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Welcome to the Realm, champion.

Paladins is a Free-to-Play hero-based First-Person Shooter developed by Evil Mojo Games and published by Hi-Rez Studios of SMITE fame. It was in Open Beta on Steam, Xbox One, and Playstation 4 before being fully released on May 8, 2018. It was later ported to the Nintendo Switch on June 12, 2018. The story is based around a war between the Magistrate and the Resistance in Crosswind Hold.

Long ago, there was a great war that threatened all life in the Crosswind Hold. Dragons and other monsters ravaged the realm, decimating all life

Warriors, wizards, and all those seeking peace fought back as Paladins, led by the warrior Valera and the archmage Karne. They saved the realm, bringing a golden age of peace - and with the absence of war, the Paladins disbanded - Valera's warriors, her Paladins, retired.

Karne and his magicians stepped up to rule from where the war had felled countless kings and queens - becoming the Magistrate, with Karne, the mightiest wizard of the lands, becoming the Grand Magistrate. Under their wise rule and studious research, Crosswind Hold furthered its golden age.

It was not to last.

In the mines of the realm, crystals were harvested and transformed by scientists, inventors, and alchemists into a powerful kind of magic that far outpaced even the Magistrate's might. A technological revolution came - and as with all progress, came its costs: destructive accidents, atrocities in the name of science, warlords and even commoners vying for power threatening to trigger another war.

Karne, fearing a repeat of the war as well as the crystals' terrible potential, declared crystals to only be handled by the Magistrate, stripping towns, cities, and commoners of crystals and all they powered - for some, a lifestyle they could not live without - by peace, or by force, causing an uproar among the realm, violence to deepen, and a schism within the Magistrate and its people:

  • Valera, sickened by what she saw as the Magistrate turning into a tyrannical dictatorship hoarding power for nefarious purposes, gathered those who did not follow Karne's orders, those who suffered under the Magistrate's new laws, and those who saw crystals as a right to all living beings into the Resistance, aka the Paladins.
  • Karne, disgusted at the abuses of crystals by evil men widening the gap between the haves and have-nots, costing the lives of innocents for every accident, and wars over the crystals threatening to destroy the peace the Paladins have worked so hard to establish, gathers loyal scientists, soldiers, spies, and wizards to the banner of the Magistrate.
  • And, finally, the oddities caught in between - rogue witches and wizards who wish to continue their research (and find it hard to do when there's a war going on), opportunistic bandits and thieves, free spirits (sometimes literally), old villains come to plunge the realm further into chaos, and even Gods and Goddesses - the Wild Cards.

War has come back to the realm.

There are 39 champions thus far, falling into four different classes:

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 three gamemodes in this game:

  • Siege: A hybrid of King Of The Hill and Payload. 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 four points wins (however, a winning point cannot be achieved via a successful defense). This mode is used for both casual and competitive.
  • Team Deathmatch: Two teams compete to see which side gets forty kills first. Notable in that it so far is the only gamemode where spawns are unfixed.
  • Onslaught: 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.

There are also temporary game modes based on events in the Realm:

