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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » RPGWatch Feature: Path of Exile - A Preview for Solo RPGers

Default RPGWatch Feature: Path of Exile - A Preview for Solo RPGers

July 31st, 2012, 00:17
Hi All,

Thanks all for the feedback. It's interesting to see reactions and other perspectives. In 30+ years of designing and writing about games, and playing almost all the major RPG and RPG/Strategy releases (online and standalone) I never stop appreciating how many people can look at the game in different ways. I could never stand CTD, and my son loves it. Oh well.

Looking back, I think Fadedc might have sussed out an area that I should have done a better job explaining. Fadedc: "As others have pointed out, the reviewer doesn't seem to have much experience with online games, and as a result he praises many standard features as being new and revolutionary." While he is wrong about the experience part (I would guess I have logged far more hours online than all but a handful of people on RPGwatch) I should have done a better job emphasizing that PoE does a whole series of things centered on letting the solo RPGers play – it would not be particularly unique for groups or multiplayer. It definitely is unique for solo play online in RPGs.

I should have clearly stated, up front, that PoE is very different only for solo players, in the degree to which it has targeted the solo RPGer and has made all game content available to solo players. (LOL – did I repeat the word 'solo' enough in that one sentence? ) I guess the question I would ask is what other online RPG does anyone know where the solo player can do every quest at the intended level, and without being able to run cheats or gimp your toon? From a great deal of direct experience, it is not WoW, Everquest I, LotRO, D&D OL, etc.

Of course many MMOs allow you to opt out of chat – few recognize many solo RPGers have no interest in the chat in the first place and want to opt out at the start of the game in the initial options, and never look back. Most RPGish MMOs use the mechanic of needing new skill drops or purchases that replace your old skills – not the more RPG-oriented approach of enjoying investing in them (the gems in PoE) and watching your character and skills build over time, not just at arbitrary level-ups. Many MMOs have instances, but almost no solo players have a chance in hell to beat the quests in those instances, at the designed level, as they do with the scaling instance in PoE. I have played those OL games extensively. I assure you that there is not a reader in this forum that can solo the stairs instances in LotRO at L60, clear the graveyard solo in D&D OL at its target level of L7-8, or even solo the throne room in EQ1 back when you are the same L10-12 as the mobs. I could never understand the fun some have "beating" an instance or a quest only when the mobs are greenies, and you are an L70 toon wiping an L40 instance. As to the "buy–a-win" approach in so many online games, that's a religious issue – I hate it, and think it ruins a good RPG if you fall for the trap.

Just about every concern I read here makes sense if you look at PoE through the eyes of a group-based or multiplayer action game. But that is not what this review was about – Fadedc's comment was a good insight into how what I had written might reasonably be perceived. Aye, I am more enthusiastic about PoE than I have been for any online release in a long time, but it is also the first online RPGish game I have played that both challenges me and lets me play all the content, solo. Being free is just a bonus.

Thanks for the feedback!
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July 31st, 2012, 01:22
I guess some of the question is whether PoE is best compared to a MMO like WoW or Guild Wars, or if it's best compared to an action RPG like Diablo. Of course now that Diablo is online only, the line between the two blurs quite a bit, but personally I still wouldn't consider it to be a MMO.

If PoE is a MMO, then the ability to solo everything is unusual (whether it's a desirable feature in a MMO is a different question). If PoE is being compared to other action RPGs though, then the ability solo everything is not at all unusual.

Either way, I'll be curious to see how it all plays out in the end.
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July 31st, 2012, 02:22
My feeling of PoE for the short time I played (not my style of game) is that it's best compared to a game like Vindictus: A coop game with an in-game lobby to make parties for instances that is playable for solo players (so far, Vindictus require parties at some point).
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July 31st, 2012, 09:01
The game is great, it has the potential to be everything that I had hoped Diablo III would be.
Last edited by Cerberus; July 31st, 2012 at 19:30.
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July 31st, 2012, 09:33
Hi Voxclamant,

Thanks for explaining some things in a post - could you link to some of your previous game writings, as I think that will put into perspective your 'tone' which upon initial encounter with the article is what stands out as a bit overly familiar. If you write like that in general I think the article can be more easily accepted as a serious one
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July 31st, 2012, 12:39
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
Hi Voxclamant,

Thanks for explaining some things in a post - could you link to some of your previous game writings, as I think that will put into perspective your 'tone' which upon initial encounter with the article is what stands out as a bit overly familiar. If you write like that in general I think the article can be more easily accepted as a serious one
Hmmm … I've owned, but done nothing with the URL voxclamant.com for 10+ years. Let me see about using it to be a central archive of older pieces that were run on various sites. For anything current, I don't want it to compete with the running site, so maybe just have the intro paragraph and a link to the site.

