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By launching the new quasi-expansion Breach for their action RPG Path of Exile, Grinding Gear Games has brought us the Breach Challenge Leagues and Content Update 2.5.0, both of which offer a plethora of new content for the game. Rather than elaborate on the new DirectX 11 renderer, maps, and items included within, I'll let you sift through the patch notes to take it all in on your own:
The Breach Challenge League:
- Challenge leagues are a great opportunity for a fresh start in a new economy. All of your old characters and items are still present in the Standard and Hardcore leagues, but you're encouraged to join the new leagues, complete challenges and demonstrate your mastery of Path of Exile!
- With 2.5.0, there are Standard and Hardcore variations of the Breach challenge league available. They have the same core mechanics and items.
- Tears in the fabric of reality have formed throughout Wraeclast. Engage them to expose an alternate realm and reveal those who dwell there. Slay monsters inside the Breach to keep it open long enough to reap your bounty.
- Deep in the Breach, you may draw the ire of horrific new bosses: Breachlords. The more damage you inflict on them, the more treasure they'll part with during their escape.
- Among the riches found in the Breach, you may also encounter Splinters. Combine 100 Splinters of the same type together to create a Breachstone. When placed in the Map Device, a Breachstone allows travel into a Breachlord's Domain, the one place where they are truly vulnerable.
- Monsters from the Breach drop new unique items that are specific to their Domain. When slain in their Domain, Breachlords are able to drop Blessings that allow these new uniques to be upgraded.
- There are a total of 35 new unique items specific to the Breach league.
- The new challenge leagues include a set of 40 new challenges. When you complete 12 challenges, you will receive the Breach Footprints Effect. At 24, you will receive the Breach Portal Effect. When you complete your 36th challenge, you will receive the Demonic Wings Back Attachment. These microtransactions are only obtainable in this league.
- From the 19th challenge onwards and for every third challenge after that, you will receive pieces of the Breach Totem Pole decoration to display in your hideout. The Totem Pole permanently showcases how many of the Breach challenges you completed during the league.
- Added 55 new unique items, 35 of which are exclusive to the Breach challenge league.
- Added a new Intelligence/Dexterity Support Gem - Cast while Channelling: While casting supported channelling skills, trigger another linked spell at regular intervals, with a small damage penalty. This support gem is available from the Sharp and Cruel quest reward in Cruel difficulty for the Witch, Templar, Shadow and Scion. It is available for all classes from Petarus and Vanja after completing The Eternal Nightmare in Normal difficulty. There's a new Channelling tag on relevant skill gems.
- Added a new Neutral Skill Gem - Vaal Breach: Creates a Breach at your location, making you vulnerable to its powerful inhabitants.
- Before her rescue, Navali is now guarded by The Faun.
- Very early areas in Act One have been cosmetically improved.
- Hellions have had their art replaced with a new model.
- Many of 2.5.0's features including the new renderer were deployed early with update 2.4.2. Thank you for your testing and feedback.
- The DirectX 9 renderer is still the default. You can change to the DirectX 11 renderer in the options. We will make the DirectX 11 renderer the default once we're sure there are no remaining problems.
- Melee action targeting has been greatly improved.
- The challenge and achievements panel now has progress bars for numeric challenges. Your overall challenge progress and challenge reward milestones are also shown.
- Weapons now display their range on their item descriptions.
- Improved early tutorials.
- Items filters can now see whether an item is corrupted with "corrupted true".
- Added support for the slash symbol in Premium Stash Tab price fields.
- Various improvements to preloading have been made.
- Unique Maps can now drop if you have completed their equivalent base type on the Atlas.
- Added the contents of the Essence League to the core game. You can now find monsters trapped in Essences throughout Wraeclast, but at a lower rate than when it was the current challenge league.
- The rate of finding multiple essences at once has been significantly increased in maps (especially higher maps).
- At level 47 areas and above, Whispering Essences can no longer appear.
- At level 67 areas and above, Muttering Essences can no longer appear.
- The values of mods from Wailing Essences of Woe and above have been reduced, resulting in a notably lower value of all mods from higher-tier Woe essences.
- Fixed a minor issue where the Muttering Essence of Woe amulet mod granted values that were 1% too low.
- The gloves mod from Essence of Insanity now grant "Socketed gems have 16% More Attack and Cast Speed" (down from 20%). Existing items will not be changed.
- The weapon mod from Essence of Horror now grants a 16% chance to gain a power, frenzy or endurance charge on kill (up from 10%). Old versions of this mod can be updated using a Divine Orb.
- The weapon mod from Essence of Delirium now deals 750 chaos damage per second for 10 seconds (down from 1,000).
Map Mod Changes:
- A large variety of new map mods have been added to the map pool.
