Path of Exile 2 Release Date and 10 Things We Want

Will Path of Exile 2 feature boss fights in the style of The Awakener?
Why so Sirus?

How Path of Exile 2 Has to Solve Issues From Its Prequel

Back in 2013, a brand new ARPG took avid Diablo fans by the storm, and that game was Path of Exile. It first launched in the form of Open Beta in January 2013, and then officially released in October of the same year. Ever since then, its reputation and player numbers (as well as sales and number of employed staff members) exponentially increased in an ever-so-wholesome crescendo, up to the announcement of a new chapter: Path of Exile 2. 

Path of Exile 2 was announced during Exile-Con, a convention GGG (founder company of the game) held in Auckland, New Zealand, in November 2019. The project was immediately celebrated as yet another victory for GGG, as Blizzard’s Diablo IV was announced merely two months prior, and PoE2 collected passengers for the hype train that’s been around for quite some time now.

Path of Exile 2 was expected to launch in 2020, maybe early 2021, but due to Covid and other factors both internal to GGG and external to them it is very likely the game will launch in 2022. While we do not know for sure what the launch date may be, data shows that the biggest patches to the original PoE always dropped either in March, September, or December. PoE2’s release will surely be affected by Diablo IV’s release date, as recent events revealed through GGG’s last November’s announcement regarding the December 2020 expansion being delayed up until January 2021 due to Cyberpunk being released the same month. The best guess for PoE2’s release, sales-wise, would be December 2022 – yet, GGG might have other plans and release the big hit earlier.

With PoE2 come a lot of long-awaited features, like new classes (as in, new playable characters), new ascendancies (i.e., additional specialization paths for each base class), and a new skill system. The current system uses sockets, which are crafted on several pieces of gear and can host skill gems and support gems alike. The more sockets an item has, the more skills and/or supports it can hold. PoE2 completely changes that, and, inevitably, the game as we know it now. In fact, Path of Exile 2 will feature skill gems that have sockets on their own (six, to be precise, which is currently only possible for Body Armours and Two-Handed Weapons). This change will make it so players will have enormous build variety, even wider than it is now, thanks to many secondary skills being possibly used in unison with more popular ones. Fireworks are to be expected.

However, the original Path of Exile has its own ups and downs, and we as players are eager to see other improvements and steps forward with the sequel. Here is a list of things players have asked for for quite some time now, and things that would probably need to be in GGG’s roadmap for PoE2 if it is to be successful.


10. Loot and rewards at a reasonable pace, rather than a zoom-zoom fest.

Ultra Fast Blade Vortex Assassin - Path of Exile 2021 Best Build

While not all PoE players will agree on the matter, it is something that needs to be discussed by GGG and players alike. As it stands, the original Path of Exile has several balance issues which seriously impact the game’s longevity and player retention. In fact, merely a few thousands of players manage each league to obtain extreme amounts of currency and loot by solely making FotM builds that clear all of the game’s content in a matter of minutes, seconds even. While this can indeed be fun, the overall enjoyment perceived by the players might pay the toll. Imagine, if you will, having a character that can achieve precisely that in under two weeks since the new expansion released; it would mean reaching the end of the end-game quite fast. Too fast, really. Suddenly, you would have no more reasons to log into the game daily and play through sessions of maps and bosses lasting for hours. The fire would eventually wade, and playing the game would become a chore of sorts.

Another thing that this approach directly impacts is the meta. How so, you might ask. The current Path of Exile is more of a fast-paced environment than GGG would like it to be, as Chris Wilson himself many a time said. As such, the “meta” (as in, the most popular sets of skills, interactions, character classes, and so on so forth) is shaped around fast skills: abilities that can be used scarcely within a set time span, thus allowing your character to move freely through the environment and watch things die and loot pop out of corpses. But what does this mean for us players and the game’s future? Simply put, this greatly reduces build variety and pigeonholes many players into playing builds they don’t really like just because they work. This defeats the very purpose of a game such as Path of Exile, which is born in a vast skill tree and amazing, cool interactions between items, classes, and skills alike.

