Following a hugely successful open beta test for action-RPG Path of Exile, Kiwi developer Grinding Gear Games has secured more than US$200,000 in crowdfunding to ramp up development on the game.

Path of Exile is a free-to-play, dark online action-RPG featuring a persistent world, and a large suite of optional PVP and hardcore gameplay modes.

At the conclusion of the open beta, Grinding Gear initiated a crowdfunding campaign where interested gamers can pre-purchase in-game currency, and receive rewards such as closed beta keys and exclusive in-game pets in return.

More than 46,000 people participated in the open beta. “We literally had hundreds of people asking how they could support the game to get to Open Beta sooner,” said Grinding Gear Games’ co-founder Chris Wilson. “We were blown away by the community enthusiasm at the stress test weekend, so we moved quickly to open our shop earlier than planned. We’ve been blown away again by the support over Easter.”

13 people bought the $1,000 “Diamond Supporter package”, which will invite them into the design process to help create some of the game’s unique magic items.

Path of Exile screenshots

As a result of the crowdfunding drive, Path of Exile will enter open beta in June with three Acts of content, said Wilson. “We plan to pile on the content for years to come, further support will greatly accelerate it and help pay for our US and European servers.”

Grinding Gear Games describes Path of Exile’s microstransactions as “ethical”, meaning players are not able to buy any kind of “player power” that will give them gameplay advantages over others.

“Selling supporter packs and currency has also been a great test of our ‘ethical microtransaction’ philosophy,” explained Wilson. “We hate the concept of pay-to-win games, so it’s great to see that players are willing to support the game and to buy purely cosmetic items.”

Any items bought during the closed beta will be carried over into the game’s open beta, for all intents and purposes, its release.