Path of Exile – The Awakening
April 2015 – In a briefing with Grinding Gears Games from New Zealand, we got a preview of their new chapter of Path of Exile – The Awakening. The product went going to Beta in the 2nd half of April. The game is a Free to Play PC game that has in-game purchase. Unlike most games, the game does not have a pay-to-level-up or pay-to-win model, rather it is a pay-for-character-personalization model. The payment system is based on decorating armor and character features. The game is primarily single user as with the core Path of Exile – the expansion brings extended storylines, new areas, monsters, and end-game maps. The game has continued with its league and P2P tournaments.
Due to the limited bandwidth available to the entire country of New Zealand, the game was developed to be fully playable, with low bandwidth connections such as DSL and still provide a low latency game experience. The game was developed with an in-house developed game engine and lighting tool. This engine was created to help address the bandwidth minimization of the game as well as focus & lighting optimization. The new expansion has major improvements and updates to the UI and integrated a large number of the community suggested modifications into the new customization options.
The Awakening is designed for a first pass game play of between 12-15 hours, with typical play of 3 passes through the game to experience all the features, battle options and zones. The game also features new open zones for long run game play. To enable the extended play, there are over 70 new weapons and a new set of weapons called the Maraketh Weapons.
To further personalize the experience, there is a new expanded feature a passive skill tree. The new tree allows for crossing skills across character classes types from one type of character to another and one type of weapon or magic to another, creating unique play modes. The tree is a web of 1325 skills that provide passive attributes to the character and are earned each time you level up or complete certain quests. The player can allocate a skill and explore deeper into the tree. In addition to the skill tree there are traditional RPG skill gems. In the expansion, the skills given the character also extend to the minions supporting the character.
The Awakening is initially being launched with localization for English, Russian, Thai and traditional Chinese. Other localizations with be added in the future. There are currently over 11 million players worldwide registered for the game.