Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Everything Wrong With the Paragon Open Beta

I would like to first state that these findings are in regards to the open beta of Paragon. The game has yet to become a finalized experience, and is subject to change at the discretion of the developers. It could improve, or it could get worse over time depending on how the game is managed. I need to also state that what I'm about to say contains only my opinions, and that it does not reflect the opinions of anyone else unless they choose to agree with me. In no way is what I'm going to tell you a tool being used to turn you away from the game. It is instead an article I'm hoping the developers read, and take note of in their goal to perfect Paragon ...

When I first began playing the closed beta of Paragon I saw extreme potential. The game looked gorgeous. The animation was top of the line, and mechanics very interesting. It wasn't until I spent more time with the game in the open beta state that the issues regarding offline, and online competitive gameplay began to show. I almost immediately noticed that Paragon was a cross-platform game. Meaning that it pits PS4 gamers against PC gamers. If you know me then you know I'm totally against this type of intermingling. PC gamers are notorious for exploiting games, for modding games, and for creating hacks with which to cheat. This being brought over into the already cheat friendly PSN environment only serves to amplify the problem that is cheating. I did note that the developer of Paragon had implemented a player report form, but that said form does little to let the reporting gamer to explain what it is that they encountered. Very much like Twitter's limited tweets Paragon's player report form is limited in typing space. If the developer really wanted to pinpoint the problems at hand they'd allow for more input space. They'd do that, or either have a "met player" listing with an option to report them for cheating.

Aside from the online intermingling of the PS4, and PC platforms Paragon fails in some other important areas. Before I get into those details though let me briefly tell you what Paragon is. Paragon is a hybrid MOBA which seemingly borrows ideas from a few different sources. Those sources being OverWatch, SMITE, and possibly Hearthstone. It utilizes team based triple lane combat with characters that not only have MOBA abilities, but also card boosts that can be applied using the game's leveling system. The available characters in particular follow an OverWatch heroes formula, but without the speedy action or attacks included. It's heroes, or characters of interest each have their basic health, and function related strengths and weaknesses along with the previously mentioned abilities. The problem with this portion of inspiration is that Paragon also implements a card boosting mechanic which makes tank type characters god-like, and lesser character archetypes tank-like. This combined system of character builds with different strength, and card boost potential only serves to amplify the problems that OverWatch is currently facing. With tank characters becoming god-like they become nearly impossible to kill, and at the other end of the spectrum the gamers who choose lesser character types are being unfairly penalized with death timeouts that increase up to 90+ seconds per death. Deaths which occur much more frequently than with tank characters. With the lesser character not being able to damage the tank gods it defeats the purpose of the lane pushing objectives altogether.

It's a problem that's a lot like what modern-day fighting games face with their unbalanced rosters. When players playing a fighting game realize only certain characters are effective they only use those effective characters. They ignore the rest of the characters that are available ultimately negating half of the roster in the process. The fix in fighting games would be a simple one, and that would be to make all characters equally as effective damage-wise while keeping them unique with their special attacks. This same concept could also be used in Paragon, and OverWatch. By putting players on an equal playing field in regards to damage output, and damage intake the player then could focus on picking a character according to their specific abilities, and capabilities. If that's not done tank characters will always be picked, and will always dominate.

While online definitely has it's fair share of notable issues the offline mode also has some issues which can cause a match to drag on much longer than it normally would. In the offline portion of Paragon, the more fairer side of the game's offerings you'll find that the aiding AI teammates are often times acting abnormally. I found one such teammate just standing in place taking damage from a single lesser minion. A minion it could have easily destroyed. In another instance one of my AI teammates moon walked their way back to home base when they could have simply used the R3 function to warp back. At the same time that my team is acting a fool the enemy AI is beating the bejeezus out of my Murdock. I died 22 times at the hands of the same damn tank character. How the opposite team of AI had their crap together, and my team of AI teammates did not is beyond me. The AI definitely needs some adjustment.

In the PvP portion of Paragon the problems are as you'd likely guess. This includes tank players that are not taking damage as well as lesser character types on the opposing team who take little to no damage. This could be chalked off to lag issues, or outright cheating. I doubt very seriously that the developer has included obtainable cards that would make any character as invincible as I've seen them be. If they have then that needs to be fixed ASAP. Going back to a previous paragraph I also think the death penalty needs to be greatly shortened. There's no sense in a 90+ second timeout, especially when tank characters are always dominating lesser character types. It is not fair play.

I think that about wraps things up for now. I'm going to continue playing Paragon, and see if I can find anything else that could use some fixing. Be sure to always report cheating Paragon players by pressing (CIRCLE) at the home menu, and selecting the "report player" option. In closing I'll leave you with the wise words of Edmund Burke, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.".

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