I love Paragon. It wasn’t a game that I instantly fell in love with, but in time I’ve come to appreciate not only what EPIC are trying to achieve, but the nuances of the game that make it so fun. Its latest update, V-27, changed a great deal. As one half of two, the game is going through significant change. Instead of being quick paced, promoting team fighting and constant grouping, its shifting to being much more MOBA focused: distinct periods of laning, no death-balling (or very little) and an emphasis on smaller fights. I’m largely fine with all of this and when the next update arrives, removing the much maligned Travel Mode, things will change ever more.

For a game that’s rapidly approaching its Open Beta, there’s a great deal that needs to be done. The user interface is pretty ugly, there’s still no card crafting system (the existing method of obtaining cards is 99% luck). Hero balance is all over the place and the current approach is to effectively nerf everything into obscurity. There’s also the issue of match lengths being too long for many (though mine are typically 35 minutes) and the disparity between leveling speed, and card experience (CXP is now much slower to obtain). It’s a laundry list that doesn’t include the myriad of bugs that also need squashing.

Once mandatory, Muriel is now a shadow of her former self. 

While there’s no doubt that Epic have a lot to do, they have - along the way - been taking the time to balance the game as best they can. I have to admit, its been a mixed bag and while there has been some good (notably the reduction in ADC damage) some of the other changes have been, questionable.

I will stress that balance in any game is subjective. It’s filled with variables and your own perception of what is and isn’t fair can skew things heavily. I’ll also add that the card system in Paragon - distinctly lacking any ability to remove crowd control - plays some part in its woes. Despite that, I think it’s fair to say that at the moment Epic seem to be adopting an approach of “Neuter that, fix it later.” Effectively, anything that the community deems to be far too strong they’re nerfing into the ground with the hope (or we hope) that they fix it later.

A latest example of their “balancing” is Muriel, one of only two support Heroes and one which, until recently, was almost mandatory. Her shielding, healing, slow and knockup (thanks to her Ultimate) were so formidable they she could carry even the worst teams kicking and screaming to the finish line. Her impact on the game was incredibly negative, such was the strength of her shielding and global presence. While few questioned the need to tone her down, as has become customary Epic approached the Hero with a sledgehammer.

Passive - Restoration

  • This ability has been removed.


  • Shield value adjusted from 180 / 410 / 640 to 60 / 110 / 160 / 210.

Consecrated Ground

  • Shield value adjusted from 120 / 210 / 300 / 390 / 480 to 100 / 175 / 250 / 325.
  • Increased cast range from 1000 to 1750.

Reversal of Fortune

  • Shield value reduced from 700 / 900 / 1100 to 350 / 600 / 850.
  • Now only applies soft cooldown if the ability is cancelled by a hostile action. Choosing to cancel the ability still triggers no cooldown.

Her Passive, like all other Heroes, was removed. This immediately reduced the potency of her sustaining others as they’d no longer receive healing over time. In addition, all her shielding suffered huge reductions in its power. Alacrity, a single target shield, saw its values when fully upgraded reduced from 640 to 210: a 67% decrease in its output.

Consecrated Ground, her AOE shield capable of protecting multiple allies, also suffered reductions (32%). Her Ultimate ability Reversal of Fortune, which is a global point of impact skill that allows Muriel to fly to the aid of an ally, had already had its AOE shielding on arrival removed (“Removed AOE Shield that was being added to surrounding teammates after she landed”). It suffered further reductions here (22%).

Perhaps on paper these changes don’t seem to drastic and yet Muriel has instantly gone from a must-have, to one rarely played. The impact on her has been so drastic that her shielding is effectively useless or at best, mitigates as little as one attack. Some might argue that no support Hero should be able to carry a team so hard, or that shielding should never mitigate dozens of attacks and they’d be right. However, when Muriel’s damage is so pitiful and her only other utility being a single target slow, she now brings very little. Reducing all her shielding to such a degree was simply a lazy way of approaching the problem.

Muriel’s shield values were undeniably too high, but a big part of the problem was that as a support Hero many easily reached the 40% cooldown reduction from cards. This effectively made a shield with an intended cooldown of 15 seconds, 9. Her Ultimate - without doubt a game-changer - from 130 to 48 seconds. For every team fight she was never without an abundance of healing and shielding. What she’s now left with is an ability to still lower her cooldowns, but only able to distribute poor shields. Instead and the approach Epic should have taken is to increase the base cooldowns on all her skills, and to shave the value of her shielding.

Were Alacrity to increase to a shield every 18 seconds instead of every 15, and have its values tweaked from 640 to 400, she’d be in a much better position: still useful, capable of mitigating some damage and yet needing to ensure she didn’t waste her cooldowns. But considering an ADC at level 15 can comfortably deal 300-400 damage per shot, every 0.5 seconds (or there abouts) to suggest 210 shielding every 9 seconds is reasonable is ridiculous.

To make matters worse, Dekker (a control support Hero), who was already strong, had her kit improved. Not only was her stun cooldown reduced, but her Ultimate (already valuable for trapping enemies inside a set location) was sexed up to the point where it’s now obscenely good. Not only are enemies contained, but those inside who touch the wall are knocked back and take damage: those outside are sucked in. Worse still, allies can now freely walk inside to attack those trapped. Containment Fence has gone from being a skill that relied on positioning and targeted strikes against one or two players, to one that with little thought or skill can comfortably wipe the opposing team. With only an extra 20 seconds added to its cooldown, it’s bizarre to think Muriel’s is 10 seconds longer and now far much worse.

Dekker was already amazing. She's now ridiculous. 

At the complete opposite ends of Muriel’s treatment, Containment Fence simply needed an ability for allies to be able to walk in and out of the wall. Everything else is, as far as I’m concerned, complete overkill and when combined with the rest of her kit (a 2.2 second stun and an punishingly enormous AOE slow) she’s first pick, first ban material.

Unfortunately for Epic the list of balance faux pas continues to grow. Critical hits are now effectively useless (stacking just damage and attack speed is better); Rampage having his kit severely neutered (this was an issue of towers dealing too little damage and his Ultimate not providing a proportional return of health) and Kallari going from an assassin that required great skill, to one that’s entirely generic, was a massively missed opportunity.

In Epic Games’ defence, I suspect much of their approach to balancing right now is to simply appease the playerbase. To reduce the issues gamers are facing every day and then review them later down the line. That’s probably sensible, but such an approach is also leaving Heroes and mechanics on the cutting room floor. I’m a firm believer in incremental changes when balancing Heroes rather than swinging the axe. So while the “balance” of Paragon is reasonably good right now, we’re lurching from one issue (ADC’s) to the next (Muriel) to the next (Dekker).

Here’s hoping the latest blog post detailing future balance emphasis will shine line on Epic’s approach and what we can expect in the next few months.

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Last Updated: Jun 29, 2016

About The Author

Lewis is a long standing journalist, who freelances to a variety of outlets.