A new live stream took center stage at Grinding Gear Games on Thursday Path of Exile 2 The studio also announced the new Ultimatum expansion for Path of Exile, will be launched on April 16.
Grinding Gear Games organized its live stream in multiple parts, starting with a new one Path of Exile 2 trailer and an extensive gameplay section before jumping into Ultimatum. The studio then hosted a Q&A with ZiggyD – a popular one Path of Exile YouTuber.
Path of Exile 2 was first announced at ExileCon in 2019, so Grinding Gear Games founder Chris Wilson started the stream by tackling the team’s long radio silence. Wilson spoke about the scope of the game and the team’s desire to get their hands on the new campaign, as well as some of the game’s major system revisions, including Skill Gems. In a Q&A with Polygon and other news outlets earlier this week, Wilson said Path of Exile 2 isn’t quite halfway through development yet, but the studio gets into a groove with the production.
The trailer showcases several new gameplay clips and locations from the new Vastiri Desert location – the second major location in Path of Exile 2, after the island of Ogham, first revealed at ExileCon 2019. Following the trailer, Wilson shared a gameplay showcase for Path of Exile 2, placed entirely in the new location.
The showcase showcased several varied areas in the Vastiri Desert region, as well as the massive new caravan that herds players between different areas of their choice. But the star of the showcase are two of the new weapon types for it Path of Exile 2: spears and crossbows.
Both weapon types have intrinsic abilities specific to that weapon type. For example, the spear shown in the showcase gave players a Whirling Slash ability, which triggered a storm near the player. As you exit the storm, it explodes in an area – made easier by one of the spear’s other intrinsic abilities: the ability to disable, which makes the player fly backwards and throw swords at enemies. The crossbows are also unique, with the ability to switch to different elemental or armor piercing bolts depending on combat requirements. Wilson told the press that the studio isn’t sure which – if any – older weapon types will see similar intrinsic abilities.
The studio also showed new mini-bosses – a greater focus throughout Path of Exile 2 – and the game’s improved animations. Enemy packs also have more unique AI in the sequel, with monster groups patrolling certain areas, such as soldiers.
One of the more interesting aspects of it Path of Exile 2 is that it does not replace the original campaign. Both the original campaign and the sequel campaign will live on in the same game client, allowing players to bring their old characters and accounts – complete with any microtransactions – through the new or the old story. To this end both Path of Exile and Path of Exile 2 will converge in a shared endgame after the campaign. And that is true Path of Exile: Ultimatum comes in.
After the Path of Exile 2 gameplay showcase, Wilson switched to Ultimatum, a new expansion and League (Path of Exile‘s word for seasons) comes next week. Wilson also said that all recent and future competitions are building Path of Exile 2 in mind.
Ultimatum offers players what is essentially a Do you want to become a millionaire? –gameshow style, but with a little more death and blood. Players will meet the Trialmaster – an emissary of Chaos – who will order players to undergo Trials.
Trials will show players a reward and ask them to choose a difficulty level. If they succeed in the process, the reward is theirs. However, the Trialmaster also offers a second, possibly even better piece of loot if players decide to continue. The second Trial will be even more difficult than the first, as will the third, fourth, and so on, if players decide to push it.
Players can walk away between these levels with their rewards, but if they die at any point, they lose everything. Players can trigger these events with items found in the world, and even sacrifice items to get even more powerful drops from an upcoming Trial. Trials can also give players unique rewards with interesting effects.
Ultimatum Trials also work in multiplayer, which is a nice touch. Players can perform Trials together and one can give up their rewards while the other puts their luck to the test. Players even vote on which difficulty level they prefer, with the game rolling the dice in the event of a tiebreaker.
Ultimatum also comes with the usual quality of life improvements and additions to the game. For this League, Grinding Gear Games focused on dropping loot, swapping different items that can and cannot fall from enemies. Final Act Bosses are now also more lucrative, showing how players spend their time crafting items. Some items that were League specific – meaning players had to do a specific piece of content to have a chance – now also appear in the general item pool.
Finally, Ultimatum adds some new skills to defeat enemies. Watch the full live stream for a full overview of the new skills and the comprehensive list of changes to rewards.
Wilson and the team did not offer a release window for it Path of Exile 2although we know it won’t be out by the end of 2021. Path of Exile: Ultimatum will be launched on April 16.