Path Of Exile’s New Prophecy Update Detailed

Using my mystical powers, I am able to look into the future and tell you that Path of Exile‘s newest update, Prophecy, will be arriving June 3. But wait, there’s more! I sat down with Chris Wilson, producer and lead designer at Grinding Gear Games, to get a peek at how Prophecy is going to be mixing up Path of Exile’s loot grind – and I’m quite excited by what I saw.

A large focus on Path of Exile has been its challenge leagues, which are essentially special servers that open periodically for months at a time and mess around with various elements to Path of Exile’s core leveling experience. In order to play in these leagues, you have to start a new character along with everyone else. Normally these challenge leagues tend to roll out every three months, with bigger expansions arriving every six—but Prophecy shakes up the core of Path of Exile so much that you’d be hard pressed not to just call it an expansion in itself. At least, that’s how I felt after Chris walked me through everything that Prophecy includes.

For those participating in the Prophecy challenge league, their new best friend is going to be Navali, a soothsayer who inhabits the four towns that you’ll frequent on your adventure. She isn’t cool just because she has a weird demon monkey on her arm, but because she can peer into your future and speak prophecies over you, altering the events of Path of Exile according to each unique one.

Earning these prophecies will take special silver coins which periodically drop from the various monsters you kill, and Chris estimates players will probably find one every fifteen minutes or so when they’re out in the field butchering stuff. Taking a coin to Navali will earn you a random prophecy, which you can then keep and try and fulfill or spend more coins to turn into a tradeable item—I’ll get into that a bit later. According to Chris, there’s going to be anywhere between 150 to 200 prophecies that Navali can make and you’re able to hold up to seven at a time. In essence, each prophecy alters elements of Path of Exile’s random nature in such a way that players will want to collect them in order to guarantee certain events will come to pass.

If you’re not already familiar with how Path of Exile works, there’s the basic story quests that you chase down to proceed through each of its main acts, but as the game has evolved Grinding Gear have layered on all sorts of fun little distractions that happen randomly. For example, Elreon is a special NPC that players can sometimes stumble across who needs a bit of help surviving a monster attack. Saving him gives Elreon experience that levels him up and unlocks some powerful crafting recipes for players to use—but because finding Elreon is completely random, leveling him up quickly can be frustrating and time consuming.

One of the first and simplest prophecies Chris showed me involved making an encounter with Elreon happen sooner rather than later—something that would be valuable to a lot of players with the intent of leveling him up. Of course, there’s always the option of spending a few extra silver coins at Navali and having that prophecy bottled up to be traded to another player, adding more depth to Path of Exile’s already incredible item-based economy.

The prophecies that Navali gives you are always random, so players will frequently be earning coins and turning them in so they can get new ones or package up those they don’t want for sale to other players. True to Path of Exile’s nature, even the coins can be traded, which Chris explains was done so that players who have no interest in actually fulfilling prophecies can still play in the league and profit. It also creates an interesting relationship between newer and older players on the server as a newer character might obtain a rare but challenging prophecy that they’d rather trade away for a considerable sum than try and complete themselves.

Speaking of challenging prophecies, there’s going to be a ton. Some involve killing bosses while equipped with terrible items, others pit you against significantly more dangerous monsters that can even use player spells. In one encounter Chris showed me, a boss is possessed by the spirit of another villain, gaining access to her abilities in addition to his own. Completing these prophecies comes with its own rewards like special items or low level equipment that’s been repurposed for use by endgame players. There’s even prophecy chains, where completing one prophecy will open up access to another if you have the good fortune of getting it from Navali—kind of like an ongoing quest line.

With so much freedom in Prophecy, players should be able to dictate their own goals for what they want to achieve, whether that’s leveling up NPCs like Elreon or farming incredibly rare items that can only be found through certain prophecies. There’s also challenges that can be completed across the three month period that Prophecy will be live for, and in doing so players will earn unique cosmetic rewards like ominous purple footprints or weapon skins. For the truly dedicated, Navali’s demon-monkey-thing can also be earned.

But what if you don’t like challenge leagues (see how I read your mind there)? Prophecy contains other updates for those who don’t fancy rolling a brand new character and starting from scratch. Chief among those is a new endgame Labyrinth for Path of Exile’s veterans. This new dungeon is a maze of deadly traps and monsters that they can access after completing six new Trials of Ascendancy that sometimes spawn in endgame maps. Beating the new Labyrinth unlocks some more Ascendancy Points, which opens up powerful new options for building your character as well as new enchantment for your helmet.

