Paladins: The Mounts and Sprint Issue

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Greetings, ladies and gentlemen!

I’ve been pondering a few things regarding design choices made for Paladins, the team shooter from Hi-Rez Studios. First, I am contemplating the purpose of mounts and their future post-launch. Second, I am curious why there is a keybind for Sprint when there is no sprint function. Thirdly, I am wondering what it would be like to reintroduce sprint to Paladins. These thoughts and more in today’s post.

The Mount Mystery

In Paladins, players are able to ride mounts into battle. As one might suspect, players have increased movement speed while mounted. At the start of a match, players ride their mounts to the objective, and dismount upon engaging the opposing team. When a player dies, they will use the mount to return to the fight. The time required to return to the fray depends on the progression of the match and game mode.

The team on offense has to push the payload into the opposing team’s base to achieve victory. For both game modes, the payload acts as the primary objective for most of a match. As the payload moves forward, the distance between it and the offensive team’s spawn point increases. Mounts become a greater necessity as this distance grows because many champions are slow on foot and some of the maps are fairly large. Traversing the distance is not troublesome unless you manage to dismount too soon.

The Problems

This leads to the first issue of the mounts feature, which is that Paladins lacks a hotkey to summon a mount. If a player accidentally dismounts early, he will have to reach his destination on foot. A late game death for offensive players would result in a painfully long walk if they suddenly found themselves without a mount due to a misclick. A misclick at the start of a match would give the opposing team a hefty advantage, particularly in Siege. It is easy to avoid dismounting early, but this is an incredibly dumb issue to have.

My main issue with mounts, however, lies with their general purpose. As mentioned before, mounts are only available at match start and when a player respawns. Their only purpose is to get a player to the fight, which occurs intermittently throughout a match, and skilled players will rarely make use of a mount at all. I am under the impression mounts exist only to maintain a feature from an older version of Paladins. It’s not like there aren’t better methods for getting players back into the fight other than forcing them to run the full length of a linear map.

paladins-timber-mill

“Oh, look! A giant buzzsaw!” *joyously runs to hug it*

A great comparison to make would be to the mounts in Heroes of the Storm. There are dozens of mounts to purchase from the shop, but they have a meaningful purpose in matches, too. Mounts give players increased movement speed to get back to the lane, to reach an objective, or to meet up with an ally wanting assistance with a mercenary camp. There are a variety of situations where mounts are useful in Heroes of the Storm, and they are available whenever a player needs them. Mounts in Paladins aren’t as versatile.

This brings me to another concern, which is the potential for Hi-Rez Studios to monetize new mounts. Personally, these cosmetic items would be an incredible waste of everyone’s money. Due to the situational availability of mounts, there would never be an opportunity to truly show off a new mount during a match. Furthermore, a player wouldn’t be able to enjoy his new mount until his next respawn. So, if you can’t show off or even enjoy the mount you paid for, what would be the point of buying them at all?

A Possible Solution

I have a potential solution to fix the issues discussed above. However, this idea involves the complete eradication of mounts from Paladins. The issue I would be solving isn’t specifically the mounts mechanic. Instead, I would be dealing with the long trek from the spawn point that perpetuates the need for mounts. For characters like Bomb King or Grohk, the walk would be awfully long without a fiery horse, which is where my idea comes in.

My idea is to introduce payload checkpoints and additional spawn points for both teams. The checkpoints will dictate where players respawn after death. As the payload moves forward, it will periodically activate a new checkpoint, which changes the active spawn points. While the defending team’s spawn point is pushed back, the offensive team’s spawn point is moved forward. There would only be a small handful of checkpoints in any given map, but the exact number would have to be iterated upon.

The purpose of this change isn’t to eliminate the trek back to the fight after death. The idea is to compensate for the lack of mounts. The return to the fray shouldn’t be so long that it becomes painful to endure. Granted, some champions will take longer to get back to the fight than others. However, I have a suggestion for that, too.

This would also change where players spawn at the start of a match. In Siege, players would need to be closer to the objective due to the removal of mounts. In Payload, only the defending team would need a new starting spawn since the offensive team spawns next to the objective. The idea would be to reduce the travel distance but not the relative travel time. Again, without the mounts, the time to return to the fight will vary by character.

