April 26, 2018—a day of mourning for all who were fans of the cult-hit MOBA action game, Paragon. It was the day that all the servers of Paragon have shut down for good. Within just a short span of 2 years, we bid farewell to one of gaming’s oddest stories ever told. Epic Games have stated that “We are now focusing all our efforts on Fortnite.” If you have not heard of Paragon, it was a sort of experimental MOBA game made by Epic Games—the same developer that made smash hits such as Unreal Tournament, Gears of War and Bulletstorm. Allow me to elaborate from its humble beginnings to its surprising demise.
In 2016, Epic Games was seeking out a new innovation in multiplayer gaming as they always have in Unreal Tournament and Gears of War. Epic Games used to be the forefront of pioneering new systems based on already-made concepts, such as amping up the carnage from Quake into a more refined yet crazy gabfest that is Unreal, the addition of a one-tap cover system as well as doing Executions in the most gruesome ways in Gears of War and finally, making a MOBA game that is definitely one of a kind.
Paragon isn’t just your usual MOBA game—it’s a 3rd-person action MOBA game that felt like a mix of everything sophisticatedly violent and aesthetically pleasing that everyone has known and love about Epic Games. It had shooting mechanics. It had fun melee battles. It had a card system that felt more like just perks rather than pay-to-win items. It had the best graphics in any MOBA game (due to the gorgeous Unreal Engine 4). In short, Paragon was definitely an underrated game. Nonetheless, Paragon had 2 million overall players with 30,000 active users. It was released on consoles and on PC. It was, technically, the most accessible MOBA game on console.
Yet despite the seamless combat, the fun card system and the intriguing characters, Epic Games just could get a hold of what true identity Paragon was supposed to be. During its life cycle, it had 3 changes within its metamorphosis of updates:
The first being its early access patch, established in early 2016, in which majority of the players did not appreciate—it was slow, matches were long and combat took some time to happen in any match.
The second, the Monolith update, which was released on December 2016, felt more like Paragon 2.0 as everything from the ground up was different: maps became smaller, damages were higher, matches were faster and every hero had to be reworked. A lot have considered this a much better version, however, its card system was broken at times—that the randomness of collecting cards have resulted in unfair advantages against other players. But despite that imbalance, this was the period when Paragon started to grow. New heroes were added, however they felt more like just reskins of older heroes in which the latter becomes useless to the majority of the players.
The third and final one, the New Dawn update, released in mid-2017, was the much-needed patch over the progression system as well as balancing for the cards. Yet, this felt even more different than how it used to be back in the Monolith update as well as the Early Access update. It’s like Epic Games could not decide on what to do with the game.
This has resulted in a community that was not loyal to the game. Why bother investing all your time and effort if the next update is going to change what you already love in Paragon, right? This was the main crisis of the game—that Epic Games really could not figure out how to make this into a proper game that a lot of players would grow and love as well as sharing it to the rest of the world. Earlier this 2018, Epic Games admitted that Paragon was not a game they hoped it would become but have promised to make it much better this year. However, in that same month of January, they also announced its shutdown in April.
The announcement overwhelmed everyone who loved Paragon and felt betrayed by the company they thought would give at least one bit of care for their own product. It was a shame to see it go as the unpopular opinion always claim that Paragon should be played at least once by MOBA fans due to its special gameplay and unique feel.
But where did all the effort go? To Fortnite, of course. They ate up their own product in order to improve another. Quite odd, really. Ever since its change of plans from a horde mode survival zombie game to riding on and capitalize on the successful trend of battle royale, it was like Epic Games have forgotten about everything else.
Now that Paragon is Paradone, what is the future of Epic Games? They stopped their updates on Unreal Tournament too. They haven’t continued with the rumored Bulletstorm 2 or an upcoming Gears of War. Admittedly, Epic Games have put all their eggs in one basket—and that basket being Fortnite.
If the battle royale trend finally fades away and all their sacrifices of ignoring their other games in favor of Fortnite but the player activity finally dwindles, they should really put this question in their minds, “Now what?”