POE Face: Path Of Exile – Forsaken Masters

By Adam Smith on July 31st, 2014 at 5:00 pm.

I was one of the first to walk to the Path of Exile but one of the last to submit a complete traveller’s guide. Of course, the term ‘complete’ is meaningless when developers insist on releasing new (free) content for their (free) games. Lonely Planet guide writers don’t have this problem – it’s not as if a country would suddenly expand its borders to bring in new attractions, resources and skillsets. Forsaken Masters adds NPCs who provide players with missions in exchange for training, as well as customisable hideouts.

According to Path of Exile’s lore – and I’m paraphrasing here – the exiles of Wraeclast are mostly made up of the weak, the wounded and the wrecked. It’s a place for the dregs rather than the dynamos, for disasters rather than masters. That’s goes some way to explaining why my character spent the first hour of his life running around wearing a shell as a codpiece, thumping zombies with a bit of driftwood and wearing seaweed as a hat.

The Forsaken Masters are different.

Some say that Dominus exiled the dregs of Oriath to the shores of Wraeclast. No, he exiled anyone who was going to give him trouble, who was going to cause ripples in his progressive theocracy.

Seven men and women, masters in their fields, stood against Dominus’ tyranny. Some with words, others with steel. Seven masters forsaken, sent to die in a corrupted land. Seven masters who lived, learned, and now thrive in Wraeclast. Seven Forsaken Masters who can train you… if you choose to help them.

Helping the masters involves performing tasks, in the form of new quests, and the availability of these new missions should add an extra layer to the game.

The Master Assassin, Vorici, may task you with aiding him in an assassination against one of a number of well-guarded targets, leaving no survivors. The guards may have powerful mods, or be protected by traps or Rogue Exiles. Or he may want to simply send a message by grievously harming his mark, or incapacitating and robbing him, or leaving a witness to the bloodshed. Perhaps you’ll have to free and rescue a helpless hostage.

All of the Missions and their variations can occur anywhere in the game, including within end-game Maps.

Added to all of that, there are upgradeable crafting benches, new items and mods, and the aforementioned hideouts. The latter sound particularly impressive.

Once you’ve earned a Master’s trust, you may be taken to a Hideout, where you can create your own personalised town. Masters residing in your Hideout offer you daily Missions and train you in advanced crafting options.

Use your Hideout as a quiet place to craft after battle, or expand it and use it as a personalised Guild Hall with hundreds of decorations.

Is it enough to bring me back to Path of Exile? Possibly. But here’s where I admit a little secret, deep down at the bottom of the post. I’ve been playing Diablo III again this week, late to the Reaper of Souls party. I’ve been considering a return since Rich’s words described the expansion as a tonic of sorts for the ailing sequel and…I’m having a good time. I definitely don’t have time for two ARPGs at the moment so if Diablo keeps my attention, expect me to explain how and why at some point in the near future.

And if it doesn’t, I’ll be decorating my hideout.

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23 Comments »

  1. Hunchback says:

    Ah, i feel we’ll be playing this a ton after the wedding vacation… :D

  2. Premium User Badge

    Faldrath says:

    Really excited about this, even though yes, D3:RoS is pretty great as well. But as far as new features go, PoE’s list sounds better and more game-changing than D3′s 2.1 patch.

    Plus it’s hard not to cheer for the honest, decent F2P underdog here :)

  3. mwoody says:

    …it’s not as if a country would suddenly expand its borders to bring in new attractions, resources and skillsets.

    Putin might disagree.

  4. abrokenchinadoll says:

    I’m assuming hideout stuff is technically aesthetics and therefor you have to buy them and not win/get them in quests.

    • Premium User Badge

      Faldrath says:

      You assume incorrectly. From the announcement it looks like hideouts will be rewards from some sort of rep grind with the masters: “Once you’ve earned a Master’s trust, you may be taken to a Hideout, where you can create your own personalised town. Masters residing in your Hideout offer you daily Missions and train you in advanced crafting options.”

  5. Premium User Badge

    Faldrath says:

    By the way, it’s weird that Adam didn’t link to the expansion announcement itself, but here it is: http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/985043

  6. montorsi says:

    Ah, lord, PoE has everything going for it except the moment to moment gameplay which makes me want to stab myself in the eye. Would that they had the budget to refine and polish for a decade like the folks at Blizzard.

    • Hunchback says:

      Not to start a flamewar here, but… Blizzard didn’t really deliver, at all, especially considering the decade they had to release D3. So… it’s not about having decades, it’s just talent and staying with the times.

  7. Danny says:

    I’ve played a lot of hack ‘n slash lately. PoE, D3, TL2…And you know which one I enjoyed the most? Grim Dawn’s early access.

    I really love PoE, but after playing through the main game twice, the combat mechanics just aren’t that great imo – which is a pain in a genre like this. D3 is the other way around, great mechanics and UX design, but the itemization and boring setting (RoS adventure mode helps a ton, I admit) caused me to look elsewhere.

    I’ve played Grim Dawn’s early access for roughly 20 hours, and I really *really* love the dual class specialisation. It’s exactly like in Iron Lore’s Titan Quest (same lead developer), where you combine classes to create a new one. I’m currently playing a hardcore blademaster (soldier + nightblade) and the mechanics are tight, the setting is gloomy in a D2 kind of way and itemization is already really solid.

