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Path of Exile vs Diablo 4 – What are the Differences?

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Comparing Path of Exile and Diablo 4

In this article, we’ll be comparing Path of Exile vs Diablo 4 in terms of mechanics, graphics, story, and much more. We’ll be trying to give this topic an objective lens. With this information, you might be able to figure out which game you’d rather play or which game you’d enjoy more.

PoE and Diablo are both loot based ARPGs. While they can be quite different, they share a lot of similarities from the genre.

Diablo 2 was the game that shot the genre into popularity, and Blizzard continued the series onto Diablo 3 and 4. Other companies have also begun to iterate in their own way, with games like Path of Exile and Last Epoch giving more options for gamers.

If you’re new to the ARPG genre, here are some of the main differences between Path of Exile and Diablo 4.

Release Date

To start things off, I think we should first note the main difference in release dates. Path of Exile was officially launched on October 23, 2013. Diablo 4 released on June 5th, 2023.

Clearly, we see that by comparison, Path of Exile has been out for much much longer than Diablo 4. Because of this, it’s natural that Path of Exile will simply have more things in the game.

Since these are both live service games, a longer life span naturally results in more content added to the game. This is one of the first major differences between the games.

While you can easily gets hundreds of hours of gameplay into Diablo 4, you can also easily reach thousands of hours in Path of Exile. As time passes, this difference will likely lessen as more content is added to Diablo 4 in expansions.


Diablo 4 Treasure Beast

Diablo 4 Avarice World Boss

Moving onto graphics, the clear winner is Diablo 4. You can have your own tastes when it comes to art, but in terms of graphics, Diablo 4 simply is better.

This is largely expected as Diablo 4 is a much newer game. Even with improvements to Path of Exile in the past 10 years, the modern graphics of Diablo 4 are simply better.

Story and Freedom

Diablo 4 Cinematic

Diablo 4 Cinematic

In terms of Story, Diablo 4 also delivers a much better gaming experience. There are fully animated and voiced cutscenes that look like movies. Comparatively, Path of Exile also has a main campaign/storyline, but with no cutscenes.

The Diablo 4 story is also very easy to follow along with and has nice cutscenes for immersion. Path of Exile’s story is much more drawn out in comparison with walls of text to read that most players often skip.

While you can argue whether or not either game has a good story, Diablo 4 delivers on a more immersive experience for their story.

One more aspect to note is that Diablo 4’s main story/campaign is more like an “open world” than Path of Exile. In Path of Exile, you generally follow a specific questline through the game. In Diablo 4, you can explore just about any direction you want and the story will still progress naturally.

This gives you more freedom in Diablo 4 to go wherever you want. In Path of Exile, you’re mostly following along a linear questline to complete the story.

Classes and Builds

Path of Exile Classes Art

Path of Exile Artwork

For this next section, I’ll be covering the Classes and build variety of each game.

Diablo 4 has 5 classes, being Necromancer, Barbarian, Sorcerer, Rogue, and Druid.

On the other hand, Path of Exile has 7 classes being Witch, Shadow, Ranger, Duelist, Marauder, Templar, and Scion. 6 of these 7 classes also have 3 Ascendancies, which are basically subclasses, totaling to 19 Ascendancies.

It’s not fair to count each Ascendancy as their own class, as some of them can fulfill similar roles to others. Even still, Path of Exile simply has more classes, with each subclass providing additional build variety.

However, classes in Diablo 4 and Path of Exile do differ quite a bit. Let’s dig into that next.

Skill Tree

Diablo 4 Rogue Skill Tree

Diablo 4 Rogue Skill Tree

When comparing classes in Diablo 4 to Path of Exile, you’ll see that don’t function the same. In Diablo 4, you class determines your skill tree and naturally gives you access to certain skills.


In Path of Exile, your class simply gives you your starting location on the passive tree. Instead of allocating skill points, you allocate passive points to gain bonuses and can use whatever skill you want. Ascendancies also provide small bonuses that make them better or worse for certain skills/builds. But overall, you can play a variety of different builds on a variety of classes.

In this way, Path of Exile is a more modular experience, being able to customize your character build to a very high and complex degree. In Diablo 4, you have a simpler structure. If you want to play a Lightning Caster character, you pick the Sorcerer in Diablo. However, in Path of Exile, that choice can be up to you. You can be a Templar that casts Lightning Spells with Totems, or a Witch that casts herself to deal more damage.

Whichever system you prefer is up to you. If you enjoy digging deep into the game and making unique builds, Path of Exile has you covered. Conversely, if you want to just level up and upgrade skills that match your class, Diablo 4 gives you an easier and more streamlined experience.


