Path of Exile.

Tuesday, 19 February, Year 5 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Path of Exile is the name of a new MMORPG that just came out of closed beta last month. To quote the developers themselves,

We're a small independent team of hardcore gamers based in New Zealand and have created Path of Exile as the game that we'd want to play ourselves.

This combined with the fact that every other thread in their forumi is a whine about some player getting completely owned in PvEii made me try it out. I am glad that I did.

This is probably the best game available to play today, bar none.

Read that again, and let it sink in. Better than Heroes of Might and Magic, the old 6/7 which we keep on a drive somewhere for a rainy day ? Check. Better than Fallout 1/2 which we keep on a drive somewhere also for a rainy day ? Also check. Better than Baldur's Gate 1/2/3/etc ? Check. Gothic ? Check. It is, I say this again, the best game out there. Bar none. Let me get into the details of this.

I. Wonderfully innovative skill system. Truly, this is a thing of wonder.

The active skills are contained in gems, which are socketed into gear. The various sockets may be linked, which allows some gems to influence each other. Equipped gems level up as you fight. Tellingly for the attitude of the dev team, unsocketing gems costs nothing at all, it's a right-click away.

The passive skills are connected into a huge, 500 node+ graph. You start in a race-specific spot and are free to follow the graph whichever way you please. It's a fascinating thing and this alone would have made this game worth playing, in my opinion.

Here's a little something for flavour :


And yes, I nearly titled this article "Snapping sparkling claw of steadiness". It came this close I tell you.

II. Pretty cool economic system. There's no gold. There's no platinum. There's no copper coins. There's no game-sanctioned fiat currency.

So what goes on then ?

Well, any item you sell to the vendors is going to yield little scraps of things. Get enough of them, you put together an identify scroll, or a portal scroll, or an orb of whateveriii. Basically all currency tokens have intrinsic value because they're intrinsically useful.

The only possible drawback is that as far as I could determine there's no end-level item sink. The notion of "binding" items is not implemented, and the notion of item durability is also not implemented. Theoretically this sets the stage for a thermic death of the game economy, but I don't know yet enough to venture a guess.

In any case, even if it does end up completely ruined it would simply be par with all the other MMORPGs to date (absolutely all!). At least these guys are trying something, and as far as I know that something has never been tried before. Telling that the move away from fiat happens even in those places where fiat would seem to work best, ie computer games.

III. Aesthetically wonderful. The best area to illustrate this is of course the Act 3 palace (they call it a temple for some unexplainable reason). That place is so beautiful I literally refrain from breaking the pots in there. They're just too pretty to break. Imagine that!

Here's some palace butt :







I'd have taken more screenshots but I've used up all my space with golden butt. The music is also splendid!

IV. The game is complete and unadulterated theft, mostly off Diablo. You may think this is a drawback. If you think so you're wrong. The only way to make a good game is to steal as many ideas as you can from older games and then do them better.

This is exactly what Path of Exile does. It leeched off Diablo something fierce. Deckard Cain is here, but he stays in Act 1 and isn't too obnoxious. Remember the Viper Temple eclipse ? It's here. Andariel is here. The Butcher ? Yup, here. There's a lot of other stuff but literally, the original quote is well borne by the facts : these people took everything they saw in other games and polished it up. For instance (one among very many) : they also use autogenerated maps, like Diablo doesiv but they keep them for 5+ minutes, so even if you lose connection you can still get back to your map. Yes, even solo. This sort of thing is what we need more of : stolen material creatively improved.

The. Best. Game. Available. Bar. None.

PS. If you're looking to unload your superleet stuff / empty out an old account in exchange for Bitcoin I might be interested, drop me a line.

  1. Here's a pretty decent excerpt :

    Now first off, let me say that I am actually a fan of grinding for experience. But, being close to level 80, the experience has completely shut off from regular zones. Meaning I can really only get experience from map zones.

