Loot Drop: Path Of Exile Beta Open All Weekend

By Craig Pearson on March 30th, 2012 at 9:00 pm.

We all love a good get together
In the weekend family get-together of the fantasy RPGs, Uncle Diablo is hanging around, talking to his niece Torchlight about her new tattoos. She’s just asked where Path Of Exile is. “He’s suffering from stress and couldn’t make it”, said Uncy D. Abstractly, of course: what’s actually happening is that Path of Exile, Grinding Gears’ isometric online action-RPG is actually holding a stress test this weekend, from Friday to Sunday, and everyone’s invited. Now the closed beta members might be a bit sniffy at the sudden influx of unlevelled scum, but if you just follow these simple rules we’ll all get along famously: left mouse for hitting; right mouse for also hitting. Got it?

There’s every expectation that the game will crumble a bit under the attentions of the new players, but it’s worth a shot. Adam enjoyed his time with the plentiful loot in the free-to-play ARPG, even if he felt that the social elements were a bit overwhelming. But that’s Adam: he thinks “Welcome” mats are a bit forward.

All you need to do is follow these instructions and you’re guaranteed entry to the party. Here. Have a look if you want to make doubly sure.

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59 Comments »

  1. Aaarrrggghhh says:

    Aren’t you a bit short for an embeded YouTube video?

  2. marcusfell says:

    The video is a strange abomination of widescreen.

  3. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    I notice that Torchlight II is conspicuously late to the party…

  4. Choca says:

    Might give it a try, I’m feeling very hack and slashy these days.

  5. Daniel Klein says:

    You know what I really want? An ARPG where your character says a swear every time he’s damaged, cause that’s what I would do.

    “Ah! Fuck!”
    “Shit!”
    “Ow! Fucker!”
    “COCK SHIT!”

    And as you’re about to die:
    “MOTHERFUCKING CUNTBALLS!”

  6. Vorphalack says:

    8 minutes of giant spider killing.

    Must be a stat focused RPG. Some things never change.

  7. HothMonster says:

    That looks like a fine Diablo 2 mod they have there.

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      I know this is the expected apologist remark, but it actually has a lot that differentiates itself from diablo 2! Visually they are very similar, and of course the general playstyle is the same as all games of the genre, but under the hood Path of Exile is very much its own game.

      Potions are not stackable consumables, but individual magic items. They don’t go away when you use them, and refills when you kill enemies. They can have their own special bonuses such as armor boosts for a limited time when you drink them. They can also be modded by means of crafting items.

      No gold. There is no item in the game whose sole purpose is to act as currency. Instead, there is a multitude of “currency items” in the form of crafting items (increase quality, increase magicalness, reroll magic traits etc.) that you barter with. Identification scrolls fall into this category, and makes it so you have to decide if you really want to waste that precious scroll on identifiying a piece of armor that you may or may not be able to use.

      Active skills are conferred through socketable gems, not a skill tree. The gems gain xp and level separately from yourself. They can also be tweaked by support gems that also fit into the sockets of the weapons.

      Stats and passive skills are distributed in a large skill “map”, where you work your way towards whatever goals you have. This is the same for all classes, and the difference between the classes are their starting stats and starting location on this map. On the edges are special “keystone”-skills that make dramatic changes to how your character works, like removing mana and casting from hp, or removing hp and making you completely reliant on energy shields and dodging. This gives plenty of room for completely unique builds and experimentation.

      It’s nice.

      • frightlever says:

        I got into Beta before the major re-jig and rapidly lost interest because from a purely mathematical point of view it was obvious they didn’t understand game design. I went back after the overhaul patch and it was definitely better, but they spun off multiple other problems. It’s an anomaly that math-based coders, presumably, can’t analyse what they’re doing with a game.

        Path of Exile has a lot of great things going for it, but loot is anaemic and levelling is down a corridor – you may have seen the “skill tree” but it’s deceptive.

        Combat pretty much works.

        Skill pretty much works.

        Magic using has an extra layer of obfuscation that makes it frustrating, but the pay-off is that if you hit the right random buttons you’re a walking god from the get go.

        I’m waiting for the “real” re-focus patch. From a non-min-max point of view it’s a lot of fun.

        • promenad says:

          I don’t understand game design from a purely mathematical point of view either. Care to elaborate?

  8. CaLe says:

    Thanks for the heads up. I just happen to be in the mood for something like this.

  9. Khemm says:

    I’d totally pay for a single player version. Do it, please.

