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Path of Exile Beta Preview

/ Aug 8th, 2012 1 Comment

Path of Exile – Online ARPG

I want to begin by saying I am definitely recommending Path of Exile. Although this online action role-playing game (ARPG) is still under development by Grinding Gear Games, you can gain early access to the Closed Beta by supporting its improvement and expansion.

Grinding Gear Games offers sweet deals in exchange for donations, but remarks “…we offer a range of ethical microtransactions that allow you to distinguish yourself in the world…without receiving any gameplay advantage. We are completely opposed to the concept of ‘pay2win’.” Sounds like a company worth my money.

Path of Exile also has open weekends where players can experience the game without donating but no upcoming free weekends have been announced. Dates for the Open Beta release are expected later this year upon which the game will be 100% free. So in the meantime check out what points, beta keys, pets (Kiwi!), and other deals they offer on their support page.

Depending on which of the 6 character classes you choose to play, you’ll have a unique story explaining your exile. The beginning of the game opens with all 6 characters on a boat, awaiting their arrival to Wraeclast, a hostile continent home to outlanders, monsters, and bloodshed. The three attributes of strength, dexterity, and intelligence are spanned across all 6 classes with 3 hybrid classes (example: strength/dexterity for the Duelist). The passive “skill tree” for these classes is more like a gigantic Siberian forest. Thus, allocating stat points take some brain power and strategy if you want to create a badass exile.

In addition to the expansive passive skill system, active skills can be utilized and combined with any class until the player feels like a god among exiles. While my Ranger certainly performed like a rapid fire killing machine, I also appreciated being able to scroll in to get a detailed look at her (FYI, classes are gender locked.) Although my Ranger looked like every Ranger, character customization will be facilitated through cash shops where players can buy cosmetics to deck our their gal/dude.

A barter system is how players will exchange weapons, armor, jewelry, and awesome items. Instead of gold, items such as scrolls, orbs, and scraps act as the game’s currency. Different orbs perform different actions, like upgrading a normal weapon to a magical one or assigning a new property. Scrolls can identify the properties of an item or transport you to town. Grinding Gear Games also announced back in June their new end-game maps. These maps ensure high replay value because players can use these to transport back to end-game bosses where wicked loot and more maps can be fought for and found. Gems on items and weapons can be moved freely and cost nothing to be relocated or replaced. Considering Wraeclast offers some pretty formidable foes, you’ll want to gem-out some magical weapons that can deal heavy damage.

gameplay for Path of Exile

There are numerous announced areas in Wraeclast, each offering their own terrestrial enemies. Act I and II are available to play while Act III is still in the works but making progress. Wraeclast is a dark, spooky, awesome 3D world with tedious detail and laudable designs. This game really does appeal to a mature audience with a serious, yet fun vibe and atypical, non-cartoony graphics.

While chatting with one fellow exile, he noted that “this game was made for Diablo 2 veterans.” Although it was popular to compare Path of Exile to Diablo 2 and 3, this game really does have merits of its own to stand upon. The passive and active skill flexibility, impressive item system, the bartering system, the graphics, the fact it’s free, and many other attributes really make Path of Exile a great game.

While I was playing, there were some concerns on the overall smoothness of the game. Our complaints and concerns were taken seriously and problems were immediately rectified. Our gameplay only progressively improved as we continued to scourge Wraeclast’s unforgiving lands.

The instrumental soundtrack for this game was lovely. Truly, I’d find myself in a town or wandering around the beach mesmerized by the pretty music.

Path of Exile players will also be excited to know there are multiple leagues to participate in and each league has its own set of ladder rankings. Example leagues include Hardcore, Ironman, Cut-throat, and Attrition. The game will also include player versus player (PvP) elements like arenas, ranking systems, ladders and PvP item rewards.

Tournaments and the Cut-throat league may be of particular interest to serious PvP gamers. The creators of Path of Exile take PvP and competitive gaming very seriously, saying “We are going to expend substantial resources policing the use of exploits and third party tools that may yield an advantage in PvP.” This compliments their opposition for “pay-2-win” strategies that make for unfair playing fields. Path of Exile plans to reward PvP gamers for their innovation in character building by stifling instantly-perfect builds from spreading across the game with limited respecs and randomly generated loot. Because this preview does not allot enough space for full PvP discussion, check out Path of Exile’s development diary.

No official release date for Path of Exile has been announced so it is unknown when the game will advance from the Beta stage.

Rachel Gray

Rachel Gray

Content Specialist at Gaming Illustrated
Rachel is a game aficionada who lives with her tuxedo cat, Ernest. Some of her favorite things include bears, Chik-fil-a chick-n-minis, White Russians, and Silent Hill 2. When jogging, Rachel attaches her mp3 arm attachment to her wrist and pretends it is a Pip-Boy.
Rachel Gray
Rachel Gray

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  • Flavyx

    Wonderful article, great work. I played this game and it is great. I really recommend it too.

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