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Is Path of Exile Pay-to-Win?

Is Path of Exile Pay-to-Win?

Path of Exile is a free-to-play game, which means you can download and play it without spending any money. However, like many free-to-play games, it does have in-game microtransactions that players can use to enhance their gameplay experience. This begs the question: Is Path of Exile pay-to-win?

The short answer is no, Path of Exile is not pay-to-win. The game is designed to be played without spending any money, and players who choose not to spend money can still progress through the game and compete with other players. The game’s developers have been very clear about their philosophy on this issue, stating that they do not want the game to be pay-to-win.


Read this detailed guide to find out why Path of Exile is not a pay-to-win title and how the developers are making sure it is a fair experience for everyone.

How Does Path of Exile Avoid Being Pay-to-Win?

Path of Exile - Promotional SS

Of course, Path of Exile has microtransactions; the developers have to pay their staff and feed their families, too, right? However, they have avoided blatantly misusing the game’s loyal fanbase to fill their pockets by imposing artificial problems and selling the solutions to the players.

The developers, Grinding Gear Games, have saved themselves from the egregious pay-to-win brand by using the following methods:



One of the ways that Path of Exile avoids being pay-to-win is by ensuring that most of the microtransactions are cosmetic. You can buy things like skins for your characters and pets, weapon effects, mouse cursors, and other items that do not impact gameplay.

While these items can make your character look cooler or more unique, they do not give you any advantage over other players. You only buy these items to either stand apart from the crowd or throw some coin toward the developers.

Trading System

Trading System - Path of Exile Pay to Win

Another way that Path of Exile avoids being pay-to-win is by having a robust trading system. The game’s economy is entirely player-driven, with items being traded for in-game currency. This means that players who do not spend money can still acquire powerful items by trading with other players.

The game’s economy is based on a barter system rather than a traditional currency system. The game’s currency, such as orbs and scrolls, is not directly purchasable with real money. Instead, players must trade with each other to acquire the currency they need.

This means that players cannot simply spend real money to acquire powerful items; rather, they must earn them through gameplay or trading with other players. Trading is an integral part of the game, and many players enjoy the challenge of finding good deals and negotiating with other players.


While it is possible to purchase items from other players using real money, these items are often not the most powerful and can be obtained through gameplay.

Stash Tabs

Stash Tabs in Path of Exile

There are some microtransactions in Path of Exile that can make the game easier or more convenient like the extra stash tabs that you can buy, which allow you to store more items. This can be helpful if you like to collect a lot of items, as the game’s default stash space is limited.

However, these stash tabs do not give you any direct gameplay advantage, as they do not increase your character’s power or abilities.

Another microtransaction that can make the game easier is the ability to purchase premium stash tabs, which allow you to set prices for items and sell them directly from your stash.

This can be a convenient way to sell items without setting up a shop in-game or using third-party websites. However, again, this does not give you any direct gameplay advantage.


Path of Exile Pay to Win

Furthermore, Path of Exile’s game design encourages players to create their own builds and experiment with different item combinations. This means that even if a player were to purchase a powerful item, it may not be the best fit for their build or playstyle.

Path of Exile also regularly releases new content and balance changes that can affect the game’s meta and the effectiveness of certain items or builds. This means that even if a player were to spend a significant amount of money on items, they may become less effective over time due to these changes.

PoE Build guide video

In conclusion, some microtransactions in Path of Exile can make the game easier or more convenient, but the game is not pay-to-win. The vast majority of microtransactions are cosmetic in nature and do not impact gameplay, and the game’s trading system allows players to acquire powerful items without spending any money.

The developers have been clear that they do not want the game to be pay-to-win and have done an excellent job of sticking to that attitude.