Content Update PoE 3.3.0 introduces 12 new gems. Because Incursion is a Vaal-themed expansion, we’re adding six new Vaal Skills. In addition, there are five new Trap Skills and a new Trap Support Gem which help solidify the Trapper as a build to be reckoned with. Today we will share What Skill Revamp in Path of Exile 3.3 Incursion
Improvements to Underused Skills
The game has many old skills that have since been outclassed by other newer skills that perform their role better. Some skills excel in a specific situation (like destroying stationary bosses or dealing significantly more damage with a specific unique item) but fall behind when taking on the majority of end-game encounters. As an example, Ice Spear performs somewhat adequately in crit-based builds against stationary mid-range bosses, but a large number of support gems required to let it hit multiple targets make it underwhelming against groups of enemies, which contributes to it being one of the least popular skills in recent leagues. Poe 3.3 have given skills like Ice Spear numeric increases in the past but they still lack the features that their alternatives offer.
Over time we will be trying to breathe new life into underused older skills with additional mechanics or significant mechanical reworks to make them feel like brand new skills. These will usually include an update to their visual effects to bring them up to the quality of modern skills.
Cold Snap is one such skill on our hit-list. Poe 3.3 is currently trying out a version of the skill that still does the instant, large damage hit in a small area (with values increased to bring it closer to the scaling of other cold damage skills), while also releasing a larger pulse that chills and applies a cold damage-over-time effect to nearby enemies. This lets it keep its high damage hit output for those that enjoyed finding ways around the cooldown but also provides notable area damage in a way that makes getting around the cooldown less of a necessity.
It should fit into a cold damage build as a quick way to dispatch large weak packs while also working well when used alongside other skills when fighting a single tough enemy. Poe 3.3 is still in the early stage of testing this skill out in real end-game builds, so we may still see further changes to Cold Snap as we try to make sure it has a place on some builds in the later stages of the game.
Fleshing-out Skill Themes
Our future skill development will involve working on skill themes that can give players a flavourful character style by picking skills that fit the theme. Often these themes will stick closer to the feel of a character or their Ascendancy classes. A good example of this is the new set of Corpse-based skills.
Poe 3.3 will also be reworking and improving older skills that already share mechanics and weapon types to have a more consistent theme. For example, the goal is to eventually offer the Marauder a full complement of Volcanic attack skills that deal fire damage, creating a fiery Chieftain-themed set of skills to try out as a player progresses through the story. Infernal Blow is one skill that we are planning to improve to make it a much more well-rounded skill choice for a Volcanic attack type character.
Enabling New Playstyles
One of the core goals of future skill development will be enabling new styles of gameplay. Similar to how Essence Drain and Contagion introduced an entirely new style of play, we want more skills to feel like a whole new playstyle. This will include taking existing skills that don’t see much use and giving them unique twists or mechanics that separate them from the rest.
Charged Dash was a skill intended to fill a primary attack role that has built-in movement. Path of Exile only has a few skills in this category and only Cyclone and Flicker Strike see much use later in the game. Charged Dash was intended to fill a similar role for Elemental conversion attacks with a unique twist on the gameplay. The skill was balanced toward having an enemy in a position of maximum overlap, while rapidly moving back and forth across them. Complex end-game boss encounters and the rapid precision targeting required in this situation made the skill a sub-par choice for many major boss fights. The damage output just didn’t feel worth the effort and risk.
Poe 3.3 are trying out a new setup for this skill where the areas of damage don’t overlap so you don’t need to worry about getting enemies in the zone of greatest overlap. Poe 3.3 can then also turn up the skill’s hit damage. Poe 3.3 are experimenting with having the skill pulse damage repeatedly when fully charged so that having a higher movement speed doesn’t result in you having to click repeatedly against enemies. This will come with major changes to how the damage output is modified by attack speed and movement speed, which we’re still working on fine-tuning.
These significant changes to the skill keep the fast-paced movement style when fighting regular enemies while creating a combat style on bosses that lets you focus on avoiding boss abilities and making a few carefully timed moves rather than rapidly clicking and re-targeting. It’s a good example of how we’re trying to push interesting new ways to play Path of Exile.
