Friday, November 21, 2014


You know, do not even ask me about the "Forsaken Masters" part as I do not really know.  But Path of Exile, I do not think I have ever sunk this much time into a free-to-play game.  Even the previously mentioned Clash of Clans or Plants vs. Zombies 2.  No, not even Mafia Wars, which was way back in the day, as far as I am concerned.

At the moment I have put 35 hours into this game, although that number seems to be growing week-by-week.  But let us talk about the game.

Bloody hell this game is beautiful, just take a look at this dank and infested dungeon!

and a spectral-esque-type forrest.

Now if I only played good looking games, there would be room for an argument here, but I am also playing a lot of The Elder Scrolls: The Arena which looks a lot like Doom with a sword and heal potions.  PoE plays remarkably well too.  Think Diablo, with bits of Torchlight II thrown in (stationary waypoints) as well as MMORPG action hot key type actions as well.   There are even some improvements such as removable gem socketing in weapons and armor without damaging either the equipment or the gems.  I think that is one of the things that helped to sell the game.  

There are even little individual animations that the enemies do.  For instance, an enemy archer will run towards you, stop, pull an arrow from their quiver, lick the fletching, knock the arrow then fire towards you.  That is, if you haven't already shot them yet.  If you zoom in as close as you can, you can see the corpses of fallen enemies twitching a couple of times before they lie permanently prone.  At first I thought it was either a glitch or my eyes playing tricks, but no, you can see hands and feet twitching a few times.  Sometimes monsters will also roar at you before or during attacks, you know, because their wild animals that just happen to want you very dead.

Oddly enough, one of the best things about this games is all the ways Grinding Gear Games does not charge you to play and there are a lot of aspects to this game that I feel that could have been used to create options to pay real world money.  You want to enchant that sword to a +1 to damage, pay 50 gold (translates to $0.50).  You want to recover that life sapping gem from your armor that you no longer want, that will be 200 gold.  You want to create more than one character, pay us 500 gold to create extra character slots beyond your first character.  Of everything that I have seen that the game charges money for, everything appears to be cosmetic.  Sure you have your swag stashed in a chest that has four pages of a 12x12 grid and you can pay for a fifth page, but I do not foresee needing that much space considering I am currently only playing one character.

Basically, there was one time when I left the game for the sole purpose of finding out how I could give Grinding Gear Games money using real money.  Maybe buy a package thing via Steam using my Steam Wallet.  I could not.  There was nothing I could do but use their in-game market.  That was not was I was looking for, so I have yet to give them currency validation towards their great game.

Similar to Diablo and Torchlight, I do have a problem with hoarding.  When I found gems, I saved them until I could create the next higher quality gem, then I saved that gem until I could create the next. . .so on and so on.  I was always paranoid that I would find a better weapon or suit of armor and that gem that I had soldered into my equipment would then be lost forever.  Thankfully in PoE, this is not the case as I can take out and remove gems as frequently as I want (unless otherwise noted in the description of the gem).  Grinding Gear is making this game too easy to like and doing things that I had wanted earlier Diablo-esque games to do.

There are a handful of other features from the game that surprised me.  At first, I was annoyed that the maps were a lot smaller than what I was used to on Torchlight II, but I quickly realized that they were more like the Diablo maps and one of the sidequest goals is to kill every monster on the map.  That would be quite the feat in Torchlight II.  Another is that your health and mana potions autofill as you kill enemies and whenever you return to town, which makes healing spells almost obsolete.  It can become difficult however when you have to go up against a boss that does not want to summon creatures to help fight against you, which would then refill your potion bottles.

To date, I have only played cooperatively once with Chreekat a month or two back.  And while the game could be played with friends, you don't have to and I feel that playing locally would be a lot more fun than playing across the country.  That being said, I am usually up for playing cooperatively if people are interested.  That then brings me to the online-ness of the game.  Unless you are intentionally playing with anyones else, all the areas, with the exception of the towns/villages are instanced.  You do not have to worry about other people running around in the same area stealing your kills and loot.

The only negative statement I have to make about this game is that it takes a while to load.  The first couple of times I tried playing, I gave up because I thought the game was stuck on the loading screen.  It turned out that I just had to wait a minute or two, then everything was as I expected it to be.  There was no noticeable lag in the game and the only times the game had to load was moving between areas.

I am going to stop now so I can get this out there.  Path of Exile has been out there in the world for 13 months now and honestly, it is never too late to pick up this game and start playing.  So, you should go and start playing as it is just too much fun to not play.

The Great Warriors of Doom and Wind

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