Fantasy action RPG Path Of Exile’s been kicking about for nearly a decade, but it’s still receiving hefty chunks of fresh stuff every three months. The latest, roguelike expansion Forbidden Sanctum, was revealed fully today during a livestream by devs Grinding Gear Games. You can see more of what to expect when update 3.20 Forbidden Sanctum opens its doors on December 9th in the trailer below.
Forbidden Sanctum throws your character into the foreboding depths of its titular dungeons, challenging them to survive runs as best they can across four floors. Each floor has a boss to tackle, but they are the least of your problems. You’ll also stumble into rooms that Grinding Gear’s CEO Chris Wilson calls “afflicted”. Your character can succumb to minor and major afflictions by entering these rooms, but they can be balanced out or counteracted by finding boons of varying strengths. Afflictions will build up throughout a run, though, making things harder the more you press on further.
Grinding Gear say they’ve been influenced by a whole batch of different roguelikes while designing Forbidden Sanctum, from The Binding Of Isaac all the way back to Rogue itself. Every run through the Sanctum will be different. You’ll have to keep an eye on your character’s resolve level, lowered by enemy attacks and environmental hazards, to prevent them from dropping out. Some rooms present your character with a resolve-refilling fountain, but others have afflicted fountains that offer more than the usual top-up of resolve. As you might expect, these can cause more trouble than they're worth.
Onto the spoils, or why else would you be playing a roguelike? You’ll also be presented with choices throughout your run to either accept rewards on the spot or wait to receive better ones after you’ve taken on a floor’s boss and won. To preserve the roguelike experience for players, the devs insist that the powerful relics you come across during runs will be account-linked and not tradeable. Your character will also come across a special altar during their Sanctum exploration, letting you place a relic on it to ensure it won't disappear if you crash out of a run. As with all scary final bosses, the one at the end of Sanctum has some unique items to pick up, that is, if you can best it.
Another expansion isn’t all that’s coming up for Path Of Exile. There’ll be some endgame rebalances, including a rework of the Atlas passive skill tree, and the Ruthless mode intended for veterans will head out of alpha when the expansion launches. Grinding Gear also talked about sequel Path Of Exile 2 during a press preview event for Forbidden Sanctum that I sat in on earlier this week. We had thought Path Of Exile 2 might arrive this year thanks to comments from Wilson in an interview back in 2021, but Wilson now says that they’ll have something to show at Gamescom 2023. Wilson added that it’s likely the game’s beta will kick off in 2023.