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Path of Exile was released in 2013, more then a decade ago. One of the most mesmerizing things about this Game are the ever alternating Seasonal Leagues, introducing a new main mechanic into the game. As soon as a Season gets replaced by a new one, certain aspects of the previous one will be implemented as a core feature of Path of Exile.
Over those 10 years, there have been many league mechanics stacked up, which most of them still have some impact into current gameplay.
The first League Mechanic introduced in 2013 are Rogue Exiles. These enemies are randomly spawned in Maps and resemble a player character by using abilities and classes usable by players. These Rogue Exiles are strong rare enemies with some of them requiring a specific player level to be able to appear. Their skills also often showcase skins for abilities purchasable as a microtransaction.
Rogue Exiles yield a large amount of items, including one for each inventory slot.
The second League Mechanic introduces was Nemesis. Nothing out of the Nemesis League remained in the game (besides the Items introduced during that time like Headhunter and Two-Stone Ring). Only new mechanic added to the game were Shrines. These Shrines can be clicked by a player which grant a temporary buff to them. Shrines are guarded by many enemies.
Shrines do not offer any additional loot themself.
Every map has a chance to contain a Vaal Side Area. Those are small maps located inside your current map, containing corrupted enemies. A Vaal Side Area can have different modifiers, similiar to a regular map. A Vaal Side Area cannot contain any other league mechanic or Trial of Ascendancy.
At the end of the Vaal Side Area, you will find a Vaal Vessel which contains Vaal Skill Gems, Vaal Fragments and corrupted equipment
Strongboxes can be found everywhere in a map, containing specific loot depending on the kind of strongbox it is. Whenever clicking on a Strongbox, groups of enemies will start spawning. As soon you defeated those guards, the Strongbox will throw its loot on the ground.
Strongboxes can be upgraded like items, with their quality increasing and rarity – allowing higher loot quantity and rarity. Strongboxes also contain specific modifiers like maps which can easily lead to a player’s death due to deadly effects occuring whenever activating the Strongbox.
Strongboxes contain various amount of items depending on it’s type:
Introduced in 2014, Beyond allowed players to spawn demons whenever killing multiple enemies consecutively. The Beyond mechanic has been recently reworked, combining a more recent League Mechanic “Scourge” with the Beyond League Mechanic.
This mechanic can only be activated by either a map modifier, Sextant modifier, Atlas Talents or as a modifier option in your Map Device.
Slaying a Beyond demon has a chance to reward Tainted Currency, which can be used to modify corrupted items.
Tormented Spirits are enemies that can be randomly encountered in your maps. They try to flee, empowering other enemies whenever coming into contact with them. These modifiers are shown in green on the Tormented Spirits. Whenever they possess other enemies, they improve their item drops.
Tormented Spirits drop a rare item when defeated
They increase the item quantity of other enemies which are possessed by them
The Talisman League was introduced in 2015. It was the first League which had no additional League Mechanic for Hardcore in comparison to Softcore.
Today, Talismans do not have any impact in the game, but can rarely dropped or obtained by league mechanics.
A Talisman is a corrupted Necklace with random modifiers whenever dropped. It is possible to upgrade your existing Necklace into a Talisman by using a Betrayal Hideout.
A necklace can be corrupted to a Talisman by using a specific Betrayel encounter (look “Betrayal”)
Essences are currency items used for crafting equipment. Every map has a chance to contain monsters trapped in ice which can be activated by double-clicking on them. These monsters will drop the Essences listed above them, but can also be corrupted with a Remnant of Corruption.
Essences can have different tiers, granting higher stats if their tier is higher.
Every Essence monster will drop the listed Essences above its head.
Essences are an important crafting currency which allow players to target a specific stat whenever reforging an item.
Introduced with the Breach League in 2016, players can encounter Breaches randomly in every map. Clicking on them will temporarily open a growing circle which spawns enemies consistently. After a specific time, the circle of the Breach shrinks rapidly and vanishes.
Players can collect Breach Splinters on each Breach they encounter, which are related to one of the Breach Lords: Xoph, Tul, Esh, Uul-Netol and Chayula. The Splinters are rewarded by either killing enemies, or opening Clasping Hands, a kind of Chest during a Breach.
