Epic Games, the folks behind Unreal Engine, have been talking about the problems with their free-to-play third-person MOBA Paragon since June. Yesterday they unveiled the Monolith Update, which promises to redress those problems via a new, smaller map and other major changes. The update goes live on December 6.
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“The Monolith Update represents the culmination of the past year of learnings, testings, playings, feedbackings, and talkings,” says systems designer Cameron Winston in a blog post.
The emphasis is on creating faster, “more visceral” gameplay while retaining “all of the meta game and strategy of a competitive MOBA”.
The biggest change is a redesigned, newly asymmetrical and much smaller map (roughly 30% smaller). This is coupled with faster Hero movement, ability use, and attack execution speeds across the board, to create a much faster overall pace with more frequent encounters and, thus, more frequent deaths.
Cooldown reduction is no longer a stat that appears as a bonus on cards, and it can't be slotted into cards via upgrades - in fact, it has been all but removed, as Epic have dramatically reduced most of the cooldowns in the game. Abilities are now balanced via mana - "some abilities with faster cooldowns will now be gated more by mana usage than time." You can thus choose how to approach your own ability usage - buy mana for more activations, or spend your points on fewer, more effective activations.
In line with the scale of all these changes, every single hero in the game has been rebalanced toward faster move speeds and kill times. Ranges for most abilities have been reduced, while activation animations have been sped up.