- The "Grounded", "Molten" and "Incombustible" map mods that granted specific elemental resistance will no longer appear on maps. They've been succeeded by a new global elemental and chaos resistance map mod with lower values.
- The "of Stasis" mod that previously prevented player life and mana regeneration will now also prevent energy shield regeneration. Existing versions of the mod will continue to prevent only life and mana regeneration.
- The "of Smothering" map mod now only affects recovery rate of Life and Energy Shield, no longer affecting mana recovery. This includes existing versions of the mod.
- The "Splitting" mod previously added multiple projectiles at yellow and red tier maps. They now only add two projectiles at all tiers. Existing mods will not update unless a Divine orb is used on the map.
- "of Hemomancy", the mod that gave all characters Blood Magic, will no longer appear on maps.
- "of Exposure" will now reduce maximum resistances by a lower amount. In mid-tier maps, it'll reduce maximum elemental resistances by -5% to -8% now. In higher-tier maps, it'll reduce maximum elemental resistances by -9% to -12%. Existing mods will not update unless a Divine orb is used on the map.
- The "of Frenzy", "of Endurance" and "of Power" mods will no longer appear, as they could cause performance issues in areas with many monsters.
General Balance Changes:
- Increased the range of all melee weapons. This is also a significant buff to the radius of Cyclone.
- In addition to the existing Forsaken Masters "quality of life" improvements made in 2.4.2, the experience progression of non-Zana Masters has been adjusted. It is now 30% easier to reach level 8 from 7, 20% easier to reach level 7 from 6 and 10% easier to reach level 6 from 5.
- The Sextant Mod for additional currency items from Nemesis monsters is now only available on red maps.
- Many monsters in end-game maps have been rebalanced, fixing cases where they did too little damage.
- Reduced the damage of the bosses in the Overgrown Ruin map and chaos Warbands leaders in general.
- Increased the damage of the bosses in the Shipyard map and lightning Warbands leaders in general.
- Reduced monster pack density in the Twilight Strand slightly.
- Increased most totem damage, totem additional physical damage reduction and totem attack and cast speed skills in the passive tree by 20-25%. This doesn't apply to the Totemic Mastery notable passive.
- Doubled all sources of totem elemental resistance in the passive skill tree.
- Bleeding effects from non-puncture sources are now affected by the same (additive and multiplicative) duration modifiers as bleeding effects from puncture sources.
- Poison from non-Viper Strike sources is now affected by multiplicative skill effect duration modifiers. Additive skill effect duration modifiers were already being applied.
Unique Item Balance Changes:
- Cospri's Malice and Mjölner now have 250ms cooldowns on triggering socketed skills (up from 100ms).
- Reduced block and spell block values on Rumi's Concoction by around 33%. A Divine Orb can be used to reroll the stats within this new range.
- Facebreaker's critical strike multiplier has been reduced to 45%. A Divine Orb can be used to reroll the stats within this new range.
- Grand Spectrum's increased elemental damage has been reduced to 4%. A Divine Orb can be used to reroll the stats within this new range.
- The Aylardex now has an additional property: "80-100% increased Power Charge Duration". This change does not apply to old versions of this item. Using a Divine Orb on this item doesn't cause the new stat to appear.
- Nuro's Harp now has an additional property: "40% increased effect of Chilled Ground". This change does not apply to old versions of this item. Using a Divine Orb on this item doesn't cause the new stat to appear.
- Soul Strike's faster start of energy shield recharge has been reduced to 80%. A Divine Orb can be used to reroll the stats within this new range.
- Energy From Within's additional energy shield has been reduced to 3-6%. A Divine Orb can be used to reroll the stats within this new range.
Skill Balance Changes:
- Blade Vortex has been refactored. Instead of separate hits for each active blade, the blades now increase the frequency at which all enemies in the radius take damage, and the amount of damage they take. The skill now has a base hit frequency of 600ms and has 10% increased hit rate per active blade. Its damage has been reduced by 30% at all levels and it deals 30% more damage per active blade.
- Reduced the maximum number of Summoned Raging Spirits to 20, but we have also increased damage as the gem levels up to compensate. It's intended to be a similar damage output but with less casting needed and less effective area of effect.
- Ancestral Warchief now does 10% less damage at all levels. Fixed behaviour with the center of the slam being significantly further away than the totem's melee range. The skill now has +10 melee range at all levels, and the slam will always be centered at melee range away from the totem.
- Scorching Ray now deals 10% more damage at gem level 20, tapered down to no change at gem level 1.
- Raise Spectre now grants +30% elemental resistances to its minions.
- Decoy Totem can no longer evade and has a 4 second cooldown at all levels.
- Blade Flurry's "More attack speed" modifier has been reduced from 65% more to 60% more attack speed at all levels. Blade Flurry's targeting range has been reduced by 16.6%, and the damage radius of slashes has been reduced by 14.2%.
