Path of Exile Articles RSS Feed | Path of Exile RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Path of Exile 3.13 NeverSink Loot Filter: Everything You Need to Know Tue, 26 Jan 2021 11:43:05 -0500 Hunter Boyce

Following the Path of Exile 3.13 patch, many players have been looking to lock down the best in loot filtration. For those hoping to make the most of their looting endeavors, the NeverSink loot filter just might be the answer. 

Path of Exile takes looting to the next level, maybe even too far. As you get more and more inundated with mountains upon mountains of dropped items, sifting through the chaff can quickly become a chore. That being said, it doesn't have to be.

The guide below goes over how to set up a NeverSink loot filter in Path Exile post patch 3.13. We include downloading links, as well as steps on how to install the loot filter. 

How To Set Up a NeverSink Loot Filter in Path of Exile


Once you reach the Path of Exile end game material, using a loot filter becomes the only practical way to play. With the recent Echoes of the Atlas 3.13 patch update, the Path of Exile end game is a little more lucrative. 

As the most popular loot filter among Path of Exile players, NeverSink comes with a vast array of options, some specifically designed to help players still leveling their characters. 

Follow these steps to use NeverSink:

  1. Go to the NeverSink forum page to familiarize yourself with the program
    • This may seem somewhat unimportant, but it familiarizes you with the tool and how it works; there are also helpful FAQs in case something goes wrong. 
  2. Next, download your filter of choice.
  3. After getting is downloaded, go to "Documents" (or whichever folder you saved the file to)
  4. Open the NeverSink .zip folder
  5. Choose one  and only one  of the ".filter" files in the .zip folder
  6. Drag and drop the selected ".filter" file into the "Path of Exile" folder within your "My Games" folder
  7. Boot up Path of Exile
  8. Go to the "UI" tab in the settings menu
  9. Scroll to the bottom of the "UI" tab, and select the NeverSink filter from the "List of Item Filters" section
  10. Select "Save" before exiting out of the "UI" tab

Once you have completed these steps, you will have successfully installed and activated your NeverSink loot filter. As there are several variations of the loot filter to utilize, take the time to experiment so that you can find the filter that works best for you. For more, consider checking out our treasure trove of Path of Exile guides to learn all there is to know about this loot-laden adventure.

Path of Exile 3.11 Classes Tier List Guide Mon, 06 Jul 2020 11:57:56 -0400 Serhii Patskan

The latest Harvest update for Path of Exile 3.11 has brought swathes of nerfs and buffs. This classes tier list guide for Path of Exile 3.11 will help you choose the best classes for Harvest league.

Melee classes are now more viable than ever, but certain spellcasters have still retained their high position among the classes in Path of Exile. Let's get to the tier list.

S-Tier Classes


The Harvest update has been especially kind to the Trickster class, which now has Elusive and Wind Dancer on his skill tree, not to mention an increased HP.

In combination with the Essence Drain skill, Trickster's defensive abilities become especially important against the hordes of enemies in the Harvest league. This class can perform equally well at the beginning and at endgame.

If you really want to push this class to its maximum this season, then consider the following utility gems:

  • Flame Dash
  • Malevolence
  • Despair

As for gear and equipment, these are the most recommended:

  • Lifesprig Wand
  • Wanderlust Boots
  • Goldrim Helmet
  • Praxis Ring

In the 3.11 update, the Juggernaut class got slowed down but received a large damage buff. It also has better defensive tools now, which makes it an excellent choice for all melee players.

The best early skill you can get is Molten Strike, which you can get by killing Hillock. Then, you can get Sunder skill after defeating Merveil, which will significantly increase all your DPS output.

The best gems for Juggernaut in the Harvest league are:

  • Ancestral Warchief
  • Punishment
  • Herald of Ash
  • Leap Slam

Such a powerful melee class also needs strong tools to use and some fine gear, such as:

  • Blackheart Ring
  • Belt of the Deceiver
  • Wideswing Axe
  • Cauteriser Axe
  • Kaom's Primacy Axe

A-Tier Classes


Necromancer has always been a favorite of many PoE players, and in the latest release its Corpse Pact skill has been nerfed a bit, which now has upper limit on its cast speed.

But this doesn't make the class notably worse, and you can still make it incredibly powerful with the help of Raise Zombie and Summon Raging Spirit DPS spells. Combine them with Volatile Dead and Desecrate, and you should have no trouble in the Harvest league whatsoever.

The three best auras for Necromancer are following:

  • Clarity
  • Anger
  • Herald of Ash

Also, consider the following gear for your upgraded Necromancer build:

  • Sidhebreath Amulet
  • Reverberation Wand
  • Praxis Ring
  • Goldrim Helmet
  • Victario's Flight Boots

Saboteur is currently the best class to burn through bosses. This class now has immunity to stun and damage reflection, and it also received some extra defense skills.

Mine spells are the bread and butter of the Saboteur class, which provide huge levels of DPS on both single targets and hordes of enemies alike. The best early mine spell is Stormblast, and then you can switch to Pyroclast, which is a lot more potent.

Although these spells are very powerful they require a lot of mana. That's why these gems are the best for mana regeneration:

  • Clarity
  • Summon Skitterbots
  • Herald of Ice

Spell casters mainly rely on their magic abilities, so they require good tools an gear to survive:

  • Lifesprig Wand
  • Axiom Perpetuum
  • Praxis Ring
  • Victario's Flight Boots

B-Tier Classes


An ability to cast totems for both offensive and defensive purposes may not be everybody's cup of tea, but Hierophant class does it with such grace that even the most selective players may find it really interesting.

The main strategy for this class is to set up totems all around the battle area and move around as fast as possible to avoid damage. That's why the best all round skills for Hierophant are Holy Flame Totem and Flame Dash.

In order to increase the fire damage of your totems you can use the following gems:

  • Flammability
  • Herald of Ash

Hierophant will need some good defensive gear for protection and other useful tools:

  • Le Heup of All Ring
  • Goldrim Helmet
  • Tabula Rasa
  • Axiom Perpetuum
  • Trolltimber Spire Shield

Pathfinder has been slightly better in the previous updates, but recently its Quill Rain ability has been nerfed and so it's dropped a bit.

It still has one of the highest HP pools in the game and a very high speed of leveling. Currently, the two best early skills for Pathfinder are Caustic Arrow and Toxic Rain, which provide efficient leveling.

Poison status effect is a great way to take advantage of most enemies in PoE with the help of the following gems:

  • Herald of Agony
  • Summon Stone Golem
  • Blink Arrow

Pathfinder also requires a solid bow and some good utility gear, such as:

  • Quill Rain Bow
  • Blackheart Ring
  • Karui Ward Amulet
  • Viper Scales

Related Content

That's all you need to know about the best classes in Path of Exile. Check out the links above for more Path of Exiles guides.

Path of Exile Thread of Hope Guide Fri, 03 Jul 2020 12:46:47 -0400 Serhii Patskan

Thread of Hope is a crimson jewel in Path of Exile, which allows players to pick up notables and stronger minor nodes without pathing through attributes or unwanted nodes. 

This jewel only affects passives in rings of four sizes: small, medium, large, and very large. If you've the used Intuitive Leap jewel, then you have an idea of how to use Thread of Hope. 

How to Get Thread of Hope in Path of Exile

Unlike most jewels, including Brutal Restraint, Thread of Hope cannot be acquired from a vendor. The only way to obtain it is to beat the final boss of the Atlas of Worlds end-game map system: Sirus, Awakener of Worlds. This fight consists of several phases; here's how to beat each phase. 

You'll need to use the following in your fight to make things much easier:

  • Corrupted Jewel to make yourself immune to Corrupted Blood
  • Soul of Shakari to guard against poison status
  • Any potion or enchantment that guards against freeze status
  • Flame Dash skill to dodge Sirus attacks and teleport to safety zones
Sirus Phase 1

Once you reach Sirus, he will fire a series of ranged beams. All you need to do is run in circles around him to avoid the beams. Stay inside the red circle and avoid the purple fire around him by getting in close. Deal damage to him whenever you can until phase two begins.

The end of each phase is accompanied by a storm cloud that chases you around the arena. Avoid these by moving to the very edge of the arena, then come back to the center to start the next phase. Repeat this step at the end of each phase.

Sirus Phase 2

Phase 2 sees Sirus use Hyper Beam Barrage, a series of randomly moving projectiles. You need to pay attention to their patterns and avoid them at all costs.

At times, Sirus will also create mazes and impassable corridors that will lock you inside, making you vulnerable to his beam charges. The only way past these is to avoid them entirely

Sirus Phase 3

In the last phase, Sirus will repeat the same attacks before splitting into several clones. When he does this, always follow the very first copy of Sirus, as that's the real one that takes damage.

He will also use his Multiclone Beam and Spinning Negation Beams attacks. Beware as each clone will multiply the number of projectiles fired at you, and be sure to avoid being surrounded by the Sirus clones by staying away from their circle.

Lastly, Sirus will occasionally use Converging Beams, Meteor Strikes, and Meteor Geysers in each of the phases, but you can avoid these by constantly moving.

Once you beat him, Sirus will drop a number of unique items, one of which is the Thread of Hope jewel.

Related Content

That's all you need to know on how to get Thread if Hope in Path of Exile. Check out the links above for more Path of Exiles guides.

Path of Exile Brutal Restraint Guide Thu, 02 Jul 2020 11:10:59 -0400 Serhii Patskan

Path of Exile Dexterity builds are some of the strongest builds in the game, and that's why so many dex players hunt for Brutal Restraint. It's a unique timeless jewel that grants a 25% dexterity boost. 

Brutal Restraint is a unique Legion league item, but since Legion leagues are no longer available, you can only trade for Brutal Restraint at a vendor.

How to Get Brutal Restraint in Path of Exile

A picture of the brutal restraint jewel in PoE.

Brutal Restraint can be acquired by trading a vendor 5x Peaceful Moments divination cards.

To get one Peaceful Moments card, you need to exchange it for either 5x The Gambler or 1x Stacked Deck.

The Gambler is a very common divination card, which you can find in almost any area of the game.

However, Stacked Deck is a different story. First, it increases the chance for a vendor to give you Peaceful Moments, and second, it is much harder to obtain than The Gambler.

To get Stacked Deck, you need to farm a lot of monsters, regardless of the area. If you're lucky, enemies will drop one of these decks.

Unfortunately, you cannot purchase one from a vendor, but if you exchange an item enchanted with a Gilded Fossil, there is a chance that a vendor will randomly give you one Stacked Deck.

Gilded Fossil can be acquired from Niko the Mad for 100,000 Azurite or as a drop at the Fungal Caverns biome, which is right behind a Fractured Wall.

Try all these methods until you get enough Peaceful Moments to acquire Brutal Restraint jewel.

Related Content

That's all you need to know on how to get Brutal Restraint in Path of Exile. Check out the links above for more Path of Exiles guides.

Path Of Exile's Delirium Update Bringing New Challenges, Rewards Wed, 26 Feb 2020 15:33:47 -0500 Ty Arthur

There's a whole new level of challenge coming to Path of Exile.

Developer Grinding Gear Games has confirmed that the Delirium expansion is due to land on March 13 for PC players. Path Of Exile console fans can join in on a week later.

Here's what Grinding Gear had to say about Delirium:

In our latest expansion, as you touch the Mirror of Delirium, reality turns to mist and your worst nightmares emerge before your eyes. Delirium introduces dozens of lethal monster modifiers, many new bosses, and horrifying demons lurking within rare and unique monsters.

