Players of Paladins, Hi-Rez Studios’ free hero shooter, are expressing their anger on Reddit and elsewhere over a recent change in the game that is widely seen as a blatant shift to a “pay-to-win” system. The complaints are rooted in a new in-game currency called Essence, introduced in Open Beta Patch 44 which rolled out last week.
In the previous system, gold did the trick, so players keen on doing a bit of grinding could advance at a reasonable pace without having to spend any money.
The problem, as Ten Ton Hammer breaks down, is that the gear is completely out of balance. The cost to do anything meaningful with Essence is extremely high, exacerbated by a new “rarity” rating for loadout cards. The amount of Fuel allocated for a duplicate community card? 60.
The new system is especially difficult for new players, as veterans will keep the cards they acquired under the old system, while newbies will have to start with nothing.
Ironically, an article on Blizzard’s Overwatch forums provided one of the most concise explanations of the central problem: In this system, players are going to have to spend a ton if they are to move forward.
“The previous system was a winner, you could pick any card you wanted, for 1200 gold, and it didn’t take long to grind so much while playing, usually 3-4 matches, not counting the daily win bonuses. etc. They can’t even spend money. ‘real money to even the game up. because all they can do with real money is buy chests (so they still suffer from RNG) or buy boosters, which has the same problem. It’s not even a P2W system, because spending the money won’t get you a fortune. “
So it’s not about paying to win in the strict sense of the word – you can’t directly buy the powerful Legendary Cards you want – but players will likely have to put in a lot of money just to have a chance of getting them.
Yououtuber Joshino spent a few minutes at the start of this stream showing how quickly even veteran players with over 100,000 Essence can burn resources creating Legendary Cards, and explains why the system will be particularly punishing for new players.
Most complaints on Reddit call for a rollback to the previous system, although at least one claims the new system could work by dramatically increasing the rate of Essence rewards, lowering the cost of legendary cards, and removing the rarity system. entirely. So far, Hi-Rez hasn’t indicated which direction he’s going, or whether he’ll just stay the course, and that hasn’t made players happier. I have emailed Hi-Rez to learn more about the situation and will update it if and when I get a response.