Path of Exile Open Beta

By: Derek Yu

On: January 23rd, 2013

Path of Exile, by Grinding Gear Games

There’s no need to beat a dead horse but it should be mentioned – yeah, Diablo 3 was a pretty disappointing experience for me, too. It happens. However, just as the third Godfather movie didn’t mean the end of good gangster flicks, neither does the third Diablo game mean the end of good point-and-click action RPGs.

Path of Exile is one of the newer entries to the genre, and the one I’m most excited about. Unlike Torchlight, the theme and graphics are dark, gritty, and almost oppressive. And unlike Grim Dawn, PoE will be available to play later today, as an open beta. Unlike all the other Diablolikes, the game will always be free-to-play, with cosmetic microtransactions being the only source of the developer’s income from it.

One of the biggest problems with Diablo 3 were its lackluster items, which arguably moved the game’s most exciting moments from the dungeon floor to the in-game auction houses. In Path of Exile, however, items are everything – almost literally. Not only can weapons and armor be socketed with active skill gems, but potions and even playable dungeons can be dropped as loot and then enchanted or traded (PoE has no gold and uses on a bartering system instead).

A vast amount of customization seems possible with PoE’s itemization, as well as a
passive skill tree that looks more like a forest. The six starting classes will place you on one end of the tree, but after leveling up enough it’s possible to wind your way over to the opposite side. Certain passive skills, called “Keystone passives” will drastically change the way your character plays.

On top of that, the developers are promising a fun PVP system with leagues and ladders that will last anywhere from one hour to months on end. Could you really ask for anything more of this type of game? Well, an offline mode might be nice, especially on launch day… but if you were willing to put up with “always online” to play Diablo 3, then PoE certainly seems worth it. At the very least, the price is (better than) right!

Links: NeoGaf thread

  • http://twitter.com/Erinock Erinock

    This looks sick, I hope its as decent as it looks

  • David Holmin

    Really, really cool game. I’ve played the closed beta on and off, and I’m looking forward to playing it again now that it has the third act and voice acting.

  • Anonymous

    God I hate OSX at times.

  • Alastair Jack

    When I tried it like a year ago I thought it was going to be awesome, but the combat was boring, felt really lifeless and the environments super bland/repetitive.

  • David Holmin

    I disagree. The hits packs lots of punch. Very blunt violence, unlike ragdoll stuff. And only in the first act, there is: beach, caves, cliffs, desert, swamp, ship graveyard, etc. Also, a lot has happened in a year. Monsters have more special skills they use, etc.

  • David Holmin

    There’s a wrapper which makes it run really well on OSX. Check out the forums.

  • http://twitter.com/phubans Paul Hubans

    Next time purchase function over fashion.

  • Anonymous

    I purchased it on repeated recommendations from friends. At least now I get to say, “no, I own one – they’re shit, shut up.”

  • Alastair Jack

    Hmm ok, I might try it again. Maybe I remembered it wrong.

  • William Dogood

    I still find the combat to drag, especially early on when you have very few skills. One thing Diablo 3 definitely did right was the visceral fast paced combat. Going from monster affixes like Waller, Frozen, and Arcane that you have to dodge, make you relocate and approach, or actively keep you on the move, back to simple things like “deals cold damage, resists fire, extra life” kinda brings out just how dated the Diablo 2 model is.

    That said, I am having a lot of fun playing with three other friends, and while I think the combat could be far more active and “weighty”, it doesn’t bring the whole experience down so much that I’m not enjoying the game.

  • http://www.derekyu.com Derek Yu

    So far my experience has been that Diablo 3 gets worse as you play, and Path of Exile gets better. I actually dislike D3′s affixes, because they’re so generic. When everything from zombies to dragons start walling you and dropping arcane lasers it gets old really fast.

    The PoE monsters do have some non-passive tricks up their sleeves, though, like blinking, leaving molten/tar on death, exploding, charging at you, cursing you, etc. Not as much “bullet hell” type stuff as in D3 (at least up to Act II, where I’m at), but it’s more than just the stuff you mentioned.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/AGN4E46QQFALOBTASDBSG56FHI Paul

    Good man!

  • http://twitter.com/dominictarason Dominic Tarason

    One thing that kinda sets this apart from Diablo 3 & Torchlight 2 is that you start out a lot closer to mortal. At the start of the game you’re a nobody, washed up on a beach and fighting off zombies with a broken, scavenged weapon. By halfway through Act 2, you’re starting to really figure out your character build and exploiting its strengths. By the end of the game you’re spraying explosions everywhere 24/7.

    And then you’ve got two loops of New Game+ to enjoy.

  • David Holmin

    “So far my experience has been that Diablo 3 gets worse as you play, and Path of Exile gets better.”

    Exactly this. D3 gets boring quickly, whereas PoE starts a little slow (but with great atmosphere) and gets more interesting as more mechanics are introduced. Support gems, charges, monster abilities, etc.

  • Jethro Larson

    Played for about 6 hours so far. It’s itemization is interesting and the skill system is alright, combat is a little weak early game, but I guess torchlight and D3 have me spoiled. Hopefully it shines later on. I’m gonna keep playing, it’s got me hooked at least.

  • Names have power

    Hardcore league is the shit. It’s basically permadeath; you die, you get booted to the “scrubcore” or “softcore” – the Standard League. There are basically two different communities, HC and SC. In HC, you have to play for survival, while in SC you can just portal spam the boss to death. Pop a portal, rush the boss, die, hop into portal, rinse, repeat.

    In HC, you actually have to try to survive, which changes the game completely.
    It comes to no surprise that the meta game in HC is focused on health nodes or CI (Chaos Inoculation – immunity to chaos damage which gets brutal with higher difficulties).

    I ended up creating a new toon everytime I croaked on HC. The furthest I got was 47 2hander duelist, who got instagibbed by a normal mob (Vaal Fallen in Vaal ruins).

    Hardcore adds the suspense to already good game.