Thursday, March 14, 2013

Experience Points: My Time with 'Path of Exile'

The ARPG Path of Exile has been taking up a lot of my time lately. Way too much of my time actually,  not that I'm upset about it. It's rare that you come across a game that is so well designed, or a game company that responds so well and quickly to its community.

Grinding Gear Games is a game development studio made up of "a small independent team of hardcore gamers based in New Zealand." They describe Path of Exile as a game "designed around a strong barter-based online item economy, deep character customisation, competitive PvP and ladder races."
I started out as a Ranger class - as I am wont to do - and headed into the world of Wraeclast, Default League Edition.

Right off the bat, you can see that Path of Exile is a dark, gritty game. The first person you talk to, after picking up your first weapon, is immediately mauled by a zombie. You are then set off into the world, scrambling to survive against killer crabs, more zombies, and a particularly buff fellow named Hillock.

By then, you have most likely leveled up, which introduces you to one of the most exciting areas of the game - the skill tree. Comprised of 1350 skills, you can spend a lot of time staring at the complex web to plan out your next 5, 10, or even 20 levels.
The game's combat is fun no matter what class you're using. I started a Templar and a Marauder and proceeded to gather up large groups of enemies and then dole out the pain, much more effective than the hit and run strategy of the Ranger. But that's not to say that the focused power of a high Dexterity Ranger doesn't also have it's perks.

Path of Exile does a lot of ambitious things, and many of them very effectively. With tons of different skills, constantly changing dungeons, and multiple different classes, all with their own varied and unique play style. Right now, the game is in Open Beta - and, perpetually, free to play - and you can sign up to play it on their website too. I highly recommend playing Path of Exile - its an amazing feeling to go through a game that is challenging and at the same time incredibly rewarding. If you need me, I'll be hunting down rares.

News Editor
John Schwartz


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