July 4, 2017

Path of Exile Breach and Legacy Leagues

Path of Exile's next expansion The Fall of Oriath is on the horizon, with six new acts and likely a large shakeup of the current game. With the beta around June and a full release a bit later, I thought I would take a look back at what I've played in Path of Exile so far.

I will go over the builds I have tried. Some worked, some didn't. I play somewhat casually, and I only play softcore now. Hardcore is a great, intense experience, but I just can't deal with "starting over" anymore. In general, I play only one or two builds per league, with limited trading if possible. I buy and sell items, but I don't follow the market that much.

I try to play "efficiently," but only when it doesn't get in the way of my enjoyment. I don't rush to maps in a day or two, I don't chain 20 maps in a row, I don't perfectly manipulate my atlas, I don't use a very strict loot filter, etc. I play sub-optimal builds and run some unpopular maps, and I make enough currency to get by, but probably not to get ahead.

Breach League 
Flameblast Totem Inquisitor ("Pizza Sticks")
Build Guide by viperesque

My Legacy league character clearing a Mesa map.

In the Breach league I started with this rather "meta" build as it was easy to acquire gear, easy to play, and relatively powerful. I didn't end up investing too much time in Breach though, and flameblast totems ended up having some issues clearing breaches quickly. With no leech, some breaches got very difficult very quickly. I completed 12 challenges and moved on, I think somewhere around level 80.

I did actually think the breach mechanics were great after some initial post-launch tweaking. Breaches looked impressive, created exciting gameplay, and could be dangerous but rewarding. My only complaint was that breaches heavily favored (almost "required") fast clear speed builds. But the game as a whole has been moving in that direction, so I can't place much blame.

Legacy League

When Legacy league launched, I took the opportunity to try flameblast totems again and had more success. With some lucky drops and a bit of trading, I acquired enough gear to transition to Chaos Inoculation (CI). Despite its popularity and power, I had actually never done a CI build until now. This build also included my first 6-link chest. I reached level 90 and stopped at 24 challenges. I may have been able to get to 36, but I was little frustrated by some of the more RNG-based challenges, and a lot of other great games came out during Legacy league.

A video by blajo referenced in the build guide above.

I had a lot of fun and success with this character, but Legacy didn't hold my interest too much. As a sort of last hurrah league it did well, but the mechanics were obviously all rehashed. The Ancient Reliquary Keys were too much of a gamble (I sold the few that I found). Leaguestones had some very fun potential and combinations but were clunky to use, and white stones were too common and too boring.

I did come to see just how much better CI is (or can be) than life, though. With minimal investment, I ended up with almost 10000 energy shield. Most of my life builds have been around 5000-7000. I exchanged my typical 1 or 2 health flasks for more powerful utility flasks. The weaknesses of CI such as stuns and freezes are easy to work around with proper items. I used Valyrium and a flask "of heat." I had essentially 0 armor and evasion, but the increased effective health pool and defensive flasks made me feel much safer. This build didn't even have leech; CI with the Vaal Pact and Ghost Reaver keystones can get even crazier.

I hope that Fall of Oriath ends up shaking up the differences between life and energy shield. I actually prefer the "style" of life. I would love to see changes to armor, evasion, flasks, and even hybrid builds (life and energy shield together) too.

In the next post I will go over the other builds I've played, such as in the Perandus, Prophecy, and Essence leagues. Beyond that it gets a little hazy.