     Events 
  • Siege of Ascension Peak: It's Magistrate vs. Paladins as they battle on Ascension Peak. Players will be assigned a random character and that character's allegiance determines which team they are on (ex. Skye will be on the Magistrate, Cassie will be on the Paladins). The map is under constant artillery fire and players must dodge explosives crashing down everywhere. Not only that, the ascendance of Jenos has affected the battlefield, granting all Champions 50% cooldown reduction for more power. This event lasted from OB 68 to OB 70.
  • Rise of Furia: The Abyss hungers. Race to the top of the demonic spire, avoiding rockets fired by an abyssal lord. Then prepare for a winner-take-all Team Deathmatch to escape eternal torment. Use your Champion’s abilities to scale the spire. But watch out — the abyssal lord is on your tail! Brave the Abyss to snag boosts, granting Ultimate Charge for the entire team! Once atop the spire, fight to escape the Abyss in Team Deathmatch!
  • Dragon's Call: The beacon is lit and both Paladins and Magistrate have come to heed the dragon’s call, arriving on the shores of the Warders’ ancient homeland. Race to unlock seals guarding the island’s inner vaults and capture what lies within. In a 4 v 4 match, players carry the Warder’s Key Sphere into the opposing team’s Vault four times to win. Careful though, the Key Sphere is a power not meant to be handled alone and will rob the carrier of their abilities and render them unhealable. Keep the Key Sphere moving by passing it to your teammates if you want to win.
  • Dark Tides: Abyssal Horrors are invading the Realm! Every Siege, Team Deathmatch, and Onslaught game will have a 25% chance to spawn one of four Abyssal Echo during the match. Abyssal Echoes are powerful miniboss forms of champions in Dark Tides skins. Once an Abyssal Echo appears, players will have a short time to defeat the Echo before it tears open a portal and escapes to the Abyss. Destroying an Abyssal Echo will award every contributing player 1 Dark Doubloon to spend at the Dark Tides event store, the Dark Exchange. Careful! There have been sightings of a rare Abyssal Echo howling in the night. Defeat this rare wolf Echo and you’ll find yourself with a special Gold Doubloon, which can be exchanged for Limited Special Variations of the Dark Tides skins.

The current maps for each gamemode are:

  • Siege: Ascension Peak, Brightmarsh, Fish Market, Frog Isle, Frozen Guard, Ice Mines, Jaguar Falls, Serpent Beach, Splitstone Quarry, Stone Keep, Timber Mill
  • Team Deathmatch: Abyss, Snowfall Junction, Throne (custom matches only), Trade District
  • Onslaught: Foreman's Rise, Magistrate's Archives, Marauder's Port, Primal Court

The current lore cinematics are:

     Lore Cinematics 

Paladins has also spawned two spinoff games: Paladins Strike and Realm Royale. Paladins Strike is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena available on Android and iOS. Realm Royale is Battle Royale Third-Person Shooter available on Steam.

