Monday, October 28, 2013

Free problems

Path of Exile runs player instances in the same manner as many MMOs: there is a hub area where the player picks up quests and does a little shopping and as soon as he or she leaves the new area is their own little pocket dimension. Perhaps this is what allows for the 'corpse permanence' that I like so much; the level doesn't really exist on the client machine. Running it this way does introduce two problems that have managed to suck the fun out of a game that I was otherwise very much enjoying.

First off is server latency. Picture this scenario: my keyboard smashed named character walk through a door and is immediately surrounded by dozens of of monsters. No problem, I will back of the doorway and use it as a choke point. As the number of active monsters increases I notice that none of my attacks are hitting, then I can't move, then I warp back into the room where I have been the whole time getting gang tackled. Rollback is ugly and unforgivable and it has killed me more than a few times. Which leads me to the other problem...

Not every level has a portal back to the hub area. This usually isn't an issue because once emptied an area will stay empty. Here's the catch: an instance's saved state only lasts for seven to fifteen minutes after the last time you visit it. That's more than enough time to go into a new level, die (due to server lag...)  and then have to fight your way back through the level again. Did I mention that the levels are randomly generated and when your instance expires it is regenerated? So not only are all the enemies back but everything is in a different place.

Assuming that Batman shows up tonight I will be taking a break.

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