Path of Exile
Path of Exile Overview
Path of Exile is an Action RPG brought to us by Grinding Gear Games. It offers a style of gameplay made popular by the Diablo series of games, but with quite a few twist to make their take on the genre quite unique. With its massive talent trees, immersive world, and fantastic gameplay, it’s easy to realize just why it has such a big following. And for those that like to have a challenge or are competitive, there is hardcore mode and plenty of race leagues for you to take part in.
Path of Exile Screenshots
Path of Exile Featured Video
Path of Exile – (Open Beta) New Content & Shadow Build Gameplay
Path of Exile Review
By Jordan Hall (ApocaRUFF)
Path of Exile is an Action RPG brought to us by Grinding Gear Games. It offers a style of gameplay made popular by the Diablo series of games, but with quite a few twist to make their take on the genre quite unique. With its massive talent trees, immersive world, and fantastic gameplay, it’s easy to realize just why it has such a big following. And for those that like to have a challenge or are competitive, there is hardcore mode and plenty of race leagues for you to take part in. Now that the game is ready for its official launch, it’s time we take a closer look at the game with a more critical eye.
Path of Exile has a lot of customization when it comes to your characters stats, abilities, and skills. From its item socketing to the massive skill/talent tree, there’s a lot of choices for you to make. Character creation is pretty simple, with you choosing from one of seven classes, ranging from melee to spell casters. You don’t get any say in how your character looks, and are thrown straight into the game as soon as you pick your class. You can customize your looks to an extent, as what armor or weapon you are using shows on your character in the game. There are cosmetic skins and pets that can be bought in the micro-transaction shop to make yourself stand out a bit more, though the elusive kiwi birds are now a relic from long ago.
The massive talent tree is both beautiful and overwhelming to look at. I’ve spent a lot of time just exploring the tree – or should I say forest – trying to find the best path for my character to take. Everything on the tree is passive, as all abilities are gained via skill gems, which gain exp from use and level up to increase their effectiveness. Each item has a set of sockets of differing colors which you can put gems into, granting your character abilities or special effects such as lifesteal or shielding for your HP. A lot of the fun to be gained from Path of Exile is from trying to build the best character possible by using a combination of the talent tree, items, and gems.
Path of Exile is a surprisingly beautiful game. It’s not the highest quality, but the developers have done a great job creating an incredibly atmospheric game that you can’t help but be immersed in. The art style chosen truly fits with the story, giving you a sense of the harsh reality one would feel being abandoned on an island of horrific creatures and cut throat politics. It all blends together quite well when viewed from the isometric perspective the game is played in too. I can’t say anything negative about the graphics as the love and care that the Grinding Gear art team put into their work is immediately apparent.
The UI in Path of Exile is something I would expect to see in a game from the early 90′s. It gives a retro feeling that actually fits well with the game. There are a few odd things with the UI that I didn’t like much, however. For example, when opening a window, the resolution of the “play” area is changed, giving a squished effect that I can’t really see a point to. Opening a window and suddenly finding that the “center” of the screen has been changed can be a bit confusing at first.
Path of Exile uses a combination of mouse and keyboard controls. The mouse is used for movement (by holding or clicking the right mouse button) and basic attacks, as well as picking up items dropped by fallen enemies. The keyboard is used to activate abilities and consume potions. I found myself picking up on the controls almost immediately, as they are easy to get used to because they made sense. Everything was smooth, as well. I didn’t notice anything negative concerning the controls.
I generally find the community in most games (or the Internet in general) to be quite vile. Path of Exile seems to have a bit of a mixed community. There are a lot of “bad apples” around, but there are a lot of nice and helpful people. While viewing the games global chat, it seemed as though a majority of what goes on is trading and trash talking. However, a visit to the forum allows you to get a better idea of the community, and where you can become exposed to the better parts of it.
There’s also a large competitive side to the community. Participating in the many racing leagues is the best way to show off your knowledge of the game. Due to Path of Exile’s large community (that is continuing to grow), there will be no shortage of competitors in the near future. Races are plentiful and diverse so players should find something that appeals to them. The random nature of maps add bonus challenge as players will have to memorize and learn tons of varieties and how to identify them in order to ensure the best time trial runs for races. Beyond just theming, you can find varying time limits, restrictions, and winning conditions tagged on to change up basic formulas on these challenges. If you’re a competitive person, you’ll feel right at home in this part of the community.
