For those of you looking for the successor to Diablo 2, but left disappointed in Diablo 3 and got bored of Torchlight, there may be a new hope. This hope is the game Path of Exile by Grinding Gear Games. Open Beta testing has just begun for this free-to-play top down dark fantasy loot grinder. In many ways it is similar to Diablo, however it has also introduced new mechanics as well. The game still features the hack and slash feel of Diablo with the loot hunting aspect well in place.
A major difference from many games in general is currency. Gone is the gold from loot. In its place is a barter system. Selling items to NPCs results in items that are necessary for upgrading gear or required for purchasing a different item. Skills are handled differently as well. Active skills are acquired by obtaining gems and socketing them into your gear. Each gem has a different color which has to be matched with a similar colored slot. Your passive skills appear daunting at first. A ginormous web of traits to choose from which is costly to respec. Fortunately the website offers a skill builder so you can plan accordingly.
Although the game appears confusing at first, it actually boils down to 5 simple concepts.
- Find gem for active skill you want
- Socket it into gear that has appropriate color slot (gems are removable for free and it doesn’t matter which armor piece you stick the gem in)
- Find better gear that boosts your stats and has gem slots that are your color
- Select passive skills as you level (decide your build on the website first to make things easier)
- Level up your gems by fighting monsters
Remember that this is open beta so wiping of characters is a probability, but you’re not here to exploit a free game after all, right? You’re here to submit bugs and improve player experience after all. I recommend trying this game out, especially if you’re looking for your Diablo fix as this may provide it for you. True hack-and-slash game play coupled with the loot grind make this an enjoyable undertaking.