Path of Exile Gets Blight Expansion
Grinding Gear Games has announced its latest expansion for its free-to-play action RPG Path of Exile. The new expansion is called Blight and Grinding Gear Games’ Chris Wilson gave RPGamer a heads-up of what it includes.
As with previous expansions, Blight comes with the new Blight Challenge League. The expansion focuses on a new NPC named Sister Cassia and fungal growths that are spreading across Wraeclast. These growths provide a big threat with their ability to control nearby monsters. Fortunately, Sister Cassia has created a device that can drain the growths, but needs players to defend the device from monsters attempting to destroy it while it does its work.
Each area in the challenge league has a Blight encounter, which acts as a mini tower-defense game as the monsters follow the tendrils of the Blight and attack those directly in their path. Players build towers to hinder the monsters, both by dealing damage or slowing them down. Towers can be upgraded and also used to boost other towers, requiring quick thinking from the player in how they place and upgrade their towers. For each lane that is successfully defended, players will receive a reward chest.
In addition to regular loot, Blight encounters will reward players with new items called oils. These oils come in twelve coloured tiers and can be combined to add properties to rings and amulets through Sister Cassia’s anointing process. Each combination of oils produces a different enchantment, though the order they are combined does not matter.
Ring enchantments require two oils, with the resulting enchantment adding an effect to or modifying the functionality of any towers built in the Blight encounters. Meanwhile, amulet enchantments require a combination of three oils, and grant the full properties of a Notable passive skill on Path of Exile‘s massive skill tree, giving players access to skills that may be far away from their current build.
The endgame content of the Blight league utilises Blighted Maps. These can be used in the same way as regular maps, but instead take players to a large-scale Blight encounter. These encounters are designed to be very challenging, but provide appropriate rare and unique rewards. Blighted Maps can also be anointed by oils through Sister Cassia to add new properties.
Blight also adds six new unique items that can be anointed by Cassia, as well as ten other unique items that are designed to help define particular builds. One of these is the Triad Grip, which converts the damage of minions to different elements. This item goes with Blight‘s overhaul of summoner builds in Path of Exile. Players will now be able to loosely control the behaviour of their minions using support gems. Using skills supported by the gems will cause minions to be aggressive, be defensive, or attack a specific target, depending on which gem is used. Core skeleton, zombie, and spectre minions now also get more powerful as gems level up, with numerous other changes made to make summoner characters more powerful.
Other character archetypes receiving upgrades in Blight are the Poison Assassin and Mine Saboteur. The Poison Assassin was originally an overpowered build taking advantage of the way the game handled critical hits until this was fixed. Grinding Gear Games is answering players’ wishes to return some of its power — without it becoming too overpowered again — by adding new skills and a new support system to add more options to the playstyle. Meanwhile, the Mine Saboteur benefits from a revamp of the mechanics behind mines. Mines can now be thrown and detonated in sequence, with rewards given for being able to denote a long sequence of mines. There are also some new mine skills and a few other adjustments.
Grinding Gear Games is also making some other changes to the base Path of Exile game. The first of these is a change to the Atlas of Worlds map-based endgame. At times, players would receive special missions from the Master NPCs, but could only do then right at that moment or miss out on them. Now, most of these missions are deferred and players will have a counter showing how many missions of each difficulty are available. Players can talk to the Master in their hideout to run these missions when they wish and give them the appropriate map that they want to play the mission on.
The developer will also be adding its most recent Challenge League, Legion, to the base game. There will also be some adjustments to the Betrayal and Delve content. As a result of divisive player feedback, Grinding Gear Games has elected not to fully integrate the Synthesis expansion to the base game, but will be adding some of its boss fight encounters, which were positively received, to the game as unique maps.
Blight will be released for PC on September 6, 2019, with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One releases following on September 9, 2019. Like all other Path of Exile content, the expansion will be available to all players for free. The developer is also hosting its first ExileCon Fan Convention in Auckland, New Zealand on November 16-17, 2019. The convention will open with a keynote presentation that will be streaming online and feature some major announcements for the game.