PAX 2011: Path of Exile
One of the best parts of PAX is that indie developers get a chance to show off their games next to the big companies, giving everyone equal ground and letting us know about games we otherwise would not have heard of. I got the chance to swing by Grinding Gear Games’ booth and check out Path of Exile, their free to play action RPG, and its twist on the Diablo clone market has me very interested.
Path of Exile is, like Torchlight or Titan Quest, a Diablo clone. We’ve all played them before, we know how they work. So what sets it apart from other games of its kind? Most importantly, the game is free to play with a microtransaction model for cosmetic items only. Also, the game is ran server side instead of client side, like an MMO. This eliminates problems like hacking and item modding in other games of the genre. The most interesting feature is the skill system. Character skills are tied to socketed gems that go in every equipped items. These gems work like the materia system from Final Fantasy 7, leveling up as characters do and becoming more powerful. There is also a talent system, and as you gain experience you begin to unlock nodes of a grid that powers your character up. These upgrades boost your base stats and upgrade powers and abilities. This talent system is very reminiscent of the Final Fantasy X sphere grid.
Grinding Gear Games has a real contender on its hands in the action rpg market, and though the game is still pretty early, I liked what I saw. You can check out more of the game at their website, and sign up for the beta.