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Grinding Gear Games announced a lot of new stuff during their inaugural ExileCon event, including Path of Exile 2 that aims to completely overhaul the Path of Exile experience while retaining everything that makes this free to play action-RPG good. And if you're interested in a photo-rich recap of the event, you should check out this announcement on the game's website. You should also read this thank you letter from Grinding Gear Games co-founder Chris Wilson. Have a look:
For many months, I nervously anticipated the moment where I would say "We're really proud to finally reveal Path of Exile 4.0.0" before playing the Path of Exile 2 trailer. As you can see in the recording of the keynote, I was barely holding it together as I said those words on Saturday. I purposefully remained on the side of the stage while the trailer played so I could see the audience reactions, and I can't describe the feelings I felt watching the audience experience Path of Exile 2 for the first time. Every small reveal, from the character selection hanging scene, to the caravan town, to the werewolf form and finally to the Path of Exile 2 name reveal caused the audience to gasp. By the time the trailer had finished, I was very close to tears, and it was difficult to hold it together long enough to carry on the presentation. Afterwards, people told me they cried in the audience. This was the proudest moment of my life.
Path of Exile 2, Conquerors of the Atlas, the Metamorph challenge league, Path of Exile: Mobile and the ExileCon convention itself were the work of hundreds of talented people behind the scenes. While it may have been me on stage, my contributions were both creatively and technically tiny compared to the hard work and passion from the actual developers who created these amazing products.
To everyone on the Grinding Gear Games team: I would like to thank you for your incredible hard work preparing for this event. The amount of polish that went into the trailers and demos was clearly appreciated by our community, and I am so proud of what we have achieved together. You are an amazing family, and I couldn't ask for better people to work with.
I would like to thank everyone behind the scenes at ExileCon who worked so hard to keep the event running. There were a hundred moving pieces, and it all ran seamlessly. Your clear communication, careful contingency planning and high quality standards paid off with an incredible event. Your energy levels and passion for our game were contagious. Attendees frequently told me they loved the high level of staff and player engagement at the event.
I would also like to specifically thank Rebb Ford from Digital Extremes for sharing the wisdom learned from their TennoCon Warframe events. This saved us from making a lot of mistakes.
I would like to thank everyone who could make it out to New Zealand to attend ExileCon in person. It was amazing to meet everyone, hear their stories, and finally put faces to the names I have seen in our community for years. Many of our developers have told me that meeting fans and hearing praise for their work was the highlight of the show for them. I hope you really enjoyed the ExileCon card game, and I'd like to congratulate the 49 people who managed to defeat The Shaper. I'll never forget the cheer that erupted when a Headhunter dropped for one of you.
I would like to thank everyone who watched our ExileCon stream online. We had hundreds of thousands of viewers during the keynote, it was seen by over a million unique people last time I checked. I'm super sorry that the way we're awarding the Twitch Drops from the weekend has been taking a while. It backlogged up to 24 hours and is still awarding them. This caused a lot of people to be upset that they didn't win anything when they're actually in the queue to receive awards. Awards should be given out today though. We are sorry for the inconvenience and frustration this caused!
ExileCon was the best weekend of my life, it made the last thirteen years incredibly worthwhile. It has been an amazing journey, one I am proud to have been on with you. I can't wait to share future news about these expansions, starting with Conquerors of the Atlas and the Metamorph league, which you'll be playing in less than a month!
A PC Gamer representative attending the event had an opportunity to interview a number of developers there. He talked to Chris Wilson about the recent Diablo IV reveal and what it means for Path of Exile 2. He also had a discussion with David Brevik, Erich and Max Schaefer - the creators of the original Diablo - on Blizzard Entertainment's culture shift. And then he managed to learn that Torchlight Frontiers, Max Schaefer's latest project, had to be delayed and won't be launching before 2020.
Here's an excerpt from the Chris Wilson interview:
"One thing with Path of Exile 2 versus Diablo 4 is they're making a new product and they're going to try some new things," Wilson explains. "They're going to get some things right and some things wrong. [Diablo 4] may be amazing or it might be bad. We don't know. And [Blizzard] won't know until people play it—until the die is cast—and they've released something."
As Wilson explains, Diablo 4's situation is very different to Path of Exile, which already knows what its audience wants and how it can improve. "I know Path of Exile is good," he says. "I'm not planning to screw around with anything that makes it good. I know the new campaign has better quality and more fun than the old campaign. I know the new skill system lets you do everything with the old one while removing some frustrations and adding some new stuff. So I want to only make it better in a safe way. If we have a crazy change like a new idea for the skill tree that might just be dangerous. We probably won't do it."
But Wilson also recognizes that despite Path of Exile's popularity, the studio can't stand toe to toe with Blizzard. "Look, Path of Exile is successful and is making good money, but it's not making Blizzard money at all," Wilson says. "The first week of Diablo 3 sales probably made more money than our company will ever make, I suspect. A lot of people have a lot of fun with Diablo 3 regardless of what the hardcore fans and Path of Exile fans happen to think of it."