When it comes to the War for The Atlas, I am greatly convinced that most of the players are excited because the War for The Atlas was started yesterday. However, today, we will talk about the history of Path of Exile’s end-game.
Action RPGs typically have three difficulty levels. The player plays through the game several times using the same character, with the challenge ramping up each time. Right back at the start of the project, designer thought it would be a great idea to add a fourth difficulty level that was really challenging so that players would have something to aim to beat.
When designer tested this, they found that players reacted really badly to a sudden brick wall of difficult content that players were unable to progress in. They tried changing it to a steady ramp of difficulty, but then players found isolated areas where the monster AI was more abusable and farmed those with specific builds to get rewards with little risk.
When trying to solve this, designer realized that the fourth difficulty level was only necessary until they added Act Three, at which point they’d reduce it back to three difficulty levels so that they’re not forcing the player to play through the same static content four times back-to-back. Designer’s temporary solution, a month or so before entering Closed Beta last year, was to introduce the Maelstrom of Chaos areas. These were a sequence of random areas (using tilesets from all over the game) with completely random monster packs. Players gained access to it when they finished the final difficulty and could play through a series of levels that gradually ramped in difficulty.
The Maelstrom helped the situation, but players would still travel to areas that were too hard for them and complain that they weren’t able to kill monsters. Designer eventually flattened all the Maelstrom areas to be the same level, just ramping in density of bosses. By that time designers had decided they needed a new, better mechanic for access to end-game areas. Maps will replace the Maelstrom in 0.9.11.
If you have not started playing this game yet, that is so regrettable. As with all expansions, this one will be completely free, you can have a try, you will love it quickly. And don’t forget, Path of Exile currency is important in this game.