Preview: Path of Exile (PC)

Preview: Path of Exile (PC)

Path of Exile has saved me from a relative rut in gaming.  I’m going to try to be brief in this preview as we have a few surprises coming up concerning the game.  I will also post updated previews as the game moves towards open beta and then full release.  In the meantime, read on for a bit of a high level preview about Path of Exile.

When I started getting into PC gaming I was looking for something unique.  I didn’t know what that was and Zork and the Ultima seemed to be the two styles that were the closest to what I was looking for.  Then, the Diablo demo was released.  This was the “black out” period of ’96.  I do not remember anything about high school, the real world, or any other major events that happened that year.  I remember playing through the Diablo demo about 150 times.  The thought of “hawt lewtz” invaded my dreams, both while sleeping and awake.  Once the release happened, all hell broke loose (excuse the pun).  My friends and I spent countless hours playing, then countless hours talking about the new items we found.  Since then, I have been a die-hard ARPG (action RPG) fan.  Diablo 2 launched with a warm reception from my friends and me, but it did not capture us in the same way.  I have been searching this past 15 some odd years for a successor to Diablo.  I think I may have found it in Path of Exile.  I understand that this is a bold claim, but let me explain more of what makes this game so promising.

Path of Exile is an online-only ARPG set in a dark and gritty fantasy world.  Currently in a closed beta, PoE features five playable classes with a six being announced in the future.  Each class starts with higher stats.  Three classes start with a single higher stat while the other three will start with two stats higher.  Strength, Intellect and Dexterity are the primary stats which are accompanied by, and affect other traditional stats, such as critical chance and health.  Because of this system, and the skill system I will discuss next, any class can play any type of role.  The witch, a traditional wizard class, could instead run around in heavy armor swinging two handed swords like a warrior or barbarian from other similar games.

 

Skills are not inherent to a particular class.  Instead gems grant skills that are then socketed into items.  Gems are given as quest rewards or dropped as random loot and level with your character when they are equipped.  Each weapon and armor drop will include random colored slots for these skills in addition to their other properties.  This creates a unique meta-game that other ARPGs are missing in my opinion.  As you find loot that has statistical upgrades to your currently equipped gear, you also need to ensure that it has the correct slots for the gems you are using.  You may find a significantly better sword that only has blue (the color of int gems) slots.  If you are playing a warrior and focusing on red, or strength skills, the item will not allow you to use those skills.  Grinding Gear Games did include items to allow you to customize your gear though their orb system.  Orbs are dropped as loot and allow you to re-roll the socket color, number of sockets and other properties of the gear you use them on.  The orbs are also considered currency drop because Path of Exile has no gold.  Read that again, an online ARPG without gold!  PoE is built to run on a barter system.  Players trade different orbs or scrolls or items for what they want and vendors will give whole or pieces of orbs and scrolls as you vendor trash loot.  There are even surprises depending on what items you sell together.

Now, for the largest and craziest part of PoE: the enormous skill tree.  Before you read on, how big would a skill tree have to be to be called enormous?  If you guessed anything less than 1,500+ you missed.  Look at the image of the skill tree here.  It is only a piece of the full tree.  I can’t get a full image of the entire skill tree, but searching the internet may let you find a bit more of it.  Currently, in the closed beta, skills are all passive enhancements.  Some are stat increases, others increase attack or casting speed, damage, or resistance.  A few keystones (the yellow stars) give you unique abilities, which I will leave spoiler free here.  Just note that they will change, for balance, and make drastic changes to how your character plays.  This skill tree is overwhelming, but Chris Wilson, lead developer for Grinding Gear Games, has stated that they are working on ways to make it more clear for new players to understand.  He has also mentioned some growth should be expected.  I’ll ask him about that soon.

