The Path of Exile Ruthless mode is one of the latest additions to the long-running RPG game, aiming to offer an optional experience targeted at hardcore, old-school veterans of games such as Diablo 2 that enables dramatically more item scarcity in an attempt to make every new upgrade feel more meaningful. Now one of the game’s most famous faces, PoE and Diablo veteran player and Twitch streamer Octavian ‘Kripparrian’ Morosan, has returned to try the new mode – and he’s a big fan so far.
Kripparrian has long been at the forefront of the hardcore RPG community, initially rising to attention as the first person to complete a community challenge to level a character to max in World of Warcraft with no deaths. Since then, he was one of the first pair to beat Diablo 3 on hardcore Inferno difficulty, the highest setting at the game’s launch, doing so both on a hardcore (permadeath) character and prior to a patch that made the game notably easier.
Alongside this, Kripparrian was one of the biggest YouTube and Twitch personalities playing Path of Exile during its initial years; he was one of the main reasons I got into the game around launch, with his enthusiasm for its overwhelmingly complex skill tree and potential build variety. Nowadays, he’s primarily a Hearthstone streamer, but has returned to Path of Exile to spend time with its new ultra-challenging mode.
Playing Path of Exile Ruthless reminds Kripparrian of playing the game at launch, he says with an enthusiastic smile, “but a little bit better.” He speaks to the excitement generated by the scarcity, saying, “the fact that everything really matters absolutely does hold true, and in my opinion it is a more enjoyable experience.” He’s also playing ‘solo self-found’ (meaning no trading with other players), though he notes that Ruthless with trading is a good medium for anyone not wanting to fully commit to the all-in grind that solo Ruthless brings.
“If you want better gear, you have to just kill more monsters,” Kripparrian explains, “that’s how it works – and I love that. It’s beautiful; you don’t have to worry about anything else.” He notes that even crafting is minimised, with only a couple of pieces of your gear at most likely to come from crafting due to the scarcity of resources. There’s also a huge penalty to experience gains at high levels – despite being level 92, he estimates that he’s put in almost as much time as “beyond level 100 in non-Ruthless.”
This means that if you’re playing Ruthless, Kripparrian recommends a tanky, versatile character. “Right now if I die I lose like three hours of game time,” he explains, referring to the amount of earned experience lost upon death. There are also no movement skills in Ruthless, so he recommends farming “tons and tons of low level maps.” Speaking to the endgame content, he adds, “You really need a character that can do every map. That might mean that you need to do a map extremely slowly – but you still need to do the map.”
As for the other systems, Kripparrian highlights the ability to cash in three gems of one colour to roll another gem of that matching colour. Because you can’t buy gems from vendors in Ruthless, this is one of the best ways to try and nab the ones you want. “Having played a character as much as I have, I can say that eventually you’ll get the support gems you want. I think my character has found every single support gem in the game except for the non-enhanced premium ones – I haven’t found Empower, Enlighten, and Portal.”
Because maps have far fewer mechanics in Ruthless but the seasonal mechanic appears in every map, Kripparrian says he is excited for the potential for seasons to “warp and define a new league much more significantly in Ruthless compared to the regular game mode – the game league to league will actually be more different.” He’s not a fan of the current league’s offering, however, so while “in general that’s a pro, in this particular case it’s very much a con because the new mechanic is terrible for Ruthless.”
In addition to Ruthless mode, Path of Exile 3.20 introduces a roguelike dungeon called The Forbidden Sanctum, as well as an overhaul to monster mods aimed at replacing the controversial Path of Exile Archnemesis system. We’ve got more of the best games like Diablo on PC if you’re looking for ways to satiate your loot lust until the Diablo 4 release date arrives later this year.