The cinematic trailers can be seen here, here, here, and 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 runs the gamut when it comes to naming the Champions. Some names are plain, such as Cassie, Lex, Vivian, Evie and Buck. Others are from different countries, with the characters only sometimes corresponding to them, such as Maeve (Irishnote ), Viktor (Russian), Fernando (Spanish), Tyra (Scandinavian), Makoa (Madagascannote ), Torvald (Nordic; variant of "Thorvald"), Willo (Irish; variation of "Willow"), Grover (English) and Inara (African/Middle Eastern). Then you have Asian names like Ying, Sha Lin, Lian, Zhin and Khan. And of course, there are names that were completely made up for the setting, like Androxus, Kinessanote , Mal'Damba, Drogoz, Grohk, Jenos, Talus and Bariknote . Let's not forget that there are names like Ash, Pip, Strix, Terminus, Moji, Ruckus and Bomb King either. Let's just say that nothing is off-limits when it comes what how Hi-Rez names each Champion.
    • Seris and Furia sound like examples of "Aerith", but their original names were much more "Bob" with the comparatively mundane Abby and Sarah.
    • Androxus and Lex were once partners as lawmen, which perfectly highlights this in effect.
  • All There in the Manual: Devstreams have let out hints of lore and backstories, such as Pip being an orphan and Inara coming from a race of stone-skinned earth mages called stagalla.
  • Always Night: The maps Serpent Beach and Outpost take place at night with the big, broken moon looming overhead. Serpent Beach was originally a daytime map prior to its redesign.
  • 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, Ash, Terminus, and Khan.
    • 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, Dredge, Drogoz, Bomb King, Lian, Sha Lin, Strix, Tyra, Viktor, Vivian, 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, Koga, Lex, Maeve, Moji, Talus, 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, Furia, and Ying.
    • Realm Royale has five classes with class-specific weapons and abilities. They are Warrior, Engineer, Assassin, Mage, and Hunter.
  • 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
    • Rory "Drybear" Newbrough (Former creative director of Paladins)
    • Evan “Raynday” Raynr (Hi-Rez spokesperson)
    • Nick “Pretty Hair” Koegh (Hi-Rez spokesperson)
    • Bruce Buffer (UFC Announcer)
    • Le Tigress
    • Rohn Jobert
    • Town Crier
    • Feyrazzle (Twitch Streamer)
    • There are also announcers for languages other than English that can be acquired through gold.
  • 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.
    • Matches in practice mode still count towards XP and quests, allowing players who don't want to fight human opponents an easy way to progress.
  • 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.
  • April Fools' Day:
    • In 2017, a game mode called Fowl Play was teased on April Fool's where you could play as chicken versions of champions and become a true pala-hen.
    • On April Fool's 2018, the official Paladins website announced that the champions were being reworked to resemble bad fan art.
    "I don’t know what to say. This isn’t what I signed up for. Why does a rock need a butt?"
    – Anonymous 3D Modeler on the Paladins Dev Team
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Crystals are a source of power in the Realm and are used to power pretty much everything. From street lights to weapons to machines. However, misuse of crystals can lead to catastrophic results.
  • Art Evolution: As a game that went through an 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 Dungeon Punk stylings of Paladins.
    • In OB 66, 2K textures were added, making the graphics more polished. For example, compare Fernando before and after.
    • In update 1.6, new shaders were added to metal textures to give them an actual metallic sheen instead of looking matte and plastic.
  • 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.
    • In TDM, bots refuse to buy equipment. Also, specifically on the Abyss map, they ignore the launch pad on the starting platform, resulting in 5 suicides in the first fee seconds.
  • Ascended Meme: Hi-Rez is aware of the Paladins community and will sometimes put community memes in the game.
    • Tyra is often seen as a female version Viktor by fans because of their similar weapons and play style. When Viktor's V1-KTOR skin was added in the game, one of the lines V1-KTOR can say if he kills an enemy Tyra is "Ever feel like you've seen a female version of yourself?".
    • Androxus' original Defiance ability was infamous for being very inaccurate to land all the shots. His Steam Demon skin references this by hoping at least one shot hits and being surprised if he manages to kill someone using Defiance.
    • Lex's In Pursuit ability is often criticized for automatically targeting enemies and requiring no skill to use. In his L-Exo Suit skin, he'll sometimes claim that it's all skill while using In Pursuit. Other times, he'll mention using a targeting system.
