Path of Exile: Affliction Announced, New Path of Exile 2 Gameplay Shown
Developer Grinding Gear Games held a new livestream event for Path of Exile, during which it announced the free-to-play action RPG’s latest expansion, Affliction. The developer also provided some new details on the upcoming Path of Exile 2, revealing its Mercenary class.
The presentation began with a look at Path of Exile 2 and some of the game’s classes — including the Monk, Warrior, Huntress, Sorceress, and Druid — and their variations in play styles, before unveiling the newly-announced Mercenary class. The Mercenary wields a crossbow and utilises shooter-style gameplay with players able to switch between different crossbows and ammo types on the fly. To facilitate this, Path of Exile 2 will support WASD movement independent of aiming.
Path of Exile 2 is planned to launch in 2024 for PC, Mac, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S, with a closed beta to begin on June 7, 2024. The game will be completely separate from Path of Exile, though all cosmetic purchases made on either game will be shared between them. Path of Exile 2 will feature a brand new six-act main storyline, said to include 100 distinct environments, 600 monsters, and 100 bosses as well as twelve starting character classes — two classes for each possible combination of Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence — though players will be able to freely adjust their character build and utilise skills from other classes. The game will also include a revamped Skill Gem system, with players having access to over 240 Skill Gems and 200 Support Gems with which to customise their build, while Support Gems can be socked directly into Skill Gems.
Meanwhile, Path of Exile’s new Affliction expansion and Challenge League sees players encounter Sacred Wisps that beckon players to enter passageways to the Viridian Wildwood. The wood is currently blighted by the darkness of the Affliction, which players will need to put a stop to. Players are able to use Wisps to burn away the Affliction, which only have a limited amount of power, while fighting off cursed monsters. After their Wisps run out, players are returned to Wraeclast.
As players explore, they can find different types of Wisps trapped in the darkness, with the Wisps’ trails guiding them to clues about the wildwood’s secrets. Wisps that have been rescued from the Affliction will disperse when players arrive back in Wraeclast and inhabit nearby monsters, including bosses, increasing both their power and the rewards for defeating them. Monsters can be affected by multiple types of Wisps at once.
During Affliction, players will come across the last few Azmeri wanderers that have survived in the wildwood, each of whom has different specalisations that they will teach players if they defeat the source of the Affliction. Players select which of the Azmeri to complete quests for, and they will unlock one of three new Ascendancy classes that is used alongside their regular Ascendancy class. The Warden of Eaves will teach players to become a Warden of the Maji, which uses tinctures to coat their weapons. The Breaker of Oaths unlocks Warlock of the Mists, which use dark arts such as turning corpses into spectres or inflicting curses. Finally, the Primal Huntress lets players become a Wildwood Primalist, which uses magic charms to grant various upgrades and effects.
Affliction will also introduce some changes to the base game. The earlier Ultimatum expansion will be implemented into the main game with a full rebalance plus new mods and rewards. In turn, Metamorph is being removed, with all Catalyst rewards transferred to the Ultimatum content. There are also significant changes being made to Path of Exile’s metagame. These sees three systems — alternate quality gems, labyrinth helmet enchants, and unique threshold jewels — merged into a single Transfigured gems system, which provided alternative versions of current skill gems.
Path of Exile: Affliction will release for PC and Mac on December 8, 2023, with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One release following on December 13, 2023. Like all other Path of Exile content, it will be free for all players.
Path of Exile 2 Mercenary Screenshots and Gameplay
Path of Exile: Affliction Screenshots and Trailer