    So after a lot of farming and some luck, I was able to obtain a few map drops. I enter maps and get more maps, sometimes I die, usually due to being insta-pwned by a mob of rangers when I walk through a door, or a huge mob of ice/puncture/fast moving enemies that decide they really don't want me to move while they kill me.

    The game is how the game is I guess, is it fair, not really. Maybe I should have learned not to progress through the level and stand at the entrance with a huge feeling of accomplishment for making it there. But that's not me.

    Now being a solo player, my gear isn't the best, but my resistances are all 75% (aside from chaos, and I take special note of chaos damage enemies). My melee physical blocks 31% and I have 2200 hp (130-140% hp nodes), so I consider myself decently built to survive. My dps is awful for my level, many rangers double it while being a lower level than me. I can't play in a group unless I want to play at 1 fps.

    So here I am soloing map after map, dying and raging about how I am going to quit this game because I have lost so much time with nothing to show for it. But every once in a while, enemies aren't too bad and I get lucky on the insta-pwn cases and end up surviving with 100 hp or less, and I get a good 50% experience without a death. Feels pretty good to make some progress.

    Anyway, I enter the dungeon knowing the boss is a brutus/kole enemy. I am prepared and enter the boss room. I proceed down the hallway and make it to the door leading to the chamber with the boss and his minions resting inside. I throw down some bear traps at the entrance, throw out my totem and begin to range the boss as he pulls and kills my totem.

    He makes to the door and I back up to about the start-mid of the hallway, I throw out another totem and some traps while readying my frenzy charges and I die.

    Nothing is around me, anywhere. I see the boss walk up to my corpse and attack my totem, indicating he was indeed far enough away to be unable to hit me with a melee wave that would kill me like something just did.

    Pissed and defeated I make my way back to the map (the boss is standing alone right where he left me, so it was indeed him who killed me due to what I assume was the worst type of desync), enter the chamber and kill the boss. Yes! 1% back from clearing him and everything else in the room, I must have been close to an experience percentage raise. I look at the pile of blues the boss drops, not wanting to even walk near any of the junk as I might step in it and get it all over my shoes. I leave. Alt+tab, and come to the forums.

    All the while I have been thinking to myself.. man, do I love spending several hours clearing solo maps just to lose about 30% of that experience in a split second due to something I can't control (most of the time). Only 3-4 good level maps which I don't have to get that experience back. So much fun, so super fun.

    What am I doing with my life?

    Thanks GGG for making an experience penalty so high that it pulls me out of gaming and back into reality by making me think about how much time I really just lost with nothing to show for it. Please change experience penalty.


    Who cares.

    This is just one of literally hundreds. People in the thread point out to him that he's weak. People in other threads whine about how game is too tough, people tell them this game is not for noobs. It's great, seriously. []

  2. Player versus environment, and I mean "environment" literally : people get owned by walking into trees, over ledges, through closed doors and whatnot. []
  3. Here's the full orb list :

    1. Chromatic Orb: Reforges the colour of sockets on an item.
    2. Orb of Alteration: Reforges a magic item with new random properties.
    3. Jeweller's Orb: Reforges the number of sockets on an item.
    4. Orb of Chance: Upgrades a normal item to a random rarity.
    5. Cartographer's Chisel: Improves the quality of a map.
    6. Orb of Fusing: Reforges the links between sockets on an item.
    7. Orb of Alchemy: Upgrades a normal item to a rare item.
    8. Orb of Scouring: Removes all properties from an item.
    9. Blessed Orb: Randomises the numeric values of the implicit properties of an item.
    10. Chaos Orb: Reforges a rare item with new random properties.
    11. Orb of Regret: Grants a passive skill refund point.
    12. Regal Orb: Upgrades a magic item to a rare item.
    13. Gemcutter's Prism: Improves the quality of a gem.
    14. Divine Orb: Randomises the numeric values of the random properties on an item.
    15. Exalted Orb: Enchants a rare item with a new random property.

