Alpharetta-based developer Hi-Rez Studios launched the closed beta for its new FPS-MOBA hybrid, Paladins, earlier this morning. For the time being, the closed beta will only be running from noon to midnight EST, though Hi-Rez plans to support the beta 24 hours a day as soon as possible. Players can still enter the closed beta through two methods: by signing up for the closed beta lottery on the game’s official website, or by purchasing the Paladins Founder’s Pack for $20, which is bundled with an exclusive riding mount and 20 card chests that can be used to customize your character. Hi-Rez has stated that they will be performing occasional server wipes, but any real-money purchases players make during the beta will be permanent.
Announced a mere fourth months ago in August, Paladins is the latest title from the creators of the popular MOBA SMITE. Unlike SMITE, Paladins is an unusual blend of shooter, MOBA, and card-collecting elements. The game is planned to provide condensed, action-packed experiences for its players, with matches lasting 15-25 minutes long. Players will compete against one another to complete the usual MOBA objectives, like destroying enemy structures, managing lanes, and defeating AI-controlled monsters. Paladins also pits players against one another in first-person shooter combat. The game’s projectile-based weaponry is steeped in Hi-Rez’s seminal title Global Agenda and in classics like Quake; according to a Venturebeat interview with Hi-Rez designer Rory Newbrough, the Paladins team aims to provide players with opportunities for fast-paced combat, intense mindgames and juking, and most importantly, a space where players can easily learn from their mistakes.
Paladins also tasks players with building decks of in-game cards, which can be used in during matches to provide their avatars with stat boosts. This third card-based dimension is intended to add more layers to the tactical decisions a player makes during a game, granting them opportunities for flexible counterplays over the course of the match while retaining the decisions traditional MOBAs require their players to make when selecting items.
Paladins is the latest game in recent surge of Shooter-MOBA hybrids, like Blizzard’s Overwatch, Gearbox Software’s Battleborn, and Motiga’s Gigantic. How Paladins will further distinguish itself from its competitors beyond its card-collecting system remains to be seen, but those interested in giving the game a spin can sign up for the closed beta here. They can also check out the trailer for the game below, which showcases the current cast of characters:
Shown at the end of the trailer is an unnamed witch-like girl, who was revealed to be named Evie in a datamine back in September. As with SMITE, Hi-Rez will no doubt have to consider the publicity-influencing forces of datamining as Paladins develops over the coming months.
Paladins is planned to release some time in 2016.