Guide: Getting Started With Paladins

Hi! So, this post was actually a project I was assigned for work. The coolest assignment I've ever gotten while on this job for over seven years now. Do note: I do not work directly within the Hi-Rez company. 

Below is one of a couple guides I was asked to write for my team. I had fun writing it and I also really enjoy the game so I wanted to share it here as well.

Paladins is a free-to-play hybrid of a first-person shooter and MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena). In recent years, “MOBA” refers to games like League of Legends and DOTA. Originally, MOBA referred to games like Unreal Tournament and Quake.

To get started, there are six permanently free Champions you can play as: Cassie, Jenos, Lex, Ruckus, Seris and Viktor and four other free Champions that will rotate and change. Every Wednesday at 4AM ET two Champions will be changed that remain in free rotation for two weeks. Flank and Support or Front Line and Damage are always exchanged alternately.

It’s not always easy to pick a character when first getting started when there are so many to choose from. So, pick one that you think might suit your playstyle to start with. As always in games like this, it is a really good idea to try every hero out eventually. Not only does this help you find new characters you enjoy that you thought you wouldn’t, but it also gives you a better idea on how to face these characters when you go against them.

The other Champions are unlockable for free with in-game currency that is earned while playing the game. They can also be unlocked early with real money purchases. The newest added Champions always tend to be the most “overpowered” but that doesn’t mean many of the older characters aren’t just as powerful. In any game like this, some characters will always feel more powerful than others and this also depends on the player playing them as well as team composition.

The class types:

Damage: there are two types of damage dealers but this specific role tends to be a little more in-your-face in comparison to the Flank role.

Flank: this role tends to be more deadly when engaging enemy players from behind especially since by default they have the lowest amount of health.

Front Line (tank): this is the role with the most health and the player behind this role will always want and need to try to plant themselves in front of their teammates while sticking to the objective. (Easier said than done.)

Support: this is the healer role but as you can see it is labeled as Support and that is for good reason. Depending on the Champion, this healer type won’t always solely focus on healing due to the types of abilities they use.

There are three game modes: Team Deathmatch, Onslaught, and Siege. Siege is the main mode of Paladins as it is also the only mode played in Ranked matches. 

Onslaught is basically Team Deathmatch but also with a capture point to control. Siege has two main objectives with one team on the attack while the other is on the defensive. 

The first objective in Siege is a control point to capture/defend. Once and if the first point is captured, the attack team’s objective is then to escort a vehicle to the final point to win. The attack team needs to be in the vicinity of the vehicle for it to move forward. The defending team can very slowly push it back in the same manner, no further back than its original spawn point. This is round based and each team will take turns attacking and defending.

Typically each team will want at least and at most one Front Line and one Support player. Of course some teams may end up with two or even more. Friends teamed up together also figure out fun ways to play with all tanks or all healers. 

The main point of Paladins is teamwork. Even with these roles in place, nobody is meant to go about solo. A tank won’t be much good on the front line of the objective if they’re alone. The main goal is to stick to the objective and work together. 

A lot of players seem to confuse flanking with “go solo.” This is not the case. Oftentimes, once a player gets comfortable with their favorite hero or heroes, they go off alone because they know they can handle themselves. Try to remember to focus on the objective if you want to win. Cover each other and the goal.

While there are the four types of specialties, each character is unique. Different tanks offer completely different playstyles than other tanks. There’s always room to learn as well as change how you play. The hardest part about learning each Champion is that once you select a character for a match you are unable to switch to another during it. 

Loadouts: my suggestion is after you’ve browsed through your playable characters to view their abilities (and lore if wanted) to figure out which one you want to play, set up a loadout for yourself. The default loadout or loadouts are usually fairly balanced out, but because they’re fairly balanced they may not suit your playstyle at all. Loadouts are character specific. Below is an example of one of my favorite character's loadouts, Ying.

Even though you haven’t played the character enough yet to fully understand each loadout option, you can still get a very general idea of what the cards offer and what you think would be best to start with that fits your personal playstyle. Once you’ve gotten used to how the champion and game plays, go back into your loadout and readjust.

The loadout consists of five cards out of sixteen total available. Once you select your preferred cards, you have ten points to distribute between them. They start at level one with the lowest effect of that card, and max at five for the best effect. You’ll learn to balance as you go. Starting with five points in two favored cards can be a good start.

Mid-match Upgrades:

During a match you will earn currency to unlock general upgrades when you return to your home spawn point by either running back or being eliminated. All players have access to the same exact upgrades as they are general and not character specific. You also will have starter money to pick your first upgrade when starting the match

You may come across players that will insist the upgrades you selected are stupid and useless. They may be “right,” but you should always select upgrades based on your own playstyle and what sounds good to you. You will always adjust your upgrades as you learn to play, the different characters you play as, and the situation of your group comp. There are so many different reasons to use different upgrades but of course there will always be favorites and ones that best suit your playstyle.

Suggestion for upgrades starting out: first, start with Kill To Heal (heals you when you get eliminations or assists), Wrecker (a lot of players may say this is bad but it’s excellent versus tanks and even damage dealers that have shields), Chronos for quicker cooldown timers or Morale Boost for a faster Ultimate charge, and lastly Haven for taking less damage. These are starter suggestions, always pick what you feel would fit your own playstyle more. If something sounds much better to you, go with it. These will also be different depending on the role or Champion that you play as.

Duplicate Champions are not playable. Each team can only have one of the specific Champions on it. In non-ranked modes players will often rush to pick their favorite character before someone else does. As a starting player without all characters unlocked, this will be a tad bit more difficult for you to get used to your early favorite. That’s okay, though. The more you’re forced to play other characters, the better you will get. It can and will be awkward and probably even frustrating, but as long as you enjoy the game it’s totally worth it.

Ranked Siege:

You shouldn’t really enter Ranked mode until you’ve reached a minimum level of six on your favorite character. And even then, you should probably wait until level ten as well as having multiple characters and specializations at level six. But do jump in as soon as you feel comfortable enough to give it a try.

You enter Ranked mode by visiting the Play - Quick Play option and then using the top menu to switch tabs to ranked mode. The menu can be a bit much but that’s because there is so much going on in the game.

The main difference between Ranked mode and non-ranked mode is that each team will take turns banning two characters from being playable for a total of four banned characters. New players to ranked who end up with this choice will usually have a hard time knowing the “correct” characters to ban. You can either ask your team in chat or just not care at all and pick randomly which can make teammates mad. There are many factors that go into banning characters including your own team that doesn’t want you to ban a character they plan to play as.

After the banning selection, each player will then take turns picking who they want to play as. In non-ranked mode, all players can choose their character immediately. This is where Ranked mode can be very tricky with pick-up groups because the last player is usually the most unlucky. Unless you’re with a team who is deciding who to play as together, or what best fits them as a team composition, random groups will tend to be very imbalanced as well as you ending up playing a character you don’t enjoy or want to play as. That shouldn’t stop you from playing Ranked with random players, just be prepared for this.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy and game on.