Combining 100 of these Splinters creates a Breachstone, allowing players to travel to the Breach Lord and defeat them.
Defeating enemies in a Breach rewards Splinters related to their Breach Lord.
Combining 100 Splinters grant a portal to the specific Breach Lord.
The Breach Lords drop Unique Items, and a Blessing which can be used to transform the Unique Items to a stronger one.
The Unique Items transformed by Breach Lords usually have random modifiers.
You can also gain corrupted Rings with the modifier “Values are doubled while in a Breach”
Harbingers are immortal enemies which only die whenever players defeated all their waves of additional monsters the Harbinger summoned. Players can encounter Harbingers by either choosing the correct Atlas Talents, using Scarabs or through an option in their map device, if possible.
Harbingers drop Currency Shards when defeated. While most of the Currency Shards have low value, they can also reward high valuable Shards like Mirror Shards or Fracturing Shards.
Players can encounter Abysses in every map they enter. They are indicated on the minimap by a green dot. Steppin on it makes the Abyss travel through the map until it stops, and cause waves of monsters to spawn. After defeating these enemies, the Abyss travels further until it either rewards an Abyssal Trove, a chest that can be opened, or opens a portal to the Abyssal Depths.
In the Abyssal Depths, players will encounter an Abyss Boss which rewards unique items when defeated. The rare Belt ‘Stygian Vise’ is considered one of the strongest rare Belts in the game due to its Abyssal Jewel slot.
Abysses introduced a new type of Jewel – Abyssal Jewel. They can be socketed into any Jewel slot and have different modifiers then regular Jewels
Abysses can reward various unique items related to this League Mechanic, but also a Stygian Vise – A very strong rare Belt with an Abyssal Jewel slot
Einhar is one of the Masters encountered randomly in Maps, or forcefully added to your maps in your Map Device. His Mechanic, the Beastiary, is one of the four major mechanics existing in the game.
Players can encounter various Beasts in their maps which will be caught by Einhar whenever they are defeated. This causes them to be transported to Einhar’s Menagerie, which can be visited by a regular waypoint teleport.
Catching different Animals will be used as a Crafting ingredient for various recipes.
Whenever a player travels to the Menagerie, they will encounter an Altar in the middle of it. They can insert a specific item and choose the crafting recipe of their choice. To be able to apply that crafting recipe, an encounter will start which forces the player to defeat various animals to complete the crafting recipe. If players die during this encounter, the recipe failed but the item is not lost!
The Animals caught during your maps do not offer any specific loot.
Alva is one of the Masters encountered randomly in Maps, or forcefully added to your maps in your Map Device. Her Mechanic, the Temple of Atzoatl, is one of the four major mechanics existing in the game.
Whenever players encounter Alva in their maps, she will apear three to four times, opening a portal to a small room of the large Temple of Atzoatl. In this room, players will find two different Architects which will either transform or upgrade the Tier of the current room they are in. Players can also obtain an item, unlocking the doors to various of room of the Temple.
After completing multiple encounters with Alva in your maps, she will announce that the Temple of Atzoatl is ready to be entered. The Temple is a large map with various rooms that the player have built themself by unlocking doors between each other and upgrading or changing the rooms whenver they encountered Alva during their maps and accepted her task.
Most noteworthy room in this temple is the Corruption Chamber. If this room reaches Tier 3, players can travel there to corrupt an item with doubled outcome. This can craft some of the most powerful items, instead of using a regular Vaal Orb to corrupt items regulary.
Loot is determined by the Rooms unlocked in the Temple.
Completing a task by Alva in a map will grant various regular items dropped from enemies after leaving the Incursion.
Niko is one of the Masters encountered randomly in Maps, or forcefully added to your maps in your Map Device. His Mechanic, the Delve, is one of the four major mechanics existing in the game.
Players can find Sulphite Deposits in maps, granting players additional Voltaxic Sulphite. This is a currency that is required to travel deeper into the Delve and acquire Explosives.
Players can travel to Mine Encampment by using the waypoint teleport. In there, players will find the entry to the Delve, a large mine which can be explored by players using their obtained Voltaxic Sulphite.
