With Path of Exile finally launching in two days, IncGamers chatted up Grinding Gear Games' Chris Wilson about the game's long-running beta test, the iterations they've made during testing, the addition of a new character class at launch, and more.
Path of Exile has had one of the longest beta tests I can remember but was that something you had always planned or was it more of a necessity as a learning process for the team?
I remember thinking (we need at least a year of a live economy before we perform our final wipe), and hence I'm glad that we were able to run a long Closed Beta before we wiped the game at the start of Open Beta in January. The lessons we learnt during that time really paid off and resulted in a much stronger item economy. To some extent we've been worried about the overall Beta period running for so long because there's a propensity for modern games to stay in Beta forever and to use it as an excuse for quality. We're looking forward to finally being released!
What changed during development that prompted another character addition?
It's saying things like that that I regret later! The tree has undergone numerous revisions throughout the years and the addition of a less-specialised generalist class is not only much easier now, but also a lot more appropriate. Back in the older tree versions, players received different ratios of Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence for assigning points in anything. They now pick up those attributes by selecting them as passive skills. Until this change was made, the generalist class found it very hard to get enough attributes to do anything meaningful. In addition, we've gradually tightened up the attribute requirements on skills over time, so there's less of an issue with each class being equally good at all skills.