Hmmm: Path Of Exile’s Modifiable… Maps?

By Nathan Grayson on June 28th, 2012 at 10:00 am.

The James Bond Villain mod - pictured here simulating the inside of an evil volcano lair - can also generate sharks, lasers, and lasersharks.

This might actually be brilliant. I mean, everything in Diablo-ish ARPGs is ripe for the socketing, right? Maybe you stick some molten rock into your blade and get a fire sword. Or perhaps you imbue a hammer with lightning bonuses and make Mjolnir. So, in essence, Path of Exile‘s saying, “OK, well, why can’t we use that idea on places?” The promising-looking pulverizer’s solution? Portals to procedurally generated maps can be stored in your inventory, and a series of hyper-specific, maniacally murderous mods can, for instance, make their monsters stronger, resize locations, curse your character, or make the ground sprout unquenchable tongues of flame. See the diabolically smart system in action after the break.

A complimentary blog post explains the specifics of your power over maps in exhaustive detail:

“Maps can drop as normal, magic, rare or unique with higher rarity Maps yielding more items. Using a Map item opens six portals to the area, which can each only be used once. Like most other items in Path of Exile, Maps have mods that change their risks and rewards. Map mods can affect the size or complexity of the level, monster packs, monster properties or even alter characters while in the level. Players can modify Maps themselves using their currency items. For example, you can use an Orb of Transmutation to turn a normal Map into a magic Map, or use an Orb of Alteration to reroll its mods.”

“There are a variety of mods that change monster properties. For example, adding high resistance to one element, preventing them from being stunned, or causing them to gain frenzy charges periodically.┬áMany of the Map mods alter characters while they are in the level. For example, reducing their maximum resistances, cursing them with the Vulnerability curse, putting them under the effects of the Blood Magic keystone, or preventing their life and mana from regenerating.”

And, of course, there are also sorts like the pleasant set everything on fire┬ámod demonstrated in the above video. So basically, modified maps will take grim pleasure in adding ludicrously large stacks of circles to your character’s personal hell, but – in exchange – you’ll probably walk out with cooler stuff. Or crawl out. Or drag yourself by your one remaining eyelash because the rest of you is gone.

If you want to give it a go as soon as the patch drops, you can grab an early access pack and gain immediate access to the closed beta. Otherwise, you can sign up the old-fashioned way and hope for the best.

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56 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    Skeletor68 says:

    Great idea, loads of potential.

    I bought D3 and have kickstarted on Grim Dawn so don’t want to gorge on all four upcoming ARPGs and ruin my appetite.

    Hmmm, I think I may go for this over Torchlight 2 as I found T1 too cartoony and loved D2′s more gothic feel so Path of Exile might make more sense for me.

    This is a fantastic problem to have by the way.

  2. wodin says:

    This looks like how I imagined D3 to look like. Watching gameplay vids so far i prefer what I’ve seen from this game.

    • Nameless1 says:

      That’s because this game is effectively a lot better than Diablo 3. Even in Its beta state.

      • UncleLou says:

        I don’t find it as addictive because the basic monster-smashing isn’t quite as satisfying (and monster behaviour is still very basic), but it’s a good game.

        Obviously not an alternative for those who want to play offline, though.

        • innociv says:

          I find the monster behavior/abilities to be the only thing that makes it worse than Diablo3, though.

          In every other way, the mechanics are better.

          It’s, yeah, basically the real Diablo3 as opposed to ActiBlizzard’s Diabloville.

  3. FloorBelow says:

    Well, that’s certainly one way to get around the ‘You-Must-Play-On-Easy-’Till-You’ve-Finished-The-Game’ trope that seems all too common in ARPG’s.

    • FloorBelow says:

      …And then I watched the video, and saw it was only for endgame content. Still a great idea, though.

    • Dominic White says:

      Trust me, Path of Exile’s starting difficulty isn’t easy. I tried rolling a new hardcore character and died the moment I was out of the Tutorial area. Fortunately, this only bumps you down from the Hardcore league to the Regular one, but it’s very, very easy to screw up and die.

      • KikiJiki says:

        And if you think that’s easy there will be cutthroat league -> A game mode where anyone can join your instanced areas and kill you, then loot you. I believe there will be softcore and hardcore versions of this as well.

      • FloorBelow says:

        This sounds like my kinda game…

        • Dominic White says:

          Things were a bit too easy in earlier builds, but the developers listened and jacked up the base difficulty. Hurrah for that.

          • KikiJiki says:

            I think they’ve got some fantastic ideas that all originate from the same core concepts, and they’re being really thorough with their implementations. Here’s to hoping there’s a good sized community post closed beta/launch.

  4. KikiJiki says:

    Looks like I’ll be going back to PoE beta sooner than I thought now.

    This new system, like all the other ones they’ve got seems to have fantastic depth.

