Last updated on July 19th, 2021
In this Path of Exile 3.15 (Expedition Expansion) article, I’m going to run through the major changes that will be implemented in the game next week. These include the new Expedition League, new active skills and support gems, various balance changes, and the return of the Battle Royale mode. If you’re looking into playing Path of Exile for the first time or if you’re a returning player, then you’ll probably want to see how these updates affect the core gameplay experience.
Path of Exile 3.15 Expansion: New Expedition League, Balance Changes, And Battle Royale!
Path of Exile is constantly receiving significant updates with the intention of making each expansion better than the one that came before it. In this 3.15 expansion, there will be a lot of impactful alterations that not only affect combat but the customization proper of creating builds for your characters. Let’s start with the Expedition League.
Path of Exile New Expedition League and How It Works
Path of Exile’s Expedition League starts off by introducing the Kalguuran explorers you’ll come across. These explorers decided to go to Wraeclast in the hopes of finding answers about their ancestors’ whereabouts as well as taking the artifacts they’ve uncovered in their missions. Previously, these ancestors decided to conquer Wraeclast but met their demise in the process. Similarly, the Kalguuran explorers underestimated the undead they would be facing in Expedition sites. As such, they’ll need your help to kill any creature that comes in their way.
As you go through the campaigns, you’ll discover sites that were once inhabited by the ancient Kalguurans. These are marked with poles that show the chests or actual skulls of the ancestors themselves. You’ll then have to do two things. First is to search for optimal areas to place a chain of explosives in order to unearth chests or to unleash an army of the undead.
To effectively set off these explosives, you’ll have to place them in close proximity with each other. And second, you’ll have to detonate it. When you do, groups of monsters will pop out of these sites and you’ll have to slay all of them. Note that some are special creatures, which provide better quality loot than the normal ones. What’s interesting in these encounters is that you have the option to defeat monsters or to go directly for chests in order to avoid them altogether. Either way, you’ll get powerful rewards.
As part of these excavation sites, you’ll also encounter Remnants, which are monster or chest modifiers depending on what you unearth. These modifiers make combat really difficult because you can encounter monsters who will impale you or those that are immune to physical damage. If you’re up for the challenge of receiving more and better loot, then I suggest you add Remnants to your path of explosives.
You’ll encounter numerous artifacts, which enable you to trade with new Kalguuran traders for better items. Depending on the NPC, you can haggle, upsell, or gamble the different artifacts they’re interested in. There are 4 Kalguuran traders you’ll have to acquaint yourself with. First is Tujen, who has a bad temper when you cross him. He initially shows items at exorbitant prices. However, you can haggle with him to purchase these items at a lower cost. In return, he can opt to barter with a counteroffer or withdraw the sale entirely if your offer is too low.
Second is Rog, who is helpful and will gladly negotiate with you. Just be careful because he will try to upsell you. Rog will always attempt to show you a better deal by enhancing the item of your choice through crafting. When you’re about to make the purchase, he’ll continue to upsell you until you accept. In cases when these upgrades become too expensive, you can simply collect more of the artifacts he’s interested in and claim the items later on. Third is the gambler Gwennen who sells base item types with hidden properties. It will be up to you to decide if you’re fine with risking artifacts in exchange for these unknown items. You can either get something completely random that has no use to your character, or a piece of equipment that’s extremely rare. Alternatively, you can use a currency item to reroll new and available items that scale to your level. Again, the risk is still there but you may be luckier than you think!
The last of the pack is the brave leader Dannig. You can trade artifacts in exchange for currency items, artifacts that will be of interest to the other traders, or even logbooks. Talking to these traders also gives you access to the Expedition Locker, similar to what we’ve had in the Heist Expansion, in order to store league-related items. Note that the affinity system is also included in these lockers.
In addition to the artifacts you’ll find in these sites, you’ll also discover logbooks, which are ancient books that show the areas the Kalguuran ancestors traveled to. These locations have their own mods and themes, which you can choose from depending on the Remnants you intend to trigger. Additionally, each corresponding logbook item can be rolled to unlock a couple of mods. Giving these logbooks to Dannig allows you to go to the actual site it describes by opening up a portal. Similar to the Blighted Map, these expeditions are vast in size. What’s special about them are additional features that you can interact with such as unique trees or secret passageways containing monsters or items. You will even encounter bosses, which drop tons of rewards that distinctly come from the Expedition expansion.
