Fans hope Path of Exile Ruthless ultra-hard mode eases base game grind

A new Path of Exile Ruthless mode offers an ultra-hard experience for fans of the fantasy RPG, leaving PoE players hopeful it helps lessen the base game’s grind

Path of Exile Ruthless mode - a minotaur in an orange helmet swings an electrified two-handed mace

As Grinding Gear Games unveils its new Path of Exile Ruthless mode, an optional ultra-hard setting for the RPG game, some fans say they are looking forward to the challenge it provides while others hope that it will free the fantasy game’s base modes of some of the perceived “tedium” and grind of recent seasons. Players have expressed frustration in recent months with the Path of Exile Archnemesis system and the resulting trend of PoE loot goblins that have left players feeling forced into a very all-or-nothing farming style as they search out endgame gear.

In its announcement post, GGG describes Ruthless as “an additional character creation flag alongside Hardcore and Solo Self-Found that allows you to opt-in to extreme item scarcity and various other changes.” Put simply, the toggle causes massively reduced item drop quantity and removes many items such as rings, amulets, belts, and gems from vendors so they must be found naturally. It also drastically decreases the amount of crafting currency that drops and removes some of the most powerful crafting options in the game.

On top of this, Ruthless also introduces a wealth of additional small but notable tweaks to “make Path of Exile harder and allow skilled players to differentiate themselves from everyone else.” This includes a stacking character experience penalty to make leveling up increasingly tough, a removal of almost all movement skills, free-for-all loot drops, flasks not refilling automatically upon entering a town, and hardcore characters facing true permadeath instead of being transfered to a standard character upon defeat.

GGG says it expects Ruthless to release alongside the Path of Exile 3.20 expansion in December, but that it considers the first league to be a beta test and “will not be afraid of making mid-league adjustments to Ruthless.” In closing, the team notes that “Ruthless is a mode where you aren’t expected to get to maps,” Path of Exile’s standard endgame grind, and that the team is “very excited to see how this experiment plays out.”

It’s undoubtedly a cool feature for the most dedicated players looking to truly test themselves against everything PoE can throw at them – some fans are expressing their excitement for a mode where every new drop has the possibility to be that minor upgrade you so desperately need. Others are having fun joking about how brutal the mode sounds. While players don’t seem to mind the idea of such a mode existing for those who want it, many have expressed their hope that this new mode will allow GGG to let their standard mode be more “fun.”

“I hope GGG will stop leaning towards Diablo 2 after Ruthless mode,” reads one thread, calling many of the changes in Ruthless “tedious and unnecessary.” The commenter expands on this idea, asking GGG to “Please stop leaning into D2 after Ruthless mode, and let us have fun in the vanilla game. Remove all the tedious **** and pile it up to Ruthless. Give us back deterministic crafting and pile the RNG up to Ruthless.”

Many others seem to agree with the sentiment – one of the most upvoted responses claims that even Diablo 2 normal feels more generous with its upgrades than Path of Exile does nowadays, saying that “they are chasing a nostalgia that never existed.” Others take a slightly different approach, suggesting that perhaps an equivalent opt-in “easy mode” might be the solution. The user contemplates such a mode where Archnemesis is removed, loot is set back to its pre-3.19 changes, and systems such as Ultimatum and Synthesis return. It’s certainly an idea that seems like it could make the game even more approachable to a wider audience as GGG looks to the future.

Another popular recent fan idea is a Path of Exile Diablo 3 style Adventure mode, which was discussed by players who are feeling a little tired of the current seasonal leveling progression. Grinding Gear Games will be hopeful that the 3.20 update delivers what the community is looking for as they move towards the arrival of Path of Exile 2. In the meantime, we have plenty more of the best games like Diablo on PC for you to get your loot fix.