We named Path of Exile among our five games that deserved to rule 2013, and it has, on the quiet - exploding banks of servers like a telekinetic child upon entering open beta in January, and introducing new competitive leagues for the summer. But now it’s October, and between the new Crusader class and scrapped auction house, Diablo III is beginning to look a better prospect than ever.
Grinding Gear Games have seized the opportune moment before Reaper of Souls’ release to push their massively-multiplayer action RPG into the public eye. And they’ve their own new class to hawk, too.
The Scion is a nobleman’s daughter, exiled to the continent for killing her husband. I’m sure she had her reasons, but her circumstances are such that she won’t be playable until you’ve already played through PoE’s campaign once.
“She's actually more complicated to play than a normal character,” lead designer Chris Wilson told Shacknews, “so we don't want beginner players to immediately choose her.”
The Scion sits near the centre of PoE’s ginormous shared skill tree, which means canny players can specialise in multiple disciplines at once. Canny or not, they’ll be able to take advantage of her spectral weapons, tossing ectoplastastic versions of melee attacks from a distance.
Grinding Gear have built six new areas for the game’s release - namely The Library, home to strategically challenging skeleton warriors and many, many new chapters of lore, and the Sceptre of God, PoE’s new endgame battle.
“The content we ended up with in beta earlier this year was nice, but it wasn't really a finale,” said Wilson. “It had a boss fight at the end and that was cool, but it didn't really have a proper conclusion.
“By adding these six new areas and the boss fights, it lets us actually finish the story we're trying to tell and to have a state where the player finishes and knows that they've conquered the guy who exiled them. The arc is complete.”
Elsewhere, new gems will allow players to animate otherwise useless items, commanding discarded armour to fight by their side. Stick that in your Loot 2.0, Diablo. Seriously, that should be a genre standard.
Have you fought through Path of Exile's Siberian wonderland in open beta? How did you find it?
Thanks, PC Gamer.