This weekend is the inaugural EXILECON, hosted by Grinding Gear Games, creators of Path of Exile. Having caught up on the first day’s stream, I can safely say that they are putting Blizzard to shame yet again. Day 2 is happening now, and I’m excited to see what’s discussed. The event reminds me of everything I love about GGG and Path of Exile. It’s not a fireworks show or a WWE pablum for the masses, but a laser-focused commitment to the supporters with a clear vision, a professional grade of quality, and a deep awareness of what people want to see.
Path of Exile 2has been announced. I’d write more about it here, but I’m busy listening to Chris Wilson at the event being a very smart and responsible lead designer.
Path of Exile has announced a new expansion, The Awakening. On top of a new Act, bosses, items, and all that good content, there’s also a big addition to the legendary Passive Skill Tree: radial passive boosts. I love this idea, because it turns the physical layout of the skill tree into a puzzle that players can play with. Basically, certain gems you can earn will have a circle of influence in the skill tree that affects compatible nodes. If the gem is related to Intelligence modifiers, it will give a boost of some kind to all of the Intelligence-related nodes around it. I don’t know how you place them (I haven’t researched all of it yet, but I’d guess that skill nodes have colorized sockets now too?) but this alone means that GGG is moving the game in an even crazier, rewarding direction.
Star Citizen has written about their First Person Shooter system, which I find highly interesting. Like Dark Souls, it will involve a stamina-management system, forcing players to play cautiously and “spend” their stamina on worthwhile action. Three different “stances” will emphasize different aspects of combat and interaction, and I suggest you read more about how breathing control factors into fighting in space!
You simply must read this piece from Penny-Arcade Report regarding Path of Exile. Here’s a sample of the article:
Grinding Gears is basing their game on a crazy business model: They want to make the players happy. This isn’t EA, a company that shrugs off customer complaints by looking at the bottom line; Grinding Gears legitimately spends time and effort trying to track the happiness of the players of the game.
While big publishers suffer losses and blame the economy, mobile games, and everything else under the Sun, maybe they need to consider this “crazy business model”, eh? I dare say it’s working for Valve too.