  5. Eclipse says:

    The developers of PoE are surely trying hard to make their game shine and stands out the crowd, I really liked the beta period, looking foward to play more of it

  6. nasenbluten says:

    Been playing the beta on and off for months and it’s great.

    I like how the actual “money” is simply modifiers for the equipment and the insanely huge skill tree. I find it amusing how these guys made it F2P and much more innovative than the lazy Blizzard sweat-shop.

  7. Premium User Badge

    lorddon says:

    They now need to add the ability to place a weapon on that alter and open portals to it, so you can level it up from the inside…

    • Premium User Badge

      Skeletor68 says:

      Anomander Rake…

    • Malk_Content says:

      One step further, you need to be able to place other players on that altar so you can go in and level THEM from the inside. Ultimate way to power level your friends.

    • Reapy says:

      Games should copy disgaea more often ;)

      • jikavak says:

        Inside a star filled sky had this crap too,where you can go into stuff (even enemies)

    • krisanto says:

      Adding the grindy-ness of leveling up weapons in Disgaea to any ARPG would be so awesome.

  8. Fallward says:

    If you guys/gals haven’t already, you should give the closed beta a go, it’s what Diablo 3 should have been.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      yea, I love the completely opposite solutions PoE came up with in comparison to D3.

      Rather than streamlining things out of the game (like skill-point allocation), they reworked almost everything into some form of loot, and then added socketting and bonuses all over the place, but in such a way that the ideas are consistent across a whole range of applications.

      Magic/rare/unique weapons, armor, potions, map randomisation. “currency” as multiple useful items, the crafting process using loot drops, socket-colour limiting skills, etc.

      By constrast, D3 seems to focus everything on loot (but loot that’s only really weapons and armor), while the rest is fairly automated. And then the joy of looting is completely destroyed by the auction house, the recent nerfs to the drop system, and lack of any really fun modifiers (because most of what they could modify has been “streamlined” out of the game).

  9. taylorm6707 says:

    Oh wow…this game looks so good. Bought into the Beta. It can’t possibly be worse than Diablo 3.

  10. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    Wow, well that seals it, I’m buying myself closed beta access for this as my reward for getting through my big presentation on Friday.

  11. Dominic White says:

    Right now my only complaint with the game is that it’s a little low on content, and that’s understandable because a lot of that is still unfinished/locked off because the game is still in Beta. The devs have done an enormous amount with a budget a tiny fraction of what Blizzard are playing with, and it’s a more difficult and involved game than most in the genre, and definitely moreso than Diablo 3.

    Weirdly enough, the game it reminds me most of is the original Diablo. It’s slower and less spammy than Diablo 2. The general aesthetic is full-on grimdark (even in outdoors areas), the music is brooding and the enemies look pretty fittingly disgusting.

    The big thing about the game is that there really are no classes. Sure, you pick one to start, but that only determines your starting stats and what skill gems that you’ll get as your first few quest rewards. You can literally spec a Marauder (Barbarian) into an agile Necromancer if you want, or the waifish Witch into a 2H maul specialist. Maybe not the most efficient route, but you’re basically free to mix and match skill gems (which are freely tradeable, unslottable at will and determine all your skills) and passive traits (the enormous skill tree thing) to make whatever you like.

    Good to play something in the genre where I don’t feel like I’m running on autopilot. Oh, and I also LOVE the potion system. It encourages more aggressive play and much less hoarding/town-running.

    • Crius says:

      Consider that the game will be release as “stable” with about 8 Act.
      Open Beta with 3 Act.

      If the game will gather enough funds the plan is to create roughly 11 Act.

      Considering the map system will create maps using the theme asset of the existing act this will be a huge amount of random “end game” map to run.

      It’s a great way to grant longevity instead of just running again and again the same maps forever.

  12. Vexing Vision says:

    Path of Exile has been so full of great ideas, and now this.

    I am in love all over it again, and once the Secret World wears off being secret or fun (I expect in two months), I’ll spend the rest of my online life in Path of Exile.

    • wu wei says:

      I found Secret World’s UI to be so damn painful that I happily returned to PoE, although I didn’t realise TSW’s fun was in cross-skill building until the 11th hour of the last public weekend, so it might just be deep enough to make me overlook the number of times I die from struggling with the interface.

  13. Crius says:

    Actually PoE is the only game i’m still playing through several months.
    Even if i never “love” the ARPG.

    A great plus is given by the Developer, always present into the community discussion and having such great ideas like this one.

  14. Premium User Badge

    barelyhomosapien says:

    I must be the only person who prefers Diablo 3.

    When I tiredly drag myself in from work, the last thing I want to do is fiddle with complex and intimidating systems. I’m still happy to have given some monetary support towards a brave indie undertaking, even if it’s not quite my thing

    Hopefully we’ll at least have a release date for torchlight 2 soon and hopefully it will be better then D3 as it’s great having such a rewarding game that doesn’t require too much concentration from me on a work night!

  15. Beartastic says:

    > A complimentary blog post

    Complimentary or complementary?

