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Path of Exile Necropolis will bring some big quality-of-life upgrades

While we await more news on the upcoming Path of Exile 2, set to launch in early access later this year, developer Grinding Gear Games has more immediate news with the imminent next league, Path of Exile Necropolis. Amid the bombastic launch of Last Epoch on Steam and Blizzard’s promised major item rework for Diablo 4 Season 4, along with the upcoming Titan Quest 2 and Grim Dawn’s Fangs of Asterkarn expansion, it’s a busy time to be an ARPG fan, but the Path of Exile 3.24 update shows that the champion of the genre isn’t resting on its laurels.

We’re expecting to see the full details on the next Path of Exile league on Thursday, March 21 at the GGG Live event alongside more PoE 2 news, but developer Grinding Gear Games is already dropping plenty of teasers about some of the upgrades we can expect to see when the new season arrives in one of the best free Steam games.

While the Path of Exile 2 release date for its first closed beta arrives in June, it’s important to reiterate that the new game won’t replace the original. Indeed, it’s quite the reverse – Grinding Gear Games notes that the two play so differently that they deserved to both exist simultaneously, so it will be running Path of Exile 2 alongside the first game, with the seasons spaced out so you’ll have time to play both of them if you like.

Path of Exile 3.24, then, is the next league we’ll be taking on, and while we haven’t yet had more than the slightest glimpse at what the Necropolis league will actually entail, GGG has already revealed a plethora of quality of life upgrades coming in 3.24 that will be hugely welcomed by long-time players. You probably shouldn’t expect the notoriously vast riches that the Affliction league mechanic brought us, but this seems like a reasonable trade-off.

The first of these is that upgrading a Pantheon Power using a Divine Vessel will now allow you to keep the upgrade across all characters you make in the league. Trading and crafting has been made faster with quick-stack trading and the ability to craft items by holding a button rather than clicking repeatedly. The hands that appear in Breach will now automatically open when you walk by them, too, removing the need to manually click on them mid-fight.

The four masters (Incursion’s Alva, Delve’s Niko, the Bestiary’s Einhar, and Betrayal’s Jun) are no longer mutually exclusive, meaning you’ll be able to encounter multiple within the same endgame Map. The Bestiary is now the new home for upgrading an amulet into a talisman, allowing you to trade the ability to perform this crafting trick. Meanwhile, Betrayal’s Veiled Chaos Orbs have been reworked and will now exclusively drop from Catarina, leader of the Immortal Syndicate, allowing you to target farm them.

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GGG has removed the ability to add more than 20% quality to weapons, armors, and flasks through Betrayal. Instead, you’ll now be able to use Vaal Orbs to corrupt your flasks, which will give them a random quality value that ranges between -10% and +10%. “Good luck,” quips Path of Exile game director Mark ‘Neon’ Roberts.

Finally, Vaal crafting on Maps has been given a big upgrade. Using Vaal Orbs to corrupt Maps can no longer make the item unidentified; instead several new corrupted bonuses can appear, including boons to item drop rate or Atlas tree bonuses, the ability for you to spam Vaal skills in the map without suffering the soul gain prevention effect, or even the ability to craft the map further at no additional cost. That’s definitely a big welcome boon for the endgame.

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All of these changes go to show that Grinding Gear Games is still eager to polish up the quality of life for Path of Exile players. While some of the new features coming in PoE 2 won’t retroactively apply to the first game, in most cases this only happens where it wouldn’t be feasible, such as with the Path of Exile 2 WASD movement option, and it seems that GGG is still eager to consider where it can improve the original game, even a decade on.

Path of Exile Necropolis arrives Friday, March 29 as a free expansion for all players. GGG also confirms that it currently has no plans to make the Affliction mechanic from the current, ongoing league part of the core game. This may change in the future, but for now any Affliction-specific items such as tinctures and charms, along with the Wildwood Ascendancies, will be removed when the league ends on Tuesday, March 26, with your Affliction league characters moving over to the Standard league.

We’ve got even more of the best games like Diablo if you’re in the mood for turbo-blasting, monster-bashing, loot-cashing fun. Alternatively, for something a bit different but with plenty of room for character building, there’s the best RPG games you should play in 2024.

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