Overwatch vs Paladins Which Is Better?

kinesssa vs widowmaker

The following is an account by a reddit user called _Prink_. It will put into perspective the ongoing debate whether you should play Overwatch or Paladins and which ones is the best.

It also goes beyond stating how Paladins is a ripoff of the former and extensively reviews the two different games and their mechanics such as the graphics, the design of the maps and characters, the sound and last but not least the different type of gameplay it involves. This will hopefully make you decision making process to choose either titles a lot easier. 

Viewer discretion is advised.

Hey everyone,

After a 3 months hiatus, I'm back to playing Paladins. I posted a wall of text on reddit about things that irked me about the game, but after spending 3 months with OW, I realized that even in spite of its shortcomings, Paladins might be the superior game after all.
Here's a quick rundown of what I perceive as the main differences between the two titles, and the aspects in which either game arguably beats out the other. 


For many, this is a very important aspect, although in my eyes gameplay definitely takes the priority. To avoid confusion, I will only talk about graphics in its pure sense, design will follow it up in a bit. Obviously Blizzard has way more resources in this department, and it definitely shows. The maps are filled to the brim with little doodads, particle and lighting effects are gorgeous, the game looks great overall. I do realize this is an unfair comparison, but I have to give it to Blizzard for this point. On a side-note: while all the destructible objects in OW add a lot to the interactivity, from a gameplay standpoint they can be a tad distracting from time to time. It has often happened to me that I tried to flick snipe a piece of wood that flew across my vision after an explosion. There is visuals and then there is functionality - sometimes it's more beneficial to keep things more clean for the sake of gameplay. Paladins feels a lot simpler in a way, (be it in terms of textures or models), but it's still a damn good looking game for a free-to-play shooter. There are some nice particle effects, and the maps and champions seem detailed and pretty overall. Overwatch might beat out Paladins in this aspect, but it's a full-priced game with a massive studio behind it. I think for its price and given the resources Hi-Rez is working with, Paladins has nothing to be ashamed about.


The feel of the champions/maps, regardless of their graphical fidelity. This is a tough nut. Both games have champion designs I really like (Maeve, Ash / Orisa, Zenyatta), and ones that are kinda... meh (Viktor, Sha Lin / McCree, Soldier). Again, it is pretty obvious that Blizzard has the upper hand here in terms of resources, but the hero roster is rather stale there with mostly human champions. And while I really dig the high-fantasy setting of Paladins, some champions just look a bit bland and/or derpy for my taste. Some newer skins however seem to be more detailed and imaginative (Raeve and so on), so Hi-Rez is definitely on the right track here. As for the maps, Blizzard has created some gorgeous maps in terms of atmosphere (King's Row pops to mind instantly), but not only the feel, the gameplay is great too. Lots of jukespots and alleys, plenty of routes to attack from, and so on. It's not like Paladins has anything to be ashamed of though - while the symmetrical maps put me off at first, they have kinda grown on me - puts both teams on equal footing, and even though they might be the same on both halves, they feel quite different depending on whether you're on the attacking or defending end. On a last note, I also feel like Hi-Rez is definitely showing a good tendency with the newer maps. As far as I recall, Brightmarsh was the first that added a lot of extra details to make the map feel a bit more alive (what with all the Pip-related portraits and all), and Splitstone Quarry seems very hi-def compared to some older maps. So I feel like Hi-Rez is definitely on the right track, especially considering the difference between the resources. Still, I will give OW the winning point here, but only by a hair's width.


