Which one is the superior one?
When talking about the ARPG genre, two games rise to the top of the discussion. Diablo is a well-loved franchise from gaming giant Blizzard. Facing them is Path of Exile, Grinding Gear Games’ entry in the genre. Since its release in 2013, it has amassed a huge player base and spawned versions for various consoles through the years. Will you be farming PoE currency or Diablo equipment? Here is a comparison.
Having been released in 2012 and currently not receiving any more updates, Diablo 3’s graphics are good enough. They hold up to the current standards, which satisfies most people. It’s not going to get any better though, as Blizzard will not add upgrades or more content. The most recent release is Diablo 2: Resurrected, which is a remaster of Diablo 2. The updated graphics stand up to the current times as well, though it’s not to the level of AAA titles currently.
Path of Exile has gotten better and better ever since its release. It’s still ongoing after all these years, and GGG is even planning on releasing a sequel. The constant updates make sure it’s up-to-date with current hardware. It also gets more skills added every major update, bringing more spectacular effects to the game. It’s sometimes mesmerizing to watch skills go off when fighting in PoE.
On normal settings, PoE has just about the same graphics as Diablo, but it can be turned up to high definition and ultra-high definition if the hardware is able.
Let’s call this a draw for now, as not everyone can afford the fastest hardware.
Both being ARPGs, the basic gameplay is similar. However, the difference is how the games treat skills and equipment. In Diablo, players have a choice of classes, and each class has unique skills only they can use. That makes each class different from the others in gameplay. With different skills, you have different strategies and builds. Equipment in the game also has better effectiveness with full sets than not.
In PoE, all classes share a massive passive skill tree. It’s possible to cross the tree with enough points, but this also means that other classes may eventually have the same passives as others. The only exception is the Ascendancy passives, which are unique.
Active skills are itemized into gems, which can be placed onto certain equipment. These gems can be further modified with support gems, as long as the sockets within the gear are linked. Due to being itemized, any class can use any skill, provided they have the gem for it. The system gives a greater degree of freedom and customization.
Equipment in PoE doesn’t have sets, meaning there’s no pressure to collect certain specific equipment. The problem is crafting them, which is a fight against RNG to get the best stats for the gear you’re trying to create. Looting them can also be a problem due to the amount of junk you have to sift through. Mitigated by some third-party filters, but still, good items are pretty rare in PoE.
For this one, those who like a more traditional experience should play Diablo. Those who like experimenting and figuring out builds should play PoE. This article rates PoE a bit higher, due to the versatility of building characters in the game. Diablo limits you with what sets and skills you can use.
The Diablo games have a recurring goal for each game, to defeat and reseal Diablo. However, each game brings the player through different trials and challenges to do so. It’s a more clearly linear game, though there are side quests to do in every area. The main storyline for all three games is strong too. The post/endgame falls apart though.
As mentioned above, Diablo 3 has stopped receiving regular content updates, meaning it’s stagnant and players won’t get additional things to do. There is a season running every few weeks, but season after season of starting up from scratch isn’t anyone’s idea of fun after a few tries. There’s Diablo 2 Resurrected, but it’s pretty much the old version with a few improvements. It’s good for anyone who hasn’t tried a Diablo game yet, but veterans would be looking for a new, fresher experience.
As for Path of Exile, it’s a mess. You need a guide to tell you where the next main quest is because the game isn’t going to tell you twice or clarify cryptic clues. The plot has mixed reception, as some players like it while others pretty much ignore it. The latter may be because veterans have to go through all of it again and again as they create more characters. It does have better extra content because every three months or so, a new league starts, which gives players brand new mechanics to play with.
Endgame is a little grindy, as it consists of farming PoE currency either for crafting or PoE trade. Once that’s done and the build is mostly complete, there is a whole gamut of bosses to try it out with. Still, some players get stuck in the grind because they don’t get that one perfect piece of equipment that they want.
Diablo has a more polished and central storyline, while there are so many activities you can do in PoE. Due to the sheer amount of content (and more incoming) in Path of Exile, it wins this round. If going by plot any storyline though, Diablo would win.
Both are great games, there’s no denying that. It’s also a fact that there will always be defenders of either game, devoted and loyal. Path of Exile may have won in this article, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t play any of the Diablo games.
This is only the comparison of one person anyway. Others can disagree and like Diablo more. Some may even like both, in different ways. At any rate, the best thing to do is enjoy whichever game you prefer. Have fun whether that’s by farming PoE currency or Diablo equipment!