If web traffic generated by my guide to choosing a character class is a good indicator, the release of Path of Exile on consoles has been a success for Grinding Gear Games. Traffic ramped up and remained steady for weeks after PoE released on the Xbox One consoles in October and the pattern has repeated since the game appeared on PlayStation 4 in late March. The console ports include a thorough rebalance of PoE's spell system that came with the Synthesis update and Grinding Gear is planning a similar revamp for melee combat in June.
Changes to the spell system were largely confined to tinkering with the math to allow for more varied approaches to magic-based combat. Melee will get the same treatment, but Grinding Gear has much more in mind.
For starters, there's concern that melee can feel slow and loose in the early stages of the game when high-speed attack buffs aren't yet available. Grinding Gear is working on modifying attack animations to give lower-level melee a tighter more impactful feel. How melee "feels" is a vague concept that's hard to quantify but it's a significant factor contributing to player enjoyment in games like Path of Exile. The link between animation and "feel" is interesting.
The melee update doesn't end with math and animation changes. Grinding Gear reports that it's also experimenting with changes to accuracy, melee splash, leech, fortify, various Ascendancy classes, the passive tree, hit/miss feedback, melee base types, movement skills and melee damage availability on items.” This sounds more like a complete overhaul and a rebalance.
Changes of the magnitude Grinding Gear is considering often produce a raft of complaints from players who discover their favored attack rotations aren't working as expected. Dedicated players are usually quick to adapt, however, and there's joy in finding new and better ways to obliterate the hordes of enemies Path of Exile throws at you. We’ll find out just how satisfying the new combat system is when update 3.7.0 releases in June.