Path of Exile enters Open Beta this week

For those of you who have been interested in playing the ingeniously designed Action RPG but didn’t feel like buying a supporter pack or, like me, were concerned about your carefully customized characters being destroyed once the game is released, have no fear: Path of Exile will wipe its servers one final time this week, marking the beginning of Open Beta!

This is a special game, trust me.  They hired the world’s best Diablo 2 mod-creator to design their rare items; a man who designed 1,500 unique items over the course of a decade for his hugely popular partial conversion, which included everything from new skill trees to new enemies and quests.  Using the knowledge he gained from that, he can calmly explain why Diablo III is just plain boring and why Path of Exile is a more worthy successor to the old classic.   The whole thing is online, so they have well-organized ladder races designed to promote competition and reward everyone who gives it a good shot, along with easy cooperative play, optional player-versus-player deathmatch, and trading.  The economy in this game is masterfully designed and prevents a lot of the problems seen in other Action RPGs.  The gameplay is tactile, balanced, and forceful, allowing for sharp reflexes and tactical thinking.  Abilities for heroes and enemies alike are imaginative, satisfying, and layer themselves beautifully.

I highly recommend you download it now, and play it when it enters Open Beta.

Path of Exile gets new website, plus PVP arenas!

Path of Exile has just deployed a new look for their website (which is a great improvement) and a new major patch, which finally adds the much-anticipated Player Versus Player arenas!

The renovation removes the misleading, inexplicable artwork of two warriors with flames and sparks instead of flesh, and focuses more on delivering news and information.  Player information and character portrait are now elegantly displayed at the top of the screen, which feels very natural.

As for PVP, I’m much too scared to try it myself, but I’m excited on behalf of all those old-school killers out there who have been itching to unleash their carefully customized characters.  I expect to see a nicely balanced meta-game evolve over time.

If you haven’t seen anything from the game, you might be interested in the “Build of the Week” videos that Chris Wilson (the game’s lead designer) has been putting up for a few months.  Or if you’re interested in a new interview with him, go here.

Now that I’ve finally put up Part 5 of the MGS2 review, I plan on taking a short break from the series before diving into Part 6.  In the meantime, I want to do some more reviews of games, although not as lengthy as the XCOM: Enemy Unknown review.

I’ll probably review Retro City Rampage and Path of Exile (once I’ve played the full version), but that’s not all!  I also plan on adding a rating to things I’ve already examined such as Intrusion 2, Brink, and The Last of Us.  Now granted, I haven’t personally played those last two games, and one of them isn’t even released yet, but I feel comfortable judging them anyway, because it’s fun and I trust that my cautious deductions are good enough.  Not only that, but my superpower of insight allow me to simulate the entire game in my head from just a handful of screenshots or a single promotional trailer.  Don’t believe me?  I looked up your Facebook pictures and am judging YOU right now.  I give you a +2.  Keep up the good work.

Download Path of Exile and get ready for the Public Weekend

http://www.pathofexile.com/publicweekend/

I want you to stress Path of Exile‘s servers this weekend.  According to their big shiny countdown clock, it starts in 1 Day, 12 Hours, and 16 Minutes, so you should hurry up and download the client now.

The reason I’m saying this, just so you know, is because I believe Path of Exile is everything that a game today should be.  Grinding Gear Games are slowly becoming my heroes, and I believe they deserve more praise than Notch and Mojang.  They are steadily updating with loads of meaningful content, polishing every rough spot thoughtfully, and — most importantly — refusing to indulge the bad habits of stupid people.  The sheer genius of the game’s economy proves this fact, and so does the recent addition of the end-game concept of randomly dropped, upgradable “maps”.

The game will be free when it’s finally released, but I suggest you give them money by purchasing a Support Pack, which will give you some nice bonuses such as the game’s soundtrack, an in-game Kiwi pet, and a bunch more stuff.

Path of Exile announces sixth class, the Shadow

A combination of Intelligence and Dexterity, the Shadow is the sixth and final class for Path of Exile, the ingenious action role playing game I’ve been happily beta testing and supporting with my dollars.  You may remember me offering two closed beta keys?  I still have one, if you want to join the fun.

RockPaperShotgun has the exclusive reveal, so go there for all the first impressions.  Shall I reveal the big secret they won’t tell you?  Essentially the Shadow is a more customizable version of the Assassin from Diablo II’s expansion, Lord of Destruction.  Assuming you decide to focus on the most natural setup, you’ll be creating advanced traps, slashing with claw weapons, and dabbling in all the various trickery of magic and speed, not brute power.

RockPaperShotgun

It’s worth saying that Path of Exile is extremely non-linear in its character progression, and that the trap system is built to compliment that ocean of choice.  According to the developers, almost any skill in the game can be “trapified”, so you can convert your boring old fireball spell to an incendiary mine, for example, right after they walk through the trap which curses their elemental resistance.  If you’re clever (and you should be if you play the Shadow) you will surely enjoy the possibilities.

Finally, this Friday there will be a Public Weekend, where you can jump in and try stuff out.  It’s all for testing purposes, so do them a favor and give them feedback on how the Shadow plays, eh?  The game will be free to play when it’s released, and it is very good.

Support Path of Exile, get early access

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:

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