Players can travel deeper into this mine, learn specific crafting recipes which are only rarely used, but also obtain Fossils. Fossils are used for crafting by placing a Fossil into a Resonator, causing items to be reforged like using a ‘Chaos Orb’, but with certain preferences, depending on the fossils used. Using Fossils for crafting has been one of the most successful ways to provoke a certain outcome during the crafting process.
The Loot found in the Delve different in each room discovered, but always contains the regular lootpool. (Currency, Armor, Divination Cards,…)
Fossils can be found in the Delve in a higher quantity then other content.
Increased quantity of Voltaxic Sulphite/Azurite found
Maps have increased chance to grant Niko Mission on completion
Players gain additional damage/defensives for each Voltaxic Sulphite vein found in maps
Jun is one of the Masters encountered randomly in Maps, or forcefully added to your maps in your Map Device. His Mechanic, the Syndicate, is one of the four major mechanics existing in the game.
Whenever Jun is present on your maps, players will encounter various hostile NPCs they can defeat. These NPCs will drop Items which can be Unveiled, granting players additional unique crafting recipes. On defeat, these NPCs can be interacted with, letting players decide their destiny.
Players can form relations and betrayal between the NPCs, causing them to be related another or not, making them move around in different Safehouses.
The NPCs can have three different Tiers to them, offering higher rewards whenever players gathered enough informations about them by encountering and defeating them in maps, and they entered their Safehouse.
There are four different Safehouse – Transportation, Fortification, Research and Intervention. Every NPC will offer different rewards depending on which Safehouse they ended up being.
Catarina is the Mastermind of the Betrayal Mechanic, which players can only encounter if they gathered enough informations about her aswell.
NPCs encountered in maps with drop Unveiled Items, which can be unveiled at Jun in Town or Hideout, which grants new and powerful crafting recipes.
The loot rewarded from raiding Safehouses is determined by the NPCs allocated in there. Also, the loot changes every Season, requiring players to find additional information online or by closely paying attention to their Betrayal Overview ingame.
The Synthesis league has introduced some very interesting changes to Item crafting and also some new Bosses.
Players can randomly drop a unique Map, with the Cortex being the most difficult one. These maps will send you to a Synthesis map to defeat some of the strongest bosses in the game, with the ‘Uber-Cortex’ considered a very high endgame map.
Players will encounter no gameplay changes due to Synthesis, but might receive an item with either a Fractured modifier on the item, or Synthesis Implicts. These items can yield very high value if the Synthesis or Fractured modifiers are very desirable.
Fractured and Synthesized items can be looted by various rare enemies in a map.
Synthesis map bosses reward unique items exclusive to them. Monsters in Synthesis maps have an increased chance to yield items with a Synthesis Implicit.
In every map, players can encounter a Legion Monolith. Whenever activated, many frozen monsters will spawn. The rare monsters spawned this way have an icon above their head indicating the kind of loot they are rewarding. Players will have 10 seconds to defeat as many frozen enemies as they can or wish. After the tiem ran out, all previous defeated monsters become unfrozen, engaging in combat with the player.
The Legion League has also introduced certain unique Jewels with very random effects, as well as Incubators. Incubators can be used on every item of your gear, causing them to reward loot after killing a certain amount of enemies.
Players can also collect various Legion Splinters which create a Map after combining 100 Splinters. This will send players to a Legion map with a Legion Monolith in the middle, granting various rewards and offering players 3 minutes to defeat as many enemies they can.
Legion encounters reward the type of loot indicated with a symbol over their head.
The only Legion specific loot available in the game are Incubators and unique Legion Jewels.
Legion Splinters can be used to create map leading to a massive Legion encounter.
The Blight League has introduced a new type of playstyle, resembling a ‘Tower Defense’. Players can encounter Sister Cassia in every map, asking for players to defend the Fungal Growth. Whenever players activate the encounter, they have a certain amount of time to build Towers to assist defending the Fungal Growth. Defeating the spawning enemies will grant additional points which are required to build and upgrade Towers.
Players can also obtain a Blight map, sending them to a small map that only includes a Blight encounter.