very-very hard to make a decision here. Both games did a great job in terms of sound design. Weapon sounds are mostly punchy enough and skills and champions have clear enough sound clues to help you realize what's happening around you even when you happen to look another direction. There are some great directional weapon sounds (a rocket whizzing past your ear sounds amazing in Owerwatch, but so do Maeve's daggers), however there are some weapons in Paladins that just sound... off. (Lex's pistols, for example. I get that they are energy guns, but shooting them just does not feel as rewarding as they should.) Both games have relatively verbose champions, Paladins even more so after the recent patch. And while there are some champions that just sound meh in my eyes (ears?), such as Buck or Sha Lin, there are some that I positively love. (Maeve, Ying, Torvald and so on.) Paladins seems to have a bit more content too in terms of champion voices. First off, there are many additional voice packs, and while some don't stand out too much (Pumpking is basically Bomb King with an added filter on top), some have a lot of character. (Must mention the pirate packs for Makoa and Barik, or the Raeve pack.) There is also a ton more ways to express yourself using VGS in Paladins. In OW I felt like I didn't have a lot of options to tell my team what I wanted to do unless I used a mic (and I'm not always in the mood to do so). You're mostly limited to telling your team to group up or letting them know about your ultimate status. In Paladins, it's really easy to let your team know about even some more complex plans or ideas. I've witnessed complete (really cute) conversations only through VGs. I'd say that it's a tie overall - while OW is somewhat more consistent in terms of weapon sounds, the variety in terms of champion voices definitely goes to Paladins. (Oh, and headshots sound a lot more rewarding in Paladins. :P I know it sounds like an unimportant factor, but it matters a lot in my eyes.)


Not even a question, this one goes to Overwatch. I'm sure Hi-Rez is working on adding a lot to this aspect in the future, but for now there's a lot more to OW. However, some things just smell a bit like a boardroom meeting in Overwatch - Winston feels like he was added after looking at charts about what younger audiences prefer, for example. :D Everything seems very meticulous and planned in terms of character creation and lore-crafting, albeit in a somewhat negative way - it's hard to explain, but I feel it from time to time. Also - this is very subjective, but I have to add -, I don't really give a flying f*ck about lore. I've been playing Starcraft and Dota for years and years and while it was nice to know about a certain hero's or race's background, when I was in a game, all I could care about was gameplay. To me, lore is something that has an effect in a single player game - I play multiplayer to compete with others, and for that, gameplay is king. Still, I can understand how it has a certain appeal to some, and how it can suck in or retain certain players. All in all, Blizzard is way ahead here, but to me, personally, this does not carry too much weight.


All right, here's the big one. One of the aspects that to me ultimately decides which game I will sit down to play at the end of the day. Shooting and game feel is very solid in OW. Hitboxes are fine, shooting stuff is rewarding, and so on. Every champion has their role and they fulfill it relatively well. Teamplay is needed, but individual skill also plays a great role in every match. Same things go for Paladins - shooting is very good apart from some minor hiccups (I swear there are some wonky-ass things about headshots that don't register), teamplay is a must, but an incredibly skilled player can easily carry an entire team. Here's the big difference in a nutshell though: Overwatch feels more like a reflex-based shooter with little emphasis on abilities, whereas in Paladins, a lot comes down to how certain players or teams use their abilities. (I'm not saying good reflexes and aim are not needed in Paladins - heck, no! -, hear me out!) Skills tend to have a lot longer cooldown and smaller effect in Overwatch. Compare McCree's pathetic roll (moves you just a tiny bit with an 8 seconds [!] long cooldown) to Lex's combat slide, for example.

In Overwatch, oftentimes you end up having to rely on your weapon - your skills will be on cooldown for most of the time -, while in paladins, it's a very, very healthy mixture of skill-based and aim-based combat. A McCree will mostly go for headshots, occasionally stunning an enemy or dodging a rocket with his roll, while an Androxus will fly around, block attacks and (since last patch) punch people in the face. All on a relatively short cooldown (that can be further decreased with cards and items), resulting in a lot more dynamic-feeling gameplay. And on top of that, you are still required to land headshots in order to be truly effective (especially with the legendary that gives extra damage to those), so it's not like all the emphasis is on skill usage. Or take Pharah and Drogoz, for example. I mained Pharah in OW, and, well... I was kinda bored. You mostly fly around, shooting rockets, and that's it. You have a skill with a 12 second long cooldown that you can use to knock people around. It is arguably useful for knocking people off ledges (or into your next rocket) and to position either yourself or the enemy hero, but it just feels lackluster compared to Drogoz's set. Not only do you have one extra skill in total, you can also combine one of them with a regular shot for extra effect - granting you 3.5 skills (+ an ultimate) in total. When I play Drogoz, I feel like I always do something extra - when I play Pharah, I shoot rockets 80% of the time. Most of the champions in Paladins have some sort of mobility (there is only, what, two of them that don't?), which leads me to my next point: the overall feel of skirmishes.

