Recap of JoshStrifeHayes Interview With Jonathan Rogers About Path of Exile 2

JoshStrifeHayes took his time today to interview Jonathan Rogers about Path of Exile 2. This interview had a different style to it, asking even more general questions rather than announcing many new things for PoE 2.
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Recap of JoshStrifeHayes Interview With Jonathan Rogers About Path of Exile 2

JoshStrifeHayes took his time today to interview Jonathan Rogers about Path of Exile 2. This interview had a different style to it, asking even more general questions rather than announcing many new things for PoE 2.

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Recap of JoshStrifeHayes Interview

Who is Jonathan? Why would people care about you Jonathan making PoE 2? What do you bring to the table?

I usually feel as the “random youngster”. I have the ability to see the positive and negatives of other games, and solves the problem for our own game. People think I got an eye for what is shit and what’s not. I always wanted to be a Game Developer, even when I was 10 years old. When we started GGG, Chris had the vision, and I just wanted to be a Game Developer.


What pressure does it give you to produce Path of Exile 2?

Keeping on the legacy of Path of Exile! Also, the worrying of the community that gives a lot of pressure. Whenever we announce something, they hope that the community likes it, despite a lot of scepticism, specially with content that many players are not used to.


What is on your shirt?

My wardrobe consists purely out of PoE merch nowerdays!


How is your day going?

Going good, a little sleep deprivation. I got a 4 year old, which takes a bit of time.


Why PoE 2, not an expansion to PoE 1?

Feature Creep. So we thought what is one of the worst things about PoE 1 in the moment? One of the things is melee combat. So why is melee combat bad? The rigs was one of the first things that was made in the game, therefore its difficult to implement new mechanics for melees in the game. If we wanted to change for example armor, we need to remodel all the character rigs. We started looking into new rigs, and ended up finding so many new things that looked cool. We ended up re-modelling more and more things and eventually we realized we should just do a new campaign. This is when we first announced Path of Exile 2 (still as an update).

We ended up feeling that we change so much, it would not be good anymore to make it just an update. Its like “a cancer that metastasized into something completely new”


Other Interviews asked you so much about in-depth stuff, we should focus on some more general stuff. Could you beat Chris Wilson in a fist fight?

No… Chris when he was younger did Martial Arts. He frequently goes into the gym again, so I think he would beat me on that. 


What is your favorite class in the game? PoE 1 then for PoE 2?

In PoE 1 its the Ranger. One reason is that “melee sucks“, no hesitation. In PoE 2 its the Monk. Because we finally managed for melee to not suck. But every class that we make I start to appreciate more and more in PoE 2.


How much design time is spent on casual content vs. hardcore(endgame) content?

I would not necessarily specify them into two groups, its more of a spectrum. We could make a game that is evenly distributed difficult throughout the game. For us, we want to make a game that has a new League every time, and therefore we focus more difficult aspects to the endgame. Whenever players re-play the initial stuff, it should be rather achievable. Even a ‘rather-casual’ player should be able to get up to T16 maps, atleast at some point. Its tricky to not then suddenly make it incredibly difficult and players hit a roadblock. As example, if we give players Resistances, and it would infinitely go up, there should be diminishing returns. To certain degree it needs to be a gradually increasing difficulty, especially whenever players get more gear (and stats therefore). 


I love Magic, and Magic inspired games like Guild Wars. What Games did you play that you stole from for Path of Exile 2?

In most current PoE 1 leagues, we look at many Non-ARPG games and their mechanics and put them into the game as a league, so we ‘steal’ a lot anyways. When we i.e started with Delve, we looked into ‘How can we do Minecraft and morph it into the game?’. A random feature in PoE 2 that we clearly stole is Damage Numbers. We never really liked it, but someone brought it up as like can we bring up damage numbers like in Elden Ring? And I didnt even notice that, so I will shamelessly steal that! PoE 2 will have damage numbers!


Elden Ring.. hmm, so the Dodge Roll came from these games aswell like in Dark Souls?

Every good action game has Dodge Rolls, so we should aswell! Similar to Active Blocking. We want to be an Action Game, the A in ARPGs so we should have these baseline features. It took a while to convince people that we should develop something like that, but now its there! 

In one of our recent NDA tests, someone played a Boss and died, he instead of trying to fight the Boss again, he ended up grinding more mobs to get more powerful gear before trying again. I didnt even thought about someone doing that. Is it a Skill Game or a Loot Game that players want? I think players should have a certain amount of skill to beat a boss, but I didnt thought about someone wanting to loot more to beat a boss. So we might need to reconsider. 