So yes, an environment in which players can thrive and make the most of their time only by playing the same characters over and over has a great hazard of becoming stale. Furthermore, if this environment is something the developers would want to change but fear to do so because of potential player backlash, it can be quite frustrating on the other end of the spectrum as well. Thus, a completely new environment such as Path of Exile 2 might be the chance for GGG to have a clean slate and start afresh. Tabula rasa.

Pun intended.


9. Deterministic or semi-deterministic crafting methods.

ABUSE HARVEST CRAFTING - Easy Examples [PoE 3.13]

Back in June 2020, GGG introduced Path of Exile: Harvest. This league was exciting for many players, as it offered for the first time ever a stable way of deterministic crafting for expert exiles. A method that was previously introduced is “beast-crafting” in PoE: Bestiary, which can still be used in the original PoE and was permanently added into the game alongside the Betrayal expansion. Beast-crafting was and still is semi-deterministic, however, due to the random nature of affixes being removed or added onto the items. It simply opens up some crafting options which were previously unavailable or which were removed in the past (like Eternal Orbs).

Harvest changed everything, though. It made possible something that never was an option in the history of Path of Exile, which is removing a specific type of affix and/or adding a specific one. This is why Harvest is considered to be the first deterministic crafting method in PoE, and this is why it was always loved quite a lot by both casual and hardcore gamers. 

However, GGG recently announced their intention of “nerfing” Harvest crafting in the future, which caused an uproar in the community. While deterministic crafting is very powerful, as it can allow expert players to create mirror-tier items and further increase the power creep in Path of Exile, it is also a very useful tool for creating your own decent pieces of equipment without having to rely on trading too much, or not at all – for those who play the game in Solo Self-Found mode.

So yes, we would like to see a balanced version of deterministic crafting in PoE2 because crafting in the original Path of Exile can be frustrating, excruciating even, and it is definitely not noob-friendly.


8. An improved trading system for healthier interactions and game experience.

Chaotic Disposition, 5x Chaos Orb, Divination Card

Trading is another sore spot for the Path of Exile community, as it inherits its issues from a flawed system and from player behaviour. What does that mean? Well, first of all, Path of Exile was thought out as an MMORPG (massively-multiplayer online role-playing game), but its identity slowly became one of a single-player action RPG. This happened because of how GGG handled things over time, with trading being exclusively dependent on third-party websites and other applications, and with elements of the game such as party-play and guilds being overlooked for the longest time. GGG did in the end make their own trading website, thus partly addressing the issue.

Unfortunately, player behaviour is another issue that was never tackled properly by GGG. In fact, even on the official trading platform for Path of Exile, scammers run rampant and thrive on a phenomenon called “price-fixing” – which basically consists in buying a set item in bulk and pricing it at a very small percentage of its price, in order to buy more and profit from reselling said item at much higher prices.

Another issue is one that is born by combining the old-fashioned trading system the original PoE currently features together with player behaviour. The current trading system makes it so players can list items in their in-game tabs, then the items are shown on the website, and other players can contact the sellers to buy whatever it is they need. However, this does not result in an outcome favourable for everyone, as quite often sellers may not reply to buyers, or buyers may change the contact message and lower the seller’s price – which, to casual gamers, can mean being paid less and thus scammed.

All in all, we do need an improved trading system which deals with the aforementioned issues in order to increase the perceived so-called “quality of life” for players. Furthermore, doing so could also reduce player burnout and increase the game longevity for more active exiles.


7. Improved party play to stay true to the original game’s identity.

[Poe] 3.13 Ritual League - Week 1 Recap First time Group Play 10 Mirrors Made!

With the original Path of Exile being an MMORPG, it is safe to assume the sequel will keep this characteristic. If this happens to be the case, then it would be beneficial to take some steps forward in the right direction.

But what is exactly wrong with party play as it is now? The answer might not be that short. 

