Path of Exile
Path of Exile is a 3D action RPG inspired by classic ARPGs of the past. Despite the retro look, Path of Exile is a highly complex game with unique currency systems and character progression. PoE is perfect for players fed up with the simplicity of today's games or those looking for a true spiritual successor to Diablo 2.
|Publisher: Grinding Gear Games
PvP: Duels / Arenas / CTF / Tournaments
Release Date: October 23, 2013
Pros: +High degree of skill and item customization. +Dark fantasy setting. +Casual, competitive, and hardcore leagues. +Cash shop doesn't offer gameplay advantages.
Cons: -Repetitive gameplay. -Steep learning curved. -Dated graphics and user interface style.
Path of Exile Overview
Path of Exile is a gritty action RPG made for gamers by gamers looking to bring back the depth and competitive nature of the genre. The game pulls no punches – the complexity of the passive skill tree alone will send players scrambling for a guide within minutes of creating their characters. But gamers willing to put in the time to learn Path of Exile's Byzantine systems of currency orbs, skill gems, and linked equipment will be rewarded with an action RPG with limitless potential for customization.
A fairly lengthy campaign of three acts and three difficulty modes ensures plenty of content to enjoy, but Path of Exile is truly geared towards players willing to run through endless hordes of monsters for the next incremental upgrade.
Path of Exile Key Features:
- Customize Your Skills and Items – there are plenty of options for you to customize your character to your playstyle via the large skill webs and item socketing system.
- No Money Needed – cash shop is available, but no money is necessary to dominate the game.
- Play It Again and Again – high replay value in different game modes, difficulty levels, and more.
- Great Balance of PvE and PvP – get the best of both worlds in Path of Exile, where certain areas are designated as PvE and others as PvP.
- Spiritual Successor to Diablo 2 – many consider this game as such, and fans of Diablo 2 will not be disappointed in the gameplay that Path of Exile has to offer.
Path of Exile Screenshots
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Path of Exile Featured Video
Path of Exile Classes
There are 7 classes in Path of Exile, each aligned with one or two of the three attributes in the game: Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence. The Scion is aligned with all three attributes.
- Marauder – the Marauder is the Strength class. He specializes in brutal melee attacks and a strong defense. He also wears the heaviest armor in the game.
- Ranger – the Ranger is the Dexterity class. She specializes in avoiding incoming damage and dishing it out using ranged weapons.
- Witch – the Witch is the Intelligence class. The Witch specializes in dealing massive amounts of damage and controlling her opponents. While wearing the lightest armor in the game leaves her at a disadvantage, she can make up for it by surrounding herself with a magical barrier.
- Templar – the Templar is a Strength/Intelligence hybrid, which means that he can use a powerful combination of melee abilities and spells while wearing heavy armor.
- Shadow – the Shadow is a Dexterity/Intelligence hybrid. He specializes in destroying his opponents with a flurry of attacks, using fast weapons, and laying down traps and mines to control the battlefield.
- Duelist – the Duelist is a Strength/Dexterity hybrid, which makes him capable of handling both melee and ranged combat.
- Scion – the Scion is a Strength/Dexterity/Intelligence hybrid, and she can be unlocked by rescuing her right before the final boss on Normal difficulty. She is in a unique position, which gives the most flexibility in terms of customization out of all the classes.
Path of Exile Review
By Toan Layne
Path of Exile is a dark fantasy 3D ARPG developed by Grinding Gear. It is published by Grinding Gear in Europe and the US, and by Garena in South East Asia. It was launched on January 23, 2013 in open beta, and it can be found both on Steam and on the game’s website. The game is very similar to Diablo 2, so any fans of the game will have a blast with PoE.
On the Shores of Wraeclast
Path of Exile is set on the continent of Wraeclast, a cursed land that was once home to a powerful empire. It is now a penal colony for the criminals of the neighboring island of Oriath. Players take on the roles of exiles and outcasts trying to survive the dangers of Wraeclast.
There isn’t much character customization in Path of Exile. Similarly to Diablo 2, players can choose between several characters, each with its own unique fighting style, skills, and story. There are seven classes. You have Duelist, Marauder, Ranger, Shadow, Templar, Witch, and Scion. The first six classes are available from the start, while the Scion is unlocked by rescuing her right before the final boss on Normal difficulty. Each class is aligned with one or two attributes (Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence), and leveling involves spending points in improving these attributes.
But more on that later. For now, let’s talk about the gameplay. PoE is a point-and-click hack-and-slash ARPG, which means that you use the mouse to move and attack, and the keyboard to cast spells and abilities. If you’ve played Diablo or Torchlight, you know the type. The game is very similar to Diablo 2, and some say it is its spiritual successor. I can definitely agree with that. Everything about the game makes it clear that the developers wanted to pay homage and draw inspiration from Diablo 2. You have the dark atmosphere, the class selection, the combat, the randomly generated zones – it’s all there. That is not to say that it is an exact copy. There are significant differences between the two games.
When it comes to the multiplayer side of things, players will not see each other outside of hub towns unless they are in a party. This way, players don’t have to worry about ninja looting, or any of that mumbo jumbo, but they can get lonely out there. Personally, I find it to be the best of both worlds. When I’m out doing PvE and questing, I rarely tend to notice other players, and in some cases it can be an inconvenience when they tag a rare quest mob. I do love me some world PvP though, but that has the downside of getting ganked every now and then.
Skill Webs and Socketed Abilities
Path of Exile is particularly known for its very interesting character development. First of all, you have the massive skill tree, which looks more like a web. This skill tree is filled with passive increases in stats, attributes, and percentages such as attack speed and the like. But it gets even stranger. The skill tree is shared by all classes, with each class starting on a different part of the tree. The tree is also divided into three parts, each part correlated to one of the three main attributes. Players will have 100 points to spend by the time they reach max level, so mapping out a course that would find the right balance of health, mana, and damage is important.
