An action-RPG in the vein of the Diablo series, Path of Exile is a mana and mayhem affair that’s been running since 2013. Later this month, Path of Exile‘s newest expansion, subtitled Harvest, will release, bringing new content to the long-running game.
Developer Grinding Gear Games gave CBR the opportunity to attend a 30-minute preview of the upcoming Harvest expansion hosted by Managing Director Chris Wilson. Here are five things we learned about Path of Exile: Harvest during that preview.
Similar to seasons, Path of Exile has “leagues,” which are different worlds in which to play the game. These have been regularly updated and present new opportunities for players to both get used to the game. However, there are also temporary versions of these called challenge leagues, which allow a player to start from scratch and important their character over to a permanent league later. Harvest is one of those challenge leagues and will contain new content while revamping different areas of the game.
Development of the league took place during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While Wilson noted that this posed difficulties for the team, the lockdown in the Grinding Gear Games’ home country of New Zealand is now over, and the staff was able to complete production on Harvest.
Path of Exile: Harvest will introduce a new NPC called Oshabi. Cast out by the Azmeri due to her interest in nature and the power of the land, Oshabi is the keeper of the Sacred Grove, which is a garden that was created by an ancient race. In Harvest, Oshabi tasks the game’s titular Exiles with aiding her in this quest by growing the grove with the use of seeds.
As such, players will venture out into the world, collect seed caches and return to a magic grove area and plant them in strategic patterns around life force collectors with the goal of crafting more items to aid in quests. Each area will feature a different Seed Cache. Upon opening one of these Caches, Oshabi will appear to create a portal for the player through which to return to the Sacred Grove.
After collecting seeds, players will be able to plant them in the Sacred Grove, introducing something of a farming element to the game. While it may be tempting to spread your seeds into the ground haphazardly, constructing a farm which collects the most life energy from the seeds in as efficient a manner as possible is key to gaining life energy (and subsequently, crafting items) more quickly. Best stored in Condensers, energy is collected through Collectors and each seed — of which there are several tiers — will have different potential requirements. Irrigation will play a key role in succeeding in the Sacred Grove. Opening a Seed Cache will cause time to pass in the Sacred Grove, thus making plants grow.
The seeds will also spawn monsters once they’ve ripened that the player can grind for experience, with the rarer seeds bringing out the bigger beasts, who drop better loot. There are also special boss encounters that can be gained from the seeds dropped by Tier 3 monsters. The preview also alluded to a difficult, rare boss that players might be able to access. Wilson described the gameplay loop as being closer to Sim City rather than Harvest Moon. He also noted that those who didn’t want to micromanage their farms wouldn’t have to, as the process was relatively simple. However, there are better rewards for working harder on a farm.
Harvest includes 12 new unique items, some of which come as rewards from the league. While discussing several of them with Wilson, he noted that many were added to help define a player’s personal style and are frequently balanced using unconventional methods. Citing Doryana’s Prototype (an item which makes enemies share lightning resistances with the player) as an example, Wilson noted how lowering a player’s own defenses may yield into some positive benefits. There’s also Storm Secret, a unique ring which is said to pair well with both Herald of Thunder and the Herald Bomber build so as to unleash a ton of lightning bolts on enemies.
Crating will also play a key role and is more advanced than in previous leagues. This time around, the team is putting an emphasis on players trying to get exactly what they’re looking for rather than getting a bunch of random items.
While discussing other balance changes to Path of Exile, Wilson noted the team has put in a tremendous effort into re-balancing two-handed melee weapons. While cliché in their roles as hard hitting but slow swinging short range weapons, the folks at Grinding Gear Games have reclassified several skills as Slams, which have also had balancing reworks to make them both competitive and compelling for the players. The Tectonic Slam, for example, has received both new visuals and been reworked in several key ways to make it more effective. The number of Endurance Charges that Tectonic Slam costs has now been reduced, with a charge only being removed once every three uses. The game will feature a support gem called Fist of War, which causes a spirit to work alongside the player in performing a slam for more damage and area of effect.
There will also be four new Warcry Skills, which have been revamped to be more functional and powerful. They also will no longer scale based on how many enemies are nearby and will instead exist relative to nearby enemy power. This means the Warcry Skills will be more effective against stronger monsters. Among these new Warcry Skills is Seismic Cry, which pushes enemies back and taunts them. The ability buffs players in a way that makes it easier to stun enemies.
Path of Exile: Harvest releases June 19 on PC and June 22 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Grinding Gear Games gave CBR a look at Path of Exile: Harvest. Here's what we learned about the upcoming expansion pack.