Hi-Rez F2P Shooter Paladins Takes Steam by Storm

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Hi-Rez F2P Shooter Paladins Takes Steam by Storm

The shooter from the developer of Smite has been downloaded almost 800,000 times.

Paladins, Hi-Rez studio's arena shooter has been in open beta since September 16. Since that time, according to Steam tracking website SteamSpy, it has been downloaded an impressive 788,324 times, and has had a peak of 38,439 concurrent players. Steam reviews for the game are very positive, with overall rating of 84% based on 10,065 reviews.

The game is being described as "Overwatch for poor people," due to it's striking similarity to Blizzard's hero shooter. It utilizes a similar formula: players pick from a pool of "champions" with a suite of special abilities, then face off in a 5v5 arena setting, and a similar artstyle.

Speaking to IGN, Hi-Rez's COO Todd Harris asserted that Overwatch "was not the inspiration for Paladins" and that characters in the game who appear to mimic Overwatch heroes "were available and playable in the Paladins beta long before similar character abilities were shown in Overwatch."

Whether you think Paladins is an Overwatch clone or not, it's no doubt that the developer of Smite and Tribes has another success on their hands.

Source: IB Times

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I guess it doesn't look bad. But with what Hi-Rez kept doing with Tribes: Ascend, I don't feel like investing time and possibly money in a game that they will ruin after a while and then abandon.
I will decide whether to give it a try or not tomorrow after I wake up. That is, if my shitty PC can handle it to begin with.

EDIT:
So I downloaded it and I have to say, the game is pretty boring. There are 0 interesting free character in the game, one of the locked seems to be insanely powerful compared to the rest. Skills are uninspiring. Basically deal x damage and possible heal for y amount. And a kind of dodge. That's it.
Oh yeah, there are shields. For which I'm not sure if they work since I've killed and been killed through shields. I would rather just go back to playing a good team shooter like Team Fortress 2.

Also the menu is insanely bad. Like, you don't know what the fuck you're selecting kind of bad. Why is there no tooltip when I hover over skills? Or heroes? Why is there no back button in most stuff, so instead of using the mouse that I used to enter a menu, I have to press ESC to leave?

I found this video on the subject yesterday. Use your own judgement.

So after blowing a lot of hot air about being or not being an Overwatch clone, they started moving turbines and turned the valve? Well, good for them. The game doesn't have hi-rezoulution graphics, but may smite those who only prefer realistic graphics. No, I'm not accusing the developers of having a global agenda, just that hero shooters are the name of the game right now. Such is the realm we live in, with so many champions vying for the same space.

I really don't mind games copying one another. More games is more good, and hey, they might pull it off better than the original. But this game is so blatant about it that it's embarrassing. This is almost Zynga levels of ripoff.

BiH-Kira:
I guess it doesn't look bad. But with what Hi-Rez kept doing with Tribes: Ascend, I don't feel like investing time and possibly money in a game that they will ruin after a while and then abandon.
I will decide whether to give it a try or not tomorrow after I wake up. That is, if my shitty PC can handle it to begin with.

I had a similar experience with Hi-Rez except with Global Agenda, their first game, which was surprisingly their most original. Smite I played a bit and the simple change of camera angle and character control made the game much different from League while still hitting a lot of the same notes. Honestly, the company themselves aren't the most original of developers, but they make good games, if only they didn't then decide to break the game and then abandon it for their next project.

Too bad the connections are a vomit turd sandwich if you don't live in the US.

Good lord, I guess I stayed up too late. I actually typed out a few paragraphs about this thing as if I was sending a letter to the Paladins dev team itself.

tl;dr I'm on the fence about this new addition to the "Hero Shooter" genre.

...See, on one hand, I'm interested since it is a free Overwatch, a game I'm interested in but can in no way, shape or form afford right now.

But on the other hand, this is also done by Hi-Rez, and I'm still bitter with them over the shit-show that was their handling of Tribes: Ascend.

So... I'm at a solid 'maybe' on checking this thing out - I just can't shake the feeling that six months down the track it'll be abandoned as hell with any community concerns being thoroughly ignored.

I see it as an Overwatch demo. I'll play it for a while and if I like it I'll buy Overwatch.

And remember how Tribes Ascend started out as a big deal and everyone thought that it would get a lifetime of support from the developers? There was a lot of hype around it at the time. And look at it now. It's a dead game.
Hi-Rez makes good games, sure. But they're far from being a good company. They can't seem to commit to a project fully.

