Video Game / Paladins

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Forging a New Realm

Paladins is a Free-to-Play hero-based First-Person Shooter developed by Hi-Rez Studios of SMITE fame. It is currently in Open Beta on Steam and consoles based around... well, there isn't exactly a story here. What was known so far is the name of the realm the game takes place: Crosswind Hold.

There are 30 champions thus far, falling into four different classes:

While no overarching story has been revealed yet, Hi-Rez has promised a detailed lore and plot. In the meantime, bits and pieces of the characters' backgrounds can be pieced through voice clips and developer statements, usually collected on the game's own Wiki.

The game is most commonly considered an Overwatch clone, but like Infamous and [PROTOTYPE], the two games were actually just designed and released very close together. Despite its "similarities" to both Overwatch and Battleborn, the game holds its own in the newly-created Hero-Based shooter genre.

There are currently four gamemodes in this game, Siege, a hybrid of King Of The Hill and Payload, ordinary Payload, Onslaught, and Test Maps. For Siege, two teams of 5 players compete to capture the center control point before the other team is able to, upon which a Siege Engine spawns. The team that captured the point then has a time limit to escort the engine to the other teams spawn. Capturing the center control point, successfully escorting the engine, or successfully defending your spawn from the engine awards one point, and the first team to 4 points wins (However, a winning point cannot be achieved via a successful defense). For Payload, two teams compete to see who can push a payload the furthest in the shortest amount of time. Onslaught is a 10-minute 5 V 5 hybrid of Team Deathmatch and King of The Hill where points are gained by capturing the control point or killing enemies. The winner is the first team that gains 400 points or the most points after 10 minutes. Test Maps allows players to try out unfinished maps for Siege and Onslaught to gather feedback from players. The test map changes every patch.

The current maps for each gamemode are:
  • Siege: Brightmarsh, Fish Market, Frog Isle, Frozen Guard, Ice Mines, Jaguar Falls, Serpent Beach, Splitstone Quarry, Stone Keep, Timber Mill
  • Payload: Frostbite Cavern, Hidden Temple, Outpost
  • Onslaught: Brightmarsh, Jaguar Falls, Primal Court, Snowfall Junction
  • Training: Shooting Range

The cinematic trailer can be seen here.

