Path Of Exile - First Impressions

  • #1
    Skill Trees – Wow. Really a lot of diversity, but it feels a little overwhelming. Definitely have to check the forums for some specs. I don’t know if there is the ability to un-assign the skills so my characters haven’t spent any points yet.

    Game Play – Over all pretty nice. Combat is fairly smooth and mobs aren’t dumb either. However, the “speed” is slower than D3. Not sure how to really express “speed”, but for example shooting an arrow and then trying to run away. Your character finishes the animation and then moves. D3 feels like you can move and cut off the remainder of the animation. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though, because it gives me a sense of concern. Like, I need to plan my attacks and prepare for mobs to try and flank me; know how I move and do less attacks knowing I have to retreat a bit before attacking again.

    Loot – Loot seems pretty decent. Standard requirements such as lvl and things, but the sockets also are random, so a nice rare (yellow) piece of armor may not be worthwhile since it doesn’t have the proper sockets needed for your gems (My Multishot Arrow gem is green and can only go in green sockets). Loot is also different sizes, just like D2, so inventory management is important. A wand is 1x3 squares, whereas a chest piece is 2x3, and a 2handed club is 2x4.

    Currency – There is no money or gold in PoE, and instead a barter system. Took a bit to get used to it, but it isn’t’ so bad. Selling a crap piece of armor will get you at the least a Scrap of Wisdom (SpoW). 5 SpoW’s convert into a Scroll of Wisdom (ScoW). The ScoW’s are used to identify items and to purchase gear from the vendors. The ScoW also drop from mobs, so you don’t have to farm drops just to purchase gear. Also, unidentified items give different barter items than identified ones. Pieces of transmutation and something else that combine (20) into Orbs. I haven’t read up on these, but they have purposes as well as are used for currency for the higher end vendor gear. So, if you have an unidentified item that you can’t use (maybe a 2handed sword on your Ranger), don’t use a ScoW to identify it. You might only get a SpoW back (net loss of 4 SpoW’s). Instead, vendor it for some of the other barter pieces.

    Potions – I really like the concept PoE has for potions. They hold “charges” and can refill once out of combat. So a healing potion holds 21 charges, and 7 are used each time you click on the potion. 3 uses per potion. Once out of combat, the charges regen. Gear/gems/passive skills can increase the amount of charges and benefits from the potions, and you can also find other potions along the way.

    Gem – Really cool. Not only do they level up as you kill things, you can remove them and place them in different armor/weps. So if you find a better head piece, simply right-click the gem and take it out. Then put it in your new helm! I also like how you can give them to other characters. I didn’t like the Marauder, so I sold his crap gear. In doing this I noticed that the gem for his Cleave ability could be put into the stash (shareable among all characters on your account). It’s useless to my Ranger, but can definitely help out in other ways. A quick thought is giving that Cleave gem to a Shadow character. Stealth kills with some AOE ability… The only caveat is that as you level up the gems, the level requirements are set, so giving a gem to a lvl1 character may not help if the lvl reqs are too high.

    Overall – Overall, I’m impressed. It has some things you’d need to get used to, but I like it. I think I’ll focus on my Ranger (I always prefer the ranged classes) for now and check back on D3 when the next patch comes out.
  • #2
    Hey, Boss_Hogg, good read.
    I played in the Closed Beta for quite a while, but haven't played in about a month or so, so this might have changed, but....when I was playing, the potions refilled when you killed enemies, and not when you were out of combat.

    Otherwise, good stuff.
  • #3
    All i can say is this. If you dont like diablo 3 and loved diablo 2, PoE is something for you. Here we have kinda a mixture of diablo 1 and 2 put togheter, but with a massive skill tree. Yes, Its freaking big.

    A tip from me if you want to start out today, go with a lightning / elemental paladin 2-hander. That does some serrious impact. Gota love lightning dmg in PoE. :)
    "Tried the adventuring life. Didn't care for it. Too much pain, not enough profit." - Vidar the Collector

    Number 1 DH in Crit dmg @ World. Working for NR 1 in life aswell!
  • #4

    Loot – Loot seems pretty decent. Standard requirements such as lvl and things, but the sockets also are random, so a nice rare (yellow) piece of armor may not be worthwhile since it doesn’t have the proper sockets needed for your gems (My Multishot Arrow gem is green and can only go in green sockets). Loot is also different sizes, just like D2, so inventory management is important. A wand is 1x3 squares, whereas a chest piece is 2x3, and a 2handed club is 2x4.



