Path of Exile vs. Diablo 3: Which Game Should You Play?

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In the world of ARPG, no franchise is as famous as Blizzard’s Diablo. The series spawned multiple entries, and each garnered a cult following. Diablo series spawned a series of so-called Diablo clones as well, and none came close to dethroning the original ARPG as Path of Exile came close. Developed as an indie game by Grinding Gear Games, Path of Exile can only be described as “Diablo if the fan base was making it.” Considering that Path of Exile is the most successful and the biggest rival of the Diablo franchise in general, we’ve decided to compare it to Diablo 3, released in 2008. Having said that, let’s see which game is better when it comes down to Path of Exile vs. Diablo 3.

  • Article Breakdown:
  • The choice between Path of Exile and Diablo 3 comes completely from personal preferences.
  • Even though the games belong to the same genre, they are tailored toward different players.
  • If you prefer the hardcore experience, go for Path of Exile.
  • If you prefer a casual, grindy, but overall rewarding experience and are just starting to discover the world of ARPGs, go for Diablo 3. 

Path of Exile vs. Diablo 3: Combat 

The first important aspect of Diablo 3 and Path of Exile we will analyze is combat. Both games belong to the action RPG genre, so you expect the combat to be the same. It isn’t. The combat in Diablo 3 is generally much more fast-paced than it is in Path of Exile. It’s based on timing your cooldowns and hitting your rotations properly. The rotations are not complicated by any means but missing just one step in that pre-coordinated process means that you can suffer severe consequences. You need to constantly be aware of your surroundings and think of the cooldowns and when to time your abilities properly. 

path of
Both games are fast, but Path of Exile is a bit slower

Path of Exile doesn’t rely on rotations and cooldowns as much. Thus the combat is much more slow-paced. Since some players prefer fast-paced and some prefer slow-paced, both games get the point in this category.

Diablo 3, 1: Path of Exile, 1 

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Classes 

Diablo 3 has unique and distinct classes Barbarian, Crusader, Demon Hunter, Monk, Necromancer, Witch Doctor, or Wizard. Each class has specific skills and abilities that need to be invested in for your character to be viable. Items are specific to classes as well, and the system is designed with balance in mind, more or less. This leaves the player plenty of freedom to choose and unique and distinct class and makes leveling easier, which leaves much less room for mistakes. 

Diablo 3 classes

Path of Exile also has seven classes. Those are primary or “core” classes that can later branch into hybrid classes or “Ascendancy” classes. The classes in question are Ranger, Marauder, Witch, Templar, Champion, Shadow, and Scion. Skills, attributes, items, and gems are shared across all classes in Path of Exile, making every class feel the same.

Path of exile classes

This strips their uniqueness as the only unique aspect of the class is its ascendancy passive ability. Every class has an enormous pool of attributes and skills to choose from, making it easier to build your character wrong. Regarding the classes category, the point goes toward Diablo 3.

Diablo 3, 2: Path of Exile, 1 

Graphics and visuals 

Path of Exile and Diablo 3 have outdated graphics with a similar theme. It’s not something we can rate objectively, and in this day and age, neither of the games looks as well as some modern equivalents. If you’re trying to get into Diablo 3 or Path of Exile due to visuals, don’t, as that isn’t the main point of the games.

Diablo 3 visuals
Diablo 3 has Blizzard’s trademark cartoonish graphics

The only difference between the games is that Diablo has a trademark Blizzard cartoonish feel, which certainly puts off some players, but not all. Since this criterion depends on personal preferences and the games look fairly old, both games get the point in the visuals category. 

Diablo 3, 3: Path of Exile, 2

Community and add-ons

Community and add-ons is the category in which Path of Exile prevails, as fans practically made the game. Path of Exile has an active and dedicated community of fans made up of the most hardcore connoisseurs of the ARPG genre who have sunk hundreds, if not thousands, of hours into the game, both playing and creating new content. This resulted in some of the best add-ons dedicated to making the game harder and more accessible to new players. There are tons of resources online, and even though the game is easy to get into, it’s hard to master, and the resources created by the community can be of massive help.

Path of exile addons
Path of Exile has player-made content

Diablo 3 has a casual community, and even though the game is still played today, it’s been on life support for a while, with most of the player base migrating to other games. Oh, and it’s important to mention that Diablo 3 does not support player-made content like add-ons. In fact, the use of add-ons can result in a permanent ban. It’s clear which game gets the point here. 

Diablo 3, 3: Path of Exile, 3

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Path of Exile vs. Diablo: which game should you play? 

It’s clear from our analysis that both games have their own unique approach to the ARPG genre. I mean, Path of Exile was created by hardcore fans of the genre to address the shortcomings that most of the games in the genre had. However, with this in mind, we can only conclude that Diablo 3 and Path of Exile cater to different types of players. Both games are enjoyable and easy to get into and get addicted to.

However, Diablo 3 is much more fast-paced, and its balance and uniqueness of the classes make it a more enjoyable game for casual players. Path of Exile’s grind, complicated items, class, and character progression system make it more suitable for hardcore fans of the genre. The choice is ultimately yours. No matter which game you choose, expect hours of fun.

Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!

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