I mentioned before that I like Diablo 3, and I really do. But when it comes to ARPGs Path of Exile is my go-to game. And now with a brand new expansion on the horizon, one that promises to redefine classes, I'm afraid my D3 Wizard is going to get benched for a while.

The Path of Exile expansion, called Ascendancy, is coming early 2016 and brings with it brand new class specializations, maps filled with deadly traps, bosses, an enchanting system and a whole bunch of skills and items.

Read on if you want a somewhat "brief" overview of the new features and I don't know about you but this has me excited.

Let's start with possibly the biggest change PoE will receive, the new Ascendancy classes.

You will gain two Ascendancy Points for your first completion of the Labyrinth, the new zone, per difficulty level. In other words once you finish Merciless difficulty you will have 6 points to toy around with.

The points are spent in order to level up your Ascended class, a specialization you will be able to chose after you complete the Labyrinth. Each base class has access to three specializations (except the Scion which only gets one) of which there are a total of 19.

What's really interesting about these Ascended specializations is that they are unique to each of the base classes, in other words there is no overlap in talents as you might assume from how things have worked in PoE so far.

From a quick glance over each of the specializations I have a feeling the game is going to get a major increase in difficulty because quite a few of these new classes are absurdly overpowered. And all that power needs to be directed against something, or someone.

Take the Gladiator (a duelist specialization) for example. He has a talent that allows 100% of your block chance to work towards spells. Previously you had to invest a lot of talents and items in order to obtain a decent spell block chance and now its simply given to you. Just off this alone I could, in current PoE, create a character that would be nigh unkillable. A similar power spike applies to most of the specializations.

I'm not exactly sure what Grinding Gear Games is planning but these Ascended classes are set to completely change how the game is played. Whether it ends up being good or not it'll certainly be interesting.


I'm not sure this player chose the best class to be a spellcaster with

Next up on the list of important additions is the Lord's Labyrinth, a new zone accessed through the Goddess statue in the city of Sarn (Act 3/4).

But before you even get a chance to test your mettle in the Labyrinth you will need to pass the 6 so called trials of Ascendancy. These are found all over Wraeclast and feature a challenging dungeon based on one set of new traps.

For example, the Trial of Piercing Truth (or better known as the Trial of Spikes EVERYWHERE) will feature a lot of floor based spikes which you will either need to speed through, time your way across or solve some sort of puzzle that in order to shut them down.

These new Trials and the Labyrinth seem like they are going to be really challenging on higher difficulty levels because a combination of tough monsters and traps doesn't leave you with a lot of room for error.

Spikes, we need more spikes! Spikes on wheels? You betcha!

Perhaps the coolest thing about the Labyrinth is that it is completely randomized, it doesn't follow a few pre-set templates that you can get used to after a while. Supposedly every element of it, from the layout, the traps and the position of enemies and switches can and will be randomized each time you go through it.

But aside from simply being harder the new random Labyrinths will feature daily leaderboards where players can compete to see who is the fastest. Hopefully with some good rewards as an incentive.

And as you would imagine at the end of the Labyrinth there is a big bad boss, but he comes with a twist. You will meet Emperor Izaro, the boss in question, multiple times during your journey through the labyrinth and depending on how well you deal with his assault you may get a bonus or a negative effect in subsequent encounters.

In the given example if you fail to fight off his lieutenants in a given time frame they will return to defend him further on making an already hard fight worse for you.

And once you finally do reach Izaro the fight and area itself will be different each time, much like the Labyrinth. During one fight he might have statues that buff him while some other time he could have protective runes you need to avoid and so on.

This is the first example of a randomized "big" boss in PoE so I look forward to seeing how well his mechanics stand up against the repetition ARPGs are famous for. Will he still be tricky even after you've met him dozens of times?

Even justice herself will try to beat you down

And the last addition revealed today is the new enchanting system.

Every time you complete the Labyrinth you will be able to imbue one piece of equipment with a random enchantment (which overrides your older ones). Higher difficulties will give you access to a wider range of items you can modify. So on normal difficulty you will only be able to enchant your gloves, on Cruel you will also be able to enchant boots and finally on Merciless helmets will be available as well.

The enchants shown so far are definitely something I can see myself running the content multiple times for. The helmet enchants (or well enchant in this case) seem particularly powerful. In the example given the helm has an enchant that gives you a 20% chance not to waste charges when you use Discharge (a spell that removes all of your buff charges but does massive damage).

With just a big of RNG on your side that enchant could help you liquefy an entire room within a second, but even if it works only 1/5 of a time its still a big boost in damage. Makes me wonder what else is going to be available.

A possible new upgrade for Ground Slam?

And I'm afraid that's all the information available right now.

Even though the expansion doesn't seem massive in terms of size its effect on the game will be. The enchantments alone will open up a whole new set of builds previously thought impossible but its the Ascended Classes that are going to be the most game-changing.

I said it before but a lot of the new talents seems incredibly powerful, so powerful that they might trivialize old end-game content, an issue which Grinding Gear Games has deftly avoided so far with their updates.

I doubt they would just add this much power creep by mistake so who knows, they still might have a few tricks up their sleeve they haven't revealed yet. And as your reward for getting through this "brief" overview, here's the trailer for Ascendancy, enjoy!

 

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