If you’re not quite at the level where you’re tackling Path of Exile’s endgame content, Prophecy will also introduce a host of new skills to play around with as well as some always welcome performance improvements like faster loading times. But really, if you’re not jumping into the Prophecy league and trying to wrestle Path of Exile’s random events into submission, this update probably won’t have you very excited and you’ll need to wait until September for a true expansion. I haven’t played Path of Exile in quite some time, but after talking with Chris and seeing all the interesting ways the new league adds depth to the trading economy, I fancy another stroll through the bleak ruins of Wraeclast.

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41 Comments

  1. trjp says:

    I’ve tried to love PoE on more than one occasion but even if I ignore many of the complaints I have, there’s one I cannot ignore.

    You cannot reset your skill choices completely (you have a limited undo capability) and it’s quite possible to paint yourself into a corner/get completely stuck and not be able to continue.

    Given that you might have a few dozen hours invested at that point and your only choice is starting-over – nope, not playing that game.

    Seriously – just give us a complete skill reset option – hell, I’d pay for it (tho I’d rather not)

    • OlaSarcasm says:

      Dude you can get tons of respec points from 4 acts and 3 difficulties as well as grinding regret orbs. Vendors also sells regret orbs for 2 scours for 1 regret.

    • PanzerID says:

      You absolutely can fully respec you character, its just somewhat expensive in terms of ingame currency, also any time Grinding Gear Games fiddles with the passive skill tree they tend to give a full free respec to all characters.

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      RobearGWJ says:

      Also, you can simply shelve the character for a few months until a new skill set gives everyone a free reset. Use the time to figure out where you went wrong so you can avoid it, and in the meantime, level up a new character or four.

      • Bing_oh says:

        Oddly enough, it was the frequent respecs that made me finally give up on PoE. I got tired of getting a character to a point where I was having a good time, where my skills and jewels and equipment were finally all meshing, just to have them change up the (massive) skill tree and having to try to rebuild the character I had from scratch.

    • widardd says:

      Honestly it’s somewhat like complaining about deaths in roguelikes. Failing is part of the game, just reroll.

      • aliksy says:

        A lot of roguelike characters have a pretty short lifespan. Minutes, maybe a few hours if you win. Path of Exile characters are dozens or hundreds of hours to get to mid-game and end-game.

        • trjp says:

          What he said – a first-time player will spend 60+ hours getting to ‘endgame’, that’s not a timespan people want to repeat just to fix a mistake…

          • KarlHungus says:

            I get the feeling that you don’t want to waste time by having to re-roll an entirely new character if a build doesn’t work. If that’s what you’re after, there’s plenty of action RPGs on the market.

            But you can easily get upward of 20 respec points by progressing through the game’s 3 difficulties and finding Orbs of Regret as you do it. That’s plenty to correct minor mistakes. What about major mistakes? Yes, you’ll have to re-roll a character. Is this friendly to casual players? Totally not. But the developers aren’t trying to be jerks about this.

            Believe it or not, there’s a fairly dedicated following to Path of Exile that believes in actually building a character means living with the choices you make. This helps enhance the feeling that every character you take through the game is different than the last. If I can respec whenever I want, then now my character loses all identity. Maybe I’ll be a spark-build one day and a flame totem the next. Perhaps I see someone using a new OP meta build and I decide I’ll respec to that.

            If you don’t want to see how having a respec button cheapens this experience, then Path of Exile just isn’t the game for you and that’s okay! Every game doesn’t need to be enjoyed by everybody.

          • Kitsunin says:

            My question is, is there another ARPG which plays like PoE (which strangely I find much more satisfying than Diablo 3 or Torchlight 2, admittedly I haven’t tried any others) yet without quite such a degree of grind?

            Because there doesn’t seem to be, and that’s why I find the permanence of leveling in it to be a shame.

          • Gus the Crocodile says:

            Yep, that’s precisely it, Kitsunin. “There are plenty of other ARPGs” is always a bit of a non-point, because people don’t want some other ARPG, they want Path of Exile with a slight adjustment, same as anyone making a suggestion about any other game. Indeed, GGG have always had a suggestions forum on their website, rather than, I don’t know, a big sign saying “go play something else if you don’t like everything we’re doing”.

            Generally I would have hoped PC players would be more appreciative of the possibility of customisation, really. If some people prefer to play without respecs because they feel it “cheapens the experience” or whatever else, that’s absolutely reasonable, but it doesn’t have to be the case that only one kind of player can be accommodated – if that were the case the game already wouldn’t have things like the option to play in “hardcore” modes.

