Epic's third-person shooter-ish MOBA, Paragon [official site], now has an early access release date – 18 March. The game will eventually go free-to-play with the full release in the summer but if you want to play before then you can buy your way in via a Founder's Pack or, if you've signed up for the beta, there will also be a number of beta weekends during the early access period where you can play free of charge. Here's how it'll work:
So, there are several tiers of paid early access which go on sale on 14 March. The cheapest is the Founder's Pack at $19.99 (€19.99). That includes "access to the game, skins, boosts, and other cosmetic items you can unlock by playing". Epic go on to say "If you’re interested in Paragon, buying a Founder’s Pack will get you in-game content at a huge discount from normal prices. During the Early Access Season, we’ll release new (free!) Heroes every three weeks, hold community events, and offer daily and weekly rewards." A more complete breakdown of that content should be available soon.
The next one along is a Challenger Pack for $59.99 (€59.99) and then there's the Master Pack for $99.99 (€99.99). These will include "a huge number of skins, unlockable items, boosts, a unique skin, and a Founder’s Pack to give to a friend." Again, complete details to come.
If this is a thing you're considering picking up you can read more about how the game plays and the direction Epic are heading with it in my hands-on Paragon preview from when I spent a few hours with it last month. There's a smidge more about the replay systems, crossplay plans and so on in another post.
Alongside the info about early access is a snippet from creative director, Steve Superville, about what will be paid-for and what won't for the game proper:
"All Heroes are free, and cards can only be earned by playing the game. The game will never be pay-to-win, meaning we will never sell gameplay-affecting items. We will sell cosmetic items (skins, emotes), boosts and other convenience items, along with Paid Early Access."
In case you're wondering about progress in the early access release, Epic also say they won't be wiping accounts after 18 March so what game progression you make will be persistent.
It's an early access game so it's not finished. Epic themselves point out that this is an opt-in thing where you can give feedback and "help shape the game" so they're still testing ideas and hammering out features. They point out that some features are missing at this point and some content is placeholder. If you're entirely new to MOBAs I should add that the parts of the game which will be to teach new players how to understand what's going on are very barebones at the moment. Epic have also noted that "some systems (for example: cards and deck building) require a lot of patience". From my experience the latter will probably just lead to a lot of YouTube tutorials and wiki pages and subreddit threads so Paragon might become a bit of an ALT+TAB experience.
So yes. Paid early access 18 March, free-to-play full release in the summer.