DemomanHusband:
Hi-rez can do excuse plots pretty well, if their Smite lore is any indication.

Smite has lore?

No, that's not snark, genuinely curious. I'm aware that each god has a backstory given (lifted from their mythologies), and a comic series was done at some point, but, granted, I've never played Smite, but I've never been able to pick up on any actual worldbuilding.

Can we throw this under the bus and get Nosgoth back instead?
I really, really miss Nosgoth.

Okay, this has been bugging me for a while.

Denamic:
I really don't mind games copying one another. More games is more good, and hey, they might pull it off better than the original. But this game is so blatant about it that it's embarrassing. This is almost Zynga levels of ripoff.

gigastar:
I found this video on the subject yesterday. Use your own judgement.

Paladins was in beta a long time before Overwatch was launched. I'm a bit fuzzy on the dates since I was only half paying attention and it never occurred to me to make the comparison, but I'm pretty sure it was in development before Overwatch was even announced.

Believe it or not, many of the character similarities are coincidental. Although I'm sure people at Hi-Rez were shitting themselves each time Blizzard detailed a new character.

Oh, and this is coming from someone who likes and plays Overwatch and has no intention of touching Paladins. (Although I did play a ton of Smite.)

Hawki:
Smite has lore?

All the gods are having a war.

The end.

That's Smite's lore.

Not joking. It's not a lore type of game, not should it be really. Like you said, the gods each have a backstory which is just a cliff notes version of their actual mythology but there's no unifying plot or history or anything.

Zhukov:

All the gods are having a war.

The end.

That's Smite's lore.

Not joking. It's not a lore type of game, not should it be really. Like you said, the gods each have a backstory which is just a cliff notes version of their actual mythology but there's no unifying plot or history or anything.

And they couldn't even provide cliff notes for Paladins.

I know it's a minor gripe, but I can't help it, Overwatch has kind of spoiled me, and I don't even play the game. While I'd hardly call its lore "deep" per se, and it isn't nearly as large as StarCraft/Warcraft/Diablo, I can still appreciate that there's a fleshed out universe that I can invest myself in if I want to. Paladins' lore is...um...there's a realm, and paladins fight, and there's the slight implication that it's post-societal collapse, hence the hodge-podge of magic and technology? That's honestly all I can infer - heck, they don't even have character blurbs. :(

Don't have any reason to try it since I already have overwatch.

Also add me to the list of people pissed about how they dumped tribes to make a LoL clone.

Hawki:

Zhukov:

All the gods are having a war.

The end.

That's Smite's lore.

Not joking. It's not a lore type of game, not should it be really. Like you said, the gods each have a backstory which is just a cliff notes version of their actual mythology but there's no unifying plot or history or anything.

And they couldn't even provide cliff notes for Paladins.

I know it's a minor gripe, but I can't help it, Overwatch has kind of spoiled me, and I don't even play the game. While I'd hardly call its lore "deep" per se, and it isn't nearly as large as StarCraft/Warcraft/Diablo, I can still appreciate that there's a fleshed out universe that I can invest myself in if I want to.

I don't quite share your stance.

I love me some lore (hell, I can recite the history of the Mass Effect universe from memory) but I feel it's a bit wasted on MOBAs, arena shooters and the like. The scenarios they involve with all their inherent 'gameyness' defy coherent storytelling and any story specifically created to justify them is going to be a contrived mess (see League of Legends, whose developers eventually nuked the lore and declared it all non-canon).

That said, I don't mind if developers do include it for whatever reason and I'll still enjoy it for its own sake. I can can a tiny bit choked up by this (shut up) then hop into an Overwatch match, pick Ana and snipe Pharah out of the sky with poison darts all day long without getting my knickers in a knot over the inconsistency.

Sometimes I see lore in such games that I wish had been put to better use. I would love to see some League of Legends characters in an ActionRPG type game. Like The Kindred (skip to 3:00 or so) or Leona and Diana. I would play the shit out of something like this.

I'm genuinely surprised it is getting such a positive response.
I genuinely like Hi-Rez, I played a ton of Tribes and Smite. But this game feels so incredibly unpolished and really janky for a shooter, even with my sensitivity cranked all the way down the aiming feels so spammy.

The time to death is atrociously short. The various roles are poorly defined as damn near each character contains a ton of damaging abilities. If you thought Battleborn's lineup of characters was a little random wait till you see Paladin's menagerie of misfits.
And good lord of the maps uninspired. Basically a single lane with minor pocket rooms.

