Path of Exile Preview

Fans of the action-RPG genre are going to have their appetites for loot more than sated in the next few months, considering the bevy of titles that are about to come out, and those that are looking for a free-to-play fix might be interested in reading this fairly positive outlook on Path of Exile coming from RPGWatch. Here's a sampling:
Path of Exile is not Baldur's Gate, Dragon Age, or Mass Effect. What it does is take the class of games like Torchlight, Titan Quest, Diablo, and Sacred to a whole new level. A good comparison for those familiar with the title would be the Titan Quest series, but with much better mechanics, skill sets, and RPG elements than TQ. You control a single toon that is one of three standard classes Marauder (warrior), Ranger, Witch (mage) or three hybrids Duelist (marauder/ranger), Templar (marauder/witch), or Shadow (ranger/witch.) But don't let the six-class limit fool you. As discussed below, there is a more extensive and innovative ability to customize the skillset of your player than any game I remember.

Perhaps the strongest general feature of Path of Exile is a structure that favors the solo player in an online game. Rare indeed! PVP, ladders, and multiplayer are supported, but I only took a brief look at them for this review.

RPGers will like some subtleties of PoE. For-pay microtransactions, of course, are in the game, but none are performance-enhancing purchases. That means you earn your victories, not buy them with buffs, megaweapons and so on. At the same time there are no flashing arrows and map markers for quest locations. You are told a general zone, and it is up to you to find the place. The waypoint system is the most sensible I have seen in a long time the right mix of enough so you do not have to repeat an hour's play if you die (and you WILL die!) yet not too many to dumb down the combat by easy retries. A lot of care has gone into the UI it is simple, but effective for controlling your toon.

And you will like the maps. The engine is not as glitzy as several new releases, but the landscapes and environments are clever and immersive. I'm not quite sure where this place is located, but it is a dark, foreboding place that really sets a scene for you.