A Controversial Solution

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An image of the Enchanted Forest map from an earlier version of Paladins.

The only other solution I have is for Paladins to ditch the payload and siege game modes. Going this route would depend on how necessary Hi-Rez Studios views mounts. If it is a feature that can easily be dropped, then do that instead. I genuinely enjoy the siege game mode (when my team isn’t being totally brain dead), and don’t think it should be dismissed over mounts. Plus, Paladins has been doing payload style gameplay since the alpha, if I recall correctly.

The removal of Paladins’s primary modes of play goes back to the implementation of mounts. I have discussed the reasons why this feature makes no sense already, but the maps don’t warrant the existence of mounts either. There is only one active objective during any match, which forces every player to be centered on one point. There is no other reason for mounts to exist since there’s only one location of great import. Mounts would be better served in game modes with multiple objectives that keep players moving around the map, and not just after dying.

After departing from siege and payload, what game modes should Paladins introduce? I believe many of the champions could easily be tweaked to work well in a King of the Hill style game mode. Perhaps, something similar to the maps in Guild Wars 2. Each map could have 3 to 5 contestable points, a couple secondary objectives, and enough space for mounts to be meaningful. The role each champion plays would change slightly to suit the new modes, but mostly due to the new assortment of objectives. I’m not saying this is the direction Hi-Rez has to go, but it could be cool.

Pick Your Poison

I would say these are the only two choices that make sense regarding mounts. Hi-Rez should remove mounts because they currently don’t serve a meaningful purpose, and then adjust/rebuild the maps to compensate for their removal. Otherwise, they would need to introduce a new game mode that gives mounts purpose. With renewed purpose will come a reason for players to chase the new, monetized skins that are sure to come. The goals are to make mounts a feasible purchase for players, and to ensure development resources aren’t wasted on a feature they won’t spend money on, because, as I’ve said, new mounts in Paladins would be a waste of money.

The Sprint Suggestion

paladins-viktor-hustle

Do the hustle!

On a lighter note, I wanted to discuss my quandary regarding the existence of a Sprint hotkey without an available sprint function. I can understand if Paladins moved away from this mechanic over the course of its development. However, it seems silly to leave sprint listed among actual functioning hotkeys. Despite this, I have been musing over what it would be like to reintroduce sprint to Paladins. I don’t think my idea is incredibly unique, but it gets more interesting once applied to other champions.

Basic Sprint Ability

  • Sprint
    Costs 1 Stamina every 0.10 seconds while running (10 Stamina over a second).
    Active: Lower your weapons and run 25% faster.
    Passive: Recover 5 Stamina per second. Inactive while, and for 2 seconds after, sprinting.

Sprint is tied to a resource called Stamina. This resource is drained while a player sprints, and recovers slowly while not sprinting. Additionally, while sprinting, players cannot attack or use any abilities. Sprint is only active while a player is holding down the hotkey and has no cooldown. Stamina maxes out at 100 points.

paladins-viktor-full

“We’re all soldiers now.” -Not Viktor

My idea behind the basic sprint ability is that it is purely for movement. It’s not meant to be some powerful defensive ability like Evie’s Ice Block or Buck’s Recovery or Fernando’s Shield. It’s a minor gap closer and/or escape with a resource mechanic. So, when Bomb King’s waddling isn’t fast enough for you, just force his big, spherical ass to trot a bit faster. It’s not a ton of mobility, but it shouldn’t be bad.

Bomb King is partly the reason I began musing over this idea. I’ve played him the most, and have never been satisfied with Poppy Bomb as a form of mobility (or defense, to be honest). Using him as a template, I thought it would be cool if he could occasionally sprint to quickly turn a corner or move to another location. The addition of Stamina puts a cost to that extra mobility he wasn’t designed with. Then, I thought it would make sense to add this functionality to the other champions.

Now, one may be under the impression that this ability would be applied to all of the remaining champions. However, this is not the case. While most of the champions would get this ability, there are some that have more powerful mobility skills that may negate the need for sprint. I’ve gone through each of the kits and hand-picked the champions that make the most sense to possess sprint. They are listed below.

