Don't Worry About Saving Worlds, It's All About Loot In Path Of Exile's Scourge
It’s still all about the crazy new items.
Just in case you were wondering, Path of Exile is still all about the loot. In fact, it’s so about offering players ways to get their hands on (or at least try to) insane new gear, that it’s offering them a chance to travel to a dark new dimension to do it. Today, Grinding Gear Games offered players a look at the game’s next big expansion, “Scourge”. Named after the Scourge Challenge League, this expansion takes players somewhere they’ve never been before, using what I’d personally describe as a “rather shady” item to do it.
The new content starts just as players leave Lioneye’s Watch. As they leave, they’ll encounter a figure that just kind of “appears” in front of them and hands them something called the Blood Crucible. Upon giving you this questionable-looking item, she then prompts you to implant it in your body. (See? Shady already.) Using the item will eventually answer the question of, “Where did this woman come from?”, as you slowly fill it with the blood of your enemies and once filled, use it to jump into an apocalyptic parallel reality version of Wraeclast known as Scourge.
No, you’re not there to save the place. You’re there for the shinies, corrupted shinies, but shinies all the same. But, you won’t just be collecting these items off the bodies of the creatures you slay indiscriminately. Instead, you’ll make use of the Blood Crucible you jammed into your body without a second thought. As it turns out, items can be put inside the Blood Crucible and, as you slay demons on Scourge, the corruption absorbed by the device will be focused on the item in turn corrupting it and applying a pair of Scourged Modifiers.
There's always a catch...
This being corrupted energy and all, players probably expect a bit of a catch here, and they’d be right. While one modifier is beneficial, the other is detrimental, but don’t let that get you down. The modifiers are, well, modifiable. You won’t get away without a detrimental mod. That’s how this works. But, if you're not happy with the modifiers you do have, you can throw the item back into the Blood Crucible and try again. This can be done up to three times with each time offering a minimum tier of both types of mods related to the number of times it has been transformed. This means a third transformation can result in some pretty powerful effects.
As an additional perk, this system works on already-corrupted items which means players can finally get to work on improving those.
Since the focus in Scourge is on creating some rather impressive corrupted items, players can expect a few new sockets to go along with them. These items can only be found in the Scourge version of Wraeclast and include Tainted versions of Chromatic Orbs, Jeweler's Orbs, and Orbs of Fusing. They work pretty much how you’d expect them to with the exception that they’re exclusively used on corrupted gear.
The update also adds six new unique items, three of which are tied to the “ultra-challenging” content mentioned later on. One of these items will likely be highly sought after but rarely obtained. This would be the Mageblood belt, which permanently enables utility flasks, offering all their benefits with no input from the player, so flasks are maintained constantly, no matter the player's build or what they are doing. You can see why it would be rare.
Items, Maps, and More
Speaking of new items…there are, of course, new skill gems. These include Energy Blade, which transforms melee weapons into energy blades, converting a large portion of energy shield into lighting damage. Also included is Temporal Rift, which allows players to rewind their character’s state by 4 seconds. The skill has to be activated prior to use, otherwise, it won’t know where to send you. As an added bonus, it prevents Temporal Chains from affecting a player while activated. Finally, there’s Tornado, which…does what it says on the box.
If you thought that gear was the only thing you’d be using that Blood Crucible on, think again. As it turns out, it also works on maps. A map that is placed in the crucible and absorbs enough corruption will, just like your gear, gain beneficial and detrimental effects. It will also gain a modifier that changes the behavior of the map. Maps can be transformed up to ten times using the Blood Crucible in order to apply new modifiers. There is, of course, a catch. Transforming a map too much may make it too difficult to complete, so try to keep an eye on that.
On the topic of end game content, the Scourge update kicks off the work intended to overhaul Path of Exile’s Atlas of Worlds. While the main overhaul will take place early next year, Scourge drops several changes intended to speed up players’ setting up and progressing through their Atlas. Part of what happens with Scourge includes Grinding Gear Games reducing the number of regions in the Atlas map by half and, as a result, Watchstone. The number of maps has been reduced as well so that the number will be around 100 plus the unique maps. This adjustment also impacts the number of Atlas Passive Trees, reducing them by half as well. Don’t worry, you’ll still get the same number of Atlas Passive skill points as you did before the change.
But what if I don't want to play on easy mode?
The update introduces some additional “ultra-challenging” endgame content – for those of you that like that sort of thing. This includes “uber” versions of Breach, Blight, Legion, and Delirium. These are all for those of you who have already taken down the other versions of the content and want to flex a bit.
Delve has been revamped as well, with the entire thing having been re-balanced to make it more rewarding and challenging. Monsters are scaled to have more life yet less damage and monster skills and biome modifiers have been adjusted. These changes resulted in a wipe of the Standard Delve ladders but for those of you who have been working on it, you will have retained your previous depth on your characters. In addition, the delve catch-up mechanic has been adjusted so that it takes players to the appropriate tier map based on their level. A bonus here is that players can ignore Delve until they’re ready to do it and concentrate on other things.
Another thing that’s getting a bit of a makeover is the Passive Skill Tree. In this latest rework, GGG has improved the tree class start areas, added new clusters of skills, improved on old ones, and streamlined things by concentrating power on each skill’s primary function. They also identified niche stats that weren’t as relevant to all characters and took them away from the skill while buffing the primary function of that same skill.
It should be noted that niche stats aren’t completely gone. They’ve just moved them off the main tree, opening up more options for players while still allowing them to acquire the niche passives they want. This is done through a Passive Mastery that can be obtained when players allocate their first notable passive in a passive skill cluster. Spending a passive skill point on the mastery allows the player to choose what stat they’d like. So, you don’t have to wander all over the tree to get “that one.”
Giving Guilds some love.
We also have some good news for those of you in guilds. Yes, guilds are getting love. One of the biggest bits of love has to do with Guild Hideouts. Now, guild leaders can choose any hideout they have unlocked (or purchased) and use it as a template to create a guild hideout. This also benefits those not in guilds because – as it turns out – players will now be able to acquire all items that were previously obtained with favor in unlimited quantities, so, have fun decorating.
Guild love also extends to stashes, allowing players to more easily use and sort their stash with dropdown lists, drag and drop, and the addition of guild versions of the premium stash tabs. For the spreadsheet nuts among you, guilds can even export a CSV file of their guild stash.
Of course, the Scourge expansion also contains quality of life changes. There’s been a lot of balancing work done – everything from improving flasks to adjusting character defenses and damage. Additional information on everything covered in this post, as well as the general QoL changes, can be found in today’s stream – which we conveniently have below. Scourge releases on PC October 22nd and October 27th on consoles.
About the Author
QuintLyn is a long-time lover of all things video game related will happily talk about them to anyone that will listen. She began writing about games for various hobby sites a little over ten years ago and has taken on various roles in the games community.
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