I'm curious to see how fast the falloff is for this game.

Wrex Brogan:
...See, on one hand, I'm interested since it is a free Overwatch, a game I'm interested in but can in no way, shape or form afford right now.

But on the other hand, this is also done by Hi-Rez, and I'm still bitter with them over the shit-show that was their handling of Tribes: Ascend.

So... I'm at a solid 'maybe' on checking this thing out - I just can't shake the feeling that six months down the track it'll be abandoned as hell with any community concerns being thoroughly ignored.

The mistake was trying to make tribes free to play, its not the kind of game where that really works. Plus, they were inexperienced. They really figured out free to play with Smite. They did that fantastic. It is disappointing that at this point they have pretty much just abandoned it. But right now Smite is paying the bills, I don't think Tribes is.

gigastar:
I found this video on the subject yesterday. Use your own judgement.

I had assumed that it was very similar to Overwatch after seeing this Penny-Arcade comic:

image

But good lord...after that video, I'm pretty sure "rip-off of Overwatch" is a completely fair statement.

Zhukov:
Paladins was in beta a long time before Overwatch was launched. I'm a bit fuzzy on the dates since I was only half paying attention and it never occurred to me to make the comparison, but I'm pretty sure it was in development before Overwatch was even announced.

Let's assume it was in development since before 2014, so what? Overwatch has been in beta since late 2015, and we knew details about it months before that. What possible excuse can you come up with to not make changes to differentiate yourself even slightly in over 2 years of development? Some characters are straight up carbon copies, and others are way too similar to be coincidence.

Hawki:

Zhukov:

All the gods are having a war.

The end.

That's Smite's lore.

Not joking. It's not a lore type of game, not should it be really. Like you said, the gods each have a backstory which is just a cliff notes version of their actual mythology but there's no unifying plot or history or anything.

And they couldn't even provide cliff notes for Paladins.

I know it's a minor gripe, but I can't help it, Overwatch has kind of spoiled me, and I don't even play the game. While I'd hardly call its lore "deep" per se, and it isn't nearly as large as StarCraft/Warcraft/Diablo, I can still appreciate that there's a fleshed out universe that I can invest myself in if I want to. Paladins' lore is...um...there's a realm, and paladins fight, and there's the slight implication that it's post-societal collapse, hence the hodge-podge of magic and technology? That's honestly all I can infer - heck, they don't even have character blurbs. :(

I have a feeling that as time goes on, Hi-rez might start throwing together some backstory for the world, and maybe the characters too. Smite's lore is just like Zhukov said, it's shallow with just enough justification in that shallow excuse plot to make "Gods fight now" feel like stupid fun that isn't too stupid. With Paladins, what we've got currently is a series of clashing art styles being thrown into one room in the hopes of some shooty shooty bang bang happening for an extended period of time.

I honestly think that if Hi-rez did eventually start building a story around their game, going the way of Battleborn would be best. Make you play the character and complete some challenges to learn more about them.

Denamic:

Zhukov:
Paladins was in beta a long time before Overwatch was launched. I'm a bit fuzzy on the dates since I was only half paying attention and it never occurred to me to make the comparison, but I'm pretty sure it was in development before Overwatch was even announced.

Let's assume it was in development since before 2014, so what? Overwatch has been in beta since late 2015, and we knew details about it months before that. What possible excuse can you come up with to not make changes to differentiate yourself even slightly in over 2 years of development? Some characters are straight up carbon copies, and others are way too similar to be coincidence.

Going to have to agree with this. Similar gameplay is fine, but the characters are too similar in not only visual design, nut in how they play when compared to their Overwatch counter parts. Like, could they not have changed some character assets? Maybe not having a Dwarf that builds turrets or not having half of the abilities be the exact same?

And besides Blizzard pulled some of Overwatch's assets from Project Titan, which started in 2007.

Do I think Hi-Rez copied OW on purpose, no, but I do think when OW gets announced a year before your game and half of your characters function nearly identically to another game that's had a longer dev life, maybe change some of the skills? 800K is cool but un;less its Smite, Hi-Rez may not stick with this game if it doesn't get a fair bit bigger.

Rednog:
I'm genuinely surprised it is getting such a positive response.
I genuinely like Hi-Rez, I played a ton of Tribes and Smite. But this game feels so incredibly unpolished and really janky for a shooter, even with my sensitivity cranked all the way down the aiming feels so spammy.

