Grinding Gear Games is at it again with yet another major content update for Path of Exile. This time around, Path of Exile: Betrayal will focus on revamping the content for the Forsaken Masters, which was released around 2014. Since then, the content surrounding the masters has been considered relatively weak compared to new updates and revamps for other old content. That’s why the development team has focused on designing the 2018 leagues around NPCs in order to phase out the old masters.
A League of Death
The upcoming expansion will emphasize the disappearance of the old masters and rise of the Immortal Syndicate. As players progress through the league, they will help Jun Ortoi unveil the secrets of the syndicate and its connection to the disappearance of the masters.
The Order of the Djinn has tasked Jun, and thus the players, with investigating an artifact that the Immortal Syndicate has stolen that gives them the ability to revive people from death (not as undead). It should be obvious the implications this could have to a crime syndicate and killing off an enemy means they likely won’t stay that way.
One of the key differences with Path of Exile: Betrayal is that four different encounters will take place during a normal playthrough of the game instead of in a separate area and include: Fortification, Transportation, Research, and Intervention. Fortification involves taking down a stronghold, Transportation is an escort-style quest, Research involves raiding an underground lab, and during Interventions the syndicate can send assassins to attack you at any time (including boss fights).
Once an encounter has been completed the player will subdue an Immortal Syndicate member and be allowed to choose from multiple paths. They can capture and interrogate in order to obtain information, bargain to cause a change in the organization, or execute them which increases their rank in the syndicate for not divulging information. Finally, there’s an option to betray another syndicate member, but this requires multiple syndicate members to be present and there needs to be relationship between them and it will cause a change in the syndicate ranks.
Each of these options has its own positives and negatives. Interrogating is an excellent way to increase progress towards a Syndicate encounter and learn about safehouse locations. Bargaining is a wildcard with multiple outcomes, but it only works if the member is alone. Execute might seem counterintuitive, but helping an enemy gain ranks means better rewards for killing them later. Once enough knowledge has been gained, players can raid safehouses, which are full of enemies and items to be pillaged.
Mods, Crafting, and Hideouts
One of the new item mechanics in Path of Exile: Betrayal is the Veiled Mod system. Enemies in the league will drop rare and unique items with veiled mods that can be revealed by Jun. Upon taking an item to her, players will be able to choose one of three modifiers. Once learned, players can then craft that mod onto items with the hideout crafting bench, and revealing the same mod multiple times will increase its power.
The hideout function also has a few new features, which players have been asking about for quite some time. Now players will be able to save, load, and share hideout templates instead of having to make a new one each time they want a change of scenery.
Finally, Master Crafters no longer need to be leveled up to receive recipes. Instead, recipes are obtained by completing objectives during Master missions, such as clearing certain encounters in Delves.
New Masters, Items, and Skills
With the new expansion, all of the old Forsaken Masters, with the exception of Zana, have mysteriously vanished. In their place will be NPCs from recent leagues including: Einhar, Alva, Niko, and Jun. While most players are likely familiar with these NPCs, there have been a few adjustments. Now Einhar will be in charge of throwing nets at the beasts and Alva can take players on multiple incursions.
In addition to the masters, there will be 15 new unique items. Some will be exclusive to Betrayal and have veiled mods. An example is Bitterbind Point, which is a shield that increases the power of the player and their spectres after landing critical strikes.
There will be a total of 10 new or revamped skills introduced in betrayal. Two of these that were revealed in our preview include: Winter Orb and Storm Brand. By channeling Winter Orb, it will fire projectiles at nearby enemies and increase its rate of fire the longer it is charged. Support gems also have various effects, such as increasing the number of projectiles, how long it lasts after being channeled, and size of the damage area.
Brands are an entirely new type of spell that summon arcane runes on the ground and bind to nearby enemies when approached. Runes that kill their target will return to the ground or jump to the next available target. Storm Brand will zap three nearby enemies and can be modified to increase the number of targets, damage, or restore health to the player. Brands do not act like traps, totems, or minion skills because the damage counts as the player’s.
There are a lot of new, exciting features coming to Path of Exile in the Betrayal update, which will be available on December 7 for PC and mid-December on consoles. In the comments, let us know which aspects of Betrayal you’re looking forward to most!