The developers at Grinding Gear Games are always looking for new, fresh experiences to bring to Path of Exile. In 2018 alone players have captured beasts as part of the Bestiary league, traveled back in time as part of the Incursion league, and journeyed into the depths with Delve.
Now, to capstone an already content-filled 2018, Path of Exile will soon release its largest update of the year: Betrayal. We recently chatted with Grinding Gear Games managing director Chris Wilson to learn more.
In Path of Exile: Betrayal, players will battle against the Immortal Syndicate, a gang of deadly criminals who have unlocked the secret behind bringing the dead back to life using an ancient artifact…without the negative side effects of undeath. Jun Ortoi, of the Order of the Djinn, wants your help in bringing down this criminal cabal and returning the life-giving artifact stolen from her order.
In a system that Wilson says was heavily inspired by the nemesis system seen in Shadow of Mordor and its sequel, players will be able to finely craft the Syndicate’s leadership to their liking through defeating members of the Syndicate and making choices on their fate.
You’ll be presented with up to two of four possible choices upon defeating a member of the crime organization: Interrogate, Bargain, Execute, or Betray. Interrogating a member will help further your investigation and get you one step further to raiding a loot-filled safehouse by uncovering the identities and locations of Syndicate leaders at the top. If there are multiple Syndicate members present, having one betray the other and take their position might be the best course of action. You could always bargain with the enemy, which could have any number of possible effects depending on the characters involved. Or you could simply execute the criminal, who would die for their cause and actually receive a promotion upon being resurrected — the Syndicate can readily bring its members back to life, remember?
Why would you want to do this, you ask? Why pit members of the Syndicate against each other? For sweet, sweet loot, of course.
There are 18 possible Syndicate members, each with their own personalities, memories, and type of item associated with them. Each division of the Syndicate (Fortification, Transportation, Research, and Intervention) sports their own leadership, specialties, and types of encounters. Defeating these enemies and looting the safehouses for each branch will reward you with plenty of items, and depending on what Syndicate members are part of that branch, the items you find will change.
One given Syndicate member might be a bow-wielder, for example. By executing them and then later — after they’ve been resurrected — having them betray a fellow member, this particular criminal will move up the ranks to become the leader of the Syndicate’s Research division. Upon being defeated at the Research division’s safehouse, players will find that character’s stash of loot, which includes a bow with experimental properties, a staple of items found within the Research division. Some of that loot may even sport “Veiled” mods, which must be brought to Jun for unveiling. Players then must choose one of three new modifiers for the veiled item. Find a particular type of mod you enjoy? The more you unveil that specific modifier, the more powerful it becomes.
In this way, players can finely tune the hierarchy of the Syndicate, and the veiled items they discover, to ensure that they get the loot that is most relevant to them. It requires some set up, fine-tuning, and a bit of forward thinking, but the payoff can most definitely be worth it. Or if you don’t want to think too hard and just wanted to bash some heads, you can do that too.
Wilson says the idea of a seedy criminal organization and the investigation board came from a love of hard-boiled American detective stories, which makes this league unlike anything Path of Exile has seen before. And that’s just the surface of Betrayal. The expansion will see the old Forsaken Masters (except Zana) disappear, with the NPCs from 2018 leagues taking their place to provide missions. An overhaul of player hideouts is coming as well, so that players can have one, unified hideout across all leagues. A major overhaul to the Master Crafting system will also be included, with a complete rework of the interface as well as the process of obtaining crafting recipes.
Of course, there will be new unique items and skill as well. The visually impressive Winter Orb skill, for instance, places a glacial orb above your character’s head and shoots icy projectiles at nearby enemies. Or maybe you’d rather place arcane runes on the ground with a new type of spells called Brands, which activate when enemies step too close. There’s plenty more coming in Betrayal too, including new end-game maps and changes to endgame Master daily missions. Trust us, there’s a lot to look forward to.
Path of Exile: Betrayal is releasing on December 7 for PC and mid-December on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Can’t get enough Path of Exile? You’re in good company. Be sure to head over to the Official Path of Exile Wiki for answers to all of your burning Path of Exile questions, or maybe even contribute some answers yourself. We’ll see you in Wraeclast.