There are two defining factors that shape the game feel in this aspect: mobility and weapon damage. The two games seem to occupy a somewhat different stance in these terms, and this is what turns me towards Paladins in the end. Overwatch has certain champions that deal massive damage that will often result in an insta-kill. You get hit by Hanzo, you die. You get headshot by McCree, you die. You eat two rockets from Pharah, you die. Couple that with the lack of mobility, and you end up with skirmishes that end in a few seconds. On the other hand, you have Paladins, where damage is lower overall when compared to champion health pools, and where everyone has some mobility - this results in longer, more drawn out scenarios. Now, this might also come down to personal preference, but I definitely like Paladins' approach a lot more. Occasionally you will have these amazing clashes with people jumping, dashing, blinking around, using skills, chasing each other, and so on. Some clashes end up being really memorable and you feel like you earn every kill you can net. (And when you die, it feels justified - well, except when you get instagibbed by Kinessa, but in that case, why did you not look at the direction of her shots and made sure you were in cover? :D) All in all, the two games have very different directions in terms of how the fights end up happening, and to me (a long time moba player) Paladins definitely feels like the way to go.

Now, for champion roles and role-related gameplay: I never, ever felt the urge to play support or frontline in OW. It feels more like a chore than a reward. Frontline, maybe - I guess there are some fun ones, like Roadhog (but in his case, all you have to look forward to is landing hooks), or Doomfist, who is arguably a lot of fun to play. But thank you, I'll just stay away from playing support. Mercy is the worst offender here: in her case, all you do is keep holding left or right click and trying to stay in cover. Riveting, eh? (And since she is basically the default go-to in the game, someone will have to pick here in the end.) These two roles are still incredibly fun to play in Paladins though. Granted, if I can choose, I'll rather pick a damage or a flank (just because I feel like I have a higher chance of helping my team secure a win), but if I end up having to pick a healer or a tank, I know that I will still end up with a fun game. There is a lot to do even as a support (yes, you heal, but you have a lot in your kit that will help you dishing out damage or CC-ing your opponent - add to that some sort of mobility skill, and you have a lot to do at any given moment), and frontlines also feel a lot more dynamic. I mentioned Roadhog before: all you do with him is hope for good hooks, whereas with Makoa, you have mobility to chase or retreat, and you can shield your team at chokepoints or at crucial moments. It just feels like you're doing a lot more as a frontline in Paladins.

A more overarching aspect is champion selection for matches. In Overwatch, you can switch up your champions mid-game, which sounds like a positive on paper, but to me it definitely makes things worse. In Paladins, every match will have a different feel depending on what champions each team picks. You go into a game knowing what you're up against, and you have plenty of time to adjust to the situation. You will see the same champions throughout the match, that gives each game a different feel. In Overwatch, every match feels the same. You will end up seeing a lot of different champions, you will never know what to expect and you will not be given an opportunity to adjust your strategies to the enemy team's lineup. One might bring up the argument that being able to switch mid-match reduces the chance of one team counterpicking the other, but this is rarely an issue in Paladins. Yes, you might be screwed in certain situations, but it can definitely be helped by picking the right loadout and items. (It will also get a lot better as the roster keeps increasing.)

All in all, I feel like this is one aspect in which Paladins hands down trumps Overwatch. This might be subjective, but the way the games play out feels a lot (a lot!) better in Paladins, both in terms of game feel and in terms of how lineups work. There might be some people who prefer the more fast paced, reflex-based gameplay of OW, but I'm not one of them. When a match ends in Paladins, I often instantly queue for the next one. In Overwatch, I often lost my will to play after two games and took a break.

(As a side-note, there weren't many heroes in OW that I really wanted to play - I ended up playing Pharah or McCree most of the time, whereas in Paladins, I often switch back and forth between them. When one starts to feel stale, I switch to another, and I still end up having fun. I can count all the champions I don't really like playing on one hand - it's the exact opposite in Overwatch.)

