Possible and confirmed updates and changes gamers may see with the release of PoE 2
What we Know so Far
It has been suggested by GGG that the release of PoE 2 will take place in or a little before 2024. Originally the release was slated for 2021 but hardships created by the pandemic caused a delay in production. The much-anticipated beta testing period is also delayed until 2023, according to the PoE website. According to inside sources, the official website and gameplay trailers, this is what can be confirmed for PoE 2:
Weapons, Armor and Gem System:
In a trailer released in April 2021 which more or less suggests that some of PoE 2 will be played in the Vastiri Desert, two new weapon types can be seen during gameplay cutscenes: crossbows and javelins. The PoE community has long suggested these additions and GGG purports to fulfilling that wish. Along with a multitude of new weapons and armor such as the Heated Scythe, Honour Salvation Glorious Plate, and the Reinforced Tower Shield of the Brute, a complete overhaul of the progression of weapons and armor as a whole has been confirmed on the PoE website. This also comes with the addition of brand-new fighting animations. The Skill Gem system has been overhauled and reworked as well allowing the Gems themselves to have sockets of their own, allowing up to five Support Gems to maximize build variety. New loot will see additions to PoE currency, expanding the dimensions of PoE Trade.
Atmosphere, Animations: At Exilecon held in April 2020 creative director Erik Olofsson introduced the beginning of the game with an emphasis towards darkness, not just visually but emotionally as well. In the beginning of the game eight “Exiles” are awaiting execution on the gallows before a crowd during a nighttime rainstorm, this is where the user chooses his character. When one of the eight characters is chosen and given a name, the lever is pulled to release the Exiles into a swift death. The rope of the character you choose breaks, leaving them no option but to retreat to the edge of a wall and dive unknowingly into a river far below the castle walls. The character is then seen washed ashore and the user must begin the game from scratch, with nothing. From the outset, the mud and water appear (and are) more modernly rendered than anything seen previously in PoE 2 and the trees, according to Erik Olofsson, were created using 3-D scan techniques. He goes on to say that almost all core visual effects have been updated and changed and that many new fighting animations have been added. Amongst the list of new atmospheric changes are: area transitions, pre-calculated ray-tracing, and the use and implementation of detailed asset sheets. Olofsson goes on to say that the game requires the user to often think cleverly or act with persistence when maneuvering throughout the PoE 2 world and that decisions matter towards the questline of the game. This suggests that PoE 2 will require more skill and thought than earlier installments of the game which, for a very long time, have seen high critical-strike, speed-running builds as the meta.
Lore, Characters and What Remains the Same:
When PoE 2 is released as confirmed by PoE’s website, 19 new Ascendancy classes will be added to the game, allowing players to categorize and improve their characters with the help of brand-new skill sets and abilities. The questline to PoE 2 will consist of seven new chapters which follow from the canon of the original PoE, 20 years after the end of the last game. The loot-based direction of the game will go unchanged, however, developers from GGG have stated that they wish to combat the imbalance of minimal defense, max-hit builds which turn the game into a more or less lob-sided speed-run (more maps completed = more loot). Unlike typical sequels, PoE 2 will be a free(!) download, powered by microtransactions players make to buy new skins etc. The game will be a downloaded addition to PoE and all its expansions, retaining all data from the previous games.
Other: The Passive Skill tree will be updated in an unknown way. The tree already has 1325 different nodes which act as skill upgrades to a user’s character so it should be interesting to see in what direction GGG takes its newly integrated system. Some players believe that the Tree will be simplified but this is doubtful given the overall evolution of PoE as one of the most complex action RPGs on the market. It seems that the PoE Trade system will remain the same, which requires PoE currency in the form of items such as the Exalted Orb, and Chaos Orb in order to trade for better weapons and armor. It will be interesting to see what other changes and additions to PoE 2 will take place, as the PoE website suggests many more.