Forging the New Tropes

  • Action Bomb: Bomb King's King Bomb ultimate turns himself into one. Unlike most examples of this trope, the Bomb King survives blowing himself up. Ying can also turn her illusions into these using her Shatter ability.
  • Aerith and Bob: Paladins draws from a wide variety of cultures in real life as well as complete fantasy. As a result, you see normal sounding names like Cassie, Buck, Lex, and Evie, with more foreign names such as Maeve, Viktor, Tyra, and Sha Lin, along with some descriptive names like Ying, Pip, Bomb King, and Ruckus, as well as names that were completely made up like Androxus, Drogoz, Mal'Damba, and Grohk.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • While the Open Beta is currently focused on gameplay over story, the Closed Beta had some lore for a few of the champions that have been archived in the Character page and Paladins wiki.
    • Devstreams have also discussed lore, such as Pip being an orphan and Inara coming from a race of stone-skinned earth mages.
  • An Adventurer is You: There are four classes of heroes to choose from, each one with their own playstyle to go along with them. Each class also has a special way of gaining credits (See Fight Like a Card Player below). They are...
    • Front Line: These heroes are the ones who lead the way. They can't heal, but using shields, high health, and/or anything else at their disposal, they'll make sure you and your allies survive. They gain bonus credits from capturing the objective. The Front Line heroes are Makoa, Barik, Fernando, Inara, Ruckus, Torvald, and Ash.
    • Damage: Right behind them are the Damage heroes. These heroes are pretty simple to understand, just run up to anyone you see and shoot the crap out of them, with abilities based on causing as much damage as possible. They gain bonus credits from damaging enemies. The Damage heroes are Cassie, Kinessa, Drogoz, Bomb King, Lian, Sha Lin, Tyra, Viktor, and Willo.
    • Flank: Sneaking into the back lines are the Flank heroes. Like the Damage heroes, they have high DPS, but they aren't very good at longer range. Unlike the Damage heroes, however, their abilities tend to be more focused toward stealth or mobility than damage. They gain bonus credits by landing killing blows. The Flank heroes are Skye, Evie, Buck, Androxus, Lex, Maeve, and Zhin.
    • Support: And patching up the wounds are the Support heroes. These heroes are designed to protect you and your allies, but unlike the Front Line heroes, these guys provide the heals to anyone who is willing to receive them, and in most cases, their weapons are designed to interfere with enemies in ways other then just lowering their health, like inflicting Slow, although their damage aren't to be underestimated. They gain bonus credits from healing allies. The Support heroes are Pip, Grohk, Grover, Jenos, Mal'Damba, Seris, and Ying.
  • An Ice Person: Evie, the Flank hero utilizing Kill It with Ice for all (excluding a slightly out-of-place Blink) of her abilities.
  • Announcer Chatter: In addition to the default announcer, more colorful announcers can be purchased such as:
    • Bomb King
    • Evie
    • Drybear (Rory Newbrough, the former creative director of Paladins)
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If a player disconnects for some reason, they'll be replaced with a bot, so you don't have to go 4 V 5 against the enemy team.
    • If you are killed just as you activate your ultimate but before it properly deploys (Bomb King and Drogoz being especially vulnerable to this,) it will still be available when you respawn, meaning you won't spend five minutes charging only to instantly lose the chance to use it. Once it's deployed though, you're fair game.
  • Anti-Rage Quitting: Players are unable to leave a game in progress without closing Paladins entirely, and attempting to open the game again before the round ends will drop them right back into the match they left. The game will also still count as a win or loss for them even if they do leave. Doubles as an Anti-Frustration Feature if you disconnected for any other reason.
    • Not only that, but XP and Gold are calculated based on how well you did in the match. Even if you finish the round after rejoining, you'll get a penalty due to your lack of effort, which means being unable to join matches for a varying length of time, depending on if you didn't return to the game at all.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: It is implied that crystals are a source of power in the Realm, which is why the champions are adorned with them.
  • Art Evolution: As a game going through open beta, this is to be expected.
    • Some champions were redesigned during the beta, such as Cassie and Sha Lin's faces. Emotes and skins introduced later were also more complex and detailed than earlier ones.
    • The champion teasers underwent a notable jump in quality and action after the open beta grew popular. The earlier teasers, such as Kinessa and Androxus' would either only show the champion or had other characters appear with their faces obscured. Starting with Sha Lin's teaser, other characters were usually shown in full with animated facial expressions and custom props not in the game were used, including destroyable props.
    • Ruckus and Bolt both underwent a redesign - Ruckus looking less gremlin-y, and Bolt going from a cartoony 80s-style mech to a wood-and-steel power loader more in line with the Science Fantasy stylings of Paladins.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The bots in practice mode completely ignore Kinessa's mines, no matter what. Two of them defending the point? No reaction. Six of them right outside their spawn? Nothing whatsoever.
