The Path of Exile 3.15 Expedition Balance Manifesto dropped earlier today, and it’s a biggun. There are a lot of core changes coming to the game. Players are expecting pretty heavy nerfs to a few key areas. Expedition is prepping the ground for POE 2, and it’s causing an uproar in the community. There’s a lot to unpack behind the community outrage. So let’s see what GGG is teasing with the new Balance Manifesto.
It’s important to note that the patch notes are not out yet, so things are still very much up in the air. The Expedition Balance Manifesto is meant to preview the planned changes without offering hard numbers, so we have to kind of guess at what’s going to happen next. We’re going to go through the patch notes with a fine-toothed comb when they drop tomorrow, so look out for that. Expect us to also handle a starter builds guide once again when that happens.
The Expedition Balance Manifesto has been dropped just now for POE 3.15, and here are the projections for buffs and nerfs in the next patch.
Other Path of Exile 3.15 Guides:
- Path of Exile 3.15 Expedition League Starter Builds
- Path of Exile 3.15 Loot Filters Explained
- Atlas Passive Trees Explained
- Making Currency in Path of Exile
- Vendor Recipes Guide
Build Specific Changes
The number of changes to various Ascendancies teased in the Manifesto is pretty vast. The 19 new skills alone add a ton of variance to potential builds this patch. But GGG has done what basically everyone expected, and massively nerfed a variety of core gameplay mechanics. This is being done to make the endgame more challenging and to slow player progression down significantly. We’ll see how players like that when the league starts.
First, let’s recap any Ascendancy-specific buffs and nerfs:
- The Assassin got hit with nerfs to Poison by targeting certain Unique interactions and the Ascendancy itself. Noxious Strike no longer has +30% to Damage over Time Multiplier for Poison and the increased Poison Duration for each Poison you have inflicted Recently is now capped at 100%. Toxic Delivery now has “Poison you inflict with Critical Strikes deals 25% more Damage (from 50%)”.
- Pathfinder also got nerfs with changes to Poison and mobility skills, wait for patch notes to see more details.
- DoT and Ailment changes mean huge nerfs to Elementalist as well.
- The Raider’s Ascendancy node “Rapid Assault” no longer provides Onslaught Effect.
A wide array of skills got hit pretty hard by this Support Gems change. Any skills that relied on DPS scaling through supports took a heavy nerf. So to counteract this, GGG added much higher flat damage at high gem levels to these skills. Ground Slam is given as one example. Another example of only a minor nerf is Ancestral Warchief supported by Melee Physical Damage Support, losing 2.5% damage overall.
Let’s recap any Skill-specific buffs and nerfs:
- Gems that provide a useful benefit in addition to damage usually grant less than 25% more damage at gem level 20.
- Those that provide only a damage bonus or have only a very mild restriction or penalty grant around 30-35% more damage. 38% and 48% more damage to those with more significant downsides. Overall a buff to weaker skills in terms of DPS, may still have problematic sustain or survivability.
- Ailment Threshold calculations have been adjusted. Any builds relying on Chill and Shock will see better gains in terms of bossing power if they invest more into these areas. To compensate, gear sources of Ailment Defenses have been nerfed.
- Fortify has been nerfed into the ground, all sources have basically been deleted from the game, to get to a hard cap of 40% less damage taken from hits with Fortify in all.
- Melee Physical Damage now grants supported skills 10% less Attack Speed, any builds with no affected multiplier to Attack Speed didn’t get nerfed.
- A number of projectile and bow support gems like Barrage, Greater Multiple Projectiles and Chain haven’t been changed.
- Faster Projectiles now grants a further increase to Projectile Speed instead of Attack and Cast Speed, with the Divergent quality becoming Increased Damage instead.
- The Trap Support, Cluster Traps Support, Multiple Traps Support, Charged Traps Support, Advanced Trap Supports and Swift Assembly Support are unchanged. Trap builds will not suffer much of a damage loss.
- There are buffs to the cooldown trap skills Lightning Spire Trap (25% more damage at all levels) and Seismic Trap (40% more damage at all levels and a drastic increase in area of effect).
- Increased Critical Strikes Support, Increased Critical Damage Support and the Nightblade Support got buffed in terms of raw numbers, adding more DPS to builds using them.
- Flame Dash, Smoke Mine and Dash have been nerfed numerically to further reduce player mobility.
- Second Wind support gem has been changed to have a much higher mana multiplier, and a penalty rather than a boost to cooldown recovery speed. Basically, it’s no longer a free slot filler and has a downside, especially in Expedition where mana sustain is going to be a problem for a lot of builds.
- Arcane Surge now provides increased mana regeneration rather than a percentage of mana per second, and no longer provides an increase to cast speed. Most effects are now basically locked behind investing in Mana generation through other means. Say bye-bye to free DPS on passives for spellcasters.
