Grinding Gear Games revealed its upcoming Path of Exile expansion today via a Twitch livestream. Echoes of the Atlas expands upon the Atlas of Worlds for the third time, introducing 11 new maps, a new pinnacle boss, and new items and gems, and also brings back two of 2020’s leagues and incorporates them into the core game.

In this expansion, you’ll encounter the Maven, who watches you fight the bosses of the Atlas and then makes you fight multiples of them at once, up to 10(!) at a time. You might even get a chance to take on the Maven herself, a fight that GGG’s Chris Wilson said was “designed to challenge the strongest and best” players.

For your efforts, you’ll be able to set Atlas passives that let you alter the effects and rewards of maps. You’ll also receive Watchstones that can alter the various regions of the Atlas, and if you can defeat the Maven herself, you’ll get an orb that lets you upgrade the mods on your items.

The new maps cover a variety of environments, each coming with their own boss fights. The video presentation showed off four of them: a desert region, a kind of “ruined castle,” an underground watery ruin, and a graveyard.

There’s naturally a new challenge league, the Ritual Challenge League, in which you’ll find altars at various locations. When you activate one, it summons all monsters that were near every other previous altar, with greater difficulty and rewards as you progress. These rewards also have a greater cost, which you can defer as a later reward if you can’t afford it when you encounter it.

Ascendancy classes are getting a rework in this expansion, with all 19 classes getting rebalanced, to “redistribute and simplify powers” among the classes. Three of them — Elementalist, Inquisitor, and Deadeye — will see greater changes than the rest.

There are the usual slate of new and unique items — 13 in this case — many of which are available only in endgame content. The Legacy of Fury boots caused Scorched Ground as you walk, while the Blackflame ring makes it so ignited enemies take chaos damage instead of fire. New skill gems include the Hydrosphere gem, which summons a pulsing sphere that can deal cold or lightning damage and the Trinity Support gem, which supports skill gems that deal multiple types of elemental damage.

Two old leagues return to the game, with the Harvest League being simplified greatly so as not to require players to carefully manage their farms all the time. On the other hand, the Heist League comes to the the core game with just some minor changes — mostly to speed up progress — as optional content that you can access after Act VI.

Path of Exile: Echoes of the Atlas launches on Friday, January 15 on PC and Wednesday, January 20 on consoles, with patch notes to be revealed at some time next week. Learn more about the expansion on the PoE site.

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.


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