The thirtieth episode of The Diablo Podcast. In this episode we take a break from Diablo III to focus on another game, the upcoming free-to-play, dark fantasy MMORPG, Path of Exile. PoE’s lead developer Chris Wilson joins Flux for an in-depth conversation about the game’s innovative features, their financial plans to fund development through “ethical micro-transactions,” the game’s impending beta test, and much more.
Besides the game feature info, II was curious to hear about the experience of making a game. PoE is Grinding Gear Game’s first title, and as far as I know, many of the developers, including Chris, had never worked on a video game before. What’s it been like to go from a fan of games to a developer? Dealing with the press? Meeting fans? Handling forum fights over nerfs in patches? Listen for insight into all of that.
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Here’s a newer quote from Chris, updating us on the first days of the Path of Exile beta test.
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We entered Beta this week, and it has been an awesome experience. Right now, the game servers are bustling with players who seem to be having a great time and are writing up some useful notes with their impressions and feedback. The game itself hasn’t run into any major technical issues, but we’ve ironically been struggling to keep the website up. Daily traffic has ramped up to 20 times our previous average now that we have tens of thousands of fans eager to play.
We wanted to avoid swamping the game/patching servers by inviting users in waves, so we decided to trickle users in at a controllable rate. Our solution was to add a countdown timer to the Path of Exile site which invites a new user every (currently, but has been lower) 15 minutes. It shows who the last/next users to be invited are. Many fans seem to spend much of the day watching it count down to each new user. This “beta troll device” created a lot of controversy. Many people applauded the the novel approach, but a lot of fans really hated to see dozens of relatively quiet users get invited to the Beta for each prominent community member. After a lot of discussion with the community, we settled on having a second timer, which invites “veteran” community members who signed up before the recent Beta rush and actually posted on the forums.
All in all, it’s really exciting as developers to see our game getting played. We really look forward to adding content, revamping systems and generally improving the game over the next few months!