The piggyback off the last section, let’s quickly touch on the complexity of each game.

To put it simply, Path of Exile is extremely more complex. This type of complexity is rewarding for committed players, but can also be a nightmare for new players. The sheer amount of game mechanics, side content, skills, uniques, and more is simply daunting.

Once again, Diablo 4 provides a much more streamlined experience. You can still follow build guides for Diablo 4, but overall, you’ll have a much easier time understanding the game mechanics and progression.

When it comes to complexity, more is not always better. If you enjoy digging into wiki pages for hours to figure out how certain mechanics work or how to do things, then Path of Exile is right up your alley.

If you don’t want to have to search up third party websites to enjoy the game, Diablo 4 will be a better experience.


Diablo 4 Ashava World Boss

Diablo 4 Ashava World Boss

Moving on, let’s talk about the multiplayer experience in both games.

Simply put, Diablo 4 has a much better multiplayer experience. The game is designed in a way where the monsters will scale to your level, making it so you can play with friends without having to be the same level. There is even a World Boss that spawns every few hours that you and players around the world can take down.

The pace of combat in Diablo 4 is also generally slower, making it easier to follow along with friends. Path of Exile’s combat is generally faster, making it much more taxing to follow along with a friend.

Overall, Path of Exile has a much different multiplayer experience. If you and a friend aren’t at the same progression in the story or endgame, there is largely no reason to multiplayer.

There is certain content in the game that you can do with a friend, and there are definitely parties that progress together to maximize efficiency, but that’s a very small niche of players.

If you want to just open the game and chill with a friend and play, Diablo 4 has a much better system in place to do so. In Path of Exile, multiplayer either happens if you want to chill with a friend or if you want to pair your builds together and synergize.

Endgame Content

Path of Exile Eater of Worlds Boss

Path of Exile Eater of Worlds Boss

When it comes to endgame content, it’s somewhat an unfair comparison. Path of Exile has already been out for over 10 years, so it’s expected that Path of Exile has more endgame content. Not only that, but Path of Exile also has lots of “different” ways to play the game.

You can traverse through the maps, delve underground for treasure, or participate in heists to steal loot. Path of Exile also has more endgame bosses for you to fight, each with varying challenges to overcome.

In comparison, Diablo 4’s endgame largely consists of doing Nightmare Dungeons and also boss fights. So while Diablo 4 has less end game content, that’s to be expected. As the game continues to release expansions, there’ll no doubt be more things to do in the endgame.


Diablo 4 Price

Diablo 4 Price

Lastly, let’s talk about the price. Unless there’s a sale, Diablo 4 has a standard cost of $70 USD. Diablo 4 will be releasing a paid expansion in late 2024, but the exact price has yet to be announced.

On the other hand, Path of Exile is a free to play game. However, Path of Exile does have a lot of pay for convenience features. If you intend to play lots of Path of Exile, you will no doubt need to purchase additional stash tabs.

You can still try the game out for free, but there is a lot of QoL with additional or premium stash tabs. If you wait for a sale on stash tabs, you can get some of the important ones for not too much money, maybe 20-40$ depending on how many tabs you want.

Conclusion – Casual vs Hardcore

All in all, Diablo 4 provides a comfortable gaming experience for newer players to the genre and caters to multiplayer very well. The game does cost $70 but you can also look to grab the game while it’s on sale also (which it currently is now at the time of writing).

Path of Exile provides a deeper gaming experience for players to really dig into. It provides a satisfying character progression for those willing to overcome the learning curve and put in the hours. The game is technically free to play, but the paid stash tabs have a ton of QoL that it almost feels necessary to buy.

Generally, people will say Diablo 4 is a more casual game, while PoE is more hardcore. Some players may find these terms to be derogatory. While people may use it this way, you should simply take them for what they are.

In the end, both games are fantastic ARPGs that simply cater to different players. If you want to pick something up after work for a few hours and not think about it too much, Diablo 4 can be the perfect game. Or, if you want to dive deep into a complex game and learn the ins and outs, Path of Exile can be that game.

If you want a relaxed and simple experience, Diablo may suit you more. If you want to spend more time theory crafting a build than playing, Path of Exile has you covered.

You can also enjoy Diablo more and dig deep into that. Or maybe you don’t want to spend too much money so you take a casual approach to Path of Exile.

You should take these differences to decide which game ultimately fits your life and playstyle more.

Thanks for Reading, be sure to check out our resources on both Diablo 4 and Path of Exile: