The designers behind Paladins had a plan for how the game would work on a whole. It was a simple plan, too. A new developer post explains that the game was to feature a small number of individual champions for players, but each champion would have a large number of different cards to tweak the champion significantly. So rather than having, say, a dozen different ranged champions, the game would have one ranged champion with cards to make her play like a dozen different champions.
It was with this plan that the game went into beta, only to find that players wanted almost exactly the opposite.
Thus, a change. Rather than having a small roster with a wide selection of cards, the game will have a small number of cards amidst an ever-expanding roster of champions. Much like SMITE, the game will allow players access to several champions free of charge at all times, while players can purchase new champions with either real money or spoils from the game. It’s a pretty major shift for how the game is played, but if you were hoping for more champions and less fiddling with the cards, you got your wish.