GGG have released a new dev post on the Path of Exile site. This fun little development story talks about the monster ideas that eventually became the monster known as The Undying. These fast quadrupeds use a variation of Whirling Blades to attack players with their sharp talons. But long before these fearsome creatures haunted the ruins of Sarn, GGG had a much tougher enemy in mind for Act 3.
One of the ideas was the vicious – and nearly invincible – City Stalker, which would haunt the shadows waiting to lure unsuspecting players to their doom. These Stalkers were practically invincible undead mobs that dwelled solely in the shadows of buildings and couldn’t be killed until later in the act when players found a special support gem that would disable the mobs’ regeneration.
The idea was eventually scrapped for obvious reasons. Having a single questline to defeat an enemy doesn’t mesh too well with the ideals of POEs design, and having to sacrifice a gem slot for a single encounter can potentially screw up some builds. There’s also a thematic issue with having a single monster that can entirely ruin your character, especially in permadeath leagues, and having that character not be a boss. It would have eventually become just another layer of tedium for experienced players to overcome if the City Stalkers had been implemented.
Speaking about the City Stalker idea in general, GGG said:
“We found this idea really compelling because we liked to experiment with extreme ideas. We wanted Path of Exile to be brutal, and took every opportunity to achieve that. Unfortunately, there were many problems with the above plan, which look obvious with hindsight and experience,”