I was one of the first to walk to the Path of Exile but one of the last to submit a complete traveller's guide. Of course, the term 'complete' is meaningless when developers insist on releasing new (free) content for their (free) games. Lonely Planet guide writers don't have this problem - it's not as if a country would suddenly expand its borders to bring in new attractions, resources and skillsets. Forsaken Masters adds NPCs who provide players with missions in exchange for training, as well as customisable hideouts.
According to Path of Exile's lore - and I'm paraphrasing here - the exiles of Wraeclast are mostly made up of the weak, the wounded and the wrecked. It's a place for the dregs rather than the dynamos, for disasters rather than masters. That's goes some way to explaining why my character spent the first hour of his life running around wearing a shell as a codpiece, thumping zombies with a bit of driftwood and wearing seaweed as a hat.
The Forsaken Masters are different.
Some say that Dominus exiled the dregs of Oriath to the shores of Wraeclast. No, he exiled anyone who was going to give him trouble, who was going to cause ripples in his progressive theocracy.
Seven men and women, masters in their fields, stood against Dominus' tyranny. Some with words, others with steel. Seven masters forsaken, sent to die in a corrupted land. Seven masters who lived, learned, and now thrive in Wraeclast. Seven Forsaken Masters who can train you... if you choose to help them.
Helping the masters involves performing tasks, in the form of new quests, and the availability of these new missions should add an extra layer to the game.
The Master Assassin, Vorici, may task you with aiding him in an assassination against one of a number of well-guarded targets, leaving no survivors. The guards may have powerful mods, or be protected by traps or Rogue Exiles. Or he may want to simply send a message by grievously harming his mark, or incapacitating and robbing him, or leaving a witness to the bloodshed. Perhaps you'll have to free and rescue a helpless hostage.
All of the Missions and their variations can occur anywhere in the game, including within end-game Maps.
Added to all of that, there are upgradeable crafting benches, new items and mods, and the aforementioned hideouts. The latter sound particularly impressive.
Once you've earned a Master's trust, you may be taken to a Hideout, where you can create your own personalised town. Masters residing in your Hideout offer you daily Missions and train you in advanced crafting options.
Use your Hideout as a quiet place to craft after battle, or expand it and use it as a personalised Guild Hall with hundreds of decorations.
Is it enough to bring me back to Path of Exile? Possibly. But here's where I admit a little secret, deep down at the bottom of the post. I've been playing Diablo III again this week, late to the Reaper of Souls party. I've been considering a return since Rich's words described the expansion as a tonic of sorts for the ailing sequel and...I'm having a good time. I definitely don't have time for two ARPGs at the moment so if Diablo keeps my attention, expect me to explain how and why at some point in the near future.
And if it doesn't, I'll be decorating my hideout.