Sunday, November 27, 2016

How Is Paladins Doing?

Over two months have passed since the early access release of Hi-Rez Studios's team-based shooter Paladins. Despite the controversy regarding the game's similarities to Blizzard's Overwatch, Paladins was still received with much praise and a strong number of downloads on Steam. Though the controversy appears to have died down, have the players?

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The short answer, for the time being, appears to be "no". According to, Paladins has been boasting an average daily player count of just under 30,000 over the last 30 days. For comparison, Hi-Rez Studios's other popular title, SMITE, has been averaging around 10,000 daily Steam players over that same time period. To compare its daily player count to other Steam games, Paladins consistently ranks in the high teens alongside titles like The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, 7 Days to Die, and Rust. As of November 15, the game has even surpassed 4 million worldwide players on PC alone.

But the player count isn't the only thing slowly climbing upward. About a week after launch, 85% of the reviews on the game's official Steam page were positive. At the time of writing, this percentage has crept up to about 89%, although reviewers still can't seem to help comparing the game to Overwatch. A quick skim through the most recent Steam reviews shows that about half of the reviewers still mention Blizzard's popular shooter, stating things like "Similar but seperate to Overwatch", "Overwatch with budget cuts" and "Overwatch?". This may not be such a bad thing though, as some go so far as to declare Paladins the superior game, citing its original champions, smooth gameplay, and no-cost entry as advantages over its popular competitor.

The critical success among players is likely bolstered by strong developer support from Hi-Rez Studios. Since the start of the open beta on September 16, Hi-Rez Studios has added three new heroes, one new game mode, and dozens of cosmetic items. While the need to frequently update with new obtainable items is likely fueled by the games free-to-play-but-with-microsactions model, additional content is never something to be upset about. Each patch has also included extensive balancing tweaks and minor bug fixes to help the game advance farther and farther past beta.

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With a thus-far strong player base and developer support, it appears that Paladins is not going away anytime soon. No word has been given on when the game will officially exit the beta period, but a closed beta for the upcoming Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions begins soon, with sign-ups available here for the Xbox version and here for the PS4 version. No firm release date has been given for when these two versions will see an open beta or a full release.

[Note: the numbers given above for player counts for Paladins and SMITE are only representative of players who downloaded and play the game via Steam. Hi-Rez Studios was contacted for non-Steam player counts but a response was not received in time for publication.]

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