WAYPT: Paladins

A few characters standing around an ornate room with a flower-patterned floor, with a large white VICTORY overlay

For lack of ability to be tactful about this, Blizzard can suck a fuck. I'm not going to comment on the Hong Kong protests – other, cleverer people have already done that to death, I have nothing especially useful to add, and that's a digression for another time. That said, I absolutely can't stand how Blizzard is handling this. I cancelled my World of Warcraft account and am refusing to play Blizzard games, at least for now. So I went spelunking in the 'tubes for a game that scratches the same itch as Overwatch did, and came across Paladins.

If it's not a direct Overwatch clone, it's taken a great deal of inspiration from it. They look extremely similar and – from a graphics and movement perspective – play very similar. Though, for a game that's totally definitely 100% not ripping off another game, it's pretty polished. There's the odd bug, but it's not anything that would render the game unplayable. Minor inconveniences at worst.

First-person view of two hands, one pointing and one with yellow sparkles inside. Images of the allied and opposing teams overlay.
let's be real, it's just dissimilar enough to dodge a lawsuit

I do have to give it credit for a different kind of depth than Overwatch has. Paladins takes a lot more inspiration from the MOBA¹ genre insofar as characters being locked in for the entire match, items purchased as upgrades in the spawn room, and a genuinely creative card system that allows the player to go surprisingly deep into skill micromanaging.

As in most games, I'm a support main², which I fell into a while back 'cause most people want to play big kablooey pew pew guns rather than get fewer kills but be the one who kept the tank alive for most of the game. I find playing support a bit thankless but ultimately more satisfying, so I've been playing a lot of Seris and Grover. Grover is a tree. It owns.

A character description screen of a large sentient tree with autumn foliage, holding a large ornately patterned axe
y'all think i'm kidding

If you like cartoony FPS³ games that play more like a MOBA (but, and I stress, are not a MOBA), give Paladins a try.

¹ multiplayer online battle arena, occasionally also called action real-time strategy, or ARTS. The best-known examples are League of Legends and Dota 2.

² support characters are the healers and/or the characters who are mostly applying buffs or debuffs instead of directly doing damage. They tend to be a little fussier to play and don't get the glory, but a team without support is at a severe disadvantage.

³ first-person shooter, e.g. Call of Duty, Borderlands, Overwatch, Half-Life, Quake, Doom, myriad other games that tend to be the most widely-known



Occasionally reality-prone. Cross-stitch, synthwave, and video games.