Path of Exile: Ascendancy’s New Raider Class Explained

Path of Exile: Ascendancy [official site] is the next expansion for the multiplayer Diablike, and among its additions are new ‘Ascendancy’ classes. Information about those classes is being dribbled out by developers Grinding Gears, and there’s a trailer for the Raider below.

There are 19 Ascendancy classes in all, each representing a different combat style and with their own skill tree to climb. “Their powers can be claimed by those who prove themselves worthy by defeating Emperor Izaro,” say the devs. What that means in practice is that you unlock them by solving the new puzzle rooms – which are a new kind of challenge to Path of Exile – and then conquering the new randomly generated labyrinth and the boss at its end. The expansion also naturally adds new items, gems, enemies and other materials of the ARPG.

Path of Exile is one of those games I have never played and don’t know anyone who has played, but which seems to be frightfully popular among a large and dedicated group of people. It feels a little like DoTA did to me, back when that was a WarCraft 3 mod. Probably playing Path of Exile won’t be a viable career in five years time, but it does have cute and speedy tortoises.

Ascendancy is due out next year.


  1. daphne says:

    It’s really the best ARPG out there, with only Grim Dawn giving it a run for its money. That said, it also enjoys the singularly large flaw of being too stingy with its rewards. Hence your diagnosis is correct — anyone can enjoy it, but it’s most popular with that small group of players who can devote their gaming time exclusively to it.

    • aliksy says:

      I bounced off of it the first few times I tried it, but more recently I’ve been enjoying myself in it. It helps that I’ve been playing with a friend instead of alone, too.

      It also has a typical problem where the farther you go, the more interesting the options are. When you first start out you can’t do very much, but after a while you can combine skills and passives in all sorts of interesting ways (cast this spell whenever I get hit, add this spell whenever I hit someone, take this spell and cast it through a trap I place on the ground, etc). You just have to get through the first dozen hours of low level content you’ve played before.

      Anywho, one of my steam friends apparently has 3000+ hours in it, so there’s that.

      • philosoaper says:

        I’m at 3484 hours on steam…that is of course after it came out on steam and doesn’t include beta etc…who needs to see daylight really?

      • derbefrier says:

        man i always find the mid game the most fun in arpgs. its the part of the game where your character is developed enough to be fun and the difficulty is still forgiving enough to try crazy builds as generally the higher level you go in these games the more pigeon holed you are with choices and less you can get away with. I have made several characters that were fun as shit but kinda fizzled out in later levels because they were not properly optimized but still hop on them from time to time just because you cant build a that type of character for “end game”.

        also yeah all arps are moire fun with friends and hell if you can get a couple buddies to play with you and share loot you will find youself knee deep in uniques and cool gear to play with and try crazy builds in no time.

        • socrate says:

          The major problem with PoE is that you basically need to have no life to play,its grindy as hell,it doesn’t really have true respecing unless you find the really poor respec option viable,it as an insanely big spec tree that revolve around extremely small shitty bonus that could be shrunk 1000x and give the same result,the story is really boring even in term of arpg,you end up with people going cookie cutter since going anything else is really punishing and experimenting is simply out of the question,unless you are a virgin and having no life whatsoever is your goal in life.

          Basically playing Diablo 2 will pretty much give you a much better experiment if you can get past the horrible graphic and in a matter of a few days maximum..oh and you can now respec in Diablo 2…so yeah…much better experience,its sad because PoE could be better but its just a F2p grind fest that is extremely uninteresting and take days to shine…if you follow a newbie guide that is.

          • Lord Teleporno says:

            PoE is only grindy if you want to max a character out beyond 85, up to mid 80s it is pretty easy.
            It is a game made to try out different builds, not to focus on a single toon (which a lot of people do not get)
            When respeccing, you refine parts of your character, such as focus on crit, mana or blood magic etc.
            It is not designed for total respec and this is a conscious design choice.
            Having a job, a relationship and some parts of a social life, I can still get to the 80s in a couple of weeks in a new league, which is pretty fun. I usually sit the last month out and get back into the game as soon as new content is being released.
            Alternatively, you can try the no-life scenario (which a lot of the younger people do).
            For a FtP game, I do not know what more you can ask.
            You get races, 2-3 leagues per year, 1 month leagues and on average 2 expansions

    • abobo says:

      Heroin, new and improved!

