Th new Path of Exile Legion league was released last Friday. We’ve discussed it several times, but it was intended to be a callback to more simple leagues such as Breach and Abyss. In fact, the devs often referred to this in terms of Breach, and playing the league it is extremely apparent why.
I myself have been having a blast with the league so far, but it’s undeniable that this has been the worst league start in a long time, in terms of bugs and server issues. Let’s go over what has happened over the last few days.
Legion Has Proven Itself Fun
The Legion mechanic really is amazing. For those of you who don’t play, or haven’t had a chance to look into it yet, you basically tap a giant monolith and two warring armies spawn around you, frozen in time. You have just over ten seconds to break out as many warriors as you think you can handle, and then you fight them all simultaneously when the clock runs out. It can definitely be hard for some builds to even break out a decent number of monsters, and has led to a lot of players doing builds such as Essence Drain, which allow for easy spreading between mobs.
No matter what you are playing, nearly everyone has agreed that the Legion mechanic is a blast to interact with. It’s genuinely difficult, and getting overwhelmed is a very real possibility. I myself am one of the deepest delvers of the league so far, already past depth 400 (first to 200!), and I still struggle with T16 maps where I break out a lot of legion mobs. They are tough, and they feel rewarding to kill.
Their rewards are basically everything that has ever been added to Path of Exile, denoted by symbols over their head. There are the generic weapons, armor, and currency, but there are also symbols for Breach items, Bestiary items, Harbinger, Talisman, Maps, Abyss, and more. These symbols aren’t the easiest to target due to the time constraint, but their presence makes every monolith feel fun and exciting.
There is also a new Incubator mechanic, which drops something that you can attach to a piece of gear. It drops an item for you once you’ve killed the number of monsters specified on the incubator. I myself have gotten one six-link and a handful of useful fossils and talismans so far. I also have about 5,000 more monsters to go before unlocking a “valuable unique item,” so I’m pretty excited about that.
Before we move on, there’s a small note to add because it’s way too much to discuss here: melee feels amazing. I’m looking forward to playing a dozen different melee builds this league, everything I’ve touched so far has felt absolutely incredible.
The Launch Came With a Few Bugs
Unfortunately, the Path of Exile Legion launch was not a particularly smooth one. There were crashes galore. In fact, one of our party members was crashing every two or three minutes for an entire hour, and he would take everyone in his zone out with him. This was while leveling, and he got a full ten levels behind the rest of us, making it quite difficult to progress properly. He wasn’t the only one with crashing issues, either, but his had frustrating effects. My entire six-man group disconnected fairly regularly while leveling, and it didn’t change much in maps.
The monoliths would crash several of us when they were particularly juicy, and our Essence Drain player crashed nearly every time she opened one. I’m playing Cyclone, and whenever I would group with another person it was about a 50/50 chance whether the monolith mobs coming to life would crash me.
Far more frustrating was that the scenes where Shaper stopped time would crash if you were in the middle of channeling a skill. You know, like Cyclone. My main skill. So I would crash every time I tried to push my Shaper influence, and despite getting map completion, if I disconnected, the Shaper influence wouldn’t spread. I was farming T16s and had killed Shaper himself before this was finally fixed and I was able to move Shaper off of my tier 6 map. To be fair, I could have swapped skills. I was just being stubborn about it.
There are also quite a few bugged bosses. One of them simply one shot everyone, killing several well-known HC players before it was fixed. Another that remains bugged spawns hundreds of minions instead of four or five, cluttering the screen massively. They also had an issue where bosses would use their special moves far more often than they should.
Several bosses include becoming immune, making this a huge pain. I myself fought a Minotaur who exclusively burrowed and slammed, filling the arena and becoming lethal very quickly. I also fought a Constrictor who went immune every two seconds, which ended up killing me due to me being Vaal Pact and having no source of leech. It was frustrating to say the least.
The entire trade API was also offline for the first day of the league. Personally, I like SSF, so it didn’t bug me. However, there were several members of my group who needed very specific items that we simply had no way of accessing. It was very frustrating for them, and as I heard them say several times that night, “I didn’t sign up for group SSF!” With all the discussion about trade in the past, I doubt this will do much to calm players.
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Minor Balances are Needed
The legion mechanic so far has been very enjoyable, but there is one mob in particular that feels overtuned. If you’re playing, you’ve probably encountered it and know exactly what I’m talking about. One of the Vaal monsters will cast a spell that we have been referring to as the “red wall of death.” One of their summoners will point towards you and this massive red animation will appear underneath you, instantly hitting for well over 5k damage at times.
It has been a huge debate over what the attack even is, and how to counter it, because it is killing many players. One of my teammates re-rolled his character on day three because it died to that red stuff too consistently, and it was frustrating him to no end.
No one is saying that strong attacks are bad, but to have a single Legion mob so much stronger than the others is not pleasant, and there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to avoid it, or even be aware of its existence until you’ve been slapped by red. This mob could easily have its damage turned down by half and still be one of the scariest things in the game today. Hopefully it is addressed soon, for the sake of my friends no longer raging out every few minutes!
Path of Exile Legion is one of the most fun leagues I’ve played. In fact, I’m going to take a stance and say it is the most fun league I’ve played since Legacy league. That said, it is also the most glitchy league, and has resulted in many frustrations by many players, my own group included.
Are we powering through and did we have a ton of fun the first weekend? You’re darn right. Is it still incredibly frustrating? Yes.
There hasn’t been much talk about ramifications for such a bad league start yet, but it won’t surprise me if this brings back discussions of test realms, or longer delay between leagues. However, in the meantime, log on and play the heck out of Legion; it’s awesome!