First of all, playing with other people makes it so enemies have increased life based on the number of players forming the party, growing from 2 to 6. The same thing occurs to loot. In fact, loot will be increased in terms of currency items found (from an increase of 50% in a party of 2, up to 250% in a party of 6), increased item quantity found (from 27%, up to 112%), and increased rarity of items found (from 17%, up to 65%). These are nice perks that should promote party play, but in reality, they are most sought after by organized groups of people playing the game together, rather than casual players joining in.

The reason behind this might be that any loot that drops while in a party is not available for everyone, but – based on the settings selected by the party leader – it can either drop for the party leader only, for a specific random player with the restriction of the item being locked for others, or for a specific random player with the option of the item becoming free for the taking after a set amount of time has elapsed. This can be problematic when people who do not know each other play together because of potential trust issues or scam attempts.

Furthermore, apart from the extra loot, there is no further reason to actually play with other people. The current system might penalize players for being lower level relative to the others forming the party, but it won’t reward them for being higher level instead.

Lastly, the scarce build variety in the end-game can make it so playing with other people also means playing at different speeds. You could either end up killing screens of monsters before everyone else or be the one left behind. Plus, the game’s not very optimized graphic engine (which will undergo many significant improvements comes PoE2) could create performance issues even for high-end hardware users.

There is much room for improvement here, and we expect exciting news for party play when PoE2 is actually released.


6. Improvements to the current Guild system, and a new take on what Guilds in PoE2 could be.

Cassia helping fighting Blight monsters back.

One of the most overlooked features in the game, guilds in the original Path of Exile lack relevance and quality of life adjustments. In fact, there is no point really in joining a guild, except if the guild stash is unlocked and the guild members very active. Yep, that’s it. And, with the guild stash being paid-only, the actual utility of guilds in the game is extremely limited.

The guild stash is a good feature on its own, but even trying to neglect the paid-only aspect doesn’t cut it. The stash, once purchased from one or more contributors, can be accessed by anyone within the guild. This means everyone can add or remove items from it and there is little control over limits and restrictions. 

As for the guild UI, it is located within the same window of the friends UI, create/current party UI, and public party UI. While this can be understandable in terms of navigation, it also happens to be counter-intuitive to interact with, be it for less experienced players and veterans alike. Some of the buttons from the guild interface page in-game don’t even work properly, and the only other advantage in being in a guild is the social aspect of it, like in all online games.

There could be so many interesting features to guilds, like a guild-shared atlas or a guild hideout, just to name a few. There could even be guild-based events, like races, guild milestones, guild PvP, and more. The possibilities are endless, so we as players hope PoE2 does deliver.


5. A complete rework of the PvP system to suit all tastes.


Stemming from a very successful ARPG title, expectations are high for Path of Exile 2 and its features. An improvement we would like to see is to the original game’s PvP system.

PvP in Path of Exile is not really a thing. There’s an option to fight other players, but the system looks pretty outdated and not completely optimized. There are two ways you can currently challenge other players and combat them. 

The first option that becomes available during the initial gameplay – very early in the game – is by clicking on another player’s character or profile (be it from the friend list, guild, or party) and selecting the PvP option. If the other player accepts you are both taken to a random arena from a quite narrow selection, and the fight begins. The first player to win three matches is the victor, and both players are taken back to the area they were in before entering the PvP room.

The second option is by entering the Arena of Sarn, which is located in both Act 3’s and Act 8’s main town. Entering the Arena will take you to a semi-deserted fighting ground where you can freely fight all the players you find within the borders of the area. There is no victor here, as the only goal you can set yourself to achieving is simply staying alive or having fun in a mix of killing and dying.

What are the issues with these features and how can they be tackled? The first option heavily relies on other players being willing to fight in a PvP match. If they don’t feel like doing so then there’s not much you can do apart from trying to ask other players. The second option has a similar issue, in the sense that you can find the Arena, well, empty at times. Or, likewise, a single-player dominating over everyone else with their overpowered build.

