Path of Exile is really freakin cool.

29 10 2013

Straight up, I have been utterly consumed by a new game which I’ve hesitated to Youtube for two reasons:

  1. it’s not really fun to watch;
  2. it’s so fun to play that I’ve been doing it to the exclusion of everything else during fun time.

I’m daydreaming about Don’t Starve (and still have a pending episode to encode) and just  picked up King’s Bounty on TB’s recommendation (and it’s on sale) as well as Saints Row IV (also on sale this past weekend) soooo I’ve got a lot of pending entertainment that I don’t expect to finish prior to the arrival of a certain game that I will no doubt be obsessed with. Seriously, every day I’m seeing previews and opinion pieces praising the changes made to XCOM. I am chomping at the bit to test how resistant EXALT operatives are to bullets.

That all said, Path of Exile has currently taken a hold of me. It’s the Diablo 2 successor that I wanted D3 to be, introducing some brilliant adjustments to the click-fest genre: namely the monumental customization and brilliant gearing.

The passive skill tree is over a thousand nodes and shared between the classes, and while each class has little nests of abilities that the class is angled at, you can in every single case detour around the close nests and bee line for whatever you want, building a character that’s unique to you. The entire thing is very overwhelming, but if you grow your character organically with careful forethought you can have a good time of it; and if you fail, building a new character is actually not as prohibitive as it is in previous games of this type. Their entire market is founded upon that, actually: they have these Leagues in which you create a new character that can’t share assets with your characters in the Standard league, but they Leagues have special events, mobs, drops that you can only get in there. You play the League and, after some amount of time (a number of months) that League merges with Standard and they make a new one with new content. It’s like Ladders from D2. Leveling itself is quick (at least for the first 30 levels) and fun, allowing you to prototype a new character in a few days. Skills themselves are all drops – socketable gems – that level up with you and can be linked with other gems for fun effects.

My current main is a Ranger (the archer class) that uses a 2H sword and pushes Attack Speed and physical damage, using Smoke Bombs and heavy armor to survive. (Here’s the build.) She is super fun to play because she fits my style and – more importantly – breaks the mold. I did something with the Ranger that she was not ostensibly designed for (giant sword melee combat) and it’s working very well. I’ve got her in Act 2 of Merciless mode and her hang ups right now are that only two of my three resists are maxed and being Frozen straight up murders me. (Hence my  pushing for that node cluster on the far, far right of the tree.) Smoke Bombs are a gem, and my Faster Attacks + Double Strike + Mana Leech + Life Leech + Melee Splash (all gems linked together) = I kill stuff FAST. (I swing almost 5-times a second. It’s awesome.)

Now, I say “not ostensibly designed for” when it’s obvious to me that she was tested with builds not dissimilar to mine, but I feel like I broke the mold which is the mark of a good game: this game let me go my own way, use my own approach to the game. Brilliant.

It’s a great game, which I recommend. It’s Free-to-Play and the right kind, mind you: you buy only cosmetic (glowy swords) and quality-of-life (more stash tabs) and no power at all. Try it! It’s free.

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One response

2 11 2013
Postie

I pretty much agree with everything you said. I was initially overwhelmed by the amount of choice available in the passive tree, but once I tried a few different classes I realised how powerful it is.

I played it waaaay too much early this year while it was still in Beta, and eventually had to stop myself. Now that it’s officially released it might be time to take a look at what’s changed since I’ve been gone.

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