At the heart of almost all the major problems currently plaguing Path of Exile lies one single expansion to the game: Archnemesis. This update first introduced Archnemesis modifiers, which were meant to make gameplay more dynamic, interesting, and challenging, all the while giving players opportunities for big rewards.
Since its implementation, it's gone through a huge host of changes and balancing, because players have never really been happy with it. Currently, Path of Exile is in a bad state, and a lot of that comes down to Archnemesis content. So, in this article, we'll tell you everything you need to know about why doesn't GGG Remove Archnemesis from Path of Exile.
Path of Exile Needs Dynamic Systems
Path of Exile, by design, is a procedurally-generated game in a lot of ways. It's built this way so that no run-through of a particular map or act of the campaign feels like you've seen it all before in the exact same way. In a lot of ways, this is why Path of Exile is so replayable.
However, it also means that a lot of Path of Exile's design, if not most of it, must be dictated by procedural systems that can work dynamically behind the scenes. You aren't hand-placing monsters in every possible variation of every map, you're creating a system that can generate levels in the game on the fly.
So, in a lot of ways, a dynamic system that adds special modifiers to rare monsters that have predictable movesets or abilities players can learn and counter while still keeping the encounters themselves dynamic and unpredictable is exactly what the game needs and exactly what Archnemesis modifiers do.
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This is why many Path of Exile fans say that they agree with and like the general idea behind Archnemesis, but the problem has always come down this system's implementation within the actual game, which has never been received very well, regardless of how many patches and fixing has gone into it.
Even if GGG wanted to remove Archnemesis, this kind of a system is inevitable for Path of Exile, so there's really not anything else the company can do, other than try to balance it.
The Sunk Cost Fallacy Realized
The idea behind the sunk cost fallacy is that you keep doing something, like gambling for example, because you've already invested so much into it that you're due for a win. Of course, when gambling, the odds always stay the same, so while if you play forever you're bound to win, you're not really 'more likely' to win.
There is, to some extent, a similar thing going on with Path of Exile. See, Archnemesis was introduced, and it was rough, and since, the system has continuously upset players. However, GGG has been steadfast in its desire to keep the Archnemesis modifiers in the game.
Many players have asked, for a long time, for the system to be removed, and by now, GGG has invested a significant amount of time and money into keeping the system. If GGG were to simply remove it and draw up something from scratch, many people who felt like they were suffering in the hopes of GGG eventually figuring it out will feel like that was all for nothing.
Plus, many in the community asking for the system to be removed will become upset if it is removed, because by now, removing it would only signal that GGG doesn't actually listen to players but only listens when the screaming gets loud enough, which sets a fairly bad and sad precedent for a company known for its connection to its community.
Then, of course, there are all the people who like the system but just want it balanced better who will also be disappointed if the system gets removed outright. In a lot of ways, GGG would upset everyone by removing Archnemesis content rather than fixing it, at this point.
Chris, GGG, and Path of Exile's "Vision"
Many jokes have been made about lead developer Chris Wilson's vision for Path of Exile. Generally, the idea is that Chris wants to make Path of Exile a more hardcore experience. Given how the game continuously nerfs the power of players while adding lots of cool rewards and interesting content at the highest levels, the idea is that Chris wants fewer and fewer people in a given League to be able to truly complete endgame content without playing full-time.
He wants this, theoretically, because if powerful loot is harder to come by and conquering challenging content more difficult, people will feel more invested into their characters, care more about finding better gear, and ultimately, feel more satisfied by the game and want to play it more, assuming they manage to rise to the challenge and overcome.
In general, this is true. It's easy to tire someone out of a game if it's too easy and you're just flying through content. Soon enough, you'll get bored and decide you've had enough with the game, even if you enjoyed the experience. Ultimately, the argument is that an easy game means players will lose interest if the game is all about progression.
This sounds good in theory, and that's why Archnemesis exists, it accomplishes all of those goals. Or tries to work towards accomplishing them, that is. The problem is that this vision, practically, alongside Archnemesis content in general ends up bricking lots of builds, reducing build variety, and simply makes it take a lot more time to get to the high-end endgame content everybody wants to get to during a given League.
It's not much fun to get murdered by Archnemesis mobs time and time again to inflate how much time you spend playing the game before you can actually get what you wanted out of the experience.