It’s hard to estimate exactly how many skill revamps will be released in Content Update 3.3.0, but our goal is to revamp around nine skills in this update. It could be more if other prototypes pan out earlier than expected, or less if we run into difficulties. Over the coming weeks, we will talk more specifically about changes we’re experimenting with these new skill prototypes and how the progress is going.
The version of Fire Trap we’re experimenting with no longer has a cooldown. The purpose of removing the cooldown is so that the skill can be used as often as required, alongside other traps that have cooldowns.
This version of Fire Trap also deals additional fire damage to burning enemies, which makes it great to use repeatedly on targets that are already in burning ground from a previous Fire Trap.
Poe 3.3 are also altering the burning ground from Fire Trap so that it’s much more intense but only lasts a short time. Poe 3.3 is still in the process of adjusting its values but we’re working towards making it so that using the skill repeatedly on a higher health target will be worth the effort for both hits and burning.
While we don’t have any numbers to confirm yet, the skill’s damage and area have been slightly increased.
To keep the skill in line with the above changes, we’re planning to change Fire Trap from a Level 1 starting skill to a Level 12 Skill. The current plan is that it would first become available from “The Siren’s Cadence” quest. Poe 3.3 are planning for a new trap skill to take its place as a level 1 “Enemy at the Gate” reward. Poe 3.3 also intend for this new trap skill to have no cooldown.
Bear Trap is another skill that we’re working on at the moment. In our current plan, it applies a debuff to enemies that increases the damage they take from traps and mines. The trap still does massive damage to the target triggering it. These two effects should make it a powerful tool for taking on bosses.
The skill will still immobilize enemies for a duration that’s based on how much damage the skill inflicts on them. Poe 3.3 are currently testing out having it also apply a significant movement speed reduction for a short time after the immobilisation phase has ended.
Lightning Trap will also be losing its cooldown so that you can use it as much as you want, like Fire Trap.
In our test version, Lightning Trap has a higher base crit chance and gains a large increased critical strike chance against Shocked enemies which should give it a much stronger critical strike focus. Poe 3.3 are making these changes while also working on a new trap-specific support gem that should synergize well with Lightning Trap.
The new trap-specific support gem will give you a chance to generate both Power and Frenzy charges when your traps are triggered while simultaneously giving you a Critical Strike Multiplier for each Power Charge and increased Throw speed for each Frenzy Charge.
Poe 3.3 are developing changes to the Shadow starting area and other trap clusters. The Shadow will be offered passives that increase all trap damage right away, rather than having to decide early on between using elemental or physical damage.
Poe 3.3 are planning to introduce a number of new Trap skills alongside these changes, which we’ll reveal more about as their development progresses.
It’s worth noting that we’re also planning to increase the active trap limit significantly but this is still undergoing testing to assess the risk of doing so.
There may be other changes to trap mechanics coming, but we’re still discussing these options. It’s likely that we will reveal more about this as we announce the other upcoming trap skills and continue to keep you updated on our plans. Keep an eye out!
Please note that this post outlines our current plans and thoughts which may be subject to change while we continue to work on Content Update 3.3.0.
Rain of Arrows
Poe 3.3 want this skill to be more powerful at higher levels. Its area of effect performed well at lower levels, but once players had access to piercing and additional projectiles, other bow skills could cover a much larger area. Poe 3.3 couldn’t just increase its size, as it would have to be absolutely massive to compete with projectile skills.
Our reworked version rains down arrows that each deal area damage where they land, and they land over a much larger area than the original Rain of Arrows.
Poe 3.3 have tried a number of ways to distribute the arrows. Eventually we came to our current version. Half of the arrows will drop randomly, while the other half will drop on targets over the area. It picks targets in a series of rings spreading out from the targeted location, making the target spread very even. Take a look at this screenshot for an example of this:
“Additional Arrows” add more arrows spread out over additional outer rings, increasing the total spread of damage without impacting damage to individual targets.
This is how it drops arrows when there are targets in its area:
The skill will also receive some additional effects to demonstrate the damage of the arrows.
Vaal Rain of Arrows
Vaal Rain of Arrows will receive the same changes as Rain of Arrows above, with some special additions.
