Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Return to Path of Exile

I decided to play some more Path of Exile to check out the most recent expansion. Because I haven't played in quite a while I'm not really sure what was added now and what was added some time ago. I know I've read about some of it on Ziggyny's Game Emporium but I can't remember when.

The list of features I wasn't yet familiar with is huge. There are quest givers that show up randomly in fighting areas of the game to give you side missions. There are special randomly appearing side dungeons that end with chests that contain "corrupted" gems that have very powerful effects but can only be used once for every so many kills. There is crafting and some kind of home bases that I haven't even got to yet but that is apparently tied to those random quest givers. Cabinets of various kinds which are special chests that summon waves of monsters to defend themselves. The new softcore league is one where getting long kill streaks triggers special effects. There are plenty of new skills. Some boss fights have been redesigned in ways I approve of.

Basically it seems that they keep adding new, cool stuff to the game. I never did get around to giving them any money, but I think I should probably do that since I like their game and want to support them. I could buy more stash tabs with it but I think I'll probably just go with cosmetic effects because who needs a stash.

While I was playing, I kept thinking, "This is what the designers of Diablo 3 should be doing." But at some point I stopped myself. I should stop looking at a game like Path of Exile and thinking that Diablo 3 should mimic it and instead just admit what I already know: that Diablo 3 just sucks and it isn't going to get better.

It's kind of incredible. Blizzard has a big team and a lot of development money, but the game just went totally wrong. It's just way too simple. They basically took almost all meaningful choice out of the game. There's nothing to optimize through choice, only things to optimize through finding more optimal items. The game areas are just too simple and predictable. It's fun for a while but has no real staying power, and if it weren't for the brand name I would have played it a lot less than I did.

Path of Exile's advancement system is a combination of Materia and the Sphere Grid. They are constantly adding new interesting things that happen when you play. There is a fantastic amount of room to customize and maximize your gear. That's what makes games like this fun. I'm sure I'll be excited by Diablo 4, and I'll probably even buy the next expansion for Diablo 3, assuming there is one.

But I don't even have a level 70 crusader and I probably never will, and it's hard for me to imagine a more harsh thing I could say about a Diablo game.

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