So Path of Exile fans have something new to gnaw on, that’s because the Managing Director and co-founder of Grinding Gear Games gave a really cool talk at this year’s GDC conference. The talk is called Designing ‘Path of Exile’ to Be Played Forever, and it offers some wonderful insights into the development of this particular ARPG.
It’s very fascinating to hear some of the details Chris mentions, like the nature of PvE games and how designers and developers have to engineer their projects to compete against the trend of a shrinking playerbase. Given that constraint, it’s wonderful that GGG has managed to create one of the best persistent RPGs out right now with a lot less work and a smaller budget than most people realize.
So what made POE so successful? In simple terms, the folks working on it created a core concept and built from that by looking at worked for the best games in the action RPG genre. The team building the game identified the need for visceral combat that kept people engaged while they run through an endless string of random levels with piles of random loot to collect. This hook is embedded deep into the design philosophy of POE, and the extra layers of character customization and a deep crafting system are just the icing on the cake.
Chris Wilson gave some great tips on how to engage in persistent and constant development as well. Game developers looking for tips on reusing content and repurposing past development efforts to avoid wasted output will find some nice tidbits in this particular GDC talk. He also talks about the importance of community for game development, mostly by shouting out streamers and content creators who became instrumental in the early promotion and growth of Path of Exile.
You may watch the full talk over at GDC’s official website here.