The Weekend Warriors Absolute Beginner Guide to Paladins
By: Edward "Screenager" Orr | : 3262
Welcome Warriors. Paladins is a new team-based competitive multiplayer, and one of my standout games of last year. Currently undergoing beta testing, it drops players into a first person arena brawler, sprinkles on a little of developer Hi-Rez’s magic and delivers a deliciously vibrant world. Paladins has given the Gaiscioch Weekend Warriors no end of riotous action throughout 2016 and we have compiled a getting started guide so you can join us during 2017.
The first thing you might notice when starting up Paladins is the clear choice of options stacked down the left of the launcher screen. Hitting Play gets you straight into the action without delay. From here you can choose some training in the tutorials, create a custom match, or just launch headlong into the action. Those of you that want to train a little can choose tutorial from the following screen and try out the champions in a safe space. If, like us, you prefer to rush rudderless into battle, sword drawn and ready to learn the hard way, start off by choosing casual play and introducing yourself to your new teammates.
Picking a Team
A team consists of five characters, picked from a roster of over twenty two warriors. Each of the champions fits into one of four broad archetypes. Most of these definitions are fairly intuitive, with front lines acting as walking walls, support supplying heals, and damage types deploying some utterly devastating attacks. Flanking characters are a little more unorthodox, combining a mix of damage, manoeuvrability, and stealth to harass opponents and make the most of any opening that appears in an enemy’s lines.
A solid team composition is key in Paladins which generally means your team will benefit from one support, one front line, and a variety of damage or flanking champions. This isn’t always strictly true but more often than not a team without a front line or healer is simply swept aside. Once a champion has been selected, it will be visible to you and your team on the left of the screen. Pick quickly though. Once the timer reaches zero, champion selection is locked in for the duration of a battle. This might seem restrictive when compared to the hot swapping of Overwatch, but Paladins provides at least two other ways to specialize: Card Decks and Items.
Card Decks are supremely important in Paladins. They allow players to modify a champion to suit a variety of play styles and are generally configured before even queuing for combat. Decks are constructed using a range of cards, unique to each champion, which provide a variety of passive bonuses. Characters have space to save eight card decks. Decks can be accessed and customized using the Champions screen and then choosing the Deck tab on each champions.
A total of five cards can be allocated to any particular character deck, sharing a pool of twelve tier points. Cards can be selected or swapped out by clicking on any of the available card slots.
Points can be distributed at the player’s convenience, using the + and – buttons at the bottom of each card to change the tier. A minimum of one and a maximum of four points can be distributed to an individual card. Colored gemstones, set into the top of each card, allow easy identification of a card’s tier with higher values generally providing more favorable passive boosts to a champion. Tier one cards have a green stone set in them, tier two is represented by a blue gem, tier three has a purple gem, and tier four cards carry a gold gemstone.
In the above example, the particular card’s effect is clearly outlined on the front face. Every available card like this falls into one of four categories, each of which synchronize with an individual champion’s traits and abilities.
Cards are a one-time unlock, either as a leveling reward or through direct purchase, using game gold or cash shop gems. There is, however, no need to spend real world money on unlocking these cards. Given a little time you will have a sufficient gold to unlock everything you require.
Decks do make a discernible difference when you’re fending off the flames of war. You will get an opportunity to assign a custom card deck or some of the very competent default decks to a champion in the prologue before a match starts. Once assigned these cannot be modified during a match, unlike the item system.
Items, or burn cards, compliment Paladin’s deck system by introducing a temporary progression system that players can use to influence champions throughout a match. Unlike card decks, which are unique to each champion, the item system presents a uniform set of twelve buffs, available to every player.
A total of twelve items are split into four rows, Defense, Utility, Healing and Offense. It is only possible to apply four buffs to any one character, choosing one from each row. Each base item has an associated credit cost to it. Three levels of item can be purchased, each becoming increasingly powerful and expensive as players climbs tiers.
Depending on game mode and development changes, players start a match with anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of credits. Additional credits are earned by participating in matches and for very particular types of behaviour.
Basic credits are awarded for;
- Participating in a match
- Standing near an objective
- contesting an objective
- capturing an objective
- killing an enemy
- dealing damage
- healing allies
- taking damage
- taking shield damage
Behavioral credit substantially rewards the four champion archetypes: front line, support, damage, and flankers, for actively playing their intended role. Flankers fill their coffers for kills behind enemy lines, support profit from healing, front line benefit most from sitting on objectives, and damage champions from unleashing a fiery wrath upon their enemies. In short, know your role and play to its strengths.
When credits start rolling in, players can buy items by pressing the I key after respawning or directly before the start of a match.
Once you have selected a champion and settled on customizations, you will need to know how to use it. Pressing the K button at any time during a match will display a character’s skills. Basic skills are located on the left and right mouse buttons, generally aligning with your primary weapon. More advanced skills are mapped to the Q and F skills on the keyboard. These vary from one champion to another but tend to synchronize with a character’s intended playstyle. Ultimate abilities are bound to the E key. These charge over time and provide a short burst of overwhelming power. This ranges from outstanding heals to immortality. You can see some of these abilities in our champion recommendations, later in this guide.
PvP Matches come in two distinct types, siege and payload. New formats, such as PvE, are being incrementally added, but this guide focuses on the competitive aspect of the game. Both Siege and Payload style matches are objective based encounters and pit two teams of five against each other.