Encounters you once mastered can now be played under the effects of Delirium, substantially ramping up their difficulty and rewards.

In addition to the new Delirium Challenge League and the Metamorph Challenge League getting integrated as core game content, here are the main changes to expect with the DLC:

  • Delirium Cluster Jewels let you dynamically expand your passive skill tree
  • Four new skills and three new support gems, including Kinetic Bolt, a new physical damage wand skill and Bladeblast, which detonates blades created by other abilities.
  • Thirteen new unique items, including a cosmetic set of equipment and many new unique jewels
  • Numerous improvements to the Conquerors of the Atlas endgame

The official teaser trailer above shows off some of those modifiers and new rewards for the Delirium update to the F2P RPG.

In the meantime, check out 11 ARPGs you can play while you wait.

5 Best Free to Play Games on Steam Mon, 16 Dec 2019 16:22:43 -0500 Gabriel Moss

The holiday season is here in full force, and you may be wondering what to play while snuggled in at home — hopefully with a mug of hot cocoa or eggnog in hand. Luckily, Steam has quite the selection of great free to play games that you can download and enjoy without paying a single cent.

Here is our list of the five best free to play games on Steam, and we suggest setting aside some time. Each of these titles can give you upwards of 1,000+ hours of gameplay if you stick with them.

They're also online-only — there is no traditional single-player title on this list — so you'll need a good internet connection to get the maximum possible enjoyment.

Destiny 2

First on our list is Destiny 2. Bringing a previously paid game with hundreds of hours of content and easily over $100 in retail down to the price of "free" is quite the move for Bungie, who is best known for the Halo series.

Destiny 2 has a lot of the same shooting and looting action of its predecessor, and the easiest way to describe it to new players is if Halo and Diablo had a baby. That's Destiny 2.

You can join a clan, play through several cinema-quality narrative campaigns alone or with your friends, and enjoy the ever-growing laundry list of multiplayer strikes (dungeon crawls) and raids as you increase in power with tons of new gear and unlockables.


Warframe isn't dissimilar from the Destiny series in concept; you largely do much of the same shooting, looting, and raiding to the tone of a larger narrative campaign.

The difference here is that you do it all as a heavily armored ninja warrior, called a Tenno. Warframe boasts a bombastic movement system that lets you jump, wall-run, and zoom through combat with ease, easily making it the most acrobatic on our list. The community is also notoriously helpful to new players.

Path of Exile

Path of Exile is a top-down isometric action RPG, like Diablo. It receives consistent quarterly updates with new content, items, and bosses, and it’s apparently much more mechanically similar to Diablo 2 than the heavily-streamlined Diablo 3.

This is important to note because many long-time ARPG fans revere Diablo 2 as the best (and most challenging) title in the genre, and Path of Exile is widely regarded as a return to form in that respect. It’s also free.

Dota 2

Defense of the Ancients 2, or Dota 2 for short, is an action-packed multiplayer online battle arena where players choose a hero and clash against the other teams’ heroes and minions as both sides compete in a large-scale game of tug-of-war.

It’s very similar to League of Legends, which is the single most played competitive game in the world, but is known for being more complex — offering more options to deck your hero out during each round.

If you’re in more of a competitive gaming frame of mind, Dota 2 is a barrel of fun. Just be prepared to spend a lot of time (in the hundreds of hours) learning the gameplay curve against bots before regularly winning random online matches or competing in tournaments.

Team Fortress 2

All of the aforementioned titles ask hundreds of hours from you before you get into the ‘meat’ of the experience. If you’re left wanting a chilled-out multiplayer shooter to simply enjoy with your friends, Team Fortress 2 is one of the best, if not the very best free multiplayer shooter on Steam.

It’s been a classic cornerstone of online gaming since it was released in 2007 alongside the infamous Orange Box collection. And now, sitting on top of a bevy of content updates since release, Team Fortress 2 continues to be kept alive by a loyal community — one who embraces the joy of endlessly trading items, weapons, and cosmetics back and forth through the Steam Inventory.


Those are the five best free to play games on Steam. Sure, there are others, but you should start with these. 

Let The ARPG Wars Begin: Warhammer Chaosbane vs. Other ARPGs Mon, 27 May 2019 07:00:01 -0400 Ty Arthur

2019 is a very odd year for the ARPG fan base, with one major franchise apparently wrapping up and several huge name titles set to arrive to something significantly less than triumphant fanfare.

Grim Dawn just released what may be the game's final DLC (I'm not crying -- you're crying!) while Diablo Immortal is going mobile and Torchlight Frontiers looks like it may be a free to play MMO.

Amid those... questionable... design decisions, hardcore ARPG fans are probably wondering where to get their fix of new content coming soon, and the answer is very likely in the chaos of the Old World. 

  All I can think whenever I hear the words "Diablo" and "mobile" together 

An Unlikely Hero... Games Workshop?!?

Only a few weeks from launch, Warhammer: Chaosbane had the distinct possibility of ending up an absolute disaster, like many Games Workshop titles to come before.

You don't have to reach far back into history to see where the Warhammer license has gone wrong. Previous ARPG Inquisitor Martyr was an absolute flop, Wrath & Glory just got yanked from Ulisses and handed off to Cubicle 7, while Space Hulk: Deathwing had to come out with a fully revamped enhanced edition... which still sits at "mixed" reviews.

Just by looking at the previous release history, Chaosbane seems like a notable departure for Eko Software, which is an established developer with a long track record, but the company isn't exactly known for big AAA titles. Eko was responsible for How To Survive: Storm Warning and a whole bunch of French PS2 and 3DS titles from Woody Woodpecker to Best Of Board Games.

In other words, this isn't a developer with a history involving anything remotely like a Diablo style action RPG, and Chaosbane easily could have been another in a long line of Warhammer game corpses left on the wayside. 

How Chaosbane Stacks Up Against The Competition

Thankfully, that hasn't turned out to be the case for a multitude of reasons, but we'll start with a big one that will have console players leaping off the La-Z-Boy for joy. There is in fact local 4 player couch co-op available on the console versions!

Yep, you get to team up with your buddies directly next to each other and slaughter hordes of nurglings, beast men, and all manner of foul chaos beasts by the thousands.

That's fabulous news for those who don't like the impersonal nature (and constant abuse from 12 year olds) inherent to online matches, but there are other ways Chaosbane breaks from the ARPG pack, and some of them are less welcome.

Chaosbane Class Options

 Classes cover the classic wizard, archer, tank, and frenzied barbarian.

Here's the big one: there are only four classes, which obviously is a major limitation compared either to the seven classes from Path Of Exile and Diablo III or the 36 possible combinations with the dual mastery symbol of Grim Dawn.

Those four classes -- the classic dwarf slayer, wood elf archer, high elf mage, and empire soldier -- are incredibly distinct from one another however, both in overall direction but also in special ability.

Everyone has a role to play. Whether manually moving a protective dome spell to cover a friend as the mage, using the grappling hook to re-position yourself as the dwarf, dodge rolling as the elf, or using a shield bash for stunning with the soldier.

How you use skills and the means to regenerate energy as any of those four classes are where Chaosbane diverges strongly from most other ARPGs. Instead of mana potions, you need to be constantly attacking to recover to energy, which leads to some truly frenzied combat (particularly for the dwarf slayer, who is stronger the longer he fights and more injured he becomes).

Aside from the typical click spamming to cleave through enemies, you'll need to make effective use of area effect banners and magic domes for maximizing your combat bonuses or damage prevention against overwhelming numbers.

Skill Options: There Are More Than You Think

Aside from the main class ability differences and energy regeneration mechanics, the one huge element you'll immediately notice is how you can respec your character on the fly at any time, and I have to wonder if that's going to be the future of the genre.

At first the skill tree seems overly simplistic and straightforward. You don't choose most of the skills to take as you level -- with only a few exceptions, they just automatically unlock in a specific order. However, you can only have a limited number active at any one time, with more powerful skills costing more points to utilize. 

Since you can change what skills are equipped at any point -- even in the middle of battle -- that effectively means you get to try any build anytime you want without having to start over and make a new character. 

The customization options don't end there, however, as near the end of the first Act you unlock the extra God skill tree, which is separate from class skills and basically functions like the constellation devotion path from Grim Dawn. That's where you really tweak your character and make your own choices so your dwarf slayer will be different from your friend's dwarf slayer.

Finding a skill combination and God tree path that works for your build is crucial, because the game's higher difficulties aren't messing around. Even if you think you can clear Ultimate in Grim Dawn without any problem, you'll get annihilated by the higher difficulty tiers in Chaosbane without a whole lot of grind for leveling and better equipment.

All Aboard The Loot Train

If there's one element tying all the various ARPGs together, its the endless stream of loot as you try to find the best equipment combos. That's another area where Chaosbane is noticeably different from the competition, in both good ways and bad ways.

Thankfully, the very clunky equipment UI we saw from the first beta got a major overhaul in the second beta, so now its more inline with what ARPG players would expect. In an interesting twist, you don't really sell unnecessary equipment for money, but rather for influence to unlock extra skills.

So what about the equipment that you do keep? This is the less than ideal part. Much of the gear looks the same and has similar naming schemes, so there's less visual customization than other games in this same style.

That's bad news for co-op when two players are using the same class, and its particularly noticeable on the dwarf slayer, who has to stick to the lore of going into combat unarmored while seeking death.

 These are the exact same Grim Dawn character with different equipment -- you can't get close to this level of customization in Chaosbane.

Sadly, that problem is exacerbated by the lack of gender diversity, as you can't pick whether the character model is male or female. That may be fitting with the themes of Warhammer, but it sill feels lacking in a modern title where people are used to picking those sort of options.

The Future Road Map For Chaosbane Content

One way we can't compare Chaosbane to other entries yet is on how much new content is coming down the pipe and how frequently it will arrive. Those questions will directly determine if the community stays alive, or if this is something that people will re-install from time to time to play single player when the urge strikes.

At the moment, we know there's at least one DLC that will add a new zone and alternate God skill trees for each character, but its very up in the air as to whether we'll see constant ongoing development like with Grim Dawn or Titan Quest that are still getting updates years later. 

The interesting part about that planned DLC is that the new zone isn't about fighting chaos at all (despite the game's name), which means we're probably going to see skaven, green skins, or vampire counts.

Aside from the big question mark of the DLC, we do know the game will get Expedition Mode after launch as part of a series of end game updates.

Expedition mode will let you play randomly generated maps to earn fragments for upgrading equipment, and that will significantly increase the longevity, calling to mind the Shattered Realms or Crucible sections of Grim Dawn.

Whether it dethrones Path Of Exile and Grim Dawn to become the king of the current ARPGs or ends up just another blip on the genre's radar, Warhammer: Chaosbane is due to drop June 4th, 2019 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Will you be picking it up, and what class are you planning on playing?

Private Leagues Come to Path of Exile on PC Mon, 05 Nov 2018 09:24:31 -0500 William R. Parks

This weekend, Blizzard announced Diablo: Immortal, an upcoming mobile release that has many fans of the immensely popular hack-and-slash up-in-arms.

Today, in a serendipitously timed announcement, Grinding Gear Games has shared that Private Leagues are coming to the PC release of their Diablo-like Path of Exile next week.

Not only will Private Leagues allow groups of friends to play together without outside interference, additional mods can be applied to leagues to boost their difficulty.

