Path of Exile: Siege of the Atlas expansion revealed with major endgame changes

Grinding Gear Games has revealed the next expansion for Path of Exile, dubbed Siege of the Atlas. We've seen several Atlas-focused expansions in the past, and all of them have dramatically changed Path of Exile's endgame content. This one is no different, as Siege of the Atlas will once again change the way players progress through endgame content when it releases next month.

New Eldrich Horrors invade the Atlas

Following the death of Sirus and the departure of Zana, Siege of the Atlas will have players working with Kirac to explore maps in the endgame. The expansion introduces two new Eldritch Horrors that will attempt to invade the Atlas alongside The Maven and Uber Elder: The Searing Exarch and The Eater of Worlds.

It sounds like players will even be working with The Maven to some extent, as she'll give us the ability to modify maps with influence from these new Eldritch Horrors. Influenced monsters will appear in greater numbers as you progress through low-tier influenced maps, and once you get to mid-tier maps, you'll encounter the sub-bosses for each of these Eldritch Horrors: The Black Star or The Infinite Hunger. These bosses have to be defeated before you can encounter The Searing Exarch or The Eater of Worlds, who will eventually show up in high-tier influenced maps.

Each of the bosses drops a slate of new unique items and Eldritch currency items, and after defeating them for the first time, you'll be able to farm key drops by grinding influenced maps in tier 14 or higher to fight them again. Grinding Gear Games says these key drops will be tradeable, so if you don't feel like grinding drops, you'll be able to buy them from other players.

Goodbye Watchstones, hello Voidstones

These two new bosses aren't the only changes to Path of Exile's Atlas in this new expansion. Grinding Gear Games has also done away with Atlas regions entirely, so no more collecting Watchstones to increase map tiers on a region-by-region basis. In place of those 16 Watchstones are four new Voidstones that increase your map tiers throughout the entire Atlas when slotted into their new tower.

Players will earn these Voidstones by defeating Uber Elder, The Maven, The Searing Exarch, and The Eater of Worlds, so it's going to take a lot of work to collect them all. Slotting all four Voidstones into the Atlas will raise all maps to tier 16, so collecting all of these Voidstones will allow players to make sweeping changes that impact the entire Atlas at once.

With Atlas regions going away, Grinding Gear Games has also removed those regional Atlas passive trees. In their place is a single, massive Atlas passive tree that has more than 600 nodes, and from what we saw in the presentation, it looks like a somewhat smaller version of Path of Exile's main character passive tree.

GGG says that it has brought some passives from the old regional trees over to this new unified tree and that players will earn one passive point each time they complete a map's bonus objective. This, in turn, will allow players to quickly amass a bunch of passives to customize their trees, thereby letting them focus on improving the content they like to play in the endgame. The full tree will be revealed sometime next week, giving players a chance to plot out builds before the expansion launches (though you can see a zoomed-out shot of it above).

Eldritch Implicit Mods, new currencies, and new uniques

With the arrival of these new bosses comes new Eldritch Implicit Mods that can be used to create powerful endgame gear. The introduction of these new Eldritch Implicits implies Grinding Gear is trying to revise the Influenced Items system by making it easier to apply new mods to already good gear.

Grinding Gear says that Eldritch Implicits replace existing Implicit Modifiers on gear, so you can start with a piece of gear that's already good and then refine it from there. The Eldritch currency items we mentioned in the first section will be used to apply Eldritch Implicts to items, and players will be able to have one Implicit from each boss on any given item.

There are six tiers of Eldritch Implicits, and the first four tiers can be applied by using Eldritch Ember and Eldritch Ichor currencies. From there, players can use Orbs of Conflict to lower one implicit and raise the other. By using a combination of Eldritch Ichor, Eldritch Ember, and Orbs of Conflict, players can potentially craft equipment with one tier six Eldritch Implicit and one tier four mod.

Grinding Gear Games also announced several new unique items that will be added to the game with the Siege of the Atlas expansion, which can be seen in the image above. For more details on these beyond what their tooltips reveal, check out the VOD of today's live stream.

Archnemesis Challenge League

Launching alongside the Siege of the Atlas expansion is the new Archnemesis Challenge League. In this one, you'll be able to find, modify, and fight up to four boss monsters per area as you work your way through the game and through maps. The monsters you encounter will start off as petrified, giving you a chance to modify them before the fight using itemized modifiers that have a chance to drop from the rare and magic monsters you encounter through normal play.

Mods you apply to the first monster apply to the second monster and so on, so by the time you fight the fourth monster in an area, it'll have quite a few modifiers. Boss monsters can even drop items that combine modifications, allowing you to create boss monsters that are super dangerous but drop a ton of currency and items when defeated.

Overall, it sounds like the Archnemesis Challenge League will be a nice addition to the already extensive Siege of the Atlas expansion. The content will be available in Path of Exile when the Siege of the Atlas expansion launches on February 4th, 2022, for PC and February 9th, 2022, for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.