Path of Exile Conquerors of the Atlas Preview

Grinding Gear Games is in a tough spot right now. Don’t take this the wrong way; the New Zealand-based games developer isn’t going through some drama or afflictive times, quite on the contrary. The tricky issue here is that the first ever ExileCon delivered in spades, and it’s not easy to see how the next edition will manage to live up to such high standards.

The announcement of Path of Exile 2 was the uncontested highlight of the convention. This nearly groundbreaking but probably not quite beast of a game defies description, being some sort of radical hybrid sitting between huge expansion and spectacular sequel. Path of Exile Mobile deserves an honorable mention as well; the earnest and slightly awkward way that Grinding Gear Games’ co-founder and managing director Chris Wilson and his team introduced the game is obvious proof that they are doing this with sheer respect for Path of Exile, instead of pushing for a quick cash grab that would end up damaging the nearly stellar reputation of the franchise.

Franchise. Until a few days ago, it would be a delusion to say something like that about Path of Exile. But now, Grinding Gear Games is finally putting the “S” in games. So is Riot Games, with its recent announcement of a League of Legends fighting game, a FPS, and a few other games. Maybe it’s something in the water.

Before Path of Exile 2, we’re getting a few expansions starting with the massive 3.9 update, officially titled Conquerors of the Atlas. The announcement trailer spawned a mix of excited and shocked reactions, and quite understandably so – after all, it’s not every day that you are your most dangerous threat.

Path of Exile Conquerors of the Atlas Preview Conqueror

You Versus You | Conquerors of the Atlas Preview

According to Chris Wilson, Conquerors of the Atlas is designed to reinvigorate Path of Exile’s endgame, a couple of years after the War for the Atlas expansion brought the Shaper and the Elder influence mechanics, and the brand-new story follows those events. Admitting that the endgame was getting “a bit stale,” Wilson is adamant that the new expansion is going to change that, adding to the flexibility and bringing some exciting fights and rewards, without compromising what fans love so much about the Atlas gameplay.

“You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” These famous words uttered by Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight seem like a perfect fit for your role in Conquerors of the Atlas. In the trailer, Zana describes her tale of bravery in face of an overwhelming evil, and how she ended up sealing these threats in the Atlas. The five bosses that you must face can be briefly seen in their human form, and a glimpse of them as the Conquerors reveal their evolved and threatening nature, which is based off real player builds. This is a remarkable way to seamlessly bind lore and grind, in a metagame of sorts that comes as a shocking revelation to all but the most perceptive players – the Exiles are their own worst enemy. You can almost taste the bittersweet irony behind it all.

One of the most noticeable changes is straight up visible when you open the Atlas. You no longer start your quest in the corners, instead starting near the center of the map, and working out your way toward the corners. This is a change that should add more freedom to the way that you choose to explore the regions. The map is divided into eight regions, something that you’ll verify by the yellow borders. In the beginning, there are 19 maps visible to the players, and you must unlock the rest by leveling up regions of the Atlas through defeating Conquerors and earning watchstones, which you can socket to increase the tier of the maps within that region. Fully upgrading a region will reveal more maps and raise each one within to tier 14-16. You can repeatedly target Conquerors in case you want to earn more watchstones and have all eight regions at max level.

Path of Exile Conquerors of the Atlas Preview Map

With the new expansion, sextants can be applied to watchstones and affect an entire region, instead of a single map as they previously would. This gives you up to four sextants for each region, and you can unsocket watchstones between regions as you wish. Another change is that Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master Cartographer sextants now come with unique modifiers.

The support gem plus system is another feature coming with the new expansion. These gems are “very high level, super powerful versions” of the support gems that you can already find in the game. This priceless loot drops from Conquerors and there are around 35 in Conquerors of the Atlas. Wilson talked about a couple of them, Fork Plus and Ancestral Call Plus, proceeding to a short demonstration where chaos ensued, and an appropriate “RIP graphics card” comment stole a legitimate laugh from the audience.

With Conquerors of the Atlas changing the endgame and shifting the focus from the Shaper and Elder, what will happen to those items that you fought so hard for? You can rest assured that these aren’t going away, and Zana’s missions will give you Shaper and Elder guardian maps. The goal here is to keep that part of the content accessible, in case you need an item as a specific part of your build, although the focus isn’t on this system anymore.

Four new influence types named after four of the five Conquerors will provide you with new ways to change your build: Warlord, Hunter, Crusader, and Adjudicator. I feel sorry for the remaining guy, but he’s being left out because his name probably isn’t quite as catchy as the others – maybe he’s called Blayde or something? These mod pools are based on older mods but also include new additions. Conquerors may also drop orbs that enables you to enchant a rare item with a unique modifier.

Path of Exile Conquerors of the Atlas Preview Conqueror Battle

Previous Path of Exile expansions improved on various aspects of the game. Spellcasting, melee, summoning and mines were topics that deserved exceptional attention from the development team, and the 3.9 update is enhancing bows and ranged attack totems.

