Console performance drawbacks and PC accessibility options

Meowrs! :)

As a person that started PoE on the PS4 Pro and then migrated to the PC (I have both), I will be giving my feedback on both here.

I'll start off with my PS4 Pro experiences. I started on the console, even though I have a decently high end gaming PC relative to what PoE requires for good to excellent playback. The reason I started on the console was because it had controller accessibility for this game, which I needed to play optimally due to a deformed right arm and inability to use more than a small smattering of keybinds at once on a keyboard when using a mouse.

I came in during the Synthesis league, and while I wasn't really sold on the "entrance" encounters that were required to acquire Shaper's memory fragments, I had a good time learning to play and building up my character. Then Legion came out and I found that league to be far, far more enjoyable. I loved the Timeless Monolith encounters, despite the instability on the console port. It was just a blast to play.

But then I ran into a problem at the end of the Legion league. The controls were changed to add the third cluster of button binds for skills 9-12. To accomodate this, the force stand still button bind was cannibalized and in its place was put the toggle where in pressing L2 allowed access to the 9-12 button binds. There was no option to keep the FSS bind in lieu of only having eight button binds if one chose to do so. The choice was made for me, and it made playing ranged much more frustrating as the turning and aiming while holding down the skill button resulted in very coarse aiming, not the fine grained smooth aiming the FSS option gave us. This still holds true today.

So I switched over to the PC to give it a go. As it was now the Blight league at the time, I skipped that league entirely and just played in Standard. Tower Defense just wasn't to my liking at all. No biggie, that's what Standard is there for - if a league doesn't float your boat, you can skip it and continue building previously played characters. Mostly win/win except for that awful "10% problem", but whatevs.

But I noticed almost immediately that I couldn't even make full use of the original eight keybinds, let alone all twelve plus the five flasks. Between having tiny hands (they stopped growing when I was ten) and my deformed right arm, using keys outside of the A/S and Z/X/C range due to needing to keep a finger on Left Shift and having to reach for Q (main flask) and the upper numeric keys for three of the other flasks is essentially impossible. I'd have to look at the keyboard to verify I'm pressing the right key. That's a non-starter as I'm also blind in my right eye.

There are guides to using the controller on the PC version of PoE, but the end result is neither precise nor as responsive as it is natively on the console. So on the PC side I'm left with playing very sub-optimally due to multiple disabilities. But I still liked the PC version more overall because with my setup it just played and looked a crapton better than the PS4 Pro did, despite both being played at 1080p. Wet sand really stood out as way better on the PC, for example, as did the nameplates. The PC version even had animations missing from the console ports (really noticeable in the Twilight Strand in Act 6). Between being able to nearly always maintain 60 FPS outside of sound engine issues and texture caching issues (current league) and the almost never occurring desync, which was and still is a massive problem on the PS4 Pro, the PC version just plain felt better to play despite the physical handicaps I endure.

But longing for an easier method of playing, I tried the PS4 port again this week. Yes, it's crashing a bit less, but the desync is still a near constant problem, especially with Dash (there is no tap to use max range since the alteration checkbox is not for max range, but alt mode, or backdashing). Holding Dash down for max range almost always immediately triggered Second Wind due to how hold-repeat works on console, and nearly always resulted in a rubberband/desync event. So now I basically forego press-holding Dash on the PS4 and lose out on the new feature where its range grows as you level the gem.

And there are other, very problematic issues with PoE on the PS4 currently. Namely, things like this:

I've even had the entire screen filled with flickering textures like that. PoE is the only game that does that. Not even Final Fantasy XV could do that to the PS4 Pro. And it didn't matter if the game was patched or a fresh install all in one go, the problem manifested itself regardless of those two scenarios.

So I'm here to give my feedback and ask you to please consider bringing over native controller support and the console UI layout to the PC as an option. It would really be a huge accessibility boon for disabled players such as myself. You've already got the code and UI layout files for it, so I know it is very much within the realm of possibility here. And you did a smashing job with the loot highlighting and pickup on console, so bringing that over to the PC side with controller support should also be possible. Yes, we'd have to use the keyboard to do things like use keyword searches in the stash tabs or to properly trade, but those are done infrequently enough that it shouldn't be considered a dealbreaker by any means.

Sure, the PS5 is just around the corner. But PoE already plays exceptionally well on my PC, and I haven't even finished putting together my 9900k build with NVMe drives yet. When I do it'll play even better. And it'll be a hell of a lot more stable and have better artwork and graphics options than the console ports do or will. And on the PC side, I get my pick of controllers as well. I'm not limited to what Sony says is OK to use on their system, meaning I can get that Razer Raiju I want so badly and use it on the PC so long as we are given full controller customizability options (including the option to keep Force Stand Still as a button bind!).

