In the world of role playing games, re-playability is the gold standard. Buying a game for $50 to several hundred dollars SHOULD translate to hundreds of hours of fun, excitement, and new experience. However, that rarely happens; after finishing a game from cinematic starts to ending credits, gamers are often left with a void to fill. What should I do now? Was the game worth it? This shadow of doubt leads to discontent, and that could easily lead to disappointment. And developers know that that the only thing worse than an underwhelming game is a disappointed user. Grinding Gear Games’ Path of Exile aims to change all of that; this free-to-play 3rd-person RPG is the hack and slash game that’s way beyond imagination. The myriad of new features promises to leave gamers drooling, especially now that it’s on a sneak-peek open beta.

Picking up after Diablo

Blizzard’s Diablo 2 could be considered as one of the best RPGs ever made. Released more than a decade ago, this game is way ahead of its time, giving players a taste of what would be the key ingredients of modern-day MMORPGs. Item crafting, gem combining, potion brewing, and equipment naming were some of the marquee features that made Diablo 2 a best seller and a modern-day cult favorite. When Diablo 3 was released in 2012, gamers had great expectations, considering that the release has been moved and delayed several times before it actually hit the market. But despite commercial success, Diablo 3 was not able to meet the “high” expectations of the gaming community. Instead of building around the marquee features cited earlier, it totally abolished them in place of a simpler, more user-friendly gameplay. It’s a big disappointment, and the excitement behind it was gone in less than a year. Grinding Gear Games is no Blizzard—it doesn’t have the financial capacity to churn out top offerings like the Warcraft and WoW. But what they have is a good grasp of what the gamers wanted in an RPG. And that’s the premise behind Path of Exile.

A Frankenstein of role playing games

Asking a gamer what he or she wants for the ideal RPG would easily lead to hours of discussion about item/gear choices, skill trees and character progress, and even back stories of NPCs. Path of Exile aims to deliver all of that, and more. Boasting one of the biggest skill tree variances possible in a game, PoE gives the players the freedom to choose whatever skill they want, regardless of the class, the gender, or whatever defines a character’s skills. Simply put, any and all classes have access to all the skills in the game. That’s what gamers loved with Diablo 2, before they dumbed it down to a predefined skill progression depending on the character’s level on Diablo 3.

Path of Exile also promises to offer the most extensive item system in the gaming world. This could mean that there are no item restrictions depending on class, which is apt considering the open skill tree offered by the game.

With six classes to choose from, gamers can explore hundreds of possibilities on how they’ll play Path of Exile. There would be no cookie cutter builds that makes a game boring. They can choose to grind on their own or level up in a party. Player versus player is available, and this is one of the things that would really encourage you to grind it out against monsters and bosses, in hopes of increasing your character’s skills and experience.

Grinding Gear Games also offers a new take on the potion system and gem system, giving it a bigger role on a player’s survivability and overall gaming experience. Potion spamming had been addressed by introducing flasks, which are replenished by visiting a neutral town or by killing one or more monsters. Depending on the type of flask, players can receive buffs or status cures, which again changes the way we see “potions” in an RPG. On the other hand, gems are essentially your skills, and they’re slotted in weapons, so you can have as many skills or skill bonus as the slot in your sword, dagger, or whatever it is you wield.

The abovementioned features of Path of Exile easily translates to re-playability, and at a whopping $0, it offers the best value for your money. This is the ideal time-waster for hardcore and casual gamers alike. It could also be a great way to take a break from your virtual office, and definitely the most cost-effective way to spend your weekends and other days off. To learn more about the game, you can head on to Path of Exile’s website, and sign up for open beta.