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To give us a smattering of up-to-date information regarding Path of Exile's development, factoids about the team, and where the action RPG is headed in the future, Grinding Gear Games has taken to their forums to publish an extensive Q&A featuring community-submitted questions with surprisingly candid responses. A few excerpts:
Will there be a raise of the level cap eventually?
As we continue to add new content, we need to creep the highest level of that content upwards so that it provides more challenge and reward. Currently the highest level of monsters/items that you naturally encounter are level 84. This will be a few levels higher in the 2.4.0 expansion in a few months, and probably higher still in next year's 3.0.0 expansion. While there's certainly a lot of room left before we start getting to level 90+ content, all of this makes it exponentially easier to reach the maximum level. We'd then be left with a choice of purposefully slowing it down more, or raising the level cap. Such a choice would not be taken lightly.
Are there any plans to improve upon AI pathing (or is it being done currently)? the most obvious example of its current limitations now are probably strongboxes. they're intended to literally be an ambush of a group of monsters, but more often than not (especially in enclosed maps like catacombs) there are stragglers in adjacent rooms who forgot about the whole ambush thing. conversely, sometimes a monster will notice me from several screens away. as i understand it, these issues can occur with minions as well, though not as frequently.
The strongbox case you are talking about isn't really a problem with pathfinding as such. It's more to do with monster placement by the strongbox. The monster probably would successfully find a path to the player, but the monster can't see the player because there is a wall in the way so it never targets it. We could potentially add code so that monsters spawned by strongboxes start by issuing a pathfind to the location of the strongbox that spawned them, but I doubt it was ever really seen as a problem by the gameplay programmers who created that feature. As for monsters from far away noticing you, monsters will usually only target you if you are less than roughly the edge of the screen away, however, monsters move about randomly when they are idle. This means that their random movement will take them into attacking range occasionally even when you are standing still.
What are some of the things you've tried to implement in the game after beta during your internal testing that you decided wasn't a good fit, was way too over/under powered, or wasn't as cool as you hoped it would be?
Here are some skill prototypes that we canceled because of some problems they had:
Blade Trap threw spectral copies of your melee weapon in a spiral, causing bleeding. We couldn't get it looking good and it didn't have a good place in the game without doing a fraction of the bleed damage of Puncture, which felt underwhelming. Melee weapon traps are still a possibility for in future!
Static Tether was a skill prototype that fired a small lightning projectile that attached to an enemy if it hit them. If they moved far enough, it would detonate. It was great against fast enemies, but against others (like totems and zombies) it hardly functioned at all, which made it too situational to fill the role it was intended for.
Lightning Tendrils went through a large number of prototypes to find the right fit for a low level lightning skill. One of these created a damaging circle attached to the caster, and another was an arc-like zap that couldn't chain but damaged everything in a nova around the monster it hit. Lightning Tendrils was the prototype that was the most fun and best looking of the versions we created.