That’s correct, we have an interview in the works with Chris Wilson at Grinding Gear Games, as well as a little surprise.  We currently have a small handful of close beta keys to give away!  These are a hot commodity, but all we ask for this little contest is to post questions for Mr. Wilson and we will choose the appropriate number of winners Saturday morning around 10 am CST.  This way, you get the weekend to get into the game and join me to experience more of the multiplayer aspect of PoE.  I haven’t been in a 6 player group yet and would love to get one started.  Leave some comments about your questions for Chris Wilson and once the interview is set up we will update you with more information!  If you are already in the game, look me up on Ostgara, Ost, or Ostrauder.  I will continue to expand the previews as the game move along, this is a huge game and I can’t do it justice in such a short article.

  • Anonymous

    I want beta key please!

  • Fateburn

    I want beta key please!

  • Chrisg

    Asking for questions for the interview with Chris Wilson for the game!  What do you guys wish to know about the game – or the future or past of the company?

  • Justmecmc

    My question would be how do you feel about the beta test at it’s current level, and are you getting the kind of feedback you need to get the game into Open Beta soon?
    Thanks for the chance to win a Beta Key I am so excited to see this game released.
    baug86669 on the forum, and justmecmc@yahoo.com is my email. I look forward to playing along side you in a six person party.

  • Chrisg

    Asking for questions for the interview with Chris Wilson for the game!  What do you guys wish to know about the game – or the future or past of the company?

  • Justmecmc

    My question would be how do you feel about the beta test at it’s current level, and are you getting the kind of feedback you need to get the game into Open Beta soon?
    Thanks for the chance to win a Beta Key I am so excited to see this game released.
    baug86669 on the forum, and justmecmc@yahoo.com is my email. I look forward to playing along side you in a six person party.

  • Anonymous

    My question: Is there a pvp system in this game? If so, do any of the classes seem better at pvp, or are they balanced?

    • Chrisg

      There will be PvP.  I’ll get more info from Chris hopefully.

      • Anonymous

        You should ask if there will be pvp arenas or a pvp game mode like in D2.

  • Fateburn

    My question: Is there a pvp system in this game? If so, do any of the classes seem better at pvp, or are they balanced?
    My Path of exile forum name is also Fateburn

    • Chrisg

      There will be PvP.  I’ll get more info from Chris hopefully.

      • Fateburn

        You should ask if there will be pvp arenas or a pvp game mode like in D2.

  • Anonymous

    My second question: how will the game economy be regulated? Also, will there be a auction house system, or will players set up personal shops?

  • Anonymous

    My second question: how will the game economy be regulated? Also, will there be a auction house system, or will players set up personal shops?

  • Fateburn

    My second question: how will the game economy be regulated? Also, will there be an auction house system, or will players set up personal shops?

  • omfgzlolz

    Why is the skill tree so overwhelming? Do you think that while they tried to be unique, they failed in the process?

    • Chrisg

      The interview should cover the skill tree some.  If I recall correctly, they are putting additional things into it to help.  I’ll get some more details for you in the interview, time permitting. 

    • Anonymous

      look like really nice game , if i dont get lukcy enough  with keys , i want to know when it become open beta

  • omfgzlolz

    Why is the skill tree so overwhelming? Do you think that while they tried to be unique, they failed in the process?

    • Chrisg

      The interview should cover the skill tree some.  If I recall correctly, they are putting additional things into it to help.  I’ll get some more details for you in the interview, time permitting. 

  • My question:

    “This may be peering a ways down the road, but do you plan on implementing expansions to the Path of Exile?  There are many aspects of PoE that provide replay value (e.g. Leagues), but will there be plans for further story/lore driven content?”

  • My question:

    “This may be peering a ways down the road, but do you plan on implementing expansions to the Path of Exile?  There are many aspects of PoE that provide replay value (e.g. Leagues), but will there be plans for further story/lore driven content?”

  • Voragain

    My question is a pretty simple one, but honestly it is something that can be important to me. I’m used to having to turn off music in games, then boot up a media player to get custom music. Are there any plans to get actual custom music players in-game? Quite a couple games have this, and I’d much rather not have to use a separate program to listen to my music choice.

    Looking forward to more news about this gem in polishing. Well written article by the way.

    • Chrisg

      I’ve been listening to RadioLab in the background.  You can turn the music or sound effects to different levels.