The skill will fire more arrows, meaning it will drop arrows over a larger area. The skill will also repeat its rain multiple times, providing powerful ongoing damage, controlling its area for an extended period.
Rather than pinning enemies in place, the skill will now perform a powerful Maim, slowing enemy movement by 75%. Having a slow effect rather than preventing movement makes monsters more likely to keep trying to run at you, rather than just stopping and using any ranged attacks immediately. This makes the skill much more practical as crowd control.
This skill is currently a cornerstone of the most powerful Bow builds, granting unparalleled single target damage once players have found ways to give the skill additional projectiles.
Additional projectiles provide too great a damage increase (as the skill gains 25% more damage for each extra projectile). Poe 3.3 don’t want to simply reduce the damage of the skill, as this makes the skill much less useful before players have access to additional projectiles.
Poe 3.3 are currently trying out a version of the skill that has a base of 5 projectiles per barrage, rather than 4, and reducing the damage to compensate. This will mean that a player will gain 20% more damage for each additional projectile.
Long term, we want to provide alternatives to Barrage that can compete with it, but its ability to scale with additional projectiles is so extreme that we have to reduce its damage per additional projectile to give other skills a chance. This will give us the opportunity to provide more general power for bow skills.
Blast Rain was previously one of the more popular abilities for high single-target damage, and we want it to recover some of that strength.
The skill will now convert 100% of Physical Damage to Fire. Ranger characters don’t have easy access to giving a skill full conversion to fire, so we’ve built this into the skill to let you take full advantage of Elemental interactions.
The skill will now penetrate 25% Fire Resistance by gem level 20. Poe 3.3 wanted to boost the damage by about 25%, so we’ve done so in a way that will make it much more effective against resistant targets.
Poe 3.3 is looking at more extreme mechanical changes to Blast Rain and other single-target bow skills, as well as considering Blast Rain’s interactions with additional arrows. Poe 3.3 will keep iterating on these skills leading up to 3.3.0 and beyond.
Poe 3.3 will provide more information as we keep iterating on these changes in the weeks to come, as well as talking about some of the other skill changes we’ll be making. Nothing is set in stone, so thoughts and feedback are welcome!
Vaal Skill Gems now grant the regular and the Vaal version of the skill. This is to remove the socket pressure that Vaal skills suffered from, so you no longer have to give up an Aura, Herald, Triggered Skill or a well-linked secondary skill, and you can justify using a Vaal gem in your best set of linked sockets.
Unique and Rare enemies now grant souls to Vaal Skills as they lose a life. Longer fights will generate more Vaal souls for your skills. Poe 3.3 will reveal the exact mechanics once we’re completely happy with them. Most Vaal skills couldn’t be used more than a couple of times on bosses until this change, and couldn’t be used at all on stand-alone encounters like Izaro. You won’t be able to use them as frequently as in the past when killing lots of enemies, but they’ll still play a part and have an impact on boss fights.
Vaal Skills now prevent gaining Vaal souls for a short duration when used. This change was made so that we no longer need to balance Vaal skills around their ability to generate their soul cost back again when killing many enemies. Because of this change, we can increase the power and reduce the sole cost of many Vaal skills.
Vaal skills no longer have higher soul costs after your encounters with Kitava. With other changes, Vaal skills no longer need to get more expensive as you start encountering larger monster packs.
Vaal Souls are now stored per skill, rather than per gem. This is to prevent you having multiple copies of the same Vaal skill gem and switching the gems out mid-fight.
The Ancestral Call Support can no longer support Vaal skills. The same is still true of Multistrike Support and Spell Echo Support. This is something we’ll reassess in future, but at the moment duplicating Vaal skill effects causes too many technical, performance and balance problems.
Poe 3.3 are also reworking and rebalancing a huge number of Vaal skills. Some are to make the Vaal Skills better fit with their base skill (so they can be fully-linked more effectively), while others are simply to give the Vaal skill its own unique epic feel.
Vaal Lightning Strike
The skill now strikes the ground in front of you or hits an enemy, creating an orb on the ground or attached to the enemy. This orb then repeatedly unleashes cones of projectiles, aimed at nearby foes. Even if the enemy is killed, the orb continues to fire projectiles.
The skill is now a much more reliable ongoing damage skill, and interacts much better with extra projectiles.