Ranged attack totems are now called ballistas, and you can place three of them at once even faster than before. New support gems provide additional ways of shooting arrows, with the artillery ballista shooting fiery arrows up in the air to rain down on enemies, working as a very efficient way to clear spread out enemies. The other support gem is the shrapnel ballista, which fires limited-range projectiles at your foes.

The bow is a popular weapon in more ways than one, and it saw the introduction of new skills and support gems. The Ensnaring Arrow utility skill increases ranged attack damage and restrains movement of the affected targets; the Barrage support is a treasured skill that receives a new gem allowing you to fire several arrows in sequence; finally, the Nova support gem allows you to fire an arrow into the air, which lands at a remote location and splits into a swarm of arrows that lay waste to enemies everywhere. On the other hand, you can say goodbye to the Tornado shot, which was nerfed and was “far too good for far too long”.

Path of Exile Conquerors of the Atlas Preview Bow

DIY Metamorph | Conquerors of the Atlas Preview

As if drastically changing the endgame and giving the grind a consistent reason that perfectly ties with the existing lore wasn’t enough, there is a new league coming with this update. The Metamorph league is the 28th league in Path of Exile and launches alongside Conquerors of the Atlas on December 13. Another spectacular trailer introduces the new league, ostensibly basking in its ominous atmosphere and the narration of an obsessed and scary persona. It stars a new NPC, Tane Octavius, a master alchemist that was exiled to Wraeclast for killing his teacher and is now vying to use his expertise to find the “the intrinsic darkness.” This, of course, involves a lot of killing.

As you kill monsters in each area, you collect samples from some of the corpses. The samples represent the personification of each creature’s skills, and combining five of them will result in the creation of a metamorph. When you have enough skills, you can summon Tane so that he helps you to create a metamorph. You possess certain control over the genesis of this boss, as you carefully select the five samples that blend into a menacing foe.

The resulting metamorph is a vicious boss that swiftly changes shape and offers a remarkable and unpredictable challenge. The more powerful the metamorph is, the better the rewards, so there is a clear risk/reward factor that you must consider when mixing the samples.

Path of Exile Conquerors of the Atlas Preview Conqueror Battle 3

In the Metamorph endgame, you can collect samples from map bosses and combine them to form even more lethal metamorphs. The blend of powers, difficulty, and rewards of multiple bosses yields the definitive challenge for league players. The Conquerors of the Atlas expansion brings 16 new items, four exclusive to the Metamorph league, and the rest of them will drop as you defeat the Conquerors.

Conquerors of the Atlas turns Path of Exile’s endgame on its head and is set to deliver a bold and unabashed foundation for what 2020 will bring. With a few expansions yet to release in the lead-up to 4.0, which you know by Path of Exile 2 by now, fighting former Exiles sounds like a way to close the year on a very interesting note.

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Path of Exile: Chris Wilson Discusses The Blight Expansion

Ever since its initial release on PC in October 2013, followed by its arrival on Xbox One in 2017 and PlayStation 4 earlier this year, Path of Exile has become a monumental success for Grinding Gear Games. The company has noted that audiences have doubled since launch on console, while the team continues to make changes with new additions and tweaks to keep the game’s consistency up to date.

Path of Exile Blight

That means big updates every now and again, including one set to take place this September that brings a big Blight change to the fold. Don’t worry; nothing big enough to change the way you play will take place. Some tweaks will help keep things going in a big way, and should bring some new players into the fold as the fall season comes around as the forthcoming ExileCon prepares to make its debut this November in Auckland, New Zealand.

With that, let’s get started on what players can expect from this new update!

 

The Players Rise – and the New Expansion

With the game’s debut on consoles, concurrent users for Path of Exile continues to grow monumentally. With the latest 3.7.0 update, according to Grinding Gears’ Chris Wilson, the game has seen just under 225,000 concurrent users. That’s a steady high considering it was just around 110,000 with the 3.1.0 update not too long ago. This is a truly impressive rise for a game that’s just gotten past its fifth anniversary.

Now comes the Blight expansion, which will be broken down into many components. The first comes with the Blight challenge league, as well as three revamped balance archetypes with additional skills and support gems. Through these, players will have the opportunity to pick up an abundant amount of new items to add to their collection. 

In addition, two older leagues will be making their return, but with a better focus for players to take appreciation of.

In the Blight, a character by the name of Sister Cassia will take focus. According to Wilson, she’s a new non-playable character that will lead you to a number of Fungal Growths that pop up throughout the world of Wraeclast. These are pretty hard to miss, as they look like large flowers that appear ready to burst at any given moment, with devastating ground tendrils that pretty much leak out everywhere within a certain radius.

