I just saw a video where they showed Asmongold reacting quite favorably towards the newest announcement of Path of Exile: Betrayal. He was talking about how this upcoming league might cause him to switch from being a pure World of Warcraft streamer to a variety streamer (if not at least Path of Exile for the league). Similarly, GiantWaffle just started playing the new Delve league today possibly in anticipation for the upcoming league. In addition over on Twitch, there has been a great deal of new players, many of whom are ex Diablo 3 players. While that’s going on, Diablo 3 will be getting a minor seasonal update with some small rebalancing (read: higher numbers). Many indications are pointing that this upcoming league, we may see GGG and Path of Exile go much more mainstream.
Since the Blizzcon 2018 disastrous unveiling of Diablo: Immortal, much of the Diablo 3 community has been moving over to Path of Exile where the community has fully welcomed them with open arms. An article over on Kotaku recently described various internal issues with Blizzard which pretty much seals the deal in terms of them being at the true forefront of gaming that we have come to expect.
That allows GGG to be in a great position to completely dominate the ARPG market as the company continues to focus on adding new content FOR FREE every three months. The fact that right next to the Diablo: Immortal announcement that GGG had announced Betrayal was the perfect opportunity to absorb many unhappy players in the PC market craving that ARPG experience that has become a void with the lack of focus from Blizzard over the past few years.
The thing is that Betrayal will have so much content that it’s practically a new game and experience that I think will pique numerous streamers into really hitting. I feel that the hype is at an all time high with new players really getting into the experience and learning all the time with the aid of the community. With big time streamers pumping up Path of Exile, I can only see more people becoming interested and giving it a shot.
Timing-wise, the new Diablo 3 season is in trouble since Path of Exile: Betrayal will be launching on the 7th while Diablo 3 I believe launches on the 17th of December. While you’ll see the usual suspects returning to Diablo 3, the reality is that the game only stays interesting for about a week, if not a weekend at best. The Ring of Royal Grandeur buff just isn’t enough to make the season itself compete against Delve, Beastiary, Incursion and Betrayal as major features being integrated simultaneously into Path of Exile.
In some ways, I’m a bit worried that with all this content, Path of Exile will be incredibly overwhelming. However, this upcoming league will have an insane crafting aspect and longtail effects like Delve ladders remaining to ensure that the game stays relevant beyond the first few weeks. My guess is that the game might have enough content to last the full three months until the next major league/patch comes out, given the success of Delve alone.
Now, here’s the crazy part: 4.0 was supposedly the patch that would go head-to-head against the previously anticipated Diablo announcement. Given that these recent patches have been quite sizeable, I’m wondering what that patch will be about. There’s a hint that maybe the Vaal could be a huge part. Or perhaps, the engine gets revamped from the ground up to be a far smoother experience.
I think as long as GGG continues to listen to their fanbase and put this level of effort consistently into each of these leagues/patches, their future will be incredibly bright. The fanbase and GGG continue to have a very positive relationship, which is rare for many game companies these days.
On the other hand, I’m not too sure about Blizzard. The recent article from Kotaku pretty much verifies what I’ve heard from my own sources about the internal issues with the company. Pretty much Activision is going to destroy the company from within and turn it into a soulless entity. I don’t think the negative response from the Blizzcon crowd will turn the situation around. Generally with large companies like Activision-Blizzard, there’s simply too much politics at play with finance, legal, marketing and sales dictating the product. So unless Blizzard decides to separate, I’m keeping my bets with GGG.