ARPG Gets Dark: Path Of Exile

Duellists are cool.

I’m loving the swell of action RPGs in development at the moment. Another we’ve recently discovered is Path Of Exile, from independent developers Grinding Gears Games. It’s to be an online-only, free-to-play game (no, wait, come back! – this one looks very different), which they describe as a “competitive online action RPG”. So while the game’s hubs will have very many players, the randomly generated instances will be played by smaller teams, capped at 4-8 people (they don’t seem to have decided yet.) And most interestingly (to me, at this stage) is the darker, gloomier tone. We’re not in cheery Torchlight any more. I’m also intrigued by the sound of “ethical microtransactions”.

The team intend for the paid-for content to be purely aesthetic, giving you extra taunts, dyes, spell effects, etc. Things that will help you stand out from the crowd, but not change the way you’re able to play the game. They also plan to charge for character transfers and renaming.

There’s six character classes, for which four have been announced. Marauder, Ranger, Witch and Duellist. They’re set in what Grinding Gears say is a darker world than the current crop of cartoony ARPGs, with grittier graphics and lots more gruesome gore.

Team-based PvP is planned to play a major part, too. There’s intentions for tournaments, as well as in-world PvP for those who choose to opt for it. And teams will be able to play smart, with skills combining and augmenting. Which sounds promising. You can read more about the skills here.

This seems like an enormously ambitious project for the ten-man New Zealand team, and we’ll be taking a look at it in a couple of weeks time. In the meantime, you can take a glance at some trailers.

First of all, a good general overview of the game:

Here’s a look at the Witch – bear with this one:

And the Duellist:

And finally take a look at the skill system, with a producer commentary:

Path Of Exile is due to enter a closed beta this Summer, and then is aiming to release before the end of the year. You can register for the beta here.


  1. Teddy Leach says:

    I read that as ‘ARG’. Valve have ruined me.

    • Ertard says:

      Same here. I thought they had made an entire RPG to finish of the whole thing with, to further the craziness.

  2. Dajs says:

    Dont wanna nitpick but isn’t it supposed to be “duelist” instead of duellist?

  3. heretic says:

    don’t those orbs look an awful lot like diablo? I never actually played diablo for more than 15 mins but that’s the first thing I thought of.

  4. Orija says:

    I am sure they are other people who find these rpgs mind-numbingly tedious.

    • Temple to Tei says:

      Luckily, they probably wont bother to read an article about something they don’t like and then post that they don’t like it.

      (spending too much time playing Ace of Spades is making me think I can rationalise with people on the internet)

  5. Okami says:

    How fitting that a company producing a micro transaction fueled action rg would have the word “grinding” in it’s name.

    • John Walker says:

      You might want to take a moment to read the article.

    • Unaco says:

      Now, now John. Don’t be so sensible.

    • Okami says:

      I’ve read the whole article and I guess I shouldn’t have made the remark about micro transactions. My comment was aimed more at the grindy nature of action rpgs and not at the business model. I do realize that a lot of people enjoy action rpgs (and so do I from time to time) and the comment wasn’t meant to be mean spirited.

  6. Butler says:

    Terrible UI. It looks more 90s than Diablo 1 itself.

  7. Godsmith says:

    please don’t suck please don’t suck please don’t suck

  8. bill says:

    I didn’t know what an ARPG was and from the first screenshot i assumed it might be something interesting like an Alternative RPG… imagine my disappointment when i saw the tiny isometric men in the other screenshots.

  9. Stepout says:

    Very cool stuff :)

  10. Archonsod says:

    I really wish someone would remind the developers that “Dark Fantasy” is not a descriptive term for the colour palette.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      Oh they know that. Dark fantasy is gore! Broody, scowly characters covered in the blood of the guys they just killed. Throw in some boobs or maybe clothed dry humping and you got yourself a mature dark fantasy.

      Completely gone off these action RPGs though. And by action RPGs I mean games that are actiony enough to remove strategy from combat and RPGy enough to remove all twitch skill from the combat. Usually you end up spamming the one attack button breaking the flow only to heal.

      That said, the witch trailer made it look pretty cool though.

  11. pupsikaso says:

    These guys are about to get a looooot of beta sign-ups, methinks.

  12. iraqiran says:

    “I’m loving the swell of action RPGs in development at the moment. Another we’ve RECENTLY discovered is Path Of Exile, from independent developers Grinding Gears Games.”

    Wow, that’s actually pretty pathetic. RPS, I must say I’m disappointed!

    Flame on.

  13. caprisundad says:

    I’ve been driving myself to fits of apoplexy trying to spread the word about this game and get people excited. I am eagerly awaiting a beta invite.

    Something about this does seem too good to be true, however. Ten-man team? MMO-level server support funded completely from fees for a few new skill animations and toon renaming? Right now I’m trying to suppress my skepticism. I wish GGG Minecraft-amounts of success.

  14. RedWurm says:

    Diablo with materia?

    I think I’m going to need a little lie down now.

  15. Fumarole says:

    This skill system looks groovy, I am definitely interested in this.

  16. Arglebargle says:

    Point and click only? Or options for WASD? Otherwise, I just can’t hack these types of games anymore.

  17. Teddy Leach says:

    Oh god, that voice acting.

  18. Protagoras says:

    I’m too lazy to check if RPS are trolling us, but if that isn’t an almost 1-1 D2 clone, idk what is. The UI, the looks, the skills, even the sound effects are almost the same (that bow “twang” from that multi shot skill sounds exactly like the strafe skill on amazons sounded in d2). It’s as though this is an alternate universe in which D2 was made by a bunch of crazy kiwis instead of blizzard.

    Mind you, since I was still playing d2 online until two years ago, I’m pretty psyched for it – it should be a good enough fix until d3 comes out.

    Which, incidentally, makes me start foaming at the mouth and mumbling “PLEASE DON’T SUCK, PLEASE DON’T SUCK, PLEASE DON’T SUCK”.