Additionally, Blights have introduced various Oils, which are needed to annoint a player’s Necklace. Annointing grants an unallocated Talent in their Talent Tree to be activated. Oils can also be used to upgrade any Blight map, and also enchant Rings to grant additional powers during a Blight encounter.
Blight encounters will reward chests of various kinds, rewarding loot similar to Legion encounters. (Currency, Armor, Divination Cards,…)
Oils can be used to Annoint your Necklaces or Rings.
Every map can contain Metamorph encounters. When this happens, certain random enemies on the map are marked with a green indicator on the minimap. Killing these enemies will grant ‘samples’, which can be used to create a Metamorph. The NPC Tane Octavius will spawn after defeating the final boss in a map, or by forcefully summoning him clicking on the Metamorph icon in the bottom right corner of the screen.
Players can choose various samples to create a Metamorph, causing it to gain special powers but also dropping specific rewards indicated on the samples used. These Metamorphs can also reward unique samples which then can summon a very strong Metamorph Boss in Tane’s Laboratory.
The Metamorph League has also introduced Catalysts, which are used to increase the quality of Amulets, Rings and Belts. There are various Catalysts, increasing different stats.
Metamorphs reward various loot indicated on the samples used to create it.
Catalysts can be used to increase the Quality of Rings, Amulets and Belts.
A Delirium Mirror can appear in every map, usually at the start. Whenever players step through it, the whole map becomes covered in a fog, causing many Delirium monsters to spawn on your way through the map. The fog dissipates slowly, traveling in one specific direction. Players can try to travel ahead of the fog dissipating, while also defeating more monsters to earn more rewards. The more enemies are killed, the higher rewards will accumulate.
Rewards are listed in the bottom left corner of the screen, with increasing Tiers the more enemies are killed. Everytime the rewards are increasing by two Tiers, a new additional reward is added.
It is possible to encounter two different Delirium Bosses which yield even more Simulacrum Splinters.
A Simulacrum is a map created by combining 300 Simulacrum Splinter. This map sends you to a main town which is in pure Delirium. You can defeat 30 waves with difficulty rising but also granting higher rewards.
The more rewards were accumulated, the less damage enemies take. Delirium Orbs can be applied to maps to create permanent Deliriums on them. The more Delirium was applied, enemies become stronger and players weaker.
Like many other League Mechanics, Delirium rewards are based on the type listed. (Currency, Armor, Divination Cards,…)
Delirium Orbs can be dropped by Delirium monsters, which can be used on maps to apply permanent Delirium to them.
Cluster Jewels are skillable Jewels for the Talent Tree, with new powers which usually require Talent Points to achieve.
The Harvest League has introduced a new Crafting Table for players to use certain new Recipes exclusive to the Harvest Crafting Table. Players can encounter the Sacred Grove in their maps which teleports them to a garden. Players can defeat various enemies which they can chose. These enemies reward a specific currency which can only be used for crafting the Harvest recipes.
Harvest monsters only reward Lifeforce, the currency used for crafting the exclusive recipes on your items
Heist is a new individual mechanic that players have to engage only if they want to. During maps, players will sometimes encounter a Smuggler’s Cache, containing Blueprints and Rogue’s Marker. The Rogue’s Marker can be used in a Town or Hideout to open a portal to the Rogue’s Harbor.
In the Rogue’s Harbor, players can complete Heists in different locations by using the Blueprints obtained in maps. The goal is to obtain as much loot as possible before Guards are alerted. A bar fills everytime chests are opened in a Heist. When the bar reaches full, players have a short grace period before all doors become closed and guards are alerted. If a player dies while the guards are alerted, all loot obtained in a Heist is lost.
Players can be accompanied by other rogues, which can be leveled and even equipped. A Heist will require different skills by the NPC’s accompanied (Lockpicking, Brute Force, Demolition and more). Each NPC can fulfill one of these roles, which have to be level up to complete more difficult Heists.
Players will earn a Heist Trinket slot after completing a Grand Heist. This trinket grant special perks whenever in a Heist.
A Contract is a Heist with the player jumping in there and completing it. A Blueprint is a Grand Heist which requires some planning. Players have to revealed certain rooms of the Grand Heist, and assign multiple NPCs to join the Grand Heist.
