December 9, 2017

Path of Exile Abyss League Day 1

My first day of the Path of Exile Abyss league (and War for the Atlas expansion) is over. I played for about 6 hours and reached level 48 and act 6. I am playing a Trickster using Essence Drain + Contagion, as well as Blight and Wither (eventually totem) for support. I am also running Blasphemy Despair (later Temporal Chains) and Clarity, plus Flame Dash for gap crossing. I will be using Shield Charge for movement soon, but I haven't switched off my wand yet.

I am mostly following Ghazzy's build guide for MoM ED/Contagion Trickster. I have also consulted Dsfarblarwaggle's Essence Drain Trickster league starter guide for some additional ideas and help. I am enjoying the combo of skills so far. Although my current gear has left me a little squishy, the ability to throw out the combo and then focus on avoiding damage (or moving forward) makes the leveling process pretty safe.

So far, the Abyss league is a lot of fun. The abysses themselves feel very similar to breach, spawning large amounts of monsters (some very dangerous) but feeling appropriately rewarding for the risk. The new Abyss jewels can have crazy stats like flat damage and life, mana regen while moving, various on-hit or on-kill effects, minion bonuses, and many other mods that cannot normally appear on jewels.

These jewels are so powerful that I think the new Stygian Vise belt type that includes an abyssal jewel socket is a no-brainer in most (non-Headhunter?) cases. Being able to roll the standard desired mods on a belt and then add a crazy jewel on top of that is really powerful. There is also a great flexibility in being able to switch out different defensive or offensive jewels as your build evolves.

A quick example of Essence Drain + Contagion from my Mayhem race character.

I have been to the "abyssal depths" which spawn at the end of some abysses a few times. The depths are a nice change of pace from the more frantic abyss chasing, and the boss at the end was challenging but not frustrating, despite a time limit.

Otherwise, I am enjoying some of the quality of life changes in the patch, especially the improved buff/debuff system. Flasks now show a duration bar, and by default, your flasks no longer clog up the buff bar. Similarly, your own auras do not show an icon by default, which makes sense as they should always be on anyway. Finally, debuffs now show on a separate line, making it much easier to notice dangerous debuffs like curses, shock, bleed, etc.

I was also glad to see the new quest reward screen which looks much better than the old repurposed vendor screen where you "bought" your quest reward. These small touches that have been piling up are going a long way towards making Path of Exile look less rough around the edges.