Grinding Gear Games have released the new 0.9.7 Beta of their free-to-play hack n slash RPG, Path of Exile. This new Beta build comes with a lot of new content, new taunt animations to many monsters, updated party screen, both cosmetically and functionally, as well as some balance changes. We should note that Path of Exile’s higher difficulty levels are a lot more difficult than before. According to the developers, it’s expected that players will have to pick defensive options in order to be able to survive as they’ve wiped all the passive skills again.
Here is the complete changelog of Path of Exile’s 0.9.7 Beta:
New Content: -Added a new monster type, the Goatman Shaman, which uses Fireball and Molten Shell. -Added a new skill – Puncture: Punctures the target, causing them to bleed. While bleeding, they take damage over time based on how much damage was dealt in the initial hit. The bleeding deals more damage while they move. Puncture works with bows, daggers, claws or swords. -Added a new skill – Lightning Arrow: Fires a charged arrow at the target, causing them to be struck by a bolt of lightning which damages nearby enemies. -Added a new skill – Summon Skeletons: Summons a group of slow moving skeletal minions. They last 20 seconds before expiring and do not require a corpse when casting. -Added a new skill – Burning Arrow: Fires an arrow that deals fire damage to its target and has an increased chance of setting it on fire. -Added nine player aura skills: Anger (Fire Damage), Hatred (Cold Damage), Wrath (Lightning Damage), Discipline (Energy Shield), Grace (Evasion), Determination (Armour), Purity (Elemental Resistances), Haste (Attack Speed and Cast Speed) and Vitality (Life Regeneration). -Added a new support gem – Elemental Proliferation: Elemental status effects (for example, freezing or burning) caused by this skill also affect nearby enemies. -Added a new support gem – Blood Magic: This skill is cast using life rather than mana. -Converted the old Multiple Projectiles support gem to Greater Multiple Projectiles and added a new Lesser Multiple Projectiles support gem. These add four and two projectiles respectively (with different penalties) but can be stacked. -Added a new keystone passive – Phase Acrobatics: 20% chance to dodge spell damage. -Added a new keystone passive – Arrow Dodging: Doubles chance to evade projectiles. -Moved the “Monsters can have one additional curse” ability to a new keystone passive – Whispers of Doom. -Added 11 new Unique items.
Major Features: -Grinding Gear Games have updated the party screen, both cosmetically and functionally. It now uses consistent user interface that will also be used elsewhere to represent characters. -There are now popup notifications that appear at the bottom right of the screen when new party events occur. -Added support for skills that can be toggled on/off and reserve a portion of your mana while they’re on. Examples are Tempest Shield, Righteous Fire and the new player auras. If you have the Blood Magic keystone passive, then life is reserved instead. -Substantially less data about external entities is sent now. Players will notice less lag when first approaching other characters. -Added taunt animations to many monsters. -Added larger custom icons for keystones and notable passives. Improved the visibility of connections between selected passives. -Improved the website passive skill tree planner functionality to include a search, minimum distance finder and ability to show similar passives. -Revamped chest spawning to include clusters of barrels and similar chests. Overall, chests are now less common than before but drop more items. -Experience is now only shared with other players who are near you (roughly two screens). Monsters are still made harder by players elsewhere on the level.
Minor Features: -Many monsters have new skills – Ghost Pirates cast Flicker Strike, Oak casts Immortal Call, Kraityn’s Bandits use Explosive Arrow and Water Elementals use Ice Nova. -Improved forum search functionality. -Currency items now have blue text that describes what they do in a much clearer way. -Small chests (that can be opened with damage) no longer show hover text unless you put the mouse cursor over them. -Chests are no longer spawned very close to entrances/exits of areas. -The passive tree now starts off slightly zoomed out and its maximum zoom distance is greater. -Spiders now have a random delay before they crawl out of the pit. -Gems now display their mana cost, mana multiplier or mana reservation amounts. -Raised Spectres don’t leave corpses any more. -Reduced the size of skill popups so that the text isn’t too large. -Standardised the font sizes and colours used in the UI. -Keystone passives now have flavour text. -Removed the Weaver’s Chambers waypoint. -Most locations on the quest screen map now have new hover art. -Renamed most placeholder monsters. -Brutus now explodes shortly after being slain. -Merveil’s Lair now has a new exit. -Updated several of the audio tracks with extended versions. -Small spiders now sometimes leap before they attack. -The rewards for most quests have changed to a different set of gems. -Improved the effects of many skills including Spark, Shock Nova and Poison Arrow. -The layout of the Upper Prison has been changed in preparation for upcoming improvements. -Transitions between various world areas have been improved so that they don’t have repeated exits. -Stash tabs are now loaded when accessed. -Continued to incrementally improve the art, effects, environments and sound.