      This is a life-consuming game for some of us obsessive, character optimization personalities.

      I quit cold turkey earlier this year. I’m not going back… I’m not going back…

    • darek334 says:

      I think even it is the Best game in the world of this type…

  2. csocializt says:

    I dunno, I think it’ll probably be around longer than five years, d2 is still played now…

  3. v1tr1ol says:

    Truly the best f2p game out there.
    Real fun starts above lvl 60 on cruel following merciless difficulty.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Qazinsky says:

    Like others have said, it’s mostly comparable to Diablo 2 when when talk popular games, if you enjoy those kind of games, I’d recommend you try it out, being free, it’s the right price to try it out, last time I played, there was no must to spend a single real life coin to enjoy it, mostly cosmetics, maybe some buff things, and more bank slots are kind of neat I guess.

    • ATLANTAE says:

      Made an account just to say that PoE has absolutely NO buyable buffs of ANY sort; GrindingGearGames is sticking to their guns with this and we, their fan-base could not be more proud.

  5. trashmyego says:

    I’m still astounded by every gaming journalist apparent ignorance about this game. There’s no better free to play model out there. And there’s no game adding more content regularly for free, with dedicated community support like this.

    • theslap says:

      It is indeed odd. It seems like GGG is doing a good job with press releases, trailers, and marketing. They don’t seem to be doing such a great job at making the game newbie friendly (no tutorials, Build of the Week videos that aren’t achievable by 99% of players, 3rd party trading system that is frustrating to say the least).

      • LexW1 says:

        The sad thing is, it’s not even that time-consuming to try it out properly. We’ve got plenty of journos (including at least one at RPS I believe) with hundreds of hours (or more) of D3 and similar game experience, yet pretty much universally, journos are “Well I’ve not played PoE but… [insert comments that don’t make a lot of sense to anyone who has played it]”.

        It almost seems like games with good F2P models attract less attention that those with questionable ones, sometimes.

        • socrate says:

          PoE is extremely grindy and if not following a guide when you get to the interesting part you end up being screwed as a newbie…its not like you can get a full respec and its not like the game is not tedious and as bad story…not to mention the overly big minor stat boost tree that is insanely huge for no reason other then to make people do mistake…and not to mention that you end up with the same experience playing Diablo 2 minus the good graphic in less time and with better story and more structured gameplay that actually make sense and doesnt revolve around grinding but instead on loot finding.

          Fan of this game seems to be blind to all this and defend this game at all cost,which i think is an even bigger turn off to new player.

          • nuclearunicorn7 says:

            Have you ever played high level Diablo 2 or actually looked at the PoE skill tree? It’s just as grindy high level PoE as it is in Diablo 2. And if you think things like a 10% bonus to a type of damage for a minor node that you can get a level 2 is small, you’ve been playing games with serious power inflation.

          • trashmyego says:

            PoE has a fine story for the genre and great lore, it’s just not forced on the player. And it’s no more grindy than Diablo 2, actually I’d consider the amount of content available within that grind to far exceed it or its sequel. The genre itself is grind. But PoE has vastly more build flexibility and depth in its loot system than any other ARPG, which can be a daunting minefield for new players. Add into this the race seasons and leagues, and continued content additions… I can’t imagine any real foundation to any objective ire.

            Also, sentences are you friend.

    • Premium User Badge

      Neurotic says:

      The irony is that I got into the beta through an ancient RPS piece, back when you had to register on the GGG forums and then cross your fingers and wait months for a slot to open up. :D

  6. zind says:

    This is one of those games I want to like so badly. I’ve probably spent more money on it between their crowdfunding campaigns and a handful of microtransactions than I have a lot of AAA full-price games, and yet I’ve NEVER been into it for more than a few days at a time.

    Not sure what it is about it, but I just keep bouncing off. A friend has told me that “the real fun doesn’t start till the higher levels” and honestly that’s enough to put me off playing at all, since I have yet to even make it that far.

    Yet, again, somehow this expansion has me excited and I will probably fire it up for another handful of hours and then peter out at around level 20 after playing with exactly 0 bits of new content :\

    • philosoaper says:

      it really only takes about an hour to reach level 20…

      • LexW1 says:

        Yeah, that’s a bit weird – if you’re playing for “a few days” and still somehow only L20, you’re either playing less than 20 mins/day, or you’re sticking around grinding low-level mobs, maybe needlessly clearing out entire maps or something?

