Opinion

Harvest League, and why people hate playing Path of Exile sometimes

Path Of Exile: Harvest

So Path of Exile 3.11 is live, and things don’t look great in a few areas. The Harvest League mechanic is getting some good and bad feedback from players. There are good things about the Harvest League mechanic. The ability to make crafting more accessible makes SSF more enjoyable. And if you’re a more conservative player who likes to think through options, this complexity makes that carefulness rewarding.

Path of Exile crafting is complex to a crazy degree. There are so many ways to unlock powerful items that it is completely overwhelming. Knowing which mechanics to use for peak efficiency can be poison to any player. The amount of work required to make the new systems of a league work can be difficult, but not impossible.

But if you’re a new or casual player, this just gets to be too much sometimes. There are ways to make the game work for you, but a lot more people feel turned off by the systems at work here.

But with the Harvest League mechanic, it’s very evident that things need a rework.

So What Can Change?

Let’s be real, the reason Harvest crafting is so useful is that it’s more accessible in some ways than other crafting avenues. It’s still heavily dependent on RNG to attain the needed elements to get god-tier crafts, but it’s not as mind-numbingly boring as unveiling or other methods for getting needed crafts.

This game needs more refined content, as well as the removal of some of the oldest and most-useless content. There needs to be a serious reexamination of the crafting in this game and the RNG-nightmare-grind that much of the other game mechanics require to make enjoyable beyond a casual level. Even the Harvest League mechanic itself is needlessly tedious. It takes too much time to proc seed growth. And having to spend so much time to get the optimal layout is just nuts.

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If you’ve been playing this game long enough, you know exactly which league mechanics serve basically no purpose beyond occasional loot clutter and a minor currency sink. Anarchy, Ambush, Talisman and Torment all jump to mind for leagues that could be completely removed with little impact on the game.

The more intensive leagues like Blight, Betrayal and Legion could use a fair bit of work to streamline dealing with all of the elements that require too much time investment. Many players don’t even bother trying to rush the older League content. This is because of the RNG making it too hard to push the full gameplay loop.

Some brand new players find the variety and depth of mechanics too overwhelming. Hearing “just follow this build guide or you will be hopelessly lost” is a curse to new blood in the game. And that mentality is born of the bloat that POE suffers from.

There is too much bloat and having another gimped mechanic won’t solve the problem. GGG needs to take serious stock of what they want this game to play like for the sake of the future. Just adding more bloat is going to bite them in the butt even harder in the future. One possible solution is to combine league mechanics from older leagues into a single streamlined system, so that advancing one league mechanic opens minor possibilities with other systems. Imagine if Breach and Legion splinters were able to be gathered together. Maybe take the idea of gathering Harvest materials and use it to create Seeds that spawn older League rewards in great quantities.

Developer GGG has shown some impetus to improve crafting in POE 3.11, but more work is still needed.

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