After having gone through some rather gnarly depression due to losing access to World of Warcraft because Blizzard removed critical features that enabled me to play for the previous fifteen years, I'd like to have something to look forward to with PoE on the PC. It's 2020. Hardware isn't as limited as it was when I first kludged together a controller setup for my Dual Shock 2 and Diablo 2 when I had to let my RSI in my deformed arm heal.

Please, please consider adding in controller support for the PC. Diablo 4 will have it out of the gate, but I'd rather play PoE which I'm already invested into and where I know decently good depth exists already. Disabled players deserve to play just as much as anyone else. I can only go so far with the mouse and keyboard, and it isn't pain free in doing so. I'm already starting to develop the early stages of RSI again in my deformed arm from playing the PC version. But I really want to stick to the PC version where I have the better graphics, framerates, and MTX purchased. I could live with losing out on what I paid for on the PS4 already if I got to have input method(s) that were optimal for how I need to play.

I put off writing this for a very long time because it's both physically and mentally exhausting having to explain yet again that I'm blind and deaf on my right side, having sight and hearing loss on my left side, have a deformed right arm with less fine motor control and random spasms when using a semi-rigid/relaxed grip like with a mouse, and that the deformity in my right arm is a curved ulna (outer) bone and a radius (inner) forearm) bone that is rotated nearly 90 degrees. This was all the result of my mom contracting Reubella when she was pregnant. I didn't get a say in how I turned out physically. But you have a say in giving players like myself more accessibility options.

I'm at home with a controller. I grew up with consoles and controllers, and even "Nintendo Hard". I come from a time where save states and freeze/defrost wasn't even a twinkle in a nerd's eye yet. I don't mind difficulty when it's part of the game. It's the difficulty accessing the game that is the issue here. And it's one that you can resolve for many of us.

So please, seriously consider bringing over the consoles' controller input and UI as options for us. A lot of us would love better input methods than we have access to currently. :)
Last edited by SquishyTia on Apr 29, 2020, 2:15:08 PM
Last bumped on Sep 12, 2020, 10:21:49 PM
I hope this gets to the eyes of GGG staff. I started on ps4 myself (until i couldn't handle the insane performance and graphical issues) so i built my first PC and started playing last week again. After you experience the PC side of things i couldn't imagine going back to console again. Fingers crossed for you getting what you need to enjoy this great game comfortably :)
I don't know how much help this would be for PC, but as someone with relatively small hands, I kind of set up the keys to be very accessible.

I use Q,W,E,A,D for my keyboard skills, and 1-5 for flasks. Keeping my fingers on Q,W,E all the time means little movement is required to access all skills. That and toggling certain skills to auto-stand still while casting makes playing a much less difficult experience.

I've been testing out space bar as my alt to activate the second bar of skills as well, and works well as a thumb trigger. I don't use Shift, Control, or Alt in any game really because of the stretch. "R" as a rebind for something can work too.

Just a thought - don't know if it'll help your current situation, and unfortunately, I can't speak to console controls, but hey...I tried. :D
I appreciate the suggestion. Unfortunately due to the small size of my hands (they're literally kid sized) and the necessity to look at the keyboard when going for those upper keys because I can't rely on touch there due tot he offset nature of the numeric row of keys up top, I need to stick to the bottom of the keyboard, especially so I can use the shift key to stand in place to aim when I don't want to move.

That basically forces me to use Z for my Vaal Burning Arrow shot, X for my Dash, shift for force stand still (really necessary in good ranged play), A for Summon Skeletons, S for Vaal Summon Skeletons, Q for my primary healing/bleed flask, and the 1 and 2 keys fortwo of my other flasks. I can't easily do 3 and 4 for the last flasks, so I'm forced to look down to press those and hope I don't die from taking my eye off the screen (I only have one eye to see with). My LMB is Force Move like any decent player would use, and right click is my Ice Shot. The only reachable thumb button is my Quicksilver flask to increase speed, used mostly when I'm also using Dash for better mobility.

With a controller I could set things up as I choose. And if the devs gave us full customization so we could choose whether or not to use the last four skill binds, I would be able to have force stand still back as well. And I'd be able to do so in a far more comfortable way and I'd be able to sit far enough back to see the whole screen with just my one eye instead of having to constantly turn my head from side to side due to having to sit closer to use the keyboard. It would simply be the most pleasant upgrade to playing the game I could possibly get. Just because the game is on PC doesn't mean the keyboard and mouse are the best input methods for every last individual. They aren't. :)
Some people reported good experience playing with the steam controller since it has a touch pad like sensor on the left hand side. I have also setup controllers on steam (xbox) and mainly found pickup hard.
My guess if controller support comes it will be with poe 2 and perhaps to compete with d4.