    Vendors trade some of these for fixed rates, and the players have constructed an elaborate relative valuing mechanism. []

  4. If you recall, the invention of random maps was one of the main innovations brought to the scene by Diablo 1. []
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17 Responses

  1. Which class you took?

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Tuesday, 19 February 2013


  3. For some reason I wanted to take the same, and I'm not sure if I couldn't decide between Templar and Shadow based on description something with in situ and some funny connection between in situ- this website, and their site spins in my mind, as on description for inself does not clarify which description of the game: yours or their or will went for the Shadow anyway due to your article. Hmm.

    There's just a small problem: not only that their game runs on Windows, but their shitty installer actually downloads and stuffs files in some ~endless big file. My partitions have fat32 allocation. That's just too bad for +4.1 gb files. Oh well. I ran out of space because their installer can't split files and sure, we all have 50 gb operating systems with 4tb ntfs disks for 1080p porn, movies, flac music and moar wasting space techniques in order to keep proportional reality of Moore-Kryder law.

  4. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Tuesday, 19 February 2013

    I'm running it on wine.

    Also, take your pills or w/e, your last few comments are straight out of the ADD case review book.

  5. I'm willing to believe you agree on the fact that ad(h)d is some pseudo-illness invented for the pharmaceutic industry to benefit by selling pills to normal hyperactive children, probably because today's parents don't seem to properly recall how were they and/or probably because modern society offers so many distractions that no one is willing to dedicate their time to raise children.

    I'm also considering it's quite fucked up to marry and beget children in this society, where the biological mindset interferes with current reality, reality in which you can no longer 'trick' a man to cover your living expenses, men which suddenly earn a handful of useless coins each month, don't own land and get fired in 5 minutes.

    Surely it's a great deal to raise children when your daily preoccupation is to find a proper income source which can get empty the next day or similar.

    So yeah, give them pills.

    But sure, I might have it, who knows.

  6. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Tuesday, 19 February 2013

    No, Ritalin is here because nobody can be bothered to beat the shit out of you wasted generation. Sorta like Valium is here because nobody could be bothered to fuck the shit out of a different wasted generation some 50 years ago.

    Pills breed pills.

  7. Such a sincere socialist, you want everyone to succeed because everyone fails and we all a big indistinguishable mass.

  8. I forgot to add: beating is just wrong, the best example is this perpetual rural dystopia called cumania.

    kids are hyperactive-lol because they are vigorous and curious to explore and try things. later problems might have other causes.

    regarding the spin of thoughts.. hmm

  9. Graphically speaking, the game is lackluster. However, I found it more than enjoyable for a free MMO. Good work!

  10. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Wednesday, 20 February 2013

    @krossfire Hum. Maybe I'm behind the times with this graphics stuff. What are you going by, the screenshots above or your own experience in Act 1 intro ? The former is all zoomed in, the latter is really not a great spot to evaluate it. In any case the default textures are sucky, gotta fiddle with options to get best results.

  11. Well, I've been playing it myself for a while (I've recently restarted playing with a duelist called LordKrossfire) and, while a lot of effort has been put into the graphics, they aren't ''incredible''. They are however ''very good'' for a small team of passionate developers.

  12. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Friday, 22 February 2013

    Haha LordKrossfire ey ? We gotta pvp.

  13. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Friday, 22 February 2013

    Mk so I just made lvl 51, I'm just about to finish Nightmare... it's been a breeze. I have no idea what people are whining about, so far the problem with this game may be that it's too short/easy.

    Ps. dancing with elites. Me with Gorestalk, Genesis and that third guy.

  14. hats off to YOU

  15. rs4mil`s avatar
    Sunday, 6 July 2014

    How come you are working here?

  16. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Sunday, 6 July 2014

    Working where ?!

  1. [...] coupla months ago I was lauding this new game, Path of Exile. This is to point out that it wasn't a flash in the pan - I still think it's the best game out [...]

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