On Sunday, a great test was held. You might not think of it as one, but I certainly do. That was when the Grand Finals for Smite [PC and Xbox] and Paladins were held. The first one’s not a big deal, because we know that’s going to draw a crowd. . . but this was the first Invitational for Paladins!
The first massive event for Paladins, and of course, it was an EU vs. EU matchup. District 69 vs. BurritoGG [Congrats Burrito!]. It means a great deal not only to me, but to the Paladins devs also, since it could be considered a test run of sorts. Why a test? To see how a huge crowd/online crowd would react to Paladins! And yes, there’s still/always going to be the vocal part of the audience that cries “OVERWATCH CLONE LOLOLOL HURRR” even though, you know. . . Paladins entered beta first. . . That’s not what we’re here to talk about though. As someone who was in the audience live, that crowd got insanely pumped! There were cheers, slap sticks slapped together, yells of joy for Burrito. It might not have had the same twitch audience as Smite, but Hell! I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how many people showed up that early to watch it. I didn’t expect it to be empty, but it was pretty close to full down in the main audience. I should know, I was looking down from the boxes!
I’d also like to say that Paladins is the most fast and furious experience ever. Watching competitive play for the first time, it was so hard to keep up with, but in the best way. It showed me things about the game I didn’t really know yet, and characters I’d like to try. But I did have a complaint: I couldn’t see the card builds for players! Just their items. That’s a suggestion for next year’s “side screens,” or the bottom right of the camera when it follows a player. Nonetheless, the action was non stop, and it really reinvigorated my interest in the game. I’d even say I had more fun watching that than the console Grand Finals. Not the Smite Finals, but definitely console. Those teams really brought the thunder, and I’d love to have some of the Burrito or D69 guys on our stream to maybe help us learn the game, and do a Q&A session.
Hirez Expo has really grown this year from last year, and the audience for all events was raucous and insane. From the “Obey, Obey Obey Obey Obey!” chants, to the increasing volume of cheering with every successful kill in a team fight, this was THE event to attend. While I’ve always wanted to go to League Worlds, I want to go. . . a little less now. A lot less. If you weren’t watching Hirez Expo this year, I dunno what the hell you were watching, but it was the wrong damn event! Much love to everyone at Hirez Studios that made me feel like family, and that took such good care of their fans with tons of giveaways, nonstop action, hilarious music videos, new games, cool merch, unreal cosplayers, and more than I can really explain. It’s such a diverse crowd. I got to sit and talk with pro players, their families, developers and fans at any and all moments. It’s going to be a great year for Smite and Paladins. If you don’t think so, just watch. Then come back to me in 2018 and apologize for doubting me! To everyone who competed, thank you! You really gave it your all. To everyone who attended? Thank you as well! You guys made this an experience unlike any other. I got to meet press I’ve always wanted to meet, new friends in the community, and a host of other wonderful people new and old.
Keep your eyes glued to Hi-Rez Studios. You won’t regret it.
Now, onto the gallery to see some of the most awesome cosplay at HRX 2017!