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A look at Path of Exile, a free-to-play PC game releasing this month

12:02 AM, Oct 4, 2013   |    comments
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Computer game 'Path of Exile' from Grinding Gear Games.

Later this month a new free-to-play adventure will be making its public release as Grinding Gear Games prepares Path of Exile for launch.

The game, which takes its inspiration from Blizzard's iconic title Diablo and expands upon it greatly, was funded pretty much entirely through crowdfunding.  Because of that, those behind the upcoming title have been hard at work to ensure that the game's supporters get their monies' worth.  In fact, since January the developers have released 25 crowdfunding-backed content patches to the game.  That's nearly two per month for a game that's still in its beta phase.

"The main reason we had to do it is because our company needed the money," joked Jonathan Rogers, Lead Programmer on Path of Exile.  "Like, basically the community is funding the development of Path of Exile."

As for the last of the content planned for the game before it's full public launch at month's end, Grinding Gear Games has presented a couple of new areas as well as a seventh character class.  Of the two new areas - an abandoned aristocratic tower and a decapitated library - one, the library, is most appealing because in addition to the game's standard fare of combat and surprises, it comes packed with a bunch of lore in which players can delve should the have the compulsion to do so.  As for the new character class, the Scion, she's a bit of a special case as she isn't initially available for players and won't be at all lest the player find her during his/her first playthrough.

"You literally encounter her in a cage," Rogers points out.  "You know, you have to find her, unlock the cage, then you get to play the class."

As far as the Scion's traits, she begins in the dead center of Path of Exile's intimidatingly large skill tree.  Because of that she doesn't specialize in any one category but can be trained-up to be a well-rounded character to suit each player's individual fancy.

"She's a sort of jack-of-all-trades, master of none sort of thing," he continued.  "So you really have to work to find interesting builds, but we know the [beta] players are really good at that.  I'm sure they'll find some really brilliant stuff."

There have also been some less dramatic tweaks and additions to the current version of the beta build such as new linkable gems, which were originally revealed at the beginning of this year, and new enemies.

Of course, everything will be new to those not participating in the beta.

Path of Exile, a microtransaction-backed free-to-play title, releases October 23 onto Steam as well as the game's official website, .


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