By: Noe Ponce (Guest Writer)
Last week I was invited to return to the dark world of Wraeclast and experience part of the brand new Path of Exile expansion: The Fall of Oriath. This expansion is set to come out later this year and adds a mind boggling amount of content to the Path of Exile series. We’re talking SIX additional acts, a rather divine way to customize your characters even more, new items, locations, skills, bosses, GODS! That’s right. Gods. This update is definitely worth checking out for any Path of Exile fan. And did I mention it’s all for the low, low price of free?
In order to properly appreciate (and digest) the content beast that is the Fall of Oriath, I needed a guide. Luckily, I was able to sit down with former IGN editor and Path of Exile designer, Nick Kolan. So with a controller in hand and Nick by my side, I played through pieces of the update while peppering Nick with questions about what I was experiencing and all the changes. The most notable change being that Path of Exile is making its console debut, exclusively on the Xbox One.
Until now, Path of Exile has only ever been on PC. I immediately wondered if players would be able to easily cross between the two platforms. I asked Nick if players could transfer their characters and gear from the PC over to the Xbox One — should they like to play the update on their console. He confirmed my fears.
“No, they’re two separate realms. And there’s two reasons for that. For one, we’re very, very conscious about exploits. We have gone to great measures to prevent ‘dupes’ for example. So any amazing item found has been found legitimately. If you could then take that amazing item over to the new Xbox realm, where there’s brand new players but you’re already level 99 and you got these crazy items, it doesn’t feel very fair. [For two], some skills will just function differently on the Xbox version, like the totem skills. So we need to keep them separate for that reason as well. “
After exploring the new frozen mountaintop area a bit while getting used to the Xbox One controls (which felt great by the way), Nick whisked me away like only game devs can. He instantly teleported me to Lioneye’s Watch, the beginning area after the events that take place in Act V. However, this Lioneye’s Watch is not the one players may remember. It’s no longer the depressing, run down township it once was. Quite the opposite actually.
It’s here you learn that your actions from the first part of the game had dire consequences.
“So this is Lioneye’s Watch in Part 2. It’s day time. They’ve built a wharf. You arrived on this ship. There’s new NPCs. They have new quests for you. You’re on a new mission. Your actions previously in the game have resulted in these gods rising up, and now they’re all over Wraeclast. They’re battling for domain. They’re these immortal beings. So they don’t really care for humanity. They’re just going to trample over whatever. They just want to be powerful. So you have to put a stop to them.”
Before I get to the pulling a Kratos and taking down several gods part of the article, I wanted to share what Nick told me Grinding Gear’s vision was for designing The Fall of Oriath content.
“We’re really trying to make the second half of the game feel both reminiscent and fresh. And we’re trying to make it so that you play Act 1-10 because they’re really fun, not just to get to Maps (end game content). So about 50-percent of the areas in Part 2 are brand new. We’re adding a kind of ridiculous amount of content.”
It meant a lot to me as a gamer to hear straight from the devs that they just want me to have fun playing their game. It’s very apparent that GGG truly cares about their players and the content they produce for them. Thank you for that.
Battle against the Immortals
Gods. Immortal beings that don’t really care about humanity, trample over whatever and just want to be powerful. That’s what every player will be up against once they start Act VI. To further salt the wound, Nick told me that it won’t be easy taking one down either. But in doing so it will introduce you to the new character customization mechanic, the Pantheon System.
“Every time we do an expansion we always try to add something new. Like a new mechanic. Something for people to really dig into. Well now we’re adding the Pantheon system. If you kill a god, which is not easy, you get to claim their power. Their power takes the form of defensive benefits.
Each god has a specific option. For example the Brine King’s [benefit] says ‘If you’ve been frozen, you can’t be frozen again for a short time. If you’ve been stunned, you can’t be stunned again for a short time.’ You would choose this if you’re going up against a boss who has a lot of cold damage or a lot of stuns. So you don’t get stun locked/freeze locked.“
Hearing about these god powers really intrigued me. I had to learn more. Thankfully my guide was happy to share all the details. Nick clued me in on the number of gods and how players can use the Pantheon to their benefit by upgrading the god powers they have unlocked.
“There’s four major god powers and 12 minor god powers. Each god gives one specific set of defensive benefits. You can only have one major god and one minor god power active at a time. You choose which god power is most beneficial to you at the time. The god powers are also upgradeable through the Atlas System which is our endgame map system. Major god powers have pretty significant benefits and have a lot more room for growth, so they get 3 upgrades. The minor gods offer more general, potentially less powerful benefits and their upgrade path is narrower.”
The final piece of information Nick shared with me was regarding the next League, which is coming out March 3rd. Path of Exile veterans will likely lose their minds over this. And while not a hardcore PoE player myself, I was still blown away by the enormity and possibilities of the Legacy league.
“The next League is called Legacy. Basically it lets players play leagues of the past and even customize them and have multiple leagues active at once. We’re itemizing leagues basically. You can have three active at once, so they get to play their favorite league at their own pace. They can mix it with another league. They even get a chance to get the league exclusive items that were only available during those leagues while that league is active on that character. That’s just to sort of celebrate Path of Exile’s history before we change it forever. I.E. Getting rid of difficulties and adding literally more than double the story content. It’s a ridiculous update.”
A ridiculous update indeed. Path of Exile: The Fall of Oriath gives players a little bit of everything and then a whole lot more after that. There was nothing I heard that didn’t excite me. Grinding Gear is taking an already amazing, well-loved game and doubling its size and entertainment value. You honestly could not ask for more out of a content update for a free-to-play game, or any game for that matter.
Download Path of Exile on Steam today if you haven’t already and get ready for The Fall of Oriath expansion releasing sometime this summer. Please visit the official Path of Exile website for more information.