Paladins: Champions of the Realm (known in-game as Paladins) is a free-to-play multiplayer-focused high-fantasy first-person/third-person shooter developed by Hi-Rez Studios (later by Evil Mojo) and released digitally by Hi-Rez Studios for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Mac on May 8, 2018. It was later released for the Nintendo Switch on June 12, 2018.
A "hero shooter" in the same vein as Blizzard's Overwatch, Paladins combines elements from class-based teamplay shooters (such as Team Fortress 2) with hero-based MOBAs (such as SMITE). The game includes a deck-building system, allowing players to customize the abilities and playstyle of each Champion, and later added complete cross-platform multiplayer and progression support.
The game takes place in a fantasy realm years after a group of magical warriors (known as the Paladins) brought about an era of peace after a cataclysmic event. After the discovery of newfound limitless magic through crystals, two major factions are at war: a powerful order of magic users known as the Magistrate (led by ex-Paladin Karne, who seeks to quell potential chaos by banning all crystal magic from the common population) and the common Resistance (led by ex-Paladin Valera, who believes that crystal magic can be used freely for progress).
The Steam version of the game was originally released as an early access title September 15, 2016, while the XB1 and PS4 versions received an open beta on May 3, 2017. Along with seasonal updates, the game later received two spin-offs: the mobile top-down "hero shooter" Paladins Strike and the survival-shooter Realm Royale.
Paladins is a team focused online first-person shooter. Teams are filled with unique characters with their own abilities, weapons, and traits.
Each Champion has four unique skills associated with their weaponry. The main skills operate on a cool down and can only be used again once that countdown timer reached zero. Each character also has an ultimate skill that can only be used once a meter has reached 100%. This meter fills slowly on its own and by doing damage to enemies. Once the ultimate has been used the meter resets to 0%.
The game was initially released with a roster of 36 playable Champions, each split up into four roles: Front Line, Damage, Support, and Flank. As of the release of VII, this total was increased to 52 Champions.
Excel at using their heavy health and defensive abilities to maintain control of objectives and protect teammates. They gain double Credits for standing near objectives.
- Ash, The War Machine - Wields a slow-firing mid-range Burst Cannon, which fires large projectiles that explode on impact. Can change her attack to a powerful close-range knockback attack using Kinetic Burst, deploy a shield wall that advances forward using Siege Shield, and perform a high-speed shoulder charge using Shoulder Bash. Her Ultimate ability, Assert Dominance, causes her to leap forward and deploy a banner that grants her damage immunity.
- Azaan, The Eternal - Throws Judgment hammers. Added on November 10, 2021.
- Barik, The Master Mechanic - Wields a slow-firing short-range Blunderbuss that fires like a shotgun. Can deploy a shield wall using Barricade, deploy up to two automated sentry turrets using Turret, and perform a guided rocket charge using Rocket Boots. His Ultimate ability, Dome Shield, causes him to deploy a dome-shaped shield wall with a close-ranged turret inside.
- Fernando, The Self-Appointed Knight - Wields a short-range Flame Lance that acts like a flamethrower and must be recharged over time. Can expand his shield to block damage using Shield, fire a high-damage fireball from his lance using Fireball, and perform a high-speed charge using Charge. His Ultimate ability, Immortal, gives him and all nearby allies damage immunity (when below 1500 HP) and immunity to damage-over-time effects.
- Inara, The Stone Warden - Wields a mid-range Stone Spear that launches stone projectiles in a three-round burst. Can enter a defensive state (with improved damage resistance and healing) using Earthen Guard, deploy a stone wall using Impasse, and deploy an obelisk that slows and damages nearby enemies using Warder's Field. Her Ultimate ability, Seismic Crash, causes her to throw her spear, which can over-penetrate shields and stun nearby enemies.
- Khan, Primus of House Aico - Wields a mid-range Heavy Repeater. Can expand his bulwark to block damage using Bulwark, grant himself temporary damage immunity (while healing himself and nearby allies) using Battle Shout, and charge forward (grabbing and throwing the first enemy he impacts) using Commander's Grab. His Ultimate ability, Overpower, allows him to grab, immobilize, and throw an enemy. Added on April 12, 2018.
- Makoa, The Ancient - Wields a slow-firing short-range Cannon. Can pull in a nearby enemy using Dredge Anchor, deploy a shield using Shell Shield, and spin forward in his shell using Shell Spin. His Ultimate Ability, Ancient Rage, allows him to swing his anchor for powerful melee hits and to fully heal himself.
- Raum, Rage of the Abyss - Wields a gatling gun (Hellfire Gatling) that must be spun-up prior to firing. Can gain armor from "soul fragments" received by dealing damage and can automatically spin the gun up using Ignition. Added on November 6, 2019.