  • Voragain

    My question is a pretty simple one, but honestly it is something that can be important to me. I’m used to having to turn off music in games, then boot up a media player to get custom music. Are there any plans to get actual custom music players in-game? Quite a couple games have this, and I’d much rather not have to use a separate program to listen to my music choice.

    Looking forward to more news about this gem in polishing. Well written article by the way.

    • Chrisg

      I’ve been listening to RadioLab in the background.  You can turn the music or sound effects to different levels.

  • George Morin

    A beta key would be superb. My question is that with the ever expanding skill tree do you think that there will be a monopoly of overused or overpowered skill sets or do you think that it will allow for a lot of testing and builds that will counter builds?
    My Path of Exile username is: intwingedhumor

  • George Morin

    A beta key would be superb. My question is that with the ever expanding skill tree do you think that there will be a monopoly of overused or overpowered skill sets or do you think that it will allow for a lot of testing and builds that will counter builds?
    My Path of Exile username is: intwingedhumor

  • muraix

    My queston is:

    You can read a lot about people comparing your game to other upcoming titles, like for example Diablo 3. Do you intend to rival them, or adjust to them regarding the release date or any other way?
    My PoE username is muraix.

  • muraix

    My queston is:

    You can read a lot about people comparing your game to other upcoming titles, like for example Diablo 3. Do you intend to rival them, or adjust to them regarding the release date or any other way?
    My PoE username is muraix.

  • Gaaldornick

    I am excited for the skill system, are there any major changes intended for it?

  • Gaaldornick

    I am excited for the skill system, are there any major changes intended for it?

  • Would love a beta key to try this fantastic looking indie game out =)

  • Would love a beta key to try this fantastic looking indie game out =)

  • Would love a beta key to try this fantastic looking indie game out =)

  • Anonymous

    Question:

    The talent/skill system really reminds me (visually) of the talent system in Final Fantasy X; did FFX have any influence when developing the system?

  • Guest

    Question:

    The talent/skill system really reminds me (visually) of the talent system in Final Fantasy X; did FFX have any influence when developing the system?

  • Anonymous

    Can you tell me about this amazing skill tree system? And how do you react to the statement “It reminds me of final fantasy 10 skill tree” ?

  • Anonymous

    Can you tell me about this amazing skill tree system? And how do you react to the statement “It reminds me of final fantasy 10 skill tree” ?

  • cheetoo

    Can you tell me about this amazing skill tree system? And how do you react to the statement “It reminds me of final fantasy 10 skill tree” ?

  • Cristo9FP

    Nice writeup. My question for Mr. Wilson is: I am an expert troubleshooter. Can I have a job? Only half-joking 🙂

    A more down-to-earth question: Presumably you are a fan of all five of the classes revealed so far, but do you have a favorite? or a favorite gem/skill path?

    Or is your favorite the sixth class 🙂 Will it be revealed before full release?

    • Chrisg

      Personally I’m enjoying the Witch a great deal.  The skill system is great and I like jacking with the spells.  I’ll cover support gems soon.  Just need to play with them more.  As stated though, each class can play as whatever they want, you just get a kick at the start.  You could base your choice on looks, and the witch is kind of a tween chick.  Fun to blow people up as a Twilight fan.

      • Tililio

        Well, I have one question to ask about the gems systems.

        Are the skills gems blocked in the items when they are used ?

        • Chrisg

          I can answer this one for you.  You are able to insert and remove gems as often as you like.  I’ll do in depth write ups about the different systems in the near future.

          • Tililio

            Thanks for the response =3

    • Tililio

      (sorry for the double post ^^”)

      I have one more question : what kind of items will be purchasable at the real money store ?

      I know already it will be possible to purchase his own league, but what about the others things ?

  • Cristo9FP

    Nice writeup. My question for Mr. Wilson is: I am an expert troubleshooter. Can I have a job? Only half-joking 🙂

    A more down-to-earth question: Presumably you are a fan of all five of the classes revealed so far, but do you have a favorite? or a favorite gem/skill path?

    Or is your favorite the sixth class 🙂 Will it be revealed before full release?

