Path of Exile has two major modes of play: “Softcore” and “Hardcore”. In Softcore (or Standard) if you die, you may lose some experience, but that’s about it. It is inconvenient, horribly so at high levels, but not that bad. In Hardcore, if you die your character is transferred to the Softcore league and it drops you out of Hardcore. You keep the gear on your character and anything in your bank in the Hardcore league stays there, but your character isn’t in that league any more. It makes character death while playing in Hardcore a real thing. Path of Exile is also…unforgiving at times. It does a lot of random monster generation mixing in special modifiers for certain maps, leagues, etc and you can randomly hit super monsters every now and then. Also, there are crits that can randomly do massive damage.
I played Path of Exile in Softcore for a few years. Eventually I tried Hardcore and I find it tough to go back. After playing Hardcore, Softcore just seems easy and low risk. The problem is Hardcore is stressful and high risk. Hardore is further complicated by the potential for technical difficulties or lag spikes. Grinding Gear Games (the makers of PoE) will never return a character to Hardcore after it has died for any reason, even something that is their fault. It isn’t a matter of if you will die in Hardcore, but when. The last time I played a few months back, I named each of my new characters after what killed the last one.
After having played for almost a week in the new league, my character died. I very much enjoyed the league but I’m kind of in a tough spot. I don’t have any desire to play Softcore where death doesn’t matter. I am also not really in the mood to play for another week and have my Hardcore character a pointless death. I’m trapped in the middle between those two somewhere. I have been thinking about giving a Tempest a try, so I may be back into Hardcore before I know it.