Path of Exile takes a trip down release memory lane

    
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it just keep rolling

It’s been a long path to where we are now for Path of Exile, and as the development team takes a holiday it seems like a good time to reflect on that journey. So the developers have put together a retrospective on every public release of the game, starting with the closed beta back in 2011. Back then the game only had the first two chapters available, no sort of microtransaction support, and… well, it was far more basic. We can leave it at that.

But the retrospective doesn’t stop there, moving up through Torment and Bloodlines in 2014 (which is noted to have included some rather unpopular stuff that utterly destroyed players). Obviously it doesn’t quite bring us up to the modern day, but there’s a lot of history to go through, and more retrospective is planned for the next future. So don’t worry about the path being one of exile, it’s a path of happy memories today.

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kjempff
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kjempff

Path of Exile is in constant change, that is just the nature of the game.
This is both its strength and its weakness.

I could say that I used to enjoy the game much more back when it was simpler, and I truly did, but then again would I have kept enjoying it if it was still the same?

The complexity has grown to ridiculous heights, and by now there is no way a new player could play this game without guidance, and still with thousands of hours since cb I still would not be able to write a build guide for an efficient character, and just “winging it” is certainly impossible by now.
The power gamers forget that there is so much accumulated knowledge that is essential to have just to be able to do the most basic things, and at such complexity that that knowledge is well hidden away. Just look at the questions about the vague wording of skills, even reading the wiki is not always sufficient.
The only way to be somewhat efficient (and PoE is all about efficiency now), is to copy a guide from a streamer and/or play the same build over and over to gain the understanding needed.
The range between the power gamer and newbie or just someone playing at a slower pace is extreme. There are players that on day one gets further than some casuals get in 3 months, there are players who rake in several exalts worth on an evening and others who are struggling to get 1 in a month. It is all about speedrunning, meta builds, knowledge and efficiency that you only get with a lot of practice and only if you embrace a certain playstyle – If you do enjoy the meta bandwagon thing then PoE is a great game, but if you think I will do it my way then you will have a rough time.

Anyways, PoE history is filled with a mix of awesome mechanic improvements and pure brainfarts…And its biggest challenge is that hardly anything ever gets removed or redesigned, so it is a big growing pile of complex mechanics, unbalanced and open for exploiting. It is both kind of great and refreshing and at the same time frustrating, that they just throw in new game mechanics seemingly without testing or deeper thoughts.

kjempff
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kjempff

My point is that the versatility that used to be where PoE ruled over Diablo3 is diminishing with every league. The funny thing is that PoE has never had so much versatility as now, and theoretically you can make crazy builds and playstyle combos – The problem is in reality you can’t because doing an off build means you gimped yourself out of half the game. The problem (in my opinion) with Diablo3 is that there is really only a handful of endgame builds, requiring the exact same gear and playstyle… in PoE there is slightly more more wiggle room, but the problem is basically the same in PoE now, just greatly amplified by the power range.

A meta build including its specific playstyle is probably (rough estimation) 10 times as powerful as the non meta builds, and that effectively means you can do up to 10 times as much farming and adding to that endgame content for better and more valuable loot, and when you add that up combined with maybe being a bit more casual or slow that quickly turns into a factor 50-100 between a power player or streamer and a mediocre PoE player.

I know the power players and streamers argument that goes “I can make an off build work”. That is true to the degree that it will only be half as efficient as the meta instead of a tenth as efficient, but that is only possible because they are power gamers with knowledge, time and efficiency skills to create a build, invest the currency, etc. It is almost only possible to maintain this level of PoE “working skill” if you have it as a full time job.
And of course there is You .. the prodigy and genius who are a casual and still makes 200 chaos an hour – Good for you, but you don’t represent the normal.

Veldan
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Veldan

Not true. I say this as someone who never copied a build from anywhere. I’ve always made my own, and you can very well still do that and be efficient today. And no, it doesn’t take thousands of hours of experience, though obviously you do need some experience.

You seem to be one of those people who see things in black and white… you either run a top tier build and compete, or you suck and are unable to get anything done. That’s a dumb and incorrect view. The entire spectrum exists, between the terrible newbie build and the top tier build. Your creations end up somewhere on that spectrum, depending on your experience.

