PoE 3.6 Atlas Changes for the Synthesis League
GGG has made a practice of changing the atlas every expansion, for the last few leagues. 3.6 and the Synthesis league is no exception. They have once again fully re-hauled the atlas once again. This is something they have discussed doing intentionally, in order to rebalance, but also to make leagues feel fresh, and not form a specific farming meta that is repeated indefinitely. Without too much more delay, let’s delve (synthesis) into the PoE 3.6 Atlas!
What are the new T15s?
Now, most maps were moved around (apart from Guardian maps), but one of the biggest questions that I always have is: which maps are T15? This is because if you’re planning to farm high tier content, as I and many others typically do, you’ll be in Guardian maps or T15 maps a majority of the time, until you’ve perfectly Elder Orb shaped your atlas. More on that later.
New Tier 15 Maps
- Dark Forest
- Defiled Cathedral
- Waste Pool
- Lava Lake
Lava Lake likely stayed as a T15 due to Kitava being the map boss – as annoying as he is to deal with. Still a great map layout, if you ignore the boss. Core and Dark Forest are similar, great layouts with annoying bosses. Defiled Cathedral and Waste Pool are both simply exceptional maps, I am very pleased that they have become T15s. Waste Pool in particular will likely be where I spend a majority of my T15 life!
Are there Sextant changes?
Yes and no. The sextants will function exactly the same as they did before. However, they will be easier to use now. Previously you had to make sure that the map you were running could be touched by enough nearby sextants to be worth it. Now you don’t have to worry about that at all. GGG came out and said that every single map on the atlas can now be hit with five sextants – the maximum number of sextants you can have on your atlas at one time anyway. This means that every map will have four nearby maps, as well as its own sextant. This is a huge quality of life buff for maps in general, but particularly for Elder Orbing maps – takes one of the decisions out of the equation.
What map should I Elder Orb?
For those unaware, if you follow Zana’s questline, when you defeat Shaper you will receive an Elder Orb. It functions in the same way as a Shaper Orb, raising the tier of the map you use it on. However, instead of putting it up by five, it will raise the map’s tier to 16, no matter what tier it was before. This allows you to farm any specific map that you want, at the highest difficulty.
What you’re looking for when you look for good maps to use your Elder Orb on comes down to a few factors. First, profit. If you’re looking for money, you’ll want to look for maps with specific divination card drops that are profitable. Second – and what I’m typically going for – density. These maps will give the biggest bang for your buck, monster wise. This is not only great for experience, but provides the most potential for map returns, typically allowing you to make quite a bit of money, despite the lack of divination cards.
There are a few maps that stand out so far, although there will obviously be changes as the meta is fully uncovered, and divination cards are found. Currently the tastiest prospect to me is Underground Sea. It has always been a great map, but now it’s a tier 4 map, meaning that any sextants you put on it will be white – a huge cost saving without losing much juice. Haunted Mansion might be even better at tier two, for the same reasons. Both of these maps have insanely high density, a nice layout, and are surrounded by white maps for your sextanting needs.
Where’s my Doctor at?
One of the biggest questions that players have whenever they see atlas changes is quite simply: how do I farm Headhunter? As of last league, there are now three maps that allow you to farm the beloved belt. Spider Forest is the old favourite of course, but Burial Chambers made quite the comeback a few leagues ago. Both of these maps, of course, drop The Doctor, a divination card that you can exchange a stack of eight for a Headhunter belt. In 3.5, a new divination card was added onto the Tower map exclusively. This new card is Nurse, and eight of them can be turned into a Doctor card. Cute.
The tiers of these maps are extremely important, as it allows players to determine their atlas setup, or if farming them is viable at all. This league these maps are all in rather awkward spots, I’m sad to report. Spider Forest appears to be a tier 7 or 8 map. Burial Chambers appears to be tier 6. The Tower – I’m particularly sad to say – is tier 13.
I say that none of these are particularly great tiers, because none of them can be isolated incredibly well. Sure, you can farm a tier 6-8 map, and farm it effectively, but it’s far easier to isolate a very low tier map. Not only is the drop rate higher for low tier maps, but if you decide to go all-in with your Elder Orb, the sextants are all yellow and red, rather than white. This is a huge disadvantage to a farming strategy.
PoE 3.6 Atlas changes are, overall, great. The change to allow five sextants to touch every map is a huge quality of life buff, and the new tier 15 maps are excellent. I even have two maps that I’m looking at for my Elder Orb right off the bat, because they look so juicy. The only thing that will be negative to some people, from what I can see, is the location of certain divination cards, The Nurse and The Doctor notably. Hopefully this will not negatively impact the meta, and everyone will find something enjoyable to farm on the new atlas!