The free-to-play action role-playing game “Path of Exile” has exploded in popularity since Wednesday’s open beta release.
The game, developed by independent company Grinding Gear Games, powered its way into the top 5 most-played games among Xfire users. The game’s popularity appears to be mostly organically grown because the game had no prominent advertisements.
“Path of Exile” may be the first “Diablo 3” clone, which could be welcoming news to action RPG fans disappointed by the highly anticipated Blizzard title. “Path of Exile” is dark, difficult and innovative. It doesn’t have a currency: Players must barter with NPC merchants and players using other items.
An image of the game’s skill tree — forest-like in its complexity and depth — filtered through the Internet near the open beta release, an image that seemed to drum up anticipation for the game.
“Path of Exile” had been in closed beta since August 2011. The indie developer also introduced Wednesday its monetization model for the game, which includes unobtrusive vanity items. The developer called the business model “ethical” because it doesn’t force gamers to buy features for them to progress through the game.
To play “Path of Exile,” sign up for an account on the game’s website.