Mine have been getting better every league. I’m clearing faster than ever and have no problems now to clear any map up to T15 (with the exception of newly introduced ones where I don’t know boss mechanics). And I’ve never touched a meta build, or anything like it… I’m running life/ES hybrid with freezing pulse. Literally noone does that. Yet it works, because in the end, that versatility is still there. You can still make almost anything work. You just have to know how, and do your gear and skill points properly.

Because after all, versatility does not mean you can’t screw up. This is a mistake I often see made by people who whine about PoE’s supposed decrease in viable builds. Versatility does not mean “anything goes”. It does not mean “I’ll randomly allocate skill points and expect to get to endgame anyway”. You still need to use your brain. But if you do, there is still a crazy high build diversity.

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Armsbend

There is also Path of Building – which gives you all values for any build you can dream up.

Veldan
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Veldan

I’ve never really used it- but yeah, if you want to design your build less by feeling and more by numbers, there are tools for that too

kjempff
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kjempff

@Veldan @Armsbend You disagree it is noted, that doesn’t really change anything. I still feel my analysis is correct, and I played this game a lot since its launch, betrayal league included.
Actually I am the opposite of seeing things in black and white, and I often get attacked because people don’t get that you can like something and still be critical, that you don’t have to be either a blind fanboi or a hater.

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Armsbend

Nothing has changed. For the first 3 years of the game you couldn’t do endgame stuff unless you really understood the complexity of the game. You could still run through the first 2/3 of maps – just winging it.

It is exactly the same today. All of the complex stuff is in no way a requirement. Imo, it is much better there than not there though. And balance? If you don’t think you Ice Nova is strong enough…stop using Ice Nova.

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Castagere Shaikura

Tried so hard to get into this game. Don’t like how the devs change it up on your character in act 5 or 6 though. Felt like all my hard work was for nothing.

Veldan
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Veldan

Change what up, exactly?

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Armsbend

getting to act 5 or 6 takes the power players maybe an hour, a few more hours for everyone else so most people don’t consider that much progress.

If you are talking about resistance changes that is how GGG made the decision to get rid of repeating Acts 1-3 three times. Trust me, this way is much better than the old way.

The game design is basically this: Acts 1-4 – gear doesn’t matter at all. You can do it wearing anything. Acts 5-7: gear matters, but not much. If you don’t have resists capped or much life you are fine. Act 8-10: you’ll start to die a few times if you dont pay attention to life and resists – but you can finish the game fine. Maps: if you aren’t capped on resists you aren’t going to get far. Need a lot of life. 4K HP (or equivalent) at a minimum usually.

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BalsBigBrother

Yup much prefer how it is now and I am not sure I would play as much if they made us do act 1-10 on three difficulty levels before you can do maps.

Its pretty easy to negate the debuffs you receive to get back to resistance cap. Collecting rings, amulets and belts with good resistances is usually what I do then just swap things about a little.

Its even easier in the current league with all the various crafting options that are available to help get the last bit to put you over the line or overcap as required. Plus there is always the option to trade for resistance gear as long as you are not an SSF player.

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Bryan Correll

getting to act 5 or 6 takes the power players maybe an hour

And then there are the people like me just now getting to maps in Betrayal since we’ve been fiddling around designing hideouts. BTW, Stately Hideout is the bestest one.

kjempff
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kjempff

10 acts instead of the repeating is nice. Not a fan of the resists changing with higher acts, that part doesn’t feel natural, and there is no warning or story to explain it.

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Armsbend

After you beat Kitava the first time it says he puts a nasty spell on you or something (spoiler: you lose the fight) so the resists are added that way. I can’t remember how the second round of resists work.

doesn’t matter – if they didn’t nerf them through the game people would be so powerful it would be dumb.

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Bryan Correll

you lose the fight

Bah! I had him on the ropes until Sin swooped in and dragged me off to help bring his pet back to life.

I can’t remember how the second round of resists work.

It’s the same way. Even though you win the fight the effort required saps you of your strength.

Veldan
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Veldan

It does feel natural. The whole game is balanced to take this resistance penalty into account. Resist values would be stupidly high if the penalty didn’t exist.