Path of Exile. It's dark and moody. It's free to download and play. Its web of skill trees (opens in new tab) is scarier than any towering boss demon. Most importantly, it seeks to be the spiritual Diablo 2 followup purists want. Open beta commenced back in January (opens in new tab) , and the game's community has swelled immensely (opens in new tab) since then. Developer Grinding Gear is now looking at launch plans and beyond, and speaking to Joystiq (opens in new tab) , co-founder Chris Wilson says it will release in six months and get yearly expansions.
When version 1.0 hits, Wilson says, it'll mark the end of the open beta period and turn Exile "reviewable," though many of its critical systems—ubiquitous piles of loot, abilities for each of the six classes, and a token-based microtransaction store (opens in new tab) —are already in place. According to Wilson, 1.0's focus will be furnishing Act 3 with a full storyline and additional monsters and items.
Grinding Gear intends to release expansions "over the next 5 to 10 years," Wilson explains. Though uncommitted to a solid schedule, Wilson believes the community's size and the studio's previous experience with milling out extra content such as its race events (opens in new tab) will make expansions a "once a year thing."