The time to death is atrociously short. The various roles are poorly defined as damn near each character contains a ton of damaging abilities. If you thought Battleborn's lineup of characters was a little random wait till you see Paladin's menagerie of misfits.
And good lord of the maps uninspired. Basically a single lane with minor pocket rooms.

I'm curious to see how fast the falloff is for this game.

Please don't call the game that ruined the franchise, Tribes... Hi-Rez's take on that franchise was a disaster that they fucked up harder and harder as time went on. Tribes Vengeance was hit or miss, Tribes Ascend was a horrific smack in the face to the fanbase.

The game looks pretty cool really, I love Overwatch but could give this one a try. That being said, some of the champion abilities are total ripoffs. Even if it was under development for longer, that doesn't stop them from adding in champions that are ripoffs. No one said that every champion has been in the game since the beginning. Some of the non-ripoff champions seem pretty interesting and blend in some interesting arena mechanics.

I just wish they would be more upfront but diplomatic about it. I'll do it for them. "We at Hi-Rez are committed to bring the most fun experience to those who want to play our games. We've blended elements from many games, just as many games before us have taken good gameplay ideas from the games before them. However, we believe that we have mixed in many original ideas, characters designs, and maps that make Paladins a truly unique experience that is worth trying out on its own."

That's not too hard is it?

It's a smart move. Their target audience is probably all cheaters that get perma-banned from Overwatch.

hentropy:
I just wish they would be more upfront but diplomatic about it. I'll do it for them. "We at Hi-Rez are committed to bring the most fun experience to those who want to play our games. We've blended elements from many games, just as many games before us have taken good gameplay ideas from the games before them. However, we believe that we have mixed in many original ideas, characters designs, and maps that make Paladins a truly unique experience that is worth trying out on its own."

That's not too hard is it?

That's not going to go down well with people, as it's the type of thing any corporate speech would entail. Deliberately ambiguous without giving any hard details?

What do I think Hi-Rez should do? Nothing. How life works is that people see x, then see y, see that y is similar to x, thus claim that y copied x, not knowing that a lot of x came from w. I think Hi-Rez has shown enough evidence to demonstrate that Paladins was in development well before Overwatch was announced. We can also guess that some influence was taken after said announcement as well. But at the end of the day, who cares? Overwatch is Overwatch, Paladins is Paladins, people will like what they want.

Well yeah, of course its sweeping numbers. Its like Overwatch, except without all the shit that comes with being a blizzard game.

RJ 17:

But good lord...after that video, I'm pretty sure "rip-off of Overwatch" is a completely fair statement.

Its the other way around though, Paladins came first and had a playable beta before we knew anything about Overwatch.

Denamic:

Let's assume it was in development since before 2014, so what? Overwatch has been in beta since late 2015, and we knew details about it months before that. What possible excuse can you come up with to not make changes to differentiate yourself even slightly in over 2 years of development? Some characters are straight up carbon copies, and others are way too similar to be coincidence.

Indeed why hasnt Blizzard changed their characters not to be a blatant copy of Paladins? Or does that only work if your game doesnt have hype behind it?

Strazdas:
Indeed why hasnt Blizzard changed their characters not to be a blatant copy of Paladins? Or does that only work if your game doesnt have hype behind it?

That only works if your game isn't released way before the game you're supposed to be copying.

Zhukov:

Snip

I'm not denying that lore/story would be far more relevant to something like Mass Effect rather than League of Legends, but even LoL can (or could) answer the most basic questions of "who are you, and why are you here?" The answers to which are "we're champions representing various nations/city-states of our world, who fight in an arena to solve disputes between said nations rather than resorting to war." Bam. Done. Even fighting games of the 90s could answer those questions (e.g. Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter). Paladins doesn't answer either of these questions as far as I can tell. Even Smite, by its nature, answers the question of "who are you," and given how viscious gods could be in mythology, I can infer the question of "why are you here?" to be "thou art cruel and angry gods!"

So, yeah. And yes, I'm aware that a great game doesn't need to answer those questions (did anyone question why white and black chess pieces sought to capture the opposing side's king?), but even without fleshing out a multiplayer-only game's backstory ala LoL or Overwatch, I don't think there's much to be lost by having those questions answered. Certainly I'd appreciate it at least.

Denamic:

Strazdas:
Indeed why hasnt Blizzard changed their characters not to be a blatant copy of Paladins? Or does that only work if your game doesnt have hype behind it?

That only works if your game isn't released way before the game you're supposed to be copying.