The best way to solve these issues would be to implement a PvP ground in PoE2 which is similar to the current Arena, but make it so there are different modes and win conditions, be it time-based matches, number of victories, or similar. There could also be a mode for party/guild PvP to make things more fun, or a ranked ladder for more PvP-oriented gamers.

Finally, an honorable mention is when GGG played a joke on us players on April 1st, 2018. In one day, they developed Path of Exile: Royale, which was a temporary game mode where players could challenge 99 exiles to a battle royale. This is not necessarily something all of us might want to see in PoE2, but it is a creative precedent set by GGG to make PvP more fun.


4. More uniqueness when it comes to Unique Items.

Several Fated Unique Items added to Path of Exile.

Unique Items are a recurrent feature in ARPGs, Hack ‘n’ Slash games, and loot-based games in general. The original Path of Exile includes a plethora of them, which is great for build variety – or it could be.

As a matter of fact, Path of Exile’s Unique Items are not often unique enough to actually unlock a niche new gameplay, even when peculiar interactions are at play. There are many low-level Unique Items that don’t bring much to the game apart from stats. Quite shockingly, there are also several high-level, rare Unique Items that are sub-par at most. Oftentimes, these items can feel like filler loot to give players the impression of having found something nice, when in reality it’s items most people end up selling to in-game vendors for currency shards.

Unique Items could even be scarce in terms of rarity if they offered new singular ways of playing the game. As such, we do want to see more cool concepts in Path of Exile 2 rather than more items that won’t be used outside of leveling the first character or two.

Fated Unique Items are a pretty neat way of improving this aspect of the game, as they take pre-existing under-used items to turn them into something better, stronger. Some of these items in the original PoE did suffer from the same issue as some base Unique Items, thus not being a desirable pick for any build. Maybe, having better, more niche items from the get-go would be a great starting point, so Fated versions of said shouldn’t even be needed in the first place in PoE2. 

Ultimately, Unique Items should be what they seem to be according to their name and nature: items that are not commonly found and possess exotic abilities capable of radically transforming the game experience. As the current version of Path of Exile stands, Unique Items are somewhat rare, while Rare Items are oftentimes unique thanks to crafting. It sounds like philosophical reasoning, and it kind of is, actually. It speaks volumes on the subject at hand.


3. Fewer flashy effects for a grittier, darker look which better fits the game as it was conceived – and less screen clutter, please.

Much like their sentiment towards a slower pace for their game which is then somehow set aside by increasing power creep with each new expansion, GGG said multiple times they would like Path of Exile to be darker and grittier in terms of visuals because that was their original design. Yet, especially in the past one to two years, GGG has been releasing new skills, skill effects, items, bosses, and microtransactions in general which are quite flashy, sometimes even obnoxiously so. Looking at you, Carnival sets.

Path of Exile’s setting is one of dread, sorrow, despair, betrayal, loss. It always was, and it is very likely (especially after seeing the footage for Path of Exile 2) that the sequel will retain this aspect. In doing so, GGG should ensure the new game is going to be a testament to their own will, thus making the visuals – even the visual effects for purchased cosmetic items – less overbearing and more fitting in the world of Wraeclast. 

It is not uncommon nowadays to witness spectacularly gorgeous visuals for new elements introduced to the game, be it paid cosmetic items, base visuals for new skills, or even boss fights. And while this is good in its own way, the original PoE has also become a quagmire of visual clutter, which hinders gameplay in many circumstances and dramatically affects the already lacking performance of the graphic engine. An example of this was the release of the Delirium league, which was a perfect theme for the game but was first introduced with a lot of things going on on-screen, oversaturated colors, and almost invisible assets (namely, volatile blobs that oftentimes kill your character). 

The video footage for Path of Exile 2 looks very promising, though, and there are high hopes the game will look great and be better performing as well.


2. A brand new story, with fleshed-out characters, where player agency actually matters.

A game still from Path of Exile 2 featuring a boss encounter.

The trailer for Path of Exile 2 begins with the execution of all of the characters available for selection in Path of Exile 1, with the exception of one. This feels like a dark goodbye to those characters whom we players had the chance to impersonate in the original PoE, and it also looks like the new character selection animation when starting PoE2. 