Interesting idea, Kalneil, give me a couple days to think about it and perhaps whip together some html.

And yes, my style has always been "up close and personal." Gaming, and those increasingly rare times gamers receive a quality product for their purchase, is clearly a passion of mine.
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July 31st, 2012, 14:32
I think this review came across badly because of the hyperbole.

I played through the open beta that just passed, and enjoyed it enough to give them some money (to support, yes, but mostly so I could keep playing!). It's fun, and it has serious potential.

However, some of the things written in this review aren't accurate, or at least aren't accurate *yet*. No, it doesn't have " far more playtime and replayability than any single player standalone game on the market today." That's a ridiculous statement to make. Leaving out that it's not even got all it's content in (there's not that much there yet), there are plenty of standalone games with more unique content, and more replayability.

Describing it as an MMO is (unintentionally, I'm sure) dishonest. You can argue whether it's a single player game with multiplayer (as I see it), or a multiplayer game with single-player all day. Massively Multiplayer Online it is most certainly not. It's an aRPG like Torchlight, with somewhat more multiplayer capability.

Pointing out that there's nothing you've wanted to buy in the microtranaction shop isn't quite honest, either. They've not implemented the microtransaction shop yet! All it's got is two items put in as a test, an extra character slot, and an extra storage tab (which is even less useful than it sounds, if you saw how shared storage works). While their manifesto about no pay to win is laudable, and I was glad to read it, they are most certainly not anything like the first to make such claims, and shouldn't be given credit before they've followed through.

I'll stop there, though I could go on.

I'm not bashing the game. Like I said, I enjoy it a lot and am looking forward to seeing how it might turn out once it's done. I just got a strong feeling from this review of someone letting their excitement cloud their objectivity.

It's not an ad, and I'd not insult the writer's integrity by saying such. However, and this is meant as constructive criticism to said writer, it honestly does read like one.
Last edited by thebigJ_A; July 31st, 2012 at 14:43.
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July 31st, 2012, 18:45
Originally Posted by borcanu View Post
the game is REALLY that good. get it through your head
I have no interest in this discussion, except to say that maybe what you're stating here is an opinion, as opposed to an empirical fact. Telling people "get it through your head" in my opinion is no way to make a convincing argument.

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August 1st, 2012, 12:28
Is there any let's play PoE video up ?
Apart from hyperbole i 'd like a mindless aRPG to play during my holidays and from what i read it looks good.
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August 1st, 2012, 12:43
Originally Posted by Tragos View Post
Is there any let's play PoE video up ?
Apart from hyperbole i 'd like a mindless aRPG to play during my holidays and from what i read it looks good.
Not long ago Totalbiscuit did end game dungeon preview
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97SskaQuijo
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August 2nd, 2012, 15:28
Originally Posted by screeg View Post
I have no interest in this discussion, except to say that maybe what you're stating here is an opinion, as opposed to an empirical fact. Telling people "get it through your head" in my opinion is no way to make a convincing argument.
Empirical facts are hard to get for games. And the few facts you get (e.g. number of players) might be rather distorted by other factors, like advertisment and publicity.

Still, I agree with liking more impartial reviews. But thats basically a style question, since impartial reviews just hide their opinions in the subtext, they do not really drop them.

btw.: I personally like the PoE concept alot. Technically its not as good however. Its still a beta of course, but they definitely need to work on some stuff, like stability and sync issues.

PS: Some unrelated fact… Having alot of criticism for a review is a "WIN" for many online game magazines. They simply like the additional views.
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August 6th, 2012, 07:18
as for videos, there's tons of them. The developers post one every week presenting interesting skill builds

I have not encountered a better developer than these guys. So responsive and down to earth.. sharp as hell
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