Poe 3.3 have reduced the skill’s chain count to match regular Arc, but it now splits every time it chains, meaning that even with four extra chains, it can now hit more targets, much more rapidly. It also always applies a long-duration, high-effect Shock. This makes the skill more useful for Arc builds against tougher bosses. It now deals much more damage with a higher minimum damage, so it is much more reliable for clearing out a pack of enemies. Both it and regular Arc now deal more damage for each remaining chain, making the first few hits more powerful, great for targeting tough foes.
The skill has lost out on the rare situation where it can bounce between three tough enemies repeatedly, but the new bonuses and damage increases make it much more consistent and worth the time spent casting in any situation.
Vaal Detonate Dead
The skill now creates a locus on the ground that regularly pulses, detonating up to 8 nearby corpses. After a short delay, it repeats this effect. If it was able to find corpses, it repeats again after an even shorter delay, repeating until no corpses remain or the delay reaches 0. This makes the skill great if you’re able to repeatedly generate corpses, creating a huge amount of damage from a single skill.
It now uses the new Detonate Dead mechanic resulting in more reliable damage over a larger area of effect and a better-looking series of explosions.
Though the skill was very epic, it often created a huge performance loss when detonating a huge number of corpses, and its potential damage meant the soul cost had to be very high. It can now be much more affordable, and a good addition to a Detonate Dead build or alongside other corpse skills.
Vaal Storm Call
The skill still strikes nearby enemies with lightning, but the lightning strikes now deal damage in an area of effect, making it much more powerful against groups of enemies. The skill also strikes a fixed number of times over its duration, making reductions to skill duration a damage per second increase, rather than a damage loss.
This is because the Less Duration Support Gem is often used with Storm Call, so we wanted it to be a good support to use with Vaal Storm Call.
Vaal Double Strike
Poe 3.3 have doubled the number of Doubles spawned by Vaal Double Strike, doubled the Duration, and doubled the number of uses that can be stored. The Doubles’ base movement speed has been almost doubled and further increases as the skill levels, growing to 100% more Double movement speed. There is no longer a limit on the number of Doubles you can have active at once.
Both Vaal Double Strike and Double Strike now deal additional damage against Bleeding enemies.
The Doubles also have new effects on them that make them stand out from other skills that duplicate your character.
The Doubles from Vaal Double Strike were one of the few autonomous ways to do weapon damage, but were greatly limited, so we’ve changed the skill so you can try to get multiple Doubles active at once. They’re invulnerable and use your weapon damage, so make a unique kind of clone build.
Other Vaal Skills are receiving significant reworks and numerical adjustments, but we want to wait until they’re further along before we talk about them. Poe 3.3 also have a number of entirely new Vaal skills coming, which we’ll reveal in the weeks to come.
Poe 3.3 will also release more information on the individual balance values of these skills as testing progresses. As with our previous Skill Revamp posts, any of the above changes might not make it into 3.3.0, as our balance and bug testing continues.
Infernal Blow will keep its existing mechanic, putting a debuff on enemies that causes them to explode when killed. Poe 3.3 want to keep the skill’s interaction with the Melee Splash Support, to make large pack of monsters explode as their cascading death explosions spread to those around them.
The main target (and any targets hit by your Ancestral Call Support) now get an extra debuff when hit that can stack up to 6 times. When either a target with this debuff dies, the debuff’s short duration expires, or 6 stacks are reached, the debuff explodes, dealing a large portion of weapon damage in an area.
This makes the skill deal significantly more damage on a single target, gives it strong area damage when used with Ancestral Call when multiple targets build up stacks, or lets you rapidly build up stacks with the Multistrike support. You can hit one enemy while splashing the explode effect and walking away, letting it explode itself and then those around it, or focus your damage on a single foe for maximum impact.
The skill also has new debuff effects to show the infernal fires building up inside enemies, a new fiery explosion for when the damage effect is released and an improved corpse explosion.
Freezing Pulse now has a less-extreme damage falloff. Freezing Pulse used to go from full damage at close range to no damage at the edge of the projectile. Now the projectile only drops to half damage at the end of its flight. Poe 3.3 have also increased the damage to bring it up to the level of Frostbolt and Glacial Cascade. The skill still falls off in freeze chance, and it’s worth using close up, but no longer does very little against the farthest targets hit, making it more reliable without needing to increase its projectile speed as much.
