Allright so I finally played PoE for a couple of hours. Got a lvl 14 fireball/summoner Witch, and a lvl 10 archer Shadow.
My first impressions:
- The look & feel. This is without a doubt the true sequel to Diablo II.
- The fucking amazing passive skill tree. I don't know how it plays out in end-game, but so far I love it. It truly gives you choices that you have to think about, and the possibilities seem endless. Moreover, beside the respec points you might gain, the choices you make are permanent, which I love.
- The gem system. One of my favourite things about Final Fantasy VII was the Materia system, and it seems PoE has nicely borrowed this great mechanic. I still believe one of D3's greatest mistakes was removing runestones as physical items. And here we have PoE with an even cooler system.
- The health/mana potion system. It's a nice clutter-free evolution from D2's system with a ton of room for added complexity. It's also far, far better than D3's embarassingly crappy and useless potion system.
- The map system. I haven't experienced it yet (too low lvl), but from what I've seen of it it seems like an amazing idea for end-level content. Can't wait to try it out.
- Clicking areas are terrible. For example, it's a complete pain to click on a chest while you have 4 of your zombies standing around it. Clicking on exits to other areas aswell as waypoints is also a huge pain. Seems like you have to click exactly on the name, or it often won't work.
- The layover map. It's pretty much a carbon-copy of the D2 map, which was fine at the time, but which seems very outdated nowadays. I would like a slicker, clearer map functionality.
- No offline mode. I bitched about it with D3, so it's only fair that I bitch about it with PoE. I get the whole hackers argument, but at the end of the day it's still an inconvenience to have to wait in line for overloaded servers at peak hour when I want to play single-player anyway. Not a huge deal, though, I can live with always-online.
- Vendors and currency. Selling junk seems like a huge pain, though this is likely something that will be improved as the Beta moves forward. The idea of having no gold as currency seems good, but it causes quite a lot of clutter with the multiple badly-stacking currencies
- No chat "lounge". One of the most requested features in D3 is also sadly not present in PoE. The bulletin board method to join pugs is a small step in the right direction, but I hop they plan on adding a real lounge with channels, avatars, and most importantly, a clickable gem.