          • Bremze says:

            The problem is that permanence is a major theme of the game. If you take dislike respecs being limited behind currency, you’ll probably won’t like a bunch of mechanics (near permanent quest reward choices, skill gem leveling, the crafting system being prime suspects)

          • LazyBro says:

            So you want PoE but you don’t want to play the majority of its content? You want to make levelling a one time deal like an MMO? That’s just not how most things are with ARPGs. If you play standard core then getting your regret orbs and levelling your character will be easy if you are willing to actually play the game.
            Stop expecting everything to be handed to you, if you don’t like levelling then as someone already said, you won’t like most of the game mechanics.
            Take some time making crappy builds and having fun with each one and then begin to improve on them as you learn more about the game in general. If you don’t want to do that then honestly it’s best you find another genre or possibly a simpler game because it’s very unlikely they will be saturating the leagues by adding another one for players who won’t even stick around for long until they quite after seeing how boring it is being handed everything.

          • Gus the Crocodile says:

            @Bremze:

            I feel like that kind of prediction is sort of inherently not useful in discussions like this, since if it were actually the case that people’s likes were grouped that way, the discussions largely wouldn’t come up in the first place. Obviously the predictions are generalisations, I get that, but that’s just it – feedback isn’t generalised, it’s coming from individuals.

            You don’t need to think every aspect of something is perfect to enjoy that thing, is basically what’s I think is important here. I’ve been playing POE since closed beta because I think it’s excellent, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing in its huge pile of interlocking designs that I’d prefer were done differently.

          • LazyBro says:

            @GusTheCrocodile I understand what you mean that it would be nice to have everyone happy but honestly flooding the game with various leagues for all different players just won’t work. It will not be easily understood by new people and it just leads to a lower player count in leagues which mean worse economy of items. If you had been playing since closed beta up until now then you would understand that as a player who has put in over a thousand hours, that this idea is no less ridiculous than saying “add an auction house because I don’t like manual trading”. You can keep making a game easier for people but then it just becomes a whole new game, we have standard league and that itself should be enough for casual players who don’t want to put time into their builds to be able to reach 90+

            How about we get all the players who want an auction house to get their own dedicated league with an auction house. Get all the players who don’t want to experience levelling and give them a league that they start at 100. Make both leagues hardcore and softcore… but what would we do about the breed of player that wants both auction house and no levelling? Add another league for that and then we are good for now. When another suggestions comes up saying “I hate finding gear and switching gear in ARPGs” we will simply add 8 more new leagues so that they can experience the game the way they want.
            See how silly it sounds. They know that people who don’t like levelling exist just the same way as people who don’t like having to find gear exist but they are smart enough to know that it just can’t be fixed without ruining the game and that’s why they don’t implement a lot of suggestions on the forums.

          • Gus the Crocodile says:

            @LazyBro,

            I don’t find the bit about game options making things too hard to understand for new players all that persuasive. I don’t think the ideas that a) POE is for players prepared to put in lots of effort understanding all these interacting systems and redoing characters as necessary rather than being “handed everything”, and b) POE is for people who can’t handle the existence of an options screen about game settings, really reconcile very well.

            If I thought accommodating people’s preferences with more options sounded silly, I wouldn’t have posted in the first place. As it seems you’ve been following the game for a while too, I expect sure you’re aware that GGG initially advertised custom leagues as one of the planned features, and they have since reiterated in a number of Q&A sessions that it’s still something they’re looking at now that the “core game” is a bit more filled out.

    • njury says:

      The time it takes to level a charecter really isn’t that bad.
      In that aspect it’s like Diablo 2, and thats what people, myself included, absolutely love.

      Wanna correct a mistake you can use respec points or a few orbs of regret. Otherwise you’ll have to level up again. And everything you find while leveling up will boost your economy also. It’s never for nothing while leveling unlike every other arpg.

      • trjp says:

        I guess it depends on your idea of ‘not much time’ but we’re talking 50+ hours of grind here – hell I’ve got over 30 thrown into PoE and I’ve barely completed Act 3 Normal (endgame starts 2 difficulties higher than where I am – two more complete runs through the “story”!!)

        • LexW1 says:

          Trjp – It should not take you that long, even as a new player. It totally did, if you were new, when PoE released, but that was a long, long time ago.

          You should be in Act 4 Normal within 4-8 hours (under 2 maybe even under 1 if you’re a real racer), 10 at the absolute explore-y outside, and Cruel should take significantly less time, and when you’re in Act 4 Merciless, you’re at endgame. So 30 hours should see your at endgame, generally, even as a new player now.