        That said, it’s easy to think that’s the right thing to do if you haven’t done any of the races of the like. When I’d done a few races, it changed my entire perspective on leveling. Suddenly it became obvious how much time I was wasting footling around in low-end zones, when I could be continuing onwards.

    • theslap says:

      You should give it another shot, but honestly with more and more complex systems coming out I could imagine a new player being somewhat overwhelmed. Find a newbie friendly build and get to level 60 when most builds start to really shine.

      Funny thing is I have always had the exact opposite experience with PoE. I loved it immediately as soon as I saw the currency system and items. My interest tends to wane when I reach end-game content. Progress seems extremely slow, builds don’t change much after level 80, trading is a hassle, rewards are few and far between, mapping is rather dull if you’ve done it before, and pub groups are just not what they used to be. That’s why I tend to re-roll and why I love hardcore. If I die, then it’s an excuse to start a new character which breathes life back into the game for me at least. I do wish they had a method of leveling that didn’t require repeating the story-mode however.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      This is me as well.

      Love ARPGs yet every time PoE just fails to grab me at all. I’ve made it to around level 40 and just get bored.

      The first act is just an awful slog and by the time I get past it I lose all desire to keep playing.

      • Cerzi says:

        The first act has been improved a lot since beta/release, if you’ve not played in a while. Monster animations are all slicker, and since the last major patch (act4) they’ve streamlined all acts to be a fair bit shorter, with better placed waypoints.

      • nuclearunicorn7 says:

        Just so we’re on the same page here, did you spend a lot of time grinding mobs in Act 1? You really don’t want to be much more than the monster level for a certain map and spending time leveling up after that will just tire you out.

    • v1tr1ol says:

      You need 3 days tops to complete Normal difficulty.
      Like I said, from the chapter 3 on Cruel (aprox lvl 60) fun starts.

      It looks mature in comparison with D3 and D2, it has great atmosphere and really good soundtrack.

      It doesn’t take much hdd space and I’m usually playing it between long Eve Online nights and Insurgency’s hard core brutality.

      • socrate says:

        how is it more mature then Diablo 2 when it take almost everything from D2 artstyle and design?…that is just silly..did you actually play D2?

        • v1tr1ol says:

          Well, yeah I was wrong to compare it to D2 maturity. What I meant was better animations and complexity.

  7. trashmyego says:

    My advice would be to see if that friend would dedicate some time playing with you regularly when you attempt again. And maybe to find a strong easy build for you to put together and stick to, that can be viable self-found/with a little help. There are a lot of small hurdles in this game that regularly come up and I know the feeling of being trapped outside of the ‘sweet spot’. Grouping can make things move along faster than on your own, where luck can slow your progress if you’re not gearing well and don’t want to dip your toes into the complicated trading community.

    • trashmyego says:

      Ug, this was meant to be in reply to @zind. How difficult is it to have a commenting system that replies to posts when you use the reply button on them? It’s stupid you have to do it again if you’re not logged in when you initially click.

      • theslap says:

        It really is one of the worst comment/reply systems I’ve ever used. I’m forced to login virtually every time I visit the site even when my password is saved and “Remember Me” is checked. After logging and and finding the comment again, I hit the reply and the page reloads and there is no indication to which comment I am replying.

    • theslap says:

      Good advice. I love grouping but early on it seems much quicker to level by yourself unless you play with a group of friends who know what they are doing.

  8. Arglebargle says:

    I do like the game, but was tremendously impressed by the background and lore that GGG has built up for it. Writing’s good, voice acting is good, and the world is really interesting, if you have a taste for the dark and grim. And it reacts to your race/class in different ways.

    Lots of supposedly deep games have really lackluster writing in comparison.

    • theslap says:

      The writing is really good. One of these days I’ll actually play the game through without skipping the dialogue but every time I try, I just get this burning desire to hop to the next quest and kill more stuff and loot more stuff lol

      • trashmyego says:

        Letting the dialogue nodes play out while you continue on a map was a great addition. But yeah, still haven’t listened to about half of them myself.

  9. duns4t says:

    I feel like we (humanity) are lucky to have Path of Exile. Great game that keeps getting better and is truly free – really seems too good to be true.

