A beginner tutorial for Epic Game's Paragon

Starting up a new MOBA can be a fairly daunting task, especially in the case of Paragon which is currently in beta, and as such suffers from a poor tutorial and lack of in-game explanations.

But never fear as I've made a short guide that will get you up to speed on all the mechanics and key elements of Paragon, with a focus on improving the strategy behind your plays rather than simply showing facts down your throat.


The humble consumables

The early game in Paragon is all about maximizing the rate at which you gain both experience and and card points, which means you need to stick around in your lane for as long as possible without retreating to heal and losing precious income. This is where the consumables come in. While you're still learning I'd recommend starting every single match with a Healing Potion, a Mana Potion and a Harvester's Key (more on this later).

You can chug each potion three times before needing to refill it back at your base, so when it comes to sustainability while laning, and pure value for your money, nothing beats the humble consumables. Its also worth keeping in mind that unlike Dota 2, the potions in Paragon work while you're being attacked, so even if you're being chased by a murderous horde of maniacs its well worth reaching in to your pockets and taking a sip, it might just give you the few seconds you need.

Farmin' up some golden orbs

With your potions safely strapped to your pack you will want to head to a lane. The usual distribution is that the most mobile and gank orientated character goes middle while the rest fill out the side lanes in pairs of two. Your main goals within the first ~10 minutes are to survive for as long as possible, stay relatively close to enemy minions so that you can gain experience, and perform killing blows on enemy units in order to secure golden orbs which transform in to card points.

Unlike other MOBA games, if minions in Paragon kill other minions the gold won't simply vanish into the ether, a portion of it will drop to the floor. You will have to personally pick up these golden balls if you want to see any of the bounty, but don't expect the enemy players to simply let you do so without force-feeding you a few meteors in the process. A much better way of acquiring golden orbs, and by proxy card points, is to ensure that your blow is the one that kills the enemy as this will not only vacuum all of the golden orbs to you, it will also give you a significant bonus.

Last hitting in Paragon isn't easy, however, as the friendly creeps are fairly unpredictable when it comes to their damage, so practice will be required before you become competent at it, and you will want to do so given how important items are in MOBA games, and that includes Paragon.

Paragon last hitting is all about timing and control

Last hitting is all about timing, and swinging with your hips

You have a lot less health than you think

After watching all of those cinematics showcasing heroes flying around, throwing meteors and shrugging off bullets you might start to think that the characters in Paragon start out as almighty demigods. The reality of the situation is that you will get your ass handed down to you by even the simplest of enemy minions early on, and especially towers, so make sure not to overextend.

Being proactive and attacking the enemy throughout the laning phase is an excellent idea, but beware as each hit you land on the enemy will shift minion focus squarely on you, which can result in your opponent ending up with the better side of the deal despite never even firing a shot. There is no trick to this, I'm afraid, you will simply have to learn from experience when its safe to shoot, when to go aggressive and when to start pulling back because the balance is tipping in the opponent's favor.

Golden harvest

Besides butchering everything you come across, there is one more way of gathering golden orbs, Harvesters. They are drill-shaped thingies that need to be constructed before they will begin gathering resources for you. In order to build a Harvester you simply need to stand on the clearly marked circles all over the map and wait for what feels like an eternity, especially when you see enemies slowly encroach upon you.

If patience isn't your favorite virtue you can buy a Harvester Key which significantly speeds up the built time, with the one downside being the fact that they key will only work once before needing to be recharged. After the Harvester finally emerges from the ground and pokes the statue above it will begin periodically generating resources for your entire team, though you will need to pick them up from the Harvester every once in a while.

The Harvesters are in many ways a pot of infinite gold, and as such they will draw a lot of unwanted attention from your opponents who would love nothing more than to bring them down and deny you its treasure. In other words, if you want a steady stream of card points and experience to pour in, make sure you're prepared to both defend and empty the Harvesters regularly.

Paragon Harvesters are invaluable assets to a team

Once you set them up don't forget to actually come back and gather the resources

Orbs, now in multiple colors

If you thought that after collecting all those golden orbs in your lane you would be through with them, well, think again because there is an entire jungle filled with colorful bundles of joy for you to collect. These are special, however, as they don't simply offer you card points, but rather some insane buffs that last for 2.5 minutes. The Orbs come in four flavors:

Blue Orbs - The jungle camps with blue balls can be found on the left side of the map, and if you beat down their guardians you will gain increased mana regeneration and a 20% cooldown reduction.

