Path of Exile and Diablo 3 Fun

Having finished William Gibson’s Zero History, I decided to take a little break from reading and do a little gaming. I’ll provide stay away from World of Warcraft for a little while just because I’m not too thrilled with the current direction and want to see what patch 5.4 looks like before re-subscribing. Instead, I wanted to find something else that isn’t as time consuming and that I can jump on and off here and there.

So my solution? Ultima 6.

No, seriously. I decided to pick up Ultima 6 again. It’s still a pretty decent game. Except that it’s slow even on my Macbook Pro. And the UI seems a bit frustrating all things considered. But it’s one of those games that is quite epic and you can grab it here and there, get some XP then go back to your main task.

However, I already played through the game and know how it ends. For me, it was just a nostalgic trip, especially after viewing a few of Spoony’s reviews on the Ultima series. I still felt hungry for something else. I already completed Heart of the Swarm and really didn’t want to get back into it at the moment. Starcraft is one of those things that I occasionally crave but never can become addicted to outside of the storyline. Since I’m not into competitive gaming, moving towards PVP Starcraft just didn’t seem all that great.

Earlier, I had accidentally locked my Blizzard account since I tried signing in from a coffee shop. I thought it was a small hint to get away from Blizzard’s games and try something different. But what out there could meet my level of expectations?

Well, yesterday was April Fools (aka Global Idiot Day) and I caught a funny video from Moldran ripping on Krippie, doing a templar build for Path of Exile. I’ve watched some of Krippie’s streams and thought that it might be time to give it a shot. So I finally created a login (successfully! Goddamn stupid unreadable captcha!) and now have a level 3 templar.

I was a little hesitant about starting mostly because of the open beta format. I wasn’t sure if my character would be wiped. However, I double checked to ensure that my efforts would not be in vain. Fortunately, that is the case so I’m going to give it a shot here and there.

First impressions of Path of Exile. Definitely Diablo 2-like at least in the basic game play. I’m thinking mostly UI. However, it quickly starts to create its own scene and world. The game is exceptionally combat driven. Pretty much you’ll be clearing maps as you go through each section. There is a semi-linear questing aspect and the game has three acts. You also have boss-type of NPCs and these are no push overs. I died a few times either to a boss or getting swarmed.

The things that intrigues me the most are the passive skills and itemization using gems. The game doesn’t exactly have a skill tree but rather this interconnected layout of skills that every character class receives. It’s pretty massive and is exposed on the game’s website so that you can plot out your advancement. This design allows quite a bit of freedom in customizing the build for your characters as you can choose different routes as you gain levels where you see fit. Perhaps initially you might feel that strength is important for you but suddenly mana regeneration takes precedence along the way.

Along those lines items have sockets that you can insert certain type of gems. This provides enhancements like a spell power to the items. I’m still new to this so I’m learning how this all works. I believe one aspect allows you to even level up these skills. I’m not entirely clear here and will need to play around with it a bit more to see how it ties in.

The other interesting aspect is the lack of gold as the primary currency. Instead, the game has numerous types of currencies that aren’t your typical RPG style coin. This potentially can make the game a little trickier because you don’t have a universal type of currency, but rather something that’s split up and where some types can buy certain types of gear. My guess for this implementation is to avoid typical gold farmers, although I’ve already seen gold farmers advertising in chat.

It does feel that the game is better played in a group. The mob density looks to make things challenging. You can solo the game but it feels slightly more challenging than Diablo 3.

I have to admit that the graphics look pretty solid so far. The game feels light compared to Diablo 3 and I haven’t encountered some of the horrible lagginess of Diablo 3. Perhaps, the one thing I need to get used to though is the overall UI. Although the setup is similar to Diablo mostly, there are some moments of awkwardness. Probably, that’s more due to me needing to eventually customize the hot keys. Don’t know if it’s possible but more than likely it should be. I hope to recruit some friends from my previous jobs and elsewhere to join up. Can’t beat free to play.

At the same time, I wanted to give Diablo 3 another shot. There’s still quite a bit of life to the game, even though it can get boring fast (how many Act 3 runs can one do?!??!!?) Again, it’s one of those things where I don’t mind picking it up here and there. So tonight, I decided to give myself a few goals. One was to hit Paragon Level 40 on my demon hunter (which I did) and the other was to muck around with my monk.

I think right now I’m not getting enough of a challenge out of my demon hunter, but I’m mostly just playing him on monster power 1 since supposedly it’s the most efficient. Truthfully, I think it’s probably not the best idea especially with the increased rate of XP with higher monster powers. Second, my demon hunter isn’t really your standard, what I call, “farm build” types. He’s not really a tank neither but mostly someone who can stand his own in various situations. But he isn’t fast so I can’t blow through MP1 the way other demon hunters do without some modification. So I might just bump up the monster power back up to 2 to see how it goes.

Now, the other guy I’ve been wanting to play is my monk. I don’t think I completed all of Inferno on him. However, that really isn’t all that relevant to me since he’s one of my farm builds. So I decided to put him through the Act 3 ringer. First thing: he does die quite a bit on monster power 1. I’ve been one shot by quite a few creatures, occasionally reflect damage. I am using the tempest rush build but it feels that my guy is a bit of a glass cannon. Maybe not even a glass cannon but rather just glass.

Still, the tempest rush is just a fun build. I haven’t done the whole Alkaizer run so I’m not playing as efficiently as I could. I tend to just run most of Act 3 hoping to pick up loot. However, at paragon level 8, I don’t think my guy stands much of a chance at this stage to get anything so I might do some research to figure out how to do the Alkaizer run properly.

I’m hoping that eventually I’ll get to the point where I can get really good loot for my other toons like my barbarian, wizard and witch doctor. It might take a while but I figure one of my guys, whether it’s my monk or demon hunter, will reach a point where far better stuff is dropping. Nice thing about my demon hunter at this stage is the sheer number of rares. Most of them suck but I can easily get 4-5 backpack full by doing a near complete run of Act 3 (maybe more).

Either way, it felt great releasing some stress by playing some games. It’s not good to do this all the time, but once in a while it’s great.


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