Here’s the deal: Diablo 4 was one of the biggest and most successful releases of this year. Fans slashed their way across Sanctuary and gave Blizzard’s ARPG top marks, at least until Season 1 came out. Since then, and even more so after Gamescom, the consensus has turned a bit. In the trade press, almost everything now revolves around what Path of Exile does better than Diablo – and rightly so.
At the end of July, Grinding Gear Games announced the beta launch for Path of Exile 2 at ExileCon, and at Gamescom in Cologne, fans were even able to play the sequel to the free Diablo competitor – including a Druid class.
The Trade Press Loves Path of Exile 2
As an ARPG fan, you can’t help but notice that Path of Exile is on the rise at the moment. Everyone agrees: Grinding Gear Games brings an absolutely serious competitor for Diablo 4 onto the market. Considering that even the beta launch is still three-quarters of a year away, that’s even more impressive – or even more worrying if you work at Blizzard.
At Gamescom, fans and the press were able to test the gameplay of Path of Exile 2. All the coverage gave the free-to-play title top marks. As a long-time PoE player, I can only agree with that! But why is that?
Apart from the fact that Blizzard’s flagship costs a s*** ton of Dollars, even for the standard version, Path of Exile 2 is completely free, the Diablo competitor also does better in most disciplines in a direct comparison. I won’t even get started on the dodge roll in PoE 2, which has no cooldown – such a simple but ingenious quality-of-life feature.
What Does Path of Exile Better Than Diablo?
Personally, what amazes me the most is that both games are on the same level visually. Blizzard’s multi-million dollar project graphically doesn’t look better than the free-to-play game of the small New Zealand studio Grinding Gear Games (GGG). Of course, there are cinematic sequences in Diablo 4 that you will miss in Path of Exile 2, but it’s primarily about gaming and not a movie. That’s why I find it all the more impressive that Path of Exile 2 can keep up with Diablo 4, especially in terms of the atmosphere in the game. PoE 2 is just as dark and immediately draws the player in.
Diablo 4 too Superficial?
Where GGG has the edge is in the complexity and freedom to create your character. Where in Sanctuary you click the same skills and combinations for hours and hours, Path of Exile offers a veritable cornucopia of possibilities, which also look incredibly cool. Even within the first few levels, my character feels like it has more variety and depth than my Diablo druid at level 40. This is made all the more clear by Path of Exile’s massive skill tree, which makes the skill tree in Diablo 4 seem like a delicate flower.
I mean, as a druid in Path of Exile 2, I can summon a volcano that I can make erupt even stronger by stomping on it. But if I feel like it, I can also enhance the volcanic eruption with a lightning storm or other skills. Everything is possible, depending on which skill gems I find and how I combine them, and I don’t even have to wait until the endgame for that. In addition, my druid can take the form of a bear, wolf, or other beast and deal heavy damage as a melee fighter. In human form, on the other hand, I control the various elements more from a distance as a spell caster.
And in Diablo 4? Pulverize.
Path of Exile 2 is Simply Fun!
As if all that wasn’t enough, Path of Exile 2 gives me a much more complete sense of satisfaction than Diablo 4. Even the first bosses in the game are challenging and demand attention and combination skills.
Each victory brings new gems, skills, and other loot that noticeably develops and improves the character. Particularly pleasing – especially for new players – is that GGG has firmly screwed on the beginner friendliness. With the introduction of gold, getting into the game is much easier than in the first part. Nevertheless, old hands should also get their money’s worth, because all the spheres and crafting options known from part one remain – partly modified.
But now let’s slow down a bit. What could be seen at Gamescom was only a small excerpt and the release is still a long way off. A lot can happen in this time. But what has been shown so far still makes it clear: Path of Exile 2 has enormous potential. GGG has also proven since 2013 that it can produce content for years. The only bad thing I can say about PoE 2 so far is that even the beta release is still a long way off, as it is announced for June 7, 2024.