As game developers have done for several years now, Grinding Gear Games made a silly battle royale mode for Path Of Exile as an April Fool's joke back in 2018. GGG say it was a "quick and dirty job" with no custom game balance of its own, but it was well-liked enough that they decided to bring it back as more than a one-off gags day event. Path Of Exile: Royale is live right now through Sunday and will be making weekendly appearances throughout the upcoming expansion cycle. Winner winner Rhoa dinner!
POE:R fits up to 100 players on Royale Island in matches that GGG say take about 15 minutes at most. It's a PvPvE setup, so you'll be trying to kill both monsters and other players, beginning with your level one character and some starter gear. As with other battle royale 'em ups, the playable area shrinks over time with an encroaching storm that damages players stuck in it. If you manage to snag a win, GGG say you'll unlock a Rhoa Feast decoration for your hideout which gets larger and more impressive the more victories you've clocked.
GGG have put together a whole guide on the Royale mode with all the specifics on how it differs from POE proper. The skill tree has been changed, as have life flasks and other details.
Unlike the original Royale mode, GGG say they put more serious development time into the new version and have plans to adjust it based on player feedback.
"We're planning to play a lot alongside you, watch people's experiences carefully, and make changes as necessary. Unlike the main game, there's no risk of balance shifts ruining people's characters, so expect smaller changes to be made as frequently as every week.
"Beyond that...we honestly don't know. This is an experiment for us. We hope that Path of Exile: Royale has a long-term future, and the number of people in the office who've looked forward to our internal playtests every week makes us optimistic, but we're going to have to wait and see. Expect an update on this near the end of 3.15."
GGG say that Royale mode will be available every weekend except the launch weekend (next weekend) for the Expedition expansion cycle. It's available right now until midnight PDT this Sunday (8am BST on Monday). It's available on PC, but not console.
POE's 3.15 expansion Expedition just got revealed yesterday, by the by. It launches next Friday, July 23.