The next league coming to Path of Exile is called "Synthesis" and it's bringing a unique twist to a game that is full of unique twists. Synthesis, among other things, allows players to literally create their own "snap together" dungeons for the experience (and loot) that they want most. We chatted with Chris Wilson to learn more.
As the name implies...
If we look up the definition of "synthesis", we find that its meaning means "the composition or combination of parts or elements so as to form a whole" (Merriam-Webster). As the definition and the name of the next Path of Exile league implies, players will be setting off on a multi-layered journey to put things together to create whole other things.
Players will meet a mysterious new character named Cavas (the Latin word for "hollow") who seems to be missing most of his memories, hence the name. It is up to the player to travel the game world -- literally all of it -- to find and recover memory fragments and to help stabilize them in order to help Cavas find himself again.
Do it yourself dungeons
As a player journeys through the game, Cavas can and will appear in any given area to open a portal to one of his memories. In true PoE style, each portal opens in a location packed with monsters with the additional excitement that the memory is decaying right underfoot. As a result, lollygagging about is a bad idea. The goal is to find and tag memory stabilizers before the entire location disappears. The more stabilizers, the more difficult the location.
Once the memory is stabilized, players receive a fragment. Once enough fragments have been collected, players will be whisked off to the Memory Nexus, essentially a jigsaw puzzle-like location with a few pieces in place. It is up to players to connect the collected fragments to form a pathway to one of the already placed pieces called reward memories -- an obvious nod to the real loot that can be obtained. The trick is that memories have limited "connection points" that have to be properly attached to other pieces in order to form a chain of rooms, each packed with monsters. But it would be too easy to assume that these pieces will remain on the board forever. Of course not! Each piece has a limited number of "runs" and, once done, it will decay and disappear once the player finds the exit. Reward, or boss, memories are one-time only. That means it is a race against time and decay in order to find the boss, defeat it and collect the rewards.
Things in PoE are as easy -- and as complicated -- as a player wants. Each memory fragment can also have a mod on it. For instance, Onslaught on a fragment will mean that all monsters in the memory will attack and move faster. Mods can be much harder and, according to Chris, come with additional bonuses. He gave the example of item rarity or quantity.
What this means is that players have full agency to mix and match their fragments to create the kind of experience they most want to have and to attempt to collect the best loot possible. Players will need to think long and hard about how the pieces are placed since there are dozens of different reward memories and endgame bosses to pursue. Created dungeons can be as easy or as difficult as a player can handle.
Fractured items give players some control over implicit mods
As players create dungeons, travel through them and defeat bosses in the reward memories, they will find Fractured Items. As ever, they come with a twist: They, like the memories from which they came, are also decaying and some of the properties are "stuck" and cannot be changed or taken out. While on its surface, this seems like a bad thing, it actually isn't. Using the new Synthesis system, players can collect items with their most desired traits -- the ones that are locked in place -- and can then reroll to try to get an item that is "as close to perfect" as possible.
Additionally, in the Memory Nexus, players will find the Synthesizer that allows them to place three Fractured Items inside it, though each must be of the same type. With the push of a button, the three are consumed and players are handed a Synthesized Item with random implicit mods on it.
"The implicit mods of the Synthesized Item that is created are based on the explicit mods of the Fractured Items that are consumed." Chris said.
There is a formula to it, but the developers are keeping that to themselves to let players discover it for themselves.
Other tidbits of Synthesis
There are, as always, a lot more things coming with Synthesis. These include:
- The Betrayal League is being integrated into the core of Path of Exile and the content has been rebalanced. While it won't be as "present" as before, it will still be out for players to discover.
- Spells are going to be rebalanced game-wide. All 40 spells will be tuned and some extra incentive will be given to players who manually cast rather than simply allowing totems to do all the work for them. "We want Handcasting to be a tempting option," Chris told me.
- Six new primary damage spells are being split between two new archetypes: The Chaos Spellcaster and the Holy Spellcaster.
- 16 new Uniques are being added with interesting effects.
- Four expansions will be released in 2019.
- ExileCon will be held in New Zealand in November and the 4.0.0 "mega-expansion" will be announced.
There's always more to a Path of Exile expansion, but these are the basics. The team will be revealing more as the release date approaches. Look for Path of Exile: Synthesis for PC on March 8th, XBox One on March 11th and -- on PlayStation 4 in mid-March! You read it right: Path of Exile is finally coming to PS4!
What are you most excited about?