Balance: -Made higher difficulties substantially harder so that defensive choices are more necessary. -You now receive your first support gem once you enter Merveil’s caves, rather than in Act Two. -You can now purchase Jeweler’s Orbs and Orbs of Fusing from Act Two vendors. -Changed the armour and evasion calculations to result in those defensive properties yielding around 25% more mitigation than before. -Increased the physical damage reduction (armour) cap from 75% to 90%. -Most skill gems have changed starting levels. -The mods on rare items are now picked and generated differently. -Reduced the amount that shields vary between tiers. -Defensive properties of armour pieces and many defensive mods on items now ramp up more than before after level 30. -Changed damage reflection and the PvP damage multiplier to both be linear. -Increased the block values of dexterity shields. -Improved the progression of flasks so that higher levels are never downgrades. -Rebalanced critical strike multiplier values across the board. -Reduced the level that three-socket items start appearing. -Increased the chances of finding two linked sockets on items (by reducing how often they appear without links). -The damage of the first Wand has been increased. -Level 2 gems have become level 1 gems so that they’re usable even if you haven’t gained a level by the time you arrive at town. -Base maximum charges for each class are now 3 of each type rather than 2 of each type. -“Life gain per target” mods have been reduced in size and made available on fewer item slots. -Made Unique items slightly more common.
Monster Balance: -Increased the damage and reduced the attack speed of monsters that appear in groups. -Bosses now scale up their life, energy shield and item drop bonuses more with additional players. Higher rarity bosses have more scaling. -Rebalanced the rate of random boss packs throughout the game. -Damage reflection auras now only occur on level 40+ monsters and reflect a flat 25% of damage dealt rather than a sliding scale based on level. This is not more reflection than before. -Reduced the maximum attack distance (and substantially increased the damage) of Skeletal Casters. -Additionally increased rate of rare bosses in the Maelstrom of Chaos. -Rhoas now have a much lower aggression-trigger-distance but are more dangerous. -Reduced the likelihood of Auras spawning on rare monsters. -Shadow Fragments now deal half physical, half chaos damage with their attacks. -The Maelstrom Hillocks are now tougher. -Slightly reduced the deadliness of the “deadly” monster mod. -Reduced the amount of items dropped by “of Wealth” boss monsters.
Passive Skill Balance: -The passive skill tree now has new and more powerful defensive options. -Reduced the values of some Life Regeneration per Second nodes on the passive tree. -The maximum number of additional charges you can get from the passive tree is now +3. -The two “gain power charge under condition” passive skills were removed. These type of effects will come from active skills (more are coming). -All passives that gave bonus effects to charges were removed for now. This allows us to balance the charges to be more useful without making them mandatory.
Active Skill Balance: -Power Siphon now acts like Infernal Blow in that it counts kills that occur a short time after the skill is used (so that it’s useful in party situations). It also now has the Culling Strike effect (outright killing targets that reduced to less than 10% life). -Normalised the balance of Cleave and Sweep slightly so that there isn’t such a large disparity. -The multiple projectiles support gems now grant additional projectile damage when they level up, rather than physical damage. -Rain of Arrows is now affected by the Point Blank Archer keystone passive. -Sweep now hits in a full circle again (rather than a 300 degree arc). -Removed Cleave’s bonus against the selected target. The damage against non-targeted enemies is now higher. -The damage of Fireball and Freezing Pulse have been increased. -Discharge’s damage has been nerfed. -Slightly increased the radius of Detonate Dead’s explosion. -Spark now fires three sparks by default. -Reduced the number of Raised Zombies available at early levels.
Bug Fixes: -The bug where the top 5% of the screen was blurred under some graphics drivers is now fixed. If you disabled anti-aliasing or post-processing to temporarily fix this issue, we recommend turning at least post-processing back on again. Some old cards will not be able to enable anti-aliasing while post-processing is enabled now. -Fixed a client crash related to kicking people from a party that they’ve already left. -Power Siphon now works correctly with the Multiple Projectiles support gem. -Fixed a bug where a vendor recipe would allow you to gain information on how many mods an unidentified rare has. -Fixed a bug where the rare name matching vendor recipe worked with unidentified items. -Restored the limit of 32 players per town instance after fixing problems with joining a town that had too many players. -Fixed a bug where decals could cause performance problems. -You can no longer sell quest items. -Removed distortion from all auras to prevent the effect of players/monsters being doubled up. -Monsters now face you when taunting, which fixes the problem where they’d arbitrarily turn away in combat. -Fixed a bug where auras would rotate with their owners. -Fixed some of the blue areas that would appear in some levels.
John is the founder and Editor in Chief at DSOGaming. He is a PC gaming fan and highly supports the modding and indie communities.Before creating DSOGaming, John worked on numerous gaming websites. While he is a die-hard PC gamer, his gaming roots can be found on consoles. John loved - and still does - the 16-bit consoles, and considers SNES to be one of the best consoles. Still, the PC platform won him over consoles. That was mainly due to 3DFX and its iconic dedicated 3D accelerator graphics card, Voodoo 2. John has also written a higher degree thesis on the "The Evolution of PC graphics cards." Contact: Email