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Path of Exile Necropolis has “a s***load” of upgrades from Affliction

Path of Exile Necropolis is packed with QoL upgrades and features to help you recover as the PoE 3.24 league follows its most generous yet.

The Path of Exile Necropolis league has a tough act to follow. The genre-leading ARPG’s current league, Affliction, brought players near-untold wealth in ways we haven’t really seen before from the traditionally more demanding Diablo rival. Following that, and in the wake of the huge success of the Last Epoch 1.0 launch, the PoE 3.24 update has to find a way to stand out. After checking out the new features, PCGamesN spoke to Mark ‘Neon’ Roberts and Jonathan Rogers of Grinding Gear Games about the upcoming league, and it looks like there’s plenty to look forward to as we await Path of Exile 2.

The best loot-driven RPG games like PoE are, of course, all about scoring those big item drops. With Path of Exile Affliction quite possibly the most generous league we’ve ever seen in terms of both rare item drops and crafting currency, I ask Roberts and Rogers if they’re worried players won’t be able to go back to the previous pace of progression.

“I certainly am worried about that,” Rogers responds. “The detox will certainly be a thing,” Roberts adds, “there’s obviously still a lot going in this patch but obviously instead of being very magic-find centric, crafting is the main motivator of the league.” That crafting comes in the form of the new Necropolis mechanic, where a mysterious Undertaker will gather the corpses of your more notable foes together and collect them in a morgue, where they can be used to craft powerful new gear.

Once you’ve got enough bodies piled up, you’ll be able to bury them in a massive graveyard, before exhuming their combined souls to craft an item of your choosing. Each body you add to the process adds a modifier, further enhancing the potential of the item, and Roberts says there are “about 100” graves in total to make use of, so you can really go all-in on a single craft if you’re very committed to the process. Corpses can also be traded, if you wish.

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The other core hook of the Necropolis league is the Undertaker’s signature ‘Lantern of Arimor.’ This is a clever way to mix up the game’s core campaign progression, something that typically doesn’t dramatically change. Roberts notes, “One thing I’ve come to regret in PoE1’s development is not putting enough attention to keeping the campaign fresh.”

In the Necropolis league, each time you enter a new area you’ll be presented with a list of the most common monsters you’ll find inside, and a list of buffs to make them tougher, more numerous, or perhaps more rewarding. You’ll be able to manually shuffle these around, matching each buff to an enemy type so that you can customize the challenge of the area to your own personal preference.

Fight enough modified enemies and eventually, you’ll come across ‘devoted’ monsters that offer particularly strong rewards for defeating them. You’ll also get access to special ‘Embers of the Allflame’ that will allow you to completely transform all of a given enemy type in a zone into something completely different. These include enemy types from the likes of Breach, Legion, and even the recent Trial of the Ancestors – defeat them and you’ll get their associated drops, meaning you’ll be able to get the Ancestor league’s passive tree tattoos once more.

Path of Exile Necropolis - The player fights a group of warriors.

Alongside this, the Necropolis league is also making plenty of additional changes to help smooth out systems and minimize common pain points. GGG has already teased out some of the big Path of Exile Necropolis quality-of-life improvements endgame players can expect, but there’s also some notable changes that should make life easier for those of us who aren’t quite as accustomed to finishing off every last task in each league.

Path of Exile’s Uber bosses, for example – the ultra-challenging endgame variants of some of the game’s most dramatic fights – are being altered. You’ll no longer need to allocate points in your Atlas tree to access them; instead, you’ll earn fragments from completing a new tier of endgame map, tier 17, which can be used to take on these fights. Uber and non-Uber variants now feature separate loot pools (with new uniques coming to all the Uber drop pools in 3.24), so there’s still plenty of reason to take on their lesser forms as well.

Maps have been made a little less complex by “removing some systems but keeping what is good about them.” Sextants are gone, and Scarabs have been reworked to fulfill their functionality and much more besides. The ‘masters’ can also now all show up in one map, so you can see multiple mechanics such as Delve and the Bestiary in one place without a need to pre-select them on a given map.

Path of Exile Necropolis - Multiple corpses are buried in a graveyard, each offering a crafting bonus to the player.

All in all, there’s a huge amount packed in here. Returning to the initial concerns about transitioning from the Affliction league’s riches, Roberts says, “It’ll feel different in a way that hopefully won’t feel too much worse, because of [additions like] the new Scarabs and what level of juicing and changes you can do.” There are also more transfigured gems on the way that didn’t make it in time for Affliction.

“Basically the answer is if you shake the meta up enough then ideally that will still be okay,” Rogers adds. Roberts notes that players who have taken a break between leagues should also likely not notice as much, but those full-time grinders should certainly expect “a detox and a period of adjustment” when Necropolis arrives.

Path of Exile 3.24 release date

Path of Exile Necropolis launches on Friday, March 29 on all platforms. As always, your Affliction league characters will be moved across to the standard league ahead of this, so make sure to wrap up anything you have left to do on them this week. We also got a hands-on Path of Exile 2 preview, and spoke to Rogers and Roberts about the Path of Exile 2 beta delay, so you can learn about why they’re pushing the sequel back a bit.

In the meantime, there are even more of the best games like Diablo out there to keep you plenty busy, along with all manner of the best free PC games you need to try in 2024.

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