I have a prophecy for Path of Exile players — you’ve got some new challenges ahead of ya.
Publisher Grinding Gear Games released its Content Update 2.3.0 today. This drop includes both Standard and Hardcore versions of Path of Exile’s Prophecy Challenge League. And it wouldn’t be much of an action-role-playing game if it didn’t include more loot, skills, and other things to tackle. In its March rankings, market research firm SuperData pegged Path of Exile at No. 19 in the worldwide free-to-play massively multiplayer online game market, with 16 million active players. Content pushes such as this are essential to keeping people playing — and paying — in the $99.6 billion worldwide game market.
“The Prophecy Challenge League has more content than some of the full expansions we’ve released in the past,” said Grinding Gear Games’ managing director Chris Wilson. “We’re really excited to explore it alongside our players.”
Path of Exile could soon see a nice bump in players and business as it goes through alpha testing in China, where Tencent is partnering with Grinding Gear to get the game in the biggest PC online market in the world. According to Jim Reilly at market researcher Newzoo, “RPG is by far the most popular PC genre in China and generated $5.5 billion last year, or 44 percent of the $12.5 billion Chinese PC/MMO market.”
As part of the Prophecy Challenge League, players get quests from Navali, a soothsayer who gives them a prophecy — should they grease her palm with silver. The update also comes with a gaggle of new content:
- Items: These include items and divination cards from Path of Exile supporters (note: its free-to-play model has long included fan participation in loot design), three new strongboxes, and a new endgame base map: the Plaza.
- Five new skills: Spirit Offering, Ancestral Warchief, Fury, Frostbolt, and Vortex (an area-of-effect spell that creates a burst of cold around the user).
- 40 new challenges for finishing Prophecies, such as exclusive microtransactions.
- A new endgame Labyrinth.
- Improvements to balance (some skills and items), memory management, and sound system.
Grinding Gear employs what it calls an “ethical” free-to-play model, in which it sells cosmetic changes for your character and items.