  • Cristo9FP

    Nice writeup. My question for Mr. Wilson is: I am an expert troubleshooter. Can I have a job? Only half-joking 🙂

    A more down-to-earth question: Presumably you are a fan of all five of the classes revealed so far, but do you have a favorite? or a favorite gem/skill path?

    Or is your favorite the sixth class 🙂 Will it be revealed before full release?

    • Chrisg

      Personally I’m enjoying the Witch a great deal.  The skill system is great and I like jacking with the spells.  I’ll cover support gems soon.  Just need to play with them more.  As stated though, each class can play as whatever they want, you just get a kick at the start.  You could base your choice on looks, and the witch is kind of a tween chick.  Fun to blow people up as a Twilight fan.

  • Tililio

    Well, I have one question to ask about the gems systems.

    Are the skills gems blocked in the items when they are used ?

    • Chrisg

      I can answer this one for you.  You are able to insert and remove gems as often as you like.  I’ll do in depth write ups about the different systems in the near future.

      • Tililio

        Thanks for the response =3

  • Tililio

    (sorry for the double post ^^”)

    I have one more question : what kind of items will be purchasable at the real money store ?

    I know already it will be possible to purchase his own league, but what about the others things ?

  • Xandershadows69

    will is always be free to play?

  • elana300

    look like really nice game , if i dont get lukcy enough  with keys , i want to know when it become open beta

  • Tbred85

    Is there a AH in that game?
    My PoE username is tbred.

  • lostwa

    From what I’ve read, there is no trade function (I might be wrong about the trade) or anything that reminds an auction house, Are you planning to add these features or something similar in the future? 

  • B1erbuik

    My question: Is their any kind of crafting to be implemented into the game?

  • Sylais

    Small collection of questions –
    1. How did they come up with the idea for the skill tree – its absolutely massive compared to most games.
    2. How long did it take to come up with all those skills?
    3. How many people are on the dev team for this?
    4. Being a free-to-play game, what is going to be their main source of income?

  • Sylais

    Small collection of questions –
    1. How did they come up with the idea for the skill tree – its absolutely massive compared to most games.
    2. How long did it take to come up with all those skills?
    3. How many people are on the dev team for this?
    4. Being a free-to-play game, what is going to be their main source of income?

  • Anonymous

    I hope my entry isn’t too late. But what I would like to know is this:

    How do you plan on keeping the players interested to continue playing Path of Exile once they have reached the highest level possible? Which sort of leads to the next question; How will one find better gear? Mainly through bossruns, or will clearing the rest of the acts also provide upgrades gear-wise?

    Forum/Accountname: Dash1znit

  • Dash1znit

    I hope my entry isn’t too late. But what I would like to know is this:

    How do you plan on keeping the players interested to continue playing Path of Exile once they have reached the highest level possible? Which sort of leads to the next question; How will one find better gear? Mainly through bossruns, or will clearing the rest of the acts also provide upgrades gear-wise?

    Forum/Accountname: Dash1znit

  • Airbag

     I would be quite interested in knowing what the plans for implementing content in relation to the transition to Open Beta will be. With 2 acts in place, I remember reading there are more coming. Are the plans to implement the other act(s?) before going open, so they can be tested in closed first, or will the open beta be the place this happens?

  • Airbag

     I would be quite interested in knowing what the plans for implementing content in relation to the transition to Open Beta will be. With 2 acts in place, I remember reading there are more coming. Are the plans to implement the other act(s?) before going open, so they can be tested in closed first, or will the open beta be the place this happens?

  • Sam Baker

    Two questions: 1)Are there any plans for a new title/ is there a new title in the works?

                           2)a. Regarding the first question, are there plans to break from the F2P model?
                             b. Regarding the first question, what are the plans for the future of the company?

  • Sam Baker

    Two questions: 1)Are there any plans for a new title/ is there a new title in the works?

                           2)a. Regarding the first question, are there plans to break from the F2P model?
                             b. Regarding the first question, what are the plans for the future of the company?

