat in that regard.
It should be noted that Paragon is balancing between League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm on the spectrum of mechanical simplicity. Dota 2‘s complexities, from couriers, secret shops, recipes, camp stacking, denying, and so on, are nowhere to be found. Even last hitting, which is arguably League of Legends basic skill-level hurdle for new players, is absent.
No, Epic Games seems to be very clever in this regard. The skill levels of the game will be determined by combat and not so much by secondary systems. That’s probably why so many seem so excited for Paragon despite its very recent announcement and single previous gameplay trailer. Hopefully that continues to grow with the start of this alpha test.
Paragon is planned for release on PlayStation 4 and PC in 2016.