Path of Exile is a free-to-play, isometric, online action RPG set in the world of Wraeclast. This MMORPG sets itself apart from others with its immense amount of player options, dark and mature settings, and an incredibly unique economy system, with very little dragging it down.
Many have called Path of Exile “the Diablo II sequel they’ve always wanted,” and at first glance the combat, art style and isometric camera are eerily familiar to Diablo II. I’ve played a lot of Diablo 2 clones in my day, including Mu Online from Webzen, and Path of Exile does the whole Diablo inspired action MMO thing so much better. It is clear that Path of Exile was inspired by Blizzards successful franchise, but it is also clear that it is something entirely different. Character creation is perhaps one of this game’s most fleshed out features. Aside from the basic character customization options like appearance and class, the customization is almost too much to take in. Each player can upgrade their skill tree, which has both active and passive traits, with literally hundreds of different options to choose from. With this system it is possible to make a wide base for a character to fill a number of roles, a specific set of skills to make your character the most optimal healer out there, or you could ruin your character entirely. The possibilities are endless, and while at first it will be overwhelming, the amount of variety is hugely gratifying. The game’s talent tree is absolutely enormous! Players can build their characters in so many different ways, it’s insane.
The world design here is obviously incredibly deep. While the story does not stand out in any particular way, it serves as an entry point to the universe, and as the atmosphere you are in deepens so does your amount of interest and investment in the world. The settings encourage exploration, and variations of locations and creatures make every locale unique and engaging. The systems at play here mesh well, logically and from a game point of view, to the world. In lieu of a gold-heavy system, the economy is almost entirely led by bartering with NPCs and players. This is a welcome addition to the game, and creates a variety of unique scenarios. This also means that you can no longer just purchase healing potions from traveling salesman, and instead must gather healing energy from enemies slain.
Path of Exile isn’t the only Diablo 2 style game out there though. Conquer Online from TQ Digital or or even Drakensang Online from BigPoint were inspired by Blizzard’s Diablo games. It’s pretty silly how so many game developers copy Blizzard’s ideas. There are so many WoW clones out there and I suspect in the coming years there’s gonna be
some Hearthstone clones too. All of a sudden, you’re going to see an influx of free to play card games. Anyway. I digress. Path of Exile definitely drew inspiration from Diablo 2, but it’s still its own unique game.
Combat is click-heavy and action packed in Path of Exile. Dungeons are intricate, and full of powerful mobs that are enjoyable to fight. That being said, I always felt powerful enough to conquer my enemies, but not too powerful. This is all furthered by the addition of friends, which can make experiences all the more fun, if not slightly easier.
The dark and mundane environment, while stylish, does not have the most-astounding graphics. While this in no way subtracts from the experience the game could use a few more highly detailed models or effects, but then again, it’s trying to re-create that classic Diablo experience, so the visuals aren’t supposed to be super crisp. Aside from this, the only other downside are half-baked PvP options, although Path of Exile is obviously PvE focused.
The isometric world of Wraeclast is a deep, dark engaging one, with a unique economy and intense combat. Sometimes things can be confusing, but once you understand these systems the game is all the better for it. Path of Exile does what RPGs do well, and fixes the rest. The skill system for one is a bit confusing, because there are no set classes really. Players use skills from gems they carry. Path of Exile is actually one of my favorite MMOs of all time too. It’s all a bit complicated, but surprisingly fun after you learn the basics. Check it out! I give it a 9/10.