Path of Exile addresses Expedition’s launch, adjustments, and low player numbers

    
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Normally a new release brings a bit of a spike of returning or new players to an MMO, but in the case of Path of Exile it would appear that the opposite is happening, as one Redditor put together a chart that shows weekend release peaks for every League’s launch. In terms of Expedition, there were 21 – 24% fewer players when compared to the Ultimatum League’s release.

This drop in update launch interest was noted in a seperate Reddit post by Grinding Gear Games’ Chris Wilson, who stated that the drop in players was something the studio was prepared for. “In addition to the normal variance between releases, we completely understand that Path of Exile had a lot of changes in 3.15 and this is definitely unnerving to some players,” writes Wilson.

The post further goes on to outline a list of already released patches and addresses several feedback points from players. In that section of the post, Wilson confirms that the devs plan to increase the rate players find vendor reroll currency items, reduce some mana cost modifiers, and nerf Goatmen. The post also explains how Remnants work, and says that the 20 different currencies in the new League aren’t an issue since they can be stashed in an Expedition Locker.

source: Reddit (1, 2), thanks to Pepperzine for the tip!
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Dug From The Earth

The new league mechanic feels great

nearly all the other changes feel awful.

Ive played for years. Im not at all hardcore, despite having well over 3000 hours in the game. Ive never beaten Sirus, or Maven, but I enjoy playing still. 3.15 has killed a lot of the fun the game provided me. PoE was already a lot of work, but now its simply more work than I want to engage in. Thus, its not nearly as fun and enjoyable for me to do after a 10 hour ACTUAL work day.

Got a character up to about 50 from normal play (not racing), hated it. Hated the couple of new skills I tried. Didnt care to try to salvage the character into a backup skill. Think im done for this league.

3.15 is a good example of a studio that thinks they know better than the people actual playing the game (because of lot of these changes really make me question of the designers play it). Getting big Blizzard flashbacks from it all, and right now that’s not really a good thing.

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Bryan Correll

I actually like the league mechanic aside from it having forty-leven new currencies to deal with. It’s certainly better than ritual or (ugh) ultimatum. But I also haven’t progressed very far (still puttering around act 2.)
The problem with the balancing is they only worked on half of the equation. As a mid-range ssf player who already couldn’t beat Sirus I’m not going to be hit as badly as the best in slot types. But, frankly, a lot of the end game fights are balanced around players having abilities (especially flask related) that don’t exist anymore. Those fights needed to be re-balanced to match the new skill and flask changes, but they weren’t.

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Greaterdivinity

forty-leven new currencies to deal with

It’s ONLY 20, apparently! ONLY!

I just mentally make up the names for them in my head because I can’t be bothered to learn 20 new currencies that may not even go core so we won’t ever have to see them again.

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Vanquesse V

SSF Hardcore is not representative of the overall game population, but it’s useful to look at in that any issues with a playstyle or skill is many magnitudes more impactful here than elsewhere, so if someone wants to know if there are many or few viable builds, this is the place to look.
Right now 34% of SSF HC are playing gladiator and 26% are using spectral shield throw.

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PanagiotisLial1

Its not surpring, in fact I expect many games to have somewhat lower population due to so many people trying out New World

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Jeremy Barnes

I doubt it’s related to new world for the most part and much, much more about PoE itself

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PanagiotisLial1

You think people who play(ed) PoE and got a closed beta invite/key wont be playing New World? I think their population drop is a combination of nerfs disappointment and New Worlds closed beta

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Jeremy Barnes

I’m sure some people are playing the new world closed beta. It is not the reason for the player drop. I get you want it to be, but this is all about what PoE is doing. If new world didn’t exist, the population drop would still have occurred.

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BalsBigBrother

For the first time in many years I don’t have Path of Exile installed. I just don’t like the way things are going and it’s not worth the pain anymore.

It’s fine having a vision for the game or to take it back to its harder roots if that is what the devs want. It’s not so fine when they make those changes with an eye to the future, promise things will be better in said future but in the meantime you all will just have to deal with some crap until we reach the promised land.

Yeah ….. nope not doing that. If they reach the promised land before Poe 2 I may come back but it’s probably going to be Poe 2 when I next give it another chance.

(Just for reference PoE was my most played game last year by several hundred hours so it’s not like I didn’t give them all the chances.)

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

I hear ya. Mine’s been uninstalled since October. First time since 2011. :(

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Jetra_Virsai

Any chance to slow a game’s play speed is a good thing in my book. While it might be rough-going, you can’t improve things if you don’t suffer. Then again, can’t enjoy it if you have to suffer.

The Developer’s Dilemma, continue with what works or try to make it a better product at the expense of the top 0.1%?