          I’ve been checking my /played and that certainly holds true for my characters.

          • trjp says:

            My first time run through the first 3 Acts took 26 hours (this was a while back) – the 2nd time I did it it took 17 hours.

            That’s a fair-old-chunk-of-time – I now have to do Act 4, Acts 1-4 on tougher difficulty and Acts 1-3 on tougher still?? Hard to see that taking less than 50-60 hours and no way I’m spending that time to discover I’ve ALREADY screwed-up my build!?

            I’m not asking for D3 levels of easy (endgame in 4 hours) but something inbetween might be nice.

          • ZedZed says:

            Did you read the article lately on RPS recently about how reviewers (or anyone!) seems to need to have to conform to this “oh I did the content really quickly” approach? ;-)

            Seriously though … I’m a relatively new player to PoC … and from my view, there is no chance that a completely new player will be in Act 4 in 4 hours. There are so many things to learn about (which isn’t a bad thing), from builds, gear, mechanics … I think it took my about 20 hours the first time to complete Act 1 – 4 and I wasn’t rushing (or faffing about either). I then went through the next 2 difficulty levels (acts 1-4, twice) in about the same time.

            I’m sure if I was to roll a new char I’d be there in about 4-8 hours now (I don’t race much) … but that’s with experience and probably a few hours research at the start checking out where my build is going to go.

            Anyway .. I enjoy the game .. it’s genuinely free to play, and I only dropped some cash into it to repay the developers for what has been probably around 80 hours + gameplay (I’ve a few “alts” going too).

    • tattertech says:

      Your complaint is what a lot of people actually love about the game. Two things also mitigate the problem:

      1) Between quest reward respecs & currency you can actually fix your passive tree pretty significantly (with enough investment all the way but that would be a waste because…)
      2) After your first character or two, even in a fresh league leveling can be very, very quick. Just watch how fast people will start to hit merciless after the start of a league. It’s even easier when you’ve built up a stash in game to boost new characters faster.

      • trjp says:

        The idea that something should be difficult/obstructive or impossible just because “some people like it” is retarded.

        If you want to be limited and waste time playing the game – feel free to do that. Everyone else, however, would like a “reset my skills” button because it’s a game, not a chore

        This same argument comes up in most games – people don’t want an ‘option’ to be there because they don’t want to use it. Hey, here’s an idea – don’t fucking use it.

        • LazyBro says:

          Made an account to call out how ridiculous your argument is. You are claiming the option should be added and everyone (the majority of players) that disagree with destroying the passive point system just to suit the need of those who have made massive mistakes in their build.
          If you mess up a couple points in your tree then you will easily be able to fix it with some respec points given during the levelling process. If you mess up more than a couple then you can complete the side quests that give more respec points, however if you mess up more points than you get respec points for then you are probably a new player and having one character is not the way this game is meant to be played and making a new character and improving on what you messed up with your previous build is all part of the fun.
          This game is largely based on players experimenting with different builds and play styles to see what they have the most fun with and you basically want to remove the entire levelling process from an ARPG which is silly. If we could all respec when we wanted then the game would be too easy and dull as no one would put time into their builds before making them because they could just as easily level with an OP race tree and spec out of it later when it suits them to.

        • ScubaMonster says:

          The idea that something should be made easy to pander to crybabies is retarded. Did you ever reroll in Diablo 2? (or even play it?) If you want a game that let’s you put zero planning into your build play Diablo 3. Be thankful that PoE doesn’t delete hardcore league characters like Diablo (just get punted to regular instead)

        • ScubaMonster says:

          People like you are what ruined games like WoW. Everything gets watered down into a snoozefest for the sake of making things easier and streamlined. You don’t even have talent trees in WoW anymore because apparently that was too hard.

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          Minsc_N_Boo says:

          Yay! Seeing RPS reporting PoE news always makes me happy. I’m a big fan of the game, and been playing a long time. I think the concensus of most players is full respect are *not* needed.

          You get 18 free respec points from completing quests, and you can also find respec currency or buy it from a vendor.

          Full respecs make build choices less meaningful, and once you know the game mechanics better getting to end game can take less than 10 hours.

        • trjp says:

          Calling someone a ‘crybaby’/assuming that your view is the consensus with ZERO evidence is the very definition of retarded – but even if ‘most’ players don’t want a thing doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be there for the people who DO (you can easily ignore it and stay hardcore)

          It’s like demanding chocolate be banned because you’re a fat pig who can’t stop eating it…

          If you want every game to be ‘roguelike’, ignore your extra lives and restart and voila, every game is ‘roguelike’. You don’t even need ‘hardcore mode’, when you die just delete your savegame (or kill yourself for the most extreme experience obv!!)