    • Deft Hands is considered a very useful item for Mal'Damba because it will speed up his reload stun. Mal'Damba's Wickerman skin really likes Deft Hands and may ask the player if they bought it when they buy an item from the shop.
    • As part of the protest against the Cards Unbound system, protesters submitted intentionally crappy fan art to show their disapproval. Hi-Rez was so amused by the unusual protesting method, that when they removed Cards Unbound, they also immortalized several of the bad fan art as in-game sprays.
    • A very popular meme is having the Support champ, Pip, be portrayed as a Flank because of his high mobility. In the Developer Diary detailing Flank champions, Pip's Weightless ability is grouped with the other Flank abilities.
    • Fans made fun of Androxus' Nether Step pose because it looks like he's dabbing. In the Siege of Ascension Peak event, one of the unlockable roaming emotes is Androxus dabbing for real.
    • Khan's Overlord skin is decked with cowcatchers and exhaust pipes, making him look like a reference to the memetic fanmade champion, Trainmageddon. Word of God even admitted that Overlord Khan is the closest we'll get to having Trainmageddon in the game.
  • Background Music Override:
  • Badass Boast: Champions who get Top Play usually boast about their prowess before the highlight clip plays.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Pip and Moji's ultimates turn enemies into chickens and doggie treats, respectively. Pip's ult can affect multiple enemies while Moji's only affects one, but Moji can insta-kill a transformed enemy by touching them.
  • 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 and Legendary-grade skins also include voice packs to change along with their appearance. Some even have slightly different Ultimate callouts.
  • Belly Dancer: Ying's Legendary emote allows her to dance like this.
  • Bloodless Carnage: With a T-rating, there's not a drop of blood to be spilled, no matter how violent things get.
  • Bottomless Magazines: None of the champions ever run out of ammo and some of them (Grover, Sha Lin, Maeve, and Moji) don't have to reload at all. Because of this, Deft Hands (an item that speeds up reloading) is unable to be purchased when using these 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:
  • Character Blog: Jenos, Lian, and Khan all have official Twitter accounts. Jenos naturally is following space-related accounts such as Neil deGrasse Tyson and SpaceX. Khan is following Lian. Lian doesn't have any tweets or is following anyone yet.
  • Civil War: The Realm is awash with war between two major factions and several independents.
    • The Empire: The Magistrate, a vast, powerful faction on a conquest to subjugate the Realm and restrict the use of crystals by the common folk to prevent magical catastrophes. Their members are Ash, Fernando, Khan, Lex, Lian, Skye, Strix, Terminus, Torvald, Viktor, and Vivian.
    • La Résistance: The Resistance, of course. Also known as the Paladins, they are led by Valera to fight against the Magistrate's tyranny. Their members are Barik, Buck, Cassie, Evie, Furia, Inara, Koga, Makoa, Moji, Pip, Sha Lin, Talus, Tyra, and Ying.
    • Wild Card: Having no alliance with either faction, these players in the war are willing to fight either side for their own reasons. They are Androxus, Bomb King, Drogoz, Grohk, Grover, Jenos, Kinessa, Maeve, Mal'Damba, Ruckus & Bolt, Seris, Willo, and Zhin.
  • Cliffhanger: The outcome of "Siege of Ascension Peak" has yet to be revealed and it is unknown if Khan or Jenos was the victor. Thankfully averted with "Dragon's Call", with it's outcome revealed in the "Dark Tides" trailer.
  • Clucking Funny: Chickens in this game are weak, pathetic, and are commonly used as Butt Monkeys.
    • Pip's Ultimate turns enemies into defenseless chickens.
    • April Fool's 2017 teased a joke game mode called Fowl Play that lets players play as chicken versions of the champions.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The old PvE battles tend to do this
    • 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.
    • Not even the normal training modes are immune to this. Bots completely ignore credits when buying items, making it possible to have levels of gear that by all rights they should not be able to afford.
  • 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, spooky Nightmare and the Candy Unicorn for those who aren't overly protective of their masculinity.
  • Cosmetic Award: Leveling champions will reward players with mastery cosmetics such as skins, emotes, and MVP poses. Which then have to be purchased with gold or crystals. Leveling to 50 will reward players with golden weapon skins, which along with looking cool, have special vfx for killing enemies.
  • 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.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Paladins Strike has a more edgy art style compared to the main game. For example, in Strike, Fernando never opens his helmet's visor to show his face, obscuring the charming persona underneath.