    • Arcanon says:

      It’s F2P, they need the always-online to stay alive……unlike Diablo 3 -.-

    • Zarx says:

      As all combat zones are instanced you can solo the entire game, you need to be online but as it’s free to play that is to be expected.

  10. UncleLou says:

    I am both in the PoE beta and the D3 beta, and while PoE looks quite nice technically, it has failed to grab me the way the D3 beta immediately did. It’s quite slow-paced, and it’s just random maps full of mobs that all behave in exactly the same way – it’s a failure when it comes to world-building. There’s also too much of everything – too many chests, too many identical mobs, and levels are either big open squares or random, simple mazes without any credibility.

    I am sure I’ll play it once it’s officially out because I am a massive loot-em-up fan and it’s free to boot, but the beta only demonstrates just how hard it is to make this seemingly simple genre work, and why it takes Blizzard so long to get things right.

    • jjujubird says:

      Seconded on all accounts. I found it a bit boring.

    • derbefrier says:

      Though I haven’t played it myself yet, I plan too as soon as I get off work, this is how a buddy of mine was describing it. He did say the talent system seemed pretty cool, that there was a lot of room for some crazy builds but the world and combat seemed a little bland. It’s f2p so I will absolutely give ot a real chance once its released though.

  11. Zyper says:

    I was literally thinking this morning in the shower… “Why don’t games have ‘stress test’ days, where their game goes open beta for a day, and it allows them to test out their servers prior to launch’”, but ironically I was thinking about Diablo 3 when I had this thought… funny how that happens.

    • Spider Jerusalem says:

      clearly the shower is a conductor for the power of your mind.

  12. trjp says:

    I’ve been playing this for the last hour and I like it – it’s most unusual concept is that there appears to be no money, everything is traded item-for-item.

    The base currency appears to be “Scrolls of Wisdom” – identify scrolls, basically – when you sell items you get random stuff (including scraps which make Scrolls) and you buy items using other items (again, mostly Scrolls).

    Inventory size is small meaning you leave metric TONNES of loot behind tho – unless you want to ferry it around like some sort of Eddie Stobart of the netherworld.

    Otherwise it seems like fun – it’s a BIT fond of making you walk a lot but apart from that it’s been enjoyable thusfar!!

    The texture and lighting work is remarkable too – it has THE dankest caves ever!!

    • trjp says:

      Furthermore, I love the fact that potions are refilled by killing things instead of having to be bought – the combat is weighty and gets quite challenging as you get more and more overrun by lots of enemies etc.

      I’d rate it above any Diablo clone I’ve played EXCEPT Depths of Peril/Dins Curse – and it’s certainly prettier than those 2 :)

      • Lord Byte says:

        Yeah it\s defintely over Torchlight. Not sure if it surpasses Titan Quest, that one had just a lot more flavour, the start in POE was great (the voice of the guy that tosses you overboard as he explains things, is AWESOME), but the overall story flavour drops quite a bit and the monsters aren’t as imaginative…
        The graphics ARE great!

  13. Fiwer says:

    The currency system is really bad, bad enough that I probably just won’t bother playing the game because it’s such a pain in the ass. I feel like they just wanted to do something to say “Hey look, we’re different from Diablo!!” but this was a really poor way of going about it. Also, if they want to do this weird sphere grid thing for skills then they should have just dropped character classes altogether. And the sphere grid needs to be about 1/6 of the size it is, as it is now it’s just too busy and for me it’s too much trouble to really spend any time working through it.

    The potions are cool though! Also, I definitely dig the way active skills work.

    • marcusfell says:

      I think their goal with the economy was to make it player-driven, as if there really were just a bunch of people on an island. I agree on the classes, but I’d rather keep the skill tree. It’s so awesomely massive it makes me smile looking at the sheer possibilities.

    • trjp says:

      I like the currency system – it forces a ‘make do and mend’ approach where you have to decide what you identify, what you trade for Portal Scrolls or Armour or Weapons or whatever and discourages raw money grabbing.

      Items can be ‘improved’ with stuff you find or get from selling – you can make a regular item ‘rare’ or a ‘rare’ item better again and so on – it really is modelling the idea of a bunch of people trapped and ‘making do’.

      and it’s not like sorting it all out is complex – I do think you need to enable ‘always show loot labels’ because it’s hard to find/easy to miss loot otherwise but what it shows is customisable (you can show only scrolls/vials or hide white stuff etc. etc.) and it’s toggleable with a key rather than needing to use the options screen.

