I have been playing Path of Exile since the very first closed beta. It’s been my go to ARPG ever since. Sure, I have dabbled into others but I always come back to PoE. There is a laundry list of reasons why and I won’t list them all. Most importantly the depth of the game and the amazing replayability. Oriath changes a lot of the core game and some things I like and some things I dislike. It’s bound to happen, changes to a game we don’t like. For this look, I would like to just go over those things and express my concerns and express my joy depending.
Oriath is labeled as “3.0” - the biggest expansion to the game since launch and is set to go live today. Oriath includes six new acts, a new progression to the story and tons of skills and the new “Pantheon” system. The acts that are being added are numbered 5-10. It's all streamlining the experience with removing the three difficulties and just going down to one. This is probably the best change for me because I always loathed the difficulty changes and it seemed like an easy way to recycle content. I can’t really figure out why but it’s my opinion.
The acts are split into two different parts - Part I and II. Along with the changes to the acts and storyline progressio, there are a couple of gameplay changes that are rocking the world of PoE. They include the following:
Damage over time is being reworked, bleed and poison is now being classified as an ailment.
Energy shield values have been reworked which was a huge change and has impacted a lot of the builds current and future. This change impacted my friends and I more than anything. A lot of builds are based off CI. I love this change though because I feel it will bring more variety to builds rather than everyone just going CI.
Vaal pact, Ghost Reaver and Pierce are being reworked. Again a lot of these changes, especially the energy shield rework has changed a lot of things and for the better. I have been fiddling around with all the new skills and changes and still very much enjoy myself. Of course there are new skill gems, uniques and other additions being added to the game. There is a list of gems/uniques being added to the game and I suggest checking out Wikis or the official site for more information on those.
Streamlining the game has been one of the better changes to the game since launch. I really enjoy the lack of difficulty changes and the additional acts to complete the story. The ambience that GGG has set has been so amazing and makes me keep playing more and more. Even though technically you are revisiting old places in the new acts, the content is still amazing. I’ve been playing the closed beta a lot more than I probably should, given that my progress has all been erased for launch day. I’ve been hooked with all the new content coming out, although I wish they would have just released all of Oriath at once, instead of having to wait for the additional acts to come out.
Optimizations and additional graphic effects have played a huge role as well. During the beta I have seen a ton of improvements to client-side and server-side. A lot of graphical improvements have come to the game that are very welcome. A lot less desync issues and just way better effects to make the game run a lot more smoothly. Overall more FPS and more DPS for good measure.
The Pantheon system is a huge addition to the game as well. Basically, you kill a unique boss which are Gods and you get some sort of bonus. For example, one of them is called “Soul of the Brine King” and is a major god. It grants this: “You cannot be frozen if you have been frozen recently and you cannot be stunned if you have been stunned recently”. This is huge, as it helps keep you alive in a lot of situations. Some of them are worse than others because there are major and minor god buffs. So far it’s been a lot of fun tinkering with all of what it can do and I can see with patches/updates down the road it will be improved and add a lot more variety than it already has. You can only have one major and minor active at one time, if you were curious.
An XBOX One port is coming to PoE as well. I don’t play it on the Xbox but this is good news. Consoles need more ARPGs added to the mix and PoE being added to the fold, XBOX One players could not ask for a better game. The PC and Xbox servers will be separate. Chris Wilson has stated that the Xbox version will not delay PC patches because of console verification process. They have a separate development team specifically for the XBOX version as well. That is good news for everyone involved I would say. I think I would be a little salty if the XBOX version delayed anything for the PC version. (PCMasterRace anyone?)
3.0 essentially changes the face of the game. There is a split between welcoming the changes and hating/disliking them. What I have learned over the years is that GGG may not be perfect at balancing because over the years PoE has evolved into a very complex and complicated ARPG. I have faith that GGG is doing the right things in the right places, setting up the game for another 4 more years of success.
Today (hopefully with no delays), will change the landscape of PoE and I for one am extremely excited for all the new and impressive changes. My brother, whom I play PoE with constantly, has already made around 5 new builds involving new and older skills. I am excited to try some of the new skills and mess around with the new uniques.
If you are prepared enough you can ahead and read all the patch notes for Oriath on the official site. I suggest you also grab some popcorn if you do, because you will be there for awhile.
I'm curious to know what kind of builds you are all planning to play. I know there is a lot of split with all the decisions that have been made balancing wise. I know I am excited and when the flood gates open, my Templar and I are going to have a lot of fun.