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Path of Exile Scourge Expansion Overview

JamesBl0nde sits down with the Path of Exile team to get an in-depth preview of the next POE expansion, Scourge, and the new challenge league! There’s even a passive tree rework coming… watch for all the inside details and get prepped!

Transcript follows:

Whats up gamers!? Its that time again, Path of Exile has another expansion and challenge league headed to the game and as always I was fortunate enough to get a inside preview just prior to the official live stream reveal which, hopefully you guys are able to check out as well. We’re talking about the upcoming Scourge Expansion and challenge league. Lots of new content and features got revealed and I’ll give you guys the run down but first off I’ve got to say the new trailer for this is insanely good! I’m usually impressed by these expansion trailers but this one is next level good. I think it’s the perfect sound design this go around maybe, but either way hopefully you guys think the new content is somewhere on par with this new trailer. From what I was easily able to gather the new expansion has put a ton of leniency on players but it doesn’t take away from the challenge or what makes the game originally great, and you’ll hopefully see what I mean as we get into it.

So lets first talk about the new Scourge challenge league, the upfront main new mechanic is the Blood Crucible which is handed to you by a random women right as you get out of Lioneye’s Watch who asks you ever so nicely to jab it into your body, you know, no big deal. It shows up in your inventory pane like so and as you play through each area, the Blood Crucible fills with the blood spilled by monsters you have killed. And at a certain threshold, you’re able to activate the device. This will instantly thrust you into a parallel reality, an alternate Wraeclast where some form of apocalyptic event is occurring full of demons known as The Scourge. They are definitely not the easiest creatures you’ve faced, but the more blood you have collected  the longer you can stay shifted into the alternate world. There is a trade off here but its for good reason, the longer you stay, the more damage you take from the enemies you face and when the Crucible’s blood runs out or when you chose to return to your original reality, you do get something out of it.  Chris Wilson said it perfectly, “You’re not there to save the world, you’re there to find cool items.” Love that! See you’re able to put an item of choice into the Blood Crucible and as you are in the alternate world killing the Scourge, it soaks up all the corruption and after enough kills the item can be transformed, making it become corrupted and equipped with a pair of Scourged modifiers, one mod being beneficial and one being detrimental. Of course this is on top of all the explicit and implicit mods or enchantments the item already had. The beneficial mods will be worth the process for sure though the detrimental mods can drastically raise the requirements of the item, potentially hurt your stats like resistances for example, or even the possibility of shutting off various mechanics associated with the item completely such as the ability to deal cold damage or gain charges.

The idea here is to get a beneficial mod as part of the transformed item that makes it way more powerful but at the same time trying to roll a detrimental mod that doesn’t take way from your build too much if any. So as you might have guessed if you didn’t roll well the first go around you can put the item back in the Blood Crucible, kill more monsters in the upside-down version of Wraeclast, we’ll call it, hoping to get RNGesus to get you a pair of mods that works better for you that override the first set. You can do this up to three times and the Blood Crucible guarantees a minimum tier of beneficial and detrimental mods equal to the number of times its been transformed so needless to say by the last transformation the power of that item has gone from “Meh not bad” to “Holy Sh*t!” And this process can be done to items that were already corrupted so if you thought a particular item couldn’t get better, think again! Despite the detrimental mods these Scourged items can be the most powerful endgame items, even moreso than levelling uniques according to the devs.

Now with all these corrupted items floating around you can’t just go around modifying them without some proper corrupted currency so to speak. So now you’ll find Tainted Chromatic Orbs, Tainted Jeweller’s Orbs, and Tainted Orbs of Fusing, that work just like you’d expect them to, just only on corrupted items and its way easier and cost effective than doing the process on the crafting bench.

Another thing to note about the Blood Crucible is that it gains its own experience and can level up. You can allocate skill points from it leveling in its own passive skill tree which allows it to specialize in many aspects such as unlocking additional item slots, faster item transformation, better transformation outcomes, the ability to transform unique items, etc. You can eventually level up enough to max out the skill tree so that you can fine tune in your favor but that won’t be a walk in the park that’s for sure, but this helps you control the level of risk and reward throughout the endgame.

And speaking of, as you get to using the Atlas of Worlds, you can get the option to place maps in the Blood Crucible, alongside your equipment. Just like the item, when the map soaks up enough corruption and transforms, it gains a beneficial and detrimental effect as well, but can also gain a mod that changes the behavior of Scourge league in that map entirely. You can transform maps up to ten times, increasing their risk and reward drastically each time and when a map is transformed a second or subsequent time, its likely that the new benefit or detriment stacks alongside the existing ones, which, in some cases, if done too many times can make the map too dangerous to complete. So you’ve gotta watch out for that.

