Anyone who reads my writing knows how much I love Path of Exile. So, you’ll know how impactful it is when I say that this league is terrible. The Bestiary league is by far the worst league I’ve experienced, enough that it has made me all but stop playing. Perhaps that’s to do with being burnt out but, as I’ve put over 3000 hours into Path this past year, I feel like that isn’t the case.
Path of Exile is still my favorite game and I plan to spend many thousands of hours more on it. But this league might as well be standard. Enough ranting, let’s get into why I dislike this league so much.
The idea behind Bestiary league is an interesting one. Or at least, it was interesting when Pokemon did it. Now it’s a bit played out but that doesn’t mean there isn’t new things that can be brought to the genre. As implied, this league is essentially Pokemon. You run into beasts, throw nets at them and catch them. You have to time it so that they are low health, and you have a Pokedex – err, Bestiary that records each unique beast you capture.
Once you’ve captured the beasts, they can be used to craft new items or modify existing ones. There are some amazing recipes that can only be found at the Blood Altar! Once you’ve decided on a recipe you summon those beasts and kill them once more in order to sacrifice them to the Blood Altar.
Right off the bat, this new system was clunky. Throwing nets took a lot of time and, more often than not, the beasts would break out instantly. The breaking out was because, despite saying you’d have an allotted amount of time to kill them after throwing the net, GGG decided to make that allotted amount of time 0.2 seconds for Bestiary-modded beasts. I’m not exaggerating, it was literally 0.2 seconds. The idea was you’d either have them at a low enough threshold to catch straight out, or you’d have to get them there within the time it took for the net to travel. Saying it was clunky is a massive understatement.
They quickly changed this to be the 3 seconds they had initially discussed. But there were still a ton of issues. The nets took forever to throw and, if the monster broke out, there was an enraged period where they couldn’t be netted again.
They changed the nets to take less time to throw this week, but the enrage mechanic lives on. While that doesn’t seem a huge deal, forcing you to time yourself makes it extremely difficult for certain builds to capture the beasts.
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This league’s mechanics are prohibitive to a massive number of builds. First off, now that you are given three seconds to kill the mob from the time you throw the net, tanky builds are much worse off than dps builds. DPS can just throw the net when the mob is full health, then explode them. Tanks have to whittle them down, deal with all the adds they spawn, and make sure they time their net perfectly. It’s a pain and caters to the clearspeed meta champs greatly.
But there are builds that have it far worse than just being slow. I myself have had frustrations with two, and I’ve only made three characters (the third of which was a tank – I’m not having much luck). My own issues have been totems and spectres.
Spectres in particular are horrible for capturing beasts. They one-shot anything that isn’t a legendary beast before you can even identify it to throw your net. Then, when you do encounter a legendary beast, you get it to about half, throw your net and your spectres bugger off and go attack something else just long enough for the legendary beast to enrage. Then, of course, they kill it before you can throw another net.
Totems are the same way, they focus down the beast perfectly until you throw the net, then they lose focus and you lose the beast. Obviously it’s nothing nefarious, just bad luck, but it’s frustrating and frequent.
Slayers had it worst before the changes. Beasts would break out in 0.2 seconds unless they were at about 5% life, and Slayers cull them at 20%. There were mechanics in this league that just clearly weren’t thought out well. Sure the fixes are coming in, but it didn’t feel good when your lovingly crafted build was shafted by the league mechanics.
For the first week, the Blood Altar was missing many recipes. All the good ones, of course, making it almost entirely worthless after leveling. Once the good recipes were added, they were added with the wrong numbers and had to be hotfixed. This in and of itself isn’t a big deal, but it was just another problem piled on to an already sour experience. Now, it has come out that many of the top-tier recipes that were teased are still unavailable due to the beasts required not being able to spawn with those modifiers.
Even when the Blood Altar is working perfectly, it’s just tedious. You find the recipe you want, activate it. Fight some beasts you’ve already proven you can kill. Go check the result. Don’t like it. Find the recipe again since it resets, etcetera. It’s slow crafting at best, and the results are very lackluster.
Many people are saying that this feels like a poorly fleshed out Essence league and, truly, I have to agree. The beasts are difficult to collect and a nuisance at best. The recipes mostly suck once you have caught them. The Blood Altar is a pain to work with and yields poor results. The mods you can guarantee are often very average, nothing incredibly special like the Insanity Essences.
I love GGG, and they are doing their absolute best to put out all the fires that are starting. I plan to come back to the game frequently and persistently. That said, this league is a bust for me. Time to take up another hobby for three months, hopefully the next league is more enjoyable.