The free to play game Path Of Exile's newest expansion came today for Xbox One, bringing a huge number of changes to the endgame system of maps and the Atlas, and it also brought in the new Abyss league. This expansion comes after the game has only been on the platform for three months. Let's get into what this new expansion brings to the table.

The War for the Atlas

While previously the Atlas consisted of 255 maps, the expansion is bringing the count up to 287, by adding new maps, which include the new tile sets that were brought by the second most recent expansion, "The Fall of Oriath." In addition, the Atlas has been completely reorganized and now features many maps at different tiers and with different bosses than before.

The main draw of the expansion is that there is a new antagonist in "The Elder," and this being is fighting with the Shaper for control of that atlas by influencing certain maps on the atlas. These influenced maps can drop special rare items that are either "shaped" or "elder," with each bringing a huge new pool of item mods that are specific to each of them. The Elder can also replace the bosses of maps with one of his own 4 guardians, which by defeating you can make your way to fight the Elder himself. The Shaper remains on his perch in the middle of that Atlas, and is accessed that same way you used to get to him. The idea of this expansion is to bring a variety to the type of maps you are running instead of you running your favorite maps over and over again. To help with that, they've also redone the monster density so that maps that are more difficult to travel through will have more monsters for you to kill.

I've been playing around with the expansion since its release on PC on Dec. 4th, and I think the new systems are a phenomenal fix to the original Atlas's problems. Running Shaper or Elder influenced maps in hopes of getting a good rare drop from them is a viable incentive, because the possible reward can be huge. The influenced maps also have gameplay hooks that, well, I don't want to spoil here. Let's just say they're good fun.

The Abyss League

The new league harkens back to Path of Exile's most beloved league of the past, Breach. Similar to it, as players travel through the game, they'll encounter points on the map that can spawn an abyss. While in Breach this would spawn an expanding circle full of mobs, abyss will spawn a line that travels around with points on it that spawn a lot of mobs. It works out pretty well. Abyss also introduces the Stygian belt type, which has a socket in it that can hold an Abyss jewel, which is a type of jewel unique to the league that rolls different mods than normal jewels.

It also brings a host of unique items at the endgame from league specific bosses that interact with abyss jewels in different ways. As far as my impressions of Abyss league go, it's nuts. You gotta play it.

Should you play it?

If you've had fun with Path of Exile in the past, this is the game in one of it's best forms. If you've never played before, the game can be intimidating and have a steep learning curve, but if you're into deep games that reward players for learning its systems, you'll have a fantastic time.