An exclusive chat with Path of Exile’s Chris Wilson

    
12
Massively: We’re here with Path of Exile Producer Chris Wilson to talk about the state and future of this ARPG. Thanks for joining us Chris! So, how is Path of Exile doing lately?

Chris Wilson: Really well. We’re five weeks into the closed beta of our largest expansion ever: The Awakening. We’ll be releasing it in early June, and it’s a big game changer for Path of Exile. In addition to the huge amount of Act Four content, we’ve also introduced a socketable passive skill tree that can be customised by craftable jewels. This expansion also introduces our newly rewritten networking code, which improves the experience for a lot of users.

In other news, we recently launched Path of Exile in Russia and various other CIS countries with the help of Garena Online.

Not many action RPGs attempt to tackle a housing system. What made you decide to do so? Why is this important for a game’s communities?

That’s an interesting observation. We hadn’t really considered whether other action RPGs had added player housing before we decided to introduce the hideouts system in the Forsaken Masters expansion last year.

The desire to add hideouts stemmed from the social nature of Path of Exile. As an online game, players needed a place to call their own, and we found a great opportunity that tied into the theme of our expansion (having masters that show you the location of a hideout themed around them).

Systems like this are important for communities because in addition to giving the community members a creative space to hang out, they also let players showcase their work. We run a “Hideout of the Week” video series where the most interesting hideouts are highlighted to the community.

What were some of the challenges of creating hideouts?

Adding the hideouts system wasn’t particularly challenging; we had all the art assets already created as they are part of the existing game, and it was relatively straightforward to add editing tools that let players place them where they wanted them to go.

In what area of sales does Path of Exile make the most of its money? What are players hot to buy these days?

Our supporter packs are extremely popular. These are packs that contain a selection of points (which can be spent on microtransactions), physical merchandise (like t-shirts, graphic novels, etc), and some exclusive microtransactions. The highest tiers of these packs generally contain the ability for the supporter to influence the design of the game in some way.

In terms of what players spend microtransaction points on, the two most popular categories are stash tabs and elemental-themed weapon/armour effects. The most popular element is fire.

Both Path of Exile and Diablo III skew to a darker, gothic tone and could be mistaken as similar in approach. In what ways does Path of Exile differentiate itself and perhaps surpass Diablo III?

Path of Exile is a game about character customization and the item economy. From the passive skill tree with 1400 nodes (and now, sockets that let you modify it) to the myriad of gem combinations possible with the skill/support gem system, you can build Path of Exile characters around the most esoteric, crazy combinations of skills and carve your own identity. Trading plays heavily into this, as various rare and unique items are especially useful in combination with specific builds. Players really enjoy accumulating wealth in our challenge leagues as they gradually broaden the range of builds they can play.

We also support racing, PvP tournaments, and various other competitive elements that help players who want to demonstrate their mastery do so.

Path of Exile has its own niche in the action RPG genre. In many ways, it is more similar to the classic Diablo II than it is to Diablo III.

What’s the craziest or most creative thing you’ve seen your community do?

My personal favourite is a tattoo of Brutus (one of Path of Exile’s bosses) that one of our players got. Also, there’s this fan-favourite video that the community made recently, full of PoE in-jokes, of course.

Do you feel that action RPGs such as Marvel Heroes, Path of Exile, and Diablo III are the wave of the future for MMO gaming? Why are they enjoying a resurgeance of popularity today?

I don’t necessarily feel that action RPGs are the wave of the future, but I can completely understand why an average action RPG is more successful than an average MMORPG. Action RPGs have an emphasis on random levels, random items and random monster properties for great replayability. MMORPGs are dependent on masses of hand-crafted content that has to stretch on for the entire playtime of the user. I feel it’s easier to create a fun and replayable action RPG, which is why we’re seeing some really popular and successful action RPGs in recent years.

Thanks for talking with us!

newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
TheAuger
Guest
TheAuger

Although ARPG games are not my cup of tea, I do enjoy playing POE a month or so at a time, a few times a year. I really like what Chris Wilson & Grinding Gear Games has done. I was there since the early Alpha stages & even though I don’t spend a lot of time on the game, i appreciate the monetary structure GGG has used with POE. I have spent a little bit of money every time I return to the game to show my support. If more game chose a similar monetary model, I am willing to bet there would be a lot more games surviving in the long run.

VilleUusitalo
Guest
VilleUusitalo

That Willywonka fanvideo is just stuff of greatness… lol so gut!

Veldan
Guest
Veldan

The randomness does indeed add a lot of replayability. That’s also why I’m not worried about spoiling stuff by playing beta. I know that when the expansion hits live, I’ll level the exact same char, and have great fun doing it again, because everything will turn out different due to the randomness on loot drops, zone layout, boss spawns etc.

Rozyn
Guest
Rozyn

You just triggered so many hardcore PoE players by comparing it to D3. 
I’m very much looking forward to this update.

Rozyn
Guest
Rozyn

Rheem Octuris Xerandus I was wondering about this as well. Is it slated for July now? That would be perfect, I’ve got too much gaming going on June already lol.

Damonvile
Guest
Damonvile

agemyth Armsbend Yeah it’d be a box of awesome games :)

agemyth
Guest
agemyth

Armsbend Its not actually that much of a stretch to fit Marvel Heroes and Path of Exile in the same box.

BalsBigBrother
Guest
BalsBigBrother

Armsbend /sigh

Armsbend
Guest
Armsbend

Thank goodness you had the opportunity to crowbar and have Marvel Heroes in the questions.  We would certainly worry if you didn’t.

Rheem Octuris
Guest
Rheem Octuris

Xerandus  Its probably a typo and supposed to be Early July, which is when its currently scheduled for.

Either that or the interview was done about a month ago which is standard in journalism.