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Grinding Gear Games recently held a community Q&A session that spanned about a dozen Path of Exile's forum pages. The first part of those has been processed and is now available in a convenient format. The questions span a wide variety of topics and the answers are mostly short and to the point. Here are a couple of them:
What gave you guys the inspirations for the past leagues? How does the process of coming up with the main idea of the league work?
The inspiration comes from all sorts of different places. Generally the ideas evolve over many years until they're eventually used. Ambush came from a plan back in 2007 to have mods on chests. During its development, this was limited to only special chests, and then fights were guaranteed. Legacy ended up very similar to the initial plan for the Prophecy league. Essence was inspired by a "Monster Boxes" idea we read on reddit. Torment was inspired by the treasure goblins in Golden Axe. Coming up with league ideas isn't the hard part - the tricky part is choosing the one that best fits what the game needs at the time.
Are there any plans to extend the skillbar? We could use a few more skill slots for sure.
We have a plan (though no ETA) to add an alternate skillbar that you can reach by holding down a key. This would be ideal for skills like Heralds that you want to cast occasionally but don't need to be on your main bar.
Will there ever be an auto-sort button for inventory and/or stash similar to Titan Quest mechanics?
Unlikely. I had a good conversation recently with David Brevik about how large items that require manipulation in the inventory help simulate the "weight" that items have in other RPG systems. It may be inconvenient to have to organise items, but it makes them feel real. Simplifying this down to auto-sorting or single-slot-items is a road we don't want to take our game down.
Are there any plans to make spells like spark and cyclone feel ''smoother'' by not being easily blocked by terrain etc?
Certainly, though it's tricky to do in the way that some community members have suggested. However, work is underway to smooth out the terrain so that there aren't small blockages that stop motion.
Are the technical values of the 'Bandit' rewards going to change in 3.0 (eg changing them all to passive points), or will they be the same bonuses attached to different quests?
In 3.0.0, there's only one set of Bandit quests. We haven't decided what rewards they'll have, but they'll likely be based on the current normal difficulty ones with some tweaks (to make the non-life ones more attractive possibly?)
I know this may be far in the future, but do you guys plan on eventually making an offline version of the game once you guys move on to the next game and aren't able to devote resources to maintaining servers and such so that the game can be preserved forever and played years from now like Diablo 2. (I know many of us still play D2...including Chris.)
We don't plan to do this, and the reason is because the game will never be in a state where the servers have to be shut down for financial reasons. Running the servers is inexpensive - it's running the studio to create new content that consumes most of the resources. Making an offline version is masses of work, unfortunately.
What is the plan for existing league mechanics coming 3.0? With Legacy League meant as a way to 'say goodbye' to old content it suggests most of this is being removed or re-examined. The Zana mod system in the league suggests the same. Are we getting Leaguestones in 3.0? Are all the leagues staying, or going?
The plan varies from mechanic to mechanic. Legacy isn't meant to say goodbye to them, but provides a great opportunity to play with a lot of craziness happening simultaneously. The Zana changes are because we can't run regular Zana mods at the same time as Leaguestones, and to provide an alternate experience for people to make their maps more difficult and rewarding. We haven't decided about the role of Leaguestones in the future of Path of Exile.