Path of Exile Harvests New Expansion This Month
Grinding Gear Games has revealed its latest expansion for free-to-play action RPG Path of Exile. As with previous expansions, Harvest introduces a new eponymous Challenge League as well as introducing revamps to some of the overall game’s systems. The expansion will be released for PC on June 19, 2020, with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One releases to follow during the week beginning June 22, 2020.
Harvest features a new NPC called Oshabi, Keeper of the Sacred Grove. Her discovery of the Sacred Grove, an ancient garden created by an ancient people, causes her to enlist players to help her learn of the possibilities that its power might provide. As players progress through the Challenge League, they will come across roots that point them towards a Seed Cache, with one Cache to be found in each area. Each Seed Cache will give players a set of seeds, which can be planted at the Sacred Grove.
Once players open the Seed Cache, Oshabi will open a portal to the Sacred Grove, where they can plant the seeds and adjust the garden. Whenever players open a Cache, it will cause one unit of time to pass where plants can grow. There are three types of seeds — Wild, Primal, and Vivid — and they come in multiple tiers. The plants that emerge from the seeds have their own Lifeforce, which players can harvest using special Collectors. When plants are ready for harvest, players can initiate an encounter based on the plants present, and the Lifeforce is collected once players defeat the monsters that spawn. Harvest aims to revamp Path of Exile’s crafting system, with Lifeforce used to create powerful items.
Harvest offers differing degrees of complexity for players to utilise as they wish. Simple tier one seeds only need a Collector of the same type to be placed near them. However, higher tier seeds have more stringent requirements, such as being provided with Lifeforce. Lifeforce that isn’t used during crafting is stored to irrigate higher tier seeds. Meanwhile, Condensers will let players store additional Lifeforce, as regular Collectors are limited. By planning their placement of the plants, players can create more challenging fights as well as adjust the rewards they will acquire from the encounter.
The expansion looks to switch up the usual Path of Exile reward system, where players are left with lots of loot, most of which is not of direct use. Though monsters still drop loot, most of the reward comes from utilising the crafting system and the Lifeforce obtained from the garden. Crafting options require both the appropriate plants to be involved when harvesting, as well as the necessary amounts of Lifeforce. Grinding Gear Games’ idea is that players will be able to focus on making specific, very valuable items rather than trying to sort through lots of items to find one that aids them. High-level players will be able to use tier three monsters to drop seeds that create special boss encounters, with one for each type of seed, and Grinding Gear Games hints at a fourth, even harder, boss. Seeds will be fully tradeable in the game.
As with previous expansions, Harvest comes with new unique items, twelve in this case. One example is the Doryani’s Prototype armor, which makes enemies have that the same level of lightning resistance as the player, encouraging them to keep it low to make lightning attacks more powerful but requiring that players use armor to withstand any lightning damage they receive. Another is the Storm Secret ring, which pairs with the common Herald of Thunder skill and allows players to use it as a primary damage-dealing ability. Over fifty other unique items are also being rebalanced.
Harvest will also come with a significant rebalancing for two-handed melee weapons and “slam” skills. Numerous skills have been reworked into this category, while others have been buffed and alterations made to the passive skill tree, to make two-handed weapon builds much more compelling to use. The Fist of War support gem lets a spirit periodically appear with the player character and perform a slam skill in unison with them, extending the range and power. The Tectonic Slam skill has also been reworked, with upgraded visuals, to use less Endurance Charges and have the option for powered-up usages.
Grinding Gear Games also put time into reworking Warcry and Brand skills. The former have recently become less popular, and will now have more power and support from the passive skill tree. They have also been revamped to introduce a limited-time boost for attacks, and will now scale based on monster power rather than the number of enemies in order to be useful in boss fights. Meanwhile, three new Brand skills have been added, while a particular build that abused how the skills work has been rebalanced.
Grinding Gear Games revealed that the previous expansion, Delirium, will be rolled into the base game after its successful run. It will be implemented slightly differently to previous expansions. Usually, expansion content has a small chance of spawning in each area. Because Delirium is designed to work with content from other expansions, its chance of appearing in an area will be based on the amount of other additional content that appears. Finally, the developer has released a beta version of its new Vulkan renderer. The renderer will formally launch alongside Harvest and gives Ginding Gear Games better control over resource management than DirectX 11, helping to eliminate some of the stutter in the game.