This area has some importance to the Fungal Growths. Any monsters in it are automatically under their control, and come to defend it right off the bat. It’s up to the player to fight off the monsters while working with Cassia to destroy the Fungal Growth. It’s a bit more challenging than you might think, especially as you come across new Growths. They grow greater armies as you go along, meaning you’ll have to use more tactics in order to keep them off Cassia and cut them down.

As Wilson explained over the course of the demo, the player is responsible for wiping out the enemy forces. The game does have a tactical tower defense-like system, but you don’t necessarily have tools that kill the opponents automatically. Instead, it slows them long enough for you to move in and make the kill. Wilson notes there’s a better satisfaction to it, and based on the footage we saw in the demo, he’s got a good point. With the moves each character class has, it’s not like it’s a struggle to bring down the monsters while Cassia drains the necessary ichor to defeat the Growths.

In his post-demo notes Wilson said, “Our goal was to combine this popular genre of game with Path of Exile‘s action combat and to make it a bite-sized experience that lets you test your character in new ways, earn some cool rewards, and then get on with killing monsters.” Getting the hands-on approach is definitely the better way to go, he feels.

Path of Exile Blight

There are general monsters that are easy to kill, but Wilson also warns to keep an eye out for the “infected” ones. These creatures are a lot tougher, which means you’ll need to build additional defensive towers to slow them even further, so that no harm will come to your player or Cassia long enough for you to deliver the fatal blow. Finding the right weakness may take some practice, but you have enough tools in your arsenal to chip away at them.

And this practice will certainly pay off. Once you clear out enough lanes for each of these Growths, you’ll be rewarded with a Chest, packed with goodies inside.

Over the course of the game, Wilson explained that you’ll be able to “buff other towers” for additional strength as well as spawn minions. These become quite useful over the course of the game, as they’ll attack other enemies almost instantly, doing the “dirty work” for you.

“It’s quite important to read the lanes to work out what types of monsters are coming and to strategize accordingly. Tower placement is also important, so that your towers affect as much of a lane as possible and slow down the enemies while you deal with them,” Wilson explained in his notes. Again, practice makes perfect.

 

Rewards Aplenty

And what are part of these rewards? That includes Oils. You’ll run across different ones that you can actually combine together to add properties to certain items over the course of the game. For instance, Sister Cassia can show you what some of these Oils can do for her, like combining them with her Rings or Amulets.

You can try out different pairings in whatever order you’d like (it doesn’t really matter, Wilson explains). 12 tiers of Oils available in all, with rarer types available over the course of the game, you’re sure to find some that will give you something powerful for your next encounter with monsters.

Once you add these Oils to a Ring or Amulet, you’ll come up with enchantments. These are new to Path of Exile, and add new properties that can stack value to the item. This can be quite a game-changer for some so don’t be afraid to experiment a little!

Wilson explained that “two oils can anoint a ring,” which can add an enchantment to modify the functionality of your tower. You can equip more than one at a time, but if you have three oils, you can “anoint an amulet.” This is even more powerful, as you are able to grant the “full properties of a Notable passive skill on the passive skill tree,” per Wilson.

“Each combination of three oils (where order doesn’t matter) grants a different notable passive skill, and some are a lot rarer and more powerful than others,” he explains.

Blighted Maps are also added over the course of the game. They take you to a new area that features a giant Blight encounter, but without any general monsters to take on. These are incredibly difficult and pack a dangerous challenge, but as a result you’ll earn some special items for your collection, so they’re well worth the risk.

Four Blight uniques are also available, set to be “anointed” by Cassia. We took a look at a couple of these during the demo, such as the Triad Grip gloves. They fit particularly with different elements for characters, such as the Necromancer, and give you control over what damage can be converted based on the colors of the sockets of the item.

Path of Exile Blight

Give These Archetypes a Try

Speaking of the Necromancer, this Archetype has gone through some revamping with its reintroduction into Path of Exile, but Wilson notes it’s for the better.

With this character, the minions can now be better under your control with the help of three support gems. They’ll act more aggressively, as you can guide them towards specific targets, depending on the gem you’re using. As you level up, they become more of a primary “meat shield” of sorts, so that you stand less of a chance of getting hit, even as tougher enemies enter the fray. “This leaves the player room to choose how to specialize their minions in a way that is different from other players,” Wilson notes.

There’s also been a slight bit of redesign when it comes to the effects of the Necromancer, with more minion types that can be used overall. The Carrion Golem can also be used for buffing purposes, both for you and your minions. Once utilized, you can use a wand, available in most Atlas map areas, which can use minion properties once applied.

That leads to the other Archetype revamp joining the game – the Poison Assassin. Wilson explained this was once removed from Path of Exile because it was simply far too powerful, but thanks to some balancing, it’s bound to be more players’ speed this time around. 

