This one has been on my mind for a while, of course the title is a little hyperbolic, but that is the results after a long philosophical discussions I have with my friend who is a deep Path of Exile player as well. Trust me what I have to say to you here has been shelved probably a thousand times, because it really didn’t accomplish anything. It is not just a complain, I do want Path of Exile can be better in the future. Thus the point I want to express today is, why can’t GGG make good content for a long while?
First of all, of course they do make good content, like 3.20 The Forbidden Sanctum is going to be really cool, make up for the core issues in Path of Exile gameplay. But that absolutely can not explain why Lake of Kalandra has the lowest retention of any Leagues. The real question is, why does Path of Exile’s core gameplay suffer so much?
Let’s take a step back, and look at the miserable road we took to get here, because it’s basically a road map of GGG (Grinding Gear Games)’s own descent into madness. Back to 3.15 Expedition League, the game was nearly at a high point. 3.13 was Ritual League, which cannot be talked about without someone in the community professing their undying love for those three months. Ultimatum League followed in 3.14, and it was also a really solid well-like League. Expedition League came as a bunch of guys that involved extreme hikes. Mana cost additional difficulty to Mana fixing, and a severe drop in damage for players across the board, what’s more they neutered the way flasks worked, and left players scrambling to fix Ailment issues. Also, Absolution is basically the most under powered skill of all time all, many of these changes were in essence quite healthy for the game, just not in the way they were implemented at first, everything was overdone.
One week after launched, and enormous numbers patch was released as well, to put the game into a less arduous state. However, the thing is it wasn’t perfect, Expedition was a decent league but much of the changes were left to fester in the community, and those changes that really didn’t Inspire the leagues.
According to the context, we can talk about an interesting quirk of Path of Exile, you can see Path of Exile is a big game, so big that it’s basically impossible to balance perfectly. Some people would see this as a negative, but it’s actually a shield of issues. When something in the game isn’t in a great spot, there’s always another build you can use or a type of content you can do in its place. In fact, when Path of Exile is healthy, there’s many options in this way. This is why in Expedition League was still a great and enjoyable game content.
Then 3.16 Scourge League, a lot of problems introduced in Expedition got more comprehensive fixes in Scourge League, which was good, our flasks were buffed, Mana cost issues were addressed and Ailment fixing was reigned.
However, let’s get into 3.17 Archnemesis League, what the history of hate behind Archnemesis. You would think this was a particularly awful league, but Archnemesis was content you could control in its original part. People were quite okay with this time, but every thing turned to crazy when GGG went out of their way to nerf the base effectiveness of Ignite. Although many of these Buffs were rather superficial, you can just leave it at the spot for hit-based bow and buy POE Currency to keep going. Many unusable skills became usable, but only a few were enough to be particularly exciting, the game got significantly harder soon.
Then the most unbelievable thing is in 3.18 and 3.19, GGG did not make things better. It seems like they really enjoy nerf the most powerful builds from the root. But the problem is, the Mate builds was based on the context they made,I believe Path of Exile players absolute hate someone teach them into every step they should do in the game, that’s why more and more players do not like the in-game content. No players likes their own game strategies to be nerfed roughly, without any other options.
Other things I want to mention is about POE Currency, just let me express it directly, there are so many unstable aspects on Path of Exile Currency. I understand that every league has to change currency market, but I believe that players need more stable currencies in the game if Path of Exile had plan to attract more beginners in the future. But I have to say that GGG did do some works on POE currency, right now the most expensive and rare one must be the Mirror of Kalandra, due to the complex system of crafting gears, Mirror of Kalandra make this process becoming easier. But how about next expansion? Nobody knows what’s going to happen on currency market, but it high possible that Mirror’s value will be uncertain.
So what about Path of Exile 3.20 expansion? Personally I believe GGG has done a very beautiful start, remove of Archnemesis is a good start for the game updating, at least it showed that GGG has read players’ feedback, after three expansions. From my perspective I believe there will be more and more new players staring their lives in Path of Exile 3.20, but obvious GGG have to do more changes to make POE greater again. But I still have a little bit worries, because the massive nerfing to different build mechanisms, which developed by players, is the most fundamental reason why so many people quit in the last few POE leagues.