Paladins' new update for its public test server is receiving some backlash from its player community for introducing a new card upgrade system that resembles something close to EA's Star Wars Battlefront 2's pay-to-win Star Cards system. That is to say, players are worried that the new card system will allow players to buy their way to the best upgrades.
At the moment, players can craft or unlock cards from in-game chests. These cards can then be equipped to characters before a match to boost their strengths, much like how Star Cards did the same for characters in Star Wars Battlefront 2.
The new Paladins card system, called Cards Unbound, will give players access to every card in the game, but requires these cards to be leveled up for better stat bonuses. You can upgrade cards by collecting duplicates by grinding or purchasing loot boxes, thereby opening up worries that players can purchase loot boxes to skip past grinding.Watch Paladins Patch Preview OB 64 from PaladinsGame on www.twitch.tv
The new cards are ranked out of five possible strength levels, so players will have to collect duplicate cards accordingly to rank them up to each card's highest strengths.
What's worse is that players will no longer be able to craft their own cards, leaving them to rely on randomly dropped cards from loot boxes.
Hi-Rez actually acknowledge player's concerns in the update writing, "This is a major change that may be controversial, particularly given some recent questionable moves by full-price games."
To get ahead of some of the controversy, Hi-Rez announced that the new Cards Unbound system in Paladins (which is a free-to-play game) will only be used in Quick Play Mode. Competitive Mode will automatically set the rank of a card to three so that the more hardcore mode will remain free and fair. In a statement to Kotaku, Hi-Rez said that the update is so that the casual mode is "less restrictive and more over-the-top."
Hi-Rez also removed the option to purchase chests through microtransactions while the new system is being tested.
The game's subreddit still exploded with vocal anger, which makes sense considering how similar Paladins' new card update resembles the same loot system that's put EA on the defensive over its own loot box practices.
Hi-Rez announced that Cards Unbound is still a work in progress, but sometimes maybe the timing is just a bit too on-the-nose considering how strong the conversation around loot boxes and gambling is right now.