PoE Blight League
The PoE Blight League launched last weekend, and I haven’t put it down since. The league launched alongside a new mechanic, new skills, and several class reworks. So far I’ve tried several of them, and definitely have some favorites. The launch itself has been fairly smooth in terms of server status, but has had its share of bugs and instance crashes. Let’s get a bit more into it.
In my review of the Blight previews, I was very tentative regarding the Blight mechanic. To summarize, it is essentially a tower defense game, where you activate the central location, build towers around it, and defend the center from the waves of monsters coming towards you. When I saw this mechanic I was very worried that it would bomb. However, after playing with it quite a bit, it’s pretty fun and not nearly as difficult to engage with as I had feared. In fact, it’s actually quite enjoyable.
The biggest issues with the Blight mechanic within maps comes from some poor AI and pathing, which sometimes leads to the pathway between the monsters spawning and the center that you are protecting to be extremely short, in some cases not even allowing you to hit the mobs before they destroy the core. That’s fairly atypical though. My own issues have been with proximity shields, which simply shouldn’t exist with such a mechanic, and a few of the Blight mobs firing extremely quickly and powerfully at me without warning, namely the fireball mobs. These exceptions aside, the mechanic is quite fun and enjoyable to engage with.
The Blight mechanic in Blighted maps, however, is unplayable at the moment. Nearly half the instances crash due to overloaded servers, and destroy the instance. Of the remaining ones, many have issues with towers refusing to spawn in combat, or tower locations not being anywhere near the core. Hopefully this will be fixed, because the combat itself within the Blighted maps is very fun.
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There are three incredibly meta builds this league: summoners, poison assassins, and miners. This is unsurprising, since they are the three ascendancies that were reworked. Summoners are the most popular by far, with the player base being split between Specters and Zombies, with a few people playing Skeletons and Summon Raging Spirits to round it out. I myself have been playing a Zombie build as my second build of the league, and I can personally attest that minions are stronger than they’ve ever been, and this time they come with incredible speed and decent AI.
Poison assassin making use of the new Cobra Lash skill is very popular as well. This was my starter build, and I can confirm that with Dendrobate and Wasp Nest it can handle all content. I myself didn’t love the play style, but I see others such as the popular streamer Mathil1 playing the
build and having great success with it. His variant uses Binos and a well-crafted dagger to proliferate poisons, and looks incredible.
Mines also got a huge rework this league, including remaking or adding a mine for each element. The Icicle Mine in particular has become extremely popular due to its high damage and clear, and ability to work alongside Ice Spear mines as well. Pyroclasm Mines have also seen quite a bit of use, and are very strong as well, with a bit less clear.
Server Stability and Other Issues
This league has been one of the best leagues in recent memory in terms of server stability. Between my group of six, only one player was disconnected more than once on the first day. Since then none of us have been having any problems at all in terms of staying online. Their servers have clearly been upgraded, and it shows. Hopefully this is a trend moving forward with other leagues.
The glitches and instance crashes, however, have been rather large. Delve in particular managed to be completely unusable for the first few days, as a whole set of nodes were unable to be completed. If you found one of these nodes you simply had to path around, which meant backtracking thousands of sulphite in many instances. Delve is my favorite content in Path of Exile and even I refused to engage with it until the nodes were fixed. This has since been fixed, and Delve is working properly.
Far worse, and still not fixed, is that Blighted maps often crash when they get overly intense. This is particularly bad for summoner builds since they have so many instances of damage, causing even more lag for the server. I myself managed to crash a map using Cobra Lash; the poison stacks were enough to kill the instances. Hopefully this is fixed soon, as Blighted maps are some of the most fun I’ve had in PoE in years.
There’s a new mystery box full of clowns, which is pretty neat. However, this section is about the Salvage Box, which was released and scrapped within two hours. It was a mystery box that guaranteed a common item (the worst rarity), but you could up the rarity by consuming some of your duplicates from previous loot boxes. However, it cost 30 points to do so. People were outraged that they had to spend money and consume previously spent money in order to get a random item that itself had no duplicate protection. The response was so negative that Chris Wilson himself—the founder of GGG—took to Reddit to apologize and scrap the boxes. The developers are listening, but their direction has certainly been questioned.
The PoE Blight League is pretty fun overall, and far better than I expected. Necromancers, Assassins, and Saboteurs are the meta, and they are pretty damn strong. Tower defense is fun, as long as it doesn’t crash. Hopefully we see more support for the remaining instances of crashing. The start of league issues seem to all be fixed apart from the Blighted maps as of writing this, and the community has stood up for itself and said no to loot boxes for loot boxes!
What are you waiting for? Get out there and have as much fun as we are!