While Grinding Gear has more mods planned, the following will be available when Private Leagues go live:

  • Increased monster difficulty
  • An overall resistance penalty to players
  • The inability to store items for later use
  • No magic or rare item drops
  • The inability to buy or sell items to NPCs
  • Removal of the life, mana, energy shield, and flask refills that typically come with going to town

"Many of these existing mods can be designed to create leagues that are like the 'ironman' modes that players enjoyed with old-school Action RPGs in the 90s," the post states.

To note, Private Leagues are not free, and Grinding Gear has outlined the costs fans can expect:

Private leagues cost 120 points to create. By default, they last 10 days and have 10 player slots. 

  • Additional blocks of 10 player slots can be purchased for 60 points.
  • Additional blocks of 100 player slots can be purchased for 600 points.
  • Additional blocks of 10 days can be purchased for 60 points.
  • Additional blocks of 30 days can be purchased for 180 points.
  • Additional mods that make the game more challenging can be added for free at league creation.

You can add additional player slots and days at any time once the league has started. 

Currently you can't extend a league beyond two months in length, as the system is new and we are still experimenting with it. 

For convenience, Private Leagues will have a built-in crowd-funding feature that allows all of the invitees of the league to contribute to these costs.

Beyond Private Leagues, next week will also bring the announcement of Path of Exile 3.5, a major expansion coming to the game later in the year.

There could not be a better time for Grinding Gear to be coming out with strong additions to their action RPG, and perhaps those that are licking their wounds following Blizzard's announcement can find some solace here. 

It certainly seems that at least the owner of has changed their allegiance.

The State of MMOs in 2017 Wed, 06 Dec 2017 15:33:49 -0500 Craig Snyder

Since the days of EverQuest, Ultima Online, and The Realm Online, MMOs have been the backbone of online gaming. These are the games 20-somethings like myself went to as a kid when they got home from school to escape reality. These are the games where you could be something online that years before you could have never imagined creating and experiencing. An immersive gameplay experience combined with social and competitive interaction with other players is something magical.

I see a lot of people saying that MMOs are a dying breed, though. Are MOBAs and battle royale shooters taking over? There's no questioning the success of games like League of Legends and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds as of recent, but let's not count MMOs out just yet. Let's talk about what happened with MMOs in the past year.

The Biggest Standouts

There were two games this year that really stood out to me. That's not to say that they were necessarily the two best MMOs of 2017, but they far exceeded my expectations. Both happen to be some of the most hardcore games of the year, too.

Black Desert Online

It'd be a cliché to say Black Desert Online came out of nowhere. It came straight out of Korea, and when it hit North America and Europe, it sent hardcore MMO enthusiasts into a frenzy.

Black Desert Online closed out its first year in March of 2017 with 1.5 million NA players and 1.7 million EU players. Bear in mind, these are statistics from before it came to Steam. When it did drop on Steam, popular variety streamer summit1g helped Black Desert Online hit a new peak when he was addicted to it on stream for several weeks.

Black Desert Online came to the West at a time when MMOs had already gone soft, and this game is anything but that. Everything is uncapped. When you grind in Black Desert Online, you grind hard. Players hit the soft level cap and will work for months and months just to get to that next level. It gets to the point where that next percent becomes the goal. It's grueling. The item upgrading in this game is just as unforgiving, and you're going to eventually lose pieces of the best items in the game just by sacrificing them to a completely RNG-based enchantment system.

The hurt brings the joy for hardcore players, though, and this game is incredibly addicting. It's non-linear in the way that you don't have to grind mobs or quest if you don't want to. You can do nothing but fish or cook all day, and you'll eventually be able to power level your character and make good money.

The year rounded out in a not-so-great way for the people behind Black Desert Online. Users were able to mine and leak extremely sensitive game data that helps players better understand stat efficiency on their gear. One of the biggest puzzles in this game lies within the way that gear statistics offer very little insight. Stats like AP, DP, and Accuracy have limited math behind them, and for a long time it's been up to the community to test and understand what they mean and how they perform on each item. In the last quarter of this year, that information was made public, and Pearl Abyss did everything in their power to cover it up.

Path of Exile

I know that there's a lot of debate around whether Path of Exile is a "true MMO" or not, being that you aren't interacting in an open world, but 2017 pushed the envelope on that a little further. While I'd still question the degree to which it's "massively" multiplayer, there are nevertheless features like guilds and trading. There are even ways to PvP in certain game modes. Not only that, but Path of Exile's community is a big part of the game. You're going to have to rely on them for a lot of things, especially trading, and this alone is going to make the game feel like more of a multiplayer experience, be it head-to-head or cooperative.

With that out of the way, Path of Exile is everything that Diablo III should have been (and more). I don't think it's even up for debate that Path of Exile is the best multiplayer online ARPG out right now, and easily one of the best of all time.

The Fall of Oriath, the sixth expansion for Path of Exile, was released in August of this year. As the largest content update in the history of the game, it's often called "Path of Exile 3.0." I don't think anyone expected a small, independent video game developer from New Zealand to come out as one of the most successful and celebrated companies among its customers. Nonetheless, Grinding Gear Games is just that.

Before The Fall of Oriath, Path of Exile was four acts. Afterward, it was ten. That's six acts in a single expansion, effectively doubling the content of the game. This information floored the Path of Exile community, including myself, when it was released. With these acts came 24 new bosses and a whole slew of balance changes that were mostly welcomed with open arms.

Path of Exile's depth and complexity make it a game that has near-infinite replayability. With every new character you make, every new node tick in the passive skill tree, every new Skill gem in every socket of every new weapon, it's a new experience. The looting system in Path of Exile is disgustingly diverse. The way you can socket gems to your gear reminds me of Materia in Final Fantasy VII. Every part of this game feels like you're writing the code of your player as you develop it, and that feels so good.

The "Holy Trinity"

World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, and Elder Scrolls Online are at the top of the MMO food chain. Let's talk about what happened with these games in 2017.

World of Warcraft

2017 was the year of Legion, and with month after month of patches, Blizzard did a fine job in delivering a story and gameplay experience that's richer and more captivating than that of any other MMO that comes to mind.

World of Warcraft's year started with the release of a ten-boss raid featuring Gul'dan. Blizzard later introduced a micro-holiday system that gave players old and new a serious thirst to log in and see what special events awaited them for the day. PvP saw a new system of brawling, where 6-on-6 battles took over and really changed the landscape of a stale and boring PvP meta to make it fun and experimental again.

The year then closed out with two massive WoW-related announcements at BlizzCon that we'll get into later on in this piece.

Final Fantasy XIV

If you told me in 2010, when Final Fantasy XIV was released, that people would still be playing it in 2017, then I'd think you were crazy. We'd definitely be up to something like Final Fantasy XIX by 2017, right? Well, right now may actually be the best time ever to get into the game.

Final Fantasy XIV was originally received as a broken game that required far too much grinding. Square Enix even issued an apology for the quality of Final Fantasy XIV, and many fans were sure that its failures were leading to a major scar on the brand. In 2013, A Realm Reborn was released, and it corrected so many issues that originally plagued the game. In 2015, we were given Heavensward. With each expansion, Final Fantasy XIV was getting better and better. That seems natural and obvious, but games like World of Warcraft have playercount charts that peaked about five years after release and then declined from there. We're entering the eighth year with Final Fantasy XIV. Instead of falling off, it recently entered the list of top 10 subscriber-based MMOs in history.

We haven't even talked about the 2017 expansion, though. Stormblood started off rocky, but things have really panned out. Stormblood is another success that continues to push this MMO higher and higher on the charts. The newest expansion introduced swift swordsmen and red mages, underwater exploration, and a plethora of beautiful new zones.

Final Fantasy XIV is now at 10 million subscribers. To put it into perspective, the best MMO of all-time, World of Warcraft, is sitting at 12 million. There's no denying the massive success and continuation of this MMO powerhouse.

Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online started similarly to how Final Fantasy XIV did. Things didn't go as planned, promises were broken, and the community was fractured by a game that was less than they expected. You couldn't quest freely, you couldn't explore the world cooperatively, and friends couldn't even play together. It practically wasn't even an MMO.

That all changed years ago, and in 2017, Elder Scrolls Online is one of the most attractive and popular MMOs out. The game kicked off 2017 with fireworks upon the announcement of Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind. If you know anything about the Elder Scrolls franchise, you know the fanatical following behind this zone. Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind ended up being a massive success.

The Morrowind DLC also introduced the Warden class, the first new class in four years. It ended up being one of the most unique and diverse classes in the game. This year was also the year of player houses in Elder Scrolls Online. Homesteads allows you to purchase homes in Tamriel, and the decorating and customization options are fantastic. Player houses are fully functional, allowing you to craft, read, and participate in other activities. When you're not questing and developing your character, perfecting your house is something that you're going to spend an obsessive amount of hours on. It's a really great touch to the game.

The Newbie

Albion Online

Creativity and quirkiness is something to be appreciated in a game genre that is so old and on a very narrow path, and Albion Online does bring that. This is another one of those "super hardcore" MMOs, in a class with Black Desert Online, that I recommend for people who feel like they missed out on getting into games like RuneScape or Ultima Online.

Albion Online is an MMORPG with sandbox elements that are going to make you want to play for the long haul. That's what you're going to have to do too, because collecting resources is going to be a massive grind. Albion Online offers a medieval, cross-platform world where every battle is different and PvP is a looting extravaganza. Give this one a shot if you're a nostalgic gamer who wants something that looks and feels like the old days but really plays like new.

The Duds


It's sad to see what has happened to ArcheAge. When it first released, my friends and I were extremely excited about the sandbox experience and claiming a small piece of the world's land as our own. What we instead got was an MMORPG riddled with hackers that used bots and other automated tools to claim those land plots the second they became available.

Unlike Final Fantasy XIV and Elder Scrolls Online, XL Games wasn't quick enough in correcting these issues, and 2017 was a year where we saw a lot of red in the playercount charts. There's just no reason to play ArcheAge when games like Black Desert Online were at their high point in 2017.


Yes, still. WildStar was released as one of the most hyped fantasy/sci-fi MMOs under NCSOFT in 2014. Three years later, it's sitting at an average of about 190 concurrent on Steam.

The sad part isn't that WildStar failed but that Carbine Studios doesn't seem to have any plans on how to fix it or what to do with it. WildStar just kind of ... exists. When's the last time you heard about this MMO? Probably not for years, and that's because nothing major and exciting has come out lately. Homecoming and Power of the Primal Matrix were both flops and not nearly as large as promised. It's sad to see such wasted potential in a game that looked incredibly unique and promising.

All the Rest

Guild Wars 2 actually had a pretty solid year despite it being one of the more "quiet" MMOs. You don't hear a lot about this game, but what if I told you it was reported to have 11 million active players back in September?

Path of Fire was a massively popular content expansion. ArenaNet dubbed Heart of Thorns a "feature expansion," so players really looked forward to this. This Guild Wars 2 expansion took players to the Crystal Desert to experience crazy new mounts, new masteries, and new elite specializations.

I was happy to see RuneScape continue to live on for yet another year, both OSRS and RS3. One of the oldest MMOs still kicking saw changes to weather, pets, the bank, mining and smithing, and the Elder Gods in 2017. It's not just nostalgia that's keeping RuneScape's heart beating, but it's surely a big part.