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Greaterdivinity

Slowing down the game is good…except they sorta didn’t. They’d need to nerf enemy damage and buff player defenses so that fights could actually play out a bit without the near constant threat of random 1 shots against players. It’s just gonna be a painful road to slowing the game down since they’re trying to roll back years of design decisions that sped up the game, increased player power to the point where you’re wiping screens in a single skill and phasing/killing bosses in a second, and continued to grow the skill/power floor/ceiling.

I’m definitely skipping the whole “suffering” bit for now. It’s not “game killing”, but given that I already had issues with the design of the game these changes aren’t making it any more fun to play. If anything it’s become far, far more tedious and obnoxious now that we’re dealing with ailments and enemy mechanics designed around permanent immunity and the zoom zoom speed meta.

Oh, you stopped to actually fight a few things you couldn’t one-shot? Sucker, on-death effects are gonna kill you! Oh, you can just use a movement skill to get away from them as intended? NOPE SUCKA! It’s on cooldown since you recently used it and they nerfed the shit outta it. You have freezing cure on your armor flask? Well, now do you use the flask pre-emptively for the armor buff as designed, or do you wait until you’re frozen to use the flask…also by design?

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Dug From The Earth

Game speed is neither good nor bad.

Power creep is bad, and can happen at ANY game speed.

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Greaterdivinity

A few good changes, but I doubt I’ll last. Made a league start Absolution character that’s just…aggressively “meh” and I’ve had garbage luck with drops. Don’t have it in me to rework it to a Dominating Blow character or start a new one.

The changes are definitely hurting, but it’s not just that (which made leveling even less fun), it’s the league mechanics itself. I really, really dislike it. The last thing we need in a game that’s already notorious for clicking/finger/wrist strain is a league with 20 new bloody currencies (and how it launched with vendor windows not showing you how much of XYZ currency you have is beyond me).

The mana bit particularly annoys me because like…it shouldn’t have needed a weekend of player data to inform them that it was too extreme (not even mentioning that they completely killed Spellslinger as a result), it should have been fairly obvious on just about any single playthrough with the changes. I get that they want mana to matter more, but it just feels awful with the way the game is now.

I’m still sad they’re not sticking with their 4 month schedule like they did for the Ritual delay. They could really, really, really, really, really use the extra month.

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Vanquesse V

While absolution looks just like “dominating blow, but a spell” it’s broken on a fundamental level: for regular dom blow getting a good weapon will boost your damage, and you can scale both damage and attack speed off minion stats. You can’t scale cast speed with minion stats. absolution also doesn’t have an on-hit proc for hitting rares, only bosses. You only get 3 minions, and since they are 50% lightning damage you can’t easily supplement with other minions. There are more issues with it, but you get the point.

I struggle to understand how they thought the mana changes were a good idea, but the changes to ailment/curse immunity on flasks is way worse.
I don’t think anyone involved with green lighting that played many maps to check out if it would work.

And then it sounds like the expedition league is another “Ritual v0.5”.
It looked really cool in trailers, and if I had heard decent things about it in practice I would consider playing after these proposed changes but the reward structure sounds fundamentally flawed with limited rerolls and very disappointing items from the shops

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Greaterdivinity

but the changes to ailment/curse immunity on flasks is way worse.

Watching Ziz and the other streamers get hit with a nasty poison/bleed they don’t have flask charges to deal with and just watch their HC character die is fueling me. Ailments were designed around near total immunity to them via flasks, even in white maps the game is bloody unfun as hell with ailments flying around and extremely limited immunity (though flask charges aren’t bad).

I do love how the flasks conflict now. +1500 armor? You’re gonna wanna pre-use that sucker! But wait…remove freeze after you’ve been frozen, so you want to hold that sucker…but use it…but hold it…contradictory nonsense!

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Vanquesse V

I saw on someone on reddit use this nugget of wisdom: “If players need to fully circumvent a game mechanic to be successful then that’s terrible game design”.
Curses, ailments, reflect and immunities all fall into that bucket. They are all things that either have no effect on you, or will completely ruin your build.
Red maps can also roll with 70% elemental ailment avoidance for monsters, and if you do the awakened bonus on all non-unique maps that turns into a 88% chance. Since you can’t have more than 100% ailment chance this is also an all or nothing affix.

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Greaterdivinity

Yeah. I know this likely isn’t how they’re thinking, but it’s almost like they’re looking at the game as disconnected pieces and nerfing a few pieces without realizing just how far those nerfs extend throughout the rest of the game.

Like, spending a good chunk of my leveling process running around without any movement skills/flasks was deeply unfun and didn’t make the already boring campaign any more interesting. Spending a good chunk of the experience, and now maps, frozen a lot and just hoping that my minions distract enough enemies so I won’t die is fun.

