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One of the big selling points of Path of Exile however, is its incredibly expansive passive skill tree which features 1350 skills. All six character classes share the same tree and are differentiated by their different starting points within it. What this means is that no matter what character a player chooses, as they progress through the game and level up, they can build towards earning attribute bonuses and skills that would traditionally belong to other characters. Just to get an idea of how big the skill tree is, the size of the full map image is 16135 x 15300 so we've got a version that's 7% of that size.
With that said, the most interesting mechanic introduced in Path of Exile is the gem system. Each item has gem slots that add passive abilities to your character & can be combined with another gem for another ability. For example, I used an ice gem which slowed down enemies with each attack. Theoretically, you could add a life-steal gem to slow down enemies AND take their health as well. This can apply to spells as well. Add a "split' mechanic to a fireball spell & that fireball will spread into two when hitting a enemy. A totem spell (which acts like a turret) can be tweaked with a "teleport" gem which will make that totem teleport around the environment, attacking as it sees fit. The passive skill tree in the game is also impossibly flexible, where characters can start in one area of the tree (as designated by the class of the character) and end up somewhere completely different. Think of the Witch gaining the passive health & shielding abilities of a Marauder & you'd be on the right track.
Enemies are everywhere in Path of Exile, and they can be merciless. It's easy to get overwhelmed and it's even easier to lose track of your life and wind up back in town. Difficulty is definitely a point of contention amongst players, and seeing the developers in game fielding questions from the players regarding balance and difficulty was definitely an encouraging sight. The only negative I saw from death was sometimes I'd die, head back to the zone where I died, and find that it had changed. Maps frequently change, and it's easy to lose track of where you were or what you were doing. Playing with friends is definitely encouraged to keep the difficulty in check.
Outside of Diablo-inspired gameplay and 'Magic: the Gathering' inspired mechanics, Path of Exile also features a party system. It allows players to start their own band of heroes for others to join in order to fulfill a specific goal. For example, if there is a hard boss that might be too difficult to take upon alone, a player can set up a party to gather a few more people to help out. Of course, to balance out the extra help, enemies grow stronger with each additional party member. Forming of parties, though, isn't all there is on the periphery.