Hi-Rez Studios is scrapping the in-game currency found in Paladins and is replacing it with a loot box system.
The Cards Unbound system works as you might expect, although it differs from some others in that it allows players to level up their cards by obtaining duplicates. The number of cards needed for this is not insignificant, either – levelling up a common card from Level 1 to Level 5 requires 42 cards, although more powerful cards require less.
The changes only apply to Quick Play, with Ranked Play locking all cards to Level 3. However, as Quick Play is the go-to mode for mode for learning new champions, those with weak decks face potential beatings while trying to learn the ropes – and from cards they won’t even face in the main game.
On the flip side, the game is now completely free-to-play with all cards immediately unlocked from the off.
“We get it: This is a major change that may be controversial, particularly given some recent questionable moves by full-price games,” the studio admitted. “We’re moving forward with this system because we believe it will make the game better for all of our players. We want to serve our players, and we’re confident that we can best do that with a more wide-open and fun QuickPlay mode, and a Ranked mode that is only affected by player skill.
“The vast majority of our players will never spend a dime. Regardless of how much money you have in your wallet, we want to make sure you have a great time. Our number one priority as we introduce Cards Unbound is that the free-to-play experience feels great.
“For those players who do choose to spend money on Paladins, we aren’t comfortable charging you for Card Chests until we have time to tune the economy after seeing real-world results (and we definitely anticipate adjustments).
“Therefore, upon the initial release of Cards Unbound, there will be no way to directly purchase Radiant Chests or Champion Card Chests with Crystals; they may only be unlocked via Gold or playing the game. We expect to allow Crystal purchases of those same Card Chests in OB65, but we may delay this.”