As a testament to this scene, we PoE fans hope there will be new fully fleshed-out characters with their own stories, peculiarities, and voices. As all Path of Exile players know by now, in the original game the characters go silent after the end of Act 4 (which was, before patch 3.0, the last one) through the end of Act 10. This was because of contractual issues, developing times, and probably other things. However, it is quite sad to see how immersion-depriving such a thing is, and we do hope Path of Exile 2 succeeds in letting the new bunch of exiles voice their thoughts, feelings, and perceptions.

Another pet peeve of many of us who played the game prior to the introduction of Act 5 through Act 10 is that, while we appreciate getting six new Acts for free, the story from Act 6 through 10 basically takes place in the same settings of Act 1 through 5, respectively. This is likely due to the developing process taking a very long time, and recycling assets being a very appealing way to solve this issue. What we expect from PoE2 is that the story is set in whole new zones, maybe retaining a few familiar elements. Otherwise, the sequel may feel stale for those who played a lot of Path of Exile 1.

Lastly, and this is another pet peeve many players have, Path of Exile 1 features a few quests where player agency is required – as in, the player making a choice that will determine the future of both their characters and the story – with the choice being ultimately inconsequential in terms of impact on the environment and the narrative. We do hope Path of Exile 2 changes that, letting player agency having the rightfully due consequences.


1. Quality of life: of currency shards, end-game content, and gameplay variety.

The Maven, Path of Exile's new deadly boss fight in Path of Exile: Echoes of the Atlas.

Generally speaking, Path of Exile 1 is a great game and over the years it gathered the audience it rightfully deserved. 

Looking at the future there’s room for improvement for its sequel in many regards, as we saw from the things mentioned earlier. There are other things that affect the perceived quality of life while playing, though, which should be assessed if Path of Exile 2 is to be as successful as it can be.

PoE1 features a lot of currency types, and the game relentlessly throws chunks of them to its player base – which is good for the ARPG, being it a loot-based game with no money as its main currency and which relies solely on barter. However, there’s a lot of orbs, and almost each and every single one of them can come in shards, too. Shards are not useful for trades with other players, as almost all trades rely on fully made orbs, and they are not otherwise used. The only valuable shards are Mirror Shards and Exalted Shards, as of now, as their value is higher than the price of a single Chaos Orb (which is the standard currency for conversion in trades), while all of the remaining shards tend to be of negligible value. This asks the question: “Why have them in the first place, then?” – Well, we don’t know exactly, and they create further visual clutter which we hope PoE2 won’t see.

As for the current end-game content for Path of Exile, it is quite varied and it sees further significant additions every year. The Atlas system is in a good place right now in PoE1, yet we don’t know if it’s going to be part of Path of Exile 2, and if so, to which extent. Still, it could be so much more. How? Well, it depends on GGG’s view, but there are a few things we could look forward to. Firstly, Path of Exile 2 could have some sort of customizable end-game content and/or timed events to create more diversity and to prolong the lifespan of gaming sessions. Secondly, there could be other elements added into PoE2 borrowed from what other successful games usually feature, like raids or dungeons of sorts. Their addition could be the catalyst for improvements to party/guild play as well.

Gameplay diversity is what keeps long-running games fresh, and GGG effectively managed to do so with new leagues being introduced every three months. Yet, three months can be too long if you are only seeing a slight variation in general mechanics every now and then, with the game staying fundamentally the same. This is why it is critical that Path of Exile 2 evolves from its predecessor and becomes a better version of it.

You May Also Be Interested In:

More on this topic:

Coming from the "hand-signals tribe" (also known as "the Italians"), Andrea is not as belligerent as the Romans, yet she loves strategy. As an existentialist, she thrives on cosmic horror and pizza.
Gamer Since: 1997
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Path of Exile, AFK Arena, Borderlands 3, Brawlhalla
Top 3 Favorite Games:Year Walk, The Elder Scrolls Online, Borderlands 2

More Top Stories