Although the Steam Charts don't seem to reflect 2017 being a great year for EVE Online, this space-based, persistent world is far from dead.

In October of 2016, it was announced that EVE Online would follow a new free-to-play model. In October of this year, we learned that this free-to-play program was about to get majorly upgraded. Free players now have access to a massive amount of new skills and ships that are surely going to bring a surge in activity to this economy-driven classic. Lifeblood brought mining and pirates, with more to come in 2018.

Conclusion and Looking Ahead

For MMOs, 2017 saw a lot of familiar faces, and there's nothing wrong with that. Those same familiar faces will very well be the ones steering us into a successful 2018.

Not only did BlizzCon 2017 tease us with one of the most amazing-looking expansions coming in 2018, Battle for Azeroth, but they also seem to be bringing vanilla back. World of Warcraft private servers that emulate the game's early days were massively successful, and Blizzard has been criticized for their actions against these servers. Will World of Warcraft Classic be the solution? It's got to be one of the most exciting things heading into 2018!

Other titles like Bless Online, Sea of ThievesChronicles of Elyria, and Crowfall keep us hopeful for the new blood of 2018.

I definitely can't close out this piece without talking about Camelot Unchained. As someone who absolutely loves nostalgic titles and personally believes that we're long past the glory days of MMOs, revisiting Dark Age of Camelot is at the top of my MMO bucket list for next year.

Games like Black Desert Online, Final Fantasy XIV, and Elder Scrolls Online show that 2017 isn't the year where MMOs surrender as ready to die, and I expect that this continues into next year.


What were your favorite MMOs of this year, and what MMOs are you looking forward to going into 2018? There are a lot of MMOs out there to talk about, and surely they haven't all been discussed in this article. Drop me a comment below, and we'll talk about your favorite (or least favorite) of the past year.

Check out more of our articles reviewing 2017 and looking forward into 2018:

The Ultimate Ranger Build for Path of Exile 3.0 Tue, 19 Sep 2017 08:50:41 -0400 Skrain

Recently, many Path of Exile players, new and old alike, have been showing a growing interest in the Ranger class. This may be generated from the recent addition of the fifth new act. But it may also be because the Ranger has always been one of the most popular characters in Path of Exile. 

Either way, it's safe to assume with the influx of new players, she would still be the first choice for many in their first foray into the game. Building a ranger can be a little daunting, however, and I believe that with a little guidance, you can jury rig a build that works for you.

Readying Your Ranger Build in PoE's Early Game 

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It sets the stage for everything to come -- and Path of Exile's early game is breakfast. Deciding what playstyle you are going to adopt needs to be finalized fairly early in Path of Exile. You could always spend passive refund points to re-distribute your skills, but it's recommended that you save these for the late game, where you can fine tweak things you didn't have the luxury of doing earlier.

Before you get to the finale, though, you have to start somewhere. The end game in PoE is an elegant creature, with a difficulty that dictates that not all builds are equal -- or even viable. But before you can reach this exciting point in your journey, you have to know and understand the best cornerstones on which to build.

From top left to right in typical reading fashion you'll find the nodes for: Ballistic Mastery, Aspect of the Eagle, Primal Spirit, and Heart of Oak. These passive skills are the four cornerstones of your early game Ranger build. Granted, it would be more point-efficient to grab Ballistic Mastery from the northern nodes, rather than the way I approached it.

Once you get into the more experienced end game, you may eventually want to refund some, or even all, of these skills and move toward something more viable. However, during the first three or four acts of the game, these skills allow you to hold your own, and begin to formulate a plan as to where you want to take your character later on.

Ballistic Mastery and Aspect of the Eagle allow you to start dealing damage right away, and with Virtue gems such as Shrapnel Shot and Rain of Arrows, you'll be clearing low-level mobs easily. Primal Spirit and Heart of Oak work toward giving you some sustainability because after all, the Ranger isn't robust or naturally gifted with large mana reserves. 

On top of that, the next four skills you will want to work toward lie northeast of Aspect of the Eagle. These skills are Aspect of the Lynx, Survivalist, Acrobatics, and Phase Acrobatics. 

While Aspect of the Lynx grants you a little extra damage, crit chance, and some base stat boosts, the rest of these skills are entirely designed to keep you alive.

Increasing your evasion to prevent damage is one of the tried and true methods of PoE's meta. In fact, Acrobatics and Phase Acrobatics are considered quite viable for the end game, and you most likely won't need to refund the points you spent when you get there. Unfortunately, its very difficult to get a working Ranger build that doesn't rely on RNG for dealing with enemy attacks: it's Dodge or nothing. So working on increasing your chance to stay alive is well worth it.

After these segments, you're generally able to go toward whatever style of play you want.

Path of Exile's Mid-End Game

Entering the mid game becomes a little daunting as you begin to stray further from your starting zone. Personally, it leaves me with a feeling of "Maybe I've strayed too far", but in PoE, it's not a bad thing to branch out from your center. In fact, it's almost necessary. 

From this point, however, what you decide to pick skills-wise depends on what you're going for. Since I typically enjoy a traditional ranged build with bows, that is the path I'll give some examples of. 

Herbalism may not seem like the most important trait up there, but I'd argue that for a Ranger, it is one of the most pivotal skills to get. Flasks are going to be your best friend come end game, and any bonuses to flask effectiveness are always useful. Piercing Shots are useful for dealing with large crowds of enemies -- or bosses that summon minions.  

King of the Hill, Depth Perception, and Heartseeker will all increase your chance to deal critical strikes. It will all be worth it when you see your foes get slaughtered in single hits. After all, the ranger is a kill first or be killed kind of character.

Moving on, Iron Grip is an excellent skill for archers focusing on physical damage -- especially if you have the Strength to make the bonus damage worth while. And while it's not usually what I go for in a Ranger, there are plenty of other builds that do utilize this skill quite well. 

Point Blank is perhaps one of the few core end game skills for any bow Ranger; it's increased damage when closer to targets is almost always useful. Very rarely will you kill everyone in a large group of mobs before they swarm you, so you don't tend to put yourself in any more danger to get your points worth out of it. 

Path of Exile's End Game

Once you've reached the end game, it becomes less about what skills you're not putting your final points into and more about your skill gems and equipment. This is exactly why building intelligently -- and making sure your skills exist cooperatively with each other -- is so important. 

Now is also the time where you may want to begin spending your refund points, which can be gained either through side quests or through Orbs of Regret. It can be expensive, but if you can afford this luxury, a few extra points in more precise areas can go a long way.

Virtue Gems in PoE

While Virtue Gems are not the focus of this guide, I can briefly go over what gems will be the most useful to you as you advance through the game and build your Ranger.

  • Shrapnel Shot -- One of the most useful early game Gems.
  • Rain of Arrows -- Excellent Gem for crowd control and hitting above cliffs
  • Puncture -- Excellent high-damage Gem that deals bleeding
  • Kinetic Blast -- One of the best ranged Gems in the game; causes small explosions near a target.
Taking Your Ranger Into Battle

While the possibilities are seemingly endless, I suggest that everyone try a Ranger build that they enjoy. Even if it doesn't quite fit the meta, I believe most people will have a considerable amount of fun learning on their own. Viability shouldn't get in the way of enjoying yourself in a video game, neither should you be forced to play a certain way. So, find out what works for you Exile, and then work on improving it to the best of your abilities. 

Be sure to check out our other Path of Exile guides! Here are just a few to get your started: 

What Does That Green Outline Mean in Path of Exile? Thu, 07 Sep 2017 15:26:03 -0400 Skrain

Ever since Path of Exile's massive update early last month and its release on console, the Fall of Oriath expansion has swelled the already impressive numbers of players in this Diablo-esque action RPG.

With the influx of newer players, there are some important questions being asked. One of the most common queries has to do with that green outline that often appears around a piece of equipment. What's it for? What does it mean? In this Path of Exile guide, we have the answers you're looking for -- so let's take a look before the Brine King decides to ruin all the fun.

PoE's Green Outline Explained

Assuming you know the basic concepts of PoE, an item with a green outline simply means that it is an item with Red, Blue, and Green sockets for skill gem placement. Furthermore, it means that all of these sockets are linked together. 

This green outline also indicates an increase in value, making normally worthless weapons and equipment skyrocket in price. Each item with a green outline can be sold to an NPC vendor for a Chromatic Orb, which works as a good early game baseline for the in-game currency.

What do those other color filters mean?

For those newer players joining the PoE ranks, you might also want a quick rundown of the standard color filters for items and what they indicate. Here's how it breaks down:

  • White = Normal Items
  • Blue = Magical Items
  • Yellow = Rare Items
  • Orange = Unique Items
  • Gold = Scrolls and Orbs
  • Green = Active skill gems
  • Light Green = Quest Items

In addition to items, enemy monsters also follow this same color coded filter, from White to Orange. This color spectrum directly correlates to how strong a monster will be, including what magical effects they may have. Rare and Unique monsters have a better chance of dropping higher quality loot.

Other Considerations

The player driven economy in PoE is very complex, with a lot of different crafting recipes and outputs from NPC vendors that depend on many factors. The main factors for market value include:

  • Number of Sockets on an Item
  • Number of Sockets linked on an item
  • RBG Sockets all linked
  • Items of quality above 20%, and 40%
  • Selling full item sets (minus flask/quiver slots/alternate weapons)
  • Whether the item is identified or not
  • Item level

Taking a minute to learn how the Vendor Recipes work will greatly benefit you and allow you to transfer from early/mid game to the end game reasonably well if you pooled your resources accordingly. 


That's all you need to know about colored outlines on your items in PoE! If you need more help with the game, the rest of our Path of Exile guides are packed with tips and tricks that will get you on the right path. 

Top 5 Starting Builds for Path of Exile 3.0: The Fall of Oriath Mon, 14 Aug 2017 16:25:17 -0400 Craig Snyder

As one of the deepest ARPGs of all-time, starting Path of Exile in version 3.0 as a new player may look like a pretty daunting task. Just one glance at the sheer size of that passive skill tree is enough to make some people turn away.

We won't lie -- it's a lot of work developing your character. However, there are several builds that are very friendly towards new players and offer a lot of flexibility and room to grow.

If you're new to the game, check out these five starter builds that are going to help welcome you to Path of Exile 3.0 and get you started as smoothly as possible. To understand and visualize each of the builds, be sure to check out our article on how to use Path of Building so you can take the guesswork out of your building process. We'll also be including codes for each build that will allow you to import it painlessly into Path of Building. 

Ethereal Knives/Mind Over Matter Build for Path of Exile 3.0

This build is centered about grinding out maps and rushing to end-game content by using a spammable spell and skill tree keystone that utilizes your mana pool to make you tankier. Here's information on both:

Ethereal Knives:

Ethereal Knives (often referred to as EK) is a spell that throws five knives in front of the caster that deal physical damage. Multiple knives cannot hit the same target. The angle of the spell's arc is fixed and does not depend on where the cursor is, unlike other projectile skills.

Mind Over Matter:

Mind Over Matter (often referred to as MoM) is a keystone passive skill that allows the character's mana to absorb a portion of the damage dealt to life.

Understanding this spell and passive gives you a good idea of what this build tries to achieve. The EK/MoM build revolves around constantly throwing out EK as you path through maps, while tanking damage by mitigating 30% of all that's taken as a hit to your mana pool.

Why You Should Play It

It's worth mentioning that EK was recently nerfed by having its projectiles cut in half and even then the build remains incredibly powerful and easy to pilot.

