Choose My Adventure: Path of Marvel

    
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In last week’s Choose My Adventure, we learned a few magic spells and set off to conquer a tiny portion of Diablo III’s hellish landscape. It was dark and depressing. In this week’s Choose My Adventure, we learned a few magic spells and set off to conquer a tiny portion of Path of Exile’s hellish landscape. It was darker and depressing-er.

OARPGs on the whole aren’t known for their sunshine-and-roses atmospheres. Most involve dank dungeons, gloomy graveyards, and other alliterative environmental tropes. With Path of Exile, the team at Grinding Gear Games has set a new bar when it comes to grim. Until this weekend, I’m quite confident I’d never looted a crucified corpse.

But hey, that’s the trip we signed up for when we made this month’s CMA all about the dungeon crawls. So let’s get to it.

All of the gems

Path of Exile starts by dumping you half naked on a beach. Your first actions as a character are to pull yourself up out of the mud, grab a weapon, and get to fighting. Make your way across the shabby terrain by carving a path through hordes of undead and cannibals and you’ll eventually find a tiny little town/quest hub where you can begin your adventure in earnest. It’s in this town that you’ll first see other players running about and access typical OARPG things like your stash.Path of Exile

Voters last week sent me on the path of the Witch, a ranged damage-dealer who uses offensive and defensive magic spells. In the first few moments, the class isn’t all that interesting. Left-click fires off your one attack; simply point and click until the things in front of you fall. But Path of Exile’s skill system is wonderfully designed, and things quickly become more fun and more complicated. You aren’t simply awarded spells for leveling up, nor do you follow some sort of established progression from one spell to the next. Instead, spells come from gems that you socket into your weapon.

You can find gems out in the wild or receive them from quests. Which gems you use is entirely up to you, as long as your weapon has the right gem slots available. By the end of my time with Path of Exile, I had discovered a gem that created fire traps on the ground, one that threw slowing frost blasts through groups of enemies, one that was a more typical fireball-type spell, and more. Gems level up independently of your character and provide you with a really interesting way to customize your gameplay — just because I’m a Witch and you’re a Witch doesn’t mean we’re doing the same stuff.

Path of Exile

Skills are augmented by Path of Exile’s absurdly deep passive talent tree. As in other games, skill points are allotted to you as you level, and you spend those points on enhancing your character. But unlike other games, Path of Exile has talent trees that are all connected to one another, meaning you can eventually work your way over to passive enhancements that may not necessarily benefit your actual class. The result is an open, flexible approach to character building that leaves you free to experiment.

Path of Exile

Path of Exile gets you to the action very quickly. It doesn’t teach you skills with scripted story encounters; instead, it throws huge packs of mobs your way regardless of whether you feel ready. Path of Exile is super-dark and a little mean, and it makes no effort to apologize to the player for either. I can understand why the game is doing so well: There’s vast depth in character builds, challenging encounters everywhere you look, and an utterly beautiful but ultra-sad world to explore. It’s as if Dark Souls and Diablo had a baby.

Path of Exile Forest

I hesitate to compare Diablo and Path of Exile directly. With such limited time to explore, it’s hard to say one is “better” or “harder.” What I can say is that Path of Exile, being free-to-play and offering immense depth almost immediately, does a better job of selling its vision. If I had to choose one to keep playing, Path of Exile would be the easy winner based on the early game experience.

I mean, geez. Did you see that talent tree!?

Wolverine isn’t an option

We’re halfway through our OARPG CMA. Diablo III and Path of Exile are done and gone. Next, we take on some slightly lighter fare with Gazillion Entertainment’s Marvel Heroes 2015. I’ve never played Marvel Heroes, but I do know that practically everyone on the MassivelyOP team (and in our comments section) is obsessed with it. For the unfamiliar, Marvel Heroes is an OARPG that puts you in the role of a famous Marvel comic book character and tasks you with saving the world, one click at a time.

Marvel Heroes

There’s not too much to decide in this one considering the heroes are fairly established. But we do have to at least choose a starting hero before we can begin!

CMA: Hum the X-Men theme song.

