Balancing Changes in Path of Exile: Heist

This kind of posts we share with you in their original form. Further, you will read Path of Exile development manifesto and learn about the changes that will be implemented in upcoming Heist League. The original post is here.

Path of Exile: Heist Balance Manifesto

Ascendancies

We’ve lowered the Offering Effect on the Necromancer’s Mistress of Sacrifice and on the Ascendant back to its past value of 50%. We’ve also lowered the critical strike chance and multiplier on the Assassin’s Deadly Infusion, and the Critical Strike Multiplier on the Assassin’s small passives. These two passives were making these classes too generically powerful for too many builds.

Glancing Blows

We’ve changed Glancing Blows to cause more damage to pass through your block. You now take 65% of damage from blocked hits. The keystone combined with effects that recover life or energy shield on block were providing too much survivability for too little investment.

Divine Flesh

The Divine Flesh keystone provided an extremely strong defensive layer against elemental and chaos damage, provided you could get enough chaos resistance. We’ve lowered the amount of maximum chaos resistance the Keystone gives to +5%, making investment into maximum chaos resistance more necessary to get the same defensive outcome.

Enduring Cry

This warcry combined with the Call to Arms keystone gave convenient defence with little or no player interaction. We’re increasing Enduring Cry’s cooldown to 8 seconds and requiring at least one enemy to be in range to generate endurance charges in order to increase the importance of positioning and timing during gameplay.

Ball Lightning

Ball Lightning combined with Slower Projectiles outclassed the damage of other spells, so has had its damage and area lowered slightly.

Spellslinger

Triggering spells with Spellslinger was faster and more convenient than other methods of casting spells while leveling. It now has a longer cooldown but gains more cooldown recovery as it levels making it more rewarding to reach higher gem levels. The skill now starts with a reservation override of 30%, scaling down to 25% at gem level 20.

Redemption Sentry Spectre

This monster variety had superior damage scaling and clear speed compared to most other Spectres, so has had its damage and life lowered.

Cluster Jewels

We’ve made a few numeric tweaks to specific cluster jewel notables that provided a little too much power. This time we’re only lowering values on Precise Commander, Vicious Bite and Vengeful Commander but may make further changes in the future.

Vitality, Precision and Clarity

Vitality has always had a value that seemed low compared to the power of other auras with similar mana reservations, which meant it has seen little use outside of enabling powerful Vitality specific Watcher’s Eye modifiers. We’ve changed the skill to have a flat mana reservation and grant flat life regeneration instead of percent life regeneration. It is now available at level 10. Their attribute requirements are now consistent, only requiring their primary attribute and at 75% the value of standard attribute requirements for skills.

Path of Exile Changes

Various powerful Watcher’s Eye modifiers for the auras that reserve a flat amount of mana (Vitality, Precision, Clarity) have had their values lowered to match the low investment required to use these auras. At the same time, we’ve changed a small number of other specific Watcher’s Eye modifiers that were providing large values of recovery rate.

Vaal Impurity Skills

These skills have been changed to grant maximum elemental resistances instead of less damage taken. This is mostly to prevent clever use of game mechanics with Standard items that could completely prevent taking certain types of damage.

Ailment Effect

We’ve changed some ailment modifying stats like Chill Effect, Shock Effect, Chill Duration and Freeze Duration to instead apply to all Cold and Lightning Ailments.This will allow them to affect the alternate elemental ailments, Sap and Brittle. This affects some unique items, passives and other item modifiers.

Projectile behaviour ordering

We’ve changed the order that projectiles will perform special behaviours so that Splitting now occurs first, followed by Piercing, Forking, Chaining then Returning. For specific mechanics that had chances to occur or not occur, you’ll now be able to fall back on another behaviour the projectile has. Previously if a projectile had a chain remaining, the skill couldn’t return until it had chained the last time even if there were no enemies in range to chain to. Now the projectile will return, and could still make use of the remaining chain if it hits an enemy during that return.

Reduced Visibility and Stealth

Sources of Reduced Visibility have now been changed to Stealth. Previously reaching 100% reduced visibility would make you unable to be detected by any enemy, while now 100% Stealth will halve the range that monsters detect you at, while 200% stealth will reduce it to one third of their standard range. Values of Stealth have been adjusted to compensate for this.

