Saturday, January 26, 2013
Path of Exile Beta Impression
I tried Path of Exile by Grinding Gear Games before when it's still in Closed Beta and didn't really find it that interesting. It might be that I'm an idiot or it might just be I missed PoE's good points because I was still playing Diablo III back then(which still means that I'm an idiot). Now that PoE entered Open Beta I try to play it again. Is it good? or do I still think it's just "meh"?
The answer would be "it's definitely not meh". Path of Exile's have this really dark aesthetics with a very gritty feel to it, somethig that isn't present in Diablo III or it's better competitor Torchlight II which I love. At first this dark setting made me a bit dismissive of PoE but after awhile I find the dark athmosphere to be a very good combination with the game's story and setting, which is indeed very dark and gritty.
A good description of PoE would be "a better looking Diablo II". Which is a good thing actually because Diablo II is much much better than Diablo III. So if you're looking for something better than Diablo III but isn't very fond of Torchlight II's colorful world then PoE might be the right game for you. And better yet, it's Free to Play.
The skill and slot system in PoE is pretty interesting and would make players think on which equipment to use. To equip skills in PoE you need a skill gem, these skill gems are divided into three colors: Red, Green and Blue. Equipments also have gem slots with those three colors. There are also support ges which will add additional effect to your skills like chaining attacks, giving multiple projectiles, etc. This gives the player plenty of options. Should you use a weapon with better stat but doesn't offer the slot color that you need? or would you prefer a good skill skill gem combo rather than a new piece of armor? The fact that armor stats are divided to fit the needs of all six classes is also a big plus. Giving the player even more chance of customizing their character, whether they want to make a Witch with very high energy shield value or one which balances energy shield and armor, you decide.
The first time you see PoE's Passive Skill tree you're either filled with awe or it'll scare you away in fear. It is a very big skill tree, I don't think it can still be called a tree but regardless of that it is really really interesting. The Passive Skill Tree reminds me of Final Fantasy X's sphere system where you can follow several path in the tree to gain various benefits. It might seem intimidating at first, but you'll get the hang of it really quickly.
Now onto combat, which will remind you a lot of Diablo II. The combat feels good with enough enemy variety and beautiful skill effects. The impact of each of your attacks feels great and boss fights require a bit of strategy.
The economic system of PoE might seem strange for new players because it uses a barter system instead of using any kind of currency. You can sell dropped equipments and gain various useful item parts like scroll fragments, alteration shards, transmutation shards, etc. When you've collected enough of these items, you'll get usable items such as a Scroll of Wisdom, Alteration Orb and Transmutation Orbs. These usable items are the key to getting the best gear either by enchanting ordinary equipments, rerolling magical effect on equipments and various other things like changing the color of a gem slot or linking two gem slots in an equipment. Collecting and customizing your equipment is made even more complex(and fun!) with this system. It's not just about slaughtering enemies and hoping for a good drop(although this way is still viable). In PoE, you make your own luck and epic loot.
So it's pretty clear that my views of the game has really change since PoE's closed beta. I find this game really engaging with interesting combat and very complex skill and equipment system. Add in the fact that it's free to play, I see no reason for people to not try out this great game.