What Do We Love About… Path of Exile?

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A difficult and fairly unique ARPG, Path of Exile is the crowning achievement of Grinding Gear Games. This grim dark fantasy throws players into the deep end (literally you get tossed into the sea) and washes them up into a disturbed land permeated with evil where the Exiles have managed to eke out a few settlements to survive. With six available classes and the potential for near infinite builds using a complex skill and gem system, the game offers exceptional PVE and story driven content as well as PVP options, crafting and vast amount of exploration, but when we asked ourselves “What Do We Love About… Path of Exile?” here’s what we came up with…

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  • Currency System - Complicated but intriguing. One of the things that really separates Path of Exile from a lot of other games is its currency system; there is no set currency in the game (e.g. gold or credits) and instead everything works off a trade system where vendors trade certain scrolls and orbs for any loot items you wish to sell. Scrolls and orbs are essential items used for crafting and players will need them at some point, or they can trade them with other vendors or even players. Player trading is a much deeper system and the game has plenty of websites and trade forums dedicated solely to working out the player economy and how much stuff is worth, but in general your items are worth whatever you can get for them; the rarer and more powerful the item then there’s always someone looking to pay more than it might be potentially worth.

  • The Passive Skill Tree - Any amazingly open way to customize your character. The level of personal character customization in Path of Exile is almost unprecedented when it comes to the Passive Skill Tree, a huge web of nodes that give buffs, skills and attribute increases to truly define your character. Each time a player levels up they get a paint to spend on the tree and unlock a skill node linked to one they have already activated, so players can’t simply pick anything on the tree. However, each class starts within a completely different area of the tree, surrounded by the most common/useful nodes for that class, but with enough time and levels players can branch two or more classes by spending enough nodes to reach another section of the tree. This type of freeform skill progression allows some truly unique class templates, players can’t pick up a ton of different high end nodes for lots of classes, if they wish to give themselves a little more utility then they can spread themselves a little thinner across the web for more options.

  • Uniquely Dark Setting - You truly face the unknown. The story is of players being dumped onto the “prison” continent of Wraeclast for the crimes they committed in their homeland of Oriath, they are exiles left to survive or die against the vile and dark things that plague the land from the ancient Empires that once stood here. The moment players land on the night time beach they know that bad stuff is going down here and you feel absolutely in the dark, both figuratively and literally, with no idea what the hell is going on and slowly piecing together the state of this place. The creepy atmosphere, jump scares and constant fear of the unknown it can make you really uncomfortable heading into an unfamiliar location, entering a hall and finding dismembered bodies strung up from chains all over the place and think “Oh sh..”

  • Hardcore Mode - If you die once then your character is deleted. That’s it. Game Over. Start again. This is awesome.

  • Challenging - From the moment you start playing the game is not easy. For many this is a negative aspect, particularly with the generation of gamers these days that want as many save points as possible, don’t want to lose gear on dying, want passive XP just for doing nothing and as many AFK/macro features as they can get. We’re a little older than that; we’re from an era where when you died in a game you started the damn game again, so the spoon fed childsplay that is constantly served up does very little for us. In steps a game that is deliberately challenging to work out what exactly you’re supposed to do, it represents the world in which you have just stepped into, it accentuates this “entering the unknown”. The PVE is difficult and at times deadly, working out how to trade, what items are worth, whether gear is worth picking up.. it all takes time and experience and, if you’re lucky, a helping hand from time to time (or Google and YouTube…).

  • Socketable Gems - Gems change how your skills work. If you can fire an arrow as one of your skills then you can pick up a gem and socket it into your gear to shoot three arrows, or you could get a gem that turns your arrows into a fire arrow… or you could link them together so that you arrow now shoots three fire arrows. You can have a Cleave attack to deal lots of damage and link it with a vampiric ability to absorb the health you drain, or have it stun attackers, or have it become a flaming cleave. There’s so much that you can do with your gear that it goes far beyond just increasing stats; your gear defines you and your abilities and by switching gear you completely change up what your character can do in battle. Add into all this that you can get gear items where you can link up to SIX gems… and things start getting serious!

  • Absolute Lack of Pay-to-Win - No pay to win mechanics here. Having such a successful game with a business model lacking any pay to win shows that you don’t need to milk your players dry, ruin your games’ reputation and generally piss off the huge number of players who don’t want to buy stuff in order to stay competitive. The cash shop focuses mostly on cosmetics, new skins, special effects for your character such as giving them firey footprints when they walk, or a number of different non-combat pets to follow you around, hideout decoration and a handful of account features such as extra inventory slots and characters.

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These are some of the things that we love about Path of Exile, but what do you think? What do you love about this game? Would you add anything else to the list? We await your opinions! Let us know!!!!!

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