Paladins Lore Is Slightly Different Than Overwatch

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paladins heros
I have a bias, but this is dumb. Hi-Rez

Shitting on Hi-Rez’s Paladins hero shooter isn’t that hard. The game has struggled to really make a dent for itself and is overshadowed by Overwatch, a game which does its job better. The mystified realm that features a jetpack wielding rocket launcher and an energy shield knight that isn’t made by Blizzard has existed without a crucial element since its launch: a story. Like League Of Legends, there wasn’t a clear reason why Paladins fought on the snowy battlefield, or why they must ride horses and collect points. It almost seemed like an afterthought, like having a bunch of cool characters shooting each other is more important than a reason why.   

After months of waiting, Paladins finally revealed its story—but it’s pretty generic. During the 2018 Hi-REz Expo, a two-minute cinematic finally answered the question, “Why are these doofuses shooting each other?” The video starts off as an Overwatch ripoff. There was war and chaos until a group of individuals saved the day and put down their weapons in a new time of peace.

Unlike the members of Overwatch, who vanished after the world started to hate them, the Paladins set up a Magistrate. All was peachy until a magical macguffin with limitless energy was found. While the Magistrate believed only they should harness the newly discovered magic, a splinter faction believed magic is for the people and took the old Paladins moniker to fight for the little guy.

It’s hard to create a fantasy story from the ground-up when everyone’s been copying J.R.R. Tolkien for a generation, but it is doable. Slapping some freedom fighters into an Overwatch fan fiction isn’t compelling and it wastes a perfectly good opportunity. What if these warriors must fight off a threat, or must slay fellow countrymen in an attempt to save what they believe? Magical energy and evil politicians doesn’t make for a very compelling story, it just feels like a wasted opportunity.

Hi-Rez always seems to be a company that follows popular trends—they’re even adding a Battlegrounds function to Paladins that is 100 percent, completely, totally unrelated to the success of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Throwing a story together so you have something unique to reveal at your fancy conference does feel like something they’d do, and I’m sorry to see that this is the result. I really enjoyed Smite for the first few months I played, but I’m glad I’ve moved away from this company that (allegedly) can’t even afford to pay its pro players.

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