Business model and loot boxes 

Oh, boy. Hi-Rez definitely did derp a lot during the past few months, what with the introduction of the essence system and all. I'm really against the increased grind and locking away so much content. I'm sure Hi-Rez needs to make a profit, but I don't think this is the right way to do so. I have talked about this at length in my good-bye post, and I don't want to go into so much depth again, but I think that a much healthier option would be reducing the grind, letting players have fun in general, and hoping that they end up with enough whales to cover the costs. Cosmetics are a great way of generating profit without pissing off the player base. Heck, I shell out a lot of cash for stuff that has no real in-game function, because if I end up loving a champ, I will end up HAVING to buy some hats for them.

:P I'm no financial or business expert, but as a simple user, based on personal experience, I'd be happier if Hi-Rez made the game a bit more accessible. As of now, the game feels a bit unfair with some better legendaries locked away behind a lot of essence, and the grind one has to go through to unlock champions, legendaries and loadouts was enough to put off some of my friends from playing the game. (Sadly...) On the upside, the game is free to play, and there are ways to buy cosmetics directly (even though you might have to end up buying an entire set even if you only really wanted one piece of it.) There is a lot of good content to buy (I positively adore some of the more fresh cosmetics), and I like the idea of grinding for cards (as it impels players to keep playing in hopes of unlocking more and more contend), I just feel like the grind is a bit too harsh and that it might put off some newcomers.

BUT! Anyone can pick up Paladins at any point, and with a lot of perseverance, end up unlocking what they want (just keep in mind that for people who have jobs and/or families for example, this might not be a viable option), on the other hand, Overwatch is a full-priced game, selling for about 40 bucks right now. Granted, you get all the champions unlocked for that money, but you can do the same in Paladins for half the price. (You get a lot more content, too. :P) As for customization, you have more options in Paladins, simply because of all the voice packs you can buy. The way you unlock items is also rather random in OW - all you can directly buy are lootboxes, and once you do so, you can either hope for a good drop, or accumulate enough dropped currency that allows you to unlock the exact skin you wanted. This is a very ass-backwards business model since it does not allow players to shell out some money for the exact thing they want.

Granted, there are certain sets that only drop from chests in Paladins, sometimes it's good to know that there are cosmetics I can straight up buy in the game. All in all, I don't really prefer either model, but Paladins definitely gives out more content for less money. It's just a shame that there are certain cards that make you objectively better than those that don't have it (who are doomed to massive amounts of grind in order to acquire them). Point goes to Paladins, I guess, but it's only because it's a free-to-play game. Don't feel like you're off the hook though, Hi-Rez: I'm sure there's a lot of pressure on you to make a profit, but please consider trying to focus more on cosmetics as a source of income and try to ensure that you build a large enough player-base through attracting enough users instead of forcing people to grind for functional items. (Grind is all right, making players work for content makes them value the game higher simply because of the work they put into it, but too much grind might put off players who did not become invested enough yet.)

Depth and Variety

All right, so I like the gameplay more in Paladins. It feels more fun to play certain champions, sure, but how about long-term gameplay? What makes me come back to the game after a match? (Or after a 3 months hiatus, heheh.) Now this is where Paladins truly has the upper hand: cards and items. In Overwatch, you go into a game, and you end up playing the same champion, regardless of what match you are playing or how long a match lasts. You play as Tracer, you see an enemy Tracer, and you will know that both of you will function the same way, regardless of any external factors. Is that a good thing? Weeeeeell... sure, it makes it so that every clash is completely fair, but it also makes it extremely boring on the long run. Say, I play three matches as Hanzo. In every match, I will do the exact same things.

Why would I want to start a fourth match after all that? I might love the way Hanzo plays, but after a few hours (or days), I will inevitably get bored doing the same moves over and over again. Compare that to Paladins, where every champion can be played in a lot of different ways. We're playing on Frog Isle or Stone Keep? Let me dig up my Drogoz loadout that centers around split, give me Combustible, and watch me dish out tons of damage around the capture points. Oh, it's Timber Mill or Splitstone Quarry? Well, guess I will have to play a Drogoz that's built around having mobility then. WYRM jets it is, and look at me fly all around, having fun! Do I need my Makoa to absorb a lot of damage with his shields, or hook left and right? Enemy Bomb King, Inara and Seris? Let me whip out my totem legendary on Grohk. Or, if I want to have dumb fun, I'll just make a build all around Shock Pulse - yeah, I might end up losing the game, but I sure will have a blast doing so. :D Granted, as of now, there are certainly builds or legendaries that are hands down better than others, but at least we have variety in the first place.

