One of Path of Exile’s most interesting features is the short term race event system. Today we are announcing the first season of race events (which runs from February 23-April 7, NZ time). There’s a summary page with your progress towards the new season’s exclusive rewards here. This news post contains a much more thorough explanation of how this system was designed and how it works.
Path of Exile’s race events were really popular during the Closed Beta. We had half of the active server population turn up to play in certain events. Our first month of Open Beta was spent fixing immediate problems while we let the economies of the permanent leagues develop. We are now ready to start a full schedule of races.
A race event is a fresh league that lasts for anywhere from an hour to a week. They all take place in their own separate economies with new characters. Your existing in-game wealth doesn’t help in these races - they test your playskill and luck. The leagues generally reward players who can level up quickly and place in the top ranks of their character class. There are also rewards for objectives like finishing side quests or full-clearing areas first.
Rather than running self-contained individual races, we’ve now structured the events into seasons. Season One starts this weekend (February 23, NZ time) and runs for just over six weeks (until April 7, NZ time). There are prizes for top-placing people in each race, prizes for people who achieve good results for a set of events in a season and prizes for people who finish at the top of the realm overall in a given season. Seasons of races help encourage players to play in multiple events and allow us to provide prizes that transcend individual events - giving players something meaningful and special to work towards over several days or weeks.
In past events we gave out orbs and other currency items as prizes. Because these items had a known value, this had an adverse effect on both the economy and the incentives to play races. If the prizes were low, races seemed unappealing. If the prizes were high, it became mandatory to participate in races to keep up with the inflation the orbs caused. We have avoided this in Open Beta by designing new custom prizes for race events. We still want them to be tradeable, but we want to let the market decide their value.
The prizes are a variety of existing unique items and a very upgradable base item type (Coral Ring) that all have alternate art in-game. These particular pieces of special artwork are only available from this season of race events - other seasons will have different items. While the power level of the uniques (and upgradable base ring) is relatively low, they have high trade value because of the exclusive icons. For example, most high level players have access to a Goldrim (unique Battered Cap) when they need to twink resistances on a new character, but few people will have the version with special collectable artwork. The items are itemlevel 100, which means that there are no restrictions on how they can be rerolled. Note that these items are not better in any way than the regular versions you’d find in game, other than the fact they have special artwork. The list of items that are prizes for the first season are shown on this summary page. The sockets and values of the mods on the items are random within the regular ranges. The specific values on that page are only for illustration.
Shortly after a race is over, you are awarded reward points based on your performance in the race. Please note that these reward points (please use the initialism RP if you want to abbreviate them) are not the same type of points that are purchased and spent on microtransaction items. These are two completely unrelated systems.
The season’s prizes exist at various RP thresholds. You are awarded the prize as soon as you cross that threshold. For example, our first prize is awarded when you hit 15 RP, which will take a few events for a decent player (or one event if you’re very skilled/lucky).
Season RP values do not carry across to the next season. Each season has a new set of prizes and is an opportunity for a fresh start. Your total reward points are still tracked as lifetime points which are eligible for other prizes as you participate in multiple seasons.
During the Closed Beta, we gave out Demigod’s Presence unique amulets to the top players of each character class in an event. In the Open Beta, we’re keeping this concept, but with a new item. For most short races, the top player of each class will receive a Demigod’s Triumph unique wreath. Like all other race reward items, this helmet can be traded with other players.
We will also be adding a ladder of reward points for the current season. This ladder will show which accounts have the most points so far and will help us track who is due to win the overall season prizes. At this stage we’re expecting to give alternate art Demigod’s Triumphs to the top 20 people in the overall ladder of reward points for this season. Details of this will be announced when we have the ladder of reward points implemented soon.
There are prizes for reaching lifetime reward points thresholds as well. Lifetime reward points are not reset between seasons, so if you play in many seasons over the life of the game you’ll be able to win some awesome rewards. We haven’t yet announced the schedule of prizes for lifetime reward points, but it’s coming soon!
We’ve put together a schedule of 109 events over 44 days, which start and end on a weekend. The events occur in four different timeslots which are chosen to hopefully give equal opportunities to players in America, Europe and NZ/Australia. We’re looking to improve these times for subsequent seasons based on feedback. Most of the events are between 1 and 4 hours in duration. Two of the events last for a week and have other shorter events occurring at the same time. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s more important to go for success in the week long events, the smaller events that occur at the same time, or both. The number of events ramps up gradually over the course of the season so that players have more opportunity to catch up.
We understand that this system greatly favours players who play in more events. That’s true of almost any sport or hobby. We’ve pitched the prizes so that there are still cool things to win even if you can only play in one event per week.
We reserve the right to change the number of reward points awarded for different objectives as we get feedback and data from early races. We may increase or decrease certain thresholds that reward points are granted at depending on what levels players get to. To be clear, I’m not talking about changing the thresholds for receiving the alternate art prizes - those aren’t being modified once the season has started.
We have a lot of interesting league types coming soon. In addition to the regular set of party, solo, and turbo, we’re discussing some other interesting twists. Burning Ground or Blood Magic leagues are the type of options that we’re experimenting with internally to see what is fun in a race setting. We expect that most or all of the events in the first season will be in hardcore mode.
For a calendar of events and for information about the season prizes, please check out the Season One page.
We’re really excited about this race system and the first season! I’m going to try to play in as many events as I can. Good luck!