Every time a promising new ARPG is announced, the same group of hardcore ARPG fans jump on it and try to steer the development towards difficult, slow paced, meaningful encounters and complex builds that require hours of theory crafting. They make comparisons to Diablo 2, the only game that they claim was ever able to get it right.
The developers listen to the community and so far everybody is happy.
Once the game has been released and built up a following, then comes the onslaught of casual players. Suddenly the forums begin to fill up with complaints about how the game is too difficult, too complex, skills aren’t flashy enough, and the combat seems too slow.
The developers try to accommodate these players by nerfing a few monsters here, buffing a few skills there. This is fine for a while, but eventually there will be resistance from the hardcore crowd. They will have concerns about the direction the game is going and they will make themselves heard.
This will put the developers in a difficult position. These players supported the game, they have been loyal followers since the beginning. Perhaps they even backed the game on Kickstarter. And most importantly, the devs probably agree with them.
But then they will look at it from a business perspective. It doesn’t make sense to make a game which appeals to the 1%. Slowly over time the game will drift further away from the original vision and it will increase in popularly. More and more casual players will be buying the game as they see their friends playing.
By this point the original players will be getting angry and the “why I’m quitting the game” threads will start to appear. Threads will start popping up about how the game is no longer what it once was, the gameplay is too fast paced, too easy, etc. But despite these complaints the playerbase continues to grow.
The developers will have stopped caring by now, they are making so much money off the game that they no longer second guess themselves. Ultimately they will have realised that what the vast majority of players want is to be able to slaughter waves of monsters, mercilessly in a spectacular array of colors with their friends.
This is where path of exile is now.
So how about we save ourselves the trouble, leave Diablo 2 in the past, and let’s make Last Epoch a game that’s great from the start. Because it took far too long to get there with Path of Exile.