Not many games can stand at the top for a long period of time, but that has not stopped Grinding Gear Games from creating a masterpiece. Path of Exile looks like a normal ARPG at first glance and doesn’t have many drawing graphical aspects compared to its rival Diablo 3. However, once you delve deeper into the gameplay and past the graphics… the game becomes truly endless.
An Exile begins their journey on the strand of Wraeclast with nothing except a weapon and a single skill, but then quickly gathers new skills with support gems and ventures through the absolutely enormous passive tree (skill tree). The 10 acts encompassed in Path of Exile allow the user to level through a single seamless play through without the need to worry about difficulties. Finally, once the acts are over, the true game begins.
Over the past few months, the “league” system (or seasons system for Diablo players), has truly evolved. These leagues last for 3 months and allow users to experience Path of Exile with a fresh start. In the past, a league could add in a few new mod types such as Bloodlines or a new way to fight against mobs such as Breach and Abyss. Starting with Bestiary, GGG began implementing their new league system that adds more than just these simple mechanics. Bestiary League involved players running around captures beasts to use to craft powerful items while Incursion involved making specific choices to shape exactly how to explore a long-lost temple. We then traveled deep down into the delves below Wraeclast, spent some time with our old Forsaken Masters (and a few new ones) in Betrayal, and most recently traveled through lost memories in Synthesis.
However, a small bump in the road has come up as the game continues to grow larger in scale. With all of these mechanics being stacked on top of each other every 3 months, players are finding themselves with an odd issues… there is simply too much to do! Around the time of the game’s release, the main objective of the end-game was to simply roll and runs maps. Now however, players may run a handful of maps and then find themselves lost in the games other activities for hours. The average player may think that this is a non-issue since a player can simply ignore the mechanics that they don’t like and interact with the mechanics that they do. This creates an issue, however, as the game somewhat penalizes you for not partaking in tasks when they are needing to be done. For example, if a player is only wanting to interact with the delve mechanic, they will continue to farm sulphite in order to delve for long periods of time. This same player may “max” all of their other activites and simply decide to not run them and continue to focus on the sulphite. The issue here is that by ignoring all of the other activities, the player is losing potential rewards as their progress is capped until they actually interact with the mechanics they are ignoring. It may all sound confusing (and it somewhat is), but it seems that a lesson is being learned by Grinding Gear Games that not many other studies have had to learn.
The horizon for Path of Exile still continues to shine! After-all, is too much content really a huge issue? GGG has reassured the community that players will soon be able to navigate through all of the league mechanics and focus on the ones that they want to interact with. What does the progression of these leagues have to do with the game? It’s simply getting better and better. Since the game’s full release in 2013, the game has added a large amount of new skill and support gems, 6 new acts, a new mapping system, various end game boss fights, and entire new game mechanics through leagues. With the Legion League starting up in just a few days and as Path of Exile’s player base continues to grow at rates that are unheard of for a 6 year old game, one thing is for certain… Path of Exile truly does get better with age.