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Design your own deathtrap today in Path Of Exile: Synthesis

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Grind

Memories are fragile, ephemeral things, and the new memory-dungeons in Path Of Exile's latest update - Synthesis - start crumbling the moment you look at them. In Grinding Gear's free-to-play action RPG's latest league, players will have to blaze through these new optional areas quickly in hopes of stabilising them, because the reward is the chance to build your own loot-filled labyrinth to raid. This will be the first league in a while not to remove anything, either. The Shadow of Mordor-ish Betrayal system of the previous league is still available, but has been shuffled to later in the main story.

The new stuff in the Synthesis league happens mostly in parallel to the main story. Early on you'll meet a new character - a ghost named Cavas - who asks players to help recover his lost memories. This being Path Of Exile, you do this by killing things very quickly for loot. You'll encounter portals to little memory areas as you play, and rushing through them and activating the memory stabilisers will give you memory fragments, which are used to build your own dungeons.

In Cavas's home in the void, there's an incomplete map of his memories to slot these fragments into. Some areas (such as your start point and bosses) are static, so you'll have to place fragments to bridge between them. By chaining to certain special tiles on the map, you can apply loot or enemy spawn multipliers to the entire custom dungeon, making it a potential gold-mine for treasure. You can only run each dungeon a set number of times before your placed fragments degrade and need replacing, however, so you'll have to go and rustle up more fragments every so often.

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In these memory-themed dungeons (which do feature some rather cool new enemy designs), players can rustle up 'fractured' loot. While not inherently bad in itself, several fractured items combined at a special crafting table in the void will give you Synthesised gear. Only basic rarity (you're meant to enchant it yourself), but with stat profiles unlike anything you'll normally pick up, ideal for high-level players to min/max with. This league also includes a major re-balance of spellcasting to make wands and staves more viable, plus a bunch of new Chaos and Holy element spells.

Interestingly, as much of the stuff introduced in the Betrayal league was to replace the old Masters system, some of your progress with side-quest content such as Delves will carry over between leagues now. Your (now-expanded) hideout will carry over, as will unlocks such as Jun's veiled item mods. You might not be able to take your stash with you into a new league, but at least you'll have some fringe benefits this time round. Oh, and for the most hardcore of players, the Atlas Of Worlds (post-plot endgame) has been updated, with new maps types and player hideouts to find.

The Synthesis league is now live. You can see the (enormous as usual) patch notes here. Alternatively, you can see the patch notes run through a Markov Chain generator here, which is less useful but good for a giggle. Path Of Exile is free to play, expansions and all. Find it here or on Steam.

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