So the first batch of new and reworked skills has been revealed by GGG. Path of Exile 3.12 is putting some attention into rebalancing powerful skills while also adding some new methods to apply ailments. It’s too early to tell when the balance and metagame will look like for sure, but it sure seems interesitng.
The potential shakeup for the Steel skills is pretty cool, and only a small portion of what the ARPG is getting this expansion. The new Replica uniques have a ton of potential too. So let’s see what GGG has planned for some new and redone skills.
First, let’s discuss some of the new skills coming in Path of Exile 3.12.
Blazing Salvo is a new skill that unleashes a massive torrent of fire in rapid succession. As the skill spreads the projectiles will ricochet and create secondary explosions too. players can proc it multiple times, and even have them hit the same target more than once. Any buffs to Fire Damage and Explosion Radius will buff the attacks.
There are multiple combos designed to work with the new skill too. Players can combine the effect with Totems as well as Traps and mines. This method would also allow bonuses to Trap and Mines or Totems to be applied to scaling the spell’s power. The idea here is that players will want to spread the projectiles far and wide, potentially using support gems to Fork or otherwise replicate the effects. GGG recommends a few options for doing this. You could combine the skill with Void Sphere to draw enemies in for a concentrated salvo, or use Flame Wall to add fire damage to Blazing Salvo while applying the Flame Wall’s burning effect to enemies hit.
Crackling Lance is a new Lightning skill that adds beam-based attacks that afflict targets within its zone with shocks and a massive wave of damage. The cool thing about this is that the skills has a built-in effect that scales damage with each cast. This will amplify the attack over a wider area in smaller arcs until the final attack triggers a massive beam. Basically it’s a bunch of lightning snakes that spread over the zone before coalescing into a major final flash of energy.
It’s solid for selfcast builds with a great amount of single target damage. You can also combine it with totems, traps or mines. The intensify support will offer multiplicative damage scaling, making it an insane option for overall DPS with the right build. And of course, there’s tons of potential to apply Shocks too.
Splitting Steel is a new low level skill that uses the shard mechanic. The skill fires off a single projectile that explodes into smaller splinters that spread around and deal Physical damage, with a chance to inflict Impale too. This will make the Impale mechanic more accessible at lower levels.
There has also been a ton of attention paid to Splits, they now interact more reliably with Fork, Pierce or Chain. This will allow builds to create more synergy with status ailments and other similar mechanics. In short, Fork, Pierce or Chain will have a chance to apply from all Split projectiles.
Call of Steel
Call of Steel is a secondary skill granted as long as you have any of the Steel gems equipped. It lets you detonate all impales on enemies in a very large range, causing them to deal their stored impale damage in a small area around them. This includes any dead enemies whose corpses are impaled.
Call of Steel is a direct Aura for any build using Steel skills. Including Splitting Steel, this mechanic is getting plenty of attention in Heist. Call of Steel also generates Shards that can be used by any of the Steel skills, generating one for each impaled enemy in range as well as 4 shards when first used. Another 4 shards will spawn up to a maximum of 12 shards, with up to 4 every half-second.
So that’s the major notes for new skills in POE 3.12, let’s talk about the skills that are already in the game, and getting some reworks,
Intensity and the Pinpoint Support
Speaking of Intensify, it’s getting some attention as well. When GGG brought the skill into the game they designed it as more of a utility skill with some potential for scaling damage with the right usecase. Players using it too recklessly paid a high price. The idea was the stacking effects with multiple casts would confer some increasing bonuses to DPS at the cost of area of effect. GGG addressed concerns over the skill being too awkward by adding more passive notes on the tree. It’s that time again to revisit the skill. The minimum for proccing its effects has been lowered to 3 stacks, making it easier to use, while also adding a nice buff to DPS. Overall it’s going to be much stronger when used correctly.