He noted “seriously broken critical strike math” being the big problem with the character, with large amounts of poison damage crippling foes. “We eventually had to fix this system to act more reasonably, and that reduced the character down to just another fair build that was semi-popular but not one of the top ways to play any more. Players have asked for a return to the glory days, and we believe we have a way to achieve this without being quite so unstoppable,” he said.

With that, the character now has five new skills, along with a new support gem that adapts to this play style. One particular move that players should enjoy is the Cobra Lash. This actually throws out a copy of the current weapon that chains out onto enemies, combo-style, creating a poison effect. It’s not nearly as overpowering as the “broken critical” strikes, but is still highly effective.

What’s more, a new buff called Elusive can be applied across the Ascendancy tree. With it, Wilson explained, defense and mobility become more of a factor for the Poison Assassin. It lasts for a short while, but doesn’t turn off right away once its effects are done. Instead, it weakens a little bit, giving the player more of a chance so they can prepare defensively for when it’s gone.

Wilson also made note that the Assassin’s Ascendancy tree has gone through minor changes, with additional options for critical strikes and poison. Players should have a lot more fun with this Archetype once it’s available.

Then there’s the Saboteur. This seems to be an old-school explosive Archetype that some players will enjoy. It has an Ascendancy option for the Shadow class, which sets off traps and explosives that can be chained together. There are some adjusted mechanics, as mines can now be thrown at range, with much more expediency. You can also set them off in sequence, if you feel like timing should be on your side. You do need to set aside mana to utilize them, though.

Stormblast Mine is a low-level mine skill that players should enjoy, as it opens up some nearby enemies to damage, while setting up shockwaves for other blasts from other mines.

Three new Mine skills are also included, along with minor changes to the Notable passives.

Path of Exile Blight

Ready For the Endgame?

Finally, Wilson addressed the Atlas of Worlds endgame, in which the player comes across the five Masters and the missions they demand of them. Wilson did note some issues with this particular set-up though.

“This system had two problems. The first was that players felt that being surprised with a substantial and time-consuming mission made them feel forced to do it right then or miss out, when they potentially weren’t keen or ready to spend a lot of time on that content immediately,” he said. “The other issue was that taking advantage of the random occurrences on Atlas maps required quite a large amount of trading for maps as they came up, which was also very time-consuming.”

So what to do? Why, fix both of course which lead Grinding Gears to change the system. Now the encounters will be deferred, with the game keeping track of missions and the difficulty they’re completed on. What’s more, the Masters can be spoken to within the hideout, and you can apply the maps at any time, instead of just getting random ones that pop up. Two master missions will also be added to your total with each day, so something will be available for each session you log into.

 

This One’s For the Old League Players!

In addition, Wilson also made note about changes to the Old League content:

First up, for the Betrayal League, the Mastermind encounter will now provide a reward room for each member of the Immortal Syndicate, instead of just the ones in that branch. You can also share your Syndicate state across all characters in the current league, so you don’t have to worry about restarting the game if you begin a new one.

As for Delve league, there’s rebalancing, so Path of Exile isn’t such a struggle as you get deeper into the game. 69 fewer depths and lesser rare Delve encounters will take effect, and you can also expect a higher diversity of encounters and reward types. All your characters will have Sulphite in the league as well.

When Will All This Take Effect?

As for when the update will take place, it’ll hit the PC version of Path of Exile first on September 6th. Don’t worry console owners, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions wont be far behind  and will get it on September 9th.

As for the future of the game, that’ll be discussed at ExileCon in November. Expect some big changes in the future, but for now enjoy the Blight, if you survive that is!

Thanks to Chris Wilson at Grinding Gear Games for talking to us! Path of Exile is available now!

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Path of Exile: Legion First Look – A True Battle Lies Ahead

Grinding Gear Games’ Path of Exile has become a monumental success since its initial release on PC in 2013. And the developers expanded upon that success recently with the Xbox One version in 2017, followed by the PlayStation 4 edition early this year. It presents a number of challenges for those looking for a unique alternative to the Diablo series, especially when it comes to conquering classes such as the Duelist, the Marauder and the Ranger. But there’s more where that came from.

The developers recently announced that a new add-on for the game, Legion, is in the works. It’s set to drop very soon here, coming first to PC on June 7 before making its way to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 just three days later on June 10. With it, players will be introduced to a number of new challenges, ones that they’ll have to act to quickly, lest they become overrun by armies that want nothing more than to swat them down.

So let’s take a close look at what this expansion will have to offer before it arrives in just a few short weeks:

 

Say Hello To the Blood and Sand Gladiator

With Legion, Grinding Gear Games will introduces two new archetypes to the game, which players can experiment and grow with as they become better and mow down enemies like grass. First up is the Blood and Sand Gladiator, who acts as a Duelist. His name indicates that he can utilize “Blood” and “Sand” stances to knock down opponents, both of which can come in pretty handy.

