Path of Exile | Thoughts On Upcoming Conquerors Of The Atlas And Metamorph League

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Path of Exile is giving their players a double whammy as far as patches go come this Friday the thirteenth. They are getting an overhaul with some massive changes to end game that involves maps, bosses and a lot of other things. Meanwhile, at the same time, the Metamorph League also starts that focus around collecting samples and making a monster to fight.

If that was not crazy enough these mad lads at Grinding Gear Games are making Path of Exile 2 which I have covered previously. The great news here as I’ve mentored before as they are working on that version of the game a lot of things can be applied to the older game. Giving us a bit of a boost and taste for what is to come.

They have also really upped the hype train and dispersion of information. From tweets showcasing new items, a bunch of form posts and even ExileCon a few weeks back. They have also in true fashion are waiting down the countdown timer till the next league with information still rolling out until it strikes zero.

As such it does feel a bit all over the place. Kind of hard to keep track of everything. Along with just being overwhelming with information and changes coming. There is some big stuff coming to us players in Path of Exile. Which I will say we are quite blessed to get since other games in the arpg genre don’t. As a result, I’ll be talking about anything I find somewhat interesting and give my thoughts on it. I’ll be linking out to articles as well so you can go read them for yourself from time to time if I feel it is appropriate. Quite a few things will be coming from my own extensive knowledge of the game, expectations, thoughts, and some theory crafting.

Conquerors Of The Atlas

As with all content updates to the game Path of Exile Conquerors Of The Atlas is free and makes a lot of changes to the base game. This will have an impact both on normal league players and those who will be joining in on Metamorph League. This will include things harder bosses, Atlas changes, nerfs, and a new gem type.

Harder Bosses And Content

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During Exilecon and in some posts it has been hinted that a lot of change is coming to boss fights. From the very first act right into end game content. The developer feels the game has gone to softcore and if they had it their way they would only have the hardcore mode.

I am willing to agree that some of the early acts of the game could use a bit of a boost in difficulty. I also think the first few acts are just not on par with the second half of the acts as far as boss mechanics go. The first part of the game is quite old and could use a bit of a refresh.

This could be a huge area for them to improve, modify, and even replace. In the past, you really only needed to know the damage type for each boss as you where leveling up to defeat them. You could even in some instances face tank a boss once you had the resistance even if the class you played was quite squishy.

My biggest fear here is they tend to need a few balancing passes on something to dial it in. We have had countless leagues in the past where they needed to patch drop rates, difficulty, and an array of other things. Since they will also be having to deal with a full-on fresh league as well this will further compound the chances we get a new patch every time we want to play the game.

There is also the concept that once a player reaches the map stage of the game they become hooked and will keep coming back for more (that sure is me!). If they make the bosses in all the acts as you level up to hard that will scare away new players who will never know the joy of map running.

Atlas (Maps)

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It is in the name of the patch after all and the main part they are looking to overhaul. They are more or less turning maps upside down on its head and ushering in a new era of the map running. I’m both excited and terrified as mapping is my favorite thing to do in Path of Exile.

The main concept and chances are they are changing the flow of progression and in general how the player would approach the mapping system. You will still be able to get maps as drops as you normally would. A bunch of other things, however, have changed.

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How the old Atlas looked with a few lower tiers completed

You use to start at the four corners of the outer map at tier 1 and work inward towards Tier 16. As you reached a certain milestone you would be permitted to upgrade one lower-tier map up to a higher tier with a stone. With each one being for a higher and higher tier. Both allowing you to make a couple of lower-tier maps more difficult and reward. While also limiting how many maps you could upgrade in this fashion.

In the new system, we start from the center of the map and work our ways out. Each map will also be broken into different regions. Those entire regions than can be upgraded to have higher tier maps if the player chooses by a new socket system. The entire region will also be affected by other things at the same time. Quite an interesting change from what we are used to.

I like the fact that entire regions of the map will be affected by things. If I think back to how I play and run maps. I’m normally running certain regions of the map and don’t usually move around unless I have a reason for doing so. These changes seem to be reflecting certain player behaviors.

In the past, you could use things like sextants that would roll certain modifiers and affect maps nodes within a certain diameter of that their circle. They had a bunch of rules to what tier range they could affect, have a limited number of runs and had other limiting factors. Players would also try and stack as many of these modifying items on nearby maps that were within the range of the one they wanted. Instead of all that nonsense you just have an entire region being affected. This sounds fantastic!

Overall I think these map change will take veteran players some time to learn and deal with all the changes. After all, many of them run thousands if not tens of thousands of maps in their lifetime and there are quite a few major changes being made.

Balance Oh Mighty Nerf Stick

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As is standard with any major update we get a “balance report.” Which the community at large views as things that are getting ground stomped with the nerf bat. Players huddle around in prayer groups hoping their favorite builds, skills, and playstyles survive yet another round.