EK/MoM builds are very forgiving and efficient when it comes to powering through maps. Bosses will give you a little bit of difficulty, as your single-target damage with EK isn't outstanding, but this build will get you to the end-game very quickly and safely.

One of the best parts of this EK/MoM build is that it's strength doesn't entirely revolve around gear, but it can be greatly improved as you scale up and get better gear. Having the best gear in the game feels like a "win more" condition while running this build.

Path of Building Code & Stat Numbers

Click to import the EK/MoM Build into Path of Building.

If you don't use Path of Building or just don't want to import the full build, click to enlarge the screenshot below so you can see a full overview of this build's numbers:

Ethereal Knives build

Tri/Quad Frostbolt (FB) Totems Build for Path of Exile 3.0

FB Totem builds have been a staple build in Path of Exile for a very long time. The build utilizes the Frostbolt spell and the Spell Totem Support gem to allow your totems to do all of the heavy lifting for you.


Frostbolt is a cold spell that fires a slowly moving projectile with 100% chance to pierce.

Spell Totem Support:

Spell Totem is a support gem that modifies the supported spell so that instead of casting it directly, a totem is summoned that uses the linked spell. The totem has a range of 60 units.

Coupling these two together frees your character up to clean up the tougher mobs that your totems don't manage to instantly AoE down.

Why You Should Build It

FB Totems have the fastest clear speed out of just about any build and can clear an entire screen in a matter of seconds. This is one of the most efficient builds for grinding to level 100 and farming shaped maps.

You'll find yourself struggling to dish out heavy amounts of single-target damage, but the benefit of totem builds is that you have the freedom to utilize your character to clear at the same time as your totems.

Path of Building Code & Stat Numbers

Click to import the FB Totems Build into Path of Building.

If you don't use Path of Building or just don't want to import the full build, click to enlarge the screenshot below so you can see a full overview of this build's numbers:

Totems build stats

2H Ancestral Warchief (AW) Build for Path of Exile 3.0

AW builds are powerful, beefy, and pretty fun to play based on how interactive they are when compared to other starter builds. This is another build centered around one of the strongest totem skills in the game.

Ancestral Warchief:

Ancestral Warchief is a skill that creates a totem which will attack enemies with melee AoE slams while the player stands close to it. Being near it also increases the player's damage.

This build utilizes a ground-and-pound strategy where you really get in the face of mobs.

Why You Should Build It

This build is really easy to get started with, given that all you really need is a 2H axe. It's viable for Shaper and doubles as one of the strongest end-game builds once you get your hands on a Facebreaker.

This build won't clear as fast as others on this page, but downing bosses won't be nearly as difficult either. Play this build if you're interested in always being close to combat areas. It's not a build where you just run around a map and spam an ability. You really get involved and beat down enemies.

Path of Building Code & Stat Numbers

Click to import the 2H Ancestral Warchief Build into Path of Building.

If you don't use Path of Building or just don't want to import the full build, click to enlarge the screenshot below so you can see a full overview of this build's numbers:

Ancestral Warchief build

Stunning Sunder Berserker Build for Path of Exile 3.0

Sunder is one of the most powerful AoE attacks in Path of Exile, so it's no secret why entire builds revolve around it and why you see it finish near the top of so many races.


Sunder is a melee attack creating a wave that travels forward and damages enemies in a straight line. Enemies hit by the wave release circular shock waves that further damage nearby enemies. Requires an axe, mace or staff.

Starting with a Sunder build lets you transition into many other options as far as melee characters go.

Why You Should Build It

There aren't many viable melee options when it comes to starting 3.0. A lot of the most powerful builds revolve around ranged spells and totems.

Sunder is a melee AoE ability that is arguably the most powerful leveling tool in the game. This build is very easy to acquire gear for, and it does just fine in end-game scenarios.

Most Sunder builds combine usage with the Multistrike Support gem eventually to create a wave of successive attacks. This particular Sunder build revolves around mowing down mobs with AoE and the stun status effect. This is a brute-force build where you overwhelm crowds of enemies as a melee character.

Path of Building Code & Stat Numbers

Click to import the Sunder Berserker Build into Path of Building.

If you don't use Path of Building or just don't want to import the full build, click to enlarge the screenshot below so you can see a full overview of this build's numbers:

Sunder Berserker build

Essence Drain (ED)/Contagion Trickster Build for Path of Exile 3.0

ED builds have been very popular league starter builds for quite a while. Combined with Contagion, this creates one of the most devastating synergies in the game:

Essence Drain (often referred to as ED) is a spell that fires a chaos projectile that applies a damage over time debuff when it hits the enemy. The spell also regenerates a portion of the debuff damage as life. If target dies while afflicted with both Contagion and Essence Drain, the remaining duration of both degeneration effects will be spread to nearby enemies.

Trickster builds allow you to be very nimble and dish out incredible amounts of damage over time.

Why You Should Build It

This a very low-budget build that rewards you with insanely high EXP per hour. No external abilities are required and you can rush through maps the moment you get to that stage of the game.

This build is available as both Trickster and Occultist, but the Trickster archetype of this build pumps out the most damage and is most efficient for taking down bosses quickly. However, you sacrifice some survivability.

With this build, you get in and out and let your DoT (damage over time) finish the job.

Path of Building Code & Stat Numbers

Click to import the ED/Contagion Build into Path of Building.

If you don't use Path of Building or just don't want to import the full build, click to enlarge the screenshot below so you can see a full overview of this build's numbers:

Contagion build


I think these five starter builds suit a wide range of different playstyles. The most important part is that they're easy to start with, provide room for growth, and don't lock you into a box of only being able to play the game one way.

Once you get comfortable with the basics of Path of Exile, transition into one of the most rewarding experiences in the game: setting up your own build to fit your style of play. That's what this game's all about. If you need more tips, you can check out the rest of our Path of Exile guides as well.

Which of these five builds is your favorite? If you know of a newbie-friendly starter build that isn't listed here, feel free to share it in the comments section below.

Path of Exile 3.0 Guide: How to Use Path of Building and Set Up a Build Plan Thu, 31 Aug 2017 11:43:29 -0400 Craig Snyder

For me, it's settled: Path of Exile is the most complete and enjoyable ARPG experience on the market right now. Diablo III doesn't come close. One of the reasons I find this to be true is Path of Exile's insanely expansive character progression. The massive skill tree, endless possibilities of item sockets and skill gems, and constant thirst for drops with higher rolls will keep you interested in this game for hundreds and hundreds of hours.

Path of Exile not only requires decent mechanical skills to keep yourself alive and ready to defend against any attack, but it's also a very cerebral game. The smartest players are the best players. Something that all of the best players have in common is a love for theorycrafting. An obsession with tweaking and improving your character is what gets you to the top.

Years ago, planning out your character was something you'd have to do using a janky skill tree website and Notepad. Today, you can map out and perfect everything long before you ever get your hands on a maxed-out character thanks to Path of Building. In this guide, I'll show you how to set up the perfect build plan using this free tool.

How to Install Path of Building

Path of Building is an open source project hosted on GitHub. On the Releases page, you can find binaries (both .exe and .zip) and source code dumps. For ease of access, I recommend you install it using the self-installing .exe file. It should be the file listed with the largest file size.

The installation process is very simple and should be something you're familiar with. After running Path of Building for the first time, it'll go through an update procedure that shouldn't take long.

After, you're given the option to select which version of Path of Exile you're running Path of Building for. The latest version is 3.0, so that's what we'll select.

Setting Up Path of Building

After the installation completes, Path of Building will launch.

Let's do a quick rundown of everything you're looking at. On the right-hand side is the passive skill tree. It's the largest and most intimidating part of Path of Exile. Path of Building allows you to create and save skill trees so that you have blueprints for any new characters you create.

On the left-hand side is a tabbed view. The tabs (at the top) are as follows:

  • Import/Export Build: Allows you to import or export entire builds by shareable code
  • Notes: Effectively a blank Notepad screen where you can jot down any important notes about your build
  • Configuration: Allows you to set combat status effects on yourself and simulated enemies, select map modifiers and player debuffs, and change the version of your game
  • Tree: Takes you back to your passive skill tree
  • Skills: Allows you to set your skills and gems
  • Items: Allows you to equip an item set (with a searchable database of all items in the game)
  • Calcs: A full screen of statistics about your current build

Importing a Build in Path of Building

Seeing Path of Building as a blank slate doesn't do it justice. As a new user to this tool, I highly recommend finding a build that you really like online and seeing if there's an exported Path of Building build code for it.

Using the Path of Exile forums, I've found an Electro Cyclone build that comes with a Path of Building code, which you can copy for yourself over on PasteBin.

The Import/Export Build tab in Path of Building will automatically generate a Pastebin URL for your builds. You can also import these URLs in the same tab.

After importing the Pastebin URL, you'll be taken back to the Tree tab and you'll see that it's been completely filled out for you. Let's head over to the Items tab next.

As you can see, the author of this build not only built out the passive skill tree but also created an optimal item set for this build. On the left-hand side, you can see statistics that dynamically change as you add or take away from the build.

This allows you to know every single small detail about what you're creating. You can switch out that main-hand weapon for another and immediately see the DPS shift.

This isn't the extent of Path of Building's numbers though. There's still the Calcs tab.

This is where you can see every calculation and statistic about your character that you'd ever need, from your Accuracy, Life Leech, Resistances, Evasion, Energy Shield, and more.

Creating Your Own Build in Path of Building

Importing an existing build gives you a good walkthrough of how things work in Path of Building, and creating your own build is as simple as clicking the Back button (at the top left). This brings you to a list of your saved builds (which should be blank, unless you've chosen to save the imported build).

Click the New button and you're back to a blank slate. A lot of people are overwhelmed by everything that's available to you at the start of your new build plan though.

My suggestion is that you focus on the Trees, Skills, and Items tab one at a time after filling out the basics. When you have a build mapped out in your head, it probably revolves around a particular gem, skill, tree node, and/or item. Fill these core pieces into your build and then start exploring.

Watch the numbers in your sidebar and under the Calcs tab actively so you can see what direction you're going in. If you need to hit a minimum for Energy Shield, for example, it's incredibly easy to watch your progress towards that. Just keep an eye on what you're doing, make sure you're meeting the goals you set for your character, and build away!


As an experienced Path of Exile player, I definitely think the most rewarding thing about playing this game is creating a build with your own brain and hands and tweaking it to perfection. Nothing feels better in Path of Exile. Before Path of Building, this was incredibly hard. If you think it, you can make it. All that's left after is to grind for it!

If you want some pre-made builds to get you started, check out our best builds in Path of Exile 3.0 for some great ideas. Or visit the rest of our Path of Exile guides for even more tips!

Path of Exile: How to Beat The Guardians Fri, 12 May 2017 12:20:02 -0400 Craig Snyder

The Keepers of the Keys, or The Guardians of the Void, are some of the most exciting new bosses in Path of Exile's recent content updates. These enemies stand between you and The Shaper, who is often regarded as the most difficult boss in the entire game.

Each of The Guardians holds a fragment of the key to The Shaper's realm. Defeating them will allow you to retrieve these fragments and come one step closer to facing off with PoE's most formidable foe. But doing so safely isn't easy if you go in unprepared. Luckily for you, we're here to help. 

In this guide, we'll show you how to approach each fight with the Guardians and what you need to do to prepare for these encounters. 

