Walking the Path of Exile
The story of Path of Exile’s rise to prominance is one that seems destined for game design history. When a small group of players became irritated with the lack of MMORPG releases, they started down a path that would culminate in the relsease of an excitingly innovative free-to-play game that managed to bring in 2.2 million dollars in contributor donations. The end result is a dark fantasy game based entirely on ethical micro-transactions, and where the gameplay has been lauded as both intuitive and engaging.
The lore of Path of Exile is actually quite involved and extensive. It is offered piecemeal to the character as they explore the world, and the regularly released newsletters offer even more. A thorough recounting of the lore of the game would take pages, and a great deal of this information can be found collated on the Path of Exile wiki, located at http://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/History_of_Wraeclast.
For the purposes of the starting player, the continent of Wraeclast was once a beautiful blooming empire, the countryside littered with bustling cities of great beauty. At some point in the distant past, the continent experienced some kind of dark cataclysm, turning all of the cities into ruins and creating the monster-haunted land that it now is. Wraeclast is now a penal colony, and the player character arrives on its shores after their prison ship has been shipwrecked, waking up to the dark fantasy world that they now must live in.
There are seven classes in Path of the Exile, and they each hold varied amounts of the games three attributes of strength, dexterity and intelligence. The Marauder is powerful entirely in strength, making them one of the most physically formidable in the game, while the Ranger is extremely dexterous, excelling in speedy attacks. The Witch is most powerful in intelligence, suiting this class for magic and powerful critical strikes. Three of the classes use two of the attributes, increasing their versatility, but reducing their power. The Duelist uses strength and dexterity, the Templar uses Strength and Intelligence, and the Shadow uses Dexterity and Intelligence. The Scion uses all three attributes equally.
One of the most interesting things about game play in Path of Exiles is that instead of having skills, the players can use and purchase Skill Gems. These gems, once socketed into an item, allow the character to use their attributes to fuel the gems’ powers. For example, a strength Skill Gem is Decoy Totem, where a totem is created that will distract an enemy away from the player character and their group. An example of a dexterity Skill Gem is Bear Trap, which will immobilize an enemy for a certain period for time. An intelligence Skill Gem is Conversion Trap, which will convert any enemy who steps into it into an ally for a set period of time. A gem that is equipped when the character increases in experience will also gain a 10% of the value.
When you are looking for an engaging dark fantasy MMORPG that is free to play and has a unique take on class, skills and gameplay, Path of Exile is a good choice!