Hello I'm a noob to Diablo games, but I've been playing PoE for about 7 years I guess. This season it's not feasible to play with dedication in PoE so I'm just fooling around in Median XL singleplayer. I haven't made it that far in the game because I learn ARPGs by replaying the early game until I get the hang of it while also doing research on mechanics. Here is my take away so far:
-Both GGG and the Median team are really good at what they do.
-Poe's massive skill tree and Median's mystic orb system perform similar functions. Between the two games I would consider them as being one another's spiritual equivolents. Each mystic orb that a piece of gear takes is level restricted just like a passive point in PoE - and each has a slot/level requirement which determines it's placement on the skill tree. That said, PoE's massive skill tree isn't as expressive as Median's mystic orb system. Much respect to both systems but between the two the maturity of Median XL is currently ahead imo. I would offer this critique, however, I think an oppurtunity is being missed with the mystic orbs. There aren't enough of them. And the wonderful thing is that they shouldn't be too hard to make. Also, I think they shouldn't be in the shops by default. But each quest should unlock a new one(s) because as a new player I would have appreciated each new mystic orb getting its time in the sun from my newb attention. Also you can suggest to new players what orb is useful by unlocking the most useful basic orbs from the main quests while the fringe ones would unlock from optional quests. Plus it would just feel good to unlock them. They should also be more drop dependant and a little more expensive to buy imo. But maybe I feel this way because I play singleplayer with /players 8 on most of the time. Maybe online it's more expensive. I dunno. But yes, there should be Triple the mystic orbs. I mean orbs like '10% physical weapon damage converted to cold damage' or 'Absorb Poison +10%/ Velocity -5% [Necromancer only]' Your Mystic Orbs are your Skill tree whether you see it that way or not. Each orb is a passive point for character development. Take advantage of it more!
-Itemization wise PoE is becoming more and more like Median XL placing a higher focus on crafting rather than naked drops. I have great fun crafting in PoE. However, once again Median's maturity pulls its implementation ahead - though I feel as if PoE is very capable of catching up given the time and oppurtunity. Though PoE has more cook's in the kitchen so to speak due to its larger player base's various assortment of complaints and demands which make no mistake restricts their freedom in a way that I don't believe Median team has to worry about at least not to such a great extent. In otherwords sometimes PoE's hands are just tied from making the best design decisions for the game's future because of their need to placate those who do not share in their vision in the present. The item recipes.... or rune words are great because the start of each new league only requires game knowledge to succeed in the early game rather than loot/currency luck. Each rune can be upgraded to from each other and downgraded as well. This is a very elegant solution to one of PoE's economic and racing related quirks. How to balance early game uniques... the more essential they are, or the more niche... each descriptor brings it's own complications to balance. But these complications are solved with rune words + mystic orbs. Just because 50% of all barbarians may choose to craft armor X doesn't mean by the end of that armor's usefulness that thsoe chests will have the same mystic orbs on them. Many of them will be absolutely unique from one another. In fact I suspect that it's more likely to produce higher diversity than players of the same class in PoE who develop their characters via a passive tree rather than mystic orbs.
-Controls. Wow. They took some getting used to. But actually the restrictive controls offer an additional layer of balance. I couldn't help but smile when I first realized that Barbarians' Lion Stance was locked to the right mouse button, the same dayum button as Wyrd - the skill that I am trying to play. 'Clever girl'. I actually find that I use MORE skills per character than I do in PoE. And I hated Median's controls at first. But now I am appreciating them a lot more. But its another example of GGG's hands being tied. They couldn't implement controls like this because the player base would revolt. I imagine it would be hard to balance Lion stance if it could be easily paired with every single skill in the game. Lion Stance exists because of this control scheme. PoE cannot implement Lion stance as you guys can. Bravo.
-Skill Tree. This is the one area where I'm a little underwhelmed relatively speaking. Moving from skill gems to a locked in skill tree structure isn't the best feeling in the world. Path of Exile has you beat here. However... once you factor in oskills, things become a lot more interesting in Median XL. I've been obsessed with Wyrd ever since I discovered it existed Wow... it's a skill gem that I attach to my gear... only I can't modify it the way I can modify skills in PoE with more projectiles at the expense of a higher mana cost and things like that. Wyrd, for example only scales in terms of its cooldown afor increased mana cost. What if I wanted to use it defensively and add knock back to it instead? You would be able to do that in PoE but not here. At the same time, balancing skills that can't be modified in that way probably makes for more concise balancing over all. I greatly appreciate Median's skill system, but PoE is still ahead. As I said early though, the ability to modify skills can be addressed with a more robust mystic orb system. Such as craftable only mystic orbs Extremely niche orbs can be crafted such as 'Wyrd knockback + 2/ Wyrd Damage -10%'. Craftable only. Make it happen Median
Well that bout sums it up. I'm still a noob but I'm taking my notes. This is a really cool game.