As with every new League and expansion release, we're making a variety of balance changes to broaden the number of builds that are competitive in the end-game while lowering the power of specific mechanics that outclass the rest. We've outlined the most important changes below, and discussed our reasoning and methodology. Specific values will be available to read tomorrow in the patch notes.
Game Balance in Path of Exile: Echoes of the Atlas
AscendanciesIn addition to reworking the Elementalist, Inquisitor and Deadeye, we’ve made several changes to every Ascendancy class. Rather than going over every single change, here are the general philosophies behind the changes:
Aura StackersAs new mechanics have been introduced and players have optimised builds, characters using multiple auras have grown significantly in power, both offensively and defensively. These builds moved above our acceptable top end level of power. The addition of Alternate Quality effects on Aura Gems which added extra effects to your auras were a large contribution to this. We have made a few radical changes here:
Impale MechanicsBy using the Impaler Keystone in combination with the Call of Steel skill, Warcry-based characters could deal unreasonably large amounts of damage with a single hit followed up with Call of Steel. The Impaler Keystone now prevents Call of Steel from removing Impales from enemies for 4 seconds after you Impale them, similar to how it prevents the enemies being impaled again. This allows builds to retain some interesting interactions but prevents all damage being completely frontloaded before a boss has a chance to act.
For all builds utilising Call of Steel, the Lord of Steel unique jewels provided too large a damage bonus from a single item. The Lord of Steel jewels that granted increased Reflected Damage now grant 20-25% increased Reflected Damage (from 40-50%). To allow players to invest in Call of Steel without requiring a specific unique jewel, the Swift Skewering passive tree cluster has been adapted to accommodate a new notable passive, Blade Sovereign. This half of the cluster allows players to invest in Call of Steel maximum shards, use speed, damage and area of effect.
MinionsRaised Spectres and Golem minion builds usually outclass other minion alternatives and are one of the most optimal mid-investment builds, so we've made some significant reductions to their power.
Raised Spectres will now be monster level 72 at gem level 20 (from 76), have lowered Accuracy (to roughly match Raised Zombies at the same monster levels) and slightly slower monster level scaling past gem level 20. In addition we have made minor changes to the They of Tul spectres, which no longer grant reduced damage taken to allies and grant slightly less chance to dodge attacks and spells for their Snow Cloak skill as this ability was providing more defensive power than some of the most effective player defense skills. The knife-throw skill used by Syndicate Operatives is no longer considered a spell, as this created unintended uses by combining both Attack and Spell supports while ignoring their penalties.
Carrion Golems and Stone Golems have had their damage reduced at all levels, with Carrion Golems getting the more severe reduction as their power exceeded that of other golem types. Elementalist’s Golem Passives in general provide fewer offensive bonuses to Golems, in part because the rest of the Elementalist now provides effects that can increase damage taken by enemies.
The Minion-related Cluster Jewel notables, Rotten Claws and Renewal, have had value reductions as they provided effective damage multipliers at high values.
We've made buffs to the damage of Skeleton Mages, the speed of Unearth and the Offering Effect of the Leash of Oblation unique belt as they were not as powerful as other alternatives.
Improving Underused SkillsWhile lowering the power of specific abilities, we've also improved the power of others that haven't seen the limelight recently to bring them up to a more competitive level. We have buffed more than 40 underrepresented skills. Note that if a particularly unloved skill has not been touched, that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten about it! Rather that we believe that numerical tweaks alone won't be sufficient to provide the experience the skill could offer, and we're intending mechanical changes to the skill some time in the future.
Patch Note Teasers:
Other Skill ChangesEarthshatter now has slightly more variance on the distance spikes appear from the initial slam location and the explosion radius for spikes has been slightly lowered. The intent of these changes is to reduce the spike explosion overlap, particularly on large single targets.
Contagion has had a small reduction to the skill’s radius. In combination with Essence Drain, it has consistently been one of the most efficient skills to clear packs of monsters.
Other ChangesWe've made a variety of small changes to be aware of, often as solutions to specific balance concerns or as a result of Ascendancy changes.
Flask Charge on Critical Strike cooldownThe internal cooldown of effects that grant Flask charges on critical strike has been lowered from 0.2 seconds to 0.1 seconds, making them a more consistent and effective way to generate flask charges. This change was made as part of improvements to the Master Surgeon notable on the Pathfinder, but will affect all modifiers that grant flask charges on critical hits, like the "Surgeon's" flask modifier.
Alternate Quality changesA small number of Alternate Quality effects have been changed due to specific problematic interactions or because they provided too much power.
Far ShotAs part of changes to the Deadeye ascendancy, Far Shot has been changed. It now causes your projectiles to deal 20% less damage at very close range (previously no penalty), up to 60% more damage at a range of 70 or greater (previously 30% more damage as soon as the projectile reached this range, with no upwards scaling). This affects all items that grant Far Shot, as well as the Deadeye Ascendancy. This makes the choice in playstyle between Point Blank and Far Shot a more interesting decision.
TailwindAs part of changes to the Deadeye ascendancy, The Tailwind buff now grants 8% increased Action Speed (from 10%). The intent is to slightly lower the power of the influence modifier, while keeping it similarly powerful on the Deadeye.
Elemental Aegis effectsTo improve the general strength of Aegis effects as part of adding Primal Aegis to the Elementalist, all Aegis skills such as the one granted by Magna Eclipsis no longer have their recharge timer interrupted by damage if the buff is depleted. This makes the Aegis skills a much more reliable defensive mechanic when regularly taking damage.
Full details and numerical values of all of the above changes and more will be available in the patch notes tomorrow!
on Jan 11, 2021, 2:40:57 PM
Grinding Gear Games
The changes affect all existing versions of the item.
on Jan 11, 2021, 3:05:05 PM
Grinding Gear Games