STORE COMMUNITY ABOUT SUPPORT
Login Store Community Support
View desktop website
© Valve Corporation. All rights reserved. All trademarks are property of their respective owners in the US and other countries.
We're big fans of Path of Exile. It's a great action RPG and one of the most generous free-to-play games in the world. However I've always found that the combat lacked impact compared to its genre stablemates, especially in close quarters. That could be about to change with update 3.7, which reworks core animation systems, adds more detailed hit detection, and boosts melee stun to make close combat snappier.
The changes are covered in detail in a cheerful chat on the Baeclast with studio cofounder and technical director Jonathan Rogers. With the god-like powers of the command console Rogers shows how in future movement and attack animations can cancel into one another.
It sounds like a small detail, but it will have a big effect on the way the game feels for melee characters. Currently when you activate a strike the entire animation plays out from start to finish and you can't react to get away from enemy attacks. It sounds like the devs have had to reach deep into PoE's code to adjust these fundamentals.
"For quite a long time I would say, really since the beginning, melee has just not really been as good as we'd hoped, and I think that a lot of the reason for that is because we needed to go down to a pretty low level of the game with animation systems, action system, targeting system, all these different things" says Rogers.
Enemy animations and attacks are also being reworked to have longer wind-up motions. Ideally this gives players cues to use defensive skills. New movement skills are going to be added and melee skills rebalanced to make fighty builds more viable and fun.
The new animation system will also register hits against multiple adjacent enemies if your weapon passes through them, and targeting ought to be easier. The whole rebalance seems designed to help players pick up some arcane swords and get away from powerful AoE ranged builds. It's a good move. Path of Exile has vast character-building systems and there's loads to do in each season, it's a good time to focus on the way the game actually feels to play.
The changes are due to arrive as part of the June 7 Legion update, which also lets you teleport into frozen battlefields. Hit the enemies you want to unfreeze, and then squash them for loot. Judging by the official trailer, that's going to be a good time.
In Path of Exile's June expansion, Legion, players will trot around the world to find Timeless Monoliths that reveal battles stuck in time between the titular Legions and their ancient leaders. You'll be able to free them from their eternal brawl by beating them up and getting lots of lovely loot.
These Monoliths are dotted around Wraeclast, and once they're activated, you have a short window of time to untether monsters and chests, which you'll then be able to fight and loot once the timer ends. The more powerful the enemy, the better the reward. Some of them will have symbols revealing what they'll drop, so you can determine the best ones to free and fight.
Legion enemies also drop items that can be turned into an Emblem belonging to the Legion. Plonk down two or more of these Embers in a map device and you'll be able to enter the Domain of the Timeless Conflict, where all five Legions fight in the infinite war.
Unique Legion jewels, 12 new items, 14 Divination Cards and an early-game monster rebalance are all coming, along with new build archetypes. With the Blood and Sand Gladiator archetype you can use new reservation effects to switch between two different stances that modify existing skills, like transforming Bladestorm into the bleeding Bloodstorm. The Rage Berserker can use new attack skills to generate Rage, a stacking buff that offers attack bonuses and no downside. There are new defensive and mobility skills, too, so it might be time to play with some new builds.
Legion also includes the big melee combat overhaul. Attack animations can now be cancelled after they do damage, movement skills are instant, most classes are getting new low-level movement skills and all melee attacks can hit multiple enemies. Grinding Gear promises an "entirely new combat experience".
Path of Exile is one of the best ARPGs around, but the combat isn't quite as smooth as some of its contemporaries. Once you've started working your way through the impossibly complex passive skill tree and finding some powerful gems, you can become a deadly, apocalyptic whirlwind, but starting out it can feel a bit sluggish. Being able to hit more enemies more often is a welcome change, then, and there's an animation system overhaul to look forward to, as well.
Path of Exile: Legion is due out on June 7.