Grinding Gear Games have recently announced that their launch of Path of Exile Update 2.6.0 has been met with a 40-percent increase in the number of players online. What might come as the biggest surprise is that this isn't a massive update by any stretch, just the beginning of a new season and a whole bunch of balance changes.
In terms of numbers the launch of the Legacy Challenge League has achieved a peak online player count of 112,800, with 65,000 of those players coming from Steam alone. But perhaps most impressively, when you count this recent update Path of Exile has more than doubled its playerbase within the span of nine months!
If you ask me Grinding Gear Games deserves every single ounce of that success. While Blizzard continues to mostly ignore Diablo 3, GGG have spent a considerable amount of time and effort improving Path of Exile, both in technical and gameplay aspects. The synchronization and lag issues that once plagued Path of Exile have long since been eradicated, while the vast amount of content and balance updates have created an ecosystem where nearly every single build is capable of reaching the end-game. To put it simply, Path of Exile ended up being the Diablo 2 sequel many were hoping for.
That said, I really do wonder how much the population is going to explode once the Fall of Oriath expansion arrives. It will bring with it six new acts, thus completely removing the need for multiple difficulty settings, as well as a whole bunch of new toys to play around with. Sadly, we're going to have to wait for a little while in order to find out as the Fall of Oriath is scheduled for June or July this year. If the trailer is any judge, however, it will be worth the wait: