Grinding Gear Games crowd-funds $US200,000 to fund Path of Exile

The makers of role-playing video game Path of Exile, New Zealand-based Grinding Gear Games, have launched a crowd-funding campaign where players can pre-purchase game currency and receive rewards such as Closed Beta Keys and exclusive in-game pets in return.

In first six days the free-to-play ‘ethical microtransaction’ funded role playing game (RPG) has sold over $US200,000 worth of supporter packs to 13,000 fans, the company said in a statement.

The previous weekend 46,911 players stress tested the game.

“We literally had hundreds of people asking how they could support the game to get to Open Beta sooner. We were blown away by the community enthusiasm at the stress test weekend, so we moved quickly to open our shop earlier than planned. We’ve been blown away again by the support over Easter,” says Grinding Gear Games’ co-founder Chris Wilson.

Thirteen people have bought the $1000 Diamond Supporter package, which will let them help design one of the game’s Unique magic items.

Path of Exile features its own dark, gritty take on the Action RPG genre, a unique skill gem system, a huge passive skill tree and PvP combat in a persistent online world.

“The crowd-funding presales mean Path of Exile will enter Open Beta in June with three acts of content. Although we plan to pile on the content for years to come, further support will greatly accelerate it and help pay for our US and European servers.”

Grinding Gear Games have committed to never charge for content or power.

“Selling supporter packs and currency has also been a great test of our ‘ethical microtransaction’ philosophy. We hate the concept of pay-to-win games, so it’s great to see that players are willing to support the game and to buy purely cosmetic items,” says Wilson.

A range of supporter packs are available on Path of Exile’s website. The cheapest tier is $10 which includes Closed Beta access. Higher tiers come with in-game Kiwi bird Pets, a collector’s edition copy of the game, t-shirts, soundtracks, signed posters, and the option to design a Unique Item.

All packs include game currency which can be used to buy extra character slots and stash tabs for compulsive item hoarding. More personalisation options and player services are planned for the Open Beta.

Any purchases made now will continue into the Open Beta, although Closed Beta characters and non-microtransaction items will be wiped upon entering Open Beta in approximately June.

During the stress test weekend, 46,911 people tried the game with the servers successfully handling a peak load of 7310 players.

“The stress test was great - we learnt a lot about how people are playing and enjoying the game. We’ve built Path of Exile as an online game with PvP and support for various leagues and game modes from the ground up, and we’re really pleased with how the servers performed,” says Wilson.

Path of Exile has been in development for five years by Grinding Gear Games, an independent studio of hardcore RPG fans based in Auckland, New Zealand.

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