Path of Exile 2 Launching in 2024: A Mixed Blessing
From its humble beginnings as a tiny studio, Grinding Gear Games (GGG) has transformed into an industry giant that has followed in the footsteps of its brainchild, Path of Exile. With almost eight years under its belt, the game has evolved and surpassed even behemoths like Diablo 3, earning its place as one of the most successful and long-lasting games in the ARPG genre.
GGG’s Exilecon in 2019 was supposed to showcase the 4.0 expansion for the base game, but it turned out to be a prelude to an even bigger reveal: Path of Exile 2. The term “sequel” might not be fitting since it is essentially the same game, but with added features. Players can now select between two campaigns, each with its own unique customization options and a fresh cast of playable characters with their own Ascendancy classes.
Originally slated for a 2022 release, the pandemic and a lack of environmental artists have pushed back the launch date to 2024, according to Chris Wilson’s recent remarks on Baeclast. Nevertheless, fans can expect the same gripping gameplay that they have come to know and love from Path of Exile, but with an added layer of excitement and novelty.
Path of Exile 2: A Bold and Unpredictable Decision by GGG
GGG’s decision to delay Path of Exile 2’s release by two years is nothing to take lightly. In fact, it is a clear indication that the developer is not taking any chances and wants to ensure that its highly-anticipated sequel lives up to its expectations. The path leading to this decision was already challenging, and the added real-life hardships made it even more difficult. However, it’s important to note that while GGG takes its time to perfect Path of Exile 2, there are still pressing issues to address in the original game.
One such issue is the growing dissatisfaction among players with the recent Leagues and their mechanics. Additionally, the balance changes made alongside them, such as the nerfs handed out in Expedition, have only added fuel to the fire. This begs the question of why GGG doesn’t slow down its League production, releasing one every four months instead to ensure each expansion is thoroughly tested and ready.
Despite these challenges, GGG’s decision to prioritize quality over speed is commendable. However, it’s crucial that they don’t neglect the original game in the process. There are still many changes that need to be made to keep Path of Exile relevant and exciting for the foreseeable future. In the end, the delayed release of Path of Exile 2 may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, allowing the developer to address these issues and produce a polished sequel that lives up to the hype.
The Dilemma of Diablo 4 and 4.0
To begin with, the delayed release of Path of Exile 2 in 2024 and the public beta in 2023 could pave the way for Diablo 4 to launch earlier, potentially dealing a blow to Path of Exile’s player retention and interest. Meanwhile, the much-awaited 4.0 expansion for Path of Exile seems to be a distant dream, as 3.16 and 3.17 were the only topics of discussion during the Baeclast episode. This means that maintaining the interest of veteran players will be a tough nut to crack, not to mention the challenge of attracting new ones with new Leagues coming out every three months.
The Benefits of the Delay
GGG’s stance on releasing a big 4.0 expansion seems unchanged for now, with Chris Wilson’s words on the Baeclast episode echoing in players’ minds. However, the developer has also been firm on their commitment to fixing the mistakes of the first Path of Exile game, and the delay might just give them the time they need to do just that. This means that, although the delay is not ideal, it might ultimately lead to a more refined and polished Path of Exile 2 experience.
Of course, the delay also brings new challenges to the table. For instance, the new release window could potentially overlap with the release of Diablo 4, which could negatively impact Path of Exile’s player retention and interest. Additionally, with the big 4.0 expansion still a ways off, GGG needs to keep their veteran players engaged while simultaneously attracting new ones through their new Leagues every three months. It’s a delicate balancing act that the company will have to navigate carefully.
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