Another thing i thought of is ahk is ok as long as it is one action to one press so perhaps binding sequential press of flasks 2-5 to one key. So pressing r presses 2 pressing r again presses 3 etc.
( i think thats allowed im not an expert on ahk and poe)
Last edited by Fhark on May 14, 2020, 2:50:29 PM
Fhark wrote:
Some people reported good experience playing with the steam controller since it has a touch pad like sensor on the left hand side. I have also setup controllers on steam (xbox) and mainly found pickup hard.
My guess if controller support comes it will be with poe 2 and perhaps to compete with d4.

Another thing i thought of is ahk is ok as long as it is one action to one press so perhaps binding sequential press of flasks 2-5 to one key. So pressing r presses 2 pressing r again presses 3 etc.
( i think thats allowed im not an expert on ahk and poe)

Thanks for the suggestions. Unfortunately the Steam controller is discontinued, though I had already ruled it out as a controller due to the lack of tactile points of contact that I use for muscle memory (you'd be surprised how much I rely on muscle memory for tasks being blind in one eye).

As for the AHK suggestion, that falls under automation I'm afraid. The reason it does is that it automates a sequence of events. Even if you're pressing the button multiple times to trigger each event, the trigger mechanism is automated because it changes the input automatically. Blizzard has identical anti-cheat rules in place for AHK as well.

I would really love for controller support to appear before PoE 2, though you're probably right in that will be the earliest we see it. It's a shame too, considering GGG really did a nice job of making use of limited input resources on the consoles. It's just that the console performance is so abysmal that I'd rather stick it out on the PC I have for gaming. I know nothing is ever "easy" when it comes to programming. But in this case GGG at least has the code already, understands the code since they themselves made it, and it works. Transplanting it would take some modification I'm sure, since consoles' HID input programming is slightly different than standard PC HID programming.

I'd be more than happy to bang my head against the virtual wall beta testing the hell out of controller support. It really hurts, literally, to have to use the mouse and keyboard even in the limited fashion I'm doing now with PoE. Hell, I'd even pay the absurd exchange rate to get a Razer Raiju Ultimate 1.4+ and import it from the UK just for this game if they put in controller support. That controller has enough buttons to allow full use of keybinds while still letting us have force stand still. :)
I see your points unfortunately hoping ggg does anything is a long waiting game. Its over 4 years and there still isnt lockstep on console.
The only other things i can think off is a mmo mouse which gives you enough buttons on the side for flasks. There are also small keyboards i looked at quite a lot of them before i bought a lapboard, best of luck.
I actually tried a couple of those MMO mice. Unfortunately there were two issues. The first is that the buttons were all membrane and not mechanical or even scissor switch, meaning they were incredibly difficult to depress with any reliability for me. The second and more prominent issue is...I simply can't reach most of those buttons. I have hands that stopped growing when I was ten. They're kid sized hands. Most adult women, even petite ones, have hands bigger than mine. When I shop for gloves, I have to get womens' small size to fit me. That threw the guys at Cycle Gear for a loop, lemme tell ya. Even on my Logitech G9x mouse I still have one thumb button I can't reach without releasing my grip on the mouse and angling my arm forward. It's just out of reach of my thumb.

Physical accessibility is a very real issue for a lot of us. Having more options means a great deal to people like myself. I didn't ask to be like this. GGG didn't make my body to be like this. But they are the ones in a position to empower me and others like me to enjoy the game more fully (or even just at all in some cases). The good news is, once it's put in, it's one of the few aspects of the game that wouldn't need constant retooling. Input is a very basic thing that you don't tend to change very often.

All I can do right now is hope. But man would it be nice. Doubly so if they gave us that and the Mac client they said they want (some of their devs work using Apple hardware and really would like to play PoE on those machines too). Me? I have a hackintosh. I built it myself. I configured it myself. I know my way around tech. And believe me when I say I wouldn't be here asking for controller support if I'd found another sustainable way already.

Having more a history of playing fps and action rpgs, my nature resting position have my fingers on the W,A,D left Shift and Spacebar keys respectively. As a result, I changed my flask keys to Q,W,E,A and D while rebinding my active skills to left mouse, middle mouse, right mouse, mouse button 4 and 5 (thumb buttons), spacebar (used for escape/movement skills), S and R. I cast my auras using alt + 1 to 5. I have my flares and dynamite set to 1 and 2.

The resulting changes heavily reduce keyboard travel, allowing me to keep my resting position at all times. I'm not sure if these rebindings would help accommodate your disabilities, but I thought I'd throw my hat into the ring.
Have a look at

How to Remap any Controller to Keyboard Keys

I think Steam supports something similar, but in big picture more only

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