    • As the main game progresses, darker lore keeps getting added. Some examples include:
      • Ruckus spending most of his life enslaved in a mine with terrible working conditions.
      • The introduction of Zhin: an assassin, crimelord and the game's first real villain.
      • Talus' kind being a victim of extreme racism and survived nearly being exterminated twice.
      • Terminus being a Tragic Monster who was unwillingly brought back to life and forced to kill for the Magistrate.
  • 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.
  • Did Not Do the Bloody Research: The "Curses!" voice line note  for Lex, and the "oops!" voice line note  for Clockwork Torvald has both of them exclaiming "Bollocks!", which is a very mild curse word in England. It's weirder hearing this on Lex, considering the phrases English origins.
  • 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.
  • Dumb Muscle:
    • Buck is as loud as he is gullible - a hulking man blissfully too stupid to realize he scares/annoys his teammates.
    • Conqueror Zhin, a Conanesque, Dungeons-and-Dragons barbarian archetype, admits he's not too high in intelligence skill points, and truly believes Default Zhin (a genocidal, thieving warlord) and Ebon Star Zhin (a Sith Lord in all but name) are honorable foes.
  • Dummied Out: Everyone has a voiceline for when they run out of Mana, a Mechanic that no version of Paladins uses. It's theorised to be a long-standing tradition from Smite, which uses the same voice key command system.
  • Dungeon Punk: The setting can be described as "fantasy with magic and guns". The guns themselves are empowered by magic crystals instead of gunpowder. The "A Realm Divided" lore cinematic shows that the Realm used to be Heroic Fantasy prior to the discovery of crystals.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • The dance emotes that were introduced in patch OB 59 first appeared a few weeks earlier in the showcase video for the Raeve Meave skin.
    • Khan made a background cameo in "A Realm Divided" before debuting in "Siege of Ascension Peak" and his addition to the game in OB 69.
  • Easter Egg:
  • Equipment Upgrade: A purchased item can be bought twice more to enhance its effects.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Inverted. Nearly every character is sporting a Magitek crystal-powered firearm of some description.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The setting itself is distinctly fantasy, but that's less of a specific term and more of an umbrella to include as many fantasy archetypes as possible on the roster. Just looking at the cast, you'll see normal humans, a mortal god, a sentient tree, mages, a demonic godslayer, an ice witch, an intelligent rabbit sorceress, an Asian archer, a demonic (but not evil) teenage boy, a bomb-throwing monarch robot, and zombies. That still isn't all of them.
  • 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, Talentss that provide special effects to each Champion, of which there are 4 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.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Most of the non-human champions have these, but Moji takes the cake by having three-fingered hands.
  • Gainaxing: Most of the female characters display this, which is particularly noticeable when they perform their taunts. As Hi-Rez tradition, the breast movements are pre-rendered instead of having real-time Jiggle Physics.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The "Champions of the Realm" cinematic trailer takes some liberties with certain champions and their abilities. Such as...
    • Ruckus being able to leave his mech during battle 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.
  • Giant Flyer: Flying whales can be seen in the sky of Ascension Peak.
  • 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. Bariks' TF2 Engineer skin, like the Mr. Conagher he's based off of, constantly wears his welding goggles, no matter what. On a similar note, Fernando also puts his helmet's visor down.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • In the Siege of Ascension peak trailer, Jenos tells Buck about a bigger threat at play that would one day threaten the Realm. As the threat is being mentioned, Buck can seen floating in an endless dark void, implying that this threat has some sort of connection to the Abyss.
    • The Abyss itself also counts, often working behind the scenes and being responsible for the involvement of several champions on both sides of the war. Mysterious and scheming, this malevolent force is using the civil war as one big opportunity to further its own plans.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Although the Magistrate and the Resistance seem to be a case of Black and White Morality, the "A Realm Divided" cinematic reveals that the reason why the Magistrate wants to restrict the use of crystals from the common folk is to prevent catastrophic accidents from happening again and return peace to the Realm. In addition, some of the Magistrate's champions are not so bad and are some of the more benevolent characters in the game, like Viktor and Fernando. On the flip side, the Resistance has some champions with questionable morality, such as Pip and Evie.
