Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Guest Article: Path of Exile Review
From Magister, Formerly of 3forint.com and currently of working his ass off!
There is a pretty sweet D2 based game in development called Path of Exile. I got introduced to it by FoH Boards, and I was lucky enough to get in during a stress test. I have since paid $10 to get a closed beta key (crowd funding basically, since its being developed by a small New Zealand developer). It's basically Diablo style game play, but it diverges in the back end with character customization and economy. They took the Materia system of Final Fantasy 7 and the Sphere Grid of Final Fantasy 10 and cobbled together a ridiculously customizable system for character building. Its probably my favorite aspect of the game, as those were 2 of my favorite systems and they interact well together. Levels give you skill points which you use to get passive effects in the "sphere grid" system. You then use slots in your gear to give yourself active abilities via skill gems. These gems level up and get stronger as you do. There are also support gems which add effects to any skill gems they are linked to. Leading to a huge array of customizable combinations!
Secondly, the economy is goldless... yep, no gold at all. Instead, there is about 2 dozen items of various types and rarities that can be used to enhance items. They range from scrolls of identify (identify a dropped item) up to items which upgrade a non-magic item to rare items, or reroll the modifiers on a rare item. These items play the role of "currency", both from shops and for trading between players. For example, you might trade a nice high level weapon for 2x Chaos Orbs and 2x Orb of Alchemy (Re-rolls the intrinsic values of a rare item and upgrades a normal to a rare respectively). You find these items via drops, but also via selling certain combinations of items. Selling items in general gives you pieces of the more mid-range orbs (upgrades normal to magic, or re-rolls magic item).
It sounds more convoluted then it it really is, but the net result is that money in itself is a "money sink" as people constantly USE the currency to make items or upgrades their item or reroll their items. There is no gold farming or inflation, no repair costs, etc.
So far, even though its in closed beta, its a really fun game and is executed very well. The best news is the shit will be free once its released (which is ironic considering I paid them $10 to help them test their game, lol) but they will have microtransactions for shit like stash space, armor dyes, non-combat pets, etc. There will be no "pay to win" bullshit, which is good.
Anyway, I feel like its a very strong game, if you don't mind kinda bunk older graphics. The changes to other aspects of the game are fantastic though, and its a ton of fun to play imo.