- Archmage has damage modifiers lowered to 60% of mana cost from 108% at level 20. Punishing loss of DPS there.
- Numerical buffs to Firestorm, Shock Nova, Explosive ARrow, Barrage, Storm Call, Seismic Trap, Rolling Magma and many more.
Generic Gameplay Changes
Veiled Mods are nerfed to be less deterministic and likely to be build-enabling. The Veiled Mods now replace a random modifier, instead of counting as a crafted mod. In essence, they’re a much crappier Annulment Orb. The change has also removed the ability to get multiple veiled mods on one item.
Triggered Mana Costs
In 3.15, triggering skills through support gems will require paying their mana cost. In fact, sometimes it now costs more than casting the gem by hand. Builds with sustain problems are in a lot of trouble. More DPS is robbed from characters as they have to utilize other methods to generate everything from Mana to Flask charges.
Support Gems that add flat or multiplicative damage to builds have been neutered. We need to wait for full numbers tomorrow from the patch notes, but GGG bills the changes as “Many of these changes are intended to affect every character in the game in some way, but we’re still going to continue our tradition of making changes to the most powerful and least powerful mechanics to improve build diversity.”
Check the list above for more details on the broad strokes of these changes. Again, it’s important to note that it’s hard to say how severe a nerf is without hard numbers via patch notes. Those are coming in our full buff/nerf review tomorrow.
“For a while now, we have been concerned with the power gap between support gems. There are gems that grant huge multiplicative damage bonuses and there are gems that do a bunch of stuff you don’t really care about. When you’re building a character, by far the correct choice is just to stack on all the multiplicative damage bonuses and ignore all the interesting utility support gems because their opportunity cost is just too high.”
That’s what Chris said during the reveal, and it’s holding true. Overall, this works out to a total of somewhere around 20%, potentially as high as 40% damage reduction for a character using a fully six-linked skill with entirely damage support gems.
Flasks have gotten a major overhaul, reducing their overall efficacy as a build-enabling item. The gameplay loop remains mostly unchanged for Health and Mana flasks. It’s the utility flasks that got a major rework. in short, flasks are a lot weaker in terms of scaling all forms of offense and defense in POE.
In the Expedition expansion, there are now three ways that you can use flasks. You can either continue to use the rebalanced ones the traditional way or you can apply one of two new types of currency item to your flasks. The Instilling Orb and Enkindling Orb drop as part of the regular drop pool from regular monsters and chests.
Other changes apply to how basic effects work with flasks.
- When a flask removes a curse, it no longer applies a period of immunity to curses. Ailment removal must now fully happen to apply immunity. No more scaling of curse and ailment immunity for Aurabots.
- Monster density now plays a smaller role in flask charge generation, flask charge generation has been nerfed across the board in later acts and maps. This means less enabling of DPS scaling and defensive layers. All builds take a hit here. The “bomber” gameplay style touted in the press is an incredibly specific style of play, and doesn’t make up for this loss, at all.
- Diamond Flask no longer grants Lucky Crits, instead granting 100% incrased crit chance.
- Sulfur Flask nerfed as enemies on Consecrated Ground no longer have additional base chance to be critically hit.
- Ruby, Topaz and Sapphire flasks which now have a base duration of 5 seconds (from 4) and consume 20 of 50 charges on use (from 30 of 60) so they’re able to be used more.
- Enduring Mana Flask nerfed in terms of mana generation.
- The “Adrenaline” modifier on flasks now gives far less movement speed (6-8% increased Movement Speed, down from 20-30%)
- Almost all Unique Flasks have had some kind of numerical adjustment.
New Orbs Added
- The Instilling Orb will cause a flask to be used automatically upon a specific condition being met. For example, when its charges become full, or when you become affected by ignite). This means that in cases where you would previously want to time a specific flask usage, you can now rely on it happening automatically, with the only tradeoff being that it may consume charges that you otherwise wouldn’t intend it to. There are a variety of different conditions and a random one is enchanted onto your Flask, overwriting the others, each time you use an Instilling Orb on it
- The Enkindling Orb prevents Utility Flasks from gaining charges while active but provides a big boost to their effect, duration, or various ways they interact with their charges. There are various different types of boosts, so you can use more Orbs to reroll for the one you want.
Passive Tree Changes
In line with the other nerfs this league, the Expedition Balance Manifesto revealed more nerfs instilled into the passive tree.
- 45% increased Flask duration to the passive tree, lowering the amount given by Cluster Jewel notables as a result.
- Cluster Jewels and various sources of Damage over Time Multiplier have been rebalanced. Cluster Jewels will generally be weaker, while players will have to rely on weapons for more DoTs.
So that’s the broad strokes of the Expedition Balance Manifesto, what do you think?