Thursday, April 22, 2021

Path of Exile 2 brings better bosses, a new system of skill gems, and great graphics

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Standing atop a rolling Gothic mini-town dragged through dark deserts by strange work animals, Path of Exile 2’s The second act immediately resembles the kind of imaginative action RPG adventure I’ve come to expect from Grinding Gear Games. And that’s not just because of the improved graphics over its predecessor, with new lighting effects that really pop and set the tone for everything from a scorched sand dune to a downright ghastly dungeon. It’s a nightmarish, blood-soaked, yet oddly beautiful and distinct world that I can’t wait to dip my sabatons into. the original path of exile, the sequel will start you off as a half-naked wretch on death row, moving up through the lower ranks of the Wraeclast world. Considering how things cosmically overstep and how many gods we killed in the previous game, the developers deliberately aimed for this type of reset. They want Path of Exile 2, which was first announced in 2019, to be something new players can jump into without feeling like they’re missing years and years of context, even though your characters from both games will eventually be able to team up in unified endgame storylines.

We won’t be able to get our hands on Path of Exile 2 until 2022, but in the meantime you can check out the brand new trailer showing a bit of Act 2 and keep reading for what to expect from the ARPG sequel. long awaited.

Learn the hard way

This doesn’t just apply to history either. Grinding Gear Games focused on better tutoring this time around, which I found to be a welcome change given that I probably spent at least a dozen hours thinking. Path of Exile Wikis and Authoring Guides to understand what I was doing in the original.

There is an advantage in not holding your hand too much.

That being said, they don’t intend to take away the freedom and complexity that Path of Exile fans love. I asked how the original’s skill tree had so many options that it basically gave you enough rope to hang on, which allowed you to fall into easy traps and end up with poor build.

“Philosophically that’s a tricky question for us,” said Chris Wilson of Grinding Gear, “because we think there’s an advantage in not holding your hand too much.”

However, he was open to limiting the options at first for new players, making simpler and more effective choices readily available and unleashing the tree’s full wild potential down the line. This fits in with their larger tutorial philosophy of only offering help if you need it. Pop-ups will appear if it looks like you’re having trouble or not understanding a key mechanism. But Path of Exile veterans who already seem to know what they’re doing won’t be bothered by them.

Path of Exile 2 and Ultimatum: new screenshots

Glittering Prizes

One of the biggest changes you’ll see in building a character in Path of Exile 2 (and in the original, as many of these base system upgrades will apply to both) is that the sockets gems are now independent of pieces of armor. There was nothing more frustrating than getting some awesome new armor but not being able to use it until you return to town and re-roll all the gem slots to match what you want. already had, otherwise you would break your entire build. These are the types of changes the developers see as a win-win: they make Path of Exile much more intuitive for new players without removing the complexity that veterans have come to expect.

However, the bosses and the minibosses have new surprises in store for us to test us as well. With nearly a decade of updates, I was curious how Grinding Gear created a new seven act story that won’t feel like we’re going through variations of the same fights over and over again. One of the main ways Path of Exile 2 does this is to include bosses that interact with the arena in more interesting ways. One example we saw was of a miniboss that can collapse part of a cave to drop rocks on you. But the broken parts of the ceiling let in light from outside, so standing in the lighted areas will prevent the attack from being able to hit you again.

Stabby Stabby

The new weapons in Path of Exile 2 also seem like a lot of fun to play, opening up some new playstyles. We got to see the spear and crossbow in action, and the spear skills looked exactly like my kind of chaos. Equipping it gives you an engage attack that throws you into the thick of things, granting a powerful damage bonus for a short time. When it expires, you can disengage strike to get away from danger and heal yourself. So you get into a nice tempo of dancing in and out, which sounds a lot more fun than some of the more conventional “lawn mower” melee builds that tend to dominate in ARPGs.

The crossbow is unique in that each comes with an alternate fire skill. The one we saw was some sort of siege mode, which allows you to launch lightning bolts into the air to rain down on the enemy like a one-woman artillery piece. I could see this is quite useful if there is some sort of pesky summoner or healer hiding behind a wave of tanky melee enemies and you just need it right away. It’s easy for fights like this to get monotonous, especially at higher levels. And it looks like Path of Exile 2 is on track to tackle that with these new mechanics.

Leana Hafer is passionate about PC. Talk about action-RPGs, strategy games and more with her on Twitter at @TilFolkvang.

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