    I played for about 2 months and surprised myself to have racked up 200 hours. Bought one or two cosmetic items and am tempted to reinstall just to buy a few more to congratulate them on for a good job done.

  10. Bing_oh says:

    I played it for quite awhile and, while I appreciate the ongoing tweaks and improvements, it was having to rebuild my characters every time the (very extensive) skill tree was altered that drove me away. When you have to repeatedly re-distribute 50+ skills throughout the massive skill tree, not remembering exactly which primary skills you had to begin with, it became tiresome.

  11. Kabukiman74 says:

    One thing that really annoyed me when I tried PoE was the naming of characters. It requires a unique name and it really took me some time (about 1,5h – no kidding) to find one that wasn’t taken (not talking about the “common” names there and I dislike using numbers and/or cryptic symbols to make my name “unique”.

    The best game in that aspect IIRC is “Champions Online” (and Star Trek Online), where your character name is combined with your account name (eg “Batman@accountname” to make the unique combination. So you can have 100 ppl playing “Batman” on the same server without generating abominations like “xxxBatmanxxx”, “Bâtmân”, “b47m4n” (or at least make them way less ubiquitous).

    I really wonder why most games still demand a unique character name, only freeing up names of inactive players once in a blue moon and, should these players decide to return, forcing a renaming of the respective characters. Even server merging would be a non-issue with the above system, at least when it comes to naming of characters.

    • theslap says:

      It can be annoying to find names especially since people create new characters constantly for races and leagues and then they are moved to a permanent standard or hardcore ladder. I’ve given up making my names unique because of this. Now, I just come up with a name and slap “SLAP” in front of it.

      • Kabukiman74 says:

        The thing is, it’s not only annoying. I bet I’m not the only one who has struggled to chat with someone who has decided to mask his name with the most obscure characters unicode has to offer. Try entering a name like “Đǎɍķńĩńĵâ” without being able to resort to copy/paste.

        As cheesy as the original name would be, at least you can type it without a big hassle…;)

        • theslap says:

          I wasn’t aware that they allowed special characters. I use and so I just use the copy “Hi I’m interested in your….” function.

  12. Hunchback says:

    You don’t know anyone who’s played PoE?
    I am pretty sure some of the other authors in RPS have played it, i guess a simple search on the site would show exactly who, but anyway, that’s a weird statement.

    As for these new “classes”, this sounds quite interesting. I just hope they manage to keep it balanced and interesting, not just throwing MOAR SHIT at you like Blizz usually do with WoW/Diablo expansions.

    • trashmyego says:

      Pretty weird thing for him to write in the article. But then again, it wasn’t much of an article. Quite lazy actually. No effort given whatsoever. But it’s not like shitty journalism like this is really needed for the current playerbase, since GGG talks directly with the community and is extremely open about all development information. Still, it’s sad that poor work like this is introducing the expansion/game to those who haven’t jumped in yet.

      • nuclearunicorn7 says:

        To be fair though, there isn’t much info too cover in the first place for the ascendancy classes, especially when RPS is only covering the one that GGG gave them.

  13. Slabs says:

    The initial learning curve is steep for sure, but so rewarding once you get over the hump.

    GGG are pretty bloody amazing as a company as well it seems.

    • Tekrunner says:

      I don’t know, I kind of had the opposite issue. Discovering all of the game’s systems was fun, but once I got to the end game (after beating merciless) the amount of grinding necessary to do anything interesting just became too much and I stopped playing. I did enjoy my ~50h in the game, but I have no desire to go back. The game does a lot of things right (like the crafting system, which on paper is probably one of the best ones ever made), but in the end it’s a little too hard to properly enjoy them if you can’t dedicate hundreds of hours to it.

      It did make me want to play more ARPG, so I went and bought Diablo 3. The contrast makes D3’s systems seem quite oversimplified, but at least it’s a game that I can just go and play for an hour and feel like I made some progress.

  14. Minsc_N_Boo says:

    Path of Exile is my favourite game at the moment. I have been playing regularly since the beta. There are lots of new updates that keep it fresh and interesting.

    It can take a while to get to grips with the game, but if you have enjoyed the first 2 Diablo games it is worth giving it a shot. It also has one of the best F2P models out there.

    Can’t wait for the new expansion