Also, Absolution is just garbage. Like Dominating Blow the skill itself isn’t really a primary source of damage, it’s the minions that spawn. But even with a 5 linked Absolution doing a full lightning conversion (which is stupidly expensive, 110+ mana per cast and it’s not even 6 linked!) just doesn’t deal anywhere near enough damage or have any real clear to it. Even when paired with zombies/carrion golem/holy relic the clear/damage is just awful. Apparently most of the streamers that started with it have already moved over to Dominating Blow, which is disappointing since I’ve already made that build and had a lot of issues with it (great for the most part, but holy shit it’s AWFUL at Sirus with all the immunity phases, like, genuinely painful).

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Vanquesse V

Generally PoE only really supports scaling minions with physical damage (spectres and srs are notable exceptions, maybe skele mages if you can get shroud of the lightless or the heist version of bitterdream). The new reaper minion had the potential to add bleed scaling to minions, but even with 50% more bleed damage, minions have a base bleed value of 12% of physical damage dealt vs 70% for players, and on top of that there’s no support for minion ailments on the tree or on items.
Both reaper and absolution are really cool skills from a conceptual point of view, but they can’t function as viable skills in the game as it is right now.
And seemingly nobody bothered to check if the skills added in this patch had the needed support from ascendancies, passives, gear and support gems to make them viable. From what I gather only 2 of the 19 skills added this patch are good.
I think the minion skills are extra bad because it takes a while for their flaws to show up since it’s due to lack of scaling, so a lot of people will have played through the story and get into yellow maps before they realize that they are playing a dead skill

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Greaterdivinity

Looking through all the minion passives and seeing the absolute lack of any minion caster support stats (nothing like granting minion attack speed to the player for spell cast speed). At least Absolution seems to scale with physical damage to a point, but I haven’t been able to find out shit about the minions and what their numbers are.

I guess PoB (the REAL game) updated with the new gems so I’ll finally get a look at how underwhelming they are : /

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Vanquesse V

honestly, there’s really only one item that can help you: Triad Grip. That item with 4 blue sockets will enable you to scale all minions through lightning, remove phys to light support gem, switch aura to wrath use wave of conviction with either added lightning or phys to lightning to apply exposure and use conductivity curse. And even then, it might not be enough. At least the item is cheap if you’re on trade league.

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Greaterdivinity

Yeah, I thought about that. But with PoB now updated I’m seeing that it’s truly awful. Swapping to a 5L HoP and 4L Absolution drops my Absolution damage down quite a bit, but my overall combined DPS (with just that swap, and even when dropping Wrath) more than doubled from 60K to 120K. Which is not what I was hoping for at all : (

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Great discussion, guys. Thanks for all the helpful insights. So very glad I passed on this League.

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Greaterdivinity

Fun fact: I can’t run 5L HoP! It reserves 106% mana even with some mana reduction. Will have to see if the multiplier nerfs let it be a functional skill, but I don’t think I can salvage this character/league and I’m sure as hell not looking to level another character already : /

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angrakhan

I’ve tried several times but I just can’t get into this game. It just bugs me that your abilities aren’t integral to your class… they’re drops. I get that means you have this crazy amount of flexibility in your build, but it also means you’re having to buy abilities and affixes from other players off poe.trade for the more rare ones… and I just have a problem with that. I also have a problem with the fact it means your class choice at character creation is damn near useless other than picking how your class looks and what node you start at on the passive node.

If they were honest with character creation and just let you pick your look, starting location on the passive tree, and name your class anything you want it would intellectually make more sense to me because and maybe I could get into it. The fact they have built a classless system where you just acquire abilities in the field and try to make a passive build that best synergizes with those abilities but present it as a traditional class-based ARPG is both confusing and disingenuous in my opinion. I just can’t get past it.

Yes, I know no one cares.

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Axetwin .

The only skills that are considered “rare” would be Empower, Enhance, and Enlighten, and these skills are not integral to any build. Oh, don’t mistake my meaning they are absolutely helpful, but there are no builds that don’t function if you don’t have them. Same for the Awakened skill gems, incredibly useful, but not build breaking without them. And again, for Vaal skills. Vaal skills are not rare, Vaal side areas are fairly common, and then it’s just a matter of RNG to decide which skill you get when you complete it So, excluding Empower, Enhance, and Enlighten, Vaal, and Awakened skills, all other skill gems can be bought from vendors. The only time you need to trade with other players is if you want faster access to specific skills.

Secondly, you’re forgetting about Ascendancies, and these absolutely matter for your build. This is why the starting class matters, because the ascendancies are tied to the classes. I know what you’re going to say, and being able to pick your starting position on the tree AND being able to pick any ascendancy you want would be OP as hell. It’s why the Scion is designed the way it is. Classes matter way more than you think in relation to the skills, the passive tree and again, the ascendancy.

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Pepperzine

Axetwin hit the nail on the head.

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Arktouros

Not playing this league was a great decision. Couldn’t imagine having to put up with any of this. As I’ve said a dozen times before, they nerf all this crap, then don’t do anything about the stuff they’ve tuned for the way things were.