- Blight's damage has been increased by 5% damage at level 1 of the gem, up to 35% more damage at level 20 of the gem.
- Totems and all other minions now have 40% elemental resistance and 20% chaos resistance. This also includes minions that didn't have resistances previously, like wolves.
- Fire, Cold, and Lightning Golems now have 70% resistance to their respective element. Chaos Golems now have 60% resistance to Chaos.
- Flame Golem's damage has been increased by 140%.
- Ice Golem's damage has been increased by 75%.
- Lightning Golem's damage has been increased by 75%.
- Stone Golem's damage has been increased by 100%. Its chance to taunt on slam has been lowered. Its melee attack range has been increased.
- Chaos Golem's damage has been increased by 65%.
- Melee Skeletons from the Summon Skeletons skill now deal 25% more damage. Summon Skeletons and Vaal Summon Skeletons skills now have a cast time of 0.8 seconds, down from 1 second.
- Some triggered skills can now find targets that are farther away than they could before.
- Reduced the damage penalty on Ranged Attack Totem to match Spell Totem. At gem level 1, it has changed from -50% to -35%. At gem level 20, it has changed from -31% to -26%.
- The Minion and Totem Elemental Resistance support gem now has a multiplicative minion and totem elemental damage stat on it, scaling from 10% at level 1 to 19% more elemental damage at gem level 20.
Trickster Ascendancy Changes:
- Weave the Arcane now also reduces damage taken by 8% if you have spent a total of 200 mana recently.
Raider Ascendancy Changes:
- Avatar of the Veil's elemental damage has been increased to 40%.
- Avatar of the Chase's increase to Onslaught effect has been increased to 100%.
- Way of the Poacher now has a 20% chance to gain a frenzy charge on kill or on hitting a rare or unique enemy.
- Rapid Assault now has a 100% chance to gain Onslaught on kill.
- Quartz Infusion now has a 100% chance to gain Phasing on kill.
- The minor Ascendancy skills leading up to Avatar of the Chase now grant 20% increased Onslaught duration, instead of 5% attack speed.
Flask Charge Generation on Critical Strike:
- A character can now only receive one flask charge per Critical Strike every 200ms. This is shared across all flasks.
- The Harvest and Master Surgeon now follow this rule. Instead of giving a charge to each of your flasks, they will only grant it to one.
- The Master Surgeon Node now has 100% chance to trigger (up from 15%) to help compensate for this change.
Zana League Mods Available During 2.5.0:
- Level 2: Onslaught
- Level 3: Bloodlines
- Level 4: Beyond
- Level 5: Warbands
- Level 6: Ambush
- Level 7: Perandus
- Level 8: Nemesis
One-time Passive Skill Reset:
- Due to balance changes, every existing character has been granted an optional full passive skill reset.
- This process will also reset your allocated Ascendancy points.
- To perform this operation, click the "Reset all Passives" button on the passive skill screen. Note that you must use this before allocating or refunding any other points otherwise the option will go away.
- Fixed a bug where "Culling Strike Against Burning Enemies" only applied to ignited enemies, rather than enemies burning for other reasons (such as Scorching Ray).
- Fixed a bug where you wouldn't be able to see someone casting Blight or Scorching Ray if you entered their proximity after they had started casting it.
- Fixed a bug where Temporal Chains didn't affect Blight.
- Fixed a bug where alt-tabbing in fullscreen mode would change to windowed mode.
- Fixed a bug where Navali could grant Prophecies to players who had not rescued her yet.
- Fixed various problems with the Twinned Kaom boss fight.
- PvP spectators can no longer use flasks or perform triggered actions.
- Blade Flurry now uses the average of both main and off-hand attack speeds if using two valid weapons.
- Fixed a bug where Blade Vortex ending could end other buffs.
- Monsters that use Herald skills can no longer turn them off.
- Fixed a bug where Scorching Ray would not switch targets correctly if they were far away or if they changed to same team/party.
- Bonespire from the Necropolis boss once again deals damage over time.
- Fixed a bug where status ailments that were auras couldn't be removed from players. This prevented removal of ailments that had proliferation.
- Fixed an issue with Scorching Ray and Spell Totem where the ray could be visually separated from the totem after being knocked back.
- Fixed a bug where Scorching Ray's targeting could get stuck on item highlights.
- Fixed a bug where manually selected chat channel numbers were not being remembered.
- Fixed a bug where Summoned Stone Golems would attack enemies much further from their target location than other golems.
- The 40 quality recipe now ignores six-socket items.
- Fixed two instance crashes.
Recently Added to Patch Notes
- Unique Maps can now drop if you have completed their equivalent base type on the Atlas.
- Flame Golem's damage has been increased by 140%.