“Their stances are mana reservation effects that give benefits depending on the theme of the stance, and you can switch between the stances at will. Blood Stance is great for dealing lots of damage to close enemies, while Sand Stance is defensive and has more area of effect. The Blood and Sand skills have very different behavior in each stance, so you want to switch stances to best adapt your skill and benefits to the situation,” the development team explained during its presentation.

Not only does the Blood and Sand Gladiator take advantage of newly introduced skills like Blood and Sand, Flesh and Stone and Bladestorm, but you can also utilize existing skills as well, such as Lacerate. Once you get used to him, you’ll find his abilities are perfect for taking down armies.

The Rage Berserker Demands You Respect

The next archetype that enters the fray is the Rage Berserker. And he’s just as angry as his name lives up to. Rage is definitely his ally.

“Rage is an attack buff that increases attack damage, attack and movement speed and stacks up to 50. In Legion, it no longer drains life over time, though the Berserker can chose to restore that effect in exchange for increased power. A number of new skills such as Chain Strike generate Rage, and the Berserk skill consumes Rage to grant very powerful multiplicative attack bonuses,” the developer continues. “The Berserker ascendancy class has reworked bonuses to improve its interactions with Rage and Berserk.”

Based on what we’ve seen from his gameplay thus far, the Berserker is definitely in a class by himself – and he’s a character that you won’t want to miss.

 

A Whole New Kind of Combat

While Path of Exile has an exceptional combat system, it’s one that has its fair share of shortcomings. For instance, in the past, you weren’t able to dodge attacks so easily. However, with Grinding Gears’ new monster rebalance system – which will be introduced in the Legion update – you won’t have to worry about that anymore.

As part of the improvements to the melee system, you’ll now be able to dodge attacks pretty handily. This will enable you to save some of your strength when you need it the most, while at the same time quickly working your way to the next enemy. “We wanted to take advantage of this by having more of the monsters and bosses perform much more signaled attacks,” the developer explained. “Because of this, we decided to do a rebalance of all of the early campaign areas of Path of Exile. Our plan was to rebalance a lot of monster attacks that used to have poor signaling to now have a wind-up before their attack. 

“This rebalance became a larger project than we expected because we started improving AI, adding monster skills, improving boss fights and basically polishing early areas to a 2019 standard.” It sounds like both devoted Path of Exile players, alongside newcomers, will have a lot to look forward to with this improved-upon system.

On top of that, you can also cancel attack animations if you feel like you need to change direction. This can be completely helpful if you become surrounded or what to focus your attention on striking elsewhere. It never hurts to have this at the ready, based on the video that you can watch above. Considering the bosses are a handful, every correct move has to count for something. Movement helps, but be prepared for the fight of your life against these guys.

The team also discussed about making vital improvements to the maps. Though not all the layouts in Path of Exile are affected by these changes, eight of them did go through specific tweaking, “with a specific focus on making their boss fights better. Among the changes are also some pathing/layout improvements and a complete overhaul to the Coward’s Trial unique map,” the developer explains.

 

So…Why Is It Called Legion?

Thus far, we’ve explained what balance changes you’ll go through with this new expansion, along with the characters that will be introduced as archetypes and some other little tweaks to the world. But that may not explain to some of you what the word Legion is all about. Well, let’s just say you’re going to have to deal with a lot of enemies.

Over the course of their demonstration, the developer showed off a showcase dealing with the Domain of Timeless Conflict. Once your player enters this, you’ll see two different armies frozen in place. You only have a few precious seconds to carve down as many of these enemies as possible. It serves as an advantage to get them out of the way before time expires and the remaining soldiers charge at you. It certainly stands as a challenge for some, but those that are truly devoted – and prepared with their abilities – will no doubt welcome the fight.

While being able to defy armies is a cool thing, it helps to get rewarded for your progress, right? Fortunately, you’ll be able to do that once you cut down certain enemies. They’ll leave behind Splinters. With these, you’ll be able to summon a large army with the help of the Emblem through the map devices, getting a little support when you need it the most. That said, however, you may want to prepare for a grind – in order to earn some Splinters, you may need to battle for quite a long time. The developers didn’t give an exact estimate, but you’ll need to put a little work in for it.

Items, Anyone?

Along with that, you’ll also be able to use a dozen or so new items in the midst of battle, each of which have their own special abilities. The one that stands out the most for us – at least, as far as the demo is concerned – is the Aukuna’s Will Clasped Mitts.

With these, you’ll actually be able to call upon zombies (without corpses, mind you) to count. This will increase your body count and stat as a result, plus give you a little addition as far as dexterity and increased cast speed are concerned. Plus, you can also get better evasion, along with an energy shield that can protect you just a little bit longer, as needed.

There are other items to play around with as well, including the Voll’s Protector. This will allow you to build up your strength, as you may have done in the past with a previous version. The other abilities sound like they’ll be just as promising as well, so keep an eye out for what becomes available.

