Path of Exile latest expansion is set to bring great changes to the game, including new stories Conquerors of the Atlas and Metamorph League. But in addition to these modes, the game is also undergoing a variety of gameplay changes and tweaks. Here's what we know.
The new expansion is set to introduce new unique items, divination cards, plus support gems, improvements to combat and a crafting system with a new 'quality' modifier for equipped jewellery. There will also be new regions to explore and the ability to customise the Atlas map.
Releasing alongside the new expansion, out December, Path of Exile is bringing brand new stories, difficulty level and challenges with Conquerors of the Atlas and Metamorph League.
Path of Exile's endgame is getting a new story, in the form of Conquerors of the Atlas, an expansion dropping on December 13, alongside the new 3.9 game update.
Combat in Path of Exile will be undergoing some slight tweaks, thanks to the Plus Support Gems combat option, which allows players to unleash devastating attacks. In the demo shown at ExileCon, these Plus Support Gems allowed the player character to absolutely smash their way through hoards of enemies as they darted between enemy groups at lightning speeds. These skills will help players pull off higher damage attacks and fight their way through dungeons that are said to have much greater difficulty than past expansions.
There will also be a range of tweaks to the ballista weapons, with new skills being introduced for ballista wielders. This includes shrapnel abilities, and a skill known as 'Ensnaring Arrow' that fires off a snare to trap enemies.
Beyond that, there's also a new 'barrage' support gem that will allow bow users to fire off more rapid shots, rather like a gattling gun. These new bow skills mean that the Tornado Shot will be nerfed.
Another major improvement coming to Expansion 3.9.0 is a total graphical overhaul that will, "[raise the game's] graphical quality by around a decade or so," according to Grinding Gear Games founder and director, Chris Wilson.
These visual improvements were shown off throughout the gameplay trailers, and showcase a sleek new look for a game that has basically looked the same since it was first released in 2013.
There are some brand new unique items being introduced in the new expansion, including newly revealed items like Manastorm, which adds buffs for increased spell damage and energy shields, as well as the Jade Amulet, that increases evasion and dexterity. There are 16 new unique items in total for this expansion, although not all of them were revealed during the ExileCon presentation. Also present will be five new divination cards.
New jewellery quality system
Introduced as part of Metamorph League, a new crafting system will enable players to impact the quality of their equipped jewellery with catalysts, which are rare item drops that come from defeating monsters. These catalysts have the ability to supercharge mods to jewellery, increasing their power and capabilities.
These changes aim to increase the difficulty of Path of Exile towards its endgame in an effort to increase player engagement and create new challenges for long-time players. Path of Exile Expansion 3.9.0 is set to release on December 13.
Full disclosure: This writer attended ExileCon as a guest of Grinding Gear Games.