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As is often the case with Path of Exile's updates, the upcoming Betrayal expansion will be introducing some new skills and reworking some of the existing ones. One of the skills getting reworked for Betrayal is Arctic Breath that will now revolve around dealing cold damage over time. And on the new skill side of things, we have banners that you'll be able to deploy in order to get their powerful stage-based effects.
Here's how the updated Arctic Breath will look:
And here are the banners:
And here's what the banners are all about:
War Banner and Dread Banner are new aura skills coming alongside Path of Exile: Betrayal. You'll carry banners through combat with you, planting them down in moments of triumph or desperation for powerful extra effects.
Banners provide powerful benefits for attack based characters, casting instantly and reserving a small amount of mana when first used. War Banner increases the accuracy of nearby allies, while increasing physical damage taken by nearby enemies. As you kill enemies, it gains stages. Casting the skill again while you have War Banner active plants it in front of you, ending the mana reservation, and it gains large benefits to duration, radius, and aura effect for each stage you've built up. War Banner also grants a short adrenaline effect when planted, the powerful damage, speed and physical damage reduction buff that previously was only available to the Champion.
War Banner is the more aggressive of the new banners, and is available from an early level. You can build up to 50 stages, and the banner becomes bloodier as you do so. You can use the skill regularly for tougher fights as you move through an area, or fully charge it up and save the placement for a climactic boss encounter at the end of a zone to take full advantage of its 60 second duration at maximum stages.
Dread Banner is a higher level skill that gives you and nearby allies a chance to impale with attacks, while lessening accuracy of nearby enemies. Each time you impale while carrying the banner, the banner gains stages. Like War Banner, placing the banner ends the mana reservation on you and grants large amounts of duration, radius and aura effect per stage. Dread Banner also grants fortify for a short time, with additional fortify effect based on the number of stages you've built up.
Dread Banner works very well with the new Steel attacks, taking advantage of their ability to hit and impale an enemy multiple times. Unlike War Banner, Dread Banner can easily gain stages on a boss. Being able to instantly grant the empowered fortify is an excellent way to respond when your group is about to be struck by a powerful boss ability. You can only have one Banner active at once.
Banners can be supported by Generosity to have them apply to your minions and party members with enhanced effect, but they won't apply to you any more, even when placed. Supporting them with Increased Duration will also increase the length of the special banner buff effect and the time they remain when placed.
The Champion's "Inspirational" skill has been changed, providing some unique benefits for Banners, instead of causing you and allies to deal increased damage. These include a heal effect on placing a banner and a removal of the Banner reservation cost.
And finally, if you were looking forward to playing Path of Exile on your PlayStation 4, according to this announcement, you'll have to wait until February 2019 to do so. A bit on that:
When we announced Path of Exile for PlayStation 4 earlier this month, we indicated we were aiming for a December release. Unfortunately, we have had to revise this to early February. We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience this causes, because we know there are many players looking forward to this release.
We underestimated the amount of work it would take to finish the certification process during the busy Christmas period. While we hope to have everything ready in January, we feel a lot more comfortable promising early February as a target release window. This will also give us time to work on game performance/frame rate, which we feel could be improved before release.
Again, we're very sorry about this. We understand that many PlayStation users were keen to play Betrayal over Christmas and have been eagerly awaiting release date news. We promise that Path of Exile will be awesome on PlayStation 4 when it is released early next year.