This expansion brings in six new unique items and I’ll talk about two of them in particular, one is an amulet that effectively enables you to turn any six-linked body armor into a seven-link. Seven-link items have been a possibility before, but this amulet lets you socket support gems of your choice, including corrupted or awakened ones that apply to all the skills in your body armor. That is going to be a game changer for sure!

The second new unique time, the Mageblood belt, is one of the most powerful unique items to ever exist in Path of Exile. So rare you’ll probably only ever hear stories about it, this item permanently enables a number of your utility flasks, providing their benefits constantly without you having to do a thing. In other words, regardless of what your build is, you’ll sustain your utility flasks during 100% of gameplay, even long boss fights. I know, it sounds broken, and it is! But your chances of spotting, catching, taming and riding a real life unicorn are probably higher than finding this one.

This expansion without a doubt streamlines a ton in the game namely endgame content. I won’t go into much detail on this but aside from streamlining and overhauling Atlas of Worlds which is happening early next year, with the scourge expansion they’ve already started by shortening the length of the Atlas grind in reducing the number of regions from 8 to 4, which in turn reduces the number of Watchstones needed from 32 to 16. There will now be approximately 100 maps plus the uniques, of course, which also means half the number of Atlas Passive trees as a result. There are more details that go along with this but yeah, as you can tell there’s definitely some condensing going on.

If you’re pretty much a PoE grand master of sorts, you’ll be happy to hear that with this expansion comes uber versions of Breach, Blight, Legion, an extension to Delirium’s Simulacrum and a revamp of Delve. Not only are these considerably more challenging but also equally rewarding, plus there’s some streamlining going on with this was well, as an example with the Delve revamp, the entire thing has been completely rebalanced so that its more rewarding, and more challenging at earlier depths. In general, monsters scale to have more life but less damage than before. They’ve also improved the Delve catch-up mechanic. Previously, if you entered Delve for the first time at level 90, you’d be starting out at basically tier 1 map level content. Now you’ll be facing the content comparable to tier 13 maps, which lets you now ignore Delve until the late-game if you want rather than having to keep up with it as you go.

Ok so there is so much more to talk about when it comes to this new expansion including new skills, more balance changes, guild improvements and features, but the last thing I want to talk about is a huge Passive Skill Tree rework. No I know that sounds a bit concerning but hear me out. The goal in the rework is to keep the tree as similar to before as possible so with that in mind those who are extremely familiar with the tree wont lose that muscle memory whatsoever. Where they focused the changes had more to do with each of the tree’s class start areas. They’ve added new clusters of skills, improving existing ones and concentrated power more directly on each skill’s primary function. In doing this, it helped identify that many passive skills had niche stats that didn’t really matter to most characters, or distracted away from the purpose of what the skill was trying to do. They decided to take niche stats away from a skill and buff the primary function of the skill so that it was more concentrated on one purpose. The niche stats didn’t go away altogether, instead the niche stats are now off the main tree but available via the new Passive Masteries system.

Outside of the class start locations, all passive skill clusters that have a notable passive in them can now contain a Passive Mastery. When you allocate the first notable passive in each cluster, a mastery becomes available to allocate in that cluster. When you spend a passive skill point on the mastery, you can choose a specific stat to gain. This list is shared with all clusters on the tree that have the same theme, so you can travel to any of them to get the stats that you want. Then as you allocate a mastery stat, it’s crossed off the list for that theme. This new direction has let the team add hundreds of powerful new notable passives that you’ll be able to access all over the tree and no longer will you have to plan around getting to specific clusters in order to get the niche stats you want, so you can better focus on what your build is meant to be. Pretty sure when you start working with this its going to give you the ability to push your build even further than before, so it seems like a great quality of life feature without breaking what we already know and love.

Anyway guys, that isn’t everything coming to Path of Exile Scourge, but its what I wanted to focus on in a quick and dirty video, there’s plenty more to check out as I mentioned New skills, more unique items, new guild features, and game balances galore just to name a few additions. So by the time you’re seeing this video the live stream reveal should be watchable in case you’re looking for those additional details. Its great to see the devotion Grinding Gear puts into this game for its players and this is just one more step in their legacy of doing that. So big thanks to Grinding Gear Games for letting me be a part of the storytelling, thank you guys for watching but until next time guys that’s going to be it for me, I’m JamesBl0nde… see ya out there gamers.

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