Path of Exile is an action RPG that markets itself as being the best ARPG on the market in terms of character customizations. If you have ever played Diablo 3 and thought that it’s very simple or straight up just looking for a serious game to play for the next couple of years, then keep reading as today we will go over the top 10 things that you must know in detail before thinking about making Path of Exile the next big thing in your life.
First, we got monetization. Most of you already know that you can basically boot up Path of Exile and start playing for free. But is Path of Exile really free to play any sense where you can continue playing without spending any money and compensate for that with your skills?
In your first 50 to 100 hours, you won’t feel the need to purchase anything. That’s until you realize that you are running out of space. Path of Exile gives you four generic Stash Tabs. This can hold pretty much anything. The problem is simple things like POE Currency are more than enough to eventually flood these Stash Tabs.
There are also maps and a bunch of other league specific currencies like Fossils, Catalysts and Scarabs and many others that you have to store. Of course, that’s aside from the rest of your items. In a few words, the game becomes unplayable at some point unless you purchase Stash Tabs.
The bare minimum amount of in-game currency that you have to spend in order to get essential Stash Tabs are: 75 points on a Currency Stash Tab, 150 points on a Map Stash Tab and another 150 points on one Premium Quad Stash Tab, which is required if you wish to participate in the item market.
All of that is going to cost you close to 40 US dollars, which is what I think is the bare minimum that you have to spend in order to keep playing for almost ever.
So, is Path of Exile really free to play? The short answer is no.
The second point we want to talk about is complexity.
Path of Exile complexity is not actually as hard as people make it out to be. It’s just filled with so much information and details that you have to memorize. If you wish to play the game properly, just to put this into perspective. I spent over 10,000 hours playing this game. More than half of that time is spent on learning. Even today, I still get to learn something now and then.
Path of Exile is not difficult. It just needs lots of time to learn and it only becomes fun once you learn it. Unless you are seriously considering pouring multiple thousands of hours into this game, I don’t recommend playing it.
The third point that you must know in detail before playing Path of Exile is the grind.
Simply learning the game isn’t enough to make POE Currency. If you wish to play it properly, then you should know that: in order to keep up with seasonal players in competitive environments like League, then you have to play no less than 8 hours every day. Some people even play up to 15 hours a day on league launch.
The reason why this matters is that only those who reach endgame early are the ones who make the most amount of currency and those who make the most amount of currency controls the economy. It is basically like real life. It seems unfair, but that’s one of the things that makes Path of Exile the unique game it is and on top of this, it’s possible for you to spend an entire day playing without getting a single good drop.
Path of Exiel is a very RNG heavy game. If you hate feeling unrewarded for your time sometimes, then Path of Exile is simply not for you.
The fourth point we have is difficulty. Not to be confused with difficulty or complexity, it is one thing to understand the basics of a game and it’s a completely different thing to learn how to play it.
If you are literally coming from any other ARPG, then you need to know that Path of Exile weakest aspect is visual clarity. Both monsters and players deal with an extremely high amount of damage compared to their respective life poles. And what ends up happening as a result is that you either one shot everything or everything one shot you. You will be in an extremely chaotic atmosphere where you don’t realize what’s happening before it actually happens.
It is the least engaging combat style out of any other ARPG out there and journey Path of Exile biggest downside. It is for this specific reason why Path of Exile is considered difficult. No matter how cautious you are, you will eventually find yourself in a situation where you died and there is nothing you could have done to prevent that.
For our fifth point, we are going to talk about the endgame.
Path of Exile’s endgame is where it is at. There are so many things you can do and so many endgame bosses to challenge for their loot. There are also so many league content for you to engage with, from many previous updates to enough content to keep you occupied and engaged for thousands of hours. You can go Delve, you can farm Legion, you can do Harvest, you can do Blighted Maps and more.
Best part of it is that every different league mechanic has its own target load to aim for. Basically, Path of Exile’s endgame allows you to specialize in whatever you want. The game even has its own separated passive tree that its sole purpose is to allow you to customize your endgame experience. No other game comes even remotely close to Path of Exile in that regard.
The sixth important point that you need to know is crafting. In Path of Exile, you build a strong character by purchasing items for it from other people with your currency.
Most of this currency will come by crafting your own items and sell them to these people for profit. Learning how to craft is detrimental to progressing in this game and I’m not going to lie crafting is like a vast ocean.
Now, I know that the landing speed of one person differs from another, but as for me, it took me over 2,000 hours to master crafting in this game. And I did take the game seriously. As for a more casual player, it’s going to take them even more. That being said, don’t let that discourage you from getting into crafting, as you don’t need to learn everything to get started.
Our seventh point is multiplayer. I want you guys to know that aside from the ability to chat and trade with other players, Path of Exile isn’t really a multiplayer game.
Sure, you can invite people to a party and go kill a boss with them or something like that, but you almost never want to do that in 99% of content you go through in Path of Exile with some very few exceptions.
Party play is generally something that people avoid as it slows down their progress. Unless you are XP farming for level 100, odds are you will be playing solo simply because party play doesn’t actually reward you with anything that you can’t get by playing Solo.
In fact, recently, the game developers killed party play by heavily reducing the load that they generate with 3.19 patch. That’s the more reason for you to be playing Solo.
8. The Developers
Speaking about the developers, it is the next thing that we are going to talk about.
GGG Dev Team, the creators of Path of Exile are well known for their vision, a vision that’s all about slowing down Path of Exile as much as possible. Now, I’m not talking about gameplay. I’m talking about character progression.
The dev team has been doing nothing but nerfing every possible avenue for players to attain power because they believe that the more you have to grind every day to get what you want, the longer you will be sticking around playing a league. This helps to improve player attention numbers at the cost of every individual player's experience. You are expected to play no less than 10 hours a day to experience everything that this game has to offer.
Basically, the developers want Path of Exile to become a second day job for you, one that doesn’t pay you anything. If you are a busy person with important things to do in real life, then unfortunately, you are not the target demographic for Path of Exile and its developers.
9. The Community
However, with that being said coming, we have the complete opposite of the dev team, which is the community. Allow me to say that despite the inconveniences that come alongside playing such a complicated game like Path of Exile, you get a bunch of people who are willing to sacrifice their time to help the community by making some useful tools to save time.
One good example is Craft of Exile, a website that shows you the possible odds of spawning every single modifier in the game on an item. It also allows you to simulate your next crafting project without having to waste currency on it inside the game.
You can also plan your next build with another useful tool called Path of Building, an application that tells you which passives to allocate in order to better boost your damage and survivability without having to go through trial and error inside the game and more.
10. Future Game Support
Now, for our final point, we are going to talk about future game support.
Path of Exile is an ever-growing game in terms of league mechanics. The gaming graphics even becomes noticeably better with each update.
In the future, GGG is planning on releasing Path of Exile 2. It is not a separate game, but a major expansion to an already growing Path of Exile. This is big because you can start playing Path of Exile now without having to worry about changing games anytime soon.
Path of Exile 2 is an ambition project to expand the main game. It will improve graphics and simplify some complicated game mechanics, like gym linking.
In short, it’s worth diving into Path of Exile now, but only if you are willing to take it seriously. This means having no real life commitments preferably for the next couple of years and yes, this does include marriage anyway.