Paladins is a new MOBA-FPS (or third person?) to the genre of MOBAs.
It's created by Hi-Rez Studios the same company that brought Tribes Ascend and the more well known MOBA game Smite.
So... technically this is their second MOBA. Paladins appears to be aiming for a more "everyone audience" based on its aesthetic and gameplay appeal.
The first thing I've noticed in a lot of public comments and opinions is a lot of comparisons to Overwatch. I haven't played Overwatch so I won't know how to compare the two and won't. With the only exception is that I'll agree the aesthetic may appear similar which is the only thing I can comment upon but I have no idea if it plays anything like.
So here's my initial impressions of Paladins, mind you it's very brief because I've only played 2 matches as Kinessa & Viktor. This is also based on its Beta, after release it could be a lot different.
I like the fact that the game is very quick-paced, action is high and downtime is very little(could be a good or bad thing). The two classes I played heavily relies on aiming skill, whereas some foes I've fought there were a lot of AoE shooting which means placement of shots in positions, not on targets, is more important. Playing a guy like Viktor I was dancing around some guy(Pip?) shooting bombs everywhere he was having a lot of trouble doing any damage to me.
The average match length is about 20-25 minutes. Both matches I played were capture point & cart pushing.
There are some classes which aren't heavily reliant to aiming like Kinessa or Viktor. There was a treant(Grover?) with an axe that seemed to be prevalent in both the matches I played seems like an interesting class tank/support class but I'll have to try out the game a bit more. The other ones I noticed were people quick-locking the assassin Skye. There are also support classes which looking through their skills generally cause some sort of crowd control effect rather than pure damage. Each character is listed with their own main role trait.
The roster only shows enough slots to hold 21 champions to play, hopefully the layout will include more later on else I feel everyone will start tunneling into certain classes without trying other heroes more often since the mix isn't that big. Considering 5 people are on your team on average 5/21 of the champions will be played often and another 5 on the other team, you'll have nearly half the roster seen in every match with 5 heroes not even out yet that makes your chances of running with/playing against the same champion multiple times very high. Currently there are 16/21 champions released.
Kinessa plays as more of a Sniper to do heavy damage, able to reposition herself quickly with a teleport skill, and can also utilize her regular unscoped shots as a miniature dps machinegun. She can also toss out two stationary land mines that latch some lasers on to nearby enemies to slow them and increase damage taken from her rifle and cause a minor damage over time effect while they're in range of the landmine.
The rifle charges up really fast and if you aim at heads you can take out people in as little as two shots if they have no Direct Damage Reduction burn-card bought(more on this later). I found it to be rather overpowered but I don't know, 2 matches isn't enough to determine balances. Her ultimate is definitely crazy powerful, granting a critical hit(+50% damage) on any upperbody part hit of an enemy foe for 5 seconds and unlimited ammunition without reloading required. Make sure you know how to aim if you're playing Kinessa.
Viktor on the other hand is more of a DPS frontline soldier. Wields a machinegun that you can pretty much spray and pray with a frag grenade you should toss every time it's on cooldown. The frag packs a decent punch and throws enemies out of position behind covers. His ultimate calls for an airstrike in an area, great for blasting out capture points from a pack of guys sitting together. His sprint is also good for moving out of dangerous spots quickly or simply traversing.
Paladins has mounts in the game to help get you into combat a lot faster, though how to summon it I have no idea, it seems to auto-summon after you've been out of combat for a lengthy duration or after spawn. Taking a hit unsummons your mount immediately.
The game itself has 4 categories of instance match items. Each character can purchase this using currency gained during the match. These are also your "burn-cards". They're only applicable for the match you're currently in and will be reset on the next match. There isn't a way to sell them in game, so be wary of what to pick up during your battle. Knowledge of your enemies' attacks is greatly helpful so more gaming experience could help determine which defense card you might pickup(AoE vs. Direct Damage card or stealth reveal etc.). There are also damage cards that either boost weapon damage against everything, or supreme damage boost against shields or go up against certain other defense effects. There's your mobility card, and a support card as well. It seems you can only pick 1 from each category.
Paladins also offers multiple forms of progression in the game. There are card sets you can adjust to modify your hero loadout before a match starts, this is more in tune with something permanent across your account. Based on what's available there appears to be a lot of customizing available pre-match. This could indicate a high level of difficulty in tuning balance for the game though. It's hard to tell until most have had a chance to burn through multiple builds before people start throwing "best build available here". Hopefully that is never the case since you always want multiple options of multiple viable builds.
Characters have mastery levels that can be gained from just playing and overall performing well in a match. I'm not certain what they do but they possibly unlock skins? or new card sets? ingame currency? Either way there's a lot of leveling to do with all the chars on the roster already.
Apart from all this to summarize, I think Paladins is pretty neat, easy to jump into, an aesthetic appeal aimed towards all ages and it's free. Game balance doesn't appear lopsided, the one match I played Kinessa with a 26 kill/assist streak I lost, whereas the other one with Viktor on a shoddy killstreak we won. Here's some stats just so you know how much killing is going on in one match.
There's some strategy involved currently with the Capture Point & Payload push system which I think could use some fine tuning because a proper defense grants the defending team a point whereas capturing the point grants the capturing team a point. So ... by the 4th point, if you're tied it's whoever captures first wins(which I think is total bogus if you've capped it the first 3 times and the other team defends the first 3 and caps the last one).