Path of Exile Legion

 

That Precious Fifth Slot, Incubation and Jewels

One unique addition to Path of Exile that a long of fans will notice – after completing the four-army battle, anyway – is the ability to up your map device slots. You typically start out with four when you get into a game. However, with the Legion update, you’ll be able to crank that up to five!

Once you open up that fifth precious slot, you’ll be able to make room for another legion emblem. Of course, that means more enemies coming at you, but that also means more rewards for your trouble. Ain’t nothing wrong with getting paid for you work, right?

There’s also a new thing with the “incubation items” that will come into the game. With these, if you reach a particular kill count taking down opponents, you’ll be able to earn a unique weapon for your trouble. This is useful when you’re trying to expand upon your arsenal.

Some of these “incubation items” have requirements, but they’re fairly easy to keep track of, with a certain number of kills and leveling required. Once you get to that point, you’ll earn all sorts of goodies, including the aforementioned weapons, along with armor, divination cards and high-end currency. Who knows? If you’re good enough, you might even snag a Mirror of Kalandra for your trouble.

Last but certainly not least, there’s a complicated – but well-structured – road map that will allow you to collect jewels. While a lot of these can take a while to get, they’re worth it, as you can pile up your passives tree and really open up your character’s abilities, such as granting an extra maximum frenzy charge or boosting your life a little bit. It’s a lot to study up, so make sure and look at all the ways you can possibly expand upon it.

What’s Next?

Once Legion wraps up development and heads out in June, that doesn’t mean Grinding Gear Games will take it easy. The team filled us in on their plans with Path of Exile, and there’s a lot of store – namely with the launch in another country.

The team confirmed that it will launch the game in South Korea on the same day that the Legion expansion arrives – on June 7. It opens up an entirely new market for the release, and should bring in lots of avid players that want to dig in with everything that it has to offer. It’s also partnered up with Kakao Games to make sure that everything runs smoothly, including dedicated servers and Korean language support and translation. They definitely won’t be left out in the cold. There also won’t be that many changes to content, so they’ll get the same game that we have, for the most part.

There’s also a devoted Path of Exile convention on the way. ExileCon 2019 will take place in Auckland, New Zealand on November 16 and 17. During this time, the developer will fill us in on what’s happening next with the game, and will also hold a number of events to keep fans happy. Various special guests will also make the trip, including legends like David Brevik, Eric Schaefer and Max Schaefer.

A Bright Future of Exile

Between what’s going down with the new Legion expansion next month and what’s to come later in the year, Grinding Gear Games has some promising stuff coming with Path of Exile. It’s already grown an impressive audience thus far, and with the new balance changes, archetypes and other content, they’ll be gladly coming back for more. And who knows what other surprises it has in store with its 4.0.0 update, or other potential releases down the road. One thing’s for sure – with a name like Exile, it’s a bit surprising that you won’t be stuck alone.

(Thanks to Grinding Gear Games for taking the time to chat with us about the game!)

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Kakao Games is Publishing Path of Exile in Korea

Thanks to a newly inked agreement Kakao Games is publishing Path of Exile in Korea. The game has already been released globally but, in most cases where this kind of publishing deal takes place, it is about a lot more than just publishing the game. Localization, using local currencies, and local customer support are typically the reasons we see studios working with different publishers around the world. There’s also the fact that should there be any issues with gaming laws, like those in China, having someone who is already an expert in those laws on your side is a lot better than you bumbling in and hoping everything will be ok.

Thanks to their experience with Black Desert Online as well as publishing PUBG Kakao would already have connections and local workers in Korea to take on the challenges releasing Path of Exile in Korea present.

Path of Exile is one of the top played games on Steam and is beloved by its community. Despite being 6 years old the game is still going strong and will be releasing on PS4 in just a few days. Grinding Gear Games is already working with Tencent in Mainland China and Garena in Taiwan so this isn’t the first time they’ve worked with a publisher in the East. Though Tencent does have an 80% stake in the company.

Grinding Gear Games is one of those few internationally known studios based in New Zealand. Which is where the first ever ExileCon will be taking place this November. If New Zealand is a bit too far for you to travel for a game convention, don’t worry, the entire event will be streamed for free. More details on that are expected soon.

As for Kakao’s publishing of Path of Exile in Korea, right now there isn’t a time scale that has been made public. But, it has been said that a launch schedule will be announced at a later point.

 

Source: MMOCulture

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Path of Exile Synthesis Revealed

Things have never been better for Path of Exile. December’s Betrayal launch was their biggest in the 6 years the game has been live. In 3.5.0 they recorded more than 180,000 concurrent users at peak. Compare this to 2.3.0 when they had a peak of over 40,000. With this kind of a boost, it shouldn’t come as a surprise at all that more content is coming to Path of Exile, this time in the form of Path of Exile Synthesis.