The second part of the equation is the ability system. Every item in PoE has sockets, and these sockets can be in one of three colors: red, green, and blue. These colors correspond with the attributes of Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence. You then have ability gems of different colors, which will go into the sockets. This is how the ability system works – I know, it blew my mind, too. But, wait! The rabbit hole goes deeper. These gems level up the more you use them and they can be enhanced by support gems, when placed in linked sockets. So for example, let’s you can have a Fireball gem in one socket and a Multiple Projectiles support gem in the socket linked to it… you can see where I’m going with this. Placing two ability gems next to each other in linked sockets has no effect, however. Gems can be taken out and placed into equipment with no penalty. I found this system very unique. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and while I’m sure that there are specific builds in the end-game, experimenting in the early game with the huge number of combinations can be a ton of fun.
Keeping Things Interesting
The replayability and end-game in Path of Exile come in three forms. You have difficulty levels, leagues, and PvP. Once you play through the game once, you can restart with the same character on a higher difficulty level, where you’ll get better items. There are three difficulties: Normal, Cruel, and Merciless. Once players have gone through the three difficulty levels, they then have a choice of leagues. There are two types of leagues: permanent and temporary. The permanent leagues are Standard and Hardcore. Players start off in the Standard league, and they can choose to play on a Hardcore league, where, upon death, characters are returned to the Standard league. The Hardcore league features more powerful items, which players get to keep upon returning to the Standard league. There are many temporary leagues, but they can be divided into two categories as well: Challenge leagues and Race leagues. There are usually two Challenge leagues introduced every three or four months, and they feature new content, a fresh economy, and a set of eight challenges which can be completed for a prize. They also have the purpose of allowing players to test content that has yet to be introduced into the main game. Race leagues can last anywhere from 12 minutes to one month, and they are basically a competition to see who can get the most amount of experience within the set time limit. Characters from the temporary league can either return to a Standard league, once the event is over, or to a Void league, where they become inaccessible, but can be kept as trophies.
PvP in Path of Exile consists of dueling, tournaments, capture the flag events, and a special free-for-all PvP zone. Rewards for PvP include PvP-specific item rewards. There is also a PvP race league, where players can enter each other’s instanced zones. There is a 30% experience penalty upon death, and a 30% increase in experience gain for killing a player. Can you imagine the griefing? I have to give props to the developers at Grinding Gear for putting a full PvP system in the game, while other companies are still fumbling when it comes to PvP in their ARPG’s (*cough* Blizzard).
Bartering and Hideouts
Trading in Path of Exile is not done with currency. Instead, NPCs will sell and buy from you with certain currency items. These currency items can be used to identify equipment or randomize stats on it. Once again, this is a very interesting and unconventional system, which not only makes the game experience more complex, it also makes sense from a lore standpoint, seeing as how the entire human population of Wraeclast consists of exiles. There is also a housing system in Path of Exile. Players can have their own Hideouts, which they can decorate and customize at their leisure. There are 7 Hideouts in the game and they are gained from Masters, which are NPCs that also grant missions and crafting options.
When it comes to the cash shop, Path of Exile’s sells only cosmetic items. Path of Exile has one of the most lenient cash shop policies out there, rivaled only by Dota 2’s. The fact that Path of Exile is still going strong, in spite of this, is a testament to its quality and to the loyalty of its player base.
Final Verdict – Excellent
Path of Exile is a truly great game. ARPGs might not be your thing, but when you look at Path of Exile as a video game, you see quality. If you want to play the spiritual successor to Diablo 2, for free, forever, then Path of Exile is definitely a game you have to try. If you enjoy looting, PvP, and a competitive game style, then by all means, download the game right now.
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Path of Exile System Requirements
Operating System: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHz / AMD Sempron 3600+
Video Card: Nvidia Geforce 6600 GT / ATI Radeon HD 3470
RAM: 1 GB
Hard Disk Space: 8 GB
Operating System: Windows 7 / 8
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4 GHz / AMD Opteron 2218 or better
Video Card: Nvidia GT 240 / ATI Radeon HD 2900 Pro or better
RAM: 2 GB or more
Hard Disk Space: 8 GB
Path of Exile Music & Soundtrack
Path of Exile Additional Information
Developer: Grinding Gear Games
Lead Designer: Chris Wilson
Lead Programmer: Jonathan Rogers
Lead Artist: Erik Olofsson
Composers: Adgio Hutchings, Gautier Serra
Alpha Date: June 2010
Open Beta Date: January 23, 2013
Steam Release: October 23, 2013
South East Asia: November 14, 2013 (Garena)
Sacrafice of the Vaal (March 5, 2014) - Added new bosses, currency, zones, leagues, and PvP modes.
Forsaken Masters (August 20, 2014) - Added recruitable NPCs, customizable personal hideouts, and new PvP modes.
The Awakening (July 10, 2015) - Added 4th act, jewel system, and fixed Desync issues.
Ascendancy (March 4, 2016) - Added Ascendancy classes, the Labyrinth, enchantments, and divination cards.
Atlas of Worlds (September 2, 2016) - Introduced vast improvements to the end-game mapping system.
Development on Path of Exile began when a group of action RPG fans became frustrated with the lack of progress in the genre and decided to take things into their own hands. The game spent three years in development before being publicly announced on September 1, 2010. By January 21, 2013, Path of Exile had received $2.2 million USD in crowd-funding which makes it an early success for the crowd-funding model.