New Year’s Beatings: Path Of Exile’s Open Beta Dated

Well now, here’s a pleasant surprise. Diablo-but-possibly-better ARPG Path of Exile‘s been trapped deep in the dungeons of closed beta since the year 1483 – occasionally poking its head out for stress test weekends – but now it’s finally on the path to real completion. Naturally, then, an open beta’s right around the corner, and Grinding Gear’s even gone so far as to give it an exact date. Unfortunately, that means it’s going to miss 2012 – but only by the narrowest of margins.

Grinding Gear etched January 23, 2013 into the Internet’s immutable archives, noting that it’s only ever promised one other concrete date – closed beta launch – and that went off without a hitch. To coincide, there’ll also be one final character wipe. Oh, and the long-awaited launch of the grim hack ‘n’ slash’s entire third Act. Make no mistake, however: Path of Exile will hardly be finished at that point.

“We want the first few months of Open Beta to set the precedent that we react quickly to feedback on the game and add features/content that players want. We do not want everyone’s first experience with the game to be that nothing changes for a month.  If any unexpected problems arose or the game became very popular in December, the support team wouldn’t be at full strength to service the needs of all players. In the meantime, we’ll ramp up the number of alpha testers, community events and beta keys given away.”

Which is probably a good plan, given impending holiday vacations and all that. Plus, the holidays are a time for avoiding your family by holing yourself up in your old bedroom with your entire gaming backlog. I doubt a new 60-or-so-hour ARPG behemoth would aid that process very much. If, however, you’ve yet to have a go at the closed beta and need to dive headlong into Path of Exile right now, you can always peruse Adam’s impressions from a few months ago. Or you can ask Santa.



  1. Zanchito says:

    I liked the game when I tried the open betas, some very nice mechanics in there. It was lacking in dynamism, felt a little too slow and empty, but it had a good foundation.

    • PatrickSwayze says:

      Play more.

      While at the beginning it certainly feels more deliberately paced it fast ramps up to Torchlight size mobs.

  2. aliksy says:

    The game was a pretty resounding “ok” when I played it. The pacing is a little slow, and I personally don’t really like the whole “spend points to get tiny bonuses” thing you’ll find on most of the skill map. Also no easy respec means forced replays, suboptimal characters, and “this isnt as fun as I thought it would be”. Plus there’s a /lot/ of trips to town if you want to sell all the loot you get.

    But I guess the game is perfect for somebody. It has enough interesting ideas I might give it another go, but maybe not.

    • Hematite says:

      Trying to sell all the loot is a mistake in this game. Most loot is approximately worthless unless you’re considering using it, although there are exceptions to keep you on your toes (any item with three differently coloured sockets can be traded for a prismatic gem etc.)

      It’s actually one of the great innovations of the game – once you give up on trying to haul all the loot and just consider whether you want to use it directly the pacing of the game is much better, and you’re not penalised for leaving all those pennies on the ground. It’s sort of like using Torchlight’s pet to do shop runs, only better.

      • aliksy says:

        I’m not sure I buy it as a great innovation. Seems like it falls into the “time = power” trap that snares many games. If you have the time to sell all the crap, you get a slight advantage over someone who doesn’t.

        I’d like more a pet or transmute function, I think.

        • Kitsuninc says:

          Umm…not really. I mean sure, time=power, you’re playing an RPG, so duh, of course you get more powerful as you play the game. That’s an asinine thing to say without clarification. Still, the only people who are going to sell all the crap they find on the ground are people with OCD. As long as you’re picking up the currency items enemies drop, you’ll be earning money, like, 100 times faster than if you try to sell everything.

          That said, I can see why one wouldn’t like it for other reasons, it does seem a bit weird for there to be all this loot when you’re only going to pick up maybe a tenth of it.

          • aliksy says:

            Off topic, but I’ve become really disenchanted with most RPGs and how they work. That’s where my “time = power” complaint comes from. I’d rather have something with a low stat ceiling, where success comes from playing smarter rather than playing long enough to get big numbers on your sheet. Like Magicka or (to a lesser degree) guild wars 1.

            But this is off topic, and I don’t expect an ARPG like path of exile to be that kind of game.

          • Hematite says:

            @aliksy: to be specific, I meant that you won’t gain significant power from sinking time into selling all the junk that drops, which I think is what you want. In my experience the best way to gain power is to have fun playing the game, which is pretty refreshing.

            The skill system is really good too – all the skills are on socketed gems which you can switch in and out freely if you want to change your build.

        • golem09 says:

          Not at all. The huge piles of loot you find wouldn’t even give you much if you sold them, only fragents of identify scrolls.
          It’s not about quantity, it the ability to spot quality. And those can come in MANY variations.