The skill also has improved visual effects that much better show the damage area of the skill.
Ground Slam now has a larger area, a wider angle, and improved damage. The skill has fallen behind significantly in power, with very few adjustments in the past few years. Poe 3.3 have tried to bring it closer to the power of other low level attacks like Molten Strike and Cleave by boosting its area.
The skill now deals more damage to closer targets. This should make it more reliable on tougher foes, and reward you for getting up close.
The Threshold Jewel now is limited to 2, but with the same combined effect.
Poe 3.3 have also changed its effects to modernise its appearance.
Vaal Ground Slam will be receiving additional effects and will deal more damage closer to the impact point, but we’re still making changes and we’re not ready to show it off just yet.
The skill will now also be usable with Axes, making it consistent with Sunder and Earthquake. This is to make it easier to find good weapons while leveling, as previously the skill had a more strict weapon restriction than any other melee skill.
Vaal Righteous Fire
Poe 3.3 have made a significant rework to this skill to have it fit a Righteous Fire character and the support gems they’d be most likely to use. The skill now only consumes a portion of Life and Energy Shield, and does damage based on this. After the loss of instant leech, this skill became far too dangerous to use in most encounters, so it now consumes a much less risky portion of life and Energy Shield.
Instead of doing a large damage hit, it now applies a short duration burning effect to enemies in its range based on the life and energy shield lost, modified by the same modifiers that affect Righteous Fire’s burning damage. This change brings it closer to being a hybrid of Dark Pact and Righteous Fire. It’ll be something many Righteous Fire characters could use to deal additional burning damage around them when they think they’re not at risk of taking a large burst of damage.
All of these changes are still going through testing, balance adjustments and iteration, so expect to see further tweaks and potentially additional mechanics. Poe 3.3 hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into the development of these skill reworks! Additionally, ZiggyD has made a video to provide more insight into the Ignite and Incinerate changes. Check it out below!
As part of our effort to revamp many existing skills in Content Update 3.3.0, we’re also making some improvements to Elemental Hit! Today’s news shares more details about what’s changing and a video from ZiggyD where he interviews Rory about Vaal Skills!
Elemental Hit is receiving large mechanical changes as well as some damage adjustments with the goal of bringing it in line with other impactful skills. It will still choose a random element of damage to deal with each attack, but it will not deal any other type of damage with that attack. For example, if Cold damage is chosen, the attack will only deal Cold damage. It’s also important to note, Elemental Hit cannot deal the same type of damage sequentially unless it can only deal one type of damage; more on that later.
Poe 3.3 have increased the chance to Freeze, Shock and Ignite. At level 1, it is now 30% and scales up to 49% at level 20.
Each hit from Elemental Hit causes a small explosion which deals damage in an area around the monster. Hits against monsters that are affected by an Ailment of the chosen Element will cause much larger explosions. For example, if you hit a frozen monster with Cold damage, it will create a much larger explosion.
Elemental Hit attacks deal 10% more Damage per Elemental Ailment on the Enemy. This means that if you have all four Elemental Ailments on your target, you’ll be dealing 40% more Damage.
You may be wondering how you focus on an element of your choice. The answer lies in a new jewel that we’re adding in Content Update 3.3.0 which has three variations. Each variation of the jewel supports Elemental Hit in a different but similar way.
Each variation of the jewel has a unique property that restricts the type of damage that Elemental Hit can deal. Socket two of these jewels into your tree and you suddenly have an Elemental Hit that always deals Fire Damage. On the other hand, socket just one of these jewels and suddenly you’re left with a skill that only deals Fire and Cold damage. Remember that we noted that it can’t deal the same type of damage sequentially? Suddenly you have a skill that pairs very nicely with Elemental Equilibrium, as each attack will alternate between the type of damage it deals, taking full advantage of the reduced resistances.
Finally, gone are the days of an Elemental Hit that lacks unique visual effects. Poe 3.3 has added new effects for each of the elements as well as effects of the explosions that occur around monsters. Check out a preview below!
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