The OP will be rather thin for the moment. Work in progress.
The quick one-liner: A hack'n'slash dungeon crawl that's online-only, free to play, and very inspired by Diablo 2.
Be nice and play by the rules if you get in the beta:
- You can tell people that you are in the Beta. Your account is marked as "Beta Member" on the forums.
- You can discuss any publicly available information that you would normally have discussed before you were in the Beta test.
- You're welcome to post your general opinions on the game. Please do not go into detail about unannounced specifics or unfinished systems.
- Please do not reveal unannounced information or comment on how things in the Beta work. For example, you should not post about some skill that hasn't been announced yet, or some unannounced looting system we are testing out.
- Please do not post balance values from the game or update public websites or wikis with this information. For example, if someone is gathering a list of item names in the Beta, you should not tell them new names. This information will change very frequently and we don't want to confuse people.
- Please do not post screenshots or videos without permission. However, if you ask you are likely to be granted permission.
- Please do not share your account. In the future, we'll periodically allow you to invite some friends to play with.
If you abuse these rules we reserve the right to remove your access.
PoE will have six classes total; currently only five are announced and available in the beta. More info
Strength (Red): The Marauder
Strength confers raw brute power, and is represented on weapons by high base damage. Strength armor pieces grant physical damage reduction. Monsters aligned with Strength generally hit hard and take many blows to defeat. Our announced Strength character class is the Marauder.
Dexterity (Green): The Ranger
Dexterity confers agility in combat, and is represented on weapons by faster attack speeds. Dexterity armor pieces grant the ability to evade enemy blows more often. Monsters aligned with Dexterity are nimble and difficult to hit, often attacking from a distance or with multiple weapons. Our announced Dexterity character class is the Ranger.
Intelligence (Blue): The Witch
Intelligence confers knowledge – of both arcane magic and deadly combat techniques. It is represented on weapons through improved critical strikes. Intelligence armor pieces grant the wearer a mystical energy shield which protects them from blows and can recharge when they are out of combat. Monsters aligned with intelligence are often weak spell-casters who can be dangerous if not immediately dealt with. Our announced Intelligence character class is the Witch.
Strength/Dexterity: The Duelist
The Duelist is a hybrid character class that excels at both Strength and Dexterity skills.
Strength/Intelligence: The Templar
The Templar is aligned with both Strength and Intelligence.
The current max level in the beta is 100. You get one skill point per level. You'll need it. PoE has a massive skill tree of passive skills that buff your character in various ways, or add secondary effects like a chance to knock enemies back. Observe yonder skill tree
Your active skills are actually item drops that you slot into items (just like gems in Diablo 2). These skill items then level up by using them. These are not actually limited to a certain class, but you will naturally want to use the ones that fit your class the best - no witches running around whirlwinding with dualwielded wands and stuff.
Nearly all action RPGs had linear skill systems where the progression of an active skill was preordained by the developers. If you were a fire user, you would progress from a weak fire spout to a more powerful fireball, and eventually to something big and flashy like a flame wave.
In Path of Exile, active skills (i.e., skills that you use on command) are itemized onto "Skill Gems". These gems confer an active skill to the player when they are socketed into equipment and gain experience as the player slays enemies.
A choice of staple skill gems are given out as quest rewards throughout the game to ensure that players have a variety of skills available. You’ll discover rare advanced skill gems out in the wilderness and dungeons. Like all items, these can be traded between players. Some of the more devastating skills are extremely valuable.
Gems can also level up. When a player is rewarded experience, all gems in equipped items gain 10% of that value. This gain is in addition to the experience earned by the player. When a gem is removed or traded, it retains its experience. It’s possible to specialize in leveling up valuable gems and trading them to other players. We haven’t announced the number of levels that gems will have, but it takes a substantial amount of experience to reach the highest levels of gem potency.
Gems have attribute requirements based on their type and level. For example, a higher level cleave skill gem requires more strength than a low level one. If your character doesn’t meet the attribute requirements of the new level of the skill gem, then the experience value sits at the maximum of the previous level until you next gain additional experience and also meet its requirements.
Throughout Path of Exile, you'll acquire many items with colored sockets that correspond to the game's three attributes of Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence. You can socket the skill gems you find into these colored sockets to immediately gain the use of that particular skill. Each skill gem is aligned with a single attribute. For example, the Fireball skill is aligned with Intelligence, and therefore appears on a blue gem.
The color of sockets on items is strongly biased towards the attributes that the item is aligned with. For example, a Strength/Dexterity sword is very likely to contain red or green sockets and unlikely to have blue sockets. Skill gems can only be placed in a correctly colored socket.
Skill gems can be removed from sockets by right clicking on them. There is currently no penalty for doing this. We want players to experiment with the nearly infinite combinations our skill system allows.
Items can have multiple sockets, which can be different colors. Though the early items you encounter will contain one or maybe two sockets, the number will increase throughout the game. Most armor pieces can have up to four sockets. High end body armor can reach six sockets. One-hand weapons and shields cap out at three sockets, while two-hand weapons can contain six.
In addition to active skill gems, another type of gem exists – support gems. These are placed in special, linked sockets and grant additional properties to other gems they are linked with. They do not grant active skills themselves.
These linked sockets start to occur in groups on items as the player explores further into Wraeclast. Larger groups of linked sockets occur infrequently but offer greater opportunities for augmentation.
For example, linking a “Multiple Projectiles” support gem to a fireball skill gem causes the fireball skill to launch multiple fireballs when used. Linking an “Added Fire Damage” support gem to an ice nova skill gem causes the ice nova to also deal fire damage in addition to its normal cold damage.
The game will have "leagues", which are different game modes. Some are permanent leagues, some are periodic time-limited events.
Typically, “hardcore mode” in action RPGs involves permadeath. A character killed in this mode cannot be accessed any more. In Path of Exile, slain hardcore characters revert to the parent non-hardcore league. This system encourages non-hardcore players to try the hardcore game mode, while still permanently removing hardcore characters from the economy when they die.
In Ironman, players are unable to trade with vendors or refill their flasks in town. Mana regeneration is disabled by default. Players are encouraged to band together and manage their resources in order to survive.
The cut-throat leagues appeal to the niche of players who demand the most hardcore gaming experience possible. In this mode, all world areas are public, with full PvP enabled by default. Slain characters drop all their items upon death. This game mode can also be combined with Hardcore to create an even more unforgiving world.
An attrition league is a short duration league that starts with a fixed number of players and eliminates the player with the lowest amount of experience at periodic intervals. For example, a 24 hour attrition league might start with 100 players and eliminate one player per 12 minutes after a four hour initial leveling period. Players would be able to see how close to elimination they are on an on-screen ladder display.
Free 2 Play? Or Pay 2 Win?
What the devs say:
Path of Exile is completely free to play - no upfront costs or monthly fees are required to enjoy 100% of the game content.
To fund the development and maintenance costs of the project, we plan to let players purchase aesthetic perks for their characters such as:
Additional character animations (for example, taunts or PvP victory animations)
Dyes and item skins
Alternate spell effects
We will also offer some optional paid services such as:
Inter-realm/inter-account character transfers
Videos 'n stuff
TotalBiscuit does a WTF:
Several hours of beta footage: