Natus Vincere’s Paladins team is no more, the organization announced on Dec. 9. The outfit, which had a great showing at this year’s Paladins World Championship, is being released and NAVI will divert their resources to other esports, according to the official statement. The organization cites the recent changes to the game’s competitive infrastructure as a reason for the move. Paladins’ “low popularity” as an esport was also a factor in the decision.
NAVI’s Paladins team was one of the winningest teams in the game’s esports history. Their players are now free agents. However, it is not yet clear if they are looking to join other rosters in Paladins.
Reasons for the end
As far as Paladins’ popularity is concerned, it is hard to argue there are hotter esports out there. Although it has a bigger playerbase than Hi-Rez’s other main competitive title, Smite, Paladins is much less popular with viewers. The contrast between Paladins’ success as an esport compared to its success as a game is pretty curious.
However, the announcement puts most of the blame for disbanding NAVI Paladins on the upcoming changes to the game’s esports infrastructure. NAVI Paladins team manager Mykhailo “M1ke” Palamar states that directly. “This decision was made by Natus Vincere because of the League format change next year.”
“Paladins doesn’t develop the way it did during the initial years as an esports discipline.”
What used to be three separate branches – the Paladins Premier League, Minor League and Console League – will be unified as the Paladins Pro Circuit in 2020. This streamlining comes with many big changes, giving the organization a complete face-lift. Unfortunately, the game’s professional community received the news of the restructure with a healthy amount of doom-and-gloom. Many are decrying this as the end of professional Paladins esports. Stick around with SQUAD as we continue to monitor the situation.