Paragon The Overprime PlayStation 5 CBT preview and developer interview (Exclusive)
During the Paragon The Overprime PS5 beta test, I had the privilege of talking to Yong-Hoon Choi, Executive Producer of the upcoming game. We spoke about the game at length, from his introduction to MOBAs and the reception this upcoming MOBA title has had so far.
The original Paragon was a fun game, but it met with a sad fate. Epic Games did not listen to the fanbase and instead just added stuff that frustrated players more and more. Ultimately, it did not attract a solid playerbase and closed down. Quite a few other developers are making their own Paragon-likes now that the assets are available for people to use.
But how is Paragon The Overprime? This is Netmarble’s work, which admittedly interested me as I started playing it. During the mid 2010s, I did a fair amount of coverage on the original game, and while it felt like a slower version of SMITE, I did enjoy playing it with friends. I’ve played some of Netmarble’s version over the past couple of weeks, and here’s what I think.
Paragon The Overprime PS5 beta test preview
Paragon The Overprime is a third-person MOBA in the same vein as games like SMITE and the original Paragon. As a third-person game, this style of MOBA feels like it values skill shots more than something like League of Legends. It’s more action-focused and has a solid roster of characters. In the 2010s, I was obsessed with MOBAs, but I just don’t have the drive to master them like I used to.
If you’ve played one MOBA, though, you’ve pretty much played them all. There are three lanes, and two teams of five battle it out to ultimately destroy the opposing base. Instead of three towers per lane, there are only really two in this game: One in the lane itself and one guarding the enemy's core. The goal is still to defeat the other team in battle, push your minions through to towers, and destroy the enemy base.
During my testing period, there were 36 characters available, and I heard all the previous Paragon characters would make their way into Paragon The Overprime.
The gameplay is solid, though. As someone who has played virtually every major MOBA, past and present, I knew exactly what I was getting into. You level up skills, unlock an ultimate, buy items, and push lanes.
However, I did appreciate that all players start with wards they can use - you don’t have to buy them, they’re on cooldown. Whether they use them or not is a whole different matter, but there’s no complaining that a player “can’t afford” wards in Paragon The Overprime.
Another issue with the game is that there didn’t appear to be any way to deal with someone disconnecting or simply staying at base the entire game. I had at least one match that drug out into 30-40 minutes for this reason. We had more kills than the other team but could not push them.
The other team eventually won when they had full builds and could overpower my side, and it frankly just felt like a waste of time. If there was an early surrender or anything of that nature, it wasn’t easily found in the game’s UI during the match.
Paragon The Overprime is faster than its predecessor
I will say that Paragon The Overprime does one thing the previous version of this game did not do: It moves at a good pace. My biggest complaint about its predecessor is that it was abysmally slow.
I often called it “Slow Smite”. Nothing about the game felt fun because it took such a long time to get anywhere. However, Paragon The Overprime features a dash mode, where, after a small delay, you begin to move faster.
It comes with a cost, though - if an enemy hits you during this dash, you are immediately rooted. As a ranged character, that’s not too hard to do. It forces you to balance if it’s worth getting away a bit faster or if you think you’ll just get caught. Other than that, it certainly moves faster than the original Paragon, that’s for sure.
Paragon The Overprime’s auto-shopping feels mediocre
On the PS5 version of Paragon The Overprime, you can hit one of several macros (directional arrow+button) to auto-purchase items that are relevant to your character. I like this in theory, but it didn’t seem to feel very good in practice.
Every time I went back to base, it felt like I was buying the same item over and over. I didn’t really feel much in the way of growth as a support character. However, it’s clear that the items work since there were quite a few moments in a match where the enemy ADC two or three-shot me.
The items aren’t bad in the game, but I do feel like the auto-item purchasing could be improved at some level in Paragon The Overprime.
It looks like the same old Paragon, but that's not a bad thing
While visually, I like the designs of Paragon The Overprime, it still makes me think a great deal of the original game. That’s not necessarily bad: The visuals are sharp, and I love the sci-fi look of many of the characters you can play in the game.
The sound effects are decent, and I don’t dislike listening to the game. There’s no music in the game, and I don’t think that takes away from anything - I typically lower the music volume in MOBAs anyway. It is weird that I didn’t hear any, though.
