The thing about battle royale modes, right, is that the broad principle can be bent to many different games across different genres. They needn't be 'Playerunknown's Battlegrounds but with...' (Plunkbuts, as I'm sure you already know 'em). Robocraft doing battle royale with weird warbots is pretty decent and certainly different, and now battle royale is meeting class-based fantasy action in Paladins' Battlegrounds mode. Yes, that name is gobsmackingly cheeky. But while the name is a rip-off, the game might offer something different. We can see for ourselves now, as Hi-Rez Studios today launched Paladins Battlegrounds into public alpha testing and it's free to play.
You already know the basics: 100 players drop into a big level, search for loot (in this case, power-up cards giving perks improving abilities and whatnot), and try to murder each other to pieces while a circle of blue death fog closes in to push players closer together until one stands triumphant. Only it's 100 wizards, with weird weapons, magic abilities, and mounts. The same explore-o-murdering in quite a different game. Battle royale is a mode, yeah?
If you don't know much about Paladins itself, check out our recent Update Night report. And here's a look at the mode from an event in January:
Right now, Battlegrounds mode gives players a choice of 8 characters. I believe the plan is to rotate the pool so the game will change over time from this too. A lot can change over the course of testing.
If you want to try Paladins Battlegrounds (seriously, say that aloud and give your gob a smack) you can download the Paladins public test client through Steam or as a standalone. Paladins is free-to-play so this is too. Your PC will 64-bit support to play - the 32-bit client won't let you into Battlegrounds.
Hit the test patch notes for more on this and a number of changes to the regular game.
Paladins did dip its toe in Plunky waters before with its Survival mode, which Hi-Rez removed a while back. That had the whole 'fog circle of death last-wizard-standing' thing but was 5v5 on small maps, so it was quite different.
A bonus note from the editor [that's me -ed.]: I'm switching from calling these games and modes "Battle Royale" to "battle royale". While they do stem from Battle Royale the novel and film, the genre seems to be crystallising into a form that's different enough to be simply "battle royale". That said, Rich Whitehouse's Quake Royale is definitely a "Battle Royale". In the 2007 Quake mod, everyone starts with random items, players can form their own alliances, and Kitano himself oversees the action. My unofficial RPS style guide is a riot, let me tell you.