    • They also never turn around unless you hit them, even if one of their friends are being shot at.
    • They do not prioritize damage dealers, which leads them to randomly attack the fleeing Support when there's a Front Line pouring lead into them (and, as expected, die).
    • All of them follow pre-set lanes, which makes it incredibly easy for Viktor's grenade (and other AOE attacks) to do enormous chunks of damage to the entire bot team.
    • In addition to the above, there's a chance that the bots will clump together and attack as one instead of trying to attack from the sides, which leads to getting shot into itty-bitty pieces.
  • Background Music Override: The tune Tiebreaker will play instead of the usual music when a Siege match is tied at 3 to 3
  • Badass Boast / Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: It's a game with Ultimates. Did you expect there wouldn't be? Complete with Power Echoes.
    • Barik: LAST ONE STANDING WINS! Allies hear 
    • Fernando: I will not die... Not yet, amigo! Allies hear 
    • Inara: YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE! Allies hear 
    • Ruckus: Bringing out the big guns!
    • Makoa: YOU CHALLENGE MAKOA?! Allies hear 
    • Torvald: It's working! IT'S WORKING! Allies hear 
    • Ash: COME ON! LET'S FIGHT! Allies hear 
    • Cassie: Target locked! Allies hear 
    • Kinessa: Try and run!
    • Lian: Kneel.
    • Drogoz: BEHOLD! THE DRAGON'S FURY!
    • Bomb King: Give your king a big hug! Allies hear 
    • Viktor: BARRAGE, INCOMING!
    • Sha Lin: YOUR SIGHT FAILS YOU! Allies hear 
    • Tyra: GIVE THEM HELL!
    • Willo: Reach for the Sky!
    • Pip: Let's make this interesting... Allies hear 
    • Grohk: SURGING... WITH... POOOWWWWEEEERRRR!!!
    • Grover: The spirits... do not rest... Allies hear 
    • Jenos: Step into the light... And perish! Allies hear 
    • Mal' Damba: Pleasenote  Wekono! Allies hear 
    • Seris: GAZE INTO THE ABYSS! Allies hear 
    • Ying: Time to take charge! Enemies hear 
    • Skye: Time's ticking!
    • Buck: Here's the WINDUP! Allies hear 
    • Androxus: DEATH AWAITS YOU ALL!
    • Lex: No one escapes THE LAW! Allies hear 
    • Maeve: Good niiiiiiight! Allies hear 
    • Zhin: tzzzzzZAAAAAAAAAAH!
    • Evie: Ha... CHOO! (Yes, that is her ultimate voice clip. And it has Power Echoes as well.) Allies hear 
  • Beach Episode: The Summer Chest has revealing beach skins for Cassie and Lex along with star-spangled weapon skins for several champs.
  • Becoming the Costume: Epic-grade sets also include voices to change with their appearance.
  • Bottomless Magazines: None of the champions ever run out of ammo, some of them (Grover, Sha Lin, and Maeve) don't have to reload at all. This makes buying Deft Hands (a burn card that speeds up reloading) pointless for those champs.
  • Bottomless Pit: Some maps have them on the edge of their boundaries. They're generally not a major concern, but skilled players can use knockback to throw enemies into pits for an easy kill. Some champions can use their mobility skill to counter this, though.
  • Butt-Monkey: If a chicken shows up in a trailer, something bad will happen to them, like getting blown up or being sent flying.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The PvE battles usually do this in some way to make up for Artificial Stupidity.
    • Multiple levels: A fragile character's health is buffed to triple or quadruple their normal, duplicate champions.
    • Tortoise Powernote : Enemy ults charge much faster then usual
    • Los Pollos Fernandosnote : Fernando's Fireball ability deals 1800 damage instead of the usual 450 and has lowered cooldown, Pip's normal attack causes Polymorph like his Ultimate.
  • Cool Horse: There are a few varieties in addition to the standard mount. The Onyx Stallion is just a black version of the regular horse, but there's also the Infernal Warhorse, Frostmare, the armored Scarlet Charger and the Candy Unicorn for those who aren't overly protective of their masculinity.
  • Crack Defeat: This can happen a lot in Siege stages. So for three times, you managed to take the objective first, but your enemies managed to defend their base afterwards. Then in the last round, your enemies managed to capture the objective first. That's it, you lose from the team you always prevented to take the winning point.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Take warning if you come here after playing Overwatch or Battleborn: Mobility skill is activated by pressing F, not left shift. In the meantime, Ultimate is done by pressing E, not Q. And your other skill is the other way around. Muscle memory can cause you to lose your ultimate while waiting for the next round.
  • Death from Above: Viktor's ultimate calls down an artillery strike from the sky.
  • Detonation Moon: On night maps, the moon appears to have been blown apart. Why it's like that is unknown.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Some champions have a sort of quirk to their playstyle that can make them hard to work with when starting out, but can be devastating in the right hands. Examples are Skye Reason , Barik Reason  and Mal'Damba Reason 
    • Flanking in general is this. A Flank has the strengths of a Damage combined with mobility, but the weakness of Front Line (short range), and the fragility of Support (Flanks are actually WORSE than Supports in terms of HP, with the average HP of a flank clocking it at about 2000 list , compared to Ying, who has 2200). Against coordinated teams, Flanks will have a hard time finding openings, but given the chance, they can take out Damages and Supports, contest the objective with impunity, and generally make life hell for the enemy.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Originally, Cassie used a bow as her weapon. When another archer was added in the form of Sha Lin, Cassie was later redesigned with a crossbow to differentiate the two. It helps that Cassie's bow acted more like a crossbow in the first place, lacking the Charged Attack expected from bows.
