Path of Exile - 3.12 Expansion Timeline and Developer Interview

If you’d like to know when the next challenge league expansion for Grinding Gear Games’ action-RPG Path of Exile will be going live, you should check out this announcement on the game’s website. If everything goes according to plan, the expansion will be revealed on September 1, 2020, and then launch on September 18th for PC. Here’s more on that:

Shortly after the launch of Harvest, we indicated what you should expect from our ongoing development this year. We now have dates scheduled for our next expansion announcement/launch and want to keep you in the loop about what to expect and when.

We normally operate on a 13 week schedule, allowing us to release four expansions a year in March, June, September and December. It took 14 weeks to develop Harvest due to the limitations of working from home and as we indicated in the post linked above, this meant we would need one of our expansions to be developed in just 12 weeks to make up for that lost time.

Our intention was to develop our 3.12 expansion on this 12 week timeline but due to the ambitious scope of the league, we feel it is a lot safer to consume a 13th week. So while this isn't technically a deviation from our normal timeline, it's slightly later than we originally indicated.

With this in mind, our current plan is to announce 3.12 on September 1 with its launch happening on September 18 for PC and September 23 for console (PDT). Please note that these dates are still subject to some change and we advise against booking time off until our expansion announcement confirms the launch date. We are aware that many employers require more notice than this but we are very hesitant to encourage booking time off until things are more firmly in place.

This means that Harvest will end on September 14 at 3pm (PDT). We don't have any end-of-league events planned between now and the launch of 3.12 as we want to keep all of our resources focused on 3.12 and Path of Exile 2 but you may see some community-run events pop up.

We plan to start development of 3.13 before 3.12 is finished so that we can comfortably meet our Christmas deadline for that one.

We are particularly excited about our 3.12 expansion. There is a fair amount of internal buzz about the ways in which it differs to existing core content. That's all we can say for now without revealing all of our plans and schemes.

And on top of that, you might be interested in this in-house interview with one Jeff, the game’s console producer. Here are a few sample questions:

Console production has many unique challenges. What are the main differences in getting patches onto consoles compared with PC?

Testing content on consoles is slower than PC from step one of the process, updating all of the consoles with each build iteration takes a considerable amount of time, whereas on PC we can update our clients within seconds. While we have access to similar in-game commands that PC has, they're much slower to reproduce; On PC if we're testing a specific issue that has listed reproduction steps, we can copy and paste them into the client, whereas on consoles we either need to manually input them or create a separate scripts which then needs to be put onto the console itself, all of which takes time. What I'm trying to say is that everything to do with the console pipeline takes more time from nearly all angles. When it comes to having the updates deployed to the Microsoft and Sony store, they each have respective processes, again, both of which take time and scheduling (are you seeing the pattern here?), which primarily fall outside of the time zone in New Zealand. This means I frequently have to stay up very late after hours to get an update into the certification process as quickly as possible. In comparison to PC, they're able to patch an update as soon as 'go ahead' has been given by Quality Assurance and the server admin team has everything they need in place on the servers.

What did you do before working with us?

Following my university studies I took a leave of absence from a bank job that I was working into travel and play poker on the side. Strategy games had always appealed to me, and one that I could compete in while supporting myself was very attractive. I spent two years travelling throughout North America visiting different cities and friends I had made online over the years, which made for many memorable experiences before I found myself travelling to New Zealand.