The Ward Defensive Property
The Kalguurans have different items, which don’t use properties like Armor nor Energy Shield. Instead, they rely on Ward. Ward is a defensive property that greatly reduces the damage you receive. Its value is deducted from enemy hits and once disabled, it will take a couple of seconds to be re-enabled. This is where damage reduction takes effect and it can be used with other defensive moves like Dodge or Evasion. In a similar vein, the undead you’ll fight against also uses this Ward property.
One example of a headgear that utilizes Ward is Faithguard. What it does is that all Energy Shield changes are applied to Ward while further boosting this property and restoring it at a quicker rate, making the damage reduction activation that much faster.
Path of Exile New Active Skills and Support Gems
In the Path of Exile 3.15 expansion, we’ll also see a lot of new gems that will truly alter your characters. In previous expansions like the Ultimatum, gems were specifically released in order to greatly change builds that already existed or to create entirely new ones. However, the goal now is to dramatically shift the focus to each and every character and their respective playstyles.
Not only that but these gems can also be used by multiple Ascendancy classes. There will be a total of 19 new gems and we’ll be going through some of them.
Earthbreaker Support Gem
For the Marauder Class, we have Earthbreaker and Boneshatter. The Earthbreaker Support gem is used in conjunction with a Slam Skill. What it does is it summons at least one Ancestor Totem, the number of which can be increased depending on your build, and slams the ground to destroy multiple enemies at once. Depending on your Chieftain path in the Passive Skill Tree, you can either supplement the totem’s slams with fiery grounds to watch enemies burn while safely avoiding them or to use Leap and then pound them to their deaths thereafter.
As a Juggernaut, you’ll have access to Boneshatter, which heavily strikes enemies. Upon getting stunned, shockwaves will be released in support of the damage you’ve already inflicted. Note that its AoE is dependent on how long the enemies have been stunned so the longer the condition, the more groups will be affected. This is why the Juggernaut’s passives go well with Boneshatter since they have the ability to lengthen the duration of stun in order to increase the shockwave’s affected area.
Because of how powerful Boneshatter is, you’ll also receive Physical Damage yourself. The amount of damage you and your enemies receive is based on the increases made to the Trauma stack. This is the reason why the Boneshatter is perfect for the Juggernaut since they have Armor to reduce the damage they receive.
Shield Crush Skill
For the Duelist Class, particularly for the Gladiator, we have Shield Crush, which utilizes your shield in order to inflict damage in the form of multiple waves. The better the stats your shield has, the higher the damage. This skill is ideal against any enemy whether they’re just by themselves or they’re a part of bigger groups and is best paired with Spectral Shield Throw.
Explosive Concoction Skill
For the Ranger Class, there’s Explosive Concoction. This skill is unique in the sense that you must be unarmed to use it. Additionally, Explosive Concoction interacts well with your flasks based on the bonuses it provides. So for example, when you throw a concoction that deals fire damage, you also account for the available charges of your flasks, may it be Ruby, Sapphire or Topaz in order to inflict higher amounts of damage upon explosion. Do note that this skill continues to work with other flasks although it won’t be as powerful compared to using more appropriate ones.
If you’re an Assassin, you’ll want to try out the new Ambush Skill. With Ambush, you’re teleported right next to the enemy in order to inflict blind and to slash them with your One-Handed Melee Weapon. Furthermore, this one-handed attack provides you high critical chance multipliers, making each swipe more powerful and effective. You can also use Ambush to re-engage your enemy immediately after dashing away from them.
Summon Reaper Skill
As a Necromancer, you have Summon Reaper where the minion you create deals fast Melee Attacks while inflicting Bleeding on your behalf. You can control the Reaper’s direction when you reactivate the skill. Note that the Reaper has the potential to kill the rest of your minions since it uses them to heal and to buff itself.
What’s great about this powerful minion compared to the others is how you’re able to take it under your command without having to micromanage its HP and buffs. You’ll just have to be cautious when it’s about to consume your Animated Guardian…
These are just some of the many new active and support skills that are surely build-defining so be sure to explore the others when the expansion comes out next week.
Path of Exile Major Balance Changes
On top of these amazing new features, there are balance changes to address power creep that’s present in systems like the Ascendancy, crafting, and even in the introduction of new items. Despite these additions and tweaks, it seems that Path of Exile becomes easier with each new expansion.