  • Lunes

    I’ve been looking through PoE forum posts/videos for a couple weeks now and i think most of the questions asked here are, or most of the questions i had about the game were already covered.
    So this is more like a suggestion than a question. And this would be the implementation of Arenas like e.g. Warhammer had with specific goals like capture the flag.
    Well, in a distant future anyways i guess =P

    PoE forum name is Lunes

  • Lunes

    I’ve been looking through PoE forum posts/videos for a couple weeks now and i think most of the questions asked here are, or most of the questions i had about the game were already covered.
    So this is more like a suggestion than a question. And this would be the implementation of Arenas like e.g. Warhammer had with specific goals like capture the flag.
    Well, in a distant future anyways i guess =P

    PoE forum name is Lunes

  • Tililio

    Well, third and last question : Is a familiar/pet/mercenary system (ally who can have his own equipment and can level up, like the pet in Torchlight or the Mercenary in Diablo II) planned ?

  • Tililio

    Well, third and last question : Is a familiar/pet/mercenary system (ally who can have his own equipment and can level up, like the pet in Torchlight or the Mercenary in Diablo II) planned ?

  • Pruden1989

    I guess my question would be how are they handling this as a F2P model , like , is it going to end up as a pay to win system , or genuinely F2P with microtransactions not having a massive game impact.

  • Pruden1989

    I guess my question would be how are they handling this as a F2P model , like , is it going to end up as a pay to win system , or genuinely F2P with microtransactions not having a massive game impact.

  • hershel

    Looking forward to this game, just curious how the created of the game makes any money to host the servers, maintence, ect?

  • hershel

    Looking forward to this game, just curious how the created of the game makes any money to host the servers, maintence, ect?

  • Failaz

    You shall give me that key! “read it with Gandalf voice” xD

  • Failaz

    You shall give me that key! “read it with Gandalf voice” xD

  • michal lolek

    hello can i have beta key? and my question is: Is there any system of item upgrading like +1 items and more or just colours or maybe not? waiting for answer

  • michal lolek

    hello can i have beta key? and my question is: Is there any system of item upgrading like +1 items and more or just colours or maybe not? waiting for answer
    kira717717 on PoE forum

  • xamitxx

    Hi, my question is..
    Will the late pvp system support massive war, like a guild vs guild? 
    or party vs party.. ??
    and not just the same boring pvp that offers only 1v1?

  • xamitxx

    Hi, my question is..
    Will the late pvp system support massive war, like a guild vs guild? 
    or party vs party.. ??
    and not just the same boring pvp that offers only 1v1?

  • Franciscoacebo

    Hi,  Mr. Wilson.
    I was looking for a beta key at POE forum, as i do everyday, this way i found your review.
    I read it and i noticed it´s full of the game´s mechanics, but i need to know if the environment, and specially the music and sounds will remember us Diablo´s ones.

    I remember myself at 96 too, the first time i played Diablo, i get trapped by it but i was unable to feel the same with none other game, even with D2 or LOD. I think only UO feeds my gamer soul enough after Diablo.
     

    • Chrisg

      I’m Mr. Gravelle – Mr. Wilson is who I will be interviewing = P. I’ll update you when it is set.  We are both Chris’, thus the Mr.

  • Franciscoacebo

    Hi,  Mr. Wilson.
    I was looking for a beta key at POE forum, as i do everyday, this way i found your review.
    I read it and i noticed it´s full of the game´s mechanics, but i need to know if the environment, and specially the music and sounds will remember us Diablo´s ones.

    I remember myself at 96 too, the first time i played Diablo, i get trapped by it but i was unable to feel the same with none other game, even with D2 or LOD. I think only UO feeds my gamer soul enough after Diablo.
     

    • Chrisg

      I’m Mr. Gravelle – Mr. Wilson is who I will be interviewing = P. I’ll update you when it is set.  We are both Chris’, thus the Mr.

  • Sylais

    Re-posting because I didnt get a response and I’d actually really like answers to these questions.

    Small collection of questions -1. How did they come up with the idea for the skill tree – its absolutely massive compared to most games.2. How long did it take to come up with all those skills?3. How many people are on the dev team for this?4. Being a free-to-play game, what is going to be their main source of income? 

