Last month the news broke that Epic Games would be shutting down their third-person action MOBA Paragon, which the company claimed didn’t meet their expectations nor did it attract the community they had hoped it would since its launch into closed alpha in 2016. While the game certainly saw a lot of struggle and changes made, it seemed that with the launch of their updates New Dawn and V.45, Paragon had finally begun to find a foothold within the MOBA genre as the first MOBA to let PC and console users can play together.
Over the spawn of countless games, Paragon would begin to see new players, many communicating in-game and building a strong community. If you take to Reddit, there are many speaking out against the game shutting down and many more pleading with Epic Games to keep the game running even if it means slowing down the time between patches. It has gotten to the point that even fans are requesting that Epic Games sell the game off to another company and that they let that company keep the game alive under the same name with all assets intact.
But why should Epic Games keep the game going and if they do; what should they do in order to make Paragon a viable game? Let’s take at why, how, and what should be done to make this Epic Games’ title a major hit in the MOBA genre.
The Rise of a New Dawn
Since its announcement in 2015, Paragon has stood out as one of the most unique MOBA’s on the market. It would be the first to truly blend the elements of third-person action, card-based builds and a unique approach to RPG elements. Over the span of two years, it would see some of the largest changes ever made to a MOBA title. It would see its card systems, movement systems, and even maps completely overhauled in order to change the pacing of the game.
But even with these changes, Paragon at its core still needs a lot of work, just as any MOBA does when major changes are made, there is balancing that has to be made. Oddly enough, the biggest of all the changes made wouldn’t arrive until mid-to-late 2016 when Epic Games would announce an entirely new map, new mechanics, reworked balancing systems, and even new card systems altogether.
In a sense, Paragon stripped away its former identity for a newer one, one that many would not recognize, and thus, it would launch as an entirely new game using former characters and similar mechanics that the fans had come to know and love. With this new identity, Epic Games had begun to move forward with this very new identity, one that would speed up the course of the game in order to make a better flow for the game. But even with these changes, Paragon began to become more focused upon its combat mechanics.
With both the “New Dawn” and “Monolith” updates, balancing became a huge problem. Some of the cards within the game were absolutely broken. Cards such as Red Zone and Deathcrawler broke the game, allowing for characters such as Kallari and Grux to one shot a targeted player with little to no effort. In short, it was an overwhelming experience for both new and veteran players alike. Even learning the card system would become a challenge, one that would be left without any form of guide or help to guide both beginning and veteran players.
These cards, as stated by players, need to be overhauled, if not absolutely removed from the game. The cards gave unfair advantages to those using them and allowed for a noticeable amount of unbalancing within the game and ultimately took away from a players experience. This kind of offset could easily deter newcomers from playing the game and even deterred veteran players from staying for longer periods of time.
Along with broken cards came other issues. Many of these fundamental flaws were ones that Epic Games would never address including decent matchmaking systems, which would see players placed in skill tiers close to their own, ranked matches that made player investment matter, and even a user tutorials to allow newcomers to understand Epic’s vision of what Paragon is and could have been.
While the community on Reddit still has their hopes high due to the Chinese company Tencent is keeping the game alive in China, the future for Europe and America’s remains rather grim. The community has even rallied behind the idea of fan-made reboots of sorts, games that would play close to, if not identical to Epic Games’ title. It’s gotten to the point that even Sylphin, a dedicated Paragon went into length about how the company could save the game and the changes that needed made, but was quickly silenced upon the release of his Google Doc, which you can read here.
It was Given Life, but Only for a Brief Moment
In short, Paragon has been massively overhauled, so much so that the game should have been considered to be once more in a mid-to-late alpha state. While this certainly didn’t seem to be where Epic Games had viewed it, the game itself had seen some massive overhauls, so much so that even fans had previously tossed in thoughts, their opinions and feedback to help the game continually grow.
While data certainly was provided by Epic Games to help develop their title, it wasn’t the data that would have helped continually move Paragon forward, but rather, the feedback of the players would have helped do so. Their fundamental push to balancing, ideas for character re-works and new card ideas, would have tremendously helped Paragon to move forward at any given time.
Unlike the mobile game Vainglory by Super Evil Mega Corp, which itself saw hard times until as of recent, Paragon has failed to meet a company’s expectations, not the players. With a little time, a little love and a bit more effort, Paragon could have begun to make find its footing in the current market and could have very well inspired many more like it.
While there are fan projects in the works, Paragon won’t continue to see the light of day outside of Chinese markets and homes. As quickly as the New Dawn begam, quicker it will fade.
As the New Dawn Begins to Fade and Twilight sets, a New Day Will Emerge
Even as Epic Games’ Paragon begins to prepare for the shutdown, hope still remains in the official Paragon Subreddit, which still sees active users posting their hopes about the game remaining alive while others voice their anger towards Epic Games. Even Facebook users have voiced their thoughts, opinions, and the amount of hurt they feel towards the sudden move that has been made.
While many Paragon fans remain rather upset with Epic Games’ sudden move after their having announced they have a lot in store for 2018 days before the announcement of the shutdown, many have already begun to plead with Epic Games for a chance to see the game rolled back to pre v.41 balances and even kept alive through a growing community of players. While the chances are slim that Epic Games will do this, there remains quite a bit of hope within the already hurting community.
Many remain hopeful due to one simple fact: Unreal Tournament is still alive. Unreal Tournament also has a much, much, smaller fanbase than that of Paragon. While there are no signs that Epic Games will budge from their current stance, many fans have their fingers crossed, and there are already hints that other developers are slowly working at building a community-driven successor to Epic Games’ dying title. This should demonstrate the hope and passion that their fans have for the game. This also should demonstrate just what kind of community they have built and are leaving behind as the days begin to slowly count down.
But what Epic Games shouldn’t do is give up on Paragon in the slightest. The fanbase has already spoken, they want to see the game stay alive, they want to see Paragon have a chance at a later date, a date when the Battle Royale hype has begun to wear down and former fans of the genre have begun to slowly move away for something new. Unfortunately, Epic Games doesn’t have a lot going for them outside of licensing their Unreal Engine and the massive success that Fortnite: Battle Royale has become.
While Epic Games has already issued refunds for Paragon purchases as a form of an apology, fans still remain hopeful that the company will leave the game alive and revisit it at a later date, but for now, April 26, 2018, is quickly approaching and fans don’t have much time left to get as many matches as they can before the game becomes forever a piece of gaming history. I for one, will be on that battlefield until the final moment ticks away and my last match is played. Until then, I hope to see you all there, I hope to see as many of you on the ruins of the Monolith until the final sun has set and we forever remember what our final match was like.
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPGs, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.