  • Cyclops (10%, 23 Votes)
  • Black Panther (5%, 12 Votes)
  • Storm (11%, 26 Votes)
  • Rocket Raccoon (27%, 63 Votes)
  • Punisher (8%, 19 Votes)
  • Captain America (12%, 27 Votes)
  • Hawkeye (3%, 8 Votes)
  • Luke Cage (4%, 9 Votes)
  • Black Widow (7%, 16 Votes)
  • Human Torch (7%, 16 Votes)
  • Colossus (6%, 14 Votes)

Total Voters: 233

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And that’s that! Get your votes in by Friday, March 20th, at 11:59 p.m. EDT if you want them to count! Don’t forget to check the Stream Team schedule for an idea of when we’ll be playing the game.

Catch you in the multi-verse!

Mike Foster puts you in the driving seat of Choose My Adventure, the MassivelyOP column where anything can happen and your votes absolutely matter. You make the rules, you call the shots, and you take the blame when things go horribly awry. Stop by every Wednesday to help Mike as he explores the ins and outs of games big and small, never alone but always a noob.
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Cyroselle
Guest
Cyroselle

“…the Witch, a ranged damage-dealer” /snip

Note that one of the closest clusters to Witch in the passive skill tree is for daggers. Dismissing the Witch as only being ranged damage is missing the point of the diverse gameplay options in Path of Exile.

Keydric
Guest
Keydric

breetoplay The only reason NOT to play Rocket Raccoon, is to play Squirrel Girl.  Or better yet, get a friend and group with one of each.  Destroy holo-sims all day long.

Narayan
Guest
Narayan

The choice of a starter hero in MH does’t really matter now, since:you can switch between all of them (testing period up to lv10 on each starter) and only then make up your mind & uncap one of them
you’re awarded with 400ES on your 2nd day as a login reward, therefore you can afford most of the other heroes in gameWhat you should do Mike (and any other new to MH person) is to login to MH a day before you intend to play it for CMA, choose whatever (see point 1 – you will still be able to pick the one that wins CMA poll later), and then the next day you will get your 400ES & can buy almost any hero you want. Here is full list with their cost: http://marvelheroes.info/items/heroes/#0–1-2-0 . 
There are only 6 heroes priced at 600ES – you could make another poll out of the rest of them. I think both your experience and the reading material would be so much better if you picked someone recent. Everyone has done starter heroes to death by now ;) :P

Carthoris
Guest
Carthoris

BalsBigBrother Bannex19 Eh, he’s a pretty approachable archetype. “Fireball mage” is easy to grasp, and you know exactly what you’re going to have to do with him. The others are harder to explain or speculate if you’ll like after 10 levels.

Damonvile
Guest
Damonvile

playerxx I take it super heroes isn’t really your thing ? :)

AdeptusEnginus
Guest
AdeptusEnginus

Damonvile Caerulei BalsBigBrother It’s true, not even the other characters in Marvel Heroes like Hawkeye. Whenever you run around any of the hubs and the characters talk to one another, almost everyone has a “No seriously, bugger off, Hawkeye” line, usually insulting his bow.

boredinBC
Guest
boredinBC

I really enjoyed leveling Captain American.  His rotation is not complicated but it is fun and powerful.  He has a decent cheap movement power (On Your Left) and can take a real beating.  I have friends who really enjoy Rocket, and the Punisher just had his 52 Review, so his skill set has been revamped he has a new reload mechanic to play with.  Regardless, just enjoy the ride.  It’s uncomplicated fun whether for 20 minutes or 2 hours.

DPandaren
Guest
DPandaren

Sythalin They do give you a crazy amount of character slots though. So it’s not like messing up one character is a bad thing. Just pull the gems and armor off if you want to keep it and throw it in the stash and reroll. Kind of like Diablo 2.

Neo_Wolf
Guest
Neo_Wolf

breetoplay Why would you play anything else? BECAUSE he’s a Racoon with a rocket, obviously lol

Neo_Wolf
Guest
Neo_Wolf

playerxx lol no its is MARVELS Black Panther and the ruler of Wakanda named T’challa.