Siege matches are a hybrid mode with success judged on the first team to reach five points. A mix of traditional king of the hill capture systems and payload challenges creates a game that absolutely rewards great teamwork.
The first point in a Siege matches is awarded for capturing a central objective point, equidistant from both team spawns.
Standing on the objective, and quite possibly obliterating any enemies that dare intrude, will increase your team’s objective ownership. You can find this at the top of the screen draped in your team’s color and it will increase over time.
If your team is under pressure you can, equally, help stall enemy possession of an objective by standing in the center circle, although we only recommend this when you aren’t vastly outnumbered.
Capturing an objective requires 100% possession, rewarding teams with one point and ownership of the upcoming payload. A payload cart will spawn directly after the capture stage and begin a crawl from center of the map towards the unsuccessful team’s home. With one more point up for grabs, delivering the payload into an enemy base will secure a clean sweep of the round. Repelling the payload will, however, award that point to the defending team.
Payloads are time sensitive so think quickly and try not to die. As the payload gets further from your respawn point it takes even longer to get back in the fight. For more information on Payload mechanics see the next section.
Payloads, are fairly uncomplicated match types. These are timed escort of a moving objective from your home spawn into an enemy base. Much like Sieges this match is played out with two teams of five. Each side has an equal opportunity to attack and defend with the payload.
Attacking teams will find a payload waiting just outside their home spawn. Staying within close proximity to the payload will ensure it progresses towards the end of its journey. While no attackers attend to the payload, it will not progress. Progress is highlighted at the top of the screen in the attacking team’s color. The opposing team defend, generally trying to halt progress by destroying the attacking team.
Winning teams are defined by either the quickest journey from start to end or, if neither side completes the journey, the furthest progress.
Absolute beginners should consider Fernando for their first Champion. The rugged Italian might look an awful lot like Overwatch’s Heinrich but he is definitively hotter. Wielding a deadly flamethrower, Fernando is incredibly easy to do use. If you are not a well-oiled precision sniper, Fernando’s flamethrower makes it incredibly difficult to miss. Just point and roast. Coupled with a generous health pool and a massive mobile shield, Fernando is a very powerful champion, with a low skill floor.
When selecting items for Fernando be sure to stack into Haven.The majority of the damage being flung in your direction will be as direct damage. Characters like Victor, Tyra, Cassie, and Ruckus all have some absolutely devastating projectile weapons and Haven will help reduce the damage you take.
Getting started as a support character isn’t exactly straight forward in Paladins. A plethora of possible choices all come with a huge variety of support playstyles. Pip is an inviting choice for veteran shooter players and Ying can be click and forget, but for absolute beginners looking to make a keep their team in one piece, we recommend branching out into Grover. Grover has fantastic sustainability in a fight, few secondary mechanics to manage, and a good range of heals. Grab Grover, stick close to your team and they will definitely turn into tree huggers.
When running around the map with Grover be sure to stack into Chronos. Grover has great sustain but is a huge target on the battlefield. If you are healing it is in your interest to survive and to get those heals out as quickly as possible. The Chronos item will reduce the cooldown time for all of Grover’s abilities, including heals.
Damage dealers are probably the easiest type of character to jump into without any experience. While the highest level of play requires lightning fast reflexes and incredible skill, new players can rest easy in the knowledge that many damage characters can, quite literally, just point and shoot. Our recommendation for damage is currently Viktor. Tyra and Viktor both feel incredibly intuitive to fans of FPS games. Both characters mix adequate mobility, a sufficient health pool, and an ability to shower the enemy in bullets. It is the combination of continuous dps output and forgiving health pool that make Viktor so attractive.
When choosing items, stack into Cauterize and Life Rip. These are a great combination for players who can continuously cause damage. Cauterize will reduce an enemy character’s ability to heal and Life Rip will steal a portion of your target's health every time you hit it. Coupled with a grenade that inflicts aoe damage and a machine gun that spews out projectiles, these item choices can devastate the health pool of enemies and simultaneously reduce the pressure on your own healers. Just remember when venturing out into the wilds with Viktor not to push too far forward and watch your six.
Flank characters are designed to breach enemy lines, using their mobility to keep opponents off balance. While they can also dispense incredible damage, they have little room for error, requiring fantastic reflexes and a steady aim. If you are confident, courageous, and quick on the draw you might want to try a flanking character. We honestly had a hard time picking one character for beginners, but after much debate the general consensus here at Gaiscioch is that Evie is your go to pick for absolute beginners. Like all flanking champions, Evie will take some time to understand, but her extremely powerful default attack and a click and forget ultimate make life just a little bit easier to manage.
When entering the arena with Evie, try to stack up on Kill to Heal and Cauterize. While you may not be able to take down everyone solo, the Kill to Heal will let you attack and gain healing while Cauterize is always a welcome addition to anybody doing damage. While there are a number of other options that are viable including Life Rip, Nimble and Chronos, these two are the ones that you want to get straight away.
With that we feel you should have enough information to get a good start in Paladins. These recommendations may change as Hi-Rez continue to develop the game but for now pick up a weapon, keep the sharp end away from yourself, and have fun.
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About the Author
Edward "Screenager" Orr