Path of Exile Blight League: New Mechanics & Master Changes
The new Path of Exile league has finally been announced: Path of Exile Blight League! Coming in early September, the new league is set to feature new skills, new items, a new mechanic, and a rework of the current master system—with several class reworks to boot. With so much to cover, let’s jump right in!
What’s the new mechanic?
The Blight league brings along with it a new mechanic, something Path of Exile has never seen before. Fans of the tower defense genre might get quite excited as the new mechanic revolves entirely around engaging with towers to weaken oncoming enemies–exactly like a tower defense game. A resource will accumulate over time and it can be expended to create new towers, or potentially power up existing ones. As the sieging enemies are extremely powerful, you will need the help of the towers to withstand and ultimately defeat them.
This mechanic is quite disrupting to normal gameplay as it requires staying in a single location for quite a while. There’s also the fact that you have to engage with the terrain in a very different way than PoE players are typically used to. Luckily, this was dealt with by having ‘blighted’ maps. Rather than encounter this mechanic constantly throughout your journey, you will have brushes with it only within blighted maps which hold a great deal of tower defense mechanics–or so we’ve been led to believe. This is speaking from the announcement trailer and the information we have now, so any of this might be slightly inaccurate to release day Blight League.
Provided it does work in the way we’ve been led to believe, this is particularly beneficial to a growing concern that has been plaguing Path of Exile for the past few leagues: the issue of agency. Now, rather than being frustrated by the inability to run the Blight content when you come across it because your character is poor at the tower defense mechanic, you can store up the blighted maps and run them all on a character that is better equipped to handle the madness. This follows along with their new philosophies of agency, which we see clearly in the master changes.
What are the master changes?
The master system is currently functional, but it is rather frustrating when it comes to player agency. You encounter masters as you run maps and are then forced to do their mechanic immediately. Otherwise, you’ll lose out on potential returns. If you finish a temple or a safehouse, or fill up your sulphite, you must immediately engage with that content or run the risk of losing your progress the next time. This means less loot in the long run which is quite frustrating to players who simply don’t want to do a temple today or are playing a character that can’t handle delving. It also burns out players quickly.
To counter this issue, they are reworking how masters appear on your atlas. Previously, masters would appear in two ways: randomly within maps or by having their symbols appear on the atlas around the tier of the map you’re running. We’re unsure if the first method is changing, but the second is being rehauled massively. Rather than having the masters appear randomly on the atlas, a counter will now appear on the side of the atlas and tick up each time you would ‘earn’ a new master. These numbers will accumulate indefinitely, and when opting to run a map you can choose which of them to apply if any. This means you can store up a hundred Niko missions on your speedy mapping character and proceed to run them all on your tanky delving character. They are stored by color to match the color of maps, so a red Niko can only be activated on a red map (or lower, likely). We’ll have to see specifics as it goes live.
What new items are there?
There is the typical host of new unique items we can look forward to, but there’s also a new mechanic for changing items, reminiscent of Synthesis without being anywhere near as complex. Vials will drop as you engage with Blight content, and you can use three of them to apply a modifier to an item. In terms of rings, it appears that the modifiers all affect the towers that you create while engaging with the Blight mechanic. However, there are quite a few new mods that apply to amulets as well.
The modifiers that can be applied to amulets will grant notables off the skill tree. For clarification, the large skills on the tree which radically change your build are Keystones. Notables are the mid-sized skills that grant fairly significant buffs. Meaning that getting the right notable on your amulet can potentially give you effectively two or more bonus skill points on your skill tree.
But it’s even more interesting than that. For Blight League, they are adding a handful of Notables that cannot be accessed by typical pathing and must be accessed through these bonus modifiers. A few have been teased so far, and they are looking pretty darn powerful. I look forward to playing with different amulets to see how powerful I can get from the bonus stats.
Which classes are getting reworked?
Three classes are getting major reworks in Blight League. These classes are Poison Assassin, Miner Saboteur, and Necromancer. Each of these classes will be receiving rather large reworks, which are currently undisclosed. However, they are also getting new supporting skills, which we have seen teasers for some of.
Assassins are getting a new movement skill that applies wither to the surrounding minions, as well as a new chaining projectile that poisons each target hit. Miners are getting new traps that promote placing and exploding traps in specific sequences, as well as minions that give damage boosts and occasionally explode and rearm mines. Necromancers are getting new minions to work with, including an all-new terrifying golem.
There’s a lot to look forward to in the Path of Exile Blight League. We’ve only scraped the surface here, and we’re excited to see what else will be announced in the coming weeks. Personally, I’m extremely excited about the master changes, as well as Poison Assassin. The league mechanic itself looks intriguing, though I hope it’s not too problematic to interact with. There’s a week of teasers to go until another incredible league!