Path of Exile Early Beta Impressions
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG Journalist
Path of Exile is a free online-only action role-playing game set in the dark fantasy world of Wraeclast. It is currently in a very early beta stage being developed by Grinding Gear Games in New Zealand. I have been paying a lot of attention to Diablo 3 lately and forgot about this game in the meanwhile. When I got the chance to test the game I was quite happy to see Grinding Gear Games make a game that is able to compete with the well-known title Diablo 3.
Even though the game is currently in closed beta the graphics are really marvelous looking. The graphical style is dark and sinister, just the way I like my top-down adventures. When creating the character I was able to choose a league, the default league and the hardcore league. The Default league is very basic and is probably the most played league. Since characters can only see and interact with players in their own league, the game encourages the player to be more wisely and start off in the Default league. The Default League is extremely large and where players spend the most of their time. In the Hardcore League however you have a high risk of losing your character if you aren’t paying attention. Basically this means that if you die while playing in this league your character will have a perm-death. Now don’t be afraid to try out the hardcore league because if the character dies it will be transferred to the Default League so you can play it on there. Unfortunately your character cannot be transferred back after your death so once you are out, it’s over!
After I chose to play on the Default League I was able to make my character; there are currently five characters in the game. I went with my tried and true Ranger class. Rangers are specialized in using bows and attack from a distance like they would in any MMO. Attacking is done by clicking on nearby monsters; you can also use different spells which can be customized on different mouse buttons or QWERTY buttons. I was a bit put off when going over the controls that there was no way to rotate my camera. I might be a bitchy person, but this is really an option that I have been missing in Path of Exile. Sometimes I wanted to screencap the action from a different angle, but unfortunately it isn’t possible. I do hope they will add this feature in the future but I won’t get my hopes up.
My first objective ingame was to get safely to a small camp. To navigate it was of course time to pull out ye ol’ MMO minimap. Path of Exile decided to break the norm and place the minimap as a big overlay in the middle of your screen so you can view the surrounding world without taking your eyes off of the action surrounding your character.
There are six classes announced for Path of Exile, however there are currently only five classes available in the game. These classes are: The Marauder, Ranger, Witch, Duelist and Templar.
The Marauder is a class that uses brute strength to equip themselves with huge weapons. The Marauders use their raw brute power from a close range to battle monsters with different skills that incapacitate enemies on contact.
The Ranger is able to use a fast attack speed to overcome heartier foes. They are capable of wielding several different weapons to unleash multiple playing styles. Do you prefer to attack from range? Then the bow might be more suited for you. If you prefer the close combat style you want to equip yourself with some daggers.
The Witch is the class that is specialized in the use of magical powers. Because of the intelligence this class possesses she is the unmatched master of elemental attacks and dark arts. She creates impenetrable barriers and raises fallen enemies to fight against their former comrades.
The Duelist is the most confident or as some people see it the most arrogant character in the game. They use the power of a wide array of weapons to fill the standard roguish role.
The Templar is a class for the more wise men among us; they use weapons of steel and a shield of righteousness to fend themselves off against their foes. The Templar is a Strength/Intelligence hybrid in Path of Exile. They are trained in an array of weapons from the sharpest cutlass to the heaviest two handed mace. They can also utilize their oversized shield as a deadly bludgeon.
Hopefully the last class will bring a full healing/supportive class to the current addition of classes. Most likely this will be a class that would be the most important class in a party, bringing along enough buffs and spells to help their allies fend of their foes.
The choice of how to play your character is all yours in Path of Exile. The player is able to choose from a massive list of passives and branching skill paths for their character. I can honestly say it is the largest branching skill tree I have ever seen in any game. That way every character has a uniquely made build that can affect the game play in many situations. Not only can you customize yourself to meet the challenge of tougher dungeons, you can also equip yourself with surprises to keep your enemies on their toes in PvP.
Actual Skill Map Too Large for OnRPG.com
In every map there are loads of chests and corpses scattered around the map that can possess different loot. Unfortunately your inventory isn’t big enough to carry around all that precious loot you just found. You will have to make a choice between what you want to keep and what item you will have to drop in order to loot the more precious loot that you desire. There is currently not much room in your bag so pack rats beware. Hopefully they will add a slightly bigger inventory because after finding a few weapons your bag is stuffed. This is however much more realistic since a single man cannot drag along 10 different kinds of armor and weapons.
The graphics in Path of Exile are really good looking and this will set the standard for Diablo III and other similarly styled games to beat. To play this game full of good looking eye candy just about any computer will do. However the options exist to really pump up the resolution for maximum enjoyment. Currently they are advertising that the game will even support the maximum resolution of 2560×1600. So if you have bought a huge monitor that supports this resolution and feel like playing this game on a really big screen, knock yourself out.
I didn’t want to make the comparison with Diablo 2/3 that much but unfortunately Path of Exile didn’t leave me to any choice. This game has the distinctly Diablo 2 feel in its animation and playstyle. Path of Exile however adds unique classes and a truly impressive skill tree system to make the genre into its own. If you can copy another game and create something even better than I say more power to you! Path of Exile chose to walk this path and has produced a challenging and addictive role-playing game worthy of OnRPG’s referral.