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Path of Exile, the free to play online action RPG just recently released a huge update that adds in a Beta version of their new Vulkan API rendering system.

To be clear: while Path of Exile does not support Linux officially, getting Vulkan into it is progress towards it since it's a cross-platform open graphics API. The developer talked a bit about this in a previous interview we covered, when they were talking about Path of Exile 2 and Linux was directly mentioned.

For right now though, Vulkan support means that Path of Exile should run dramatically better with the Steam Play Proton compatibility layer on Linux (or plain Wine). This is because it should make it a whole lot smoother, with constant stuttering hopefully becoming a thing of the past. Don't know what Steam Play is? Check here.

In my testing while in the early game on max settings, it was extremely smooth:

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Like the HUD used in the video? That's MangoHud, see our previous articles on it.

If you do wish to try it, the Vulkan option is available on the first login screen in the Options menu. It will freeze for a little while as it switches the API over. For Proton, I had to use the community-made Proton 5.6-GE-2 (and specifically that version) with NVIDIA otherwise at the character select screen it just crashed to the desktop every single time. If you have an AMD GPU, the Vulkan version currently needs a fix in the RADV driver but it reportedly works fine with the AMDVLK driver. Since this is the first public Beta of Vulkan for PoE, it will no doubt get smoother in terms of driver and Proton compatibility.

Path of Exile can be found free on Steam or the official site.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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26 comments
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14 31 May
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I'm interested to give it a try but not enough to mess around. I will wait for it to feel smooth out of the box.
Pangaea 31 May
Quoting: scaineIt's free, and I got over 30 hours out of it. I didn't even stop because of any of the "restrictions" you mentioned (which I didn't notice), I just stopped because there was a free weekend of Grim Dawn and I ended up preferring it.

PoE is a bit "skill-less" after about 20 hours. You spam your big spells and mostly everything on the screen dies a fiery death. But Grim Dawn scales far better and does a better job of showing you when a powerful enemy really is a powerful enemy. You can pick it up for about 75% off on sale - I wouldn't pay full price for it, but it's a cracking game.
20-30 hours probably isn't enough tbh. These issues are a lot more present when you have gone through the "campaign" and are trying to fill out maps on the Atlas. I've not played for several leagues now due to what I talked about, but from updates it looks like they have continued down the path of zoom-zoom and right-click and kill the screen.

Wouldn't call it skill-less either to be honest, as it does take skill to zoom around the screen and kill maps in a few minutes, and get into a rhythm with flask usage without looking at buttons or timers. That said, though, a great deal is decided on what build you go with, and the gear you're able to get. Either from lucky drops, or (ab)using the market.

It's one of many games that are moving in the wrong direction, and back when I played that view was pretty rampant in their forum, especially among players that had supported the game in the early days and had seen this development for several years. Many had already left, and I know several "whales" that have left since then too. I wish they went back to the roots a bit, but it is what it is. Ultimately I'm glad I stopped playing that game, because it simply wasn't fun. Felt more like monotonous and punishing work, which is not something I want to spend my free time doing.

Nice for those who still enjoy it, mind you, and in any case it's good that games, any games, will be supported on Linux, or are easier to play via DXVK and/or Wine.
scaine 1 Jun
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Quoting: Pangaea
Quoting: scaineIt's free, and I got over 30 hours out of it. I didn't even stop because of any of the "restrictions" you mentioned (which I didn't notice), I just stopped because there was a free weekend of Grim Dawn and I ended up preferring it.

PoE is a bit "skill-less" after about 20 hours. You spam your big spells and mostly everything on the screen dies a fiery death. But Grim Dawn scales far better and does a better job of showing you when a powerful enemy really is a powerful enemy. You can pick it up for about 75% off on sale - I wouldn't pay full price for it, but it's a cracking game.
20-30 hours probably isn't enough tbh. These issues are a lot more present when you have gone through the "campaign" and are trying to fill out maps on the Atlas. I've not played for several leagues now due to what I talked about, but from updates it looks like they have continued down the path of zoom-zoom and right-click and kill the screen.

Wouldn't call it skill-less either to be honest, as it does take skill to zoom around the screen and kill maps in a few minutes, and get into a rhythm with flask usage without looking at buttons or timers. That said, though, a great deal is decided on what build you go with, and the gear you're able to get. Either from lucky drops, or (ab)using the market.

It's one of many games that are moving in the wrong direction, and back when I played that view was pretty rampant in their forum, especially among players that had supported the game in the early days and had seen this development for several years. Many had already left, and I know several "whales" that have left since then too. I wish they went back to the roots a bit, but it is what it is. Ultimately I'm glad I stopped playing that game, because it simply wasn't fun. Felt more like monotonous and punishing work, which is not something I want to spend my free time doing.

Nice for those who still enjoy it, mind you, and in any case it's good that games, any games, will be supported on Linux, or are easier to play via DXVK and/or Wine.