  16. Calabi says:

    This looks seriously good. Just reading about their currency system, looks like they’ve really thought about it. I”m going to have a try at this beta as well.

  17. wodin says:

    I also like the slightly slower pace,animations etc, Diablo 3 vids I could never tell what the player character was doing it was all so quick.

  18. Tei says:

    I plan to return to PoE wen I get tired of D3. Hopefully this will give time to the devs so the game has more joy in it.

  19. Hunchback says:

    I played the beta some one or two months ago and it was both fun and somewhat… not quite there yet. The biggest concern to me was that basically all monsters had the same AI, or lack of to be precise. The other is that all classes use the same resource – mana.

    I am technically done with Diablo 3, the fun and satisfaction taken away by the horrible item farm and ridiculous one shotting monsters, so i might be going back to PoE.
    How’s the game nowadays?

    • galatapus says:

      You really should give it another shot ASAP. They had a patch recently that added in hundreds of monster behaviors, and ramped up the challenge gigantically. Mobs now kite you, cast spells, cluster or scatter strategically, cast curses and auras, and tons of other stuff. It’s really made killing stuff a lot more fun and exciting.

  20. aliksy says:

    I played it when they had the open beta and it was pretty alright. Parts of it didn’t really grip me, and I didn’t like that respec is rather limited. With such a big skill tree, and no way to try out skills before you commit to them, it’s easy to invest a few hours into something you end up not liking. The devs’ response is “buy lots of respec tokens or start over”, but that’s not really agreeable with me.

    Edit to add:
    Oh, and Diablo3 just isn’t a very good game on some fundamental level. So there is that.

  21. adonf says:

    “dubdubdub dot path of exile dot com” ?

    edit: Well it seems like people actually say “dub dub dub.” I’d never heard it before, must be because I’m living under a rock.

    • massey says:

      I think its a kiwi thing. They have said it on bfm for many a year…

      • Gregorix says:

        Yeah, a Kiwi thing, although Aussies drop it now and again.

  22. UncleLou says:

    Great idea, but it’s basically the same thing that Torchlight had, no? You could acquire and find random maps with different level requirements, and they would open a portal which you could use once and disappear from your inventory. I guess TL2 will have them as well.

    • Dominic White says:

      It’s definitely based on Torchlight’s map system, but expands on it quite a bit. The idea that maps are treated the same as any other piece of gear, and you can use your consumable ‘trade’ items (transmutation orbs, etc, are all used as currency) to change and tweak them to your personal preference before using it? That’s clever.

  23. MythArcana says:

    This reminds me of the careful attention to detail and the wonderment of discovery that Diablo 2 offered when you first started playing LoD. It’s refreshing to see a company put actual time and effort into the game instead of the copy protection and useless marketing schemes.

  24. SkittleDiddler says:

    This, folks, is why Diablo III loses.

    I’m glad I’ll never have to resort to paying Blizzard money for my hack-and-slash fix.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      little did they know, Blizzard’s best way of combating piracy in D3 was to put out a game people simply don’t want to play compared to the competition.

      • frightlever says:

        Whether people play it or not is moot, since about 5 million people already bought it. But, I somewhat agree. D3 has been the best thing that could have happened to PoE.

  25. frightlever says:

    Murray?

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      The bosses on the highest difficulty levels are all Australians.

  26. MadTinkerer says:

    Yay! A PC Action RPG developer has finally realized that the Disgaea series’ procedural items-as-maps could be used in their game as well!

    About freaking time. PC developers, you really do need to play more obscure Japanese games. Or, y’know, something besides Blizzard games.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Don’t be ridiculous, they also play Valve games.

      There’s no room in my life for a console, but I think I’m going to have to watch more LP videos. I’ve heard good things about Disgaea and other games that I’ll probably never play.

      • MaXimillion says:

        You can play the first disgaeas on the PC with a PS2 emulator. They’re 2D as well so it doesn’t even require the kind of machine it takes to run 3D PS2 games smoothly.

        • RegisteredUser says:

          Are Disgaea 1 and 2 equally good or should one prefer one over the other, maybe even skip one of them?

          • Jay says:

            I far preferred the first one from a story and character point of view, Laharl and Co. were just a much more likeable, distinctive bunch. Still probably my favourite story in an eastern RPG, now I think of it. Certainly the one I had the most fun with. Gameplay-wise, it arrived fairly fully formed, so you’re not going to be missing out on much as far as mechanics go.

            If you can get them, it’s probably better to go for one of the handheld versions, as they’ve got quite a bit of bonus content included. I can’t speak for the DS one, but the PSP version was certainly excellent.

          • RegisteredUser says:

            I see it says there’s a whole new campaign for the PSP version even.
            So weird, I would have expected the more “powerful” console to get more gfx, content and stuff, but I guess given the 2D nature it was a great tool to market the PSP via one of the strong franchises with a redo and add-on of features?

            I’ll check them both out, thanks.