Differences Between Path of Exile and Other Online Role-playing Games
These days, it seems the online role-playing game genre has been evened out with the mainstream titles and the less popular but still interesting niche titles that populate the Internet and have their share of fans. Then there's the anomaly that is Path of Exile by Grinding Gear Games, an example of what happens when you play with RPG conventions while still being barely faithful to them. Like it or not, you can only respect that game and its developers for being what it is.
While the similarities are easy to see, the differences between Path of Exile and those other titles are quite telling of how far the developers took it through its death-defying feat of making that game from the ground up. Where others failed for years, Path of Exile somehow succeeded in due to both its selling point and the timing of its existence.
Of course, there are the usually-cited differences like the skill system, currency PoE items, and such. There's also how other games make such a fuss about letting players do superficial customization--from the face and body to the clothes and accessories--but Path of Exile doesn't even let you change the gender of your chosen character.
Other online role-playing games treat their storylines and lore as secondary to the gameplay, most of which ends up making the games hollow and barren, especially after doing everything the gameplay is able to make you do. They may add more content after some time with an expansion or content update, but other than additional storylines and Path of Exile items, as well as a couple of system additions perhaps, it's pretty much the same song and dance.
Path of Exile was designed to make the endgame just as interesting as starting out by stretching the players' game knowledge as far as possible and putting new twists to the usual action role-playing gameplay that most are familiar with. Also, Path of Exile does you for choice when it comes to the more substantial elements of your character customization, courtesy of the aforementioned skill system.
There's also the matter of how they treat fantasy as a whole. While most other RPGs go with the usual medieval-like high fantasy with elves and dwarves in bright and awe-inspiring settings, Path of Exile flips the script with a dark and dreadful atmosphere with hints of Polynesian flavor courtesy of Grinding Gear Games' setting in New Zealand, which owes its history and culture to the native Maori people.
There's a lot to bite into with Path of Exile. It's not to say that other games are either inferior or lacking in content, but Path of Exile does have a lot of things that set it apart from the rest and can make the genre more interesting even for those who may be starting to get sick of it. The way it plays is still fundamentally the same, but the intricacies of its design give it a different flavor which deserves both mention and praise.