      Despite the plethora of loo tho, it’s not entirely gear obsessed, a bit of skill goes a long way. Your approach and positioning for attacks is important – I’m really enjoying it!

    • theoriginaled says:

      Wait until you realize that the grid is different for every character 8| Thats alot of passive skills to go through and alot of potential builds. I can see myself playing this game over and over just to explore different grid branches. And the barter system makes sense to me. Theyre shipwrecks or exiles, of course theyre not going to have money. and bartering with scraps of useful crap makes far more sense. Theyve done alot of very interesting things here.

      • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

        The grid is the same, the classes’ starting positions on it are different.

        • Phantoon says:

          Considering you have to less spend less/more points to get to a talent that’s now closer/farther, they may as well be completely different. Having access to everything is neat, though. I’ve stumbled into a working build on my Duelist (think that was the class) as a sword and board warrior type. I have shield charge for intiating/escaping, a debuff that gives mana/life steal, a power attack, an ice burst for easier charge damage/roots, and a buff that gives my and my party’s attacks ice damage.

          I’d have more, but I foolishly sold a couple gems near the start, and don’t have any bonus int, so I can’t use any pure spell type gems.

          A couple things should be explained better, but the game looks great and holds up after hours of play, even just with the same abilities until you get that next gem. Cruically, the health/mana flasks also have bonus things on use, like “removes burning” or “removes freezing”, which makes them not only your way to sustain, but also your defensive abilities.

  14. adammtlx says:

    I like it. Lots of neat ideas. I could see myself playing through it at least once.

    The combat is a bit slow to start but as the enemy counts rise, it starts to get very challenging and you find yourself retreating and regrouping a lot–which to me is better than just plowing through everything with no thought. There’s a nice tug-of-war between what gear you want to use, what gear you can use, and what gear has the gem slots and is the weapon type you need for the skills you want to use. Keeps things interesting, if for no other reason than it’s really tough to simply get the best of everything.

    Then there’s the passive skill tree, which is absolutely massive. I thought it was huge when I first opened it. Then I zoomed out (and grinned). It’s huge but not overwhelming, simply because desirable things are available from the get go, and you can just look around a bit and see what sounds cool and start working towards it, meanwhile the “filler” slots in between the really cool stuff still have a very tangible benefit.

    The currency-less economy is a tougher sell for me. I like the fact that I really have to be careful with my identify scrolls, but it also feels limiting in that inventory space is constantly full so you definitely feel lots of twinges of “I wish I could afford to identify that…” as you leave yet another blue item on the ground and walk away. That’s bittersweet. The other “orbs and stuff” you get haven’t been that useful for me as you replace gear often and they’re one-time use, but that may be just a personal feeling.

    As has been mentioned, lots of same-y enemies and a ton of loot you have to leave behind and a lot of chest and barrels to check. But it definitely picks up as you go.

    Worth trying, no question. And at least see it through to level 10 or so before making snap judgments.

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      The point with the various “orbs and stuff” is that they are the currency. If you gather a big huge pile of the stuff you can potentially craft some mega-item later on, or you can barter them away to other players and get something useful _now_.

      And if you make some non-mega item that you switch away, you can save it for other, future, characters in your stash.

  15. Network Crayon says:

    Reminds me just as much of Dungeon Seige as Diablo. One game of this sort is enough provided theres a little multiplayer entertainment. How can they all be that different?!

  16. Pugiron says:

    Second time my comment on one post has magically transferred to a seperate post.

  17. Tei says:

    After playing this, seems a really good diablo. Has a lot of good ideas. Too bad is a bit repetitive. The traits tree is absolutelly massive, and the flexibility to build your character may allow for awesomeness and hilarious results.

  18. fionny says:

    I got muted within about 5 minutes for pointing out how it quick a game picked up c##ts I guess they didnt build a profanity filter in and instead resort to insta muting people… I dont want to play a game that filters what I and other say…

    • trjp says:

      If you’re going to throw abuse in a free beta I’m not really surprised you got muted.

      Mind you – if they muted people for stupidity, no-one would be left talking – if you made a drinking game whereby you drank a shot everytime someone got into an argument over a Blizzard game within PoE’s chat, you’d be pissed in 2-3 mins.

    • Phantoon says:

      I swear almost constantly, and even I don’t see the use of swearing like that for no reason.

      You wanted a mute, you got a mute.

