Path of Exile: War for the Atlas will be the latest addition to the popular free-to-play action RPG, Grinding Gear Games revealed today.
The expansion will offer a massive boost to Path of Exile's endgame with 32 randomized maps; a new league, and new endgame items when it launches next month. It will include a multitude of new corpse-themed abilities, such as Cremation—a power that causes corpses to explode (yay).
The core of the expansion will center around the war between The Shaper and The Elder—two supernatural forces battling for control over the Atlas.
The Elder is a Cthulhu-like figure that steadily tries to take control of the Atlas, their zone of influence manifested by growing tentacles. You can push those tentacles back by completing a map, but there are benefits to allowing the Elder to get their tentacles around an area, such as better loot.
Rewards for playing War for the Atlas will include items infected by the Elder and Shaper respectively, which the devs say have the potential to be the strongest weapons in the game.
War for the Atlas will also include a new Abyss Challenge League—a special challenge playthrough in which cracks will open in the ground and monsters will pour out. Abyss is modeled after Breach, one of Path of Exile's current most popular challenge leagues.
War for the Atlas comes hot on the heels of the story-focused Fall of Oriath expansion, which launched back in August. Path of Exile also recently launched on the Xbox One.
Path of Exile has grown exponentially since the launch of Fall of Oriath, says managing director Chris Wilson. He credits the move to console and especially the launch in China for its recent success.
Path of Exile's recent boom is also one of the main reasons that Grinding Gear Games is keen to push out an endgame expansion. "We got a lot of new players with the Fall of Oriath in August; not just in our realm, but on the Xbox servers, and in China," Wilson explains. "And so while that has solidified the core of the storyline for the game for quite some time to come, we knew that we wanted to add more endgame stuff to do. There's a lot more people scutinizing the endgame, and while we were happy with where it was at before, we thought we could do better."
War for the Atlas will be available worldwide on December 8, with the Xbox One version following about a week later.