  • Barik, Fernando, Makoa, Bomb King, Cassie, Kinessa, Sha Lin, Tyra, Grohk, Grover, Mal’Damba, Pip, and Buck.

Special Sprint Abilities

Now, the other champions that weren’t listed above would receive some changes to their kits. First, many of the mobility skills would be modified to work with Stamina. Then, each character would gain an additional ability to fill the missing space in their kit. With this change, some abilities will be moved to a different base hotkey. I will list out my ideas below.

paladins-ruckus-head

Ruckus

For Ruckus, his Advance ability would become his Stamina skill and his Emitter ability would be moved to the F hotkey. I thought it would be fun if Ruckus’s new ability was either the ability to fire a few rockets at an area, or maybe an overheat ability for his primary weapons that gives bonus damage for a short duration.

  • Advance
    Costs 50 Stamina instantly.
    Active: Quickly jet in the direction you are moving. You can fire while advancing.
    Passive: Recover 10 Stamina per second. Inactive for 2 seconds after advancing.
  • Rocket Barrage (New RMB Skill #1)
    10 second cooldown
    Fires three rockets at an area, each dealing 200 damage to enemies in the area. For the next 3 seconds, your miniguns are fully spun, allowing you to achieve maximum rate of fire instantly upon using them.
  • Overheat Rounds (New RMB Skill #2)
    12 second cooldown
    Sets your miniguns to full spin for the next 5 seconds, allowing you to achieve maximum rate of fire instantly upon using them. For the first 3 seconds upon using your miniguns, each shot deals 20% more damage and an additional 40% damage to shields.

paladins-drogoz-head

Drogoz

For Drogoz, I’m not sure whether to give him sprint or not. He doesn’t need it because he has Thrust, and I originally thought Thrust was tied to the same resource mechanic as his Boost (which I now know to be false due to research). So, if I made Thrust a Stamina skill, a Drogoz player would need to track two resources (excluding health in this case) including the fuel resource tied to the Boost mechanic.

  • Thrusters
    Costs 1 Stamina every 0.10 seconds while running, or 50 Stamina while standing.
    Active: While running, lower your weapons and move 25% faster. While standing, jet upwards into the air, and increase damage by 20% for 4 seconds. Hold Jump to use your booster.
    Passive: Recover 5 Stamina per second. Inactive while, and for 2 seconds after, using thrusters.
  • Dragon Skin
    10 second cooldown
    Drogoz’s skin hardens for 5 seconds, granting a shield that absorbs 500 damage.

paladins-viktor-head

Viktor

For Viktor, his Hustle ability becomes his Stamina skill, which is more like a supercharged version of the basic sprint ability. In the F hotkey would go a new defensive or utility ability, but I don’t know what Viktor could need or use to expand his kit. A portable health kit, maybe?

  • Hustle
    Costs 4 Stamina every 0.25 seconds while running (16 Stamina over a second).
    Active: Lower your weapons and run 65% faster.
    Passive: Recover 5 Stamina per second. Inactive while, and for 2 seconds after, hustling.
  • Health Pack (New F Skill)
    8 second cooldown
    Viktor drops a portable health pack on the ground, which he or one of his teammates can run across to recover 250 health instantly and 250 health over 5 seconds. Health Pack has 3 charges.

paladins-ying-head

Ying

For Ying, since she tends to hover above the ground, I thought it be logical to create a thematically unique variant of sprint for her. The rest of her kit is untouched. She is merely receiving a new ability.

  • Shimmer
    Costs 1 Stamina every 0.10 seconds (10 Stamina over a second).
    Active: Lower your weapons and move 15% faster. The movement speed bonus is increased by 10% for each active Illusion.
    Passive: Recover 5 Stamina per second. For 3 seconds after using Dimensional Link, recover 100% more Stamina per second. Inactive while, and for 2 seconds after, shimmering.

paladins-androxus-head

Androxus

For Androxus, I wanted to make Nether Step his Stamina skill so, should he have enough stamina, he could use this ability whenever necessary. The next thing to do is to figure out what his new ability would be. I don’t think he should have more mobility, and Reversal is already a decent defensive skill as is.