    Can’t wait for the other acts to arrive.

    • Premium User Badge

      Martel says:

      Now that’s interesting as I feel the same way about PoE and D3. I might have to check out Grim Dawn, hadn’t really heard about it.

      • Hunchback says:

        Really?
        There’s been quite a few posts about it here, and all. It’s basically the next Titan Quest game, being developed by the same people and all. And as Danny said there, it’s supposed to be the same mechanics as Titan Quest, but with new setting and all.

        I haven’t played it myself, cause the early access is pay-to-enter, but i can’t wait for it to go live. From what i’ve heard, it’s like midway between PoE and D3. If D3 is the super tight gameplay/visuals but very dull mechanics, customization and all, and PoE is the opposite – Extreme customisation and complexity, mechanics and stuff, but lacking gameplay and visuals somewhat. Grim Dawn is supposed to stand right in the middle of it, offering good amount of creativity with the classes and systems etc, while sporting very good combat mechanics and all.

        So yeah, i totally love PoE, but it does get a bit boring after a while. Still a ton better than D3, sadly, but eh… Now i am waiting for GD to come out, and maybe it might just be the perfect Hack n Slash of the decade.

        P.S. Torchlight 2 is really not bad at all either!

    • UncleLou says:

      I wish I could agree. I loved Titan Quest to bits, and spent more hours playing it than I would ever admit. And after sinking hundreds of hours in D3 and PoE, I could do with a new action RPG, but Grim Dawn (which I’ve bought ages ago) leaves me completely cold. I find the movement floaty and the combat uninvolving, and every time I try it, I switch it off after half an hour. I don’t regret buying it at all because Iron Lore deserves my money, I am just sad that GD doesn’t click (no pun intended) with me at all. :-/

    • socrate says:

      Titan quest oh you mean that thing where they tried to do a good diablo clone and it turned out totally unbalanced and boring with useless skill,atrocious drop rate,boring story,dumb ragdoll and horrible graphic…sure…that game unless you play it modded is just atrocious i never understood why people claimed it was good in any way even if the expansion fixed a few thing it just wasn’t enough to make it good imo.

      Diablo 3 is just a single player WoW for me…extremely dmg sponge enemy,big fancy looking attack that mostly all do the same thing with some more efficient then other…clearly the talent in Blizzard was lost a long time ago and people that made D3 had no clue what they were doing…the expansion made it a bit better yes…but thats like spraying a turd with febreze and saying its better…they just made it easier with easier drop and called it better with transmogrification option and such…no thanks…D2 is still a blast and now as respect for awhile now the only horrible thing is it didn’t age well AT ALL.

  8. Minsc_N_Boo says:

    I am really looking forward to this. I have been playing PoE on and off since the closed beta, and it is IMO the best ARPG on the market.

    The meta tends to change a lot due to the constant content updates. New uniques and skills are added monthly, which keeps the game interesting.

    Crafting has always been an area that needs improvement. The currency / craft system tends to mean you need a lot of wealth to attempt to make something decent. Hopefully this expansion will make self found viable too

  9. aliksy says:

    I like a lot of the ideas in PoE, but I (also) found the core gameplay rather lacking. I don’t know what it was exactly, but I just wasn’t enjoying the combat very much. Plus, because of how the skill web thing is so massive, most levels didn’t have much of a payoff to renew my interest. If a game has meh gameplay but every 30 minutes I unlock something new and mildly exciting, that’ll hold my interest longer than this, where most of the level-ups are a too-small-to-notice boost.

    • socrate says:

      For me i find that the respect model of the game with such a stupidly large skill tree which is a turn off in itself just make the game extremely dull and uninteresting…most people i see playing use cookie cutter build and experimenting in that game is just not viable unless you are ready to lose 100 hour+ of your life…

      The fact that you always end up with few viable build in the end worth playing because the endgame is just designed in a way to make only a few build viable or efficient make it even more of a pain in the ass.

      Add to this the totally boring combat and repetitive enemy and enviroment and you end up with a really boring game imo the only way it is popular is because its F2P

      The massive skill tree is just not needed and such a huge turn off and totally unnecessary also is pretty much the biggest thing i hate about the game with no good respec model in a game about building your character…so silly

  10. ain says:

    I wish they would finally move their attention towards PvP like they promised instead of adding even more meaningless PvE garble.

  11. mandrill says:

    Why are there no decent Sci-fi ARGPS (no, Space Siege dose _not_ count)

    • socrate says:

      there as been a few but they are usually really bad and boring…borderland being the most popular one im guessing…the problem is gaming turned gun into generic bullet firing thing which aren’t at all fun even with status effect and other game such as hellgate london tried to combine melee and ranged and the problem is gun are supposed to be powerful and thats the thing you can’t give someone a rocket launcher or pulse rifle and then expect someone with an energy sword to do the same in terms of efficiency and magic also tend to lose its shine with these kind of things in the game which most people don’t want to.

      Medieval just fit really well with this genre overall thus why most go for that and its also more attractive to most people