What Would You Change About… Path of Exile?
Developed by Grinding Gear Games Path of Exile is an action RPG taking many old school traditional features and systems to create a relatively hardcore and at times demanding game, free to download and play the game drops players in the middle of a dark fantasy world of monsters, ghouls and ancient lost civilizations. With a number of unique features such as Leagues that offer different challenges and gameplay mechanics and the built in “ethical microtransactions” between players where they must actively trade with each other in game, exchanging items with a barter system to improve their gear. The game has come a long way since its early development and has, in most cases, retained the unique hardcore nature and core philosophy that stood the game out from the crowd, however over time there have been a few issues that we still feel need addressing…
- Desync - The game continues to suffer quite badly from desync. For those unfamiliar essentially desync is caused when your client thinks the game is doing one thing and the server thinks something else is happening; the instantaneous player action-game reaction needed in online games is scary quick, most of the time you get what seems to be a little bit of lag or rubber banding, sometimes you have enemies right on top of you when you thought were well away from them. Path of Exile has had desync issues for years now, for many players (and us) it is the number one cause of complaint and something they really need to get a handle on, quite literally it makes you not want to play the game because it is so frustrating and makes it both hard to be competitive in PVP and is responsible for way too many combat deaths.
- Melee Sucks - Melee fighters, in comparison to other builds, are really underwhelming. Whilst it’s not impossible to create a capable melee build (particularly when you’re experienced and have much better gear), it is considerably more difficult than it is for other focuses and often seems like you deal less damage and suffer from having far less survivability. Throw into the mix the above desync where, in comparison to ranged attackers, melee fighters really suffer at desyncs hands when it kicks in. Overall we generally like melee fighters in online games, but for POE the melee types feel clumsy, lacks fluidity and is generally very difficult to play (when normally a survivability of a melee class is usually what makes them considerably easier to play). Some stronger counter attack spells/gems would be amazing and a little less demand on high quality drops that make it actually worth building a melee character.
- Death Penalty - Players lose XP and levels when they die. One of the biggest challenges in the game is reaching the 100 level cap, in most leagues there’s only a dozen or so people who have been able to do this, some Race events increase XP loss such as Cutthroat with players able to win prizes. It is a very punishing system and, whilst we’re a fan of hardcore systems due to our early MMORPG experiences (Ultima Online in particular) there’s definitely a middle ground that could/should be met. No one likes dying, it’s pretty frustrating as it is, so the added blow of losing not only the time it takes to get back to where you were to continue questing, but also losing the time you spent previously levelling up, is pretty harsh. The game needs to retain its hardcore nature, so we’d never suggest removing the death penalty, but where players are penalized for dying they should perhaps be rewarded with XP boosts the longer they manage to stay alive between deaths. It would at least take out the sting a little when dying.
- Trading - It’s surprisingly difficult to find what you need. One of the core principals is that the game is an economy based trading game, where players have no real solid currency and instead trade items with each other or sell them off to NPC vendors. There are no in game auction houses, no mail system, all trade occurs player to player and relies on third party programs and forums to find items. Essentially what this means is that if you want an item you need to jump through a few hurdles, firstly that items needs to be in the possession of someone else, secondly they need to be willing to trade it, third you need to have something THEY want, fourth you actually need to be on at the same time and then meet up in game. Being on at the same time makes trading an even bigger chore and, as we don’t want to disrupt the “hardcore realism” nature of the game what we would suggest is having a floating independent trader lockbox for players struggling to get online at the same time; a location where you can put the item you are going to trade then when the other player is online they can put their item into the lockbox and hit the accept button if the item you have is the one they want. When you as the original trader then return to the box you can check what they are trying to trade and, if it is the right item, hit the accept button.
- Downgrading Top Tier Items - Introducing new Tier 1 items is… bad. It takes a lot of time, effort and resources to make the best items in the game, particularly those who sacrifice and risk their gear to try and get tier 1 mods. It takes a lot to try and get top end items in the game, much of that is grind and not particularly enjoyable, so when introducing tier 1 mods upsets that balance it can sometimes feel like everything you invested and all the progress that was made.. it was for nothing, it was a temporary bonus that quickly becomes redundant. The goalposts are inherently moved so that those players who’ve already achieved everything (a very small minority) have something greater to strive for, which we get, but the painstaking effort that other players put into crafting gear shouldn’t be hurt due to the few. There needs to be a peak where the best gear stays the best gear, concentrate on providing other content and things that benefit the majority not the small % of players that spend every waking minute in the game.
These are some of the things that we would change about Path of Exile, but what do you think? What would you change about this game? Would you add anything else to the list? We await your opinions! Let us know!!!!!