Path of Exile’s free War for The Atlas expansion is live

Path of Exile

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.

We’ve previously covered both the expansion itself and its accompanying new league mechanic in depth, but if you don’t feel like wading hip-deep through that again, here’s the abridged version:

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.

28 Comments

  1. Jonfon says:

    I love Path of Exile but what eventually defeated me wasn’t bad builds or a tough level or end boss.

    It was the Inventory handling. It’s chronic. The final straw was when the hugely enjoyable league I was doing ended and it merged the league stash into my regular one, as a series of “take only” tabs in a weird order. There’s nothing in the interface to merge or auto arrange.

    So I was defeated by clutter and the lack of will to face manually reconstructing and rearranging them back into some form of order.

    • UncleLou says:

      I know exactly what you mean, but ask yourself one question: will you *ever* play standard league again? If “no”, just delete all your characters, ignore or delete all your stuff, and just enjoy a fresh new start with the new content.

      • Dominic Tarason says:

        Yeah, if you’ve got so much in your stash that you don’t even know where to begin with sorting it, you’ve probably got too much stuff. I’ve trimmed down a lot – now I only hoard uniques and modded rares that I’ve sunk resources into maintaining.

        Half the challenge in Path of Exile is knowing what stuff to ignore completely. Try looking at some expert players on Twitch sometime – they pass on maybe 95% of the loot.

      • Jonfon says:

        Well the answer there is yes-no. I probably will for the new act layout.

        But yes. I’m a hoarder by nature in these sorts of games. But even the act of trying to keep gems and ‘currency’ in order makes me weep. I did buy a currency tab, but you still have to manually slot it all into.place.

        As for items I think it’s more ‘oooh. That has nice links’ which gets me every time rather than ‘that has nice stats.

        I really should just sell the lot in a dump splurge rather than hoarding for selling as part of shop recipies which I never get around to doing.

        • Zanchito says:

          Good buy on the currency tab. You don’t actually need to manually place everything, just right click (or control click, can’t remember) from your inventory and it’ll auto place the currency you clicked on.

          I’m a hoarder too, but in the end, it’s just silly to store most of the things, specially skill gems, they are cheap to buy from the vendors and all become available after finishing some quests. There’s a particular vendor in Act 3 that has most if not all of the in-game gems. Nowadays I just keep uniques, and even then, I generally place them in the guild stash and take stuff from there too. If I take a hard look at my own stash, 85% of the stuff I keep there I could throw away, really.

          • Slabs says:

            Lily Roth will sell you any gem after you complete her quest in Act 6. Anywhere that she appears after that.

          • Jonfon says:

            There’s an auto-store action for currency?? Damn it!! There’s me doing it manually (and taking ages cos I keep forgetting what goes where).

            I met the ghost guy in a library who sells most things so yeah, not sure what I’m doing with entire tabs of gems I never use.

          • YummyBananas says:

            You should just collect the superior gems, i.e. those with a quality percentage, because they will get you a gemcutter’s prism when you vendor them for a combined amount of 40% quality.

          • Premium User Badge

            Qazinsky says:

            Just would like to point out that, while the vendor sells MOST gems, there are some rare drop only gems you might want to save: link to pathofexile.gamepedia.com

  2. mruuh says:

    Their “ethical F2P” model is starting to get tarnished, though, with them offering lootboxes containing random cosmetics. It’s a trend that began about a year ago, and there are many people who keep falling for that – paying and paying to gamble through all the duplicate low-value, high-chance cosmetics, just to finally get something rarer.

    • mruuh says:

      Their latest lootbox: link to pathofexile.com

    • Quadricwan says:

      I don’t understand how that carries any weight. Fact of the matter, is that all thr micro transactions in your game are cosmetic (excluding stash tabs, a bare minimum of which are required). The MTX are essentially “hats”.

    • KidWithKnife says:

      Falling for what? It’s not like players don’t know they might not get the item they’re after. This isn’t a case of a developer locking important game content in lockboxes, it’s pure fluff.

      • mruuh says:

        Important or not, the fact remains that the (some of the) cosmetics available from the lootboxes are highly sought after, and the lootbox itself is really online gambling, with its ugly effects – young players being exposed to the “just buy one more” temptation.

