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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.

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John Walker

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