- Ruckus, The Worst of Friends - Wields two fast-firing mid-range Miniguns the require a spin-up time prior to firing. Can launch shoulder-mounted missiles using Missile Launcher, create an energy shield around themselves using Emitter, and quickly jet in any direction using Advance. Their Ultimate Ability, Hexa Fire, causes them to use two additional miniguns and two rocket launchers for more firepower. Unlocked from the start.
- Terminus, The Fallen - Wields a melee-focused slow-swinging Massacre Axe. Can fire energy projectiles using Calamity Blast, absorb enemy gunfire into Calamity Blast charges using Power Siphon, and deal a leaping smash attack using Shatterfall. His Ultimate Ability, Reanimate, allows him to return to life with a large powerful explosion.
- Torvald, The Runic Sage - Wields a Gauntlet that fires blasts of energy. Can channel a beam that silences and damages a single enemy using Nullify, project shields on a teammate using Protection, and regenerate Shield Points using Recharge. His Ultimate Ability, Hyper Beam, channel a large beam that deals massive knockback to enemies.
- Yagorath, the Devourer - Can switch between multiple forms using the Form Swap ability, changing her other abilities. Added on February 3, 2021.
Excel at using their weapons and abilities to deal consistent damage to enemy players. They gain double Credits for dealing damage.
- Cassie, The Hunter's Daughter - Wields a Crossbow, which can also be used to blast targets backward (Disengage) or launch an explosive blast (Blast Shot). Unlocked from the start.
- Dredge, Admiral of the Abyss - Wields a Cursed Howitzer that launches mortars that bounce off of surfaces, with a larger mortar launched when reloading. He can also fire bursts of depth charges (Broadside) that hover over the ground before exploding and can launch a Harpoon that overpenetrates and slows enemies. Added on September 27, 2018.
- Drogoz, The Greedy - Wields a Rocket Launcher and can launch a Fire Spit that improves the Rocket Launcher's effectiveness. He can also unleash a rapid-fire barrage of rockets using his Salvo ability.
- Imani, The Last Warder - Wields magical gauntlets that launch elemental projectiles (depending on the current elemental alignment, which is switched between ice and fire using her Elemental Shift ability). While in the ice element, she can throw rapid-fire Frost Bolt shots or a powerful Frost Bomb. While in the fir element, she can throw a charged Pyre Ball shot or launch an Inferno Cannon barrage. Added on January 16, 2019.
- Kinessa, The Bounty Hunter - Wields a fully-automatic carbine (Sniper Rifle) that changes to a long-ranged sniper shot when aiming down her sights (Sniper Mode). She can also throw an Oppressor Mine that continuously damages nearby enemies.
- Lian, Scion of House Aico - Wields a fully-automatic Heirloom Rifle, and can fire two types of charged shots: one with her Valor ability (to hit multiple enemies in front of her) and one with her Presence ability (to fire a long-ranged overpenetrating shot).
- Octavia, The Indomitable - Wields a semi-automatic Marksman Rifle, and can aim down her Designated Sights for increased accuracy (at the cost of movement speed). She can also throw a Distortion Field that hides allies (and disorients enemies) inside. Added on March 31, 2021.
- Saati, The Trickshot - Wields a semi-automatic Hand Cannon and can throw a coin in the air (Ricochet) which, when shot at, deals its damage to the closest enemy. She can also deploy a cardboard cutout decoy (Dead Ringer) that reveals enemies who shoot at it. Added on September 15, 2021.
- Sha Lin, The Desert Wind - Wields a Long Bow that can be charged up for improved damage and range, which can be further buffed using his Crippling Arrow ability (temporarily preventing them from using movement abilities). He can also fire a rapid barrage of fully-charged arrows using Rapid Shot.
- Strix, Ghost Feather - Can switch between his long-ranged Talon Rifle and his semi-automatic Pistol using his Quick Switch ability. He can aim down his Scope while the Talon Rifle is equipped (for increased accuracy) or launch a Flare while the Pistol is equipped (to deal damage and reveal hidden enemies).
- Tiberius, The Weapons Master - Throws Bladed Chakrams that ricochets off of surfaces and a Heavy Blade that overpenetrates enemies (and their shields) and can be recalled as a second reversed strike. He can also buff his attack and movement speed using Combat Trance. Added on January 8, 2020.
- Tyra, The Untamed - Wields a fully-automatic Auto Rifle, and can fire grenades from the gun's underbarreled Nade Launcher. She can also hurl an incendiary Fire Bomb and can mark an enemy in front of her using Hunter's Mark (revealing them and increasing damage dealt to them from her).
- Viktor, The Lone Wolf - Wields a fully-automatic Assault Rifle, and can aim down his Iron Sights for increased accuracy (at the cost of movement speed). He can also throw a cookable Frag Grenade. Unlocked from the start.
- Vivian, The Cunning - Wields a fully-automatic Light Machine Gun that causes her to move slow while firing, and can aim down her Precision Sights for increased accuracy (at the cost of movement speed while not firing). She can also project a Deflector Shield in front of her to block shots and throw out a Sensor Drone to reveal enemies.
