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The Diablo Player's Guide to Path of Exile

The action role-playing game genre is one that was mostly innovated by the Diablo series, wherein the RPG elements were simplified and put the real-time combat aspects of the game to the forefront. This genre became popular due to its simplicity, ease of access, and kinesthetic appeal, which combined the right amount of depth and complexity with engaging melee and ranged combat with spells thrown in as well. The Diablo series has inspired many other games that put their own spin to the formula, and that's what Path of Exile has done with one hell of a spin.

For those who have played Diablo games before and are now considering the transition to Path of Exile, this guide is for you. It shouldn't be a hard transition at all as they are both action role-playing games cut out from the same mold, but then given different trinkets and embellishments to set them apart. While the Diablo series is the source of inspiration, Path of Exile is the relentless push to innovate while doing its best to stay faithful to the original. With that in mind, playing Path of Exile may be an interesting experience for those coming from Diablo or other action role-playing games.

The most fundamental difference is that Path of Exile is free to play with "ethical" microtransactions. This means that there are items that you can buy with real money, but they give no gameplay adventages whatsoever and are only for cosmetic purposes. It's a lot like the MOBA game League of Legends with its character skins, which basically do the same thing. You can also buy extra character slots and stash tabs if you are running out. Unlike Diablo games that are retail, Path of Exile lets anyone play without any cost, and they can opt not to take part in microtransactions at all.

There are the differences in the gameplay systems, including stats, skills, trading, classes, and Path of Exile items, among other things. There are only three stats involved, which are Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence to keep things simple. However, you then have the expansive passive skill tree that seems intimidating at first, as well as active and support skill gems to further customize your character build. The passive skill tree facilitates freeform character progression that doesn't punish "wrong" decisions as much, and the skill gems level up with use in order to get stronger. Together, they combine to give your character an edge in combat.

The trading system in Path of Exile is centered around currency items, which are crafting items that doubles as money in the game, which is very different from the use of gold in the Diablo games. Perhaps the closest thing to this is the use of runes in Diablo II for trade, which was established in online multiplayer due to the prevalence of gold inflation. Having the money be useful for other purposes makes it less likely to be susceptible to inflation and keep the economy balanced.

Finally, there are maps in this game that enable players who have finished all three acts of the main story to travel to other areas and battle more monsters in order to farm experience and items more. Path of Exile is also getting further support and expansion, even though it has been officially released as a full game. This makes for a long shelf life that even fully-priced retail games can hardly match.

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