For a long time now bow skills have been getting nerfed. With each coming league, some slight changes would be made. Meanwhile, just about everything else was getting buffed over the long term. In part of the updates, bows are getting a focus between the two updates as they have suffered long term erosion of power. So it’s really no shock they are looking to boost the damage and even speed of some of the skill.

I personally almost never play a ranger or use any skill that uses a bow. I have in the past found that class and weapon type to not be an enjoyable experience. Both in trying to level them up as a league starter character or even trying to make a budget build around bows.

In the past bow players where quite known for having massive item quality, quantity, and rarity gear modifiers. They would dawn a Windripper build named after the bow that is used which I have done in the past myself. Down from the heavens, the loot would rain for days. It will be interesting to see if those glory days return or if that will be a thing of the past. As that was really the only reason I ever played anything with a bow.

It also comes to no shock the buffs they gave minions when they rolled out Blight league is getting backhanded. They are nerfing health, life, and even the chances to roll stats on certain items which seems a bit silly.

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Even worse, in my opinion, they are raising the gem level to summon three Specters from 21 to 25. For those not in the know with how skill gem levels work. Standard skill gems have a max level of 20 before you need to gamble and corrupt the gem making it not possible to modify it any further. It’s a mighty RNG roll where you could get level 21 or just stay level 20 with some stats slightly modified. Level 25, on the other hand, will require socketing the skill gem in gear that boosts gem level which further drives demand for nitch gear and stat rolls. Along with even getting certain passives being a requirement to get. I hate to see a build have it’s damaged lowered by so much and restricted in such away.

While there are a bunch of other changes these two where the ones I care about and have used in the past. This is also usually how their cycle goes. They have a patch that focuses on improving under-performing or played skills or classes for a league. The following league they nerf and focus on boosting something else.

Gem+ System

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We will also be getting to see the Support Gem+ system. These special gems are hinted to take a lot longer to level up and they will max out at level 5. They will, however, be more powerful than their normal versions. I personally think the way they are going about this will cause a bit of confusion and mayhem as players now have to look out for these special variants. I suspect they will be quite rare and worth quite a fair amount for the 1% of players to have.

I just wonder what kind of balancing the game will go through with these new powerful gems in play. I suspect they will be overpowering for at least this up and coming league. After that, they will either get some kind of nerf or end game will have to be made harder since you now have these things.

I’m not that thrilled about them if you can’t tell. Just another chase item in my eyes for you feel like you are falling further behind unless you can afford it. Here is hoping they have a decent drop rate but considering what they drop from end game content I doubt.

Metamorph League

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The second half of the updated Path of Exile is getting is a new league opening up for a couple of months. While there tend to be a few things that are the cause of a new league starting like things getting nerfed or buffed that get sneaked in. We can blame all that on Conquerors Of The Atlas update and instead focus on just the league mechanics itself.

Metamorph League itself sounds quite simple but in practice, it’s going be a giant can of worms and good fun if they nailed the difficulty. As you kill things you are able to collect samples. You combine those samples and make a new monster you get to fight for loot. Based on what you combined together will have an impact on the difficulty, ability, and everything else of the creation you have made. With it “morphing” into the different creatures you combined.

Basically, you get to play a mad scientist. I have a feeling all our creations will escape the lab and more than centrally murder the daylights out of the players who create their own monsters.

My greatest fear with this massive risk they are taking by having such a high range of values that will have an effect. Is that it could be stranger than expected and players won’t make things in an expected manner further compounding the issues. This is, after all, an insane thing to try and balance out.

I’m not even quite sure how within reason they could go about balancing Metamorph League if it is proven to be too hard or easy. While I love Path of Exile I’m also willing to admit their track record for getting leagues right on day one is not a thing. Requiring the developer to usually issue a lot of day one and subsequent patching for even weeks to come after the launch of a new league.

I foresee a lot of patches and attempts to be made regarding rewards, difficulty, and even what the player is allowed to combine or what attributes different monsters when they morph can take on. The amount of permutations alone if every monster in the game could be collected and combined with four others is mind-blowing. There has to be some kind of limiting factor somewhere we don’t know yet.

This could also go the way of the combine at your own risk where they won’t touch anything but the rewards. The only thing that is certain is players will try and min and max this system. They will want something they can kill for the best rewards as possible. We are pretty good by now at finding something that does not have the desired effects the developers intended. Which once discovered would force patching to resolve.

With all of that out of the way. I do love to see risk-taking the arpg genre sure needs it these days. This could be one of the better leagues we have seen in quite some time. It could also just be a major flop where players, for the most part, ignore league mechanics a week in and just enjoy Conquerors Of The Atlas changes while they are playing in the challengers Metamorph League.

Final Thoughts

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With Conquerors Of The Atlas changing a lot of core fundamentals when it comes to mapping, fighting bosses, and even skills. Alongside Metamorph League starting at the same time with all those changes. There is one thing for certain a whole a lot of new experiences and challenges are going to be made. Why it’s almost like we are going to be playing a different game. That is what I love the most about Path of Exile.

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Unless otherwise stated screenshots were taken and content was written by @Enjar about the game Path of Exile