The acclaimed Diablo-killer, Path of Exile, finally got into open beta a few days ago, so I decided to succumb to the hype and install it. Almost everyone praises the game and the annoying part of the fans also keeps comparing it to Diablo 3 and saying how much better than Diablo 3 it is, so guess what? I’m going to do the same, kind off.
Is it a Diablo killer? That’s really a question not very bright people usually ask so I’m going to skip answering it, because my audience isn’t dumb. Is it a good game? Well, the first couple of hours are good, which says a lot.
I like the skill system, and I like the passive system. I also like the weirdly skewed isometric camera perspective and graphics which use modern effects but somehow, in a way I can’t exactly explain, they feel old school, more akin to the late 90’s ARPGs like Diablo 2.
There’s no money in the game, which I also kind of like, but I’m not sure how it will work later in the game. For now, you basically trade items for materials, which you can then trade for different items, skill gems or different materials.
Yup, skill gems. The classes are exclusively defined by the passive skills they have available, of which you can learn one per level by activating them on a huge skill grid, similar to the sphere grid of Final Fantasy X. As for the active skills, you use them by equipping skill gems which drop randomly from monsters. You place these skill gems into slots on your equipment, but you can easily remove them and put them into another item, so you aren’t limiting your gear in any way.
The more you use a skill, the more experience it gains and the faster it gains levels. An increase in the level of the skill means more damage, more life for summons or some other increase in power which fits the skill. I might be lying here, but I don’t think the skills get bound to your character, so it’s possible you can trade these highly leveled skill gems between your characters as well as with other players. Overall, it seems like a very fun system with a lot of things to explore. For now, it’s extremely fun, but as I said, I have no way of knowing how much fun it will be later.
As for the passive skill grid, there’s no option to respec directly, but you do get a couple of respec points from quests throughout the game, which allow you to reallocate a few skill points you’ve previously spent. You can also earn these respec points from Orbs of Regret, but I’m not sure how you get those. They probably become available later in the game or something. In any case, this to feels like it’ll be a lot of fun to experiment with.
Path of Exile is a Great Game
There! I’ve said it. Heck, I’ll even compare it. At this point, I’d rather play Path of Exile than Diablo 3. That might be because I played Diablo 3 for a long time, or it might be that it actually is a better game overall. I don’t know and I don’t care. What I do know is that I’m having fun with Path of Exile right now.
But What About the Game
I actually didn’t say anything about what I did. I picked the witch as my starting character. I went for extra mana and mana regeneration with the passives first, then switched to summoning bonuses, and recently decided to drop those via the two respec points I got from an early quest and switch to damage and cast speed. As for my spells, I’m mostly fire focused. I use Fireball as my left mouse button attack, Fire Trap on my right mouse and Firestorm as my first extra skill. On my middle mouse button, I use Summon Zombie, purely to have some meat between myself and the enemies.
I’m having a lot of fun, but it’s getting sort of obvious you can’t just invest points at random, since respecing isn’t as easy as with Diablo 3. It means I get to experiment less, but it also means I need to think more every time I gain a level. Fun, but different fun!