Path of Exile first impressions

July 28, 2012 Leave a comment

So there’s a public beta stress test for Path of Exile this weekend and it just started less than an hour ago. The bad news is I’m already here writing my first impressions on it.

I started the game and got excited since the music sounded good. Put up my settings and was pretty glad to find a good selection of graphics options like AA and AF right there. Not knowing anything about the game other than it being a diabloclone I decided to go for the basic warrior class, which in Path of Exile is called the Marauder.

Once I got in the game it didn’t take me long to have very mixed feelings about what I was seeing. On the other hand it definitely had a familiar general look and arpg feel to it that I expected. However, I quickly realized I absolutely hated the UI. Having been playing Diablo 3 for the past 2½ months it was apparent the UI was years behind D3 – hell, even D2.

On the right is a screencap of the inventory screen you can click. The image isn’t resized from my 1920×1200 resolution. Everything is really big and because of that everything feels really clunky. The hoverbox displaying iteminfo is awful and the text is too large. The itemslot placement on the top isn’t very intuitive. Why are the gloves on left, belt on middle and boots on right? Why does the wand look like a bow? What are those different colored “slots” (sockets?) in items? All around the inventory screen just looks like crap and a poor knockoff of D2. Considering how clearly they’ve copied tons of things from D2 with the weapon swapping and whatnot, I’m surprised that’s the best they come up with when there’s a UI masterpiece like D3 already out. Also the amount of slots different items take and having identify scrolls seem kind of redundant and dated at this point.

Ok onto the next thing. The monster that is the passive skill “tree”. One hell of a tree. A galaxy map is more like it. I appreciate variety but I can’t help but to think it’s too much. Of course, my experience ended shortly after placing my first point – which I apparently couldn’t even change after I clicked on the little circle since there was no “confirm” button to be found anywhere.

I know it’s a beta version of the game, but judging by my quick experience they have a lot of work to do. Frankly, I’m not surprised. I watched about 3 minutes of a gameplay vid by TotalBiscuit and the first thing I noticed is that the game just feels very clunky compared to D3. That said, Blizzard is the master when it comes to interface elements.

On the other hand I like some of the ideas they have for Path of Exile considering the endgame stuff and different leagues and ladders, but at the same time I have zero interest if they don’t improve the basics. I’m looking forward to trying out Guild Wars 2 when it comes out and I’m sure I’ll check out Torchlight 2 and Grim Dawn as well.

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