On the Path of Exile front, I dodged a bullet by virtue of my time zone and cheerfully missed the expected overloaded server crashes and queues caused by a hundred thousand odd screaming NA or EU fans trying to race to the top of the leaderboard/economy of 3.0 Fall of Oriath.
Instead, by the time I got around to playing it, some 8-12 hours past launch, the SG servers seemed to be behaving just fine.
As usual, I’m in Solo Self Found and content with playing in nublet-like fashion, so economy issues worry me not at all.
In a very out-of-the-ordinary fashion, I am playing this run in a super-slow leisurely manner because this is it, this is my LORE run, this is the character that I’m actually stopping to smell the roses and read the quest text on – or have the quest text read to me.
Path of Exile’s voice actors actually do a good job with the chunks of paragraph in the game… it’s really too bad few people will ever slow down to listen.
(Guilty: I keep trying to click Continue out of habit.)
Path of Exile is actually chock full of lore.
I find I am enjoying the slow drip fed reveals about characters that I’ve brushed by in a hurry numerous times.
I learn odd trivia about historical figures whom I’ve never paid attention to before. Lioneye’s Watch, the first settlement the players walk into, is named for Marceus Lioneye, a general who fought against King Kaom and lost. They called him the Lioneye because he stuck a orange-yellow gem into his eye.
On the path to the Axiom Prison (which I never knew had a name before now), you can find one of his flags and a phrase “There is no glory without sacrifice.” Later, in the sewers of the City of Sarn, you retrieve some busts for an NPC called Victario, and what do you know, his bust actually depicts the gem in his eye.
I have done the Act 1 to 3 runs so many times before this – Piety blocks off the path, you have to go around the long way to get through, yadda yadda.
But until today, I never quite put two and two together and realized that Piety raised “Shavronne’s Barrier” to block the player.
Shavronne, meanwhile, being another historical figure who created Brutus the Warden (whom you fight as the boss of Axiom Prison) and created the Barrier as a line of defence against the rampaging hordes of King Kaom and his Karui warriors. The Shavronne whom you will later meet and kill as a mini-boss and so on.
I’m barely into Act 4 and no new content yet, but I’m still very much enjoying myself by paying attention to the story and lore for once.
There are some nice, smoothed out touches here and there, that I’ve noted in 3.0.
Some waypoints have popped up in more convenient places, like each floor of the Solaris Temple and the Market has a more central waypoint.
A new help/guide/tutorial button pops up every few levels, opening out an optional chapter/page/section that can be read by newbies to learn more about crucial PoE mechanics.
The extremely tedious three locale sewers (Slums, Market, Warehouse) have been truncated into one single Sewers map in which all three busts and the waypoint and the Undying Blockage (previously in the middle Market sewers) can be found. This was worth a small Hallelujah when I wandered in and found it far less onerous than before.
Surprisingly, I am not the big burly red fiery darkity character in the lower left.
I would be the shadowy figure on the upper right… having a serious case of wing envy.
I don’t have a super pre-set build for my first 3.0 character, but was vacillating between a summoner and arc (as usual, I set my eye on spells after their OP heyday and have been nerfed into the ground.)
I keep hearing that summoners need a lot of special gear, while spells scale better with poor gear, but you know, I really enjoyed my wall of zombies when playing PewPewPew’s Firestorm/zombie build.
So I’ve gone and am attempting a variant of that using Arc/zombies. It should be all very well until I reach the point in maps where I can’t hide behind the wall of zombies any longer and explode when something looks at me – but it’s not like I haven’t been there before with firestorm/zombies, so… whatever.
In the meantime, fashion wars dictates that I dress up in something that reflects both lightning and darkity undead summoning. I’m enjoying what I call the Stormcrow ensemble.
A plague mask provides a bird-like plague doctor beak, stormcaller gloves and boots provide the lightning elements, legion body armor for a little gold color and the outlaw cloak because new capes/cloak physics are awesome.
Somewhat sadly, cloak = no wings.
Anyway, I don’t think wings suit this particular character. I’ll save it for big burly Karui marauders when I get around to playing those.
I totally could -NOT- resist those wings though.
Grinding Gear Games strikes again, as I searched heroically through the microtransaction store to figure out where that guy’s wings came from, and eventually figured out that they were from the new Chaos and Order mystery box -just- released some 7 hours ago from the time I was having wing envy.
Well, I had the Fall of Oriath supporter pack already bought from when it went into beta… I had microtransaction points burning a small hole in my pocket…
…before you know it, I’d reached for the Buy button and bought 3 mystery boxes. 90 points, $9, that’s responsible spending, right? Whatever’s inside would be worth/priced more than 30 points anyway…
I got a semi-decent order/light footprints, some kind of shiny weapon effect that I could always use, and a really sweet-looking black-red chaos sword.
Sword made it totally worth the $9 already.
No chaos wings though.
Ahh, what’s a few more, right? $12, chaos footprints, not bad.
$15, beast egg hideout decoration, worth a solid meh.
$18, my life is complete.
Relatively responsible spending.
I’ll probably end up picking up a couple more mystery boxes in the weeks/months ahead while the order/chaos themed ones are around.
Seriously, Path of Exile’s mystery boxes are the only lockbox that I can buy without either feeling dirty or cheated at the end of it.
Instead, I feel sated and awesome and happy.
I got some pleasant surprise cosmetics that I would not have bought at the direct price (footprints, etc.), I got a cool surprise sword I really like the look of and can use, a minor letdown decoration that I can still put in my hideout, and struck it lucky on the cosmetic that I was hoping to get.
If I had not gotten it by $25-$30 or so, I would have stopped and simply waited out the mystery box and for it to be released as a separate cosmetic option a couple months later (preferably on sale at some point), so it would not have been the end of the world if the wings didn’t pop.
(And I would have gotten some other usable and most likely pretty-in-their-own-way, if random, cosmetic effects from the boxes, so it would not have been wasted cash.)
Ironically, I’m still using the black cloak on my current character. Wings don’t suit her.
The next melee character I roll though, he’s gonna be awesome.