I recently participated in the final closed beta race of Grinding Gear Games amazing ARPG, Path of Exile. Path of Exile, in my opinion, is the spiritual successor of Diablo 2. While Diablo 3 is a good game, there are glaring issues that have yet to be addressed, but they’re working on it. Path of Exile brings a lot of familiar mechanics/systems to the ARPG genre, while adding in some twists and new takes on some of these elements.
This article will document, to the best of my recollection, the events of the final race. My goal for the race was to win a Demigods Presence, an event only unique amulet. This being the final race meant this would be my only chance. I’d participated in other events before but mostly casual. I had a chance to win one back in late August during a 1 week race but opted not to play for 16 hours straight to slip into Top 10. In order to win a Demigod, you had to place Top 20. The Top 10 would get _TWO_ Demigods, but I was comfortable with a Top 20 finish.
On January 9th, I made a post seeking to form a party for the race. It is nearly impossible in a party-enabled 1 week race to place Top 20 solo. There are far too many incentives to partying. I initially got a few responses but after checking poestatistics I was hesitant to group with people who didn’t have high level characters or weren’t very active in other events. Within a day I got a response from the first member of the group, Ragnarok789. He explained he has placed 29th in the previous 1 week race solo, and was looking for a group and he’d dedicate more time than he did in that previous race. After checking him out, we decided we’d do it. We even took place in a 2 hour race and placed 22nd and 23rd. I wasn’t too concerned with where we placed in that race, it was more about finding out if I would be able to play for a prolonged period of time over the course of a week with Ragnarok and he seemed like a cool guy.
We wanted to add another member to the party. The wife had agreed to play, but I had an accurate suspicion that she wouldn’t want/or be able to invest the time required to win. I was right, but we’ll get to that later. Ragnarok began reaching out to people to try and round out the party. He eventually found FoolyCoolant. While he had no race experience, he had multiple high level characters on Legacy. The only issue was he was already with someone else that we didn’t really want to group with. With some crafty maneuvering we eventually got him to come with us alone.
We spent Saturday evening planning out our builds, the gem rewards, and what our roles in the group would be. Ragnarok was going to cheese it with a Dual Spark Totem Templar using Arc manually to keep procing shock, FoolyCoolant was going to go with a Wand Templar using Conduit to share charges, I was going to run a Witch Summoner with Dual Curse support and the wife would have continued on with a Dual Ice Spear Cold Witch. The idea was simple. Ragnarok shock stacks, Minions were meat-shields and some DPS, the wife would freeze the entire screen, and FoolyCoolant would DPS and share charges for additional survivability/DPS. We also agreed it was silly to play straight through from the start of the race at 8PM. We’d play for a few hours, try to get into Cruel difficulty and sleep for 8 and start off first thing in the morning.
We got back together around 30 minutes before the race started. We were all using Skype and we were getting pumped up. We had our GoogleDoc together, we knew our roles, our objectives were clear and we were ready. We decided to have numbers in our names as a semi-theme. Ragnarok was SevenPunk, FoolyCoolant was EIGHTcatheart, the wife was NineLittlePumpkins, and I was SixteenIsLegal. Our characters were created and the timer was ticking down and then the race started.
We started off rather slow, but that was our intention. Survivability and cautiousness would get us further than rushing difficulties being under-geared and squishy. I had no intentions of dying and I didn’t mind if we “wasted” time farming an extra level or two. About an hour and a half into the race, the wife began to realize that the pace we were going at, which wasn’t even that fast, was too much for her and she began to get the impression we’d be playing a lot, which initially she was fine with, but I knew she likely wouldn’t want to do it. So she backed out prior to Merveil. We continued on without her, though I did log her in to get the support gem reward from Nessa, since Ragnarok needed Fork.
We ended up finishing the night getting to Cruel Ledge, an ideal farming spot. We decided to go to bed then and to reconvene first thing in the morning to continue our push forward. At that time we were sitting roughly at rank 135-170 and our playtime was approximately 3 hours give or take 20 minutes. Even though we were 100+ ranks outside of Top 20, we felt we were in a good position early in the race and we had no close calls. This concludes Part 1, Part 2 will be ready tomorrow! Stay tuned!