Path of Exile artwork showing the Marauder ascendacies

Path of Exile's Bestiary update arrived a little while ago with a whole assortment of new items and balance changes, yet despite all of the additions the very top of the ladder is still dominated by a rather familiar bunch of builds. In order to correct this little problem, as well as make the gameplay a lot more interesting, Grinding Gear Games have now announced that they are working on major changes and reworks for some of weakest and most boring skills.

"Normally we'd wait significantly longer before discussing what's coming up in the next large content update, but there's one specific area that we want to start discussing early: revamps of existing skills," reads the announcement over at the official forums. "Our plan is that each content update going forwards includes a batch of revamped skills, starting with June's 3.3.0 release."

"The game has many old skills that have since been outclassed by other newer skills that perform their role better. Some skills excel in a specific situation (like destroying stationary bosses or dealing significantly more damage with a specific unique item) but fall behind when taking on the majority of end-game encounters. As an example, Ice Spear performs somewhat adequately in crit-based builds against stationary mid-range bosses, but the large number of support gems required to let it hit multiple targets make it underwhelming against groups of enemies, which contributes to it being one of the least popular skills in recent leagues. We've given skills like Ice Spear numeric increases in the past but they still lack the features that their alternatives offer."

The way Grinding Gear Games are planning to breathe new life into the old and underused skills is through additional mechanics or significant reworks of what the spells actually do. Additionally, most of the reworked skills will be getting improved visuals in order to put them on par with the more modern skills, which should help make them feel significantly more enjoyable to use.

Marauder using fire spells in Path of Exile

"Our future skill development will involve working on skill themes that can give players a flavorful character style by picking skills that fit the theme," continues the rather lengthy developer update. "Often these themes will stick closer to the feel of a character or their Ascendancy classes. A good example of this is the new set of Corpse-based skills."

"We'll also be reworking and improving older skills that already share mechanics and weapon types to have a more consistent theme. For example, the goal is to eventually offer the Marauder a full complement of Volcanic attack skills that deal fire damage, creating a fiery Chieftain-themed set of skills to try out as a player progresses through the story. Infernal Blow is one skill that we are planning to improve to make it a much more well-rounded skill choice for a Volcanic attack type character."

This is exactly the type of change I've been advocating for, so I am most definitely glad to see Grinding Gear Games look towards improving diversity by giving players a variety of viable gems to build character around. After all, a game with as ridiculously large of a skill tree as Path of Exile needs to have an equally ridiculous spread of unique skills to play around with!

You can learn more about the upcoming changes by heading to the official website.

[Update]: Grinding Gear Games have now released a follow-up article discussing some of the changes to Trap spells. You can find it over here. Enjoy!