Loot in Heists can vary by the type of rooms discovered in a Heist. (Currency, Armor, Divination Cards,…)
Players have a chance to encounter Ritual Altars in their maps. Those Ritual Altars will limit the available space until the ritual is finished. During that time, waves of enemies are going to spawn which are used as Tribute whenever defeated.
After completing a Ritual, players can click the Altar to redeem rewards in exchange of their Tribute. The loot table can be rerolled for some of the available Tribute, and items can be deferred. Deferring items cost a little amount of Tribute, and cause the item to appear again in the loot table of a future Ritual.
Players can obtain Ritual Fragments which create a Ritual Vessel whenever combining 100 of these fragments. This Ritual Vessel can be used on a Ritual Altar in a map to store the defeated monsters in the Vessel. This will create a Blood-filled Vessel which then can be used in a map device to empower the Rituals in the new map.
As many other League Mechanics, the loot offered in Rituals ranges from the regular loot pool. (Currency, Armor, Divination Cards,…)
An Expedition can be encountered during a map, containing one of four specific NPCs leading the Expedition.
Players will encounter this NPC and multiple Chests and Sticks on the floor. From a detonation line, players can line up multiple explosives to extract monsters from the impact locations of the explosives placed. These enemies will gain specific modifiers which are stated above the large crates the explosives hit. Enemies will only gain the modifiers of previous crates, becoming more difficult the later they have been excavated.
Players receive various smaller currencies, multiple ones for each NPC. Additionally, certain items used for resetting the Loottable of the NPCs and Logbooks can be found.
Logbooks are maps that lead to a giantic Expedition with dozens of explosives to use, granting a lot of rewards.
Every NPC offers a unique way to obtain items:
Archnemesis has replaced all previously existing modifiers to enemies in your maps. This League mechanic will have forcefull impact for all players in Path of Exile. Magic and Rare enemies found throughout your map will have additional modifiers, increasing and randomizing their difficulty and rewards.
The loot acquired from Magical and Rare enemies are random, but are increased due to specific Archnemesis modifiers on them. This can cause enemies to reward multiple items with sockets, drop dozens of currency items and more.
Also introduced with the Archnemesis League are two new Bosses – The Searing Exarch and The Eater of Worlds. These two bosses, like Maven, need to be unlocked by completing the required quest of completing multiple maps with the influence of either of them applied.
Players can apply the influence of one of these bosses on their map device. After completing 28 maps with a certain influence, players are rewarded with a map leading up to these bosses. Due to Atlas Talents, these bosses can also become the Uber-version of themself, granting additional loot. These Uber-bosses are considered the hardest ones in the game.
Whenever completing maps with the influence of either Searing Exarch or Eater of Worlds, players can obtain Eldritch Ichor and Eldritch Ember. These items are used to add a specific Implicit on your equipment if they are not already influenced by anything else or corrupted. The influence of one of those bosses will cause certain Eldritch Altars to spawn in maps, allowing players to choose to earn additional reward in exchange of increasing the difficulty of the map.
Eldritch Ichors and Eldricht Embers are rewarded by killing Eldritch enemies in maps, or by defeating the Bosses
Killing the bosses Eater of Worlds or Searing Exarch can reward very valuable unique Items.
Atlas Memories were introduced with the Lake of Kalandra Season and is the only thing remaining in the game from this League.
An Atlas Memory can be found very rarely by completing a map of atleast Tier 14+. These Memories can be brought to the NPC in your Hideout or Town which are stated on the specific Memory. This will cause the NPC to offer players a specific row of maps to complete, which can also be modified by currencies, fossils, Delirium orbs and become corrupted.
Atlas Memories will feature a specific League Mechanic from all available ones.
The Forbidden Sanctum is a rogue-like Tower that has to be climbed by players. The further they progress into the Sanctum, the more difficult it becomes.
Each Room can yield various enemies and rewards Currency at the end of each room. Players can be granted Boons which empower them, but also Afflictions which will grant them a debuff which makes their run more difficult.
Players can use Relics to grant themself additional bonus before each run.
A Sanctum is divided into 4 different Floors with 12 Rooms each.