Path of Exile

[Feedback] Reflection on my first league after a year away from PoE (since Legion)…the (lot) of good, the bad, the ugly, and more.

So, despite stepping away from this league after 29 challenges (not a particular fan of the h/o), I thought I'd decide to write up some reflections on PoE…

So, first off, let's start off with the best part about Path of Exile, that IMO, is head and shoulders better than everything else about it:

Kamil Orman Janowski. Full stop. When the envoy asks us "what drives you, Exile?", there is only one correct answer: the absolutely badass soundtrack that not only manages to fit the atmospheres, but be amazing in and of itself–Avarius's Theme, Dominus's, Eyrie, Brine King's, Warlord's/Crusader's, Heist, Izaro's…oh, and of course, the one track that's just way too short for 90% of the time you encounter it–Legion. There are just so, so very many spectacular music tracks here that even when you're not playing the game, having a listen to Kamil's awesome work is always a treat for the ears, and it's a terrific constant with the game.

Now, for


Atlas Ascendancies! Atlas ascendancies are just something else, and create a fun answer to the question of "how do we get people to diversify their map runs?" Well, how about asking them to run 3, 4, 5, 6, or even ten different maps, with an added difficulty level to the boss? Furthermore, they give players a large amount of agency in what content they interact with. Want to run more delve? You can do that. Abyss? Mmhmm. Breach? Several regions for that. Beyond? A couple of regions for them! Legions? Sure thing! Harvest crafting? Soooooooort of…and lots, lots more. Oh, and um, uncharted realms are an awesome concept. Not only do you have atlas ascendancies, but here are bonuses on top of your bonuses for doing the hardest content in the game! Awesome!

Regional Watchstones! Huzzah for ways to further spice up your maps, and rewards for running Maven'd boss fights! These are, to borrow a line from Grimro, "very very nice indeed".

All the other ways to juice your maps! Sextants, fragments, master missions…just so many different knobs to pull that you feel like a kid in a candy store.

Build variety: a lot, depending on your character class IMO. That is, if you're not the worst class in the game–namely, rangers. We'll get to those in a moment.


Namely, stuff that needs improvement…

The trading system: as maligned as this is, I don't think it's that far off from being very, very good. I think most of the issues come from it not refreshing on time. Sell an item? Get whispered for it an hour later. My suggested improvements would be if instead of just saying online/offline/afk, the "online" would be replaced with "map/lab/heist/etc." so we have a better idea of where someone is and why they might not be responding. My other idea for improvement is to have some better way of interacting with commodity items such as crafting materials, fragments, maps, currencies, etc.–if I just want to buy a white map so I can alch vaal and go, I don't care which person I buy it from. Similarly, if I want to sell such maps, I don't care who buys it, either.

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Game Performance: I don't ever remember legion being this laggy/choppy. The texture streaming thing is definitely an issue, but my machine has 12 GB RAM and an Nvidia GTX 970M, and my performance this league has been…lamentable, to say the least. The Valdo's harby pack I absolutely have to offscreen so that the huge amount of mobs it renders doesn't make my machine die. For the record, the next time I upgrade my laptop, I'm going to make sure I get at least 32 GB of RAM, because even at 12, between the browser that I need to have multiple tabs on for trading/knowledge resources, the game itself, and then the memory taken up by other things unrelated to PoE, I regularly get > 90% RAM usage, which may contribute to bad performance. However, to have a 32 GB RAM machine be necessary, and if you're trying to do a multibox bestiary farming strategy, it very much is, well…you could say that that's…a cascade of pain! Oh, and please make the rogue harbor single instance again. Having that visual diarrhea of MTX that slows down the game is just sadness.

Ranger tree: this probably needs an entire topic on itself, but zero active defense skills, green scion wheel and the +1 max cold node being by far the worst in their cycles, and acro being mutually exclusive with molten shell puts rangers in a really shitty spot alone. Furthermore, the ranger tree is just full of godawful damage notables while defensive options are slim pickings. Will make a separate topic.

The leveling/linking experience: socket pressure sucks. Luckily, we know for a fact this is being addressed in PoE 2.0 in which gems have their own sockets so you can upgrade your gear without worrying about throwing links away. This part is just to be comprehensive.

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Namely, stuff that I think should be rethought completely.

Increasingly hostile arenas due to permanent AoE degen: simply, I hate these mechanics because they punish builds that aren't "do shapers per second" amount of damage. Take too long with the fight? Oops, now you die because…you walked on the wrong spot. Coupled with the fact that the things that create these aren't easy to tell apart from other such attacks at a glance (EG Madness Propagators looking like other tentacle mobs in uber elder fight, Maven's gravity well orbs also being blue like other orbs), I just really, really hate this "increasingly hostile DPS check arena" way of creating challenging boss fights. The boss's attacks should be what create the challenge, not "lmao the screen is degen!"

Visually unclear bossfights: Catarina's green and black on green and black. Sirus being red and black on red and black. Malachai's traps that just pop out and ruin your life. Even Maven isn't immune to this with all her attacks being various shades of blue (I wish the gravity well orbs had a different color–maybe red?). For instance, I consider Uber Atziri to be the gold standard of boss fights–her attacks are visually distinct, their damage can be mitigated/dodged, and you can tell exactly where you're supposed to stand (or rather, not stand), what exactly you're supposed to attack (aside from the split phase in which you might accidentally attack the mirror mob), and where the target is. Contrast that with the greatest difficulty (BY FAR) in the Sirus fight simply finding an answer to the question: Where in the world arena is Carmen Sandiego Sirus? Simply, I think a boss's difficulty should come from interacting with the visually interesting attacks the boss shoots out, rather than A) finding the boss or B) understanding what's even damaging you or C) getting the arena turned into a death zone.

The looting and crafting system: you know something's wrong when the best way to get gear is to…filter out all the gear from your loot filter. Right now, finding gear is an awful experience. The bases need to have stratospheric ilvls (beyond tier 16!), and the best way of obtaining wealth is to…vacuum up a bunch of generic currency or currency stand-ins, then go to the out-of-client auction house, or even a discord server to purchase things from others. For how much Chris Wilson laments trade being too much of a shortcut for people to upgrade their gear, GGG has done everything in their power to make the alternative as miserable as possible for people. Uniques outside of endgame boss uniques are generally awful. ilvl 83 items can roll complete bricks of mods (reflect physical damage lmfao), or tier 8 mods (yes, just what I was looking for on my endgame armor–a +8 dex roll!). When the best way to get wealthy is "100% delirious maps to max out your currency/fragments to sell for currency" playing literally one build (self-curse headhunter), and the not so much best as least miserable way to turn that wealth into gear is to sit in a third party discord (TFT–and don't get me wrong, harvest trading is a miserable experience), you know something is very, very wrong, and inexcusably so. I can make a separate post on some suggestions to fix that, but they're just suggestions.

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So yeah…discuss!


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