Red Orbs - These camps are located on the right side of the map, and once conquered offer you a small movement speed buff as well as 25% increased damage.

Black Orb - This one spawns in either the center left, or center right side of the map (its seemingly random) and gives you the ability to apply a burning effect to enemy towers and buildings which does significant amounts of damage. If you see an enemy barreling towards your towers with this buff in tow, make sure to stop them and steal it for yourself or you might soon run out of towers to hide behind.

Pink Orb - The final and most important orb is located in the center opposite to the Black Orb's location. You will need multiple people to take down its guardian, but the reward is well worth it. However, unlike the other three orbs, the pink one gives you no benefits until you bring it to a specific location deep within enemy territory, which means that even after going through all of the effort to kill its guardian, you might lose the orb if you're careless. If successful your will gain amazing benefits which for the starter deck usually means extra damage, health and further increased damage against buildings.

Paragon - using red and blue orbs

Ballin' out of control with both blue & red orbs

Gearing up

As the laning phase slowly comes to an end, and your coffers swell with all the golden orbs you've collected, its prime time to turn those card points in to something a bit more valuable, cards themselves. In order to return to your base you can simply press 'B' which will begin a ~5 second long channeling process that send you back, just be careful where you do this as you can be interrupted.

Once you're in base you can enter the shop inventory by pressing 'G' after which you will be presented with ~4 items to chose from. If you're a beginner I would recommend aiming for items that increase health and damage, as going for glass cannon or pushing builds involves requires a good presence of mind and read on enemy movements to be useful. Once you pick an item of your choice you will be able to place upgrade cards in to it which will further increase its power.

Since items give additional benefits when they have a full set of cards in them I recommend you aim to do exactly that, but don't just waste your card points buying cheap and garbage upgrades simply to fill out the slots. Its a valid strategy, and quite useful, but it requires good game knowledge in order to know when exactly its appropriate, so for now I'd recommend sticking with the medium and large upgrades.

As a final note about items, do not under any circumstance test out what the 'Discard' button does. I tried it out myself, and it completely removes those cards from the match, thus severely limiting the amount of choices available to you that game.

Defend from on high

When defending towers, or even your core, you have a significant advantage over your enemies as there is plenty of high ground to set up on. This means you can rain down death from above, jump in to the middle of the pushing team without them being able to stop you, and most importantly, shoot enemy minions without them being able to do a whole lot in return.

You're not invincible, however, so don't overstay your welcome if it seems obvious that the tower will fall. Its better to just lose one tower than to lose it and a couple of people which then transitions in to further destruction.

In Paragon the defenders are favored

Being up high gives you a nice view as well as a tactical advantage

Seize the advantage, and push

One of the biggest mistakes I see new MOBA players make is simply dispersing to farm after winning a big team fight, when in reality they should tear through the enemy base unimpeded. If you destroy an enemy inhibitor that lane will begin spawning extremely strong minions for your side, minions that if left unchecked will quickly push the lane equilibrium all across the map in your favor. So if you team wipe the enemy, don't go back even if you're on low health, aim for those inhibitors and bring down as many as you can because one destroyed inhibitor is a nuisance, two are almost a death sentence.

Never give up

People are a fickle bunch, and if presented with a massive challenge to overcome many will simply give up, even though the match is far from over. While you can't, and won't win every single match, its important to keep fighting until the very end because one good team fight, or lucky mistake from the enemy, and you're suddenly smashing down their core giggling like a madman.

If you find yourself in a situation where all seems lost, and your team uninspired, convince them to go for one final, desperate attempt where you storm out of your base and try to catch the enemy off guard. 9/10 it will end as expected, but that 1/10 will be the game you will remember for many months to come.

Paragon is a moba game and you should never give up on victory

Every loss is one good ultimate away from a victory

And there you have it, all of the things I believe new players in Paragon should be aware of before starting their very first match. However, no matter how much knowledge you have, it won't ever replace experience, so even if you fail your first few matches make sure to continue playing, it will only get easier and more enjoyable as you go. Just don't forget to actually have fun along the way!

If you're still undecided on whether Paragon is worth your time or not, I welcome you to check out my proper, long review that goes over Paragon's various features and issues in great detail.