Path of Exile exploded onto the online gaming scene a few years ago and has since gained popularity for its complex gameplay systems and an incredible amount of content for a free game. Grinding Gear Games released a multitude of free updates and content expansions in the years after Path of Exile’s release, and are gearing up to release their largest “update” yet.
The devs have called Path of Exile 2 more than a simple expansion and more of a reimagining of their increasingly popular hack-and-slash game. It was meant to be released in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed things a little.
8 Path of Exile 2 Is Not Technically A New Game
Path of Exile 2 is described by developers as somewhere between a sequel game and a massive expansion. The “sequel” is not installed as a separate game but instead is installed on top of the original Path of Exile.
It will be a free update, despite its massive scope, that is still supported only via cosmetic purchases in-game. It’s unique among free-to-play games for its lack of pay-to-win systems. Path of Exile 2 introduces a lot of major changes to integral parts of the base game, but it won’t introduce any new microtransactions that offset the game’s balance.
7 The Sequel Features Seven New Chapters
Path of Exile received its sixth expansion in 2017, titled Path of Exile: The Fall Of Oriath, which introduced six new acts to continue the storyline as well as a litany of other new features. Path of Exile 2 is slated to add seven new chapters to the game that happen concurrently with the base game’s progression.
While it only has one more act than the expansion in 2017, Path of Exile 2 doesn’t stop at just introducing some new items and quests to the game. It will be a true overhaul of the game including graphics updates and new progression systems intended to fix many of the issues of the original game.
6 New Models and Animations Will Be Implemented
Path of Exile is, by no means, an ugly game. However, the seven-year-old game could still use a few needed visual upgrades. Character animations and models used throughout the game will be re-made to appear good for 2021 systems, while the engine itself is going to see some improvements too.
Path of Exile is a game that runs well on low-end laptops as well as high-end PCs with its deep graphics customization options. These engine improvements will likely make the game more stable and more accessible to more players.
5 The Skill Gem System Will Be Rehauled
The Skill Gem system in Path of Exile is a system unlike any other. Skill Gems are slotted into weapons with slots of the appropriate type, then connected together with Support Gems to create new properties or combine skills. In Path of Exile 2, the skill gem system is seeing a major rework.
Support gems were placed into gear sockets before, but now they will be placed directly into the Skill Gem it modifies. This gives the player a bit more wiggle room for their builds without sacrificing any of the depth the game’s Skill Gem system is known for.
4 19 New Ascendancy Classes Will Be Introduced
The expansion Path of Exile: Ascendancy introduced a feature that allowed each class to branch out into other end-game class options. The Duelist could become a Gladiator or a Slayer, while the Witch could become an Occultist or Necromancer. These Ascendancy classes added some much-needed breadth to each class’s playstyle, and Path of Exile 2 will add even more.
The team announced that 19 new Ascendancy classes will be added to the game with Path of Exile 2. There are currently 19 Ascendancy classes available in the game – each class has a choice of three, save for the Scion who only has one choice – and it is likely that the new Ascendancy options will mirror this spread across classes.
3 New Passive Abilities and “Other Core Game Systems”
The skill tree in Path of Exile is, in a word, vast. It’s an upgrade system that allows players to build into any playstyle they like by slowly building out their passives. The skill tree in Path of Exile is absolutely massive, though, partly because it is shared between all classes. Players start in a location on the vast upgrade map based on their class but can eventually build into anything with time.
Path of Exile 2 will bring some updates to this system as well as undescribed “other core game systems” that will likely increase the player’s choices when leveling up. It’s not known exactly what changes are coming, though, save for the addition of new passive abilities.
2 A Beta Will Open Up Later In 2021
The beta for Path of Exile 2 was supposed to launch in 2020, but Grinding Gear Games was hit by the sudden COVID-19 pandemic just as hard as many game development studios. Now all working from home, development has continued and they are on the path to open beta testing later this year.
It’s exciting news because it means the “sequel” game is far enough along in development to warrant moving on from alpha to open beta testing sometime in the near future. For a while, fans were worried whether the project would continue at all, but the future is looking bright for Path of Exile 2.
1 It’s Set To Release In 2022
While it was originally set to release in 2021, the team behind Path of Exile 2 is looking more realistically at an early 2022 launch date. It will be free-to-play just like its predecessor, and the only microtransactions available for purchase are entirely cosmetic.
If you are looking for a return to classic gameplay with deep progression systems like the hack and slash games of old, pass up Diablo III and give Path of Exile a try before the “sequel” comes out next year. It’s well worth the time investment, especially for a free game, and is looking to become ever more popular in the months to come.