Path of Exile Announced

Grinding Gear Games has announced they are working on an online free-to-play action RPG, comparing it in style to the Diablo archetype. Check out their website here and the press release below:
Path of Exile Puts the Dark Back into Dark PC Fantasy Role-Playing Games

Grinding Gear Games Announces Free-to-Play Online Action RPG Coming in Early 2011

AUCKLAND, New Zealand September 1, 2010 Independent games studio Grinding Gear Games today announced Path of Exile, a free-to-play PC online action Role-Playing Game (RPG) set in a dark fantasy world. The game will be available in early 2011.

Playing as one of six character classes, players find themselves banished for their past misdeeds to the dark fantasy world of Wraeclast. There, they will encounter hundreds of species of opponents laden with loot and mysterious artefacts as they explore the abandoned continent.

Players will be able to purchase in-game perks, such as extra victory animations, clothing and special effects. To protect the integrity of the game for all players, Grinding Gear Games has decided not to sell abilities or experience points ensuring a level-playing field for everyone in game.

(We listened to the fan communities of several popular online action RPGs as we designed Path of Exile and are focused on replayability, depth and accessibility,) said Chris Wilson, Grinding Gear Games' Founder. (We've designed the game that we would want to play ourselves, and we know hardcore Diablo, Titan Quest and Dungeon Siege players will find the style familiar and addictive.)

Wilson believes there has been a shortage of dark fantasy worlds in recent RPGs. (While the art style is a return to the classic dark fantasy that many hardcore players grew up with, we're confident the difficulty curve is accessible enough for anyone. There are no rainbows and unicorns in our game, but there is plenty of blood and rare items to collect.)

With an open-ended and flexible skill and item system, randomised items and random dungeons, the game promises three acts of visceral combat gameplay, with additional expansions already planned.

Path of Exile has been in development for three years by Grinding Gear Games, a independent studio of hardcore RPG fans based in Auckland, New Zealand, the land that brought you the Lord of the Rings movies. The team comes from around the world with many team members meeting each other online through their passion for RPGs.

Key features of '˜Path of Exile':

'¢ Six character classes
'¢ Dozens of unique monsters
'¢ Complex randomized item system
'¢ Free to download and play on persistent servers
'¢ Freedom to use every skill and item with any class
'¢ Dynamic skill system
'¢ Competitive online PvP play
'¢ Randomized indoors and outdoors levels
'¢ Liven things up with in-game perks
'¢ Coming early 2011