Path of Exile

Introducing My Divination Card: The Journalist

Content of the article: "Introducing My Divination Card: The Journalist"

Hey everyone, I'm so delighted to share with you the Divination Card I designed, "The Journalist," which will begin dropping with patch 3.12 and the Heist League. Thank you to u/Bex_GGG for granting my (rather last-minute) request to reveal it on my birthday (9/8 here in the U.S.). It's my first time seeing the art along with everyone else and I absolutely love it. This card has a lot of symbolism for me (maybe too much!) and I wanted to share the thinking that went into it.

I've been playing Path of Exile since open beta, which launched about two years into my first full-time job as a political reporter in Washington, DC. Since then, I've logged nearly 4,000 hours on POE according to Steam, and it's always provided a really meaningful distraction from the stresses of such a job. No matter how much hate or violence I was documenting as a journalist, I could vent it into POE, turning off the horrors of the real world in favor of the dark creativity of GGG's brilliant staff.

I wanted to do more than just buy supporter packs to put my own little stamp back on POE, and giving a nod to how it helped me cope with the challenges of being a journalist seemed like a great idea. Besides, there is so much corruption in Wraeclast that there definitely needs to be journalists to investigate and document it!

But for this card, I also wanted to put my money where my mouth is.

Real-Life Backstory

Back in December 2018, I excitedly booted up POE, ready to join the queue and explore the brand new Betrayal League. Unfortunately, I was prohibited from logging in; my account had been banned and I had no idea why. Because GGG's support team was busy responding to all the requests related to the new content and banned accounts were considered low priority, I really had trouble figuring out what exactly had happened, let alone if there was any way I could ever restore my account.

On Reddit, I started seeing a couple other posts from people with the same banning issue, though talking about account bans is banned on this subreddit, so they weren't really breaking through. Determined to solve this issue, I put on my investigator hat. Through both Reddit and Twitter, I identified 16 other users who had all been banned, and convinced 10 of them to talk to me about what they experienced. Along with other inquiries into Steam, I compiled my results and shared them in a full investigative report here on the subreddit.

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GGG responded super promptly. It turned out they'd taken an overbroad action to root out fraud and inadvertently caught a whole bunch of us who had accounting questions we didn't even know about. In my case and several others, Steam had canceled some of our in-game purchases without informing us — in some cases many years prior. (To its credit, Steam took full responsibility for these errors once we identified them.) For others, there were issues they needed to rectify but they would be allowed to sort them out. In the meantime, our accounts were all immediately restored.

Nevertheless, I think a lot of people thought that I was bitter at GGG or that it was unfair to question what GGG had done to protect itself financially. While I was certainly very hurt and frustrated the week I was banned, I thought everything worked out great after that. Journalism had helped demonstrate there was a problem beyond the individual level, and the company immediately recognized it and made right by us. If anything, the whole incident demonstrated just how great GGG is about actually listening to its players and taking care of us.

Investing in this card (in addition to continuing to buy support packs!) was partly my way of making clear I have no hard feelings. And in a nod to how that all played out, I specifically asked that the stacks be 10 cards if possible to recognize the 10 other players who trusted in me to investigate our bans. Their willingness to work with a stranger toward a common good that may have helped as many as 200 players or more perfectly encapsulates what a great community this game has fostered. Likewise, my favorite POE experiences have always been co-op or community based, and I love that several of those players are now my in-game friends that I still see online nearly two years later. (Shoutouts to u/Jubbly, u/Robotica95, u/SerBubblez, u/ranakor, u/Wolfywing, u/Cokebeatspepsi, u/monning, u/Frontier_Setter, and u/Killer7_de.)

Lore Backstory

So it turns out that creating the lore for a card is a bit trickier than I realized! I knew I wanted it to be "The Journalist," and I knew I wanted it to stack to 10, but there was a lot more to figure out.

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What should the reward be? I knew that I wanted something that would be useful to players but not necessarily super rare or niche. I quickly arrived at a helmet with veiled mods, because it's always helpful to get a couple more unveilings! Plus, it thematically made sense. Uncovering evidence in an investigation makes you smarter! Cheesy, but I like it.

GGG pushed back at first on having two veiled mods for some technical reasons. We ultimately figured out how to make it work, but it comes with an exception: Veiled mods on these helmets cannot roll syndicate-specific mods. Nevertheless, I still hope it will be useful to players!

So what was this journalist doing in Wraeclast? I felt pretty dumb when I realized I didn't understand that according to the lore of divination cards themselves, they're all from before The Cataclysm. Thus, the lore of individual cards can't specifically reference characters or events that have happened since then. My plan for an Oriathan journalist investigating Dominus' corruption was not going to work.

I had to do quite a bit of my own studying to refresh my POE lore, and ultimately shared these suggestions with GGG:

How about if she was an early part of the Purity Rebellion and tried to uncover Chitus' lust for power? She preceded Victario and helped uncover the gemling experiments and the legion Chitus was building. But maybe her undercover investigation went awry and she got caught and turned into a gemling against her will? Or maybe she saw the power of gemlings and wanted to become one herself? Might be too much story for a card, but it might work. Ideas for flavor text:

– "Reports of the Monkey King's megalomania were greatly exaggerated, or so he claimed."
– "She had uncovered the Gemling legion, but soon became an unwilling recruit."
– "A good spy doesn't forget she's gone undercover."
– "She intended to warn the people of the Gemlings' power, but she went too far."

The last I saw, GGG had accepted the "good spy" line and went to work on the art. I had no idea what, if anything, they planned to do with the rest of the lore I suggested. When I reached out to Bex about the possibility of a birthday reveal, she teased the art as being "very neat" in her opinion, which had me even more hyped for today's reveal. I have to agree!

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I absolutely love the way she's hiding, taking notes, wearing glasses, all of it! So much detail that definitely tells the story I was hoping to tell. You know that feeling when you kind of picture something in your head and then someone else's portrayal matches it? This is just too cool.

Anyways, I know a div card isn't always the most exciting reveal when it comes to new-league theorycrafting, but I'm just thrilled to be able to share it with all of you and leave my little mark on a game I love so much. I really enjoy this community as well, and I hope all of you here at r/pathofexile appreciate my subtle tribute to the power of our teamwork in Wraeclast. And thank you GGG for this opportunity!

Good luck in Heist, everyone!

– Zack/SirBlogzaLot (SirBlogsaLot in POE. Oops!)


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