So what can you expect to find in Synthesis? Well to begin with there is the Synthesis Challenge League. In these league players will create new characters and play under a completely new set of rules. The word synthesis, in this case, refers to the fabrication of two things, in particular, world area and items. In the league, the idea is to find the best items and clear the high content first. The developers have warned that this expansion does have a slight bias towards existing players, but, new players will still find it accessible as well.

Path of Exile Synthesis

Players will meet a new NPC who introduces himself as Cavas (the Latin word for Hollow). He’s a spirit who has forgotten all of his memories. But, it is clear that he played an important role in Wraeclast’s history so players will pledge to help him return his memories. Players will encounter memory fragments as they play and have to stabilize them to restore Cavas’ identity. This is a moderately story heavy league, something the developers were keen to return to after players enjoyed it so much in Betrayal.

In the Synthesis league, every world area has a portal that leads to a memory. As you get close Cavas will approach you and open the portal for you to enter. Once inside you’re taken to an area that is full of monsters and rapidly decaying. While in there your goal is to tag 2-4 memory stabilizers before the area decays completely. If you’re successful at stabilizing the memory you’ll be given a memory fragment for later use. The number of connection points on the fragment represents how many stabilizers there were in the level.

At a certain point in the gameplay, Cavas will lead you to the Memory Nexus, an area that is floating in the sea of his memories. There he shows you that you can view nearby memories on the memory map as well as place memory fragments there. The fragments need to be placed on the board carefully to create a path so the memories can be reached in a single run. Some care is needed when placing memory fragments as they can only connect at connection points. Once you’ve placed a memory it only has a certain number of runs before it too decays. Memories that have decayed completely can be replaced with similar pieces later. Memory fragments also have mods on them that are applied to monsters in the area. While generally, they won’t make an area too difficult, there are some that will give you pause as they make things considerably more challenging. For highly experienced players there is also the global mod system which will stack together the longer your chains of memories get.

In addition to the reward memories, there will also be some advanced rewards in the form of Fractured and Synthesized Items. Fractured items can only be found within memories that are damaged due to decay. While Fractured Items themselves do have some downsides, like some of their properties being stuck in place it is still important to collect them for use in Synthesized Items.

To create a Synthesized Item you must travel to the Memory Nexus and interact with the Synthesiser. To use it you must insert 3 Fractured Items of the same class, for instance, 3 fractured rings. These are consumed to create a Synthesized Item with random implicit mods.

Path of Exile Synthesis

Two new character archetypes are also going to be introduced, Chaos Spellcaster and Holy Spellcaster. The Chaos Spellcaster is a promoted archetype that uses a variety of new and existing Chaos damage spells. One new skill is Soulrend which fires a slow-moving homing projectile that causes Chaos damage over time on things near it. While most Chaos spells require the use of multiple spells in combinations Soulrend is as the developers call it a “one-stop Chaos shop” and fills the hole of being a good introductory Chaos damage skill.

The second new archetype is the Holy Spellcaster, an archetype that..you guessed it, uses Holy spells. Mechanically speaking the skills are a mixture of elemental and physical damage. This is the first time Holy spells make an appearance in the game. The new skill the developers highlighted for Holy Spellcaster is Divine Ire, a channeling skill that damages nearby enemies as it charges up. The more enemies that are nearby the faster it charges, so getting right in the thick of things is encouraged. Once it’s charged a very large Holy blast is released in the direction you’re targeting. This skill can be a bit challenging to use as it does require being close to enemies to properly use. But, once you’ve mastered it you’ll find yourself having a blast. (Pun intended.)

Path of Exile Synthesis

Path of Exile Synthesis will introduce 16 new unique items to the game that will have interesting effects and change how people play Path of Exile. One such item is the Eternity Shroud. When the player is hit the Eternity Shroud will trigger the Glimpse of Eternity skill, a new skill that was created just for the Eternity Shroud. Glimpse of Eternity will create a time dilation bubble around you that will slow down the action speed of enemies making it much safer for you to be surrounded by them. Of course, there is always the risk of the time dilation bubble dropping before you manage to kill them all. But, that is just a risk you’ll have to take.

Path of Exile Synthesis

Path of Exile Synthesis is launching on PC on March 8th, Xbox One on March 11th, and PS4 sometime in Mid-March. Just like in 2018 the development team is planning on following a 13-week release schedule which means you can expect content March (Synthesis), June, September, and December. Plus this year will be the first-ever ExileCon in Auckland, New Zealand which is being held in November. There players will be able to experience the 3.9 expansion as well as next year’s mega-expansion 4.0.

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Path of Exile: Betrayal – Forsaking the Masters

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).

Path of exile: betrayal panel

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.

Path of Exile: Betrayal Bitterbind Point

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.

Path of Exile: Betrayal Masters

 

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!

