Thursday, October 24, 2013

Free and good? bored. I know I have sworn off the PC but let's open Steam anyway.

Path of Exile out of beta? On Steam? Still free? Done.


Yowza, this is pretty good.

Billed as the sequel to Diablo II that people wanted, not the one they got, Path of Exile has been in closed and then open beta for what feels like forever. I signed up for the beta ages ago, and for all I know I got in, but I forgot about the game because of whatever new shiny thing passed under my nose. I am actually glad that I waited because, so far, this is a functional, complete, interesting Diablo clone.

There are two differences that I would like to highlight. First and more initially annoying are the game's economy and inventory systems, or lack thereof. Please keep in mind that I have played for all of two hours, so this may change, but hold little my character can carry is infuriating. Junk drops are common but I have a compulsion to collect and sell everything. At least instances stay empty of enemies long enough to clean out an area even with multiple runs back to the vendor.

If I wasn't quite as obsessive compulsive about this I could skip most of the junk drops because the game has no money. Weapons an armor ar exchanged for items, more specifically pieces of items. The default currency seems to be scrolls of identification and they take a lot of paper bits to build. Finding a whole one in the wild translates into a new weapon. Choosing a new weapon can be difficult. Not because of their stats but because all items have gem slots. Colored gem slots.

Abilities do not come from levels, they come from socketed gems. Gems can only be socketed into holes of a matching color so weapon choice hinges on more than simple DPS. Gems also levels up and are removable so putting one in to try it out is not a waste. It is a very user focused system that does not punish experimentation. Characters do gain power as they level but they are mostly passive skills and buffs and there are hundreds of them.

The only complaint I had was that just as I was really getting into the game they kicked everyone out to reboot the server. But it's free so who am I to complain about what they do with their own servers.

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