Beating The Minotaur in Path of Exile

The Minotaur has powerful attacks and several AoE moves at his disposal. He deals Physical and Lightning Damage, and he's immune to Stun, Bleeding, Chill, and Freeze.

His attacks break down as follows:

Attack Description
Melee Attack Deals Physical and Lightning Damage
Sweep Deals Physical and Lightning Damage
Overhead Slam AoE melee attack that deals Physical and Lightning Damage and creates a cave-in zone that lasts for 30 seconds (which spawns Stone Golems and falling rocks)
Burrow Dives underground and moves to target in a straight line, dealing Physical Damage in that line and unburrowing to deal Deadly Physical Damage in a small AoE
Lightning Barriers At 80%, 60%, 40%, and 20% Life, activates to deal Lightning Damage, Shock, and an attack, as well as casting Slow

Upon starting the fight, immediately watch for the Sweep, Overhead Slam, and Burrow attacks. They're very telegraphed and can be devastating if you're hit with them. As he begins spawning cave-ins, quickly move out of them. Remaining in a cave-in leaves you open a one-shot KO from the falling rocks. However, if you're heavy on Life Leech, you may be able to safely endure the hits.

You want to stay near enough to The Minotaur that he doesn't trigger a Burrow -- especially if you move a full screen away. If you do, he may Burrow and you won't be able to see it before it's too late.

As you kite through the fight, you're going to be activating Lightning Barriers that will force you into proximity with The Minotaur, so you'll want to be popping flasks whenever you can. If you ever have to pass through a Lightning Barrier, make sure The Minotaur is as far away from you as possible.

Beating The Hydra in Path of Exile

The Hydra has an assortment of Physical and Cold Damage attacks, many of which can Chill or Freeze. She's immune to Knockback, Poison, Chill, and Freeze.

Her attacks break down as follows:

Attack Description
Barrage Fires a fast succession of arrows that deal Physical and Cold Damage
Doom Arrow Fires an arrow into the air and a progression of explosions occur in a straight line in front of The Hydra, which deal Deadly Physical and Cold Damage
Fork Arrow Charges up to fire a single arrow that forks at a set distance to deal Deadly Physical and Cold Damage (300% of base)
Teleport Short Disappears and summons minions, which drop Cold Damage vortices upon dying before The Hydra reappears at a random location
Frostbolts Cold Damage projectiles that continuously fire from the sides of the arena in a random pattern and fire more frequently as The Hydra comes closer to death

This fight requires a lot of movement and awareness of your surroundings, and you want to stay near The Hydra (for melee and ranged attacks) so you can quickly run circles around her to dodge attacks. The further you move away, the harder it's going to be to dodge. She'll stay near to you, turning to fire Doom Arrows and Barrages. When she charges up to fire a Fork Arrow (a blue orb), be sure to move behind The Hydra.

You're going to need flasks with Chill and Freeze Immunity, because you can count on being hit by many Frostbolts and attacks from The Hydra. As long as you stay moving and weaving out of the way of Frostbolts, this fight shouldn't be too hard.

Beating The Phoenix in Path of Exile

The Phoenix deals massive amounts of Fire Damage with his attacks, some of which can Ignite. He's immune to Knockback, Ignite, Chill, and Freeze.

His attacks break down as follows:

Attack Description
Melee Attack Deals Fire Damage and can Ignite
Whirling Charge Locks onto a target, charges up, and spins to the target's original location, dealing Fire Damage multiple times throughout the attack's path
Fire Bomb the Phoenix brings his swords down into the ground, emitting a debuff that reduces the player's Fire Resistance by -50% before channeling to release a large Fire discharge
Resistance Debuff For every 10% of Life that The Phoenix loses, the player's maximum Fire Resistance is reduced by 1%
Add Spawn For every 10% of Life that The Phoenix loses, a phoenix will shoot fire projectiles at the player (and will respawn a few seconds after dying)
Fire Spout For every 10% of Life that The Phoenix loses, a fire spout deals Fire Damage in a small AoE as it travels around the arena (which lasts for a few seconds and are then replaced by another)

Unlike the other fights, you're safe to keep your standard engagement ranges throughout this one. Don't worry about being too close to The Phoenix. When the Phoenix goes to perform a Whirling Charge, be prepared to dodge left or right (or even behind the Phoenix) as quickly as you can. This attack can be devastating if you take a direct hit because it can damage you multiple times.

As The Phoenix begins to channel Fire Bomb, move as far away from him as possible. During that time, you can kill off some of the adds that have spawned. When The Phoenix is around 50% Life, you want to be sure you're utilizing a Ruby Flask, because you're going to be passively losing Fire Resistance as his health gets lower and lower. It's also extremely important to kill off add spawns because if you allow too many to spawn at once, you're going to get overwhelmed with damage and die. The lower The Phoenix gets on Life, the more you're going to want to sweep the area clean of add spawns.

Beating The Chimera in Path of Exile

The Chimera is the final and hardest of The Guardians. He deals heavy amounts of Physical Damage and there are multiple phases of the fight. He's immune to Knockback, Bleeding, Poison, Chill, and Freeze.

His attacks break down as follows:

Attack Description
Melee Attack Deals Physical Damage
Flicker Strike Picks a target location and flickers to it to deal Physical Damage
Flicker Lance Strikes the chosen target location and inflicts Bleeding (which lasts for 5 seconds)
Charge Attack Charges up and strikes several times, dealing 60% of the basic melee attack Physical Damage per hit
Combo Attack A red circle appears on the ground and anything within it will be struck, dealing 125% of The Chimera's base Physical Damage per attack
Hidden Attack Numerous smoke clouds appear, shrouding The Chimera within one of them, and the player must travel through the smoke clouds to find him as he does 80% of his base Physical melee attack to the player (which can't be evaded or dodged)
Add Phase For every 25% of Life The Chimera losses, he will retreat outside of the arena and release strong add waves from the three cages in the arena

This fight is very different from the rest of The Guardians. It consists of four boss phases and three add phases. The add phases end with an add boss that's just as dangerous as The Chimera himself.

You want to save your flasks for The Chimera's Charge and Hidden Attacks. The rest of his moves are pretty manageable and do not deal threatening damage. Always be sure to move out of the red circle when The Chimera forms his Combo Attack.

For every 25% of Life lost by The Chimera, you'll begin an add phase. During the add phase, move around from cage to cage to clear out the adds in small groups. After all three waves have been spawned and cleared, go to the bottom-right cage to spawn the boss add. Once the add phase is over, The Chimera will return to the arena and immediately go into a Hidden Attack. You want to urgently run through the smoke clouds to find him, because you'll be receiving a very deadly amount of damage until you do. This is one of the most dangerous parts of the boss phase.

You're going to repeat this same process over until you've passed three add phases. At that point, The Chimera will only have 25% Life remaining and you'll be able to finish him off. The add phases are quite difficult, though, so you'll need some additional information regarding these.

The Chimera Add Phases

Add spawns are homogeneous, meaning that whatever spawns during the add phase will be the one and only thing that spawns during that phase. These spawns can occur in any order during the encounter. Here are the unique add bosses that you'll face near the bottom-right cage during each phase:

Aspect of the Goat
Attack Description
Orb Projectile Constantly fires a single Physical Damage projectile
Physical Cascade A Physical Damage succession that can strike the target several times
Aspect of the Snake
Attack Description
Single Projectile Fires a single Chaos Damage projectile that can inflict Poison and leaves Desecrated Ground in its path
Multiple Projectiles Fires 4 Chaos Damage projectiles that can inflict Poison
Aspect of the Helion
Attack Description
Enrage Gains attack and movement speed, chasing the target and striking it with Physical Damage to apply Bleed
Fire Mortar Attacks with 3 Fire Damage projectiles with a varied spread

Again, take the add bosses just as seriously as The Chimera. You may even want to bring an Amethyst Flask to help deal with the Chaos Damage inflicted by Aspect of the Snake.


Enjoy these fights as you go through them, because they're cake compared to what you're going to go up against when you take on The Shaper. If you need any advice or help with taking down The Guardians, be sure to watch the video in the header or leave a comment below!

If you're looking for some great builds to head into these fights with, check out my article on Path of Exile 2.6 builds. Here are some other articles that can help you get started:

5 Great Builds to Start with in Path of Exile's 2.6 Patch Fri, 10 Mar 2017 14:26:05 -0500 Craig Snyder

Path of Exile fans, how hyped have you been lately? If this game wasn't already the best ARPG around, how about six additional acts in a single new expansion? PoE is coming to Xbox One, too! Grinding Gear is doing some fantastic stuff lately that's really impressing and taking the community by surprise.

Another bright spot is that they're doing pretty well with balance as they progress through patches lately. That being said, many changes have come with recent patches 2.4, 2.5, and 2.6. In this post, let me introduce you to five of the best builds that you can get started with right now in patch 2.6.

Norse's Earthquake Slayer

This build is one of the best in the game right now at putting out incredible damage on a low budget. A lot of players have been turning away from Earthquake due to the nerfs to it in the last patch, but it wasn't put into the ground (no pun intended). This build is still viable and some will even tell you that it's the top build to start with as a new player in 2.6.

Norse's forum guide is simple and straightforward, laying out the gear, links, and passives you'll need to run this build at the optimal level. He's spent a lot of time fine-tuning this build, so I highly recommend you follow his guide as closely as possible.

Norse also shows off this build's ability to breeze through Uber Atziri and gives some great advice along the way. If Earthquake is the way you want to go, this is the guy to listen to.

Pohx's Blight Occultist

If you don't believe in Blight builds, just know that Pohx recently reached level 100 in a hardcore league running this. That being said, running it in softcore means you'll be able to be a little less cautious and spec more heavily into offense (which is always more fun). This build provides a well-rounded mix of AoE clearing, overall damage, and survivability.

In his guide, Pohx lays out a day-by-day rundown of how the build is progressing. It's a great series to watch before trying out this build, as you'll be able to see exactly what you're getting yourself into.

If there's any downside to this build, it wasn't built with The Shaper in mind.

Yoji's Flameblast Elementalist

The first thing that stands out about this build is how well the guide for it is laid out on YouTube.

Yoji does a fantastic job of explaining everything you'd want to know about how and why to play this guild in just five minutes of video.

As stated in the video, Elementalists were nerfed, but (just like Earthquake) you shouldn't think it's unplayable. This guide proves it's far from that. Although designed for 2.4, this build plays perfectly fine on 2.6 and it's really easy to get started with as a novice player. Flameblast builds are extremely popular in this patch and I'd rank this as one of the top two builds of this kind.

Varcarian's Warchief Totem Chieftain

While it is a build that I recommend for starting players, to really cap off this build you will need a pair of Facebreakers. What I see a lot of people doing, until they get their hands on those, is speccing into some of the weapon nodes in their tree. Then, when you finally get your Facebreakers, you can free up those points and put them elsewhere for a smooth transition and nice boost elsewhere.

Vacarian himself hasn't made any YouTube videos showing off his thoughts and input on the build, but you can find many others giving their spin on it. This build is capable of doing all content in the game comfortably, and when played correctly you can pull off a deathless Shaper.

Lifting's Blade Vortex Occultist

Blade Vortex's radius was increased in 2.6 and that inspired a lot of people to give it a second look. Lifting's build focuses on scaling up physical, chaos, and poison damage rather than worrying about critical strikes and damage. Doing so allows the build to feel a lot stronger earlier because you don't have to rely on the inconsistency that crit-based builds experience.

