Path of Exile
About a month ago, my little triad had one of it’s semi-yearly talks about “what to play next.” We’d not been playing anything together, and it had begun to strain my relationships with both by having to pick who to play with on almost a daily basis. Since my wife nearly always won, I felt like I was ignoring my buddy, which caused stress, etc etc ad nauseum.
So I had them peruse some games. While we eventually decided on Magicka, among those games reviewed was Path of Exile. Since it was in a beta, though, we decided against it. Path of Exile is a spiritual successor of D2, claiming, in fact, to be a better sequel than D3 was (which wouldn’t be hard).
Since then, my buddy and I have played several games in open beta, and I’ve written on the Open Beta Illusion, which is that games are no longer “released” as they were when their were hard copies, but are instead in a perpetual beta state that allows for less care in their creation since everything can just be patched “as part of the beta cycle.”
As we integrated a 4th into our triad with Magicka, we again came to the question of what for the 3 of us to play, and this time, since we weren’t being turned off by beta any more, we went to Path of Exile.
So far, it’s been excellent. There are several unique elements to the game; active skills are found on gems that are slotted into weapons and armor. As long as you meet the requirements, any character can use any skill. The passive skill tree is a gigantic monstrosity of cunning design, allowing you an absolute ton of customization of your character. The game feels very Diablo-like, too, more so than Diablo 3 did, so I’d suggest they weren’t bluffing when the designers said that PoE was more of a sequel than D3.
My buddy, my wife, and I had one glorious play session in the game, but then she had to go out of town. Feeling a little sneakily guilty, I rolled another character and played up to the point where the three of us had stopped. Upon finishing Borderlands 2 with my buddy (more on that in another correspondence), we talked about what to play next, but not much came up. Finally, I suggested that we could play PoE, but only if it didn’t mean that my wife ended up abandoned when we got ahead of her.
“I’m sure I’ll still be willing to play it with Bobbi,” my buddy said, which was a curiously certain statement for him, but I let it pass. Fine. Since he was being so blunt, I went ahead and admitted that I’d already begun a second character, and that he could catch up with that one (easily in an hour or three) and we’d go from there.
Then he floored me. “Well, if we’re being totally honest,” he said, “I’ve already got a level 60. That’s how I know I’ll still want to play it. It’s pure D2 joy all over again.” He apparently had started playing a month or so ago when we first discussed the game.
So take it from my buddy, who doesn’t do multiple play-throughs of most games: Path of Exile is good. It’s also free, and so far we haven’t hit any bugs. Consider picking it up, and if you do and are in North America, let me know; perhaps we can play together some time.
Stubborn (who keeps secrets poorly – or at least lets on that he does)