    The loot system is actually quite interesting and allows you to play around with an item's properties, where you can take a mediocre item and make it near legendary with the various augmentation items that you get through drops or NPC vendor trades..

  • #5
    I'm considering making an introduction video to cover most of the things you touched on here, but I can elaborate on these points:

    SKILL TREES:

    They actually aren't that overwhelming at all when you realize that it's all about reaching keystones/capstones (whatever you want to call them). These are the larger plots around the edges and the very middle that make changes like shifting all your Evasion into Armor, all your Health into (Energy) Shields or using your Health instead of Mana. Ultimately these take a stat you aren't using and remove or alter it to benefit a stat you ARE using. This, in turn, makes knowing what direction to go a lil' bit easier. Simple look at which ones you want and plot the best path to get there that picks up stats that would support those particular keystones/capstones.

    One such example (thrown together very quickly) is this Ranger Staff Dodge/Block setup. I pick up the 3 Dodge stones on the right half which remove my Armor and Shields in addition to picking up the Frenzy points (increased attack speed per charge). Then, because a Shield (which provides block) is no longer useful to me, I focus on Staves which CAN provide block without dead stats. These are located all across the left half so I shoot straight over and pick up all of the Staff regions. This simple setup could later be min/maxed upon seeing what does and doesn't work for you.

    Lastly, you CAN respec by accumulating free respec points through quests OR obtaining Orbs of Regret (barter currency). Each orb allows you to refund 1 point.

    LOOT:

    One thing worth mentioning is that there is an important aspect to itemization through "crafting." The barter currency you obtain ALSO doubles as crafting components for improving or altering your items. These are just some of the orbs you can obtain:

    Orb of Transmutation (Normal Item > Magic Item)
    Orb of Alchemy (Normal > Rare)
    Orb of Chance (Normal > Random)

    Orb of Scouring (Remove all properties)
    Orb of Alteration (Reroll all properties properties)
    Orb of Augmentation (Add one random property)

    Jeweller's Orb (Reroll sockets)
    Orb of Fusing (Link two sockets)
    Chromatic Orb (Change color of socket)

    There are even more that affect what is called item quality. Skill Gems, Equipment, Weapons and Potions (called Flask) can roll with a % quality that improves the effectiveness of that particular thing. These orbs further enhance "quality" items.

    POTIONS:

    You're actually a bit off with this. You recover charges by killing things. Usually it's 1 charge per base monster with X charges per more advanced monster. Potions typically only allow 2 uses without recharging while being JUST shy of a third use. So having 45 charges but using 16 each activation thus requiring you to kill things to get the 3rd use.

    SKILL GEMS:

    There is much more to Skill Gems as well. They are currently divided into Red (Strength), Blue (Intelligence) and Green (Dexterity) with two types each. The first type you encounter are all activated abilities like attacks, spells, auras and summons. As mentioned you can slot these into any gear you are wearing, but some items will increase the effective level of gems slotting in them. Later on you will encounter what are called support gems. These dramatically alter the function of gems they are linked to. For example, if you have a spell that shoots projectiles (Burning Arrow or Fireball), linking a Fork support gem will cause the projectiles to split upon firing. Other support gems add specific elemental damage, add lifesteal, reduce mana cost and a whole slew of other modifications. These allow you to personalize the abilities to match your keystones mentioned earlier.
  • #6
    I played PoE last night for several hours and was actually surprised at how I felt about it: its a good game, but I still have a feel for Diablo 3 that PoE didn't match. I'm planning on playing through a lot more of the content and see how that opinion changes - however the thought that keeps running through my head is that Diablo 3 desperately needs to improve the loot and it will be on a much better course than it is now.

    I wanted to mention a few impressions about PoE and get other forum members opinions. Again, I like the game - just curious about other people's thoughts.