The gameplay in Path of Exile is pretty simple once you get used to it, but is hard to master. If you’ve ever played an action RPG before, you’ll be used to the setup. It’s essentially a mission running game, where you have hub towns that everyone visits to get quests, trade items, stash their loot, and all that other good stuff. Each hub town is surrounded with adventuring areas that are instanced on a solo or group basis. You won’t be running into a random person while you’re out questing, so you don’t have to worry about some guy you don’t know taking your loot.
Similar to Diablo, the game takes part in a series of “Acts”, which are basically major turning points in the on-going story in the game. Most missions/quests can be completed in a variety of difficulties. Enemies you kill will drop loot, and there are chests to open and barrels to break as well. A big part of the game is collecting loot, so if you find yourself to be a loot hoarder, you’ll fit right in. I was quite pleased with how well done the narrative of the game is, and how deep the story can go.
Combat, at first, is really fun and looks spectacular. However, I found my wrist starting to hurt after a while due to how repetitive it can be. In the later levels of the game, it seems like a lot of your tactics will revolve around one or two moves while spamming flasks for HP and mana regeneration. This, added with the fact that you’ll probably find yourself repeating a lot of the same content, can give the game an over-all repetitive feeling after you’ve played for a couple of weeks. But it’ll be a fun couple of weeks, at the least. And for those that enjoy the gameplay, there’s a thriving community for you to be a part of.
Flasks in Path of Exile are a neat concept. Rather than having to stock-up on potions each time you go to town, your flasks will automatically regenerate over time. Flasks range from HP regen, to mana regen, to speed boost. The usual tactic is to have a few HP, a few mana, and one speed boost available. In the harder maps, you’ll find yourself relying on your flasks constantly, so finding great flasks is important. You’re limited to how many total flasks you can bring and various upgrades exist as loot when you progress, offering a new progression system not often utilized in the MMO sphere.
I liked the item socketing system a great deal. Trying to find the perfect gear, with the correct sockets for the gems you want, was a large part of the driving force behind my enjoyment of the game. I’m not sure if everyone will feel the same, but I know a lot of people do. It’s evident that the system works well based on how popular the game is becoming. It’s nice that you don’t have to worry about spending precious skill points and ruining your character, either. If you don’t like the skills you have, simply take out the gems and replace them with something else.
End Game will consist of two things. Races (often referred to as Leagues) and maps. Races, as the name suggests, are when you race against other players and the goal is to reach the highest level possible within a set time limit to win prizes. Maps, on the other-hand, are special items that come in varying rarities. Using a map will, as the name suggest, gain you access to a special map that will allow you to gain access to the best items in the game. The challenge of races and the randomness of maps are what keep most people hooked on Path of Exile for an extended period of time, but at the same time they’re what make some people feel the game gets too repetitive.
Path of Exile has turned out to be quite an amazing experience. A phenomenon in its own right. It has a rapidly growing community, many of whom feel that the game provides what Diablo 3 should have. With its many unique features, it brings something fun and new to the Action RPG genre that we can all appreciate. The game seems to have something for everyone – the competitive players, the casual gamers, the loot hoarders… If you like to game, you will probably find something you like in Path of Exile and that’s what makes it such a fantastic game to play, in my opinion. I would highly suggest you try this game out and take part in the fun while it’s still a big deal and in the early stages of its life.
by Harry Ka-yan Cheung, MMOHuts Journalist
I first tried this game on a weekend stress test Grinding Gear Games (the developers and host of the game) held. At first look, I wasn’t exactly into the graphics of the game. They’re very medieval and dark. They hold a much more barbaric feel compared to many other modern online games. I soon realized that these graphics were a great compliment to what the developers were aiming for.
I honestly don’t know if there is much more one can do to the graphics of this game. They are very nicely done and do not need improvement in the aim Grinding Gears is going for. The dark environment and the feeling of being drawn into a terror induced world is very well defined. The developers wanted a game that was in a dark setting, challenging, and unique. It seems like all these aspects are covered.
A screenshot from a dungeon within Path of Excile
The gameplay plays similar to most 2.5d RPGs. The gameplay can be comparable to Diablo but that’s the whole point; this game appeals highly to players who enjoy Diablo and Dungeon Siege. The gameplay may be similar but what makes Path of Exile unique is the skilling system and the ability to be completely unique from many other players in game. Certain builds will also determine play styles; for example, one can play as a tanky marauder or one that focuses on dealing damage. A player is also not forced to sit hours to grind to get to a comfortable spot with a decent amount of skills. A player can easily accomplish fifty levels in a week.
