Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Diablo 3 vs Path of Exile

This is to answer a question I get on stream all the time. What do you think of D3 vs PoE? Which game is better? I talked a little about this in the past on a related blog post about if I thought D3 was a good game.

Full disclaimer: I like both games. I have hundreds of hours in both. In order to add something to the discussion I will talk about actual things that I think each game does well and what they do poorly.

Things I like about Diablo 3:

1) Smooth gameplay. The game engine is the 3000 pound gorilla. The game just looks and feels great.

2) Visuals are best in class. Abilities are distinct and satisfying, the environment is rich and diverse, and enemies are recognizable and unique.

3) Progression and customization is streamlined and intuitive. Redoing your skills for a new item is easy.

4) Smart loot is fantastic. The goal of these games are to kill monsters and get loot. It's nice when something drops it's generally for your character.

5) Endgame is straightforward. The difficulty slider tells you how much harder and how much better the loot rate is going to be. In the absolute late game things infinitely scale with monster health/damage, and raw stat points of the player.

6) The community is great. Plenty of guides and content creators. While assholes exist anywhere... I feel like the ARPG community as a whole is generally more chill then say the MOBA or FPS community.

Things I dislike about Diablo 3:

1) The endgame is relatively stagnant. I am an experienced player so I reach endgame very fast. I enjoy the process of gearing up and trying new combinations of abilities but once I get an optimal set and get to the point where I'm trying to get primal ancients and grind away for 5 more stat points then I burn out.

2) New content is not that frequent. I play a lot, so I exhaust the new items and abilities right away. The season resets once every 3 months or so and I get to a point of saturation about 2-3 weeks into the season. Those 2-3 weeks are extremely fun but I just burn out.

Things I like about Path of Exile:

1) Player driven economy. This to me is the hugest thing that Diablo 3 is missing. The ability to trade is a tedious chore for some but I love having the option to do this in a game that revolves around loot.

2) Constant updates. The game is very different then it was a year ago and it will be very different a year from now.

3) It's hard. When I want a challenge I get it. Sometimes when I don't want a challenge I get it anyways. I basically die every day while playing and streaming the game because if I'm not paying attention or don't understand a mechanic I will get destroyed. I used to hate this about the game but it has grown on me.

4) It's grindy. If I have an idea for a character or find an item that pulls me in a direction I have to make a whole new character which can take 20+ hours of in game time to see that vision through.

5) The company is great. They are clear about what they are working on and it's a company that "gets it" in terms of making macro decisions that the community will enjoy.

6) The community is great. Like Diablo 3, there are plenty of guides and content creators. People are similarly chill and because of the difficulty of this game I find the community is generally smarter and more mature than your average gamer.

Things I dislike about Path of Exile:

1) Having to leave the game or download third party programs. Third party tools are basically required to learn things about the game, check stat ranges, and trade.

2) Sometimes feels clunky. I have a great computer and internet connection but I experience desynch and rubber-banding sometimes. Movement abilities and environment interactions don't always do what you think they're gonna do.

D3 is fun for everyone. It's easy to understand, enjoyable to play, and an overall beautiful experience. PoE is for hardcore gamers. It's a challenge and has tons of depth and content that is changing and growing. It's possible to like both games as they scratch different itches.