    Combat

    It just feels a little slow and clunky. I watched one of Force's videos and he mentioned that closed beta players said that combat improves as you level - through attack speed, etc. Force then stated that it just felt off overall. I agree. It seems like certain mobs do not become "active" to target as quickly as they should - they are on the screen, but you get a feeling of "missing" them when you click. The spells themselves (played a witch) also missed on a regular basis, which seemed to be a hit chance thing, rather than me miss-clicking. I feel like the combat in D3 just has more style and responds faster. Mobs move quicker and have more in their arsenal than what I encountered in PoE.

    Graphics

    I know this is a sore spot for many people playing D3. Personally, I've never had a problem with them. I think they could use a bit of tweaking, but not nearly dissatisfying to me as it is to others. PoE definitely moves toward the darker/shiny/Skyrim, but it felt monotonous over time and zones. I had a hard time distinguishing the mobs from the background color and textures themselves. I feel like the graphics are not that great - not game breaking at all - but not as engaging as D3.

    Abilities/Gems

    I think that idea is great - find a new gem and get its ability and plug in what you want. I made a quest reward choice early on and chose a gem that I actually couldn't use until I had more strength. So I wasted the opportunity for an early ability that would have made the game play better. I love how the damage of my abilities increased - but I found myself regretting the bad choice that I made. I immediately thought "well in D3, I could just plug in another ability that I had earned through leveling." And then realized that PoE gives you that classic feel of making hard choices that drastically change your gameplay. I don't know if I prefer the D3 system of PoE. Thoughts?

    Barter system

    Love it. Absolutely love it. Not because I have hate for the gold/RMAH/AH system for D3. Because it represents a crafting/customization feel to me that Diablo 3 severely lacks. 1.0.7 supposedly is going to baby step its way to solving that problem for D3 - but its not enough. I have no doubt that D3 after an expansion or two, will have the item customization that it deserves. But PoE is doing it from the start and that makes me interested in continuing to play. D3 makes me want to farm gold and lottery ticket items to sell on the AH to get better gear.

    Over all I like PoE as I said. I like D3. But thus far, I want D3 to improve on loot, crafting, itemization more than I want to switch to PoE full time. That was the lurking suspicion I had while waiting for open beta. And I'm surprised that I want to keep playing D3, when its ready.
  • #7

    Combat

    It just feels a little slow and clunky. I watched one of Force's videos and he mentioned that closed beta players said that combat improves as you level - through attack speed, etc. Force then stated that it just felt off overall. I agree. It seems like certain mobs do not become "active" to target as quickly as they should - they are on the screen, but you get a feeling of "missing" them when you click. The spells themselves (played a witch) also missed on a regular basis, which seemed to be a hit chance thing, rather than me miss-clicking. I feel like the combat in D3 just has more style and responds faster. Mobs move quicker and have more in their arsenal than what I encountered in PoE.




    I have been in PoE beta since Diablo 3 beta and I must say your thoughts are spot on with mine about the combat. Ive had a couple characters up around 50s and 60s and the combat still feels very stiff and meh. Mabye I was playing it wrong (there shouldnt be a wrong way to play a game but whatever) and should have focused on attack speed more.

    The loot system is a double sided sword in my opinion. For those that have some luck and time, they can get some amazing gear rolled just the way they like it. For people that have no luck, myself included the loot system constantly kicks me in the groin then mocks me.

    To be fair, since it went into open beta, Im going to give it one or two more chance to be a game that I would play before I write it off as a decent game that just does not do it for me.
  • #8
    Some really great posts in here and although I have nothing revolutionary to bring to the table I thought I'd share a few thoughts. I've only played a few hours so I'll mention that caveat up front. As others have mentioned, combat did feel a little "off." My experience was similar to Polrayne's in that regard. The Skills/Abilities/Gems etc. are already covered well enough, so I'll trail with graphics. I'll be the first to admit that when I caught my first glimpse of D3 when it was announced, I wasn't immediately thrilled with the art desgin they chose. Like many others (remember the petition lol?) I was hoping for a darker, more realistic art style like PoE, and the irony is, I actually prefer the graphic style of D3 over PoE quite a bit. Don't get me wrong PoE still looks really good but ultimately the areas seemed more monotonous and less interesting. Whereas I once shunned what I thought was an unrealistic/cartoony look for D3, I absolutely love it now. Animation also seems much smoother in D3 (could be because the overall pace at this early stage in PoE is slower and possibly because D3 is so hyperkinetic in terms of it's gameplay.)

