The free-to-play dungeon crawling action-RPG Path of Exile has withstood the test of time with its consistent seasons bringing unique mechanics, and the addition of new content that challenges new players and veterans alike. With free-to-play titles, however, comes the consistent question of whether or not the title is a type of pay-to-win scheme that gives those with deep wallets an advantage over free players.
Pay to win can be a vague term, however — some find the mere ability to purchase items for progression as pay to win, while others determine how free-to-play a title actually is by how tedious the grind is without paying. For Path of Exile, however, using only official channels, the answer is straightforward.
What is ‘pay to win’
Pay to win is when players receive an advantage with purchases, in comparison to those who do not. These advantages can come from increased XP gains, crafting materials, or weapons and armor only achievable through purchases.
Path of Exile microtransactions
With this in mind, Path of Exile is decidedly not pay to win — at least, not officially. Through official channels, players cannot purchase crafting materials, experience increases, or items that directly impact gameplay. The microtransactions offered are solely cosmetic, and are celebrated within the community as a means of supporting the developers.
Various seasons tend to offer new cosmetics, and with the amount of time players can spend within a single Path of Exile league, it’s a more than reasonable transaction to make. The issue arises, however, from unofficial channels of trade.
While purchasing materials, armor, and weaponry for money is a bannable offense in Path of Exile, that hasn’t stopped a multitude of websites from offering game items for real money. Early in seasons, there is little risk of users purchasing materials as the farmers also must progress. Later in the season, however, players can note that it isn’t uncommon for some materials to be offered for payment in community areas.
Once players hit end game of any Path of Exile league, or season, the loot comes hard and fast. The only ultimate blockade players will experience at this point is ensuring they have the strongest builds, and they have enough time to map. Players will want to look closely at FilterBlade for custom filters to sort through the sheer amount of drops that can happen in a singular dungeon at that point.