Paragon's Howitzer looks like Rocket Raccoon

As I've mentioned in my review the moment Paragon launched, the game feels like a mix between an FPS and a MOBA game, but one where the two sides don't really fit well. The rapid out-of-combat movement and lane-based mechanics just aren't the type of thing that go together, and as predicted, it eventually resulted in a metagame where 5 heroes form a "deathball" and just roll around the map attempting to pick off the enemy team, while they do exactly the same.

You'll be glad to hear, however, that Epic is aware of all this and that they are working on countermeasures to both increase Paragon's complexity and skill ceiling, while also making it more fun for everyone. This announcement comes from the latest "The Future of Our Meta" blog post, and if you're interested in Paragon I fully recommend you give it a read, but for now here are the important bits:

"The first, and most major piece of feedback we want to address (while not often specifically articulated) is the MOBA feel of our game. We know we’re lacking in some key areas - few strong hero roles, aberrant roaming deathmatch strategies (“Deathball”), and most importantly, a lot of the core “feeling” that MOBAs give.

The main culprit for most of our commitment issues comes from the way that players move around the map. Travel Mode speeds are such that lane commitments are not meaningful, fight commitments are not as significant as they should be, and lane rotations happen too quickly without consequence. The reality is, while it feels awesome to blaze across Agora at breakneck speeds, the net result is that this kind of movement has had a negative impact on the game’s long-term strategic potential and has caused excessive match length.

To address this issue, we’re going to be moving toward a version of map traversal that does not contain Travel Mode, or any other version of on-demand dynamic player movement that does not stem from specific hero kit or card abilities. When Travel Mode is removed, we’re going to be replacing your ability to zoom around Agora with...the ability to LITERALLY zoom around Agora. "

In other words, no more sprinting in and out of combat like a rabid wombat. If you decide to take a fight, you are going to be stuck in that lane for a short while, thus giving the enemy team an opening to push your towers, your base, or to just pillage your harvesters. This is one of the key elements of Dota 2, and as such I fully welcome this in Paragon as well. Once people adjust, and actual strategies start to form, the metagame will suddenly become a lot more diverse as heroes are useful for more than their PvP damage potential.

These aren't all of the changes though, next up we have the deathball fixes:

"We’ve noticed (as I am sure have you) the rotating bands of 5v5 that have plagued Agora’s gentle forests and disturbed its wildlife. While the movement changes listed above will help to discourage this behavior and give Paragon more of a strategic bent, they aren’t enough to fix a lot of the gameplay incentives that make this desirable in the first place. Unlike the Travel Mode changes detailed above, we’re going to be changing how CP sharing works next week. Lane minions will now give 100% of their CP to the last-hitter, and an additional 100% CP will be divided among all non-last hitters nearby. So, if it is just the two of you, 100/100 split! However, each additional person starts to make the deal worse. 

Groups of three or more players will exist to accomplish a goal: destroy a tower, gank a hero, win a team fight, take a harvester, etc. Once the task is complete, they should fan back out across the map to maximize resource consumption. To address this, we are reducing the number of minions in lane to four and slowing their movement speed throughout the game. This aids in lane control, last hitting, and reduces the chance of getting stuck inside a minion wave.

Combined with the teleport changes coming later, this will help players rotate without feeling like it is going to cost them their tower. Early game, the intention will be to have minions be a little scarier (and deal more damage to aggressive players who make them mad) which should further help mitigate the early game death squads. Using your lane’s position and minion positioning strategically should be an advantage, and these changes should help that be true.

Finally, Jungle kills will now award 100% of the CP to the last hitter, and none to any assisters. The Jungle is intended to be a solo-person operation."

All of this sounds really complicated, but to be perfectly honest, its about as dead simple as it gets. You will still gain benefits when doing things as a team, but its more important now to cover the entire map in order to earn as much experience and card points as possible. Deathballing is going away purely because the team that effectively soaks up experience and gold throughout the map will end up ahead on both experience and card points, even though they might lose a couple of people here and there. Once again, this is how Dota 2 does things, and given that the competitive scene is still booming I'm going to go ahead and say that this is another excellent idea.

The final big change I wanted to address is the one regarding match length, or as Epic describes it:

"A lot of the changes we’re making have had positive impacts on our internal tests, which are good! But they’ve also extended our match times. As part of our plan to address this, and improve player experience, we’re changing how inhibitors work. First, super minion waves will now be a regular wave plus one super minion. This means super minions won’t be quite as punishing as they are now.  Additionally, inhibitors will no longer respawn after a set time. Instead, we’re introducing an “active” inhibitor respawn mechanic for players to get back into the game.

Killing the Guardian and possessing the Orb Prime will now give the Prime Buff to the carrier, who has three options now instead of just one:

Take the Orb to the enemy team’s capture point and give the Orb Prime Buff to their entire team as usual.

New: Hold onto the Orb as the carrier and use its power to help win a team fight, but risk the chance of dropping its power on death.

Coming Soon: Take the Orb to the friendly team’s capture point and respawn all downed inhibitors immediately!"

This is one of those changes that will take a while to properly show its effects, and as such I'm afraid I can't give any witty remarks about it. Though I have to give credit to Epic, the idea of having the Orb Prime resurrect all of your downed inhibitors is an excellent one, and I can see it promoting some last-ditched efforts to win games, rather than the sullen concedes that happen right now.

If you're thinking that all of this text managed to cover everything coming with Paragon's upcoming patch, well, I'm afraid you would be wrong. To read more about all of this I would suggest you head over to the official patch notes for Update .27, but before you do make sure to grab a coffee because you might be stuck in that rabbit hole for a very, very long time. Then again, if you don't feel like reading all of that, here's a short video summary Epic recently posted:

 

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