    Anyway, I'll definitely keep playing PoE, and there are a host of things about that game that I wish D3 had (better loot system is at the top of that list lol.)

    Check out my Youtube channel: RetroGameClips
  • #9
    Weeeeell, it's nice, but I don't like the pace of combat. It's generally quite good, and looks way more like D2 than D3 does (I know, blizz didn't want it to...), but I feel like some design decisions are wrong there too. Some things are redundant (skill tree) and should be shortened, and I really dislike the whole ability system with gems (although I like the gem levelling part, it's very frustrating to have access to few skills based on your item sockets).

    Generally I'm sure a lot of people will like it a lot, but still D3 has its better combat and interesting skills (I've seen a few skills on videos, I think D3's had a bit more imagination).

    Since it's free, anyone should try it out a bit, it's worth it.
  • #10
    When it comes to the combat of PoE, it really shows who is a tactical RPG player and who prefers action. I happen to LOVE the pacing of PoE's combat simply because I have such a deep history in games like Icewind Dale, Baldur's Gate, Dungeon Siege and Neverwinter Nights. The slightly slower pace allows you to think and take more responsibility for dying than:

    "Fast, Teleporting Phase Beast/Licker killed me before I had a chance to react"

    One MAJOR problem I have with PoE, though, is that it punishes you for taking a break and doubly so for poorly timed deaths. My first play through I didn't know that pulling up the skill screen doesn't pause the game in solo play (shame on me for not reading lol). As a result I ended up dying in the prison section of A1 before reaching the waypoint.

    When a zone is empty for more than 15mins, it resets and removes all town portals. So because I died after being in the area for longer than 15mins, I had to fight through areas I had already cleared to reach the waypoint. At one point I needed to take a phone call and TP'd to avoid dying. I must have taken longer than 15mins because when I returned to play, the portal was gone and I had to clear my way to the waypoint a 3rd time. I cleared the same 3 zones 3 times each.

    You literally can't take a break (while solo) until you reach a waypoint or you stand to lose a significant amount of progress depending on where you are. This can make using a TP stressful as you only have 15mins to buy, sell or trade items before you lose your place. I've developed the habit of dumping everything in the bank and not even looking at it until I've reached a safe stopping point to actually think about what I want to use.

    This is frustrating for me given how important gear and skill gem choices are in your character's development. I imagine it will grow less problematic over time as I grow accustomed to the game, but it is still a pressure I'd prefer not to deal with.
  • #11
    The difference between D3 as it is now and PoE, is that you only come back to D3 when there is a new patch to see what's changed, realise it's still mostly the same, farm act 3 for an hour then log off.

    PoE you could just keep playing, keep discovering new things, keep dying and rerolling, participate in races and what have you.

    D3 *is* getting better, but PoE is already better. Not to mention the devs actually have a clue what they're doing and don't want to cheapen their game by making it a complete faceroll. Blizzard could learn a lot from GGG.
  • #12
    I played the closed beta with four characters getting them all to about level 60, and I came back for open beta excited to get a new character going. While everything you'd want from an ARPG is there... I just can't get into it. I feel that regardless of how you distribute your passives, your character always feels more or less the same, and is largely dictated by the skill gems they use, and unfortunately I find a lot of the skills in this game to be fairly dull. Also doesn't help that combat is equally bland. Wave after wave of same type enemies, hitting them all with Cleave or Heavy Strike, it just puts me to sleep. There just isn't enough variation in monster behavior/size/speed.

    It also doesn't help that the way passives work, you often get pigeon holed into a few skills, so there isn't any opportunity for experimentation outside of re-rolling, which is kind of a slog in itself.

    Also, going back to potion spam, it just feels so awkward.

    If only Blizzard hadn't been so brain dead in terms of RPG mechanics, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.
  • #13

    If only Blizzard hadn't been so brain dead in terms of RPG mechanics, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

    We still would, we'd just be comparing the good things in both games rather than the bad things in D3 to the good things in every other game that's come out.