    • Chrisg

      We haven’t done the interview yet – I’ll see what I can get answered when I do.

  • Sylais

    Re-posting because I didnt get a response and I’d actually really like answers to these questions.

    Small collection of questions -1. How did they come up with the idea for the skill tree – its absolutely massive compared to most games.2. How long did it take to come up with all those skills?3. How many people are on the dev team for this?4. Being a free-to-play game, what is going to be their main source of income? 

    • Chrisg

      We haven’t done the interview yet – I’ll see what I can get answered when I do.

  • Are there going to be buyable items for the character? If no , than why?

  • Are there going to be buyable items for the character? If no , than why?

  • Grimsvard

    Id like to know about the development team.  What there background is?  What there future endeavors might be?  Possibly what games have they been apart of in the past?

  • Grimsvard

    Id like to know about the development team.  What there background is?  What there future endeavors might be?  Possibly what games have they been apart of in the past?

  • Haloja_123

    PoE will have a pet or a guy controlled by AI (remember when you ”rent a npc” that help you along all the game) just like diablo 2?

  • Haloja_123

    PoE will have a pet or a guy controlled by AI (remember when you ”rent a npc” that help you along all the game) just like diablo 2?

  • Adam Zupancic

    My question is: How do you feel the atmosphere or your game compares to the atmosphere of your competitors i.e, Diablo 3 for example?
    Path of Exile account name – Thermalwolf
    EMail – adamkz92@gmail:twitter .com 

    Hope I win a key as well 😀

  • Adam Zupancic

    My question is: How do you feel the atmosphere or your game compares to the atmosphere of your competitors i.e, Diablo 3 for example?
    Path of Exile account name – Thermalwolf
    EMail – adamkz92@gmail:twitter .com 

    Hope I win a key as well 😀

  • Hunyadijanos06

    My question is in regards to future expansions.  Do you plan to add a fourth stat like constitution of fortitude to increase the number of possible class combinations from 6 to 10.  The three current stats all seem to have a mechanic to tank and also DPS (hopefully fairly equally between the different archetypes.  For a fourth stat the added tank mechanic could obviously be increased health or health regen and the DPS mechanic could possibly be something focused on damage over time mechanics. It seems to me that games die out if they do not receive constant updates.  Constant updates cost money so I hope your financial model works.  I would hope people would buy visual upgrades just to help support the game they are playing.  But anyway, I am interested in your future expansion plans.
    My info for the game is hunyadijanos at hunyadijanos06@hotmail.comm.  The game looks amazing whether I have to wait until open beta or I get a closed beta key I am very excited to play in the future.

  • Hunyadijanos06

    My question is in regards to future expansions.  Do you plan to add a fourth stat like constitution of fortitude to increase the number of possible class combinations from 6 to 10.  The three current stats all seem to have a mechanic to tank and also DPS (hopefully fairly equally between the different archetypes.  For a fourth stat the added tank mechanic could obviously be increased health or health regen and the DPS mechanic could possibly be something focused on damage over time mechanics. It seems to me that games die out if they do not receive constant updates.  Constant updates cost money so I hope your financial model works.  I would hope people would buy visual upgrades just to help support the game they are playing.  But anyway, I am interested in your future expansion plans.
    My info for the game is hunyadijanos at hunyadijanos06@hotmail.comm.  The game looks amazing whether I have to wait until open beta or I get a closed beta key I am very excited to play in the future.

  • Die_Scream

    Chris: Do you plan to release more classes eventually in a new expansion? Any thought to a Monk class? FORUM NAME Die_Scream.

  • Die_Scream

    Chris: Do you plan to release more classes eventually in a new expansion? Any thought to a Monk class? FORUM NAME Die_Scream.

  • Die_Scream

    When can we expect the cash shop to be operational?

  • Die_Scream

    When can we expect the cash shop to be operational?

  • Die_Scream

    How many people is the cap in town?

  • Die_Scream

    How many people is the cap in town?

Lost Password

Sign Up