Arriving at five winners was no easy task. Players showed incredible creativity with their screenshots, submitting ideas that spanned the entire breadth of the game. There were at least two dozen submissions worthy of prizes. We had to make a lot of painful decisions to arrive at our finalists.
Here are the top five screenshots!
- #1: Templar in the Fetid Pool by Wraeclastian (2500 points)
- #2: Escaping Vaal Smash with Lightning Warp by kamoa (1500 points)
- #3: Brawl with Kole by GedPOE (1000 points)
- #4: Leaping over Brutus' Blood Slam by Sernak_ (800 points)
- #4: Split-screen Devourers by Kid_Galahad (800 points)
Yes, there are two people tied for fourth place. The quality of the top five submissions was so high that we felt they were all worthy of a substantial prize. To this end, we've raised the 250/500 point prizes to 800/800 and awarded a two-way tie for fourth place.
The Winner: Templar in the Fetid Pool
This screenshot is, in a word, magnificent. It captures so much in a seemingly simple image. The scene unfolds in one of the most memorable areas, the dingy Fetid Pool. Center frame, a sparsely equipped holy warrior engages in mortal combat with a terrifying, looming Necromancer. The Templar is caught in mid swing, his arm drawn back, his shield raised in meager defense. In his hand, he carries the lone shining object in the frame, the Brightbeak War Hammer.
Behind the Templar are two Bone Rhoas, one charging, one caught in mid-reanimation. In the background, a roaring waterfall cascades and the fetid darkness conceals other undead horrors. This screenshot could easily grace the cover of a comic or graphic novel, so good is its mood and posing. The viewer is left to imagine how the epic battle will unfold.
The Runner Up: Escaping Vaal Smash With Lightning Warp
This screenshot shows something nearly any Path of Exile player can appreciate: the mighty Vaal Oversoul smash. In the image, a frail witch holds her wand aloft, her tiny frame a mere second away from obliteration. A savvy viewer will notice that she's midway through casting Lightning Warp, in a desperate attempt to evade certain death. Will she make it in time?
The screenshot is remarkable not only for its frenetic display of perilous action, but also for the story it's telling. Anyone who has faced Vaal Oversoul has experienced this panicked moment, when the smash is coming and you are inches from death. This image is notable among our top five as the only one that shows the game at maximum zoom. This allows a large depth of viewing field, showcasing a striking variety of colors, lights and shadows.
Third Place: Brawl with Kole
Though it's a still shot, this image just screams action. Dominating most of the screen, two hulking brutes engage in a bloody fight to the death. You can almost hear the grunts and roars as Kole's great meaty fist crashes down. Before him, partially clouded in a swirling mist, stands a fearless Marauder. A shower of gore cascades behind the mighty abomination, a sign that the Karui's strike has landed true. The shining tiles of the floor are slick with the remnants of their struggle. It is clear only one will emerge from this grim contest, but we cheer for our hero.
Because there were over 1000 quality screenshots, we decided to go with the strictest interpretation of the guidelines for the contest. This was an "Action Screenshot" competition, so we concluded that the winners needed to show combat in some way. That meant that there had to be a monster on screen. It also meant that the player was shown using some sort of skill, preferably mid-cast. This unfortunately removed a lot of gorgeous, but static screenshots from the running.
We also removed a few candidates because they had cursor hovers, ground clutter, or too much UI displayed. These intrusions interfered with the immersion of the screenshot, weakening its visual impact. Finally, we prioritized images that clearly showed the character, rather than a huge blob of flashy spell effects. Using these criteria, we pruned the list down to a final five, which we ranked using an in-house poll.
We're extremely pleased with this top five, as well as with the artistic skills of the community. There are many other shots worthy of making the top five, which made this a very tough contest to judge. In a future news post, we plan to showcase our "honorable mentions", a set of a dozen or more candidates that fell just short of winning.
Thanks again to everyone who took the time and effort to submit their work for this competition. So many of our development team were huddled around screens collectively looking at all your entries. Your skill and efforts were truly inspiring!
We have some really fun ideas for upcoming competitions so please watch for the next one coming soon!