Grinding Gear Games has just revealed a new round of content for Path of Exile during a recent livestream, which includes a new Expedition expansion and the return of the battle royale mode–which is out now for a limited time. Along with new content for the 3.15 expansion, the developers announced some sweeping quality-of-life changes coming to the game, some of which could be considered controversial to the state of the game.
Grinding Gear Games CEO Chris Wilson gave a detailed breakdown in the latest stream for what’s new for Path of Exile, revealing the latest league event called Expedition, which will launch on July 23 for PC and on the 28th for consoles. Focusing on a new faction called the Kalguurans, you’re tasked with exploring a new region called Wraeclast, which holds ancient treasures and the lost history of the new faction. Ancient Kalguurans once controlled this land, but they would eventually lose control due to the region’s supernatural forces.
The main conceit of the Expedition content is that you’ll be exploring a new landscape filled with hidden chests and undead monsters hiding underneath the surface. While this seems quite close to the standard overworld exploration loop, what sets Expedition apart are the various excavation sites scattered around the land. By planting explosives at these sites, you can unearth treasure stashes or undead Kalguuran explorers to fight. While you can focus on blowing up markers at each site carefully, you can also chain together explosions–which in turn risks more fights–to increase your haul of loot. With this new Expedition league, you can also acquire brand new pieces of armor and weapons. The Expedition also serves as an opportunity to meet with new Kalguuran NPCs, with whom you can learn more and even trade resources with in order to gain new items and gear for your character.
Another reveal shown off during the stream was the announcement of the return of the Royale mode. Starting out as a April Fool’s Day event, it quickly became a fan-favorite activity in the community. Like other battle royale games, it puts a loot-driven action RPG spin on the popular mode, pitting you against other players in a fight to the death for the number one spot. The original mode was described as a “quick and dirty” project by the team, so the new and improved Royale mode will feature a re-designed map and refined core gameplay. It was also announced that the Royale mode is available now and will be free for all players. But like the previous Royale mode, this one will also only be open for a limited time. The Royale will only be open for 48 hours at launch, but throughout the Expedition league, the Royale mode will go live during weekends.
The new league content will also introduce some new quality-of-life improvements and gameplay tweaks to improve the game for the longer haul. Along with new support gems that can be applied to existing builds, there are also new combat skills. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the new 19 new ascendancy skills coming to Path of Exile, as explained by Chris Wilson during the stream:
- Earthbreaker Support – Chieftain: “The Earthbreaker Support gem can be linked to any Slam skill. Upon use, it summons an Ancestor Totem that uses that slam on your behalf.”
- Rage Vortex – Berserker: “Rage Vortex provides a new way to consume your rage: unleashing a whirling vortex that rapidly hits enemies within its range. It gains damage and area of effect based on how much Rage was sacrificed.”
- Defiance Banner – Champion: “Defiance Banner is a new purely defensive Banner skill. While you carry the Defiance Banner, it increases the armor and evasion of nearby allies while reducing the critical strike chance of nearby enemies.”
- Storm Rain – Raider: “Storm Rain is a new bow skill that fires arrows that stick into the ground. These arrows periodically pulse with lightning damage that arcs to nearby arrows.”
- Focused Ballista Support – Deadeye: “The Focused Ballista Support Gem causes your ballistas to pick the same targets as you, and they will only fire when you fire your own ranged weapon. It also makes the ballistas fire a lot faster than they otherwise would.”
Along with these new skills and gems, there’s also going to be a new reworking of the game’s current difficulty settings. Over the next year, starting with Act 1, the campaign will see some new changes, such as overhauls on some combat encounters and rebalancing current builds so as not to make them too overpowered. As Wilson said during the presentation, the game will move closer to its 2013 beta, which was noted for its difficulty. Furthermore, the current Flask system will also see something of an overhaul. These flasks, including health, speed, defense, and other stat buffs, have been altered with the new Expedition expansion. The big primary change with Flasks is that they will offer less of a massive, permanent buff to your character when used in quick succession. With less of a focus on mashing the buttons to activate the flasks, which was one of the key reasons behind the overhaul, certain flasks are only triggered on conditions, such as when skills are activated or depending on your build type.
Though the livestream focused primarily on new content for the current game, Wilson did state in a follow-up chat with GameSpot after the presentation that more details on Path of Exile 2 are on the way for later this year. Still, the original Path of Exile is still very much thriving, and its newest slate of content looks to serve up a much-needed refresh of the game’s nearly eight-year-long lifecycle, which as Wilson stated in our chat will be a stepping stone for the launch of the sequel in the future.
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