  • Easter Egg:
  • Fight Like a Card Player: There are three types of cards utilized in the gameplay: a "loadout" deck which provides extra power to a Champion and their abilities (16 cards for each hero, 4 each for the 3 non-ultimate abilities, and the last 4 for their main weapon and passive armor effects) that are unique for each hero, legendary cards that provide special effects to each Champion, of which there are 3 per champion, and 16 "burn cards"/"items" that are bought in-battle (think like the equipment in a MOBA) with four types: Defense, Utility, Healing, and Offense. Some of the earlier Champions will refer to their ultimates as "cards" as well.
    "Ultimate is ready!" voice clip: Cards are ready!
    "Ultimate is down!" voice clip: Cards are down.
  • Flying Firepower: Drogoz is a Draconic Humanoid who flies around in a jet pack while raining down rockets with his rocket launcher. His ultimate, Dragon Punch, unleashes a jet-powered punch that one-shots anyone who gets in his way.
  • Gainaxing: Most of the female characters display this. Particularly noticeable when they perform their taunts.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The cinematic trailer takes some liberties with certain champions and their abilities. Such as...
    • Ruckus being able to leave his mech and also being cartoonishly tough.
    • Barik deploying four turrets instead of two.
    • Skye being completely invisible at close range.
    • Bomb King's ultimate lasting much longer than it does in-game.
  • Goggles Do Nothing:
    • Played straight by Ruckus, who has forehead goggles and never puts them on.
    • Averted by Barik and Pip. They have forehead goggles at champion select, but put the goggles over their eyes when the action starts. On a similar note, Fernando also puts his helmet's visor down.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Most of the Badass Boasts used when ultimates are activated are considered this because of what follows. Drogoz's "BEHOLD, THE DRAGON'S FURY!" is regarded as the most frightening of them all, considering it's a harbinger for One-Hit Kill and is delivered with a very throaty, baritone roar like most of his dialogue.
  • Horseback Heroism: You start each match, and return after each respawn, riding into battle on horseback. It becomes a gameplay point - once you attack, or are attacked, you're off your horse, which effectively halves your speed. Flankers can stop enemies from getting to the objective quickly by ambushing them as they ride past.
    • The current mount skins are:
      • Brown Horse (default)
      • Onyx Stallion (Unlocked by subscribing to the Official Paladins YouTube channel)
      • Scarlet Charger (costs 400 crystals)
      • Frostmare (New Realm Pack exclusive)
      • Infernal Warhorse (Founder's Pack exclusive)
      • Candy Unicorn (Valentine Chest exclusive)
  • Hurricane of Excuses: One of Pip's lines for a joke details how he came across his equipment.
    "My equipment was a generous gift... Okay, it was loaned to me... FINE! I stole it!"
  • Jiggle Physics: Moreorless. Pretty visible breast bounce on the female cast during their emotes.
  • Limit Break: Each character has a powerful ultimate ability that builds over time, by dealing damage, or by healing others.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: 17 champions at the start of open beta with 3 more being added by the end of 2016. In 2017, it was announced that Hi-Rez planned to add 15 new champions over the course of the year, making for 35 playable champions by the end.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Several characters don't make a big deal about being set on fire. For example, Torvald's reaction to burning up is to calmly say "Oh dear... I am in flames".
  • Mini-Mecha: Ruckus's mech - oddly enough, it's not mini for him, being a goblin.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Most of the female cast. Kinessa's costume bare her midriff, Skye is rocking Absolute Cleavage and always assumes a Boobs-and-Butt Pose, Ying's outfit is decidedly stripperiffic, Seris has a low cut crop top and vest combo with a slitted skirt to show some leg, Lian's outfit is like combining Skye and Ying's outfit with a royalty motif. Subverted with Cassie, who used to show her midriff with a skintight top, but was later redesigned with a more modest costume. It's still available as an unlockable costume, though
  • Powered Armor: Several champions are an example of this trope - bearing large high-tech suits to wear in combat.
    • Fernando: This champion wears a high-tech suit made to resemble medieval armour.
    • Drogoz: The dragon sports a suit of armor and a jetpack to boot. This suit also has a rocket launcher attached.
    • Ruckus: To compensate for his otherwise short size, Ruckus pilots a mecha suit of power armor named Bolt, a mining mech that he repurposed into a war machine.
  • One-Hit Kill: The ultimates can be pretty powerful when used in the right instances, but the only true One Hit Kill in the game is Drogoz's Dragon Punch, a powerful charge attack that hits one person for 100% of their current health. During the charge, you pass through and ignore any and all shielding and damage resistance effects. The only thing that can withstand it? Fernando's own ultimate, which makes him and nearby allies unable to be brought below 1,500 HP.
