I watched more of the Olympics over the last weekend than I remember watching in my life. I don't think I've ever gotten into the Olympics. We certainly ignored them 4 years ago, but K wanted to watch most of it, so it's just been on. Some of it was interesting. A lot of it was not, to me. I couldn't care less if America beats the Argentinian volleyball team.
Though it's nice to see people competing without obvious showboating.
Actually, I spent most of the weekend playing the beta of a new game: Path of Exile (Hereby dubbed PoE).
As I've made comment to before, Blizzard killed Diablo for me. I won't get back into why. I've been poking around for a suitable action RPG, like Diablo. I am all excited about Torchwood 2 and WILL get it, at some point, but it hasn't gone gold yet, so I have no idea when it comes out. So, poking around, I found a review about PoE which was dubbed, by that site, Diablo 2.5.
PoE WILL Be free to play, when it's open. It's also in closed beta, but they had an open beta weekend this last weekend, so I got a chance to try it out and I like what I see. Enough that I want to see if I can get the $10 together and get a beta key. The game does feel a lot like Diablo 2, with a dark atmosphere and basically running around spamming left and right clicks as you kill many many things. But in many, many ways it's different and I dig that.
Unlike most action RPGs, there's no money. No gold, no pieces of silver AND NO REAL MONEY AUCTION HOUSE! Oh, sorry. No more Diablo talk. If you pick up an object and won't use it, you can bring it back in town and barter it for scroll fragments (5 of these become a scroll of.. well, identification, effectively), alteration shards (20 of these creates an orb of alteration which reforges your magic item with new ability) or transmutation shards (20 of these can turn a normal item to a blue (magic) item. And I'm cool with the idea of barter, instead of gold. Especially because with some of these stones and orbs, you can still BUY better equipment, like you'd buy better equipment in other games that require no mention.
And there's a bunch more objects and orbs too, some that turn regular items to rare items, or reforges an item with a chance of becoming rare or unique or legendary. Or stones that makes your weapons hit for more damage and your armor protect more.
Actually, on that, there's three types of protection, one for each... type of play. For Melee, there's plain olf armor. For magic users, there's energy shields which reduces the amount of damage you take, and for rogues, there's evasion. The higher your evasion score, the higher your chance of not being hit at all.
What else is different?. Trying to think of the small things before I get into the big ones..
The BIG change is the skill tree. There are no active skills in the skill tree. You get active skills via gems. You'll get a bunch of active skill gems out the gate for completing quests. Skills include.. hitting harder with your weapon of choice (bows,arrows, maces, daggers, wands, etc.), magic spells such as summon zombie, fireball, etc. As you use each skill, it gains experience too and can level up, doing.. whatever it does better. So a level 2 fireball hits for more damage than a level 1. Easy, right?
On top of that, you can get support gems which CHANGES how your skill works. For example, you can add an "Increased Area of Effect" support gem to your fireball, meaning it hits in.. an increased area of effect. Nice, huh?
Back to the skill tree. So the skill tree is actually full of passives, not actives. And it is FREAKING HUGE. It is less a skill tree and more a skill FOREST. But the major reason for that is.. with skills not being part of a class-specific skill tree, anyone can use them. You COULD buy a witch (pure magic user) with a level 20 skill that bashes with your mace. AND you can have a bunch of passives that makes that effective. If that's how you want to play.
The potential for fine tuning your own style of play is HUGE, for people with the imagination to do so.
It's nice to see a little originality, to see someone having put some thought into a game going "OK, how do we make it specifically OUR game?" I also love supporting indie develoipers. It's like supporting the small local businesses instead of the big box stores.
Anyways.. All I need now is the $10 for the Beta Key and I will be a happy boy for a bit. ;D