Background: I have played PoE since Betrayal, with over 1800 hours logged on steam. I have played D3 for about 600 hours. Every league I hit at least red maps and I have killed Sirus at least a couple times each league. I am not a 1% player but I do consider myself 'decent' at PoE. I was compelled to purchase Last Epoch as a direct result of Chris' comments about Chaos and Exalt crafting. That decision was a massive eye opener for me and the comparisons that I draw here will be based on those two games, but they can of course be more broadly applied.
THIS POST WILL NOT DISCUSS HARVEST OR CRAFTING
GGG, I love you guys and I love your game but hear me now. One day, probably sooner rather than later, a different ARPG is going to come along and eat your lunch. I mean every word of what I said in the title. Your game, wondrously complex and engaging as it is, is abusive to players' time, computers, health, and sanity. After spending about a day (in game) playing LE I opened up PoE again. I closed the game after half of a juicy harbinger map, thought about why the hell I did it that, and then sat down to write this post.
Quality of Life:
I had no idea how much I missed the ability to walk over gold and pick it up automatically, or one click grab all of the crafting materials on screen, until I went back, opened up a breach, and had to pick up about 25 individuals splinters of Tul. This functionality does nothing to 'simplify' or 'baby' the game, but it sure as hell keeps me in the gameplay loop longer and is easier on my wrist and fingers.
Last Epoch has the ability to sort your inventory, aka the computer plays inventory tetris for you, leaving you more time to actually play the game. These are just a couple examples of mechanics that don't 'hold your hand', but still make you feel like the game respects your time and your desire not to get carpal tunnel. There are plenty more someone could point to and everyone will have things that they don't mind or frustrate them to no end. But I think we can all agree that PoE needs to be brought into at least the 2000's, if not the 2010's with regards to QoL.
I missed picking up loot, comparing it to my current gear, and finding something better more often than once every 5 years of playtime. PoE is an economy based ARPG. It is not a loot based ARPG. I'm truly disheartened that GGG doesn't realize this. Animate weapon has been so bad for so long they can't even use that excuse anymore.
There is a reason I am not calling this 'optimization'. I am tired of tagging a delirium mirror and having my PC, which can run Horizon: Zero Dawn at 60FPS on high settings, crash. I am tired of dying due to flame dash desync. I am tired of 5 FPS (and maybe a death or two because I can't even see my character) when I find a Valdo Harbinger with reinforcements and my screen becomes a blue blur. I am tired of random crashes on my way out of a Heist. The state of performance in PoE is unacceptable, full stop.
I consider the $40 I spent on LE worth it because of the minimap and zoom alone. PoE conditioned me to have the minimap overlaid on top of my screen at all times so hard that I was almost shocked to play a game where I could actually see where I was going or, on rare occasions, need to reference the minimap for a quick second before putting it away and looking at my character again. I will never understand why we cannot zoom further out in PoE.
Being able to understand what killed me and how I could have avoided it is a breath of fresh air. Knowing that each boss fight is not just a brainless DPS or eHP check, and can actually vary its outcome depending on how well I manage my positioning, skills, and cooldowns is fantastic. This fact makes me want to see just how ridiculous of a build I can put together in LE, knowing that I will be able to compensate for lack of 'meta' by knowledge or player skill. Without 'the system that shall not be named', this isn't possible in PoE.
5) Bloat versus Complexity:
PoE is still the most complex and deep ARPG out there, no question, but I found myself happy to accept a reduction in complexity for a massive decrease in bloat. I don't miss passive tree points that give +10 to str/dex/int (in LE, just as an example, every skill node that increases your base stats also increases or changes some other stat). I don't miss 99% of strongboxes. I don't miss tormented spirits. I don't miss talismans. I don't miss my screen being literally covered in items, all of which are dumpster tier. I don't miss 80% of all skill and support gems being useless (made doubly prominent by the massive increase from Heist and subsequent nerfs to alternate quality auras). There is a middle ground between D3, aka baby's first ARPG, and PoE. I think PoE has gone off the deep end and needs to cull content.
I could go on longer but I think I've made my point. I'm sure many of you will point to one or more of the things I've said and argue that these mechanics either add to PoE or are something that isn't a big deal. I respect that, but the sheer number of mechanics you can point to and say 'this is a real problem' when looking at PoE is just too great to ignore. I, and many other seasoned players (Diablo 2 was my first ARPG), have been conditioned to accept the current state of affairs because there is no alternative. That state of existence will not persist forever. I am hopeful that much of this will be alleviated in PoE2, but I fear that the 'free to play' nature of the game will just lead us down the same path of poor performance, bloated content, and an emphasis on creating a game that people play for longer as opposed to a game people enjoy playing. Logging in, opening a map, and willingly quitting back to desktop in the span of 5 minutes was one of the most depressing experiences I've ever had playing this game. If you've read this far, thanks for coming to my Ted Talk and consider that supporting alternatives to Path of Exile might be the best way to generate real change in this game we all love.
Edit: Inbox is RIP so probably won't reply much past this point. For those of you who replied with something compelling, thanks for the debate. I know this is a contentious topic.
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