Grinding Gear Games has been working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic on the next big chapter of the Path of Exile saga. Brand new gameplay for Path of Exile 2 was revealed during this year's ExileCon from New Zealand. After showing off the game's progress, the Grinding Gear team revealed that there's a closed beta date that's all set to go.
"We're in our last year of development, finishing acts, adding skills, and balancing everything," Grinding Gear co-founder Jonathan Rogers said during the ExileCon 2023 stream. "The Closed Beta will start on June 7, 2024. Path of Exile 2 has been a long time coming, and we're incredibly excited to near the finish line, but we are not quite there yet. We are determined not to rush this, and make sure we get it right."
The closed beta announcement was preceded by new Path of Exile 2 gameplay footage. Viewers were treated to a first look at Act 3, which takes place in an all-new biome called the Jungle Depths. The Jungle Depths are placed in the ruins of the ancient Vaal civilization and challenge players to navigate the overgrowth and fallen architecture.
The new Monk class was on display, which allowed the developers to show off new character skills and traits. Each character class will share two attribute combintions. The Monk on display specializes in Dexterity and Intelligence. This will give players an idea of what to expect when approaching the Passive Skill Tree and building Ascendancy classes. On top of that, the Monk has some debilitating melee abilities, like the Falling Thunder, Whirling Assault, Ice Strike, Flicker Strike, and Glacial Cascade. Killing Palm is an especially powerful skill that allows the Monk to cull targets once they're at lower health.
One of the most interesting items to note with Friday's playthrough is Path of Exile 2's combat design. The developers made sure to give an extra focus on giving greater mobility to melee classes, as demonstrated by the Monk. To further add to the mobility theme, all classes in Path of Exile 2 will receive a dodge roll ability with no cooldown. It's also constructed in such a way that players won't get stuck on objects. However, in exchange for having this freedom of movement, players will not be invulnerable when dodge rolling, so users should be cautious before simply spamming the move.
Crowd control moves are also being redesigned with internal meters that allow players to charge up their skills. Successful freezes or stuns will mean players will have to do a little more to get subsequent freeze/stun effects, but the increased difficulty will bleed away over time. This is being done in hopes of a more fluid party play system and less bad interactions with other crowd control abilities. The new system will also ensure that these crowd control abilities work better in boss fights.
There's much more that's coming in Path of Exile 2, much of which was covered during Friday's presentation. This includes changes to mods, a new Spirit system, and a revamped weapon swap system. However, one thing to note is that with the game's increased complexity, one of Grinding Gear's initial goals had to go out the window.
"When we announced PoE2 at ExileCon 2019, we told you guys that we were releasing PoE2 as an expansion to PoE1 and that both campaigns would be playable in the same game client with a shared endgame," Rogers said. "But PoE2's scope has continued to grow and grow. It's far more than just an expansion with a new campaign, it's entirely new monsters, skills, mechanics, classes, everything you would expect from the next generation of Action RPGs. Not to even mention revamps of most of the PoE1 league content. This thing is freaking huge. There was a point where we realized that our plan to replace PoE1 with PoE2 would essentially be destroying a game that people love for no reason. So we made a decision. Path of Exile 1 and 2 will be separate, with their own mechanics, balance, endgames, and leagues."
Though both games will now operate on separate clients, Grinding Gear is maintaining its vision that microtransactions will work across both Path of Exile games. The only exceptions will be for items related to mechanics that are exclusive to one game and not the other.
Because Path of Exile 2 is still such a long way away, Grinding Gear remains committed to supporting the original game. The next update for that title is called Path of Exile: Trial of the Ancestors, which will feature new Passive Skill Tattoos, new Atlas Keystones, and itemized Sanctums. Look for Path of Exile: Trial of the Ancestors to release on August 18. As for Path of Exile 2, Grinding Gear will watch for player feedback once the closed beta hits on June 7, 2024. A final release date will be determined from there.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Path of Exile 2 unveils new gameplay revamps with closed beta date
Game looks amazing.