The Bestiary: Going on Beast Mode with PoE Update 3.2.0
Constant innovation is one of the benchmarks of Path of Exile. This is made abundantly clear with their introduction of quarterly challenge leagues. With new possibilities to explore every three months, PoE routinely gains an edge of freshness while retaining much of its core identity at the same time. This gives it the familiarity to attract new as well as the inventiveness to keep old players to keep coming back for more.
The fact that the good guys from Grinding Gear Games do this with much consistency is a wonder, really. To kick 2018 with a bang, the PoE Update 3.2.0—slated for rollout this March 2nd — is set to delve into the fantastic world of beast hunting. While the concept itself isn’t necessarily groundbreaking (think Pokémon fandom in a relentless quest to “Catch ‘em all”), the fact remains that the Bestiary League will give PoE a unique depth infusion to an already multi-dimensional playing field. So much so that you’re sure to wonder if developers from Grinding Gear Games can keep up with the lofty standard they’ve set for PoE and keep unveiling new themes every quarter. My money’s on the good guys at GGG as they’ve pretty much built a solid foundation on innovation and consistency.
Here’s a look at the changes you can expect from the Bestiary League (from what we know thus far).
Savage Menagerie: Introduction of Fantastic Beasts
Traversing along Wraeclast, chances are you’ve already had a chance to observe—and even admire—the fantastic beasts that roam freely along its rough landscapes. You may even have wondered what it was like to rein them in for your own ends. Well, wonder no more! The new game mechanics that the update offers is such that you can now collect those same beasts for rewards that we’ll tackle a bit later.
Beastly Infusion: Catching ‘em All
It’s time to address the Pokémon issue. While some folks are sure to notice the parallels, putting it that way is a somewhat simplistic way of looking at it, IMHO. Sure, this particular update does indeed draw inspiration from the Pokémon fandom. In truth, however, there are so many more layers to the 3.2.0 update than meets the eye. While everyone in the gaming world seems to be hopping on the time-proven Pokémon format of “catching and collecting them all”, PoE is unique in its approach as it is the only one that does so with the intention of pitting captured beasts in trials by combat for (wait for it) blood sacrifices!
Craft of Creation: Creating the Beasts
Let’s get one thing straight: In the Bestiary League, the currency is blood. If you want to have the most powerful items and weapons at your disposal, then you’ll need to spill blood—the blood of the beasts you successfully ensnare, that is. The rarer the type of beast you capture, the more powerful the items you can craft when you sacrifice them. The introduction of the Bestiary has the potential to give crafting a major facelift. Only time will tell if it is just a temporary phase or a game-changing innovation that will change gaming. To that, I say let the good times roll and let the deluge of beastly blood begin!
Continued Innovation: Bestiary & Beyond
Whether or not remnants of the soon-to-be-concluded Abyss League will stay on in Path of Exile is something that remains to be seen. I like to think of PoE’s quarterly cycle of updates as a steady progression that piques your curiosity little by little. Instead of overloading players with a chunk of new gameplay mechanics, innovations get introduced at a more measured pace for folks to properly digest. With each update, GGG gives players more reasons to keep coming back. Bear in mind that the 3.2.0 update is but a fraction of the proverbial pie that makes up Path of Exile. Each subsequent update is but a part that, when pieced together, adds up to a whole lot more than the sum of its parts. For that, I applaud the folks at Grinding Gear Games. Way to go!
Beast Mode: The Bottom Line
The Bestiary League allows exiles to hunt, capture, and ultimately sacrifice a wide variety of beasts in order for you to craft potent items. If it is any indication of PoE’s overall direction, you sure can bet your bottom Dollar that there are plenty more cool permutations to come in the game’s future. But, of course, let’s not get ahead of ourselves either. Let’s just make the most of the time we have in the Abyss League and hop on the oncoming changes that the 3.2.0 update has to offer. The Bestiary League is almost at hand and it’s up to us to take up the challenge. “In this land, knowledge is strength and ignorance is death. A hunter must know his prey. Only the worthy will survive.”
Now allow me to pose one final question: Do you have what it takes to be a survivor?