  19. trjp says:

    I’ve tried a couple of different classes now and I’m a BIT disappointed by what I saw.

    There are 5 classes but there isn’t a massive difference in how you play them – at least for the first couple of hours.

    You have 2 melee, 1 melee/ranged (tho you’ll probably have to stick to one of the other) and 2 ranged classes – after that, it’s down to the weapons and gear you find and how you upgrade em.

    Now it just might be a combination of chance and good fortune that meant my Templar got some great gear and always seemed to hit hard enough – but my Witch was utterly fucking useless at the same point in the game. Using a wand which takes 4 ot 5 shots to kill anything – having 2 spells which appear to do the sum-total of fuck-all damage to anything – got boring REAL fast.

    She had no intrinsic advantage really – she doesn’t move quicker, she can’t evade anything anymore than anyone else – she can wear the same armour with no penalty and so on…

    I’m also a bit confused about this ‘levelling up’ of spells. It tells you when you can level-up a spell – it even puts the icon on-screen to enable you to do it – but why bother, why not just level-it-up for me? There’s no apparent choice – it’s not like you can “choose to upgrade one of your spells” or “spend 1 spell point upgrade” or whatever – it’s just pressing a button for the sake of it??

    I’m also confused what triggers spell upgrades – it sometimes takes EONS between upgrades but in one case I got an upgrade in the first fight after equipping the spell and another 2 fights later!?

    Maybe the start of the game is just a bit slow but I had fun with the Templar and lost the will to live with the Witch and the Duellist…

    • malkav11 says:

      The spells gain experience while equipped. I -assume- the same amount you’re earning from kills, but I’m not sure. And they make you manually level them because they get more expensive as they get more powerful and you might conceivably want to hold off on that.

      • Phantoon says:

        All gems gain 10% XP. You do not lose XP from this, nor do more gems make your gems level slower.

    • promenad says:

      Because you might want to keep a skill at the current level due to requirements, i.e. you currently have enough dex to increase the level, but half of it is from a ring you’d like to get rid of.

      • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

        This. And the reason the time it takes to level a gem might seem a bit off is because bringing it up the first few levels goes super fast when you kill tougher enemies, but the xp requirement for each new level increases exponentially, so it slows down real quick. So when you get your first gem early on, it levels at a steady pace, but when you get new ones later, they quickly pop up a few levels before settling down. Just like when a low-level character joins a party of high-level ones and plays in high-level areas in any of these sorts of games.

  20. MiKHEILL says:

    Blimey, I’ve been following this game for some time now and only just discovered that it is being developed here in New Zealand! Nice to see a bit of local development that isn’t a rugby game or for ios.

  21. Daniel Klein says:

    So I’ve spent a good part of the weekend playing this.

    1) I dislike the economic system (no gold) as it makes loot drops feel much, much less interesting. I never identify anything that’s not yellow because it’s almost NEVER worth the scroll of wisdom.

    2) The haptics of the thing are of. Killing stuff doesn’t feel substantial or immediate. You feel disconnected from the action (admittedly at 100 ping, but I don’t expect ping to get much better).

    I think I’ll play more of it when it actually comes out as I did enjoy a lot of the experimentation they are doing, but yeah: an RPG needs a solid core of combat that feels fun and loot that makes you want more. If that’s not in place nothing else matters.

    I *really* love the potion system and think every other game out there should steal it. It’s even better than D3′s health orbs (which I did like a good bit)

    • Dominic White says:

      “1) I dislike the economic system (no gold) as it makes loot drops feel much, much less interesting. I never identify anything that’s not yellow because it’s almost NEVER worth the scroll of wisdom.”

      How long did you play for? Because once you hit about level 10-12, you end up getting so much loot and so many scrolls that there’s no reason not to identify just about anything that could potentially fit your build.

      You can sell unidentified magic gear too, which is different from most games in the genre.

      • Daniel Klein says:

        Interestingly enough I played both my chars up to level 10 and abandoned them there. I’ve now bought early access and will see how it plays out beyond that.

        Really curious how the player driven economy will shake out.

  22. MarloBrandon says:

    Well, after a weekend of playing POE, I can say that it has gotten its sharp hooks deep into my exposed and vulnerable obsessive-compulsive brain. I haven’t played a hack & slash in a long time (Titan Quest was the last one), and now I’m so hooked, that it almost came as a shock. I can’t wait to play it again. They have announced “microtransaction pre-purchases within the next week”, and a beta key comes with that, so I’ll be all over it as soon as it’s available.