Changes to Mods which Provide Flat Life Regeneration

Flat life regeneration mods provide a substantial amount of defensive power at low levels, but their values are notoriously low for endgame play. The values of many mods which provide flat life regeneration have been increased by as much as 100%, making these mods more competitive with percentage-based life regeneration at higher levels. Life regeneration mods also roll slightly less commonly on items.

Changes to the Mod Tag System

During Harvest, we added the ability to view the tags of mods on an item by holding ALT with advanced mod descriptions enabled. However, further changes to the mod tagging system were required in order to support displaying tags in the long term.

We have standardised existing systems that use mod tags to use the same set of tags, applied a simpler and more consistent philosophy to categorising which mods should receive a tag and we’ve also made a few changes to fossils. The primary goal of these changes is to make the effects of crafting functions that rely on mod tags more clear and predictable.

From 3.12.0 onwards the tags displayed when holding alt (which were previously used for fossil and Harvest crafting) will also be used by catalysts, the “Cannot roll Attack Mods” and “Cannot roll Caster Mods” meta-crafts. The new enchantments available in Heist will also use these tags, as will all future uses of the mod tag system. Mod tags will also be displayed on unique item mods.

New tags have been added to support this merger. These are:

  • Ailment
  • Attribute
  • Curse
  • Damage
  • Gem
  • Resistance

The changes made to systems which use mod tags are as follows:

  • Turbulent Catalysts will affect mods with both the Elemental and Damage tags. Other Catalysts will use these new tags or existing tags normally.
  • Corroded Fossils and Prismatic Fossils now affect mods with both the Physical and Ailment or Chaos and Ailment tags rather than the Bleeding and Poison tags. The Bleeding and Poison tags are no longer used.
  • Faceted Fossils now use the new Gem tag (which has been applied to all mods that directly affect gems), and the Gem Level tag is no longer used. This opens up new uses for Faceted Fossils while minimally impacting their existing functions.
  • Bound Fossils now also increase the likelihood of rolling Curse mods in order to expand their range of uses.
  • Prismatic Fossils no longer separately affect the weightings of Fire, Cold and Lightning mods, as these mods are now always also tagged as Elemental. The same is true for Jagged Fossils and Bleeding mods, and Aberrant Fossils and Poison mods. These aren’t functional changes, but provide greater clarity as Fossils no longer have effects that aren’t explicitly described.
  • The “Cannot roll Attack Mods” and “Cannot roll Caster Mods” meta-crafts now simply use the Attack and Caster tags.

Finally, the rationale used to tag mods has been simplified and all existing mod tags reviewed for consistency, in order to allow players to reasonably infer what tags a mod may have even without viewing them directly. In summary, tags are now only added to mods which specifically and directly affect the subject of the tag. Some of the main implications of this include:

  • Conditional mods do not receive tags based on the condition. For example, a mod that grants damage while on full life does not receive the Life tag, and a mod that grants attack speed if you have dealt a critical strike recently does not receive the Critical tag. A mod that grants a power charge on critical strike would receive the Critical tag, since that is directly modifying the effect of the critical strike.
  • Any tag that is necessarily a subset of another tag receives both tags. Currently this just means that all Fire, Cold and Lightning mods are now also Elemental mods. This isn’t a functional change to Prismatic Fossils — as mentioned above, they used to also apply to Fire, Cold and Lightning modifiers without explicitly describing this. A related concept is that all bleed-related mods now receive the Attack tag as well as the Physical and Ailment tags, since bleed can only be applied by attacks.
  • Mods granting skills or keyworded buffs do not grant tags matching the stats of those skills or buffs. Previously it was very inconsistent whether these tags were granted, but a more minimalist approach was chosen in order to prevent many mods which grant buffs from requiring enormous numbers of tags. Mods granting notable or keystone passives do grant tags matching the stats of those passive skills — while this is inconsistent with our approach to buffs and skills, it was judged necessary for the sake of cluster jewels.

Thousands of individual changes have been made to mod tags, so to assist with understanding the implications for item crafting we’ve prepared a full list of the mods which can roll on items and their new tags. Click here to check them out. It must be stressed that most crafting methods are not significantly affected by these changes, but specific methods for crafting items with certain combinations of mods may be impacted, and you will undoubtedly be able to find new methods with a little investigation.

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