I guess it does annoy me a little when people complain about free to play games because of grind. I'm not sure what those people were expecting? That a good sized dev studio will just, year on year, rattle out free content for the masses? Of course there's grind! Of course you bypass it with money!

That doesn't stop you enjoying tens of hours of free content?! This is how Guild Wars 2 works, for example. I download it, choose a character and play around 40 hours. I get to level 38. I think... wow, I love this game and I've unlocked about 20% of the map and I'm nearly 50% through one of the 9(!) playable classes. Do I keep playing, or do I pay the £26 to unlock the full game and all its expansions and boost my character to maximum level (80)? I paid, and I'm still playing weeks later, but I think I might try the Ranger class next and I doubt I'll pay another £26 to boost that character. That's... okay. It's a model that works for ArenaNet and its players.

Similarly, Warframe. Similarly, Path of Exile. And probably many others. I don't think you get to complain about end-game content in a free to play if you haven't actually spent any money to support the developers.

Or, well, sure complain away. I'm just not really going to pay it much heed.

And none of this is really aimed at you, Pangaea. The only bit I really disagreed with you on was the word "technically" in your original post! It's definitely free to play and I got an enjoyable 30 hours on it before moving on.
Patola 1 Jun
Quoting: scaineI guess it does annoy me a little when people complain about free to play games because of grind. I'm not sure what those people were expecting? That a good sized dev studio will just, year on year, rattle out free content for the masses? Of course there's grind! Of course you bypass it with money!

I guess the main complaint is that the game would then be designed around this, instead of being designed around offering a good overall experience and fun. Even if it is subtle, its design would constantly annoy you towards paying.
Pangaea 1 Jun
Quoting: scaineI guess it does annoy me a little when people complain about free to play games because of grind. I'm not sure what those people were expecting? That a good sized dev studio will just, year on year, rattle out free content for the masses? Of course there's grind! Of course you bypass it with money!
...
Similarly, Warframe. Similarly, Path of Exile. And probably many others. I don't think you get to complain about end-game content in a free to play if you haven't actually spent any money to support the developers.

Or, well, sure complain away. I'm just not really going to pay it much heed.

And none of this is really aimed at you, Pangaea. The only bit I really disagreed with you on was the word "technically" in your original post! It's definitely free to play and I got an enjoyable 30 hours on it before moving on.

From that perspective (first quoted), I can understand your frustration. I was frustrated with such posts too at times, when people complained there weren't enough free tabs or things like that. So then you may be glad to hear that I did in fact pay for the game. I bought various stashes for around 40$ I believe, so roughly what I may spend on a normal game. And with how much I played it at the time, that definitely felt needed, because the game was throwing various items (especially currency and league needed items) at us like confetti, and often had low stack numbers, meaning trying to keep control of this in the few stashes we get by default was an impossible game of Tetris. But I liked the game at the time, so had no big problems with paying for it.

Ultimately my beef is with what @Patola mentioned, though. The game itself is designed around these limitations to push people to pay for it, and micro transactions up and down the wazoo. But perhaps even worse, which doesn't touch on the free to play and suchlike aspects, is that the game itself has such immense levels of grind, and kinda boring gameplay, because you ultimately just zoom around the screen and hit right-click a few times a second, and watch the screen die. Until you suddenly get one-shot out of the blue and lose 10% of your XP. Yeah, that's fun. Now you need to grind for 5+ hours to get back to where you were, as long as you don't randomly die again (and those who have played it a ton will know how randomly this can be, there is zero chance to react).

There were many reasons I stopped playing the game, but the main one was the design of the gameplay, that felt more like terribly boring monotonous work rather than fun. And things were getting worse, not better, which ultimately drove me away.


Last edited by Pangaea on 1 June 2020 at 10:14 pm UTC
Goldpaw 26 Jun
Not sure what others have experienced, but I finally got to try it in Arch Linux today, through Steam Play. Today is June 26th, 2020, just for the reference. Since my experience seems smoother than what some others had a month ago, I'm sharing!

I had to install the amdvlk driver, which is simple enough. And after that, it was just a matter of changing the API to vulkan(beta) in the Path of Exile options, and voila. Just as smooth as on windows. No weird driver builds, patches, lutris or custom wine builds were needed. Just my arch linux distro, official repo drivers, and official proton versions in steam play.

I'm using proton 5.0-9, which at the time of writing was the most recent one. My gpu drivers in my arch system are primarily amdgp, amdvlk and the standard mesa packages needed. And as mentioned it's all from the official arch repos, no AUR or custom builds needed.

Can't really say how much more "smooth out of the box" we really need it here. I'm happy. This was my sole reason for having a windoze dual boot. So goodbye crapsoft windoze. Forever! :)


Last edited by Goldpaw on 26 June 2020 at 11:23 am UTC
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