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Scourge, the latest challenge league expansion for Grinding Gear Games' free to play action-RPG Path of Exile is now live on PC and should be launching on consoles in a few days. Apart from introducing the usual assortment of fresh content and new character-building options, this expansion overhauls a number of systems in an attempt to streamline the game a bit.
Here's the official expansion trailer:
And an overview of the new stuff:
Path of Exile: Scourge
In Path of Exile: Scourge, you must fill the Blood Crucible with the blood of your enemies then shift into an alternate Wraeclast where an apocalyptic event rages, in order to slay powerful demons and craft potent items.
Our October expansion contains the Scourge challenge league, new skill gems, a rework to the passive skill tree, improvements to the Atlas endgame, new aspirational endgame content, new guild features, new unique items and much, much more.
Fill the Blood Crucible
A mysterious figure appears out of nowhere, trying to escape from something you can't see. She hands you a rusty-looking device called the Blood Crucible and urges you to implant it into your body.
The Blood Crucible fills with the blood of monsters you slay. Once it reaches a certain threshold, you're able to activate the device. This will instantly thrust you into a parallel reality, an alternate Wraeclast overrun by demons known as The Scourge. The more blood you have collected, the longer you can stay shifted into the parallel Wraeclast. But the longer you stay, the more damage you'll take.
Scourge Your Items
You can place an item inside the Blood Crucible. While you are killing the Scourge, it absorbs corruption from the alternate Wraeclast and focuses it onto the item. After enough kills, your item can be transformed, corrupting it and granting it a pair of Scourged Modifiers. One of these is a powerful beneficial mod and one is a detrimental mod that may or may not strongly affect your build.
If you get a combination you're unhappy with, your item is not ruined. By putting it back in the Blood Crucible, and killing even more monsters in the alternate Wraeclast, you can transform it a second or third time, potentially getting a better pair of mods that overwrite the first set.
Upgrade Your Crucible
As you slay the Scourge, the Blood Crucible gains experience and can level up. You can allocate its skill points in its own passive skill screen, which allows it to specialise in many aspects including unlocking additional item slots, faster item transformation, better transformation outcomes and the ability to transform unique items.
The Dream Furnace
In the Atlas of Worlds, you may find the Dream Furnace, a device that grants you the ability to place Maps in the Blood Crucible, alongside your equipment. When a Map absorbs enough corruption and transforms, it gains a beneficial and detrimental effect in the same way that a piece of equipment does, but can also gain a modifier that changes the behaviour of Scourge league in that map entirely.
Maps can be transformed up to ten times, increasing their risk and reward substantially each time. When a Map is transformed a second or subsequent time, there's a chance that the new beneficial or detrimental modifiers stack alongside the existing ones, enhancing their power, or a chance that new modifiers are added.
Passive Skill Masteries
The Scourge expansion includes a rework of Path of Exile's iconic passive skill tree. Despite these large changes, the tree is intended to still feel familiar to existing players. We have rebalanced all passive skills, consolidated their power around their primary function, and moved many niche stats to a new system: Passive Skill Masteries.
When you allocate the first Notable passive skill in a cluster, a Mastery appears. Allocating a skill point to this Mastery allows you to pick from a list of advanced stats that match the theme of the cluster. This new system both makes the tree more understandable and gives you more freedom for how you plan your passive skills. We have also rebalanced a few keystone passives, changed the locations of some and added six new keystones to the tree.
New Skill Gems
Path of Exile: Scourge introduces many new skill gems designed to create new build archetypes. Convert your Energy Shield into Energy Blades, summon a giant Tornado that is powered up by your own projectiles, rewind your character's timeline with Temporal Rift, throw Poisonous Concoctions at your enemies and help your friends with six new party-oriented Link skills.
Streamlined Atlas Endgame
Early next year, we will release a huge overhaul of Path of Exile's Atlas of Worlds endgame in the 3.17 expansion. In the meantime, though, the Scourge release speeds up how quickly you can set up and progress through your Atlas.
We have reduced the number of regions from 8 to 4, which reduces the number of Watchstones required from 32 to 16. We have also reduced the number of maps on the Atlas to 100 plus the unique maps. We've rebalanced the bonuses for completing content so that by the time your Atlas is fully unlocked, you'll receive a slightly higher level of benefit than you did before.
Uber Endgame Content
Path of Exile: Scourge introduces new Uber versions of a lot of endgame content, which allow you to challenge your best characters on the hardest content we have ever made. Three of the new unique items that are introduced in this expansion can only be found from specific Uber content.
Flawless Breachstones allow access to a new tier of Breach Domain. Blighted maps can now drop Blight-ravaged Maps which can be anointed up to nine times (with up to three of each type of anointment). Delirium's Simulacrum has been extended with additional challenging waves. New Unrelenting Emblems can be combined with Timeless Emblems to increase the difficulty of the Domain of Timeless Conflict. Delve has been rebalanced and now offers greater challenge, greater reward and more frequent boss encounters.
Guild Stashes and Hideouts
The Scourge expansion contains a long-awaited set of quality-of-life improvements for Path of Exile's guilds! Guild Stashes have been improved to support all the features of personal stash tabs, such as ctrl+clicking, affinities and rearrangement. We have also implemented guild versions of all the various exotic stash tabs such as Currency Tabs and Map Tabs.
We've introduced Guild Hideouts, where you and your friends can have meetings, hang out, and access the map device as though it were your own. As part of our hideout improvements, we have removed the Favour system entirely. Now, all non-microtransaction hideout decorations are available in unlimited quantities for everyone to decorate their personal and guild hideouts with.
Improved Game Systems
In Path of Exile: Scourge, we've done a lot of balance work improving flasks, ailment mitigation, general character defenses and elemental damage over time. We have made some changes to how stacking auras and curses works, and have buffed most Awakened Support Gems. Check out the full changes in the Path of Exile: Scourge Patch Notes.
Expedition Goes Core
In this expansion, we're integrating the Expedition league into Path of Exile's core game and are retiring the Perandus league. You'll start finding Expeditions from Act 6 onwards, and there's a base 8% chance that you'll encounter it in each Map.
We have made some improvements to Expedition, most notably changing Expedition Artifacts so that they are not tradeable items anymore, which means they are automatically picked up during the encounters.
And Much, Much More...
In addition to six new unique items, 13 new Divination Cards and five new Currency Items, we have also added two new socket styles for colourblind users and have made changes to how currency items drop so that fewer clicks are required to pick them all up.
We're also teaming up with Twitch Rivals to run another Path of Exile: Royale tournament, this time with a new twist. Tune in on October 28 to watch your favourite streamer compete for their share of a $30,000 prize pool.