The build is fairly cheap and Lifting lays out the gems, gear, and overall thought process behind it in the video above. It was designed entirely around the ability to effectively farm currency, so if you're a big grinder then this is a build you want to try out.

If you've got any questions or would like to share some advice or other builds for 2.6, drop a comment below. Always remember that the number one reason Path of Exile is so much fun is because of the freedom and choices that it provides the player! Try as many builds as you can and put your own spin on them for the truest PoE experience.

Are There Any F2P Games on Steam Worth Playing? These 7 Are... Thu, 22 Dec 2016 08:00:01 -0500 Damien Smith


And there you have it -- 7 F2P games on Steam that are worth your time. From  a clicker game that will wear out your mouse to a robot builder that allows you to create any form of vehicle that your imagination can muster, there is something on this list for everyone to enjoy.


What do you think of our list? Are there any other F2P titles you think are worth playing? Let me know in the comments below!


Path of Exile

Developer: Grinding Gear Games

The last game on this list is probably the best known. Path of Exile is an ARPG similar to titles like the Diablo series. You take on the role of an exile struggling to survive on the dark continent of Wraeclast. You are fighting to gain power that will allow you to exact your revenge on those who wronged you.


Throughout your journey, you will find countless items and equipment to help you in your mission. You will embark on quests, customize your build to suit the most powerful combination with your items, and even create your own personalized town. If that is not all exciting enough for you, you can also compete in PVP against other players if you wish to do so.


POE is definitely a game that all fans of the Diablo series and other games like it, should check out.


Play Path of Exile on Steam now.


No More Room in Hell

Developer: No More Room in Hell Team

NMRiH is a tribute to the highly-acclaimed film series of the same name. It is a cooperative FPS survival horror mod for the source engine. In order to survive you will have to work with a team of up to eight other survivors. There are over 30 weapons to help you keep the Undead from eating you alive.


All it could take is one bite from a zombie for you to become infected. When infectrf, you can decide to inform your team and rid them of your burden or keep it quiet in hopes of finding a cure. There are a number of different zombies to encounter, from the typical walking zombie to the more modern running one.


So, gather your friends and join forces as you attempting to survive the zombie apocalypse.  


Play No More Room in Hell on Steam now.



Developer: Playful Corporation

If you like Minecraft, you are going to absolutely love CreativerseYou are stranded in a vast and mysterious world where anything is a possibility. Explore the world and experience the many biomes such as jungles, deserts, and swamps.


Collect resources and materials and construct anything that your imagination can muster. You don't have to do it alone either -- you can invite your friends along to help you on your adventures. This is definitely a game that any builder fan should play.


Play Creativerse on Steam now.


Clicker Heroes

Developer: Playsaurus

Clicker games are a bizarre concept to me. While I don't understand exactly why they are enjoyable, there is just something about them that makes them so damn addictive. Clicker Heroes is no exception.


With 35 different heroes, over 100 different enemies and tons of unlockables, there is a lot of fun to be had as you click your way to increasing your power. It is a game that will keep you hooked for hours on end. Just make sure to keep a spare mouse handy for when you break the button on your current one.


Play Clicker Heroes on Steam now.




Developer: Smartly Dressed Games


This one is definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of zombie and survival games. Unturned is being developed by sole developer Nelson Sexton. You take on the role of a survivor attempting to make their way around the zombie-infested ruins of civilization.


To survive you must scavenge for supplies and weapons, craft new equipment, build a safe house, and more. Due to the game having the Steam Workshop integrated into it, players can download countless amounts of mods to change up their experience.


Mods include new weapons, skins, items, vehicles, and maps. With so much content, the fun never has to stop. Not too shabby for a game that is completely free to play.


Play Unturned on Steam now



Developer: Freejam

Have you ever wanted to build giant battle-ready robots and test them out against other people's creations? Well, now you can with Robocraft. You can build practically anything that you want with vehicles that can drive, hover, walk, and even fly.


You can form parties with friends and create or join clans that can have up to 50 people in them. This really is a great game for those looking to let their imagination loose when it comes to creating vehicles of absolute destruction. And best of all, you don't have to pay a penny for all that sweet robot action.


Play Robocraft on Steam now


Dungeon Defenders II

Developer: Trendy Entertainment

Dungeon Defenders II is an Early Access cooperative action tower defense game, and sequel to the original title of the same name. The Old Ones have invaded Etheria, and now you and your friends must work together to push them back by creating a team of heroes to take into battle.


You will face against tons of enemies such as Dark Mages, Wyverns, Dragons, and more...along with mini-bosses and epic bosses. Build towers to help defend the Etheria crystals and customize your character's stats, skills and weapons with countless possibilities.


If you like tower defense games and want something a bit different, Dungeon Defenders II is definitely worth checking out.


Play Dungeon Defenders II on Steam now.


Steam has a lot of F2P titles on its service. The problem is that so many of them are bad. Whether they're just badly designed, have countless bugs, or are nothing more than a P2W format...there are plenty of horrible games to be found.


While there may be an overwhelming number of titles that aren't worth your time, there are still a handful of F2P games on Steam that are definitely worth playing. These 7 games are shining examples of how much fun a free-to-play game can be when it's done right. 

5 Non-MOBA Games for MOBA Players to Unwind With Thu, 03 Nov 2016 10:00:01 -0400 Kris Cornelisse (Delfeir)

MOBAs are among the most competitive environments offered to gamers. It’s almost inevitable that if you start taking them seriously, you’ll end up becoming significantly more competitive to suit. That kind of intense competition can seriously take its toll, and this is why it’s not uncommon to see people raging or otherwise just getting completely fed up.

While it’s natural to get frustrated, it’s often best to step back from the game and take a break. A bit of time spent relaxing and getting back into a more positive mindset can go a long way in helping you climb through the ranks.

To that end, I’ve provided a short list of games MOBA players might enjoy for such a purpose. These games are chosen largely because they’re all on PC, they need some skill and awareness to excel at, but they can be as relaxed or as competitive as you choose to make it. I’ve also tried to keep them reasonably cost efficient -- after all, most MOBAs are so free.


For a period of time, osu! was the go to game during extended queues for a number of notable League of Legends streamers. It gained quite a bit of popularity for itself and other rhythm games, though few others on the PC really took advantage of it and the surge of attention eventually died down. osu! remains, however, and is really quite good.

Taking the gameplay of the Nintendo DS Ouendan games (or Elite Beat Agents), osu! is a rhythm game that sees you tapping or dragging buttons in time with the song’s beat. It can be as simple or as intense as you want it to be, with a slew of modifiers to apply for customised gameplay, not to mention some ridiculous difficulty settings for the truly dedicated.

Coming equipped with an editor, the game has a truly massive library of songs built and amassed by players over the years, so there’s likely to be something here to interest you. osu! is also fantastic for practicing mouse movements and coordination -- certain to give you an edge when you return to your favourite MOBA. You can download osu! on the official website.

Genre Alternatives: Stepmania, Audiosurf 2

Path of Exile

Famous for its Skill Tree of Doom, Path of Exile is a Free to Play Action RPG with a ridiculous amount of potential for customisation. Starting from basic archetypes such as indestructible tanks or mages raining fire on foes and going all the way to rangers throwing spectral greatswords or rapidly teleporting ninjas, Path of Exile has so many different ways to play the game.

While it ultimately boils down to lots of clicking as you kill and loot your way across the game world, Path of Exile is great for picking up, picking a crazy build, and seeing what you can do. There’s a huge amount of content in the game as well, and even replaying the same areas on higher difficulties can be quite the experience.

The game is regularly updated with new temporary Leagues providing unique spins on the game, as well as constant new features and cosmetic items. If you haven’t dabbled in Path of Exile yet, it’s well worth taking a look at. You can find it on Steam.

Genre Alternatives: Diablo 3, Torchlight 2, Grim Dawn

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

There’s little I can say about this game that hasn’t already been said. Sporting overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam years into its release, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is a delightfully twisted game that sees you roaming through randomly generated dungeons and fighting all sorts of grotesque and misshapen foes.

A staggering amount of powerups and items are available for you to find throughout the dungeons, many of which create interesting or strange combinations of effects that can completely change how you play. There’s a huge array of unlockables, playable characters, and hidden content to delve into and find. But most importantly, regardless of what items you get, getting there (or losing in the attempt) is entirely up to the player’s skill.

Whether it’s for a single quick run through the game or a marathon session with multiple playthroughs, The Binding of Isaac is a fantastic game that’s great to wind down with. Might not be for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, though… fair warning!

Genre Alternatives: Enter the Gungeon, Risk of Rain

Rocket League

Remote controlled cars playing soccer. Need I say more?

A surprisingly simple concept that has since taken the world by storm, Rocket League takes The World’s Game and shrinks it down to a handful of cars pitted against each other for control of an oversized ball. Featuring extremely tight controls that are quick to learn but very deep and involved to master, Rocket League can be as simple as you want it to be or end up becoming just as consuming and focused an activity as any MOBA.

There’s an array of customisation options for giving your chosen car its own stylish flair. There are a number of different maps and play modes from the serious 2v2 or 3v3 ranked games to the more ridiculous Rumble Mode. Rocket League is fast, it’s fun, and there’s nothing else quite like it. Well worth giving a shot.

Genre Alternatives: ...I don’t know, Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 maybe? There really aren’t any. Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars being the spiritual predecessor to Rocket League.

Team Fortress 2

Admittedly, jumping from MOBAs to an FPS is not always the best way to relax. Both genres can get quite heated and competitive, after all, and it can be quite frustrating or demoralising to go into this thinking you’ll be able to take it easy only to get sniped from across the map repeatedly.

But that’s why I’ve selected Team Fortress 2, because while it may be an FPS, the players have since made it into a virtual playground with plenty of less serious options. Exploring through the servers and maps, you might find all sorts of crazy new ways to play. From matches of dodgeball, to hide-and-seek prop hunt games, to fighting against one super-powered player, the possibilities are endless.

If none of that takes your fancy, there’s always just playing the core game itself. It’s a bit different now from how it launched, but there’s still a really good game at the heart of Team Fortress 2. With a staggering amount of weapons and options across all nine classes and huge amounts of maps, there’s never really a bad time to just kick back, relax, and grind some new hats.

Genre Alternatives: Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

This is just a small sampling of good games that MOBA players might like to try when not playing MOBAs. Still, at the end of the day, just about any other kind of video game will suffice for the purpose. Perhaps you want to go roam around and slay dragons in Skyrim, or go exploring in World of Warcraft, or even just kick back and enjoy a visual novel. The world is your oyster.

It’s always worth remembering that we come to video games to be entertained and have fun. Amidst the eternal grind of competitive games and less than savoury insults being hurled back and forth, it can sometimes be hard to remember that. But it is something to always remember. If you’re not enjoying yourself, step back and give it a bit. The game will still be there when you’re ready, and you’ll be much more refreshed and able to give it your all.

What other kinds of games do you enjoy in between your MOBA sessions? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

(Header image courtesy of TeeTurtle)

Path of Exile Content Update 2.3.0 and Prophecy Challenge Leagues Launches June 4 Mon, 06 Jun 2016 07:44:33 -0400 Sonny Go

Grinding Gear Games announced the launch of the newest content update for Path of Exile on June 4. This update includes the "Prophecy Challenge League," which will be playable in both Standard and Hardcore modes, both with similar content.

