Path of Exile Skill Reworks, Upcoming Announcements

The upcoming 3.5.0 expansion for Grinding Gear Games' action-RPG Path of Exile will be arriving in early December and feature a number of cold-based skill reworks. First on the docket is the Ice Spear spell that will get new visual effects and become better at dealing with single enemies. And then, there's Ice Nova and Vortex with their increased efficiency and new synergistic interactions.

Here's what you can expect:

Ice Spear

The upcoming 3.5.0 update will feature a reworked Ice Spear, among other cold spell improvements. Our goal was to give Ice Spear a role as the stand-out cold spell for taking out single enemies with a powerful burst of critical hits.

We've changed how it interacts with additional projectiles; now additional projectiles are fired in sequence, rather than all at once, inspired by Merveil's Ice Spear Barrage. This means that additional projectiles significantly increase the damage output, without implicitly increasing the projectile spread. You can control the spread of the projectiles by aiming closer or further away. The skill implicitly has an additional projectile.

The skill still arms after travelling a short distance, but instead of piercing before it arms, it now pierces after arming. It now has bonus critical strike multiplier while armed as well, further enhancing its damage, and the projectiles move much faster once armed, delivering their powerful punch rapidly.


Ice Nova

The skill now adds cold damage to hits against chilled enemies, as well as having a damage rebalance, making it much more useful as a standalone skill while also having some casual synergy with effects that reliably chill enemies.

If you cast Ice Nova while you have a Frostbolt within a large range, it'll cast again on two additional Frostbolts, with a short delay between each repeat, letting it cover a large area. Because this lets you cover a much larger area with multiple bursts of damage, the skill's area of effect is slightly smaller when cast on Frostbolts. We've also removed the damage bonus to the skill when cast on Frostbolts, as the added cold damage to chilled enemies fills this role now.

The skill now has a unique interaction if supported by Spell Echo and cast on a Frostbolt: the player only casts once, with the repeat automatically occuring on the Frostbolt. The player still benefits from the cast time and damage increases of the Spell Echo Support.


Vortex is now Instant, with a 1.8 second cooldown. It gains cooldown recovery speed as the gem levels, reducing the cooldown to just over 1 second at level 20 of the gem if you have no other cooldown recovery speed modifiers. This unique behaviour lets it work as a standalone skill that you can cast while moving or by using it while also casting other cold spells. You can also use it as an instant slowing effect in any build!

The size of the ongoing Vortex effect has been increased, and now matches the damage area, making it much easier to catch large groups of enemies in the damage over time effect.

When cast while you have an active Frostbolt, it'll cast again on four additional Frostbolts, with a short delay between each repeat, letting it cover a very large area. It is a very effective clearing tool alongside a supported Frostbolt. With slower projectiles on your Frostbolt you can get a lot of hits on a tougher enemy, while keeping them slowed in the Vortex effects.

Because of the powerful nature of these changes, the skill area is now slightly smaller when cast on Frostbolts, including its ongoing Vortex. The skill no longer has a damage bonus when cast on Frostbolts.

There's also this announcement that names December 8, 2018 as the final launch date for the expansion and mentions some other upcoming reveals:

A couple of weeks ago we posted an update about what we're working on. Since then, we have managed to lock down a final announcement date and launch date for the upcoming 3.5.0 expansion. These are a week or so later than they'd normally be, so we feel it is important to let you know the dates now so you can plan around them.

In New Zealand time:
  • November 5th: Announce Experimental New Feature (Not Royale)
  • November 6th: Another (non-3.5.0) Announcement
  • November 14th: 3.5.0 Expansion Announcement
  • December 4th: Delve League Ends
  • December 8th: 3.5.0 Expansion Launch (this is December 7th in US/EU)
You'll note that this timeline means that we'll have an extra week to complete challenges in the Delve League. The announcement date is also a week or so out from when we originally anticipated. This is because the scope of the expansion is pretty significant, larger than the Bestiary, Incursion or Delve releases.

In the coming weeks, we'll be posting a lot of new information that pertains to both the expansion and other elements of Path of Exile. As always, we can't wait to share what we've been working on!