Paragon The Overprime’s Yong-Hoon Choi discusses the upcoming MOBA
Q. First, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Could you please introduce yourself to our audience?
Yong-Hoon: Hello, my name is Yong-Hoon Choi, who goes by the nickname Ranger, and I'm an Executive PD on Paragon: The Overprime’s development team. I started out as a character modeler, then moved on to animator, background, level design, TA, and currently, I'm the lead on Paragon: The Overprime.
Q. Paragon The Overprime is going to feel familiar to some MOBA fans in the 2010s, as it was an Epic Games creation. What led you to decide to use the assets to create your own version of the game?
Yong-Hoon: I was first introduced to MOBAs while participating in a test play from my previous job. The project was, you guessed it, Epic Games’ Paragon. I just fell in love with it. I had a favorite hero named Twinblast, but after some time, I found out that Paragon was being discontinued.
I was devastated that I wouldn't be able to play Twinblast again, and I knew I had to bring this hero back to life, so I started the project as a mini-game style. Then I started gathering other developers who also enjoyed Paragon, and we became an indie development team - The journey began then.
Q. It's incredibly hard to stand out in the MOBA genre, with games like League of Legends and DOTA 2 in the market. On top of that, there's at least one other Paragon-like on the way - where does Paragon The Overprime stand out from the rest?
Yong-Hoon: Paragon: The Overprime is a TPS action MOBA. The game is made from a TPS perspective, which means that the combat has a high level of urgency and tension. It also has a game tempo and pacing that is in line with current trends, with fantastic sound play. Players will find that Paragon: The Overprime will experience a sense of speed, high tension, and soundplay that they don't get in other MOBA games.
Q. One thing I really liked about Paragon The Overprime compared to the original game was the speed - it's faster, thanks to the dash mode. It's an interesting ability that comes at the cost of being rooted, should you be hit. Why was that caveat added to the end of the movement ability?
Yong-Hoon: When using Sprint mode, the following statement is exposed: "If you're attacked by an enemy hero while Sprinting, your hero will be temporarily Rooted. Look out for enemy heroes before using Sprint.". The final warning for Sprint Mode is for the newbies who are not used to Paragon: The Overprime’s own narratives. It's intended to let players know what to expect when using it.
Q. As of this testing period, all 36 Paragon characters were in the game. Are there plans to design more?
Yong-Hoon: We'll be releasing all of the heroes that were released in Epic Games’ Paragon, as well as Paragon: The Overprimes’ own heroes like 'Zena', 'Adele', and 'Mako'.
Q. What has balancing been like for Paragon The Overprime? Did you have the same attack/balance data, or did Epic Games only provide the assets?
Yong-Hoon: It has different balance data than Epic Games’ Paragon. Our internal balance team is constantly monitoring it. As we monitor our users' gameplay, we look at metrics, real-time trends, and deep dive into the data to fine-tune our balancing.
Q. Can players expect more game modes, perhaps similar to Smite's Arena or a Team Death Match style mode?
Yong-Hoon: In addition to the MOBA mode, we have several other modes in development progress. We will update these modes upon the official launch.
Q. Gamers often worry about monetization in free-to-play games. As the roster for Paragon The Overprime grows, how will players be able to unlock additional characters? Will they be able to unlock characters for free via gameplay?
Yong-Hoon: Yes. Currently, you receive an in-game currency called Lenar for playing the game. You can also earn Lenars through daily and weekly missions. Lenar can be used to unlock locked Heroes.
Q. What has the overall reception to Paragon The Overprime been like? What have fans been excited about?
Yong-Hoon: There was a lot of anticipation and a number of feedback received. I think the overall response has been positive, and I think we've gotten a lot of feedback on the positives as well as the concerns, especially on the console-related features like Aim Assist and some other things, and we're working on those.
I think a lot of people are most curious about what's next. We'll be sharing our post-CBT roadmap with players in the near future. Once again, we'd like to thank the many players who participated in this PS5 CBT.
Paragon The Overprime is an upcoming third-person action MOBA based on the assets of the original Paragon MOBA from Epic Games. As of this time, it does not have a release date, but recently ended a CBT (Closed Beta Test) on PlayStation 5.