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Path of Exile Lake of Kalandra - Previewing The Upcoming Expansion And Chatting With GGG's Chris Wilson

Kevin Chick Updated: Posted:
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The Path of Exile: Lake of Kalandra August expansion is set to explore the mysterious character related to the rare Mirror of Kalandra. While the mirror has been in the game since its release it is such a rare item that according to Path of Exile Co-Founder Chris Wilson 99.9% of players don’t have one. This month’s expansion will include the Kalandra Mirrored Tablet, Challenge League, Endgame Improvements & Atlas Memories, New Balance Changes, New Skill & Support Gems, and Revamped Content. Let’s take a close look at each one and the answers to a few questions I had for Chris.   

Mirrored Tablet

Path of Exile Lake of Kalandra Mirror Tablet

As players adventure through Wraeclast they will find Mirrored Tablets that rise out of the ground on small pillars. The tablets allow players to place encounters until the tablet is filled, then open a portal to the lake. As a player advances in the league, they will want to create a winding path of encounters to follow on a tablet to maximize the rewards available. To help accomplish this, options to swap entrance, reflection, and water tiles will be available. Players will also eventually unlock three abilities that allow for further tile choice modifications which include skip, reroll, and exile.

Once the endgame is reached competed tablets can also be itemized to be used later or traded. During the 1 on 1 interview, I asked Chris if the mirror meta is essentially where players build an encounter(s) and influence all aspects of the procedural generation. I also asked if he could talk a bit more about similar systems done twice before that was brought up during a quick general Q&A.

He explained that “yes it is, but with more ease of choice for the player. In Synthesis, the player had a weaker level of control over encounters created and items placed in the Memory Nexus degraded over time. The Incursion league allowed players to open portals as well to the Temple of Atzoatl. Then while in different rooms they could open passageways or kill architects to change the path.

For Mirror Tablets players will essentially click from a list of encounters to place one on a board. Making it much easier to customize.”

The Kalandra Challenge League

The Kalandra Challenge League encounters take place when visiting the lake, sections of land rise, and are populated by encounters that players have slotted into the Mirrored Tablets found throughout Wraeclast. Encounters can be a reflection of other league encounters and powerful enemies. Players will complete an encounter and then move on to the next section of the lake. As you continue to expand further into the lake the difficulty of encounters increases by one for each location away a player is from the entrance along with the rewards. 

Path of Exile Lake of Kalandra

Encounters from previous leagues will grant rewards with the extra power to compensate in case a player’s atlas tree bonuses would have originally applied to such a reward. Other encounters not based on leagues typically have a reward chest that spawns once completed. Some encounters will alternately reward players with Reflecting Mist, these generate a rare ring or amulet. The modifiers on the item are a mix of very positive and very negative bonuses, the item is then duplicated with the modifiers inversed. A player can only pick one of the two to keep. This reward also can generate some new jewelry base types that you can only acquire using this process.

There is also a rare encounter that provides an advanced version of Reflecting Mist. In this instance the player slots in an existing ring or amulet from their inventory. Modifiers can be scaled up or negated and then reflected as described previously. This provides players with the chance of creating some very powerful items for specific builds.

If players are very lucky they can also find the rare unique ring “Kalandra’s Touch” which when worn will reflect a ring already equipped.

Endgame Improvements and Atlas Memories

Path of Exile Atlas Memory

Atlas Memories are random memory fragments that drop while exploring the game. The memories can be applied to a completed map, it will show the connected maps the memory follows. When a player next talks to the relevant NPC in their hideout they can explore the memory of that NPC.

When playing through memories they are not affected by the player’s atlas trees since you are playing as that NPC. But they are as difficult and rewarding as a fully specialized atlas tree. This is a way for players to learn about lore, try other atlas specializations, and get some great rewards.

The Trailmaster is also returning in this expansion with the Tower of Ordeals unique map. To gain access players will need to complete endgame Vaal content. They also have plans for how other parts of Ultimatum will return to the game in the future.

For the endgame collectors out there, special foil versions of any pinnacle boss unique item are being added that have the same stats as the regular version. There are also 14 new unique items being added to the game, not including the “Kalandra’s Touch” ring, a new endgame pinnacle boss reward, a supporter unique, the tower of ordeals unique map, six new grand spectrum drools, and some leveling unique.    

New Balance Changes

For the Sentinel Challenge League, no balance changes were made as an experiment. I asked Chris if they were happy with how that experiment went and if the team will be making changes to the meta/endgame balance more extensively with the new leagues moving forward.

“Yes, the major changes are being made to the Trickster and minions. Not having balance changes during the Sentinel league allowed for community guides/content to remain relevant for a longer period and from a numbers point of view it was great. But it takes away from trying to break the system and making it interesting for the players. We will be communicating more clearly moving forward through the development manifesto forum posts so that players know more in advance about upcoming balance changes.”

This preview shows that change in tack. When it comes to unique items the drop rate for this expansion has been reduced. Over 100 unique items have been rebalanced and improved. The developers believe that this should lead to unique items feeling more special and being used for longer periods before needing to be replaced.

