Diablo 3 is an excellent RPG with plenty of enemies to fell, adventures to take on and reasons to keep coming back. Path of Exile is another option that's rife with similarities. Both games have their own set of different and similar mechanics.
So how do you decide which game is better for you if you only have the time to play through one? Requnix offers a granular breakdown of the differences between the two games, and we're to help explain it to you.
Path of Exile vs. Diablo 3: Storyline and general content comparison
Diablo 3 has a polished and entertaining storyline that ties into the first two games, Diablo and Diablo 2. It's diverse, with characters you'll remember from the other games if you played those as well. It's more prominent here than in several other action RPGs.
You'll explore swamps, deserts, catacombs and a variety of additional lands throughout Diablo 3. Everywhere you go feels as though it's part of a terrifyingly dark war, which is a good way to explain how the game feels in general.
Path of Exile features a dark and decidedly more disturbing storyline, but it focuses much more on gameplay rather than the plot. With that said, there's still a narrative here to traverse. It just isn't as expansive as Diablo 3, which has three games' worth of lore.
There are various regions to discover throughout Path of Exile, with additional expansions and new areas sprinkled in after release. One important thing to remember about Path of Exile, however, is the fact that, unlike in Diablo 3, bodies continue to pile up as you play rather than disappear, which lends a dismal feel to the environment.
Path of Exile vs. Diablo 3: Skills, quests, and companions
Diablo 3 places its focus squarely on a set of core classes that you can choose at the beginning of the game. You can also assign skills and runes very easily, meaning you won't have to change out your skills by creating a new character altogether. It's simple enough for most players to understand as well.
There are various quests that you can discover throughout Diablo 3's game world. However, the game can sometimes feel repetitive and grindy.
As far as companions go, Diablo 3 has certain followers that you can equip with items and skills. If you find yourself playing along that can be extremely useful.
Path of Exile has an extremely dynamic skill tree with additional complexities. You'll want to create multiple characters with various builds instead of specialized classes. You can also use skill gems with variables, which can be an entire "game" within itself to figure out. You'll need to dedicate additional time to mastering them if you want to make progress in-game. If you like additional customization like this, you'll probably gravitate more to Path of Exile.
There are also temporary companions in Path of Exile like golems, but they aren't like Diablo 3's companion that can act alone and on your behalf like additional characters.
Path of Exile vs. Diablo 3: Combat
Diablo 3's combat is click-oriented, with floating damage that pops up over enemies' heads and plenty of visual effects that push you to keep playing. Each class also feels different when you swap between them, and the enemies can deal various types of damage. It's both casual enough for newcomers and hardcore enough to satisfy veteran players.
Path of Exile is a more hardcore affair with intense combat. Mechanics like stuns, teleporting, exploding, puncturing and other skills come into play, and there are no damage values displayed when attacks are executed. It's really meant for hardcore players, unlike the more welcoming Diablo 3.
Path of Exile vs. Diablo 3: Overall
Requnix writes that Diablo 3 is the clear-cut option for casual players, while Path of Exile is more hardcore with its own unique economy and other aspects that aim for more seasoned players in all. PoE is also free to play, which may be a deciding factor for some people.
It really comes down to personal choice if you're choosing between the two games, though you can always try both. But if you're pressed for time now you know which game to play.