Burnout? Extraneous challenges? You decide
Path of Exile is an ARPG fanatic’s dream. It has deep systems for builds, satisfying boss fights, and piles of loot and PoE currency to swim through. There’s always something going on with an expansion every three months, with some of those mechanics carrying over to Standard League. Also, for those players who want a more challenging run, there are the Hardcore and Solo Self-Found leagues.
When did a good thing go wrong?
So far, the more minor problem is that textures take too much time to load or don’t load at all. That results in invisible enemies, copious amounts of lag, and various related bugs. Some players say that sometimes they don’t understand why they suddenly die. Of course, it could be a hardware problem, but even those that hadn’t had a problem before now get it.
Then there are the problems with the grind. Somehow, completing the Atlas has now become a chore. Maybe it was a player retention mechanic they thought up, but it ended up doing the opposite. When an activity is challenging for no reason, you can expect the challengers to stop doing it. Mapping is now a challenge with little to no rewards.
Sure, there’s a delicate balance between the difficulty of the activity and the rewards for completing it. The developers have to make the rewards worth going through the difficulties for. This artificial gating of mapping, which is what players consider ‘endgame’, doesn’t hit that balance. Players have been complaining of grinding for hours on end yet not getting what they need for the next tier.
That means no progress on completing the Atlas. When players get stuck and there’s nothing they can do to get unstuck (because continuing the grind will just increase the feeling of hopelessness), they’ll stop playing. You see this in longtime streamers, fans, and veterans quitting almost by the droves. The consensus is that mapping is now unsatisfying and almost nobody wants to do it.
Adding to that, there’s the thing about PoE trade. Crafting was once a core part of the PoE experience. However, players found out rather fast that it’s cheaper to buy the gear from another player than crafting it themselves. Maybe they got spoiled by the Harvest mechanics, maybe not. Considering how trading works in the game, it’s rather cumbersome to buy from other players often.
Solo Self-Found leagues are only slightly better, but they don’t have the alternative to buy maps when they get stuck there.
The last problem is the new skills are kind of lackluster. Also, GGG nerfed the skills most popular builds use. It was for the sake of ‘balance’ yet everything just ended up mediocre.
GGG should understand what players find fun to do. Many want to see delving as a whole separate endgame activity, rather than a side-activity to do while bored. Some even suggest that they want the older league mechanics to have their own worlds to explore. In short, instead of ‘mapping’ as the sole activity for endgame, you can also do ‘Delve’, ‘Harvest’, ‘Synthesis’, and similar former league-based activities. Each will have its own mechanics and progression, letting players pick their own endgame activity.
For the trading problems, it’s a case of patching up the crafting process or implementing an Auction House. The developers are still refusing the latter option, so the former is the only option. For that, there should be a better way to manipulate and control which mods to get. That’s not saying that RNG should be completely out of the process, but at least give the players some control over it.
The main problem is not getting the mods they want and ending up spending too much when compared to buying it from other players. If there’s a way to get the desired mods a little easier, that would be great.
As for textures, the option to use less of them would be good or having them in a lower resolution. The game’s graphics will take a hit, but players would like to actually play the game instead of waiting for loading times to end. Plus, this could keep enemies from becoming invisible and solve the rest of the bugs.
If you’re enjoying the current state of Path of Exile, good for you! You probably won’t be able to relate to what’s written here, though. Don’t let this article color your opinion of the game. As long as you find something you can enjoy, have fun with it.
If you’re not enjoying the game or agree with this article, perhaps some time away from the game can help. Sure, that’s also what others would say for burnout, and it may be possible that you’re not feeling that way. However, worrying about the game is not your job. That’s for the developers to do. A player’s job is to enjoy or give feedback, though it’s on the devs’ part to act on the latter. Also, you can choose to leave it behind and come back later, or you can choose not to return at all. Sometimes, letting go is the best option. It’s going to hurt, but suffering to stay or force yourself to like it would be even worse.
At any rate, no matter what you choose to do, have fun and enjoy your life!