        The ethical thing would be to just make the cosmetics that you can find in the lootbox available for direct purchase. They are going to do that eventually, but they could cut out this gambling crap entirely.

        Also, the cosmetics from their previous “chaos mystery box” lootbox, which they also promised to make available for direct purchase, still aren’t available. Apparently pushing out a new lootbox had higher priority.

        I do not like it at all, and I’m otherwise a big fan of the company behind Path of Exile.

        • KidWithKnife says:

          Gambling for cosmetics and gambling for monetary prizes are two very different things. One of them dangles the hope of winning back one’s losses in front of an unlucky gambler, the other does not. That is a pretty crucial distinction.

          This may not mean much to non-US readers, but I wonder how many people who’re “taking a stand” over lockboxes are also writing their state governments about state lotteries and Megabucks. Both of which are super scummy and actually do take advantage of at-risk customers. There’s a reason they sell lottery tickets in the same places they also sell cigarettes and alcohol.

          • mruuh says:

            Yes, and there are age restrictions if you want to participate in such lotteries, just like if you want to participate in buying mentioned cigarettes and alcohol. In-game lootboxes, however, are proudly and loudly marketed to underage players.

            I see your point about monetary returns from real-world gambling, and it certainly has a merit. However, that is not the only reason gambling is so addictive. The “this time, I’ll get that thing I want” skinnerbox mechanic is too powerful for some to resist. Especially in an ARPG like Path of Exile, which is all about “skinnerboxing” to get that rare equipment drop after hours of “farming maps”. Just watch some high-level player on twitch, they go through maps with insane speed, ignoring 99% of the dropped loot, waiting for good stuff to appear. And now they add lootboxes to that mix…

        • theslap says:

          All of the lootbox items will eventually be on the store. I get it. People have problems with throwing away their money. To call it gambling is a misnomer. I waste $20 of points every league on the boxes and I usually feel it’s money well spent. If you are going to spend $300 and expect that you will get precisely everything you want, then you should just wait until they are in the store at full price.

  3. BaronKreight says:

    They tend to show off those nice looking armor sets which you can’t actually get by playing the game. You can only buy them with real money. The gear you get by playing the game looks like trash.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      The cash-shop stuff is gaudy as all hell and kinda exhausting just to see in towns.

      Unique gear has cool looks, for the most part.

      • modzero says:

        There needs to be a paid feature to disable other people’s stuff. I’d buy it.

        I kinda like the soft highlights, like the purple ones. But anything beyond that is just way too much.

    • percydaman says:

      They gotta keep the lights on somehow. The entire game is free after all.

  4. Quadricwan says:

    And … you know… the game is free. FREEEEEE. All the content. Need to make money somehow – if they do that by selling visuals for gear, why wouldn’t that be what they showcased?

    • Unclepauly says:

      Your logic is getting in the way of your feelings. Lets get back to how you really feel… (pssst, money is evil)

  5. Colwolf77 says:

    I feel sad every time I click on the ‘I’m a bad person’ button :(

  6. aliksy says:

    I should try this again, but it’s a bit overwhelming planning a build out before you even start. And I’ve done the opening acts so.. many..times.

    I get they don’t want easy respec to encourage constant rerolling, but I’d think the leagues have the same effect. I always stress too much about my build.

    • Premium User Badge

      Qazinsky says:

      I tend to usually start each league with a Duelist and make him a gladiator (for the spell block node), and then collect life and shield block nodes near the Duelist starter area, then either move and take them to the left half of the tree or to the right, depending on what skills I plan to use (most of the time, I go right through Ranger starting area up til the shield block cluster near Shadow).

      High block chance and decent Life will most likely get a player through most of the Labyrinths and the story and at least a few tiers of maps without anything fancier than self found gear.

      Getting that far, you’d probably have a better understanding of what you want to do and how you might want to plan your own build.

  7. elvirais says:

    I love the game but I have little time to play, so for me the league system is annoying. I can’t start a new character, I just want to slowly progress my existing ones, who are now in standard league. Frustrating i can’t join people in the new league with old characters.