Development Manifesto: Ascendancy Changes

Since their release in 2016, Ascendancy Classes have been a popular and powerful aspect of Path of Exile. While we have made small balance adjustments over time, it has been a long time since there was a substantial balance pass to make sure that they're all at the same power level, and to address the design of ones that have shown to be less versatile than others.

We care about a consistent power level for Ascendancy Classes. We want there to be 19 good choices, rather than people feeling like several of them are "noob traps".

We care about class identity. We want each Ascendancy Class to feel completely different from the others, so that players can connect with the identity of each class, and feel tempted to try other ones out.

When examining the classes based on these two metrics, we realised that a few of them were fine (powerful and had strong identity), but most of the others needed some serious reworking. We committed to doing this in 3.2.0, and we're ready to show you some of the results.

The Assassin

The Assassin was always seen as a squishy "glass cannon" critical strike character. Over time, balance adjustments dropped it out of serious consideration. These changes in 3.2.0 restore it to its initial glory, giving it some extremely strong options for assassinating enemies.

The Guardian

This is an example of a class where much of it remains the same, but certain skills have received substantial buffs to better achieve their goals. Three of the five branches of the Guardian's Ascendancy tree remain completely unchanged because they were very popular choices and achieved their purposes. The other two have been changed to promote a more active playstyle for support characters, while still being strong choices for solo Guardian players.

The Hierophant

Another class with extensive changes, the Hierophant now has extremely strong tri/quad-totem capabilities without drawbacks and the ability to permanently sustain Arcane Surge with new bonuses. Its other branches have also been buffed. This is the first of several Ascendancy Classes we are showing that now has seven notable passives in its tree.

Ongoing Rebalance and Potential Nerfs
You'll probably have noticed that there aren't really any direct nerfs in the above changes. This is intentional for now, but will likely be addressed at later releases as we keep iterating on the balance. An example is the Slayer, where his leech abilities are so strong relative to regular leech in the core game. We're discussing options like improving regular leech in the future so that his leech is not so powerful in comparison.

For some of the classes we have ideas for further directions to take them that will result in larger revamps than you have seen here. This is an iterative process that will occur over several releases.

The extensive changes made in 3.2.0 will hopefully provide many strong new build opportunities for you to explore.

Remaining Class Reveals
We're aiming to reveal all 19 Ascendancy Classes by mid-next-week when the 3.2.0 Patch Notes are posted. We'll update the list in this article as they are shown.

The Champion

The Pathfinder

The Raider

The Chieftain

The Berserker

The Elementalist

The Deadeye

The Slayer

The Occultist

The Trickster

The Necromancer

The Gladiator

The Saboteur

The Inquisitor

The Juggernaut

The Ascendant
Last edited by Bex_GGG on Feb 27, 2018, 11:46:13 PM
Last bumped on Apr 21, 2018, 7:42:41 AM
Can't wait! Great job! Forever Exiled, A Path of Exile Podcast
Wrecker of Days' One-Stop-Shop: Stress-Free Builds (& Filters): 1-Button, SSF, Item Freedom:
Yesss! Can't wait.
Nice One
Ayyy nice
Very curious to see what happens to the Trickster, whom I consider pretty well balanced already.

edit: Ambush And Assassinate just SOUNDS so badass.

edit 2: I've just started my first ever Guardian (fashioned around Guan Yu using the Dragon Spear) so these changes are pertinent to me as well. Glad to see the block notable got a buff. :)
DIV is clearly too easy because even I got a character to level 100 in a mere 60 hours. Playtime so far:600 hours. Nowhere near done with it. PoE was always just a holdover for me. It never clicked the way DIV did.

And yes, I am farming and using the game's only glowing sword. ^_^
Last edited by Foreverhappychan on Feb 20, 2018, 8:23:13 PM
Thank you for the Hierophant changes!

I already liked the class and it seems much improved.
“Please understand that imposing strong negative views regarding our team on to other players when you are representing our most helpful forum posters is not appropriate.” — GGG 2022


I'm not 'Sarno' on Discord. I don't know who that is.
Thank you! Keep the posts coming! I want to see if Necromancer gets any nerfs. Haha T_T
Looks good!

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