          My point was that I’m not playing a game which lets me paint myself into a corner asking my to make choices it’s not explained fully. See also the vendor recipe/crafting system which is entirely unexplained in-game – some people probably don’t even realise it exists!?

          The other oddity for me is that I played PoE at launch and it seemed more fun – I’m bloody sure maps dropped in Normal difficulty and the game felt more challenging – my last playthrough (late last year) was the very definition of grindy, dull and boring (the opposite of D3 which just gets more fun as it ages then?)

  2. satan says:

    Have played both games and I think this is about the fifth time I’ve been reading an article on path of exile, got really confused, only to realise I came in here thinking it was an article about pillars of eternity… and the reverse has happened repeatedly too. I feel weird.

  3. lanster27 says:

    I hope GGG doesn’t always gate contents behind random loot drops and grinding. Awakening’s big queen boss, gated behind the map fragments. If a average player looks at POE and takes out all the randomness aspect, there isn’t much fun to it other than the skill-web and building a character.

    Why not introduce new contents by making it limited to 100% drops from certain bosses, or even sold by merchants? But I guess this might be their moneymaking strategy, forcing the player to play.

  4. eclipse mattaru says:

    I don’t know if someone even reads this, but for the last couple days the site is completely screwed up to see in a phone (in mine anyway). Apparently it’s the “From this site” little ad banner thingie, it’s all stretched to infinity, and it takes all the site’s layout with it, making it ridiculously wide, which in turn makes it impossible to read anything.

    • Kemipso says:

      Doesnt happen on Nexus 5 with Chrome and the latest version of Android, whatever that is. It may be related to your phone / browser and not the site?

    • Gus the Crocodile says:

      Yep, they know about it:
      link to twitter.com

      • eclipse mattaru says:

        @Kemipso: It doesn’t happen in my SO’s phone either, but in mine it happens no matter which navigator I use. I guess it’s a matter of layers acting up on certain screen resolutions?

        @Gus the Crocodile: Thanks for that! I’m a very very old fart who still refuses to enter that twitter thing so I would probably never find out.

  5. Neurotic says:

    Love it. Haven’t played PoE for about a month now, but even as we speak the launcher is loading.

  6. Kitsunin says:

    It’s a very imprecise thing, but I just like the way PoE feels far more than any of its competition. Yet I only have time to play for one or two hours each week, and not every week, so the idea of the game expecting me to use several characters, and it taking tens of hours to really feel like I’m playing the “meat” of the game with each is…really unattractive.

    Hell, when I played Torchlight, which I’ve long-since gotten sick of, I liked to play with mods so I could go crazy with “trying before I buy” in different builds (I suppose Diablo 3 lets you do so as well since you’re never locked into a build). I just want another ARPG which feels good. And Path of Exile “feels” so good all the external stuff keeping it from me is frustrating.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Meant to have this as a reply to that dreadfully fat comment chain before…probably for the best it’s down here instead.

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        AutonomyLost says:

        Probably — it was rather bloated further up the page, needlessly so. Anyway, your comments helped push me toward trying out the game, which I will most likely do this weekend when I’m able to access my PC. Here’s hoping the experience is good! And if not, it’s free and I’m out a couple hours’ time. No biggie.

    • zind says:

      I’m pretty much in the same boat. I have a couple friends who are super into the game and when the Perandus league started up I jumped in with one of them. Got to act 4, further than I ever made it before, took probably 12-14 hours. It was nice to get that far, but at the same time I wasn’t really having as much fun because I was using a cookie cutter build off the forums.

      PoE really strikes me, like the Dark Soulses, as a game that would’ve been perfect for me back through college, but I just can’t do these days. I just don’t have the time anymore for games that use difficulty or inaccessibility as a feature, when they really used to be my main thing.

  7. Atrak says:

    Love the fact that GGG and Path of Exile are still going strong, a great game with one of the friendliest f2p systems ever.

    I don’t play as often as I did, but I do go back every now and again to see what has changed, and it’s still great fun, this new content sounds pretty interesting actually. Looking forward to checking it out.

  8. gibbousmoon says:

    The Labyrinth is pretty awful. A lot of people on the forums (and reddit, and youtube) are surprised GGG is trying to feed more of it to players after it caused so many people to quit the game outright (because it’s not really optional).