Compared to many recent and modern games, Path of Exile has taken a step up in their end-game content. End-game content in the game is very hard. The enemies that players will face will often offer a player little to no mercy. If the monster wants to kill a player, then that’s exactly what the player will be faced with unlike other games where a monster will walk towards a player and just swing slowly and miss. A player can’t easily just take a stroll along the side of a map and hope to be safe. However, if players are hit hard, the game offers potions to auto recharge as players fight so technically players are able fight forever if desired.
An example of the potions mentioned
Players are often encouraged to team up because of the hard end-game content. Players should not solo because it’s actually much more beneficial to go with party members in terms of items and dungeon clearing. Moreover, players have a much easier time clearing a dungeon with at least one other player with them. Quest items and quest goals are often shared which helps greatly for the sake of saving time. It really helps if players have a source of close range and a source of long range; for example: a marauder and a witch. Often times, players will choose to be a summoner to be able to take roles of both long range and close range.
Passive Tree & Skill Gem System
As I mentioned before, most games offer a generic skill system, but in Path of Exile, they introduces a skill gem system with the inclusion of support gems. Skill gems are where a player’s skills come from. These skill gems are placed within armor and items to allow a player to use skills. The support gems are placed with the skill gems to offer additional benefits to the skills; for example: fireball skill gem + multiple projectiles support gem + chain support gem = shooting multiple fireballs that will bounce off a target and hit another. These skill gems also have levels; the player may level them by killing monsters and gaining experience for the gem. Once the gems receive enough experience, a player may choose to level the gem to the next level.
Examples of a skill gem and a support gem
Most games will offer a generic skill tree with hardly any variety between different players. Path of Exile has taken their skill system and brought it into a whole new level of originality. The passive tree is where players make their characters unique to each their own. These passive correspond with skills gems the game offers players. The passives will allow certain skills to gain effects or they will offer amplifications to a player’s attacks. Grinding Gears, however, did announce that there will be a few changes to the passive skill tree on the release of Open Beta.
Expansive passive skill tree
There isn’t much to say about the currency system but instead of using a gold or money currency, they use an item currency. For example, a player must use “Scroll of Wisdom” which are used to buy items and identify items. When players sell items, players receive fragments of other miscellaneous items that will help players identify items or upgrade items. Some may like this and others may not because players can find that this type of currency is very foreign and strange because there is no actually trade of money to buy and trade. I personally find this very reasonable for the setting in Path of Exile. I like to see games do new things and this isn’t a bad change at all.
Examples of items to sell and trade
Path of Exile has a lot to offer for both new and old players of MMOs. This game will appeal to many fans of Diablo. Many call Path of Exile “the game Diablo III should have been.” Some even say Path of Exile should be the game that even Diablo II should have been. This says a lot about the potential of this game. The originality of the game extends a hand to players who have been waiting for a dark action-role-playing-game. As long as a player is not afraid to try something new that offers a lot of original content, Path of Exile is worth the time to try.
Path of Exile Videos
Path of Exile – First Look
Path of Exile – (Open Beta) New Content & Shadow Build Gameplay
Path of Exile Links
Path of Exile System Requirements
OS: Windows XP/ 2000 / 98 / Vista
CPU: 1.0 GHz Intel P3 or equivalent
RAM: 512 MB RAM
HDD: 2 GB Free
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce 5500 or better
OS: Windows XP/ Vista
CPU: 2.4 Ghz Intel P4 or equivalent
RAM: 1024 MB (1GB) RAM
HDD: 2 GB Free
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce 6600 or better
Path of Exile Articles
- Weekly Hut Stream (3/7) Featuring Path of Exile - Posted on March 7, 2014
JamesBl0nde is now live on Twitch.TV playing Path of Exile: Sacrifice of the Vaal in the Ambush League! Watch the team gaming it up and get a preview of upcoming First Look videos with us every Friday at 11am PST!
- Path of Exile – Sacrifice of the Vaal update now available - Posted on March 4, 2014
Grinding Gear Games has just released a new updated titled "Sacrifice of the Vaal" for their F2P dungeon-crawler 'Path of Exile'.
- Path of Exile Sacrifice of the Vaal Expansion Early Access - Posted on February 28, 2014
Oh I’ve seen the horrors of the Vaal. You thought they were merely a legend? Long lost civilization that destroyed themselves? Arrogant outsider.
- MMO Valentine’s Event Guide 2014 - Posted on February 13, 2014
MMOs from A to Z are celebrating Valentine's this year. Check in OnRPG and MMOHut's guide for the latest V-Day events!
- Path of Exile 1.0.5 Deployment Announced - Posted on January 8, 2014
Grinding Gear Games releases news about Path of Exile 1.0.5 and race Season Six.