And then there are cards. Enemy team has two healers? Go all-out cauter on their asses. They picked Nando and Barik? Wrecker up! There are great ways to make your champion adapt to the situation, and the way they progress and grow stronger throughout every match feels amazingly rewarding. Even if you end up playing the same champion for 10-15 minutes, gameplay will feel different in every round depending on your items. There is some slight caveat here seeing how cauterize is a must at the game's current state, but still, being able to buy items not only makes it so that you can adapt to the situation, but it also ensures that there is a sense of progression throughout every match.

In the end, even to some relatively small (temporary?) shortcomings (such as certain loadouts, legendaries or items being too strong for their own good), Paladins definitely beats out Overwatch here. There is arguably a lot of added depth and variety in Paladins, and this is what ultimately makes me come back again and again - either just after a finished match, or the next day, when I sit down and have to decide what to play.

(Small side-note, but what's up with those cosmetics that look exactly like their default counterparts? There's no way I would invest money into buying the Warlord set for Zhin or the Moonstone set for Talus when I can hardly tell the difference between those and the default sets.)


Gonna be short here, both titles suck in a way. In general, things seem to be all right, but you will occasionally have one of those derpy matches where the enemy team has twice the elo of yours (or the other way around) and one team ends up crushing the other in two solid minutes. I'm not sure if Hi-Rez changed anything, but this definitely feels less of an issue since I came back. Still, it would be nice to know that I will end up fighting alongside and against people that are around my skill level. I don't mind an occasional spike or ditch from time to time (I like to feel challenged or feel empowered), but getting stomped can feel soul-crushing, and stomping an enemy team feels unfair and boring. As I said, this is also an issue in OW where you get teams with massive skill differences, so I'd say it's a tie. (And don't get me started on smurfs or we'll be here all day. :P Dota has this great system where if the game sees that a new player stomps everyone, it realizes that it's probably a smurf and puts him in a much higher bracket. Hoping to see something like that implemented in the game in case it is not already.)

Bugs and cheaters

I could let Paladins off the hook here since it's still in beta, but hey, it's a beta where people often invest real money to play, so I'll be strict. Overwatch feels very, very polished in terms of bugs. I haven't really ran into any glitches, let alone game breaking ones. The game feels complete and finished, as it should be. Paladins, while mostly (mostly!) working, still feels like a mess from time to time. I remember the second game I joined after my hiatus, where the enemy Fernando ended up high in the skies - I immediately felt home again. :D There is still an awful, awful lot of bugs in the game, and it saddens me to see how many of them have been around for so long. (Dismounting glitch, Maeve's jumping spawn and so on.) This was one of the reasons that made me leave, and I'm sincerely hoping Hi-Rez will pick up the slacks in this aspect. It feels positively horrid to lose a match due to a bug, and while some of the glitches are rather entertaining, I'd rather if they were all ironed out. A much more critical(!) issue is that we have bugs affecting loot and currencies.

I had problems with loot chests before (not getting the drops, cosmetics disappearing, etc.), the latest one being my Vip Boosters disappearing without a trace. This is not cool, really-really not cool, Hi-Rez. While gameplay bugs are somewhat acceptable in a beta, bugs that affect real money certainly are not! Imagine if ordered three pizzas online, but due to a bug, you only ended up receiving two. That would be unacceptable. Even if it might not feel like that, virtual goods should have the same treatment - regardless of whether I can or can't physically touch my in-game hats or currencies, they are paid goods. I sincerely hope there will be no more debacles related to stuff like this in the future. I also hope that Hi-Rez will finally take the effort to fix issues related to chat and just major bugs in general. As for cheaters, I commend Blizzard's zero tolerance policy. I've went into more detail in my other post, so I'll try to be concise here: I'd rather if Hi-Rez went full aggressive against cheaters and punish certain players, instead of punishing those who are matched up against them. Now, luckily I haven't personally encountered any of them lately, but if you google "paladins cheaters", you can find quite a few hits (even videos), even just for the past month. Please be more attentive, Hi-Rez, nobody likes playing against cheaters. (This, and the slow and uncertain response from the support team was among the factors that led to me quitting the game previously.) Point goes to Blizzard here.