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Path of Exile Confirms its PS4 Release

Well, it looks like the early portents were true. A Path of Exile PS4 release has been officially announced by Grinding Gear Games with details and all of the pomp and circumstance that an announcement like that brings.

path of exile ps4 release

Path of Exile is making its way to the PS4 some time in December, opening up the MMOARPG to an all new audience. Naturally, it will be arriving with all of its usual bells and whistles like its crafting system, procedurally generated dungeons, and seven classes, each with three subclasses and that absolutely monstrous skill tree. The game will launch as a free to play title and promises to avoid pay-to-win tactics.

The PS4 version will also include content in the upcoming 3.5.0 update, which is said to be the game’s largest yet. More information about that is due to arrive next week, but the devs have posted a forum thread detailing one of the update’s features: Private Leagues, which will let players put together their own punishingly difficult Leagues for their friends.

As one would expect, the Path of Exile PS4 release has an accompanying trailer that sets the scene for the uninitiated, which you can see below.

Our Thoughts

Based on our time investigating Path of Exile’s F2P model, we can pretty confidently say that this one is indeed a fair free to play release while also being an excellent MMOARPG. It’s certainly one fans of the genre should look forward to on the PS4.

Sources: press release, official forums

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Path of Exile Potentially Coming to PS4

The console MMO market is a burgeoning one by all accounts and we may well see another game added to the growing list. In what appears to be another unintended ratings board leak, a Path of Exile PS4 version might just be waiting in the wings for MMOARPG fans.

path of exile ps4

This ratings board leak comes by way of Taiwan’s Digital Game Rating Committee, which has added a listing of the MMOARPG to its website. The listing also states that the game has passed through the ESRB, though bear in mind that information comes by way of Google Translate, so grains of salt and all that.

The report we’ve sourced does make a reminder that Path of Exile is on the way to a Chinese release, so it’s possible that this PS4 version might be region-specific. That said, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for the game to spread to the PS4 – it made it to Xbox One in August of last year and, assuming the game had console exclusivity, a year’s time would be long enough for Grinding Gear Games to branch out.

Our Thoughts

It really does seem inevitable that Path of Exile would be PlayStation 4-bound. The game has gotten what feels like a rise in its stake with its latest updates and we suspect that there are more than a few ARPG fans on the PS4 that would enjoy what PoE offers.

Source: Destructoid

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Path of Exile Outlines Improvements Coming to Delve

With the Delve update for Path of Exile out for a few days now, the devs of the MMOARPG now see some room for change. Which is the subject of a quick post that offers a general list of Delve improvements that are currently in the works, which will hopefully make the update more playable and less buggy.

delve improvements

While the list of adjustments doesn’t have any specific release date and aren’t even patch notes, the post does bring up the fact that a number of tweaks are en route. Among them are changes to the behavior and light radius of flares; changes to EMP charge-up to make it more clearly signaled; and shared Azurite and Upgrades for characters in the same league on your account.

Several bug fixes are also being implemented, such as a fix for Azurite getting stuck into walls and a light radius bug that sometimes looked too large, which brought about some player confusion.

A number of other fixes are in the works as well, but the most prominent ones are listed here.

Our Thoughts

We expect that a number of these adjustments to the Delve League will be extremely welcome, especially those related to lighting and Azurite. Considering those are two of the most defining features of this particular content update, those would certainly be some of the most frustrating problems. We’re glad that the devs at Grinding Gear Games are acknowledging that they need to be addressed quickly.

Source: official forums

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Path of Exile Covers Delve Update Balance Changes

With Path of Exile‘s next update, there’s very obviously going to be a lot of things that are new, but there’s also going to be a few existing things that will be changing as well. Some of these Delve Update balance changes were outlined on the game’s forums, offering a significantly deep dive into what skills and abilities are seeing adjustment.

delve update balance changes

The adjustments in question are pretty numerous overall so we’ll not cover every single one, but we will be sure to touch on some of the bigger highlights:

  • Instant skills will be more instant with the ability to be used while other skills are in use. You won’t be able to use these skills while incapacitated, however, and the devs will be monitoring the use of these skills as well as remain mindful of adding more instants.
  • Changes to movement skills are being made in order to reduce the disparity between them to provide more build flexibility. According to the post, these are the first of several planned changes.
  • A number of passive tree changes will be implemented. In synopsis, there will be new minion passive paths for Witch and Templar, and Warcry bonuses have been put into their own passive trees.
  • Secondary damage sources such as corpse explosions or Explosive Arrow blasts can now be blocked or dodged.

As we alluded to before, there’s a whole lot more to cover than just those bullet points, so you’ll definitely want to comb through the post for all of the specifics.

Our Thoughts

Judging by the responses to the forum post that outlined these changes, the balance pass arriving with Delve are welcome indeed. It would appear that this next release to the MMOARPG keeps up the developer’s tradition of strong content updates.

Source: official forums

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