Grinding Gear Games has one last Path of Exile update planned for 2022. The long-running dungeon crawler's newest expansion is titled The Forbidden Sanctum. It looks to introduce some new roguelike elements, as well as an improved endgame and a fresh challenge that's bound to put even the most seasoned Path of Exile players.
What exactly is the Forbidden Sanctum? This is an old Templar enclave, discovered beneath the Fellshire Ruins. It's been abandoned for many years, but it has resurfaced alongside a harrowing evil. Players will explore the abandoned stronghold over the course of the new Sanctum Challenge League. Players accustomed to the standard Path of Exile gameplay loop should brace themselves, because the Sanctum is practically a new game unto itself.
The Sanctum is filled with debilitating dangers, which players should approach carefully. They can preview the next few rooms in their path, spotting the monsters that lie in their path, and can attempt to plan accordingly. Of course, like any roguelike, death is an inevitability. Players should expect to make multiple attempts at the Sanctum before escape is even within sight.
While death will end a Sanctum run, players should also watch for a new meter at the bottom of the screen. The Resolve meter is what wills characters to brave the Sanctum's depths. However, it will gradually lower over the course of a run. Once the Resolve meter depletes completely, the run is over. While it's possible to protect your character's physical life meter from monster attacks, the Resolve meter will take a greater hit. Therefore, even if a character is built like a tank, it would behoove players to avoid taking hits whenever possible.
It would also benefit players to plot out their path through the Sanctum. Some rooms are afflicted, which will affect a player's Resolve meter and recovery. Some of those afflictions are more massive than others. On the other side of the coin, it's possible to find rooms that contain special boons. Some boons may help players recover Resolve. Sometimes that recovery will be free, but other times it will come at a cost. Players can also find the new Aureus currency throughout their run, which can be exchanged for league-exclusive rewards. Better rewards await those who can survive each floor of the Sanctum, which may tempt players to take on an Accursed Pact. Pacts will come in different varities and offer special benefits in exchange for some heavy consequences.
While Sanctum runs will often start from scratch, it's possible to pick up Templar Relics over time. Once these earned, they'll permanently mark a player's spot in the Sanctum, allowing them to avoid starting from the beginning.
While the Sanctum Challenge League is the major attraction of Path of Exile's next update, players can expect to see some major revamps throughout the game. The endgame, in particular, is getting a big overhaul. In an effort to keep players from banking all their Atlas Tree bonuses for boss fights, those bonuses are now going to be infused into their base properties. This will ideally open the door for players to use bonuses on standard map encounters.
Look for the Atlas Tree to also receive some new narrative content. Atlas Memories will flesh out the backstory of some of Path of Exile's more popular additions from the past. For the game's next update, look for new Atlas Memories that will further expand on the stories from the Domination and Bestiary leagues.
While there's a lot that's coming in Path of Exile: Forbidden Sanctum, it should be noted that this game is almost ten years old. Players that have been around since day one have likely seen it all. With that in mind, Grinding Gear has a new challenge for those veterans. A new Ruthless Mode will be added, which makes the game harder than ever before. However, rather than buff the monsters to a ridiculous degree, the development team is accomplishing this by increasing item scarcity, limiting crafting, and making it so that support gems can only be acquired through drops, just to name a few methods. The Path of Exile website will have more details on what makes Ruthless mode the toughest PoE challenge yet.
The Forbidden Sanctum is coming to Path of Exile in just eight short days. Look for the update to come to PC on Friday, December 8, while PlayStation and Xbox receive it on Wednesday, December 14. Every expansion brings the fanbase closer to 2023's ExileCon, where everyone will learn more about Path of Exile 2. In the meantime, we'll continue watching for new updates. Keep it on Shacknews for any further news on Path of Exile.