I can't really give an objective standpoint here since I did not invest that much time into OW, and I mostly played alone. However, my third or so game vividly sticks to me as one of my teammates kept loudly flaming me throughout the match, even though he saw how low my level way. I run into a bunch of *ssholes in Paladins too, I can't deny it. Sometimes I end up with a knot in my stomach and fumes in my brain after certain matches (yes, even if we win), because of flamers and just douchebags in general. I really, really, really wouldn't mind if there were certain repercussions against flamers - just remove their ability to use chat and mics for a few games once they have accumulated enough reports (the current reporting system is a joke, and we all know it, but let's not go there, I've talked enough in general already). It's not like that would punish the team, since the VG system would allow them to communicate with their teammates anyway. Still, with all its flaws, I have to say that the Paladins community has really grown on me. For every jerk, there are ten kind players, and I end up having fun for the large majority of my games. Even if I'm a solo player at heart, I end up playing with friends much more often than I did in OW. Players are more forgiving and helpful in general, I love the Paladins subreddit and the forums (even though I haven't been around lately), so point goes to Paladins overall. Now if only there was a way to do something with those flamer *ssholes that ruin everyone's fun...


I will not go into great detail here because I don't feel like I have the necessary insight to make a judgment call here. In short, while Paladins certainly has some champions that feel too good (or too useless) every patch, I feel like Hi-Rez is trying hard to iron out those spikes. I know it's immensely hard to keep things balanced (especially as more and more champions are added to the roster), and I wish them the best of luck with that in general! There were some changes that certainly left me scratching my head, and in some cases I feel like they might have went overboard, cases where slight nudges would have been preferable due to certain brute force changes, but there still is a lot of variety in terms of viable champions. I'm sure every meta will see champions that stand out from the rest, I just hope that no given champion will dominate the playing field for too long. Glad to see Drogoz leave the S tier, for example, even as someone who used to play him all the time. Overwatch has it's own problems in this aspect, arguably even to a larger extent. Meta is extremely stale right now, with matches featuring the same champions (Lucio, Mercy, D'va, Winston), and there are champions that are so borderline useless, no one ends up picking them, ever (Symmetra or Thorbjörn, for example). Yes, the meta might get shaken up from time to time, but after a bit of time, you will, again, end up seeing the same heroes all the time. Paladins is also kinda guilty in this aspect in a way with some champions showing up all the time (I remember how seeing Drogoz and Seris every game ended up with me leaving the game), but the meta is definitely a lot more dynamic, with most of the champions having some sort of a viability. Point goes to Paladins.

All in all, even despite of its shortcomings, I ended up coming back to Paladins. Yes, the grind is too harsh for it's own good (even though this might not affect me personally, it concerns me since I care for the game's well-being), yes, there still is a whole bunch of game-breaking bugs (even some that might affect my wallet), yes, there are OP champions, cheaters, flamers, and, while it does not matter to me, yes OW might look and sound better and have better lore, in the end, Paladins is still an immensely fun game with solid shooting, fun mechanics, an overall pleasant player base and tons of depth and variety to keep me hooked on the long run (unlike OW, a game that even though might feel more polished and complete, is also more stale and boring on the long run). I ended up coming back, and I ended up realizing that I still love this game, but that does not mean that Hi-Rez doesn't have to get its sh*t together. Balance has to be kept, the currency system has to be rethought, and (please, for the love of god), there must be more serious repercussions against those who ruin the game for others. Still, I have high hopes for Paladins. Hi-Rez is definitely on the right track, and even despite their apparent missteps, there are still more positives about the game than negatives. Fingers crossed that it stays the same way. As long as it is, I'll be around.

TL;DR: OW might have higher production values overall, Paladins still has some glaring issues, and Hi-Rez has made some questionable decisions in the past. Even in spite of all that, the depth and variety (and the gameplay in overall) in Paladins makes it the superior title in my eyes.

(The horses, I forgot about the horses! Getting insta-killed and having to take the walk of shame is no fun in OW - in Paladins, I feel like I'm back in action in no time, so one extra bonus point there. :P)

Overwatch vs Paladins Which Is Better? Overwatch vs Paladins Which Is Better? Reviewed by kolby on 8:14 AM Rating: 5

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