  • Play Every Day: You'll receive extra gold for your first three wins every day. Additionally, you'll receive rewards for just logging in on consecutive days-gold at first, then essence, but later crystals, which serve as a premium currency.
  • Pungeon Master: About half of Grover's lines are tree or plant puns. Even his name is a pun on "grove"!
  • Regenerating Health: Every champion has one that activates when they're not taking damage or using their abilities. However, it takes a few seconds for it to kick in and the regeneration isn't very fast, so it's more practical to be healed by a Support champion unless you find a good place to hide. There is an Ability card that makes this effect stronger.
  • Science Fantasy: The setting appears to be a science/fantasy mashup, with champions either using magic, technology, or both, such as Viktor's very modern frag grenades and assault rifle and Kinessa's futuristic sniper rifle up against Torvald's stone-tech powerfist and Seris' soul-powered lantern. While there was a more even mix in closed beta, the sci-fi aspects have been downplayed in open beta, with more fantasy champions being added and redesigning some of the older champions to look less sci-fi, such as Ruckus' mech going from a cartoonish, Super Robot-esque steel fighter to a wood-and-metal steam-powered lifter. This aversion to sci-fi seems to have been done to make Paladins stand out from other Hero Shooters, such as the sci-fi heavy Overwatch and Space Opera Battleborn. On the flipside, alternate skins like the futuristic and Star Wars-inspired Star Slayer Ruckus, the I, Robot-esque Android Ying, and the Super Robot-inspired Helios Fernando exist alongside default skins.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Several champions have one.
    • Barik's blunderbuss is pretty weak at long range, but he reloads all of his shots at once and does decent damage at mid range. Averted with the "Tinkerin'" legendary card, which makes his blunderbuss fire slugs for longer range precision shots.
    • Buck, being a flanker, has a strong shotgun that needs to be reloaded one shell at a time. It can also fire a net that slows enemies to prevent them from escaping.
    • Makoa, being all about reeling in enemies, naturally has a cannon that does more damage the closer you are to someone.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Since Support champions are the backbone of a team, they are top priority to be taken out.
  • Shout-Out: Plenty.
  • Sigil Spam: Crystals of different colors and shapes are everywhere in this game. They're found throughout maps, on champions' attire, as a type of currency, and in the game's logo.
  • Skill Gate Character: Each class has one permanently unlocked champion that is easy for beginners to use and learn how to play that class. There's Fernando for Front Line, Pip for Support, Viktor and Cassie for Damage, and Skye for Flank.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: There are tons of sound cues in the game. There are the distinct sounds of each champions' weapon and abilities, the Ultimate cries that can be heard from anywhere on the map, the jingling tune when your Regenerating Health activates, and the chime that plays when your Ultimate is ready.
  • Stone Wall:
    • Fernando, of course. With a massive 5,000 HP (By comparison, most heroes only have around 2-3 thousand HP.) and packing a shield that can withstand another 8,000 for a total of 13,000 HP, and you also start with cards that allow you to boost the health and shield even further (125-500 HP for Fernando and 500-2,000 HP for the shield). This is enough to withstand any ultimate bar the Dragon Punch, and even then, as above, Fernando's own ultimate will stop the Dragon Punch cold.
    • To a lesser extent, Ruckus' own shield can, with the right buffs and timing, absorb a good chunk of damage. Pulling this off, however, requires health management (often activated when his health is halfway), and as soon as the shield goes down, so might Ruckus.
    • Inara not only creates literal stone walls, but can bolster her high HP with her damage reduction skill, Earthen Guard. Combined the innate increased healing that comes with the skill, Inara can potentially be immovable provided she has a decent healer.
  • Symbol Motif Clothing: Every champion has at least one crystal on their clothes and/or weapon. It's implied that the crystals power or enhance their abilities and weapons.
  • Take That!:
    • The More Than A Hero trailer. The title itself is already a jab on Overwatch calling their characters 'Heroes'.
    • Later, in the Heartbreaker Skye reveal, one of the players Skye eliminates is "Blizzard".
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: In the loosest sense of 'teamwork' possible, the duo of Ruckus (a thieving, overcompensating, violent little gremlin) and Bolt (the possessed sword of a warrior-king who ruled fairly and justly, and is understandably upset at being melted down for parts and turned into a giant warmachine). Ruckus relishes in the violence he forces Bolt to go through, and Bolt relishes in the explosions and despair Ruckus goes through when he has violence visited upon him by the other team.
  • Timed Mission: The second part of the game's Siege gamemode plays like this, as well as the Payload gamemode and Onslaught.
  • Tsundere: Ash's Ronin skin turns her into one, complete with a "It's not like wanted to shield you or anything" remark and "baka" soundclips.
  • Yandere/Love Freak: The Heartbreaker Skye voicepack turns her into a weird, high-pitched girl completely obsessed with love (love is in the air) and hearts... and who goes more than a little nuts at targets she repeatedly dominants.
  • Videogame Settings: Most of the maps share a common theme to connect them to each other.
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