The goal of these balance changes is to alter the playstyles of almost all of the classes accordingly. Alongside this, it’s time to make the campaign more challenging, similar to how it used to be in the game’s closed beta. Back then, monsters were intimidating because you had to be aware of every movement possible, otherwise, you would easily succumb to their power. Specifically, ghosts in the Ship Graveyard Cave were menacing and Rhoas could simply kill you with charges. Grinding Gear Games will be rebalancing the monsters of each Act starting in Act 1. The ultimate plan is to revisit and review each monster in the next few months.
Among the planned balance changes, the ones that will take full effect with the release of Path of Exile’s 3.15 expansion are the flask system, support gems, and triggered and movement skills.
Revamped Flask System
For many years, players have voiced their concerns regarding the current flask system especially for endgame. What happens is they spam all 5 flasks at the same time in order to maximize its benefits with little to no consequence. To improve this mechanic, flasks have been revamped.
For instance, raw defense and power types have been nerfed with less popular ones receiving buffs. Examples of these are the reworked Basalt and Aquamarine Flasks. In connection with the upcoming expansion there are now new ways to use these flasks. You still have the option to use them like before, or you can apply currency items. Specifically, these are known as the Instilling and Enkindling Orbs, which can be obtained regularly.
With Instilling Orbs, you can now preemptively activate the flask’s functionality without triggering it yourself. This means that once it charges fully or when you get affected by a condition, say ignite, the flask will automatically be activated. The only caveat is that it would consume charges at random times. Note that ignite isn’t the only condition that can trigger these flasks as there are a lot more.
On the other hand, with Enkindling Orbs, Utility Flasks provides you massive boosts in terms of its effect or duration. However, the drawback upon activation is, it won’t gain charges so you won’t be able to spam this. You can also reroll Enkindling Orbs to unlock other benefits.
When it comes to general flask changes, it will no longer provide heaps of permanent benefits nor will it gain a lot of charges like before, which reduces the mechanic of spamming blindly. In relation to monsters in Acts 6 to 10, you’ll see a reduction in the amount of charges they provide as well as flask charges overall.
In terms of curses, you will no longer gain immunity from them for a period of time. Additionally, flasks will now provide immunity momentarily, to ailments that have been removed. You won’t be able to activate it beforehand to reap the benefits right from the very beginning.
Support Gem Nerfs
Support gems that provide huge damage buffs will have corresponding significant disadvantages whereas utility support gems will remain as is. Characters that utilize six-linked skills composed of damage support gems will be hit the most at around 20-40% damage reduction. The aim here is to reduce the damage output to hopefully balance the game well, while playing and creating more diverse builds.
Strategic Use of Triggered and Movement Skills
Triggering skills with support gems will at times cost more mana than casting active skills by hand. As a result, the developers will be able to design powerful and better spells. Furthermore, other support gems such as Arcane Surge, that previously couldn’t be used to support triggered skills have now been enabled. It would certainly be interesting to see what kinds of characters players will be creating because of this shift.
Meanwhile, movement skills like Flame Dash, Smoke Mine and Dash have been nerfed to function more closely to other skills of this type. This encourages added customization rather than relying on their default setups, which bypasses monster encounters altogether.
Path of Exile: Royale Makes a Comeback
Path of Exile: Royale is making a comeback starting today due to popular demand! If this mode continues to be well-received in the long run, then you can expect new features to be implemented in the coming months.
A new Royale-based Passive Skill Tree has also been created with about 90 passives where you gain 2 passive skill points per level. What’s also interesting is how the UI of this tree has been placed accordingly so you still have a view of your surroundings while allocating points in case there are hostile players around. New low-leveled skills, support gems, and items have also been introduced so it’s easier to hop in.
Other improvements include a spectator mode, better leaderboard, and more importantly, you can simply use your older characters to participate since they will automatically start at level 1. Lastly, if you win, you’ll receive a Rhoa Dinner Hideout Decoration, which will grow in size and in greater detail when you come out victorious more often.
Stay tuned for more Path of Exile content and be sure to check out our other features about this game such as the Path of Exile 2 Gameplay Preview: Release Date, New Campaign, Classes, and More! and Path of Exile vs Diablo: Is Path of Exile Better Than Diablo? Which One Should You Play? What Ascendancy class are you going to try out first? What did you think of the balance changes? Are you for it or against it? Let us know in the comments section below!