  • Healing Shiv: After update 1.4, Grohk and Pip can heal allies by hitting them with their main weapon if they have the right Talent.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Champion Zhin, a Conanesque/tabletop-style barbarian, honestly believes the default Zhin (a mass-murdering warlord who leads an Army of Thieves and Whores) and Ebin Star Zhin (essentially Star Wars' Kylo Ren and the worst of Anakin) are honorable, worthy opponents.
  • 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)
      • Sapphire Charger (Diamond Chest exclusive)
      • Frostmare (New Realm Pack exclusive)
      • Infernal Warhorse (Founder's Pack exclusive)
      • Candy Unicorn (Valentine Chest exclusive)
      • Nightmare (VIP Store exclusive)
      • Primal Prowler (Twitch Prime exclusive)
      • Mecha Prowler (Battle Pass reward)
      • Crimson Serpent (Battle Pass reward)
  • Hostile Show Takeover: On August 24, 2018, the Official Paladins Twitter was taken over by Bomb King to promote the crystal discount event that weekend.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Khan is the towering advisor and bodyguard to the much smaller Lian.
  • Huge Rider, Tiny Mount:
    • Since most Front Line champions are large, they make the horses they ride on look tiny. Terminus, in particular, looks like he would crush his mount by sitting on it.
    • Naturally inverted for small champions, like Pip and Willo. In order to see where they're going, Pip has to stand on his mount and Willo floats over her's.
  • 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!"
  • Informed Species: Chickens in the Realm look like oversized, cartoony chicks with short legs and egg-shaped bodies.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall: Trying to use an ability while on a cooldown or otherwise unavailable will make the champion say they can't use it.
  • Limit Break: Each character has a powerful ultimate ability that builds over time, by dealing damage, or by healing others.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: In the Dragon's Call event, the event skins were canon designs of champions wearing more intimidating outfits to signify how dangerous their mission is.
  • 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. With that goal reached, they have slowed down the production of new champions.
  • 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".
  • Medieval Stasis: Averted thanks to the discovery of crystals. A powerful energy resource, these crystals launched the medieval Realm into a crystal-powered technological revolution that saw the creation of marvels such as Mini-Mecha, firearms as advanced as assault rifles, and flying machines.
  • Mini-Mecha: Ruckus's mech — oddly enough, it's not mini for him, being a goblin.
  • Mirror Match: Downplayed in casual modes, where both teams can choose the same champion, but not have multiples of the champ on the same team. Averted in competitive mode due to the draft system. Once a team chooses a champion, the opposing team cannot choose the same champion.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Many female champions have varying shades of this. 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.
  • No Body Left Behind:
    • Lex's ultimate completely vaporizes enemies out of existence if they've been weakened enough. Otherwise, they'll just take some damage and be momentarily slowed.
    • Golden weapons vaporizes enemies they kill in a multicolored blaze of glory.
  • No Experience Points for Medic: Averted, as healers gain more points for healing team-mates than killing foes or capturing points and these points are important as it lets players buy match upgrades to get better bonuses, rewarding a player who sticks to their class's strong points. As of update OB 67, healers will also gain eliminations if the person they're healing kills an enemy.
  • One-Hit Kill: The ultimates of all the champions can be pretty powerful when used in the right circumstances, 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, though Ash, Fernando, Khan, Lian, Moji, and Zhin are the only ones to truly have the abilities to avoid it:
    • Ash's ultimate grants her complete damage immunity, provided she lands before Drogoz gets to her.
    • Fernando can use his own ultimate, makes him and nearby allies unable to be brought below 1,500 HP.
    • Khan can use the skill "Battle Shout" to give him a brief second of damage immunity, which causes Drogoz to sort-of ping off of him.
    • Lian's ultimate gives her brief damage and CC immunity while channeling.
    • Moji can use her Magic Barrier to block the ability, which like Khan, will make Drogoz ping off of her.
    • Zhin can block it with his sword's "Block" ability.
  • Panthera Awesome:
    • The Primal Prowler mount. It is the first non-horse mount and is free with a Twitch Prime subscription.
    • The Mecha Prowler is a robot lion that is rewarded when you buy a Battle Pass.