Many balance changes have been covered by the Character Balance in Path of Exile: Lake of Kalandra forum post or will be covered in detail with the patch notes. For this preview three main items were featured: minion itemization, exalted and divine orbs, and the trickster ascendancy class.

New item types have been added to the game to improve minions and help soft minion build issues. Base items that include the bone ring and two new versions of the convoking wand that have a base minion bonus mod can roll additional mods which affect minions. The bone-themed spirit shield has also been repurposed to provide minion damage and roll other minion-related mods.

When it comes to exalted and divine orbs the development team wants the divine orb effect to be rarer so they are making two changes. First, the cost of crafting metamods will now cost divine orbs. Second, the six-link vendor recipe will now grant 20 orbs of fusing rather than a divine orb. 

Path of Exile Trickster

The Trickster ascendancy class is getting a major rework this expansion. According to the developers it is meant to be Shadow’s answer to the Champion but faster and still able to melt enemies. Four main abilities were covered and each one has me intrigued as I can already see how they could work well in different builds.  

One Step Ahead: causes nearby enemy action speed to be capped while your speed cannot be lowered below a certain value. Effectively making a trickster immune to effects that lower action speed.       

Spellbreaker: increase the chance to suppress spell damage, starts energy shield recharge when you suppress spell damage, and increases the percent of suppressed spell damage while on full energy shield.

Soul Drinker: leech damage as an energy shield, increased attack and cast speed while leeching energy shield, and the leech effect are not removed when energy shield is filled.

Polymath: Provides bonuses to damage and recovery for each different type of master you have allocated. Making for a jack of all trades style character. 

New Skill and Support Gems

This expansion has three new skill gems and one new support gem. Alchemist Mark will ignite or cause the ground underneath an enemy to become caustic depending on the strongest ignite or poison on the target, while also refilling some of a player’s flasks. 

Galvanic Field provides a buff with a small chance to shock an enemy the next time you attack them. If successful the buff is consumed and the enemy becomes energized, doing damage to themselves and other nearby targets. If they die then the energized area remains at the location of their death.

Lightning Conduit moves out in a wave from the player hitting shocked enemies with powerful lightning bolts. It does not affect enemies that are not currently shocked, so it will take some creative builds to make the most of this skill.

Overcharged Support gem causes supported skills to do less damage but improves shock damage and the chance to shock enemies.  

Revamped Content

Archnemesis: They have gone through the game and normalized the rate at which rare monsters spawn so players shouldn’t be encountering dozens at the same time moving forward. The rewards of rare monsters have also been improved and their difficulty adjusted according to the encounter. Their rewards will also scale with any item rarity or quantity bonuses the player has. 

Path of Exile Enemy Mods Lake of Kalandra

For the more powerful monsters encountered with multiple modifiers, there is also a new reward system. If for example, a monster has a corruptor mod, then all the drops become corrupted. In the case of Kitava-touched, all the drops are upgraded by one rarity tier. Some monsters will have these reward mod types on the 3rd and 4th slots. If a player is lucky enough to find such a monster, these reward mods will stack once the monster is killed.

For magic monsters, more will have stat-based bonuses rather than external effects, and encounters that spawn multiple magic monsters will have the same modifiers for all of the enemies vs the current system of rerolling for each. 

Beyond: Scourge monsters and bosses will now replace the old bandit enemies. The number of spawns has also been rebalanced to bring it in line with the rest of the game. Scourge enemies will have a chance to drop the Scourge league tainted currency items.

Harvest: Players will now receive itemized tradable life force of the proper color for crafting. Tier 4 bosses will also now spawn more frequently and can drop a key to fight Oshabi. Oshabi will drop specific life force for a special set of crafts. Harvest crafts have also been rebalanced and streamlined. Interactions with the sacred grove have been simplified and as with the previous two league revamps the number of rare monsters that spawn rebalanced.

The Wrap-Up

As a returning player to Path of Exile: Lake of Kalandra, I ask Chris what his personal pitch was for new and returning players who may not have played the game in quite some time.

“We run on a three-month cycle and try to treat everyone as a returning player. Providing those returning with new things to explore while keeping in mind that most players will take breaks before a league finishes, they may leave to play other games for example.

For new players, PoE is at its core a click on monsters to attack with lots of complexity. But it can still be enjoyed on a base level. For players who enjoy that complexity, it can get into your mind and eat up many hours.”

Along with all the announcements about the new expansion, Grinding Gear Games didn’t leave out giving fans a bit of news about PoE 2 either. ExileCon 2023 will be taking place July 29-30 in Auckland, New Zealand and attendees will have a chance to play Path of Exile 2 and Path of Exile Mobile. During the con, the closed beta start date will also be announced. Tickets will be going on sale August 25th at pathofexile.com/exilecon.

On paper, everything for the Path of Exile: Lake of Kalandra expansion looks pretty impressive and seems to address many player concerns. With the PC/Mac launch next week on August 19th and PlayStation/Xbox on August 24th, the main problem I have now is I only have a week to decide on a build.


Kevin Chick

Kevin "Xevrin" is an avid gamer having started playing video games on an Apple III with the Wizardry Series and Questron before the age of 10. In junior high, he branched out into tabletop gaming with the release of D&D 2nd Edition. During his first year of university, Everquest was released combining both of his favorite activities.