Paragon: the next-gen MOBA's comparative analysis with Dota 2

Paragon finally moves into early access. Let's see if this new MOBA can go as far as set a new standard for the entire genre.

On March 18, 2016 the long-awaited MOBA from Epic Games titled Paragon went into the early access. The community had already declared it to be the first major competitor of DotA 2 on the eSports scene. Let’s try to find out if this statement can be justified by comparing the two games.

Paragon is a third-person MOBA that involves two teams, where each team has five unique players fighting against each other in the arena. The main goal of every match-up is to destroy the enemy’s core on the opposite side of the map. Players can use special items, which serve as modifiers that enhance their character’s performance in the match.

The premise is as simple as that, but can Paragon actually gain more community points than the famed DotA 2?


If you check any other online article written about Paragon, you will notice that almost everyone gives this game a “next-gen” title, which is actually a very accurate description. The graphics in Paragon are indeed mind-blowing.

Every other MOBA enthusiast will notice that this is the next step in the graphics department for the genre as a whole. The graphics in DotA 2 are nice, of course, but they are nowhere near the level of what you can see in Paragon already.

By the way, Paragon was developed using the latest version of Unreal Engine 4, which is a highly technological graphics engine.

Character progression

Paragon collectible cards

The level-up system of each character in Paragon has a new distinct feature – the cards. It is really unusual to see this sort of mechanic in such a high-octane game.

Every time you want to upgrade your character you need to purchase special cards that add certain features to your abilities. These cards can be purchased for an in-game currency called Amber. You can earn Amber by killing the members of the opposite team and gather the currency after their death.

These cards can be stacked in decks that have six slots – one for every card. This card collecting process adds a whole new dimension to what is typically known as grinding in other MOBA titles. Those who enjoy this type of activity will be especially engaged in gathering the best cards possible.

Game Mechanics

Paragon waves of minions

It’s important to understand that Paragon is not really a shooter with elements of MOBA – the conclusion most journalists came to. On the contrary, Paragon is a full-fledged MOBA that brings new layers to the genre.

Let’s see what features constitute a MOBA game:

  • the battles happen within one map/arena
  • all the maps have three lanes, inhibitors, creep waves and two fountains

In this regard Paragon, having every feature mentioned, is more similar to SMITE than to DotA 2, but SMITE doesn’t really have three distinct lanes on its maps, which sort of makes it stand out from the rest.

Paragon is more similar to SMITE than to DotA 2.

Even the developers admit that it is not your typical shooter, as the shooting range in Paragon is limited. This means that you can activate your weapons only when you're a certain distance from your enemies.

Another important feature is the third-person view, which significantly changes the feeling of the gameplay. In DotA 2 or any other MOBA for that matter you can see the approaching enemies from all four directions due to the isometric view angle. But in Paragon, if you want to see what’s behind, you will have to turn your hero’s viewpoint.

The same goes for SMITE, which also utilizes the third-person perspective. However, the isometric view has become a standard for MOBAs, especially when it comes to eSports, and that’s why this can be one of the reasons that Paragon might not be well-accepted by the veterans of the genre.

The Scale

paragon main arena map Agora

Paragon will blow your mind with the amount, the size and the design of the constructions available on the maps. Which other MOBA can give you such mesmerizing epic views as Agora (the main arena map in Paragon)? Again, this is possible only due to the Unreal Engine 4.

Huge towers that protect cores, minions, the natural formations – all this looks absolutely gorgeous. Also, the three-dimensional world allows for some excellent tactical exercises, such as attacking from above or below.


Paragon map with core and towers

Of course, the incredible graphics give Paragon a huge advantage, but let’s not forget that a vast majority of MOBA players simply don’t own high-end PCs that will be able to process all the details generated by Unreal Engine 4.

The game is also available for PlayStation 4, so this partially solves the problem with hardware requirements. However, consoles will never be able to give the same level of detail and precision as PCs.

In this regard DotA 2 is in a much better position. It’s been optimized almost perfectly for even the low-end PCs, so almost everyone can afford playing the game in their spare time. On top of that, DotA 2 is free and already has a multi-million group of dedicated followers.


Paragon is undoubtedly a very dynamic action-oriented game that requires players to make a lot of quick decisions. However, certain elements during battle don’t correspond to the overall fast-paced concept of the game, such as the speed of distant attacks, which isn’t really that fast.

Paragon has only a few minor disadvantages that can easily be overlooked by the players. Right now it is very hard to say if it can withstand the competition of DotA 2. The developers from Epic Games need to consider and fix all the above-mentioned problems with optimization and game dynamics, if they want to see their game become really successful.

Have you had the chance to play Paragon? Share your experiences in the comments section below.


Sergey has been a freelancer in the video games industry for more than five years, writing for various publications around the world. His favorite games are MtG, Dark Souls, Diablo, and Divinity: Original Sin.

Published Mar. 26th 2016

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