Path of Exile has been a tremendous free-to-play success. The dark, gritty action-RPG, brought into open beta by Grinding Gear Games in January, has scratched that click-until-it-dies itch that kept Diablo players coming back for so long. As of today, the game has hit two million registered users.
Part of the reason for this success has been Grinding Gear Games’ attitude toward its community. Content updates come weekly, including balance tweaks along with new skills and unique items, some of the latter of which have been designed by subscribers who paid $1000 for the privilege. That ties into the free-to-play game’s other defining trait: “ethical” micro-transactions.
While there is a cash shop in Path of Exile, it primarily allows for the purchasing of conveniences, such as additional or color-coded stash tabs, and aesthetic bonuses, like pets and alternate visual effects for skills. The most direct impact one can have on the actual game is the design of a unique item, and this, as noted above, is prohibitively expensive for most. It’s also something from which the entire community benefits.
Path of Exile will see a full release in September of this year.
Source: Press Release