Path of Exile: Sentinel Expansion Unveiled
Developer Grinding Gear Games announced its latest expansion for action RPG Path of Exile. The Sentinel expansion will launch on PC and Mac on May 13, 2022, and for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on May 18, 2022. Like all other Path of Exile content, it will be available for free.
Sentinel will include both a new challenge league and a significant amount of new end-game content. The Sentinel challenge league focuses on the eponymous ancient constructs that have been unearthed around Wraeclast. Players collect these Sentinels and look to utilise their power, with the Sentinels following the player and waiting to enter combat. However, rather than assisting the player, the Sentinels empower enemies. By using the Sentinels to increase the challenge of encounters, players are able to gain new rewards.
There are three classes of Sentinel: Stalker, Pandemonium, and Apex. Stalker Sentinels will follow players for around thirty second and empower any enemies encounter, described as letting players generate their own Breach or Delirium-style encounters. Pandemonium Sentinels generally only fire a single empowerment in a large area of effect chain. Finally, Apex Sentinels can only empower rare or unique enemies with fewer shots but a large impact on challenge and reward. In addition, players can increase the power of the Sentinels through the Sentinel Controller. It acts somewhat like a circuit board, with nodes for each of the three Sentinel classes. Players obtain power units that can be applied to the Sentinel Controller, providing upgrades to the classes those units are connected to with filaments that players can place down as they wish. Some nodes can be very powerful; for example, letting a Sentinel be used more than once per area.
Players will start with a single slot for Stalker Sentinels, eventually unlocking two additional slots. Each Sentinel class can only be deployed once per area, requiring some strategy from players about when to use them, with different Sentinels having different effects and modifiers. While Sentinels cannot be damaged, their internal power depletes each time they are used. The husks of Sentinels that have used up their power can be used to create new Sentinels in a unique crafting system. This crafting system lets player combine two husks with a Power Core, found throughout the league, to generate a new fully-charged Sentinel. The result is unpredictable as players can end up with a result similar to one of the husks or a completely different one, though they are usually more powerful. There are specialised Power Cores, and the most powerful Sentinels will come as the result of this generation process. A similar process, Recombination, will also be available for equipment drops.
The Sentinel league will give players a free Sentinel Locker that lets them readily store Sentinel husks as well as the league’s currency items. There will also be unique Sentinels that cannot be combined with others. One example is the Basilisk, a Pandemonium Sentinel that combines its empowerment with a petrification effect on all enemies. Other unique Sentinels are designed to work with specific end-game Atlas content, while Sentinels can be combined with other league content — with a limited number of exceptions — to boost challenge and rewards.
In terms of end-game content, Sentinel is designed to build upon the recent Siege of the Atlas expansion. Sentinel will add another twenty keystone passives to the Atlas skill tree. It will also add new clusters of passive skills that give players more control over the content they participate in, letting players focus on specific areas and league content. Finally, there will be new “uber” versions of the game’s current seven pinnacle boss fights, the most challenging ones in the game. Sentinel’s release will come with a number of other adjustments to the Atlas content, including the removal of Vinktar’s Square and Doryani’s Machinarium, rebalancing of influence altars, and reward adjustments.
As with other expansions, Sentinel will add new unique items. There are five new unique items designed in collaboration with one of the winners of a competition held with Siege of the Atlas’ launch that will be dropped by relevant pinnacle bosses. The new uber pinnacle bosses will also drop additional unique items. In a change to its usual, Sentinel will not feature any major character build rebalances, although there are some planned changes coming in the next expansion. There is some monster rebalancing, however, as all monsters have now been assigned mods from the Archnemesis mod pool as opposed to the original core pool. Finally, in addition to other quality-of-life improvements, the release of Sentinel will see the addition of controller support to the game’s PC version, which will also make the game fully playable on the Steam Deck.