Content of the article: "As a newish player I found PoE is oddly hardcore and casual friendly at the same time"
Over the years I've given PoE several tries and it never stick. First time I tried to make a build of my own and ofc it failed miserably, I got stuck around level 40. Second time I followed a guide in SC perma league, finished the story campaign with a not-too-newbie-friendly build, and lost interest at the very start of mapping.
Time goes by now I'm a middle aged dad with a young kid, got bored of all the shallow money/attention grabbing games, I thought to give it another go. This time I'll play the filthiest, most casual way possible, and play the temporary league (Heist) that I always hesitated to get into. Wrecker_of_days' stress free zombie build got my attention: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2687589 It claimed to require almost no skill or gearing, and it was true! I flew through the campaign into early mapping without trading, still going strong.
The thrill of getting progressively stronger and just watching a complex build coming together to be OP is hell of a drug. I may have put too many hours into the game in the past week. But the casual side of it was what's really surprised me.
For one thing, this is the only online game I've played that doesn't disconnect me for however long I AFK. I left PoE running in the background for hours in the middle of a Lab run. When I came back I was so glad that my character was still standing where I left it.
Mapping is also very casual friendly given how short each one is and you could just leave at pretty much any point (except during an event or the boss fight maybe). The only problem was that I always wanted to do one more map..
I realised my mapping is extremely slow and undisciplined, it might take me quite a while to progress. Then I found chaos recipe. Researching the various ways of doing the recipe optimally was quite a chore, but I ended up settling in a pretty casual rhythm that fits my play style. Nothing crazy but I know exactly how far I am from my next batch of chaos, with very little overhead to my normal gameplay.
Guess my point is, PoE feels like a fresh air that doesn't insult player's ability of thinking and problem solving. It is immensely complex but precisely because it is complex, it has the potential to support however hardcore or casual play styles. I used to pretend I was a hardcore gamer that could get into the deep side of it quickly, but I really wasn't. Now that I am fixated to play it the most casual way possible, it became infinitely more enjoyable.
I see people theory crafting and min-maxing all the time on the forums, but rarely talking about casual new player experience. I believe under the hood of daunting complexity, there is pure unadulterated old school fun. It would be a shame for any avid gamer to miss out. Maybe there's something this community could do to put together some more casual friendly guidance, something like "PoE for dummies"? I know there are many good materials around but I found it lacking a single, up to date, definitive one stop shop. It would be even better from the developer themselves so that it would be more accessible and have better longevity.
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