Discover What Lies within PoE Bestiary League & War for the Atlas
Recently there has been a lot of discussion over whether or not Bestiary will be added to the core game or removed entirely. It comes down to a question of what the core of Path of Exile (PoE) is, and whether or not Beastcrafting is the direction that Grinding Gear Games (GGG) wants to take the game. With that in mind, let’s find out what makes the game tick, and Discover What Lies within PoE.
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Recent Additions and GGG Mindset
Recently there have been two major changes to Path of Exile, in terms of potentially long term gameplay. War for the Atlas came out along with Abyss league, and there was no pretense about whether or not it would be sticking around. While league mechanics such as Bestiary may not ‘go core,’ expansions like War for the Atlas always do. So even while playing the Shaper vs. Elder mechanics for the first time, we knew they would be around to stay.
On the other side, Bestiary was added as a league mechanic; a league mechanic with an incredible amount of work put into it mind you, but a league mechanic nonetheless. This meant that throughout the entire league there was a conversation regarding whether or not the mechanic was good enough to add to the core game. It was clear that the work was there, but Bestiary didn’t really suit what many refer to as the ‘soul’ of PoE. So the conversation continued.
War for the Atlas Overview
War for the Atlas came as an expansion alongside the Abyss league, five months ago. What it offered was an addition to the end game content of Path of Exile; a new ‘final’ boss to fight alongside the Shaper – the Elder, four new Guardians, and a slew of new monsters and maps. The biggest change was the addition of influence across each player’s atlas. The Shaper and Elder would literally fight for control across your atlas and clearing a map one of them controlled would make the other stronger. These culminated in the addition of several high-level fights.
There are two major things that really changed in War for the Atlas. More mobs from the Elder and Shaper influence, and the addition of new incredibly strong rare items. The important part here is that both of those were power creep and things that players enjoy. More mobs? Good. More cool stuff to collect? Good. Players enjoyed the additions, even if some thought that it was too much power creep. The vast majority simply enjoyed having more content to plow through. The Elder influence has become so strong that people have even developed incredibly complex ways to keep Elder influence on their maps all the time. And the new rares have been build enabling in many cases.
The content added in War for the Atlas didn’t infringe on any existing part of Path of Exile, it simply added more content. Most importantly, it added content in a way that players enjoyed interacting with. Having Elder influence on your map doesn’t change the map, it just makes more mobs on that map. It doesn’t force you to do anything differently, just rewards you more for doing the same content.
Then we have Bestiary. Bestiary is, basically, Pokémon league. You go out and find rare beasts, get them to low health, then throw a net to capture them. Once you’ve captured the beasts you can sacrifice them to create or modify items. Okay, not quite Pokémon. There are a few incredibly rare beasts that you will find randomly which upon capture allow you to face off against one of the four ‘final bosses’ of Bestiary. But for the most part, the captured beasts go towards general crafting.
So what is the hubbub about? Basically, Bestiary isn’t well implemented. Stopping your map to capture a beast is tedious, and for some builds impossible. Ever tried to stop Specters from killing something? Lower DPS builds had just as much issue, since you have to kill the beast within three seconds of throwing the net. Fast builds simply don’t want to stop to figure out where the beast is and throw a net. Virtually no build wants to actually deal with the beasts properly.
Even if you do want to deal with the beasts, figuring out which one you need is incredibly difficult. You don’t even see recipes where you are missing more than one piece, and if you do see a recipe there’s no indication of where to find the beast you’re missing. For the most part, you either wander around blindly or are forced to go to external sources.
If you manage to get through all of that without losing your mind, your final result is incredibly average. Most of the beastcraft recipes simply aren’t worth the time, and using the altar itself is yet another pain. Forget the fact that you have to kill the beasts again when you want to use them in a recipe. No, no loot or experience, just a tedious fight you’ve already done.
All of this brings us back to our main point, which is the core behind Path of Exile. War for the Atlas was added directly to the core of the game without an incredible amount of backlash. This is because, for the most part, it improves on a game you already love. You like killing this? Cool, here’s more to kill. You like finding strong items? Cool, here’s more to find. The core of Path of Exile is just that, a grindy, loot-based game. Straying away from that will cause issues.
Which is exactly what Bestiary tried to do. Instead of promoting going fast and killing things, it told players to slow down and inspect every beast to see if they need it. If they do, they have to go even slower to make sure they capture it properly. The rewards for finding these rare beasts were lackluster at best, and the final bosses were gated entirely behind randomness. It’s no wonder that players wanted the system out of the game entirely.
Which brings us to the conclusion, which was announced earlier this week. Grinding Gear Games has decided to bow out and take the hit, acknowledging that they messed up with Bestiary. They came out with an announcement stating that no part of Bestiary would be going core. This further solidifies what Path of Exile is all about, a decision I believe many players will be pleased with.
For more PoE, check this out: PoE Supporter Packs for Bestiary League & War for the Atlas