Pinpoint will be getting some love too. As a newer skill, it can work as an alternative to Intensify to stacking the damage-boosing of the Intensity mechanic. Pinpoint Support gives 3 additional projectiles, while each stack of Intensity will reduce the number of projectiles you fire by 1 , all while buffing damage. The goal here is to create a support that works well with spells that can easily gain additional projectiles.
A classic Path of Exile spell, Firestorm has been reworked to give it more powerful visuals, more reliable area coverage and a greater reward for casting fewer, more powerful Firestorms. It is now a level 28 skill, increased from level 12. Firestorm now calls down a single, powerful meteor followed by a smaller ongoing storm of fire over a duration. It now has a limit on how many ongoing storms can be active at once, so you can call down as many meteors as you’d like but can’t stack up the ongoing fire storms by extending their duration and triggering or casting the skill rapidly. This has allowed us to greatly increase the area of each impact and the overall damage per cast (and improves performance).
The Icestorm skill is something unique to certain items. The effect is getting some balance changes and a new visual effect. The limit for damage scaling has been increased, making it better as a damage addon. There will also mean that the Icestorm effect will work better with spells that have quick cast times. The damage values for the effect are also getting some increases.
Discharge is one of the more controversial skills in the game right now. It has had a pretty major impact on the meta since its introduction, and GGG is looking to shake things up. The overall mechanic of charges will be much easier to access, and the effect of Discharge will be given a buff to damage. There’s now a small cooldown applied to the effect, so even though you’re getting a better scaling effect, the effect won’t last such a short time. It means that it will be slightly easier to achieve the full effect. The damage penalty conferred by the effect has been moved over to ailments, rather than base damage.
And since that means a major shift in the playstyle, GGG will be introducing a new threshold jewel called Endless Misery that will enable a more classic feel. This will reduce the cooldown on Discharge and reduce the DPS and AoE, making it feel more similar to the older version.
And yes, it’s getting a new look as well.
Glacial Cascade is getting some very interesting changes that make it more conducive to mobile playstyles. Players who use the newly added knockback to apply the spread of the attack more effectively through clever positioning will achieve the new full effect. Overall the normal skill does feel like it’s getting a nerf, but it’s basically being redesigned for a more intentional playstyle. For starters, the final burst of the cascade deals significantly more damage in a larger area. This will work well with a Totem-based playstyle where the idea is to trigger that final burst right into the face of enemy for maximum damage. This will also allow for better clearspeed with boosts to AoE.
A more notable change is that Glacial Cascade now has 100% conversion from Physical Damage to Cold, This means that GC builds no longer need the Long Winter jewel to achieve conversion and can now focus on other damage buffs.
The Shattering Steel setup is getting a new layer of flexibility as the skill no longer hit multiple targets at once, but instead will consume shards to grant block chance. Projectiles will also now properly apply projectile speed, so they do hit faster. The skill now has four additional projectiles as well, applying better damage. The real AoE damage potential comes in when these projectiles stop moving, as they explode in a metal shower. It’s these showers that can hit multiple targets now.
You can stack the defensive buff up to six times, making it a pretty potent close-range build. That’s helped in part because the damage is better when applied at close range, as the explosions can overlap easier.
The changes to Shards also impact Lancing Steel. The skill now consumes 4 Shards on use, and fires out a cone of projectiles that travel forward from the origin. The pathing of the projectiles has also been reworked so that they prioritize hitting targets that haven’t been damaged by the skill yet. This will make it much easier to clear with the skill.
The damage potential for large packs will hit when the number of total projectiles increases. Additional projectiles add to the total number of projectiles each cluster fires, with 50% more projectiles fired for each shard consumed. This means that the skill usually fires three times its number of projectiles at a fixed rate, creating a hail of shards that deal a devastating salvo of damage.
Although to offset the higher cost of using the skill, you need to think about scaling the damage better. Impale chance may be a good place to think about that. Anything that will spawn more shards can help improve your DPS here.
Those interesting in seeing the skills in action should check out the trailer below.