Path of Exile, the free-to-play online action RPG (and our 2013 PC game of the year winner) is still going strong–following the Fall of Oriath expansion earlier this year, there’s already another expansion on the way. Called War for the Atlas, the focus this time is on expanding the end-game experience for longtime players. The developers dropped by the GameSpot office earlier this week to show off a quick preview of some of the new areas and features you’ll find in the expansion, which you can check out in the video above.
“In this expansion, a lot of the new content is for the existing players, because that’s its particular slant,” explained Chris Wilson, managing director at Path of Exile developer Grinding Gear Games. “However, the content that does affect low-level layers are four new skill gems…all four of the new skill gems we’re adding are necromancy-themed, but designed so you can use them on other characters as well. They don’t have to be used by summoners.”
In addition, there will also be six new support gems, that Wilson says “are designed to change how almost every skill in the game works. And that provides a lot more build customization and stuff for new players to experiment with.” As for everything else the expansion will add, here’s a very brief rundown:
- A story where you choose to fight against the forces of either The Elder or The Shaper
- 32 new randomized maps in the end-game
- New end-game equipment: Shaped items and Elder Items
- 50 new Unique items.
- The Abyss Challenge League: An area to battle a new class of foe that appears while playing through the game–they will reward Abyss Jewels
“The challenge league that we’ve added is also available throughout the entire game, Wilson said. “It’s not just available in the end-game. The way challenge leagues work, it’s like the opportunity for a fresh start, basically a new server. And we encourage everyone to start a new character in the challenge league.”
The War for the Atlas is coming to Xbox One and PC on December 8, and like other Path of Exile content, it’s free-to-play. For European players who’ve wanted to get into the game in their native language, this expansion will also introduce German, French, and Spanish language options to the game.
The developers also passed along additional stats for the game such as:
- A “58% increase in hours played in 2017 over 2016”
- “The average Path of Exile play session is five hours long”
- “3.5 million players played Path of Exile’s most recent expansion: The Fall of Oriath”
And as for how long it took to bring put this expansion together: “This expansion here was made in 13 weeks,” Wilson said, “and it’s larger than the initial game, which took us years. The first seven years of Path of Exile’s development was with a tiny team, throwing our life savings into it, learning how to make games. And we’ve made, in 13 weeks, significantly more content at a much higher quality level, which is kind of scary.”