Path of Exile

My 3.14 retrospective (warning: wall of text)

I'm more or less done with 3.14, so I decided to write about how it went for me in case anyone has any thoughts. Nothing special here so don't waste your time if you're in a hurry – I'm writing this as much for my own later amusement as for others' benefit. As for my background, I have played since rampage league, sometimes more, sometimes less, so I have some experience in POE, but I am by no means a 1% player. I don't play loads on most days and even when I do, I play pretty casually. I have no mirrors, I rarely do very involved crafting, I don't level to 100, I don't go for 36, nor heaven forbid 40, and so on.

I have a system for leagues where I try to decide on a starter build that can easily get up to speed, and when built up, can kill endgame bosses. I play that char to get money, and later start more expensive, more fun, and better clearing characters, but I still mostly use the starter to kill anything bigger than a map boss. That way I don't need to worry about single target and flaskless play on my further characters so much. I usually switch between two or three characters (playing 1-2 days on each at a time) to keep things fresh.

The starter in this league was Ziz' bf/bb poison assassin, and that turned out to be a really good choice. Considering the budget, which was very low indeed, it was one of the better boss killers. Also once I got to the 90s I almost never died in maps, so it was easy to get to 97. I killed A8 Sirus more than once, Über Elder, Catarinas, delve bosses, a couple of simulacrums, Über Atziri, many lesser bosses, all deathless – and I am by no means an expert on these fights, the build definitely was carrying me. I also tried and killed Maven for the first time, though I did die twice in that fight. Pretty good for a build that surely picked up way more plain currency in maps than it ever cost. Most expensive item was a 3ex assassin's garb I got only for ailment immunity.

Second character I made was CoC Cospri's assassin, a build I have tried in the past, this time with CI and shield for block. After working on ES recovery, I got it to a state where it could reliably survive t16 ultimatums and clear them somewhat decently, but I must say I was not that happy with it still – I would have wanted to really demolish those fights with damage and AOE. Should have gone LL maybe but somehow I didn't feel like investing loads more. I also tried switching to ice spear, which seemed at least as good as ice nova, maybe I will try a bow CoC ice spear next league. Played to nearly 96.

Third guy I made was a HoT elementalist, with Inpulsa's, Storm's gift and Agnerod south. I used four golems for buffs. This was with EO. I tried HoT before in harvest league with power charges, crit and regular explode chest, but even then (with harvest a thing) I found that build was just very expensive to get to a good spot. This less extreme version was better; even if the damage is not so crazy, the explosions are very good and playing did not feel like a struggle at all. I also used a HH on this guy, since I got one as a drop. (I've played with HH before since a friend loaned me one a few leagues back, but it's not really my preference – I wouldn't pay 80ex for one. My playstyle is just too chill for it.) This guy was not very tanky at all so I only got to 95, but it was nevertheless enjoyable. I especially liked to do blighted maps with it, exploding long ropes of mobs with a single zap. I threw three 6L Inpulsas at temple altars, bricked all obviously 🙂

Speaking of league mechanics, I thought Ultimatum was ok. Similar to ritual obviously, but maybe a bit less of an obstacle. That said, I am usually a bit sick of the league mechanic by the time I stop, doing them in every map, but I'll surely enjoy ultimatum if it's added to the base game on a reduced frequency. I didn't get any insane drops from ultimatums; exalts were the most valuable rewards.

While all the old league content certainly must make the game pretty imposing for someone starting out, I would say I enjoy almost all of it, my favorites being blight, delve and delirium. I consciously try to alternate mapping with delving, temples and heists, and any "special" content I get like blight maps, syndicate hideouts, synthesis maps, etc. The old league content rework in 3.14 I don't think was so noticeable in all cases; delve is different, temples are slightly better. What I did like was how bribery node in Haewark Hamlet now makes it easier to get the syndicate recipes. Nerfing prophecy drops I think was a good decision in one way, but now prophecy chests in heist and blight are all but useless. I hope they can come up with something for that.

Some people say they had problems filling in their atlas or sustaining maps. Getting it built was maybe harder than last league, but I think much easier than it used to be just a few leagues ago. Getting some extra maps from temples and delve definitely helped. In t14+ maps, I used chisel, alch, 2 awakened and 2 prime sextants (or just 4 prime), any prophecies I got and 2 vaal fragments. Scarabs only occasionally, like blight scarabs in Lira Arthain. I was able to sustain red maps with no problems at all this way, at this point I have 150+ t16 and 500+ t14+ maps. I did a lot of Zana missions since I had close allies and paths not taken. I didn't need to buy or trade any maps or map currency besides a couple of bulk buys of vaal fragments. So, I think map drops are in a good place for me. I ended up removing all favorite map choices from the atlas since I found I would have 30 canyons but no maps that would get me to Maven's arena otherwise.

Performance and stability were decent for me, on launch I went to bed after an hour of not getting in and had some crashes in the first week. Texture loading problems were noticeable but never had impact on gameplay until the mid-league patch that fixed them. Obviously I'm lucky to be able to say all this, it really does suck that the game works so badly for many people.

Overall I feel that while the state of the game gets a lot of very valid criticism, 3.14 was one of the more enjoyable releases for me and even now I don't feel burnt out, I just want to take a few weeks break from video games before 3.15 comes along.

Last: since some leagues back, I have marked down my sales in notepad. I'm linking it here, for no real reason, maybe it is amusing to some. How I sell stuff is that I list items at what I think they might sell for, then drop the price by maybe 15-30% each day until they sell, or if they don't go for 20-30c I throw them in my guild's shared stash. Late league I cared less and less for low value items. The date format is DD.MM., i.e. the first line is on 21st of April, Wednesday of first week. A few sales might have slipped by but most are there. Anyone else have a similar habit?


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