Is Path of Exile 2 Shaping Up to Become A Diablo 4 Killer?
Since more light has been shed on Path of Exile 2 and Diablo 4 Season 1 launched, many are dubbing Grinding Gear Games’ sequel to Path of Exile as the “Diablo Killer.” During ExileCon 2023, footage and information surrounding Path of Exile 2 were released to the masses. Fans were quick to spot the differences and similarities between the game’s core mechanics with Diablo 4.
Since Path of Exile launched, loot-driven, top-down games have grown to become some of the best and most popular RPG games. Now that we’re spoiled for choice regarding ARPGs, fans of the genre tend to pit their favorite games with one another, hence the “Diablo 4 killer” matter.
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Based on the available information, Path of Exile 2—at least on paper—seems to have the upper hand in this “battle.” ExileCon 2023 showed us that the sequel boasts a robust campaign teeming with hundreds of unique bosses, an extensive customization process to sink your teeth into, and a dozen new classes—each with three unique Ascendancy classes.
Now, that might sound like a lot to look forward to you, but Path of Exile 2 is still shrouded in mystery and uncertainty regarding its seasonal and endgame content. We currently have the traditional, three-month-long Leagues that offer exclusive rewards and fresh gameplay loops, but it’s still unsure whether we’ll still have that for Path of Exile’s sequel.
Meanwhile, Diablo 4 is grappling with its issues—most of which I’m sure you’re aware of if you’re an avid Diablo player. Primarily attributed to its Season 1 update, the ARPG has declined in popularity, and Season of the Malignant started by highlighting a series of already-existing and underlying problems. Worst of all, it created new ones.
Let’s not forget about how Blizzard butchered the Battle Pass either. Players are discontent with the seasonal additions. The fact that you have to pay more money on top of shelling out $69.99 for a standard edition copy is ludicrous. Granted, the rewards you’ll get from the Battle Pass are merely cosmetics, but that doesn’t change the fact that it feels like the corporates at the top are getting too greedy for their own good.
Blizzard fumbled the ball hard with Diablo 4, but one thing they got right was having long-term plans. Diablo 4’s development team thought too far ahead when they released the Season 1 patch. This resulted in players having a compromised experience. Instead of being satisfied with the update, they wanted rollbacks. Thankfully, the dev team has owned up to their mistakes in the recent Campfire Chat and stated they already have plans to mitigate their players’ issues with the current patch.
Blizzard’s mistake was releasing Diablo 4 far too early with little to no content. The first few seasons will act as an extended beta for the ARPG while Blizzard grinds the axe. They can do better now that they’ve heard the people’s perspective on Season 1’s launch. A year should be enough time to make the necessary improvements, change the narrative, and flip the script. If Blizzard does that, Diablo 4 will be in its best state when Path of Exile 2 comes out.
Then again, that’s a big if on Blizzard’s part. The development team and Diablo 4 are inevitably caught between a rock and a hard place. Despite Blizzard having enough talent in their company, it appears they’ve not played with an ARPG for a while—or ever, for that matter. Sometimes, Diablo 4 relies too heavily on its stunning art design and well-established gameplay to mask its flaws, such as balance issues, lack of endgame content, and itemization.
Perhaps the theory that the corporate bigwigs pressure the people behind Diablo 4 to make decisions that aren’t in the game’s best interest is true. Diablo is Blizzard’s fastest-selling title in all of its history, nearly making a billion in revenue just after a week into its launch.
Deeming Path of Exile 2 as the clear winner between the two games doesn’t prove anything—at least not right now. Path of Exile 2 may face similar issues that Diablo 4’s currently having. Plus, by the time Path of Exile 2 starts its closed beta next year, Blizzard will have released their fifth season for Diablo 4.
Diablo 4 and Path of Exile 2 are in the same boat, even in the face of differences. Path of Exile 2 might seem like it’s outshining Diablo 4 with every turn. Grinding Gear Games’ golden child promises a campaign with over a hundred unique bosses and a deep customization process. Path of Exile 2 also has Diablo 4 beat on classes as well. The former is slated to have 12 classes with three Ascendancy classes each, while the latter only has five to boast about.
That said, Grinding Gear Games isn’t trying to “beat” Diablo 4. Given how beloved their first game is among its fanbase, why would it? As we wait for the release of Path of Exile 2 and see how Diablo 4 tries to better itself, it’s crucial to note that the existence of one doesn’t necessitate the demise of the other party.
When Path of Exile 2 officially comes out, that doesn’t mean it’ll be locked in a mutually exclusive battle with Diablo 4. Instead, both games are weaving complementary narratives that can only benefit the ARPG genre and consumers.