written by Blain Newport on Tuesday, 06 September, 2011
After PAX normal human gaming loses a bit of its luster for a week or two.
Saints Row 2
Ah PC gaming. I spent the better part of an hour troubleshooting why I couldn't join Morkath for some co-op. I opened a bunch of ports and nothing. I tried starting a new character. Nothing. He tried some fiddling on his end. Nothing. Eventually it turned out that I could never connect if his game required a password. To clarify, GameSpy is so terrible that it makes it so you can't connect to a game with a password, ever.
One of my favorite bits of the Borderlands 2 panel was during the Q&A. Gearbox CEO and co-founder Randy Pitchford was asked whether it would use GameSpy. He responded "What's GameSpy?" After the applause he was asked to elaborate. "We're past that." Gearbox is even retroactively patching GameSpy out of Borderlands. That's what a pain it is.
But enough whining. Morkath was playing without the crazy appearance slider part of the Gentlement of the Row mod. This made Hellboy go from this...
Path of Exile
I finally tried the Path of Exile beta.
For the most part, it's Titan Quest. They've got a nice health mechanic where your health flasks store four or five charges which automatically replenish as you kill enemies. Unless you're wearing gear that heals you, flasks are the only way to recover health, so you have to manage it a bit (unless you're a pack rat like me and keep all your flasks topped off all the time). But I'd rather have to remember to heal once in a while than manage stacks of potions.
This is PoE's skill system. Keep in mind this is still beta. What you're seeing is a tiny part of the overall tree. I'd say it's probably sixteen screens (four by four) of this kind of graph. And since it mostly reuses icons, the player has to read each and every one to find out which abilities are which. Since some of the icons just say "temp" at this point, this will be improved.
What won't likely be improved (to my way of thinking) is accuracy as a stat. You can miss in PoE. To paraphrase Randy Pitchford, I'm past that. There's more than enough math to do in comparing loot and deciding which skills to get. You get one skill point a level, so having to spend even one point on accuracy is galling.
Maybe that's just me. The Diablo 3 beta that was at PAX 2009 worked the same way. But in my world only comic relief heroes should whiff this much.