The Path of Exile Sanctum league has proven to be a hugely popular addition to the long-standing hardcore RPG game, grabbing player attention after a series of somewhat underwhelming expansions with the introduction of its roguelike dungeon The Forbidden Sanctum. It’s been so good, in fact, that developer Grinding Gear Games wants it to be a more permanent part of Path of Exile – but it won’t come in PoE update 3.21.
Path of Exile leagues typically run for about three months, meaning that we’re coming towards the end of the run for the Forbidden Sanctum league. That means the core mechanics introduced in the Path of Exile 3.20 update will be rotating out to make way for whatever comes in the next league – which, in this case, means that the eponymous Forbidden Sanctum dungeon will be moving on.
The dungeon, which appears intermittently over the course of your leveling experience, sees you working your way through a randomised dungeon that draws on elements from the best roguelike games, with your character plotting out a route and picking up various buffs and debuffs as you progress through the floors. It’s a very cool mode, and as such Grinding Gear Games is understandably reluctant to let it go.
“While Sanctum won’t be going core in the next expansion, we do really like this mechanic and the way it challenges Path of Exile players,” the team says in a community post. “We loved watching your Sanctum runs and the best relics you found. We definitely want to find a way to integrate it into Path of Exile.”
This won’t be happening immediately out the gate, however. GGG notes that, before Sanctum becomes a more permanent fixture, “it needs a general rebalance, could benefit from more content, and needs to be integrated into your gameplay loop in a way that lets players specialise in it if they want to but doesn’t force it on players who prefer the base game.” That’s certainly understandable, as the focus will be on the current league’s new mechanics and it’s important Sanctum doesn’t detract from that too dramatically.
GGG adds, “We’re working on a lot of stuff for 3.21 at the moment so we haven’t included the Sanctum rework in its scope. But it’s hopefully something we can look forward to in the coming leagues.” With the current league presently set to end in “early April,” GGG also reminds players that relics and invocations will go away at this point, so any outstanding Sanctum challenges should be finished before then.
Other mechanics have made it out of leagues in the past – most notably, the Path of Exile Archnemesis system stuck around for several leagues beyond its initial introduction, eventually being reworked in 3.20 after GGG determined that it was causing too many balance problems.
Player feedback and retention in the Path of Exile Sanctum league has been better than usual, however, with many players saying that they feel the game as a whole is in a much better place even outside of the Forbidden Sanctum dungeon itself, so there’s certainly plenty of hope for whatever comes next – even if the Sanctum will be going away for now.
The introduction of Path of Exile Ruthless has also proven successful among some of the game’s more hardcore fans, introducing an extra-punishing set of restrictions on play. If you’re waiting for the Diablo 4 beta to arrive, take a look at more of the best games like Diablo in 2023, along with plenty more great free games on PC, to keep you busy.