After almost six years of content and nine free expansions, Grinding Gear Games is finally putting together a proper sequel. If you’ve never played Path of Exile, take a moment to think back to Diablo 2 and all the things that made that game great, then add some new game mechanics to spice things up. In may of 2012, when Diablo 3 came out, a lot of the D2 faithful felt that some of the spirit of the Diablo franchise had been watered down, were frustrated with the skill tree system getting an entire overhaul, and several minor complaints, causing split opinions about it. Over time, people got over this, but an interesting thing happened in October of 2013. Path of Exile came out. It had the ambiance of Diablo 2, the gritty visuals of Diablo 2, a lot of the same mechanics of Diablo 2, some different mechanics added, and some things improved upon. It was the spiritual successor to Diablo 2 that we didn’t quite get with Diablo 3. People often jokingly and affectionately called it “Diablo 2.5”. On the back of this, while being a completely free to play game, Grinding Gears built up good will with fans of the genre, and continued to be successful by making money offering monetary aesthetic options for your characters. They promised to never become “pay to win”, and five years later, they have stayed true to that word, while also releasing a successful port to Xbox One and PS4 in August 2017.
Just a few day ago Grinding Gear Games announced the upcoming Path of Exile 2. As the game already has so many expansions, the thought was that the campaign would be ridiculously long if they just added the new story line as an update. Therefore, Path of Exile 2 will be released as a 7 act story line. The confusing part is, the POE website mentions that the Path of Exile 2 story line will work along side the original campaign, and will lead to the same end game as the original. Path of Exile 2 also keeps all the expansion content they’ve released over the last few years as well. It will be interesting to see how it is all integrated. Through the Path of Exile Website Grinding Gear Games has also noted that Path of Exile 2 will introduce a new skill system, 19 new ascendancy classes, an overhauled gem system, brand new weapon sets, changes to the passive skill tree, general performance improvements, and have mentioned that they are unlikely to start a Path of Exile 2 Beta until 2020. All of that said, the gameplay looks largely reminiscent of the original Path of Exile, which I find to be welcomed information. The charm of Path of Exile for me has always been that it filled a particular void that Diablo 3 couldn’t. If you haven’t played it before, it’s still free on PC, Xbox, and Playstation. I’d recommend checking out the original in the next year at some point. In the mean time, here’s what you can expect from the gameplay in Path of Exile 2.