First of all, a disclaimer of sorts – This isn’t going to be a roast of Diablo III by any stretch of the imagination. As a fan of the Diablo series, I’ve found many aspects of the game that are indeed better than Path of Exile. I found for example that the story of Diablo III is far superior, with PoE focusing more on the gameplay side of things. I also believe that the environment in D3 is more diverse, with a higher quality in presentation visually, and it may even edge it in the quests department since it does have more interactive results, if that’s what you’re into. But from a personal standpoint, the buck stops there, and PoE proves to be a better game in areas where it matters.
It ultimately comes down to what you want out of your time with each game, and D3 does very well to cater for more casual gamers than PoE. Path of Exile provides a much more captivating and difficult challenge, and has a wealth of diversity when it comes to builds.
Another key trait to take into consideration is the game’s value. Of course, PoE being free isn’t going to be beaten in this category, but if D3 could beat it out on replayability, then you could argue that case. However, I feel that Path of Exile wins this here, as it boasts fantastic replayability from creating new character builds and taking them as far as possible, which is aided by the plethora of crafting options, a huge variety of POE items that can provide you with a differing experience.
Looking at the events for both games, D3 offers its usual seasons, though many find them to be getting pretty tedious after all this time, with the hope that Blizzard throw something fresh into the mix to shake things up in that department. Path of Exile meanwhile runs mini-events on a regular basis, as well as launching new leagues every few months featuring new skills and items.
One word that comes up many times when discussing PoE is diversity, and that is no more relevant than when talking about the skill tree that is on show. Whilst D3 leaves very little reason to change characters as you go along, whereas PoE brings a complex system that focuses on builds rather than classes. Once you get over its complexity, you can use it to create almost limitless builds with a huge amount of different options to choose from.
Looking at the enemies in each game, PoE seems to take the crown here too. Sure, we’ve got the lord of terror himself in D3, but when looking at enemies in general, they often start to get mixed up, particularly when running rifts. Where PoE has enemies and creatures who’s origins are based on their regions, you can often find monsters out of place in D3. For example, in a graveyard that’s usually full of skeletons, you can find yourself coming across something more flesh-eating than a skeleton, though some may approve of this inconsistency, seeing as it does mix things up a little. What PoE offers here is diversity once more, with numerous variations of base creatures, unpredictable behavior from enemies, and of course, the Rogue Exiles for an even further dynamic experience that reaches beyond the Blizzard ARPG in this category.
What’s frustrating about D3 is the lack of patches, too. Blizzard have done a great job in improving the state of the game since its launch, but overall patches are far too few and far between. Grinding Gear Games on the other hand appear to be far more active in this department, updating the game on a regular basis by adding new features, introducing patches and balancing skills. Its great to see that PoE includes housing also, which is something that I would absolutely love to see brought to D3. Its an effective system too, finished with crafting tables, access to stash and even a master.
Once again, I have to stress that I am a big fan of Diablo III. It just feels that Path of Exile massively outweighs it in areas where it matters the most. Given the release of The Fall of Oriath expansion too which effectively doubles the amount of content in the game, its fair to say that Path of Exile could well be coming for Diablo’s throne.
Which game do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below.