Path of Exile 3.5.0 prepares for Betrayal and PlayStation 4

The next Path of Exile expansion sees Grinding Gear Games usher out one of the game's least popular elements and introduce a new normal.

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Path of Exile is prepared to begin a new era, in more ways than one. Grinding Gear Games is gearing up for something of a new beginning with its next expansion, Path of Exile: Betrayal. Featuring a slew of new content, Betrayal overhauls some of the existing PoE lore, while also bringing together elements of the game's most recent Leagues to craft a new normal, while also continuing with the dungeon-crawling, MMORPG action that's made the game such a hit over the years.

Path of Exile: Betrayal takes a look back at the old Forsaken Masters mini-expansion, albeit not fondly. Grinding Gear Games fully acknowledges that Forsaken Masters was one of the game's biggest misses, so Betrayal is taking the PoE narrative and using it to phase the Master NPCs out of the game.

The story begins with a new NPC character named Jun Ortoi, representing the Order of the Djinn. She's investigating the disappearance of the old Masters, tying their demise to the rise of a group called the Immortal Syndicate. The Syndicate are a powerful and dangerous group, who have found a way to raise the dead without making them undead. They are doing so with an item stolen from the Order of the Djinn, requiring Jun and the player's intervention.

The motif for interacting with the Syndicate is something similar to a criminal investigation. To further evoke this imagery, the player operates with a police-style billboard lineup, showing the ever-moving chain of command. Grinding Gear CEO Chris Wilson compared the whole thing to investigating a cartel. To help move the investigation along, players must find the Syndicate, who randomly have encounters placed across the world.

Players will find four different encounter types with the Syndicate, each representing a different arm of the organization. These include:

  • Fortification Encounters: Players will run across a fortified area protecting Syndicate supplies. These are heavily protected by attack turrets, undead spawners, barricades, and more. The idea is to take out all of the camp's defenses.
  • Transportation Encounters: The Syndicate will have an active convoy escorting supplies. The idea here is to dispatch all Syndicate members and recover the valuable cargo.
  • Research Encounters: These are frequently underground research facilities, where Syndicate scientists are scrambling to destroy any evidence before the player's arrival. Move fast to stop them and make sure to leave the Master standing.
  • Intervention Encounters: As the name implies, the Syndicate will take notice of your actions and look to send assassins your way to try and stop your investigation. The Intervention Encounter can literally come at any time. It's even possible for one of these to kick in during boss battles.

Each of these Syndicate encounters has a Master, which is where things get interesting. If the Master is left standing, players are given a random binary choice as to what to do with them, with consequences affecting the course of the investigation. It's possible to Interrogate the Master in order to learn more about the Syndicate and any safehouse locations. This is the easiest way to find more Syndicate encounters, where more rewards await. The Bargain option allows players to negotiate with the Master, which offers a variety of random effects that can change up the Syndicate pecking order significantly or change up what items the player can pick up. There's also the Execute option, which isn't as final as it sounds. Because of the Syndicate's ability to resurrect the dead, the executed Master will likely return down the line, better than ever. The Syndicate will likely reward the executed Master for not ratting them out by promoting them, which means taking them out will lead to better item rewards. Lastly, there's the Betray option, which only works if there are multiple Syndicate members left standing. In exchange for a working relationship, a Syndicate member can offer to betray their leader and take over their spot, remembering to help you down the road. All of these options carry different benefits, strategies, and rewards, encouraging players to think on their feet and plan for the future.

The five new Masters coming to Path of Exile: Betrayal

Going back to the fallen Forsaken Masters, where they have fallen, new Masters are ready to take their place. The new Masters are familiar faces from past Challenge Leagues, who will retain themes from their Leagues and implement them into the grander PoE experience. In addition to Jun Ortoi, the new Masters are:

  • Einhar: Returning from Path of Exile: Bestiary, Einhar brings back the motif of capturing beasts. This time, he'll accompany players on a hunt for a specific beast, which can be captured and used to craft items. Einhar will also make himself a little more useful by throwing the nets at the beasts himself.
  • Alva: Just like in Path of Exile: Incursion, Alva will take players back in time before the construction of a Vaal treasure temple. The players will get to influence the temple's construction, allowing them to raid it in the present. The difference here is that her Master status will allow her to take players across multiple Incursions.
  • Niko: Niko is back from Path of Exile: Delve and will help balance the Delve mechanic. While he won't be around quite as often, the door is now open for longer delves in the Azurite Mine.
  • Zana: Zana isn't actually a new Master. She's the only one of the original Masters who gets to keep her job. Her role is mainly centered around the endgame scenario, which has been bolstered with four all-new randomized maps based on some of the community's favorite layouts from Path of Exile: Delve.

Crafting has never been better in Path of Exile: Betrayal. This expansion is introducing Veiled Mods, which can be found in certain rare and unique drops within the Betrayal League. Jun will Unveil these items, opening up three modifiers that contain special unique effects. Players can later craft this unique modifier on other items, with the modifier leveling up the more it's Unveiled.

On the topic of crafting, Master Crafting has been streamlined. Simply find new Master Crafting recipes by completing certain Master missions. With each new Master representing a different aspect of the game, variety shouldn't be much of a problem anymore.

Long-time Path of Exile players will also be pleased to hear that the Hideout system has been revised. Whereas Hideouts would reset at the start of every League, this will no longer be the case. Hideouts are now saved indefinitely, allowing players to keep and maintain their customizations for as long as they want. The more artistic Hideout creators can even share their layout templates with other players.

As for items, there are 15 new unique items set to hit Path of Exile: Betrayal, some utilizing the new Veiled Mod mechanic. Players can mix these in with Betrayal's new and revamped skills for a handful of player archetypes. Examples of new skills include the Winter Orb, a powerful item that automatically casts magic and fires at enemies, exploding on contact. There's also the Storm Brand, a new spell that summons arcane runes to bind nearby enemies as they get close. The new items and skills will be fully revealed as the expansion's date gets closer.

Path of Exile players won't have to wait too long before Betrayal kicks off. Path of Exile: Betrayal is set to hit PC on December 1. As for console owners, the Xbox One version is set to receive this update soon, but it will no longer be the only console to house Path of Exile.

Yes, Betrayal will also mark Path of Exile's debut on PlayStation 4. Look for Path of Exile: Betrayal to hit both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in mid-December.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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