Grinding Gear Games revealed the latest update for its free-to-play action RPG, Path of Exile. Titled Breach, the update follows the game's recent alternating pattern of major expansion and medium-scale update released every three months, with Breach falling into the latter category. Grinding Gear's Chris Wilson was kind enough to give RPGamer an early primer on what the update provides.
The main focus of Breach is on the new titular challenge leagues. While playing in these challenge leagues, players will come across a tear in reality that opens and expands a bubble from the alternate realm revealing monsters, chests, and bosses. The breaches will usually appear every ten minutes or so and it expands as players kill monsters but more kills are required to maintain it; players can usually expect to hold a breach for between 30-60 seconds. The longer a breach stays open, the greater the rewards.
There are five elements of breaches — Fire, Cold, Lightning, Physical, and Chaos — each with its own monsters, rewards, and effects. Each type of breach also has a corresponding Breachlord. These are high-powered enemies that will sometimes appear when dealing with a breach. Players will not be able to defeat them in these encounters, to do so they must gain access to Breachlord's domain. To do this, players need to collect Splinters dropped from the breach encounters. When players have a hundred of the Splinters for a type of breach, they get a Breachstone, which grants one trip to the Breachlord's domain.
The domains are special levels that contain a single large breach. Players need to go through it quickly, killing enough monsters to keep it expanding, to get to the Breachlord's arena. After finding the arena, players will not have a time limit to kill the Breachlord himself. Should players manage to defeat the Breachlord, they will be rewarded with a Blessing, which can upgrade one of the unique Breach reward items to a new version. The fifteen unique items in Breach (plus the fifteen upgraded versions) add even more options to player builds, such as allowing Fire resistance to ignore the regular cap.
The 2.5.0 update that includes Breach also includes a number of additions or improvements outside of the new challenge leagues. One of these is a new DirectX 11 game client with 64-bit support that offers significantly better performance. It also adds in new items on top of the unique Breach items, improvements to the Forsaken Master system, as well as visually revamped areas for the early parts of the game. New support packs also highlight a new — apparently highly requested — clothing option for players: cloaks and capes, complete with appropriate cloth physics. Some cosmetic items will also be available for players that complete a certain number of challenges in Breach.
Like previous expansions and updates, Breach will be free for all players. The update is planned to go live at 12pm PST on December 2, 2016.