  • Nether Step
    Costs 33 Stamina instantly.
    Active: Quickly dash forward in any direction. Hold Jump while in the air to reduce fall speed.
    Passive: Recover 10 Stamina per second. Inactive for 2 seconds after Nether Stepping.
  • Nether Regeneration (New F Skill)
    Passive: Every 100 Essence gained generates a charge of Nether Regeneration. Gain 1 Essence for every 20 points of damage you deal, and 50 Essence when a nearby enemy dies. Nether Regeneration can build up to 3 charges.
    Active: Consume a charge to recover 250 health over 5 seconds. Consuming additional charges while Nether Regeneration is active extends the duration by 5 seconds.

paladins-evie-head

Evie

For Evie, her Soar ability becomes her Stamina skill and her Ice Block ability is moved to the F hotkey. I’ve also come up with a new ability to take the slot for the right-mouse button that allows the player to mark enemies who wander too close.

  • Soar
    Costs 100 Stamina instantly.
    Active: Hop on your staff and take flight for 2 seconds.
    Passive: Recover 10 Stamina per second. Inactive while soaring.
  • Cold Burst (New RMB Skill)
    8 second cooldown
    Let loose a blast of ice in front of Evie, dealing 150 damage and marking all enemies in the area.

paladins-skye-head

Skye

For Skye, there are a few directions I could go. The first thing I could do is add sprint to her kit. The next thing I could do is make her Hidden ability her Stamina skill that lasts longer based on the amount of Stamina consumed, and then add a new defensive/offensive ability to her kit. The other thing I could do is give her a special Stamina skill that changes while Skye is in stealth. The only problem I have is her one-dimensional play style limits the kind of abilities that can be added to her kit, and with two ways to go into stealth she doesn’t really need any new forms of mobility/defense.

  • Sprint (Option #1)
    Costs 1 Stamina every 0.10 seconds (10 Stamina over a second).
    Active: Lower your weapons and run 25% faster. Disabled while in stealth.
    Passive: Recover 5 Stamina per second. Inactive while, and for 2 seconds after, sprinting.
  • Hidden (Option #2)
    Costs 5 Stamina every 0.20 seconds (25 Stamina over a second).
    Active: Enter Stealth and run 25% faster. Getting too close to enemy players will reveal you. Lasts 1 second per 25 Stamina consumed, which is continuously drained upon activation. Stealth is cancelled by dealing or receiving damage.
    Passive: Recover 6 Stamina per second. For 3 seconds after entering Smoke Screen, recover 100% more Stamina per second. Inactive while Hidden.
  • Poison Bomb (Option #2, New Q Skill)
    10 second cooldown
    Lob a bomb that explodes, releasing a poisonous cloud that lasts for 6 seconds. The cloud deals 100 damage every second to enemies in the area. Activating, or damage from, this ability does not break stealth.
  • Blur (Option #3)
    Costs 1 Stamina every 0.10 seconds, or 3 Stamina every 0.20 seconds while in Stealth.
    Active: Lower your weapons and run 25% faster. While in stealth, lower your weapons, increase movement speed bonus from Hidden to 40%, and prevent damage taken from breaking stealth.
    Passive: Recover 5 Stamina per second. Inactive while, and for 2 seconds after being, blurred.

Payload Delivered

These are my thoughts on mounts and the sprint mechanic. Mounts need something to make them a meaningful feature in Paladins. Especially, if Hi-Rez Studios intends to monetize them in the future. Reintroducing Sprint could be awesome and I have shared the ideas I have had on the subject. Hopefully Hi-Rez takes the above thoughts regarding mounts into consideration moving forward, and at least explores the idea of reintroducing Sprint.

What are your thoughts regarding mounts in Paladins? Do you think new mounts would be worth the money? Would you like to see sprint return? How do you feel about my concept for sprint? Which variant of Skye makes her more/less broken? Join the discussion below.


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Thanks for reading to the end. I hope you’ll be back for the next one.

War Fist out.

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About The War Fist

I am an aspiring writer and gamer designer who enjoys the act of creating something from nothing. Typically, my creations are stories, characters, and concepts for game mechanics and/or features. I've been developing my own philosophies of storytelling, game design, and , to an extent, filmmaking, and would eventually like the opportunity to put them into practice.

Posted on January 11, 2017, in Game Design and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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