What The Changes In 'Path of Exile's Siege of the Atlas' Update Mean For Players

* This is a contributed article and this content does not necessarily represent the views of Player One.
Grinding Gear Games announced that it would be making the next update for 'Path of Exile.'
Grinding Gear Games announced that it would be making the next update for 'Path of Exile.' Facebook/pathofexile

A few days ago, Grinding Gear Games announced that it would be making the next update for the popular action RPG Path of Exile available to the public on February 4th, 2022 (and February 9th for consoles). Fans of the game have waited in anticipation of the update, most notably because of the endgame overhaul it's supposed to include. But that's not all that the update has in store for eager players.

The update, among other things, will also add all new items, gems, and currencies to the game. And that's going to add a whole new dimension to the game and make for even more compelling gameplay. But hard details about the update — beyond the patch notes — are still scarce. That said, we've been able to piece together some of the most important changes and additions and what they'll mean for players in the game. Here's what you need to know.

The Two New Eldritch Horrors

From the information Grinding Gear Games made public so far, it appears that players will team up with Kirac in Siege of the Atlas to make their way through the endgame maps. And as they do, two new Eldritch horrors will join Uber Elder and The Maven to invade the Atlas. Those new horrors, called The Searing Exarch and the Eater of Worlds, will give players some new abilities with an assist from The Maven.

She'll make it possible to use their influence to modify the endgame maps, which is part of the update's new feature set. And as a part of that, players will encounter a growing number of influenced monsters as they proceed through the low-tier maps. Then they'll encounter the sub-bosses of the new horrors in the mid-tier maps. Those sub-bosses, called The Black Star and The Infinite Hunger, stand in the players' way of facing the new horrors on the high-tier maps.

And it's also important to note that the new bosses drop an array of new unique items as well as the new forms of PoE currency . Players will also have the ability to farm key drops by grinding through tier-14 and higher maps — providing a chance to fight the new horrors again. The keys are also transferrable, so players can buy or sell them like other game items.

The Removal of Atlas Regions

Another big change coming in the Siege of Atlas update is the removal of Atlas regions and the Watchstones previously needed to unlock them. In their place are four new Voidstones , earned by defeating each of the four Eldritch horrors now in the game. The Voidstones may be further enhanced with Sextants, which give each stone some useful bonus enchantments.

As one of the biggest changes introduced in this update, it's also one that's raised some concerns among players. Many are already voicing concern that the difficulty of defeating the bosses will make the Voidstones all but impossible to attain for some players. But it appears that making them harder to obtain is an intentional act by the developers.

Even though the change represents a significant increase in difficulty over the previous mechanic, the payoff's more than worth it. In other words, the power that the Voidstones grant to players is significant enough that it can't come cheaply. After all, players with all four Voidstones in hand will see all the maps in the Atlas up to tier 16, giving them the ability to make big changes to the whole Atlas. It's a massive shift from the more incremental approach of the 16 Watchstones in the previous version.

A Single Combined Passive Tree

Another consequential change made necessary by the removal of the Atlas regions is the removal of the passive trees that went with them. In the new update, those individual trees are condensed into a single one that features over 600 nodes. And according to the developers, only some of the passives from the previous tree system will appear in the new one.

But the upside of the change is that players will now earn a passive point after completing each map's bonus objective. That should make it easier for players to rack up points and enhance their ability to customize their passive tree. And as for the content of the tree itself — players will have to wait until closer to the launch date to find out the specifics.

An Upgraded Endgame Gear System

And last but not least, there's another change to a big game element that's tied to the new bosses that appear in the update. It's the introduction of Eldritch Implicit Mods. They're a replacement for the existing Implicit Modifiers that were previously part of the game. And the change should prove quite significant for long-time players of the game because it vastly increases their ability to craft powered-up gear.

Because the new Eldritch Implicit Mods replace the old system, they get applied to existing gear as-is. That means the gear gets upgraded from where it was pre-update, making it possible to craft powerful new gear for the endgame. And according to the details shared by Grinding Gear Games so far, each item can have an implicit from each boss ­— for a total of four simultaneous mods.

The new Eldritch Implicits come in six tiers. Players can add mods from the first four tiers using two of the game's new currencies — Eldritch Ember and Eldritch Ichor. From there, they'd need to make some tradeoffs to continue to upgrade. Using Orbs of Conflict and some additional currency, they'd be able to lower one of their mods in favor of another. And by doing so, they can end up with a single upgraded tier-six Eldritch Implicit and a single tier-four Eldritch Implicit on a given item.

The Major Takeaways

As is the case with any major revision of a popular game, there are bound to be players who aren't totally sold on the changes. But, it appears that Grinding Gear Games has found some novel ways to give players some great new flexibility and functionality in the Siege of the Atlas update. And at the same time, they're introducing enough new content that the game will feel fresh and new.

And, although it's not part of the main game, it's worth noting that the new update also includes the launch of the all-new Archnemesis Challenge League. It challenges players to fight up to four bosses per area as they explore the game's maps. The monsters are modifiable using drops you can collect while fighting rare and magic monsters throughout the course of the main game. In short, it's a new way for players to build up their abilities while farming valuable loot for their troubles.

So, as the launch date approaches, stay tuned for more information about the scope of the changes. And, keep an eye on your favorite PoE streamers to get a peek at how the new gameplay works and what the changes look like in action. In the weeks to come, there's sure to be more commentary — both positive and negative — about Grinding Gear Games' latest creation for you to absorb and discuss.

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