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The Atlas of Worlds Expansion

On September 2, Grinding Gear Games will release the fifth expansion for Path of Exile. This expansion prioritizes the improvement of the endgame, something that has yet to be addressed by previous updates to the game.

Performance-wise, the game will feature support for multithreaded engines, and this will improve accessibility across the board for all players, new and old alike. And this is good for player retention.

In addition to improvements in performance, which will make gameplay a lot crisper for current players, a new supporter pack will be released. However, the specific contents of the supporter pack, such as points, microtransactions, and goods (Path of Exile items or physical merchandise) have not yet been officially announced to the public. The price for the supporter pack has yet to be announced as well, but with previous packs ranging from $50 to $12,500, it’s anyone’s guess.

Probably the most significant change in Path of Exile is the mapping system. Up until the current iteration, map drops occurred at random. Under the new system, base maps as well as unique maps appear in Atlas of Worlds, and they will be organized according to tier, making them easier to access. Maps related to or connected to the map currently in play will also be more easily accessible as well.

This endgame is not only an expansion, but also a refinement of the existing mapping system, which was necessitated by the addition of several new maps, bosses and a slew of new PoE items.

The Atlas will be divided into four quadrants, with each quadrant accessible via a Tier 1 map. Zones for drops of specific Path of Exile item types will also be depicted. The rest of the maps toward the center are covered in fog. At the center of the Atlas are four Tier 16 maps where new boss-level characters appear.

Atlas of Worlds will also have new currencies. When a player completes a map, a Shaper’s Orb may be awarded. This upgrades a map to a “Shaped Map,” which is higher than the usual upgrade by a factor of five tiers. Another currency item is the Cartographer’s Sextant, which allows for the addition of a random mod to a map, and the effect of that mod to be active for a specified radius on the map.

The Atlas of Worlds Expansion also features the Essence League and Hardcore Essence League, whereby characters must seek and destroy monsters holding Essences. By defeating the monsters, players acquire these items that their fallen foes leave behind. Among the newer Path of Exile items, Essences behave similar to Orbs of Alchemy, but they confer specific modifications instead. There will be twenty-five types of Essences, and each is rated according to one of seven strata.

Path of Exile has over 14 million players, but only a small percentage of them have played it all the way through to endgame. The Atlas of Worlds Expansion should keep this privileged few coming back for more, and encourage less experienced players a goal to shoot for.

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