I don’t know about you, but ever since Activision made ruining the Diablo series a goal, I’ve been hankering for an alternative. Of course, the most obvious alternative is the upcoming Torchlight II, which, like the first Torchlight, is made by the original Diablo team and has proven itself to be top-notch. But my hankering is more specific than that.
I hanker for something dark and gritty, with more than four classes, and some serious lore. Something with a non-money economy, huge freedom of choice, and a better health recovery system. Those are just a few reasons why Path of Exile is so special to me. I recently took part in the Stress Test weekend, and came away with very good impressions. It’s a flagrant Diablo II ripoff at its core (thankfully), but it feels more like a true sequel because of some really creative improvements, and I suggest you take the time to find out about them:
Probably the most refreshing feature was the economy, which, when done wrong, can very easily ruin good games, but here is a work of genius. The love of money is the root of all evil, and players often find themselves obsessing over dollars and cents instead of actually playing the game. Read what the game creators have to say about it traditional gold-based economies, and I’m sure you’ll be impressed. They point out some common occurrences:
- Gold Sinks
- Gold Farmers
- Wealth Determinism
- Trade Parity
There are over a dozen different “currencies” that vendors will trade for, with the most basic being “fragments” of scrolls — scrolls which are very useful, because they let you identify magic items that you’ve picked up. Sell something magical, and you’ll get a different, equally useful kind of fragment. Because these currencies have super useful and disappear once you’ve used them, you won’t be hoarding it up — unless you have something in mind. The game knows this, and so it doesn’t need to constantly be draining your money on stupid things.
Gosh, I can’t do it justice by explaining it, you’ll have to read what they say for yourself. If you’ve been annoyed by finding yourself hoarding gold and feeling ripped off, you really should appreciate this.
Speaking of money, the game will be completely free, forever. Microtransactions are available but will never have an effect on gameplay — it’s cosmetic stuff, extra character slots, special league access, etc. “Leagues” are essentially separate modes of play with separate economies and ladder rankings, ramping up the difficulty for those who want more of a challenge.
If you want to have early access to the Beta (as I do) you can, however, give them some money. It’s a Kickstarter-type deal, so you can get more rewards the more you donate.