  • Play Every Day: Playing each day within a 14 day period is encouraged by awarding gold for the first five days you log in, and then an amount of crystals for the sixth (15 crystals) and seventh (35 crystals) days. You are also given 3 daily quests that reward gold and varying amounts of battle pass XP when completed.
  • 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.
    • Ash: Wears experimental armor that gave her the title of War Machine.
    • Khan: His advanced armor completely covers his body and is decked with boosters, a shield emitter, a tether, and a hologram projector to receive orders.
  • Practical Taunt: Using emotes shift the view to a third person perspective and can be used to peek around corners. However, using emotes locks you out of your control for two seconds, making you a sitting duck if an enemy encounters you.
  • Pre-Ass-Kicking 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 
    • Terminus: ONCE MORE I RIIIIIISE! Allies hear 
    • Khan: YOU'RE MINE! Allies hear 
    • Cassie: Go, Zigs! Allies hear 
    • Kinessa: Try and run!
    • Lian: Kneel.
    • Dredge: RELEASE THE KRAKEN!
    • 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 
    • Strix: FLASH OUT! Allies hear 
    • Tyra: GIVE THEM HELL!
    • Willo: Reach for the Sky!
    • Vivian: Have you met my friends?
    • Pip: Let's make this interesting... Allies hear 
    • Grohk: SURGING... WITH... POOOWWWWEEEERRRR!!! Allies hear 
    • 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 
    • Furia: Show them... No mercy. Allies hear 
    • Skye: Time's ticking!
    • Buck: Here's the WINDUP! Allies hear 
    • Androxus: DEATH AWAITS YOU ALL!
    • Koga: You're already dead. Allies hear 
    • Lex: No one escapes THE LAW! Allies hear 
    • Maeve: Good niiiiiiight! Allies hear 
    • Moji: SNACK TIME! Allies hear 
    • Talus: HAAAAAAAAAH, HYAAAAAAAA! Allies hear 
    • Zhin: tzzzzzZAAAAAAAAAAH!
    • Evie: Ha... CHOO! (Yes, that is her ultimate voice clip. And it has Power Echoes as well.) Allies hear 
  • Pungeon Master: About half of Grover's lines are tree or plant puns. Even his name is a pun on "grove"!
  • Rage Against the Heavens: In Season 2's "Siege of Ascension Peak" event, Jenos' return has been buzzing throughout the Realm. Interested in Jenos' godlike powers, Lian sends her forces led by her primus, Khan, to confront Jenos in hopes of "persuading" the Physical God to ally with the Magistrate.
  • Refused by the Call: After the Paladins retrieved the warder's relic from the "Dragon's Call" event, they were ambushed by the pirate, Admiral Dredge, who sought to use the relic's power himself. However the dragon that he summoned deemed him unworthy and struck him down. The Abyss, on the other hand, found Dredge useful and reanimated his body to continue terrorizing the oceans.
  • 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.
  • Rise to the Challenge: The "Rise of Furia" event takes place in the Abyss, where players will have to climb the Abyssal Spire and destroy the crystal on the top. Hazards include the slowly rising Abyss and the Abyssal Lord flying around and blasting the spire. Dying during the climb will respawn the player at the lowest possible checkpoint. Destroying the crystal at the top of the spire will bring all the players to the top for a 5 v 5 Team Deathmatch, with the team who broke the crystal gaining additional Ultimate charge.
  • Science Fantasy: The setting was originally a science/fantasy mashup, with champions either using magic, advanced 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 setting has transitioned towards Dungeon Punk 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.
  • Screw You, Elves!: Deliberately invoked by High Elf Lian, an arrogant, haughty noble who constantly gloats about how hated and envied the elves are.
  • Serial Escalation: The first event, "Siege of Ascension Peak", was a souped-up Onslaught mode with lowered cooldowns and artillery fire raining down on the map. On top of that, the unlockable skins for the event didn't relate to the event at all. The second event, "Rise of Furia" ups the ante with a unique Rise to the Challenge mode never seen in the game before and elaborate skins that perfectly tie into the theme of the event.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The "Dragon's Call" event has the Magistrate and the Paladins fighting over the powerful Warder's relics, with both sides sending out their finest warriors for the dangerous mission. The subsequent event, "Dark Tides" reveal that the Paladins won and retrieved the relics. However they were ambushed by the notorious pirate, Admiral Dredge, who stole the relics before the Paladins even had a chance to use their power, rendering their whole mission moot.
  • 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'" Talent, 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 any team, they are top priority to be taken out.
  • Shout-Out: Enough to warrant it's own page!
