It’s time for the inhabitants of the intensely haunted continent of Wraeclast to do it all again with feeling. Path of Exile has expanded, with War For The Atlas bringing new content and mechanics to the post-story multiverse, and the Abyss Challenge League adding a (literal) fresh hell to explore.
Check out the very extensive patch notes for the update here, or read on for a shorter reminder of what’s in this major two-part update.
The endgame is a LOT bigger now. While the previous expansion – Fall of Oriath – vastly expanded the scale of the main story (from 4 acts looped over 3 difficulty settings, to one steady ramp-up of difficulty across 10 distinct acts), War For The Atlas builds on the post-story adventures that begin once you’ve run out of gods to murder and start dipping into parallel dimensions so that you can murder their deities.
War for the Atlas integrates all the content from Fall of Oriath into the Atlas, along with some new tricks of its own. For example, two rival gods of creation are now fighting over control of the multiverse, and your strategic choices will gradually affect the outcome of the conflict. Whichever god you help to victory will be who you’re throwing down with as your True Final Boss at the end of space and time itself. Given that the previous story decision of the game was which of three bandit leaders to spare (if any) back in Act 2, this is a teensy bit of an escalation in stakes.
This is all endgame content, though. To spice up the long road to eternity, there’s the new league which has sweeping effects on the whole game should you participate. You’ll have to roll a new character to join the fun, but you’ll find the world infested with new undead monsters that burrow up through cracks in the ground. Follow these spreading crevasses through the map far enough, killing critters as they spawn, and you might encounter a mini-boss, chest full of new abyssal gear, or even a tunnel down into the depths to face the lich at the heart of this new infestation in a knock-down, drag-out multi stage boss fight.
As always, Path of Exile remains completely free, game-content wise. Adhering to the developer’s ‘Ethical free-to-play’ business model, while you can buy extra cross-character stash tabs (you start with several free) with real money, that’s the absolute extent to which cash can change the game. Everything else in the (extensive) cash-shop is purely cosmetic and re-usable across characters, leagues and beyond. It’s an example that I wish more free-to-play developers would follow.