When it comes to hack-n-slash co-op titles, there’s one that stands above the competition and it’s none other than Path of Exile. Grinding Gear Games has managed to create a massive free to play universe, with a loyal fanbase and a steady flow of updates that won’t slow down any time soon. The game as is though won’t stay like this for long since Path of Exile 2 is on the way and it brings a huge amount of new content as well as changes to its mechanics as we know them today. Let’s go over what we know about the sequel so far.
The announcement about Path of Exile 2 was made during ExileCon which took place a couple of months back. Grinding Gear Games made clear that this won’t be a separate game but will bring a complete overhaul to the existing version of Path of Exile. Not only is the team implementing a new campaign but is also tweaking the whole customization mechanic, the way classes work and its animations. The road before the release is long since GGG expects Path of Exile 2 to be released in 2021. However, there will be a beta testing phase sometime late this year.
A sequel wouldn’t be full enough if it didn’t include a new piece of the story and Grinding Gear Games has prepared a whole lot of it. According to the original announcement, Path of Exile 2 will include a full new campaign that will accompany the existing one. There will be a new opening cinematic, which we saw in the first POE 2 trailer and new areas to explore. That, of course, comes with brand new enemies.
Path of Exile 2 will release with a cast of new enemies to tackle, ranging from swarms of one-shot-one-kill minions to hardcore bosses. In their gameplay demo, GGG confessed that some of their oldest bosses feel outdated so they are trying to give some of the new low-end bosses more mechanics to make them more advanced. This will give players another layer of challenge along with more chilling figures that we’ll, sure enough, have nightmares about. We’ve already seen two of those bosses in the demo and the fights did look more advanced than what we experience in the campaign now.
As far as we know, classes in Path of Exile will remain the same but since there’s a gem overhaul coming, they’ll feel brand new. Given the fact that GGG will overhaul the way players equip and manage their skills, we’ll see all classes get new abilities and builds. One more reason to be excited is the fact that classes now get Shapeshifting, a new mechanic that was requested by the community and will be carefully implemented in the new game.
In Path of Exile 2, players will have the chance to, seamlessly, transform into a beast. In most RPGs, when we hear the word shapeshifting we think of faster ways to move and tankier bodies to move through groups unharmed. In POE 2 though, we shall expect a little bit more. According to GGG, shapeshifting will occur instantly in the push of a button and the player will be able to switch in and out of it whenever he/she pleases. There will be a select skillset for each “shape”, which will correspond to a series of in-game moves. Those moves will scale depending on your own gear’s damage whether you’re an archer or a witch. For now, we know that there will be a Werewolf shapeshifting form, while there might be a bear, a panther and a cheeta one. We’ll have to wait to find out more about what the team plans to do with this mechanic later this year.
Longterm fans of the game will already know that it received a massive visual overhaul last year, bringing dynamic lighting and visual enhancements across the whole universe of Path of Exile. The team is bringing that overhaul one step further with the use of a new graphics engine which will make visuals even more dynamic than before. We got a glimpse of what Path of Exile will look like in the gameplay demo from ExileCon and the outcome is stunning.
We won’t find the endgame of Path of Exile changing much when the sequel releases and that’s 100% a good thing. The Atlas endgame is a “grinding hell” and we love it. Many similar RPGs fall into the trap of creating huge stories and universes that go nowhere after the level capping. That is if you’re not a PvP player. Path of Exile 2 though has a long way to go when the campaign is finished. Luckily, we’ll find the Atlas mapping system, the ascendancies, and end-game grinding to all be there, with more content coming down the road.
Gems – Items
Here we go deep into why we can’t wait for the sequel to release. GGG plans to do a massive overhaul to gems and how they work for each build. For starters, forget the 2 6-link item cap we had. All items will now have the ability to become a 6-link, opening up massive opportunities for new combos. To top that, we’ll have no sockets on gear. Instead, we’ll find a new panel that will let you tweak your gems for each gear piece individually and swap gear without having to remove your item. That panel will also let you see each gem’s DPS output, something fans will appreciate in the long run. Last but not least, you’ll be able to carry gem experience over to another one, so no more
However, the gem overhaul runs way deeper than that. Path of Exile 2 introduces new gem types, like the meta gem which will let you equip Auras and activate them all at once. This is one extension to the gem implementation system that GGG has planned for the sequel. With it, each gem can now implement more, making a safe place for all of your support gems.
For the time being there’s no set release window for Path of Exile 2. Grinding Gear Games expects to launch the first build in 2021, with a playable beta late this year. The studio promises more information about the project to come at E3 2020.
That doesn’t mean that the original game is done for. Up until the release of the sequel, the team will still offer expansions along with their respective leagues for the rest of the year. Right now, the Metamorph league has started, so head to your platform of preference and “create some monstrosities”.