Free-to-play class-based FPS Paladins will launch properly next week, developers Hi-Rez Studios (the Smite lot) announced today, on Tuesday the 8th of May. It's been in open beta testing for almost twenty months, long enough that I'd forgotten it's not actually out-out, and added heaps of heroes and things since then - as well as dabbling in battle royale. Development won't end when it hits version 1.0, of course, but it will be done enough to remove that "early access" label.
Rich McCormick revisited Paladins in November to see what shape it was in after a year of open beta. And... couldn't help but draw comparisons to some other class-based shooters:
"There's the small ginger man with a Nordic name in an engineer's jumpsuit who deposits turrets and defends them with a pocket blunderbuss. There#s a muscular German dude who can throw out a shield to block incoming fire, just like Overwatch's Reinhardt. There’s even a direct D.Va-a-like: a smaller character riding a much larger mech who can jet forward on rocket boosters and absorb enemy fire with a front-facing shield."
In the run-up to launch, all Champions are unlocked for everyone from today until May 7. Usually only a rotating lineup of a select few are free, with the game charging for permanent unlocks. Everyone who's played the game during beta then logs in after launch, from May 8-31, will receive 200 Crystals, which is $5 of the game's microtransaction currency.