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Seris and Furia are sisters who are opposed to each other. Seris is associated with the dark and evil Abyss, while Furia is associated with the bright and benevolent Pyre.
  • 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.
    • Patch OB 59 introduced context sensitive voicelines that champions will utter depending on the situation. Some examples include responding to being attacked from behind, by a sniper, when an enemy is above them, alerting the team that the Front Line needs help, and notifying the player when they have a lot of credits to spend.
  • Spinoff:
    • In August 2017, Hi-Rez announced a MOBA spinoff game called Paladins Strike for Android and iOS. The spinoff title is developed by a team of Hi-Rez developers separate from the main game.
    • Due to balance and performance issues, the Battlegrounds game mode was quickly removed and is being developed into a separate game called Realm Royale. Instead of playing as specific champions, the game uses a class-based system where players can mix and match weapons and abilities from Paladins.
  • Stone Wall:
    • Fernando, of course. With a massive 4,600 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 12,600 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.
  • Super Window Jump: In Realm Royale, windows are just big enough for a chicken to jump through; giving chickened players a chance to escape from human players who have to search for another route.
  • Symbol Motif Clothing: With crystals being a powerful energy source, every champion has at least one crystal on their clothes and/or weapon.
  • Take Cover!: Explosives rely on line-of-sight to damage. If you can find something to hide from the explosion, you will not be damaged. It doesn't matter if it's a wall, a crate, or a tree.
  • 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".
      • "Blizzard" often turns up as a name for AI players in training matches.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • In the loosest sense of 'teamwork' possible, the duo of Ruckus (a wily, overcompensating, violent little goblin) and Bolt (the mind-stone of a fallen war golem who is not pleased with having a giant warmachine as its new body). 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.
    • Unused spawn room chatter makes it clear a good deal of the champion team ups cannot stand each other, such as Zhin and everyone else.
  • Temporary Online Content:
    • Beta-exclusive skins, such as Fernando's Ares skin and Makoa's Volcanic skin, are no longer able to be acquired since the game fully launched.
    • There are epic-level skin rewards for reaching the Gold V rank of Ranked each season. When the season ends, so will the opportunity to get that season's skin.
    • The Twitch Prime Bomb King skin and the Primal Prowler mount are Twitch Prime's loot for January 2018 and stopped being available after May 31.
    • Limited Skins work like this. Once the opportunity to get one passes, that's it.
  • Three-Point Landing: Instead of using parachutes like most battle royale games, Realm Royale lets players dive right to the ground, pulling off a superhero landing.
  • Timed Mission: The second part of the game's Siege gamemode plays like this, as well as the Onslaught and Team Deathmatch gamemodes.
  • 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.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: In a Hero Shooter with very little platforming, the first half of the "Rise of Furia" event turns the game into a Rise to the Challenge platforming race that focuses on collecting power-ups and making it to the top. The second half a more familiar game of Team Deathmatch.
  • Yandere: 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.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: In "Siege of Ascension Peak", Jenos shares with Buck the knowledge he's gained of the cosmos, including a darkness that will one day threaten the Realm.
  • Videogame Settings: Many of the maps share a common theme to connect them to each other.
  • Visual Pun: The Rekt weapon skins make weapons look like harmless plastic toy guns that shoot foam darts. Get it?
  • Vocal Dissonance: Many of the redesigned characters didn't have their voices updated with their appearance, so they don't quite match the way they look anymore.
    • Barik's redesign was relatively subtle, but he's much angrier-looking now, which no longer fits his cheerful sing-songy voice lines.
    • Grohk's redesign made him larger, more muscular, and far more serious-looking, and his lore changed from "lightning gave him superpowers and made him a crazy outcast" to "lightning gave him superpowers and brought him the respect and leadership of his tribe", but he still has silly voice lines more suited to his old look and characterization (like singing "It's not easy being blue")
    • Viktor was redesigned to look much younger, but he still has his old gravely voice and an out-of-place Russian accent (which made more sense when the setting was less well-defined).

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