Path of Exile 2 completely overhauls the way skill gems are going to be used in the future without sacrificing existing functionalities. The customization and depth will still be there, but many of the frustrations present in the current — old — system will be removed for both new and returning players.
During the first-ever ExileCon fan event last night, Grinding Gear Games dropped a surprising gameplay preview that demonstrated just how skill gems are being changed in Path of Exile 2 for the better.
To start with, items will no longer have sockets. The skill gems themselves will have sockets instead and players will be socketing them through a dedicated screen that displays stats. The socket colors will still come from the items but changing items will no longer require players to fumble around with skill gems. For example, replacing a bow in Path of Exile 2 will not disturb the skill gems since they will already be socketed in the aforementioned dedicated screen.
The developer also confirmed that every item will now drop with fixed sockets. Hence, the only reason to be switching skill gems in the dedicated screen will be if an item drops with additional sockets. The colors and number of sockets can still be changed through crafting but overall, the new system will make it easier for players to switch weapons on the fly while leveling in Path of Exile 2 as opposed to spending time on the inventory screen in the original.
In another bid to make the game more accessible to new players, support gems will no longer be socketable in skill gems that they don’t work with. Previously, pretty much everyone had to confirm their suspicions through online research or by asking other players. On the same note, a new meta gem will allow players to socket multiple active gems like auras that can all be activated at once with a single skill.
The biggest change to how skill gems work in Path of Exile 2, though, is that every single item can now be a six-link. This will completely change how players design builds and characters once the sequel rolls out. Presently, there can only be two six-link items at most, which in turn forces players to rely on a single primary attack skill. It’s why most character builds focus on either single-target damage (bosses) or multiple-targets (AoE) in the original. With Path of Exile 2, the option to have multiple primary attack skills becomes a possibility.
Something that players have been requesting for years will also be finally addressed. The quality of skill gems will have an increased chance of netting six-links. In fact, crafting a six-link will be easier than what’s now. This pretty much means that Fusing Orbs are possibly being removed.
Finally, players will be able to transfer experience points (levels) from one skill gem to another, relinquishing the grinding techniques were extra skill gems are purely socketed to soak experience.
Grinding Gears Games had been mentioning for years that a significant update was being planned to address the aging visuals and gameplay mechanics of the acclaimed action role-playing phenomenon. Path of Exile 2 is that very same update but branded as a sequel, not a seperate game. In other words, both the sequel and the original will coexist within the same sphere.
Grinding Gear Games has also made it clear that Path of Exile 2 is still a long way off. The sequel will be free to play but a release date looks to be somewhere in 2021 at the earliest. The developer noted that even beta testing will start in late 2020 if there are no unprecedented delays. Until then, the original will continue to be supported and Grinding Gear Games will be regularly informing the community about how Path of Exile 2 is shaping up.