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Essence Crafting Developer Q&A, Breach League Design & More

Suzie Ford Posted:
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With last week's big announcement of the next major Path of Exile update, The Breach, there is a lot to talk about in this week's The Exiled Tribune. The team took the time to talk about Essence as a core game and crafting mechanic, participated in a live stream to talk bout the Breach League's design and skills and much more. We also have a developer Q&A to talk about the significant parts of The Breach that you can check out below.

Dev Q&A - DX11 & Forsaken Master Leveling

We had the opportunity to chat with the team about a couple of big features coming players' way: DirectX 64-bit renderer and the leveling experience for the Forsaken Master. Here's what they had to say:

MMORPG: What sort of benefits will we see from the new DX11 64-bit renderer? 

GGG: In a nutshell, it's just faster. If someone can run the DirectX 11 version (i.e. by having a version of Windows and graphics card that aren't really old), then they definitely should do because it's all upside. While the update did also make the DirectX 9 renderer faster, the DirectX 11 one is faster still and strongly recommended. It'll be the default when 2.5.0 launches. 

MMORPG: Can you talk about how the Forsaken Master leveling experience is changing?

GGG: In addition to a variety of quality of life changes (such as having masters teleport to you when the mission ends) in 2.4.2, we're making it easier to level masters up in 2.5.0. It is now 30% easier to reach level 8 from 7, 20% easier to reach level 7 from 6 and 10% easier to reach level 6 from 5. We felt it was just a bit too hard to reach level 8 during a 13-week challenge league.

"Essence as a Core Game Mechanic"

Grinding Gear posted a short, but informative, post about the design philosophy behind changes coming to Essence and its use in crafting and about changes coming in The Breach. In a nutshell, Essence is a core part of the game that has been well-received since first appearing on the scene earlier this fall. Over time, however, devs realized that some changes needed to be made to make Essence drops more appropriate based on player level as well as to make the crafted items more viable, though less frequent, than in the previous few months. To that end, the occurrence of Essences will be reduced to about one-sixth of where it currently stands.


  • essences at higher tiers will be more relevant and at higher levels, low-level Essences will stop dropping. "Whispering essences will no longer appear once Wailing essences appear. Muttering essences will no longer appear once Screaming essences appear."
  • essence tweaks will be applied to give a better mods
  • old values on currently existing Essence items (except Decay) can be kept or rerolled to the new values with a Divine Orb

We asked for a bit more clarity on the Essence issue:

MMORPG: Essence, as a mechanic, is being added to the core game with the next Season. Can you explain your philosophy behind this, and whether it's something you look at for all seasonal mechanics?

GGG: We always examine these challenge league mechanics carefully before deciding whether to add them to the core game. While there are various benefits of leaving content as special content that isn't in the core game (for example, being able to bring it back for events), the positive response to Essence made us strongly consider its addition. In the end, the fact that Essence really helped new players craft items as they played through the game was the reason why we decided to roll it into the core game. I should note that it's at a reduced rate - you don't find as many essences as before, but the chance of having harder multiple-essence fights has increased. 

You can read the full write up on the Path of Exile site.

The Breach Explained from a Dev's Perspective

A lot of things will be undergoing some alteration in The Breach including tweaks to skills, etc. GGG's Rory Rackham took part in a round table discussion with the Lioneye's Watch Podcast crew to talk about the design of Breach and channeled skill design (Cast While Channeling: +3% damage, etc.), melee changes and more.

What Good's an Expansion without PHATLEWT?

One of the joys in playing through new content is the chance at acquiring phat lewt and Breach is no exception. Several of the new unique items were showcased on the PoE site, all of which those big bads, the Breachlords, can drop to lucky vanquishers.

Here's a sampling:

Ewar's Mirage: Plenty of melee attacks have projectile components and almost all of them also happen to deal elemental damage. Ewar's Mirage serves to benefit those builds as they level up by providing meaty benefits to the total number of enemies you can hit with any given attack, as well as a very high amount of Weapon Elemental Damage.

Xoph's Nurture: As an early-game bow, Xoph's Nurture will carry you through the latter half of Normal and into Cruel quite easily, providing significant amounts of both damage and life gain for characters that focus on frequent ignites. Later, it has the potential to become a fire proliferation powerhouse.

Check out the others on the special unique items preview page.

That's it for this week. Be sure to stop by the forum and let us know what you're most looking forward to in The Breach!


Suzie Ford

Suzie is the former Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com. Follow her on Twitter @MMORPGMom