The "Prophecy Challenge League" will replace the "Perandus Challenge League," which was launched back in March 4 along with the Ascendancy expansion. The theme for this challenge league is all about prophecies told by a Karui Soothsayer named Navali.

For a silver coin, Navali can tell the future of those brave or foolish enough to venture into the most dangerous parts of Wraeclast in search of wealth and power. You can get a silver coin from a random monster in each area within the league.

There will also be 40 challenges that can be completed for various rewards, as well as 9 new unique items exclusive to the league. Other new content such as new non-exclusive items and skills, as well as improvements to the Labyrinth, will be added through 2.3.0 as well.

Technical improvements are also to be implemented in this content update. One of those improvements is how the game client will handle memory management, which should significantly reduce instances of "Out of Memory" crashes in older 32-bit computers.

Players should prepare to download the content update soon, as it's at a sizable 2.5 gigabytes. Grinding Gear Games has listed instructions and launch times, as well as patch notes on the Path of Exile official forums.

The 8 best free PC games for May 2016 Fri, 29 Apr 2016 05:30:01 -0400 Ty Arthur


Even without cracking open your wallet or logging into your Paypal account, there are a ton of game worlds ready and waiting to be explored.


Which of these eight games are you planning on trying out, and what free to play titles would you recommend we give a shot this month?


Let us know what we missed or what's coming out soon we should be paying attention to and we'll be sure to include it next month's look at available free PC games!


Bio Menace


Get It Here


Looking for something super retro? This old school Apogee Software game from the early '90s is now free through GOG.


Gun down monstrous beasts, grab power ups, and avoid flaming traps as commando Snake Logan in this platformer blast from the past!





Get It Here


Another cutesy, blocky game, the graphics in Trove are like a hi-rez version of Minecraft, but with significantly more dragons and explosions.


Made by Trion Worlds (developer of Rift and Defiance), this is equal parts MMO and craft-focused block game that's exactly what you'd expect based on the visual style.





Get It Here


It looks like Minecraft and its a multiplayer zombie apocalypse survival simulator. What more do you want?


If you love DayZ or blocky Lego graphics, there's no reason not to download this Early Access Steam title and try your luck at surviving the zombie hordes.



Orcs Must Die! Unchained


Get It Here


For you team-based multiplayer junkies, Orcs Must Die! Unchained is now in open beta, giving a new option for fans of fantasy titles like Dungeon Defenders.


Pick your hero, place a horde of deadly traps, and mow down orcs and trolls by the hundreds as you fight through endless waves!





Get It Here


OK, I'm sort of breaking my promise of skipping the super obvious ones, and Hearthstone is certainly not a new game, but there are big changes coming with the Whispers Of The Old Gods expansion. This new Cthulhu-themed add-on is not only bringing in more cards, but also major tweaks to some of the staples that were in need of re-balancing.


A few of the changes aren't making long-time players happy (as the go-to cards like Ironbeak Owl, Leper Gnome, and Big Game Hunter are undergoing revamps to make them less powerful or more costly) but I'm looking forward to jumping back in now that the standard strategies are out the window and players have to come up with new ones.


If you love Warcraft lore and dig CCGs like Magic: The Gathering or Might And Magic: Duels of the Champions, now is a great time to jump into the completely free Hearthstone.



Tree Of Savior


Get It Here


A newer MMORPG entry, this one clearly has some bugs to work out still, but that art style is pure nostalgia greatness. Picture some of the classic Mana titles in a sandbox MMO world, and you're pretty much at Tree Of Savior.


There's a ton of class options to play through and at the moment also a thriving player base. If you don't want to put down the money to get into a traditional subscription-based MMORPG or have gotten tired of Guilds Wars 2, definitely give this one a try.





Get It Here


This is an incredibly simple game based around one tiny idea: a nuclear reactor is about to explode, and the guy who knows how to turn it off is nowhere to be found (for some reason Homer Simpson comes to mind). You've got to stop the reactor from blowing, but the problem is you don't have any clue how the console works.


Even that description is over complicating things. This game is all about finding which two buttons on your keyboard will turn off the reactor when held down. Problem is, they reset every time you play, and you've only got six seconds to figure it out!


Obviously you won't be putting hundreds of hours into this one, but there's an undeniable rush to trying to figure out which buttons to hold down before that explosion sound hits, and it actually gets sort of addicting if you mess up several times in a row. A strange obsession hits as you realize you have to master this diabolical little indie game!



Path Of Exile


Endless deadly dungeon corridors await! Love ARPGs like Diablo 2, Torchlight, or my current obsession Grim Dawn? Then Path Of Exile is an excellent option for the frantic clickfest fanatic, offering up that classic action RPG feel with skill tree builds, progressive loot, hordes of enemies, spikes shooting up from dungeon floors, etc. Best of all, its F2P!


While there are some negatives to be found and obviously a few gameplay elements that could be tweaked, pay attention to how many hours the negative reviewers typically have sunk into this game. When many of the “not recommended” reviews have hundreds to thousands of hours spent playing, you are obviously doing something right.


2016 is solidly cruising along (its May already somehow?) but there's still little over a month left before the summer hits and all those huge game sales through services like Steam and GOG arrive.


If you are looking for a new gaming obsession but don't fancy dropping $50 - $60 for the latest AAA release, there's a whole lot of quality titles in nearly every genre worth trying out that won't cost you a penny.


We'll skip the super obvious ones this time around: you all know you can sink hundreds of hours into countless matches of MOBAs like Dota 2, League of Legends, and Heroes Of The Storm, and you don't need me to remind you.


Instead, we're going to dive into a diverse range of games from action RPGs to tower defense, MMOs, collectible card games, retro classics now online for free, and even some really offbeat indie excursions that deserve to be played by a wider audience.

Six games that are great to play with friends (that aren't shooters) Wed, 04 Nov 2015 08:47:14 -0500 John Adamczyk


1. Tabletop Simulator


From the serious-minded tabletop enthusiasts to the people who just want to make their friends scream with rage as they flip the table right before the ending of a chess match, Tabletop Simulator has something for just about everyone. With hundreds of mods to choose from, getting your friends around the digital tabletop is a very compelling option for those with the patience to get to learn this sometimes obtuse program. 


The finicky physics engine, ability to draw on any surface, and the fact that you can flip the table at any given moment, make even the most mundane games in Tabletop Simulator into something entertaining. 


It can take a while to master the program thanks to its sometimes unintuitive or poorly optimized controls, but once everyone gets the hang of it, you can do just about anything in Tabletop Simulator. 


If there's one game on this list that's worth a try for just about anyone who wants to sit down with friends and play something that isn't a shooter, this is your best bet. With too many mods to count, you can play just about anything on the tabletop. 


2. Divinity: Original Sin


For the RPG-oriented group, there's nothing better than Divinity: Original Sin - and with the enhanced edition released just last week, so there isn't a better time to go off on some good old hack-and-slash romps with your friends.


Of course, you will need to mod the game if you want to play the campaign with more than two players (and Enhanced Edition doesn't have a perfect mod for this yet). But, the game is great even with one friend, as you can go through towns causing all sorts of hijinks, from piling explosive barrels up in front of a boss before detonating them to going into town, framing a character for a murder she didn't commit, and breaking her out of jail just so the guards will kill her, thus making all of her items and money available to you for free. Divinity is a game where you can do just about anything with a friend, even play rock paper scissors against each other to decide the fate of Rivellon.


This is possibly one of the most dynamic multiplayer games on the market right now, and while modding the game to ensure four players can be in the same campaign is a bit of a hassle, it's definitely going to be a memorable experience.


The amount of freedom you're all given in a persistent world, where you can go off and explore on your own, sabotage your friends, and steal just about every single item from every house and person you come across, even when you're ignoring the main campaign, you're doing something entertaining.


Just be sure you're ready to die.


A lot.


3. Until Dawn


Ever been sitting there with your friends watching a bad scary movie when someone shouts the most obvious thing in the world?


"No, don't go in there!"


And of course, the character does it, and probably gets chopped up, eaten, or otherwise maimed. 


Well, with Until Dawn, you get a sort of interactive movie experience that, despite being part of a single player game, can make for a great multiplayer experience.


Passing the controller around chapter-by-chapter, debating which decision is the best one for the character to make, going through and debating the strange psych-eval scenes in between chapters, there are a lot of moments where talking it out with other people can make the game more interesting. And the more intense moments in the game only become more intense as everyone yells at the player with the controller to make the right choice before the timer runs out.


For friends who like watching B-grade horror movies, this is the definitive game. Just make sure nobody's spoiled on the story before going into it.


4. Diablo 3


Good old-fashioned dungeon delving without anything else to get in your way. Just tell your friends to get online, jump in, and kill every beast, zombie, and demon that gets in your party's way. Diablo 3 might be unsatisfying in many ways, but as a multiplayer game, it's hard to say no to some brutal monster slaughtering with friends, especially when Blizzard is so good at streamlining their multiplayer experiences. Diablo 3 makes it ridiculously easy to round up your friends, hit the ground running, and just start playing.


If good old hack-and-slash sounds like your kind of game but you're more on the free-to-play side of the fence, there's always the far less polished, but significantly more classical, Path of Exile, a Diablo clone that seems to be bombarded with update after update to keep you and your friends occupied for a long while.


Or, if you just don't want to jump on the Blizzard bandwagon, there's Torchlight II, which is rife with free mods that you and your friends can install to change up the game whenever it feels like it's getting a little stale.


Either way, Diablo and its many, many lookalikes are great games if you're looking for mindless slaughter and loot-hoarding with friends.


5. Hearthstone


Although criticism is constantly leveled at Hearthstone, particularly, every other player is using a deck that's been ripped straight off the internet, most of the game's problems evaporate when you start playing against friends. 


The best part about playing Hearthstone with friends? You can start putting together decks that aren't exactly good, and are, instead, fun. Ever wanted to use your Gazlowe or Hobgoblins instead of your Tirion Fordrings and Mysterious Challengers? That's what friends are for.


Perhaps more importantly, emotes don't have a built-in cooldown timer in friendly games. Go crazy.





6. MOBAs


Short for "multiplayer online battle arena," or, as most people know them: DotA 2 and League of Legends, freeware games that have taken the world by storm, and have allowed countless groups of friends to join up on the battlefield and fight for victory.


This one comes with a bit of a disclaimer: these games can break friendships just as easily as they can make them.


Games like League of Legends and DotA 2 are considered competitive by many of their players, and people can easily become frustrated by losing streaks or games where they get absolutely stomped. If you have a friend - you know, that friend, who gets more than a little angry when things go south in a game? Probably best to move on to the next game. 


If you can find a happy medium, though? There's nothing more rewarding than being able to work together with your friends as a team to overcome another skilled group of players.  


MOBAs are endless time sinks for friends who want short, quick bursts of competitive, cooperative play, or hours-long hauls of back-to-back matches.


But be warned: this game will put your friendship to the test just as much as it will your skills. 


From cooperative campaigns to competitive matches, gaming as a way of bringing friends together is a cornerstone of our hobby.


However, a lot of the games that are great to play with friends share one common trait that I'm a little tired of: they're all shooters. From CS: GO to Halo 5 to Team Fortress 2, shooting and friendship just seem to go hand-in-hand. So, what happens when you're all shootered-out, but still want to sit back and play some games with friends? 


Well, here are six games that can give you and your friends something to do together.