Path of Exile developer Grinding Gear Games is holding a stress test event this weekend. Running from Friday the 27th through Sunday the 29th, the currently closed beta will be open to anyone. All you need to play the game is an account with Grinding Gear Games, and you can then download the Path of Exile client, log in, and play. As it is a stress test event, you may experience lag and other unforeseen issues with the game.
On Monday, Grinding Gear Games released a huge patch for the game. Their incredible passive skill system had some work done to make it easier to understand and use and to make character builds easier to manage. Along with the expected bug fixes, they also added the Act II end boss encounter. Their new end game Maps system was added, and many other tweaks and small changes were made. The maps system is an interesting extension of their already in depth gem system where you can use modifiers to change and tweak the map to do all sorts of cool little things. For example, you can have one map where more loot will drop, but you will take more cold damage. Or another map where boss mobs do more damage and drop better quality loot, but you are cursed and do less damage. It's a very interesting system to say the least.
The servers will be made available to the public at 5PM PDT Friday and that will then run through until 11:59PM PDT Sunday night when the servers will be closed to the public again. All of the current closed beta content will be available to players to enjoy (which is about 70 levels or so of content) and run through. Both the default and hardcore leagues will be open to players. All six classes, the new end game maps system, and the approximately 70 or so active and passive skills and 40 support gems will all be usable for everyone.
Once the stress test event is over, you can still play the game by supporting Grinding Gear Games with a variety of donations, all of which grant permanent access to the beta and give you different amounts of game points, beta keys and other benefits. The studio also invites players randomly from those that are registered every few hours every day. So you may still get a key once the stress test is over; you just might have to wait a bit. The last time GGG held a stress test weekend event, over 48,000 players played the game and the servers all held up very well.
So head on over to the Path of Exile website and sign up if you haven't already so. You can download the client now and patch up to the latest version and be ready to get hacking and slashing as soon as the servers are opened up to everyone!