Exclusive interview with one of the Path of Exile developers

Today we publish this exclusive interview about the free online dark fantasy action MMORPG Path of Exile with one of its developers.
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Thanks for giving us the opportunity to interview you about Path of Exile.

First of all, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
I'm Rory, one of the developers working on Path of Exile at Grinding Gear Games in New Zealand.

How would you describe Path of Exile to someone who has never heard about it before?
Path of Exile is an Action RPG for people who love Action RPGs - It costs nothing to play, is built around a strong community and is designed and made by people who want to play the game. It has massive replayability, deep customisation, and a dark and wholly unique fantasy world to explore.

Can you tell us about what inspired Path of Exile? We’ve heard that it has some elements that players loved in Diablo. Tell us more about it and the gameplay?
The lead developers and founding members of the team were all huge Action RPG players, and wanted to make a game that built on what they loved about it while adding their own ideas to the mix. Magic: the Gathering was also an important inspiration, the tactical customisation and gameplay inspiring the Skill Gem and Passive Skill Tree.

Could you explain us the character progression system? How do players level in Path of Exile?
There are two key parts of character progression, the Skill Gems, and the Passive Tree. In Path of Exile, active skills (i.e., skills that you use on command) are itemized onto "Skill Gems". These gems confer an active skill to the player when they are socketed into equipment and gain experience as the player slays enemies, and leveling up, increasing the power of the skill.

A choice of staple skill gems are given out as quest rewards throughout the game to ensure that players have a variety of skills available. You’ll discover rare advanced skill gems out in the wilderness and dungeons. Like all items, these can be traded between players. Some of the more devastating skills are extremely valuable.

The player also receives a Passive Skill Point every level - This is used in the Passive Skill Tree, a huge branching character development system with over 1300 nodes to pick from. A passive skill could give an increase in damage or health, to improve some aspect of your character, or it could have a drastic change, like removing your ability to Critically Strike, while making your attacks always hit, or making your minions explode when they're on low life.

Could you give us some details about the combat system?
Combat is very customizable - You can play the way you want to play, based on how you build your character. All classes use Mana at first, but you can build your character in a way that it becomes important or irrelevant. All classes have health that can be increased, but they can build their character to avoid harm, or to be tough enough to handle a lot of damage. You can use any combination of skills, if you build your character towards them - Raining fire on them, Deadly poisoning attacks with a quick blade, making your enemies walking bombs with explosive arrows, raising them as spectres to fight for you, shocking them with lightning whenever you block their attacks - these are just a few of the skills that you can pick and choose between.

Could you tell us more on the character customization? How will the players be able to make their character unique?
There are several ways to customize a Path of Exile character. The character’s items, build (passive and active skill choices) and playstyle set them apart from other characters of the same class. Players have the ability to buy cosmetic microtransactions to further enhance how they appear.

What could you tell us about the item system? What are they used for?
Items are randomly generated and are either Normal, Magic, or Rare, like many other RPGs. Rather than gold, players can find "Currency Items" that can both be traded with, and used to change and improve items they've found in the world. Most of the player-built economy is based around trading valuable Currency Items, and items created with them.

There are also Unique items that have special qualities not found on normal items.

How does PvP battle work? Will there be a ranking or rewards system? And what is the PVE made of?
There are multiple PvP modes planned, ranging from team arena combat to tournaments of 1v1 duels. There will be both rewards and ranks to gain. Some of the PvE game modes also contain PvP options, such as the “Cut-throat” mode where players are able to kill each other to take their equipped items.

Could you give us a sneak peak of the gems and skills?
You can see all of the announced skills here: Strength, Dextery, Intelligence
Though we're releasing more every patch!

Path of Exile has been announced as a Free to Play MMO but could you reveal any details on the monetization system? Will it be necessary to buy items to be powerful in the game?
Anything purchasable with real-world currency have no affect on character power - They're all cosmetic, or have some functional benefit in the game, like storage space or increasing the number of characters you can have. If you buy the Fireball microtransaction, it might change your Fireball skill to look like a flaming dragon head, but won't affect the damage or game properties of the skill.

In which regions and in which languages are you planning to launch Path of Exile and do you already have an approximative schedule for the open beta or release?
At release, the game will only be in English, but we're planning to have it localised for as many different audiences as possible after that point. We already have many communities from around the world playing the game, and would love to see these continue to grow.

From your point of view, what makes this game more fun than others?
I enjoy the customisation available in the game - I've been involved with the game for almost a year now, and I still feel like every character I make is different, and I'm rewarded for making good choices. All players get something else from the game though: Some enjoy the challenging combat, others like creating the most powerfull strategies and skill-sets. Others just like destroying monsters with their friends. I think what makes this game more fun than others is that it has something for everyone.

Thank you for your time.

You can get a Closed beta key below.

To get your closed beta add your email in the field below the image of the promo and check your email account and follow the instructions. After that visit Path of Exile and create a account .

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