- Willo of the Summer Court - Wields a Wand of Overgrowth that fires explosive Fae energy blasts. She can also launch a toxic spore that prevents enemies from being healed (Dead Zone) and can throw an explosive cluster bomb (Seedling).
Excel at healing teammates. They gain double Credits for healing teammates.
- Corvus, The Magistrate's Blade - Wields an automatic machine pistol (Officer's Pistol) and can burst-heal a single ally with Abyssal Reconstruction. Added on April 29, 2020.
- Io, The Shattered Goddess - Wields a Light Bow that can mark enemies for her familiar Luna to attack (when she summons it using Guardian Spirit), and can continuously heal allies with Moonlight (which regenerates when not in use). Added on July 17, 2019.
- Rei, Scholar of House Aico - Wields a Sigil. Added on July 21, 2021.
- Ying, The Blossom - Wields an Illusory Mirror that fires a mid-range continuous beam.
Excel at using their mobility to flank and finish off enemies. They gain double Credits for landing finishing blows.
- Koga, The Lost Hand - Wields twin fast-firing short-ranged Submachine Guns. Released on July 18, 2018.
- Moji and Friends - Uses her two-headed dragon familiar to attack enemies using Familiar Spit and Familiar Spray.
- Vatu, The Shadow - Throws Kunai in groups of three and can throw explosive Shadow Bombs that stick onto targets. Added on May 26, 2021.
- VII, The Right Hand of the Tribunal - Wields a Heavy SMG with three firing modes (swapped using Trigger Discipline): three-round burst, fully-automatic, and a "Mag Dump" mode which unloads the entire magazine at once. Can use his Grappling Hook to grapple onto walls and can drop explosive traps while dodging (Explosive Dodge). Added on January 26, 2022.
- Vora, The Harbinger - Wields a Deadly Scythe that fires projectiles, dealing damage over time while absorbing "Darkness" that heals her over time. She can also perform an invincible jumping slash with Obliteration. Added on October 28, 2020.
- Zhin, The Tyrant - Wields an Inferno Blade that deals both powerful melee damage and short-ranged damage from burning oil.
Game Modes & Maps
The game features three main game modes: Siege, Onslaught, and Team Deathmatch. While any mode can be played in Quickplay and Custom matches, Siege is the only game mode that can be played in Ranked matches.
Players in the PC version can enable a special Quickplay option to play on unfinished "test maps".
A round-based multi-phase objective mode where teams fight to take control of a Payload cart at the center of the battlefield, and then proceed to either escort that Payload uncontested (when successfully taking control of it) or stalling the enemy team's Payload for a certain amount of time (when failing to take control of it). Teams earn points either by taking control of the Payload in the first phase (one point), or by successfully escorting/stalling the Payload in the second phase (one point). Rounds end after the second phase.
First team to reach 4 points wins.
- Ascension Peak
- Fish Market
- Frog Isle (overhauled on March 4, 2020)
- Frozen Guard (overhauled on October 28, 2020)
- Ice Mines
- Jaguar Falls (overhauled on May 26, 2021)
- Serpent Beach
- Splitstone Quarry
- Stone Keep
- Timber Mill
- Warder's Gate (added on December 10, 2018)
- Shattered Desert (added on February 13, 2019)
- Bazaar (added on May 22, 2019)
A king-of-the-hill game mode where teams fight to maintain control of a single Control Point at the center of the battlefield. Teams earn points by killing enemy players (five points each) and by having at least one teammate (and no enemies) on the Point (one point per second).
A special variant, titled King of the Hill, was added to the Onslaught queue on September 11, 2019. The Control Point relocates to a different spot on the battlefield every 90 seconds, and players spawn in random locations throughout the battlefield (in close proximity to their allies).
First team to reach 400 points (or the highest scoring team after the timer expires) wins the match.
- Foreman's Rise
- Magistrate's Archives (made available for KOTH on September 11, 2019, overhauled on April 29, 2020)
- Primal Court
- Marauder's Port (added on September 27, 2018, made available for KOTH on September 11, 2019)
In addition, the Snowfall Junction and Trade District maps from the Team Deathmatch mode were made available for the King of the Hill variant on September 11, 2019.
Basic team deathmatch, where teams earn points for eliminating opponents. Unlike other modes, players spawn at random locations throughout the battlefield (in close proximity to their allies) and can both change their loadouts and purchase Items anytime throughout the match.
First team to reach 40 kills (or the highest scoring team after the timer expires) wins the match.
- Snowfall Junction
- Trade District
- Abyss (added on July 18, 2018)
- Throne (added on July 18, 2018, Custom matches only)
- Dragon Arena (added on November 14, 2018)
In addition, the Foreman's Rise and Magistrate's Archives maps from the Onslaught mode can be played in this mode through Custom matches.