          • Serpok says:

            If most of ‘something’ is worthless then why is that ‘something’ even there?
            This kind of pading is outdated and annoying.

          • crizzyeyes says:

            @serpok: Because loot is on a random generator, and there needs to be a “subpar” variant of the loot to generate so that rare items are actually valuable. Also, sometimes white items are useful — in this game, any item that has 3 or more sockets of the same color can be traded amongst the community for something decent, especially if those sockets are linked. Really, any item that has 3 or more linked sockets is valuable regardless of color.

          • wu wei says:

            The longer you play, the more important white items become, because of the way the currency system allows you to improve items. A high level white weapon with a full set of linked sockets is priceless.

            This is one thing I really like about PoE: my weapon choices are not bound by the loot I find. If I want to stick to a specific weapon, I can craft newer versions if I fail to find any.

    • stillunverified says:

      I wasn’t too sure about it either but from what I’ve read I’m pretty sure it’s intended to be thought of as “spend X points to get a big perk” with the smaller stat changes as an augment to that. It just kind of requires you to look at the big picture instead of focusing on what you get on a level-per-level basis. It was kind of an awkward shift for me at first but really it’s just swapping out “get [stat/skill] +10 every 10 levels” for “get [stat/skill] +1 every level”.

  3. wodin says:

    If it’s as good as T2 I’m in. If it’s as good as D3 I’m out.

    • Aklyon says:

      It is not as bad as D3, I can say that without a doubt after having watched a stream of D3.
      Can’t say for TL2 though, I haven’t played that or watched any streams.

  4. Chairs says:

    I anticipated this for the longest time, got into the closed beta much like other people. It felt clunky, unintuitive and the community was extremely aggressive and competitive. I didn’t participate in the social aspect very much, but much like every other MMO it had its issues with the player base.

    • Aklyon says:

      Were you playing in hardcore league or something? I’ve been playing in default league and the global chat has been pretty decent, unless someone brings up D3.

    • wu wei says:

      What bullshit. PoE has a great community.

    • Hamlet says:

      You must not have played very long if you think PoE is an MMO.

      • jrodman says:

        How long is very long? I finished two acts or whatever and I think it’s an MMO. One where I avoid the other players.

  5. derbefrier says:

    The game has really come a long in the last few months as they have been focusing on polishing and getting it ready for OB. IF you played it a few months ago during a stress test weekend and thought “Its ok but there’s tons of potential” I recommend giving it another shot on January 23rd. They have added PvP arenas, voice acting, tons of tweaks to the passive skill tree and other areas(which makes a lot more sense now and is easier to understand IMO)

    • Arcanon says:

      I haven’t played in a long time…they added voice acting?!?! Wow…

      • Claidheamh says:

        I’ve only ever played in the stress test weekends, but on every one the game felt really different, and much improved. I must say I was impressed with the actual pace of the development.

        • ShrikeMalakim says:

          I’ve been in the Closed Beta since pretty near the start, and Grinding Gear are awesome at updating the game and communicating about it.

          Honestly, the only reason I haven’t played it more is waiting for the character/data wipe at end of Closed Beta and start of Open Beta.

          • MacTheGeek says:

            “Honestly, the only reason I haven’t played it more is waiting for the character/data wipe at end of Closed Beta and start of Open Beta.”

            This. I’ve played only briefly in the last couple months, and don’t see the need to invest more time in a toon who’s going to get erased. I’m looking forward to Open Beta, but I can’t see myself logging in again until after the wipe.

            January 23 is a Wednesday. I wonder if I can line up three consecutive sick days…

    • Arglebargle says:

      Yeah, I’ve been playing in the Beta for over six months, give or take, and the amount of changes has been quite large. Definitely seen lots of improvements and polishing. It’s firmly in the GrimDark realm, so if that’s how you like your setting, you’re set. I personally think the mechanics are nicely done.

  6. golem09 says:

    Kripp does a good job explainging a lot of stuff in this very fresh video:
    link to
    Only 5 days old, so you get a look at the current build.

    • Koshinator says:

      Well, actually there’s been another patch since then, so not quite the most current build

  7. povu says:

    I paid $10 or so to get in the closed beta many months ago, I had a lot of fun with it. It’s nice that it takes the standard ARPG mechanics and gives them a little twist. A gold-less barter based economy, active skills have to be slotted as gems and are leveled up with experience, the skill tree is all passives…

    You can make some pretty cool builds.

  8. Hamlet says:

    And I just have away all my stuff including 2 Wake of Destruction uniques lol

    Oh well, time to reroll!

    I’m happy with this. Releasing before Christmas would be crazy, especially since there won’t be staff to fix problems that might come up. GGG deserve a break, they’re some of the hardest working developers I’ve seen.