Paladins beta was in effect before Blizzard anounced any of the characters. They just took longer to develop because they arent as big as Blizzard. So while the game wasnt released before Overwatch, we knew about those characters before we knew about Overwatch characters. But because blizzard has all the hype and people saw Overwatch first, they think its the original.

Strazdas:

Denamic:

Strazdas:
Indeed why hasnt Blizzard changed their characters not to be a blatant copy of Paladins? Or does that only work if your game doesnt have hype behind it?

That only works if your game isn't released way before the game you're supposed to be copying.

Paladins beta was in effect before Blizzard anounced any of the characters. They just took longer to develop because they arent as big as Blizzard. So while the game wasnt released before Overwatch, we knew about those characters before we knew about Overwatch characters. But because blizzard has all the hype and people saw Overwatch first, they think its the original.

Again, Overwatch was released first and is therefore the 'original' by definition. Paladins had years to differentiate themselves, but didn't.

Denamic:

Strazdas:

Denamic:

That only works if your game isn't released way before the game you're supposed to be copying.

Paladins beta was in effect before Blizzard anounced any of the characters. They just took longer to develop because they arent as big as Blizzard. So while the game wasnt released before Overwatch, we knew about those characters before we knew about Overwatch characters. But because blizzard has all the hype and people saw Overwatch first, they think its the original.

Again, Overwatch was released first and is therefore the 'original' by definition. Paladins had years to differentiate themselves, but didn't.

You mean Overwatch had years to differentiate, since Paladins had actually been further with developement than Overwatch when Overwatch was revealed. No, the Original is the one that created it first, not one that did a release first.

Strazdas:

Denamic:

Strazdas:

Paladins beta was in effect before Blizzard anounced any of the characters. They just took longer to develop because they arent as big as Blizzard. So while the game wasnt released before Overwatch, we knew about those characters before we knew about Overwatch characters. But because blizzard has all the hype and people saw Overwatch first, they think its the original.

Again, Overwatch was released first and is therefore the 'original' by definition. Paladins had years to differentiate themselves, but didn't.

You mean Overwatch had years to differentiate, since Paladins had actually been further with developement than Overwatch when Overwatch was revealed. No, the Original is the one that created it first, not one that did a release first.

You haven't 'created' it until you've actually created it. If I start making a snowman before you do, but you finish making yours before I finish mine, I haven't made my snowman before yours.

So, it's less of who copied whom, and who was "first?" Well, as tempting as it is to make a YouTube joke, I guess I'll play:

If we take Aurum and Paladins as being synomynous, then Paladins began development in 2012. Overwatch began development in 2013. We know that Titan was in development by 2008, if not 2007. It's down to opinion whether you want to consider them synomynous as well. At the least, Paladins, as a game, was in development before Overwatch, but the material that would form the basis of Overwatch (via Titan) was in development before Paladins.

So, there's announcement. Overwatch was announced in November, 2014, and was in a playable state. Paladins, from what I can tell, was announced in August of 2015. I don't know the date of its closed beta, but do know that it was playable before Overwatch was released, but Overwatch began its beta in October of 2015. Come the present, Overwatch was released in May of this year, while Paladins entered public beta in September of this year.

So, who's "first?" Well, really, the only way you can say Paladins was "first" is if one discounts Titan, but considers Aurum and Paladins to be the same product. But even then, the judgement of "first" is usually based on the result. In the sciences, even if x comes up with a theory before y, if y publishes the theory, y is generally regarded as being the one who pioneers said theory. Or, to use another example, x and y are in a race. X starts running before y, but y wins the race. By all accounts, y would be the winner of that race.

At the end of the day, by all intents and purposes, Overwatch will be regarded as being first. It was announced to the world first, and was released in its final state first. At best, all one can say is that Paladins began development before Overwatch, and that's nebulous in regards to where you draw the line.

Edit: To think of another example, Dennis the Menace (the UK comic) debuted on March 7, 1951. Dennis the Menace (the US comic) debuted on March 12, 1951. Arguably, the US comic came first in that it was in the creator's mind from the age of four. However, in terms of publication, the UK comic beat it to publication by 5 days. Thus, by most standards, the UK version would be first.

Even if this game is an "Overwatch clone", so what? "Clones" are how new genres are born and improved in the video game industry.

Many early first-person shooter games were called "Doom clones." Many early sandbox/open-world games were called "GTA Clones". Many Action-RPGs have been called "Diablo clones". Hell, even Overwatch itself was called a "Team Fortress 2 clone" when it was announced. And now the cycle continues...

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