Grinding Gear Games have released some more details on the future of Path of Exile. This time, it’s about even more skill revamps in 3.3, as well as some plans for content development that are the result of the 3.2 patch.
First up, we have some pretty major changes being discussed for certain attack skills. Let’s go through each change proposal one at a time to see what’s here.
Incinerate is one of those build bases that took a serious nosedive with the previous changes that removed elemental damage “Double Dipping”. GGG are aware of the negative impact this has had on build variety and are working to put things right.
Incinerate and other Ignite-based damage builds will now be much more reliable in actually applying the status effect, there’s also been some adjustments to some support gems, passives and equipment that bring Ignite and Elemental Proliferation back into balance with more competitive builds.
Incinerate itself is getting it’s damage cone changed so that it applies damage over a wider area as it’s channeled. The skill also unleashes a wave of fire damage when released. When combined with the other changes, this simple change to the way damage is applied does a fair bit to make the skill much more interesting and fun to play.
And if you’re using another fire skills, most of these like Fireball and Burning Arrow, are getting buffed in line with the Ignite changes are in the works as well.
Next up, is Infernal Blow, the skill maintains the core corpse explosion mechanic as a base, but GGG are adding to it in an interesting way.
The targets hit by Infernal Blow, or the relevant support skills such as Ancestral Call, will now reapply the debuff in a stack. Achieving six stacks of the debuff on a target causes the debuff to explode, dealing a large portion of weapon damage in an area.
Players can also apply these stacks faster with support skills like Ancestral Call or Multistrike to expedite the process of generating these stacks.
Freezing Pulse needed some work, and GGG are on top of it. Freezing Pulse now has a less-extreme damage falloff. Freezing Pulse used to go from full damage at close range to no damage at the edge of the projectile. Now the projectile only drops to half damage at the end of its flight. We’ve also increased the damage to bring it up to the level of Frostbolt and Glacial Cascade.
Be aware though that the freeze chance hasn’t been buffed, so Freezing Pulse remains a close-range skill.
Ground Slam now hits enemies closer to your character for more damage, while also getting a larger area, a wider angle, and improved damage. These changes should make it a somewhat more viable leveling skill or a good secondary skill. The skill will now also be usable with Axes, making it consistent with Sunder and Earthquake.
And don’t worry the Vaal version of the skill is getting some love too.
Vaal Righteous Fire
This skill was incredibly powerful in the current meta-game, so much so that GGG have clearly been working on nerfing it, while buffing other skills, to increase variety in terms of build choice. The big shift for Vaal RF in 3.3 will be in how it applies damage. Instead of doing a large damage hit, it now applies a short duration burning effect to enemies in its range based on the life and energy shield lost, modified by the same modifiers that affect Righteous Fire’s burning damage.
These new mechanics, when combined with skill tree changes, should make Ignite and other status ailments a little less powerful, thus allowing other build types to see more use.
If you’re more of the visual learning type, popular POE YouTuber/streamer ZiggyD has released a perfect video guide for you that analyzes all of these changes in one handy place. Check it out below.
But skill changes weren’t the only thing we got to see from GGG this week. A dev manifesto posted on the POE site explained the rationale behind the decision not to bring Bestiary into the base game.
While the Bestiary league took a lot of effort to make, and we spent a lot of time improving the league after its release, we have decided not to retain any element of the league in the core game for now.
A variety of reasons fuelled this decision:
- We would have to support the interface and the Menagerie going forward. These are big additions in the game, and would require constant changes and attention to work with any new features added to the game.
- Bestiary is very different to the core game, which means we need to keep all the tutorial elements. We looked at the new player experience where we have to explain the core game, past league elements, and whatever current league is running, and we did not want to add Bestiary permanently into that mix.
- The crafting results and inputs would need constant balancing and iteration to remain relevant. The levelling item crafting is already handled by other simpler crafting methods. The more complex and high-value crafting was used by some players, but it uses design space we think we could serve better with other mechanics in the future.
As well as not retaining any elements of the league in the core game, you will likely not see Bestiary as a Zana option in the future. However, there may be some parts of Bestiary we will use in future content, and it is possible we would bring Bestiary back for short term events.
What this means is that GGG, likely responding to negative player feedback, have probably learned a lesson about what POE players want from a given challenge league. They even point out that the next league will be entirely different from Bestiary in terms of gameplay.
While it’s sad for those who enjoyed the Bestiary league, the negative impact it had on crafting, end-game content and general fun was hard to ignore. And despite the positive aspects like adding more challenge and variety to in-game enemies, GGG possibly feels that the backlash wasn’t worth the effort. Personally, I liked that challenge that most of the Beasts added to the game, even though I genuinely hated some of the higher-end ones that were a chore to kill.
Finally, GGG have announced that we’re about to see exactly what the next challenge league will be.