Path of Exile 2 has graduated into a full standalone sequel to the original Path of Exile, fully shaking off its origins as an expansion pack.
“When we announced Path of Exile 2 at ExileCon 2019, we told you guys that we were releasing Path of Exile 2 as an expansion to Path of Exile 1 and that both campaigns would be playable in the same game client with a shared endgame,” director Jonathan Rogers explained.
“But Path of Exile 2’s scope has continued to grow and grow. It’s far more than just an expansion with a new campaign, it’s entirely new monsters, skills, mechanics, classes, everything you would expect from the next generation of action RPGs. Not to even mention revamps of most of the Path of Exile 1 league content. This thing is freaking huge.”
Path of Exile 2 – July 2023 Screenshots
According to Rogers, the decision was made when the dev team realized that the original approach would “essentially be destroying a game that people love for no reason.” The result is that Path of Exile 1 and 2 will be separate, with their own “mechanics, balance, endgames, and leagues.”
Despite the split, Rogers said that Path of Exile 2 and its predecessor will continue to be a “shared platform,” with both games being fully-supported and microtransactions being available across both games.
“Everything you have ever purchased or will purchase in the future will be usable in both games unless it’s hyper-specific to the content of one of them. You can’t be a bear in Path of Exil 1, so a reskin of your bear form isn’t going to do anything. But you absolutely can equip the awesome sword skin you got and use all your stash tabs,” Rogers said.
However, because Path of Exile’s story continues directly into Path of Exile 2, Grinding Gear Games plans to wind down story content for the original game and focus on league content instead.
Lots more content in Path of Exile 2
Rogers went on to show a lengthy demo set in Act 3 that revealed some of the following.
- Act 3 is set in the ruinrs of the Vaal civlization. The Path of Exile 2 development team explored it using the Monk class, which is new to Path of Exile 2. Some of the skills he showed off included Killing Palm, which is used to cull enemies and give the Monk power charges. He also showed off Falling Thunder, which utilizes power charges to enhance its attack power. There’s also Wind Blast, which keeps enemies back, and Shattering Palm, which puts an ice bomb on a target.
- The team also showed off the Sorceress, a new Intelligence-focused character. “While the witch focuses more on occult magic and summoning, the Sorceress is themed around pure elemental destruction,” Rogers says. Her skills include Spark, which bounces around in tight passages, Ice Nova, which hits all enemies and slows them down.
- Every attribute combination has two classes associated with it. According to Rogers, “Strength/Int has the Templar or the Druid. On Dexterity you have the Ranger and the spear focused Huntress. And on Dex/Int you have the Shadow and the Monk.”
- Path of Exile 2 features Ascendancy classes, with each class having its own three Ascendanies that let you “further specialize the class in a way that only that class has access to.”
- Melee combat is far more mobile, which is one of the key differentiators between Path of Exile 2 and Diablo IV. The Monk in particular is a class that favors mobility over brute strength.
- There’s over 100 bosses to fight, and defeating a boss will award a permanent stat bonus. What’s more, the freezing mechanics have been heavily updated to make it possible to freeze bosses. “In PoE2, all crowd control mechanics now have internal metres that allow you to build up to a freeze or stun, or whatever other CC mechanic that you are using. It’s a little bit like Poise from games like Elden Ring, though the meters tend to be a lot smaller. Every character now has a dodge roll. It also lets you cancel out of almost any skill at any time,” Rogers says.
- Path of Exile 2 has a new resources called “Spirit.” Spirit is a dedicated resource that can be used for ongoing effects.
The team also showed off a host of other mechanics, suggesting that players will find a very different and in some ways revitalized game for the sequel. While Grinding Gear Games had plenty to show for ExileCon, though, the closed beta is still a ways out. Rogers confirmed that it will be out June 7, 2024.
A true sequel
Path of Exile 2 was first announced back in 2019. When we got to play it in 2021, we called it a “gorgeous overhaul of the classic action RPG.” A trailer shown during Summer Game Fest teased it as a “free-to-play Diablo IV alternative.”
In the meantime, Diablo IV is available now, but it’s facing plenty of issues as it struggles through Season of the Malignant. It’ll be a while though before fans get a true alternative.
“Path of Exile 2 has been a long time coming, and we’re incredibly excited to near the finish line, but we are not quite there yet,” Rogers said. “We are determined not to rush this, and make sure we get it right.”
Kat Bailey is IGN’s News Director as well as co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Have a tip? Send her a DM at @the_katbot.