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Map Progression and Changes in Atlas of Worlds

Since the release of the latest update, Path of Exile has enjoyed positive feedback about the map progression in Atlas of Worlds. It appears that the core philosophy behind the system was to reward players who have reached the endgame by giving them a wide variety of maps to play through and track their progress.

For players who have invested hundreds of hours into the game, Atlas is a refreshing change of pace. Players are now more engaged with the high-end maps. They are more deeply involved in the gameplay than they would be by simply accumulating Path of Exile items. Instead, they are seeing the tangible results of their efforts. Instead of dabbling in the initial, low-level tiers of the maps, they are pushing further into them to discover more.

What Atlas of Worlds brings to the table is a more rewarding feel to the game, especially for players who may feel burned out or less motivated to play. Part of the reason for the renewal of interest in the maps is the fact that new tilesets have been introduced. The new tilesets have definitely improved on the game experience by exposing players to new environments, simply by manipulating color, light, and other variables that contribute to the scenery.

Grinding Gear Games has also made some tweaks to the bosses in Path of Exile, in some cases shifting them around, while giving new abilities to others. Apparently, the developers are very open to modifying the game mechanics, and these adjustments are indicators of what we can expect to see in future leagues and expansions. Interactions with bosses as well as lower enemies undoubtedly feel different, and in many ways the novelty is very tangible.

While tilesets and mechanics contribute to the novelty of Atlas of Worlds, the map rolling system and the way the progressions take place remain relatively unchanged. It makes sense for the developers not to change too much at once, considering the possibility that implementing too many sweeping changes to the game could literally wipe out the population of dedicated players overnight. Atlas of Worlds was not designed to give the game a complete overhaul, and for the most part, players can play the game without having to reinvent their strategy. At some point in the near future, we can expect the core mechanics of the dropping of maps, and the mechanics of key PoE items to undergo some changes as well.

Rolling out new expansions for Path of Exile is a very delicate art, especially since the processes of development, QA, and testing must be carried out in an environment that does not always reflect, or does not have much in common with, the target audience. The success or failure of an update sometimes hinges on small details, quirks, and nuances that are not always obvious, and the worst-case scenario would be if the less favorable aspects of any given expansion come to light after the release, forcing the developers to perform damage control. The longevity and novelty of Path of Exile can be maintained by means of small, incremental changes to the game, and paying close attention to what the players want.

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