    I think that what you're describing is valid for a lot of players, but the great thing is that there are already so many things that are going well with parts of the game not even revealed yet. We still A4 and many of the new league modes inbound. The fact that we're in an open beta just tells me that GGG can get these things right early on rather than going back to correct issues like D3 is.
  • #14
    Played a little so far - getting to lvl 13. It only confirms what I felt when I played the closed beta a long time ago.

    Some interesting mechanics and systems, like passive skill tree, crafting "currencies".
    And even some utterly brilliant ones; like the potion system - it's a step toward potion spam, which sounds bad on paper, but at the same time its really not classic potion spam - and the end-game map system seems clever as well.
    But combat feels bad when you come from Diablo 3. Hell it felt kinda bad even before D3 was released, so it cant only be because D3 has affected my expectations of fluid combat.
    Graphics are terrible as well, but I don't care that much about graphics to begin with.

    Also, I guess I have been one of the most passionate anti-respec people around, when it comes to Diablo 3s "freespec system... and it's certainly nice to see a return to meaningful choices in PoE.
    That said, any A-RPG in modern days, need a reasonable way to respec - costly sure, but possible.
    I'm not sure the '1 point at a time' -currency reset system is really reasonable. Time will tell I guess.
  • #15
    I must say that PoE is very decent game. It has very different approach to ARPG genre than D3. While the genre is the same for both game, the way each approaches it is very different. D3 is still more polished, accessible and well-round game of the two. PoE has rough edges, brings back good old memories from D2 and has several great ideas in the hat.

    In regards to PoE observations, I agree with above posters about the combat feeling. It definitely feels very slow and clunky at start but it does get better as you progress. Ranged characters are a lot more fluid with additional attack speed. I feel that melee combat was better in D3 because the targeting and certain UI aspects of the game are just melee-unfriendly.
    I love the way potions are implemented in PoE. It is very refreshing idea that works great as far as I can tell. Skills via gems, sockets and links between them, supporting gems modifying primary skills and loot are also very decently implemented.

    I played 600 odd hours in D3. Im sure I will come back to it some time in the future but for now I'm staying with PoE.

    PS. You might guessed it, I just logged off from PoE to hit the bed :P
  • #16
    Path Of Exile: Ultimate Beginner's Guide

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWs7vAR-WzA

    However, the “speed” is slower than D3. Not sure how to really express “speed”, but for example shooting an arrow and then trying to run away. Your character finishes the animation and then moves.

    It gets faster later on... A LOT faster... Krippi made a Clip, check it out :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOoLAHgWXXk
  • #17
    Well Blizzard is known for taking the best and innovative elements from their competitor's games, polishing it and putting them in their own games. World of Warcraft is a great example where stuff like the achievement system, Wintergrasp PvP, etc were only added when they were announced as features in their opponent's games like WAR and LOTRO.

    Granted the incentive to keep within striking distance of your competition isn't as much with a game like Diablo 3 where you don't have a monthly fee, but I am sure Blizz will, at the very least, consider adding some of the more innovative features of PoE like linked sockets or craft-able dungeon maps with random mob properties.
  • #18

    Well Blizzard is known for taking the best and innovative elements from their competitor's games, polishing it and putting them in their own games. World of Warcraft

    Warcraft didnt had a RMAH.
    How do you change core mechanics without punishing the people who bought stuff ?
    Thats the whole Problem. Without the RMAH they could change whatever they want.
  • #19
    I see this argument about 'punishing' people who bought stuff on rmah and all I can do is laugh, sorry.

    Do you know what kind of items I sold for 50-100 euro a piece back in May? A 2 hander with 1300 dps and a socket (yes thats it, nothing more) went for 150 euro, 1 hand with socket barely 1000dps and ~100 int for 80 euro.
    Please tell me what are those items worth nowadays? Yes - vendor price.

    So please for the love of god, stop using that silly, silly argument, people who biuy items in a certain patch should understand that with time they WILL become worth less or even worthless (say hello to the inevitable expansion for example).
  • #20
    I enjoy it so far but so far it seems like I'll be playing D3 more.
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