I might also wonder if there is a different sentiment of players here vs. in China for example. 


What have you wanted to talk about, but no one has asked yet the right question?

Thats a difficult question, giving me no thought to latch on. Why do we have classes at all? Dungeon Siege 1 was an impression for Path of Exile 1, and we considered not having classes at all back in the days. Our philosophy is giving freedom to do what you want, like Gems and Passive Tree, and we try to be really open. Classes in the beginning of the game do not have much difference. Classes end up having a certain stereotype to them, and thats what players can latch on to.


Whats the reason to Identify Items? In Dungeon & Dragons, it had a purpose to identify because of Cursed Items. Is there an idea for a different system?

I need to defend identifying Items here. Its about to double-dip your dopamine. You get an item and are excited, and then you have to identify to see if its even better. In PoE 2, you will have an NPC in Town to identify, so we already mitigate the amount of rather useless Wisdom Scrolls as in PoE 1. 

With already identified Items, players would just lootfilter it out if its bad. I dont think Lootfilters are bad, but it still gives a certain experience if you pick the item up and identify it, even if it doesnt suit your expectation.


Whats your favorite video game (from a mechanic standpoint) and why?

The emotional reaction is different nowerdays than games i played as a kid like Half-Life. I am nowerdays drawn to polished experiences in games. Two games I really enjoy is God of War – not the recent one but the one before. They did a lot with little! The other game is Ori and the Will of the Wisps. This game was ‘very tight’, it had little to no bugs, and it felt really great to play. These games have been very polished. You dont see many Triple-A game titles anymore that do not have a lot of jank (extremely poor or unreliable quality).

We certainly have more content in the game in PoE 2 then other games, its actually crazy. Its scary to see how long its been in development, and we have an ridiculous amount of stuff put into the game. Assets for Affliction were used in PoE 2 in like 6 years ago, and were now too old to use in PoE 2, so we just did put it into PoE 1 as the Affliction League. 


WASD Movement is confirmed?



What Systems have you removed in PoE 2 that you brought over and scraped it again, or developed and it didnt feel good?

Thats really hard to answer, because there is no tight package to name. Like.. the way that Leech works, with an ungodly way how it works in PoE 1 works. Its now much more simple. Its not like we ‘removed’ something, but in comparison to how it worked in PoE 1, it feels like there is a lot of unnecessary complexity removed from it.


Anything major that changed from PoE 2’s initial design ideas to now?

So overall, the goals have not changed – making a polished ARPG. We wanted to make everything good from PoE 1 and elevate it. This philosophy did not change. I personally thought that i.e WASD-movement would be really bad, and at the time I thought its dumb to have something like that in an ARPG. But once we did it, it suddenly felt really good. That might be a good example of something that surprised me over the course of the last years.

Especially because of the WASD-Movement, many things had to be changed once again to support that and required a huge amount of work. 


Melees in PoE 1 seem to be hated, why is this?

I got five answers to the question:

  1. the rigs, as we talked previously about. the old rigs that PoE 1 has makes all new animations to be designed really difficult. In PoE 2, animations are transferable and easier to work with. Just look at the Templar, he is left-handed… why even?
  2. Most melee skills can be used by most weapon classes, so you have to make the skill for all weapon classes – once again animation design being so unnecessarily difficult and old-fashioned.
  3. Multiplying factors that you have to know what to do in order to skill damage. Like Totems.. you have to pick it, and its straight up a noob-trap. Or Fortify, another thing that melees need to have otherwise they feel bad.
  4. Moving while Melee’ing. PoE 1 could just not really support, a lot of technical internal stuff. Very complicated. In PoE 2, we have something like Stab-Attack, different animations depending on how far you are to the enemy. Thats another reason why we think that WASD movement will work in PoE 2, but not in PoE 1.
  5. Targeting your attacks. In PoE 1 all attacks must be ultra short, otherwise your character feels locked in place for too long. 


What is the strangest design lesson that you learned as a Game Designer?

‘Everything is Game Design’ – Even communicating with players is Game Design. The expectation and reputation of the game is also Game Design. If you die in Elden Ring early on, you think “yeah, of course i died its Elden Ring“.


I am not using the Letter and Number combination that Chat wants me to say. What Games have you played that are bad, and might have inspired you to do better?

I know chat wants me to talk about D4. I dont feel good if(when) Blizzard messes up. I do not celebrate when other game companies fuck up. I feel the pain of the developers if they mess up. I am thinking more about games like Starfield. Yep.. that game. 

Right from the beginning, the plot in Starfield was a problem to me, it didnt make sense. 

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