In June 2016, Path of Exile introduced a new game mechanic called Prophecy. This mechanic included the new PoE item Silver Coins, as well as Navali, the oracle NPC with whom players can trade Silver Coins for information about new quests, or things to look out for in upcoming tasks. After several tweaks and improvements, Prophecy became part of the core game, adding content to enrich the gaming experience for players of Path of Exile.
Among the challenges of adding Prophecy as a core game mechanic, the balancing act of integrating Navali and her prophecies without interfering with the original questing experience was of utmost importance. For example, reducing the frequency of Silver Coins was one strategy to keep Prophecy unobtrusive, yet still important, engaging, and rewarding.
The gameplay of Prophecy is rather simple: as the player kills a large horde of monsters, a Silver Coin may appear at random upon clearing a zone. Silver Coins can be exchanged for Prophecies when consulting with Navali. As of this writing, one Silver Coin affords you one Prophecy, but this may change in the future as the game, along with the role of Prophecy evolves.
Some Prophecies present tasks that come with rewards or unique Path of Exile items. These tasks may or may not state specific targets or goals, per se, and the player must figure out what Navali really means, but with enough experience, players come to learn to decipher the prophecies for themselves. For example, Master Missions refer to the NPCs that spawn in-game, and present missions for the player. Fated Uniques contain clues that instruct the player to approach the task with a specific strategy in mind.
Another example, “From The Void” is the task of killing Barneth while wearing the Blackheart ring. Successful completion of this task results in the upgrading of the ring to Voidheart, which has much more power behind it than its predecessor. Expect the list of Prophecies to grow as its integration as a fundamental element of the game becomes more apparent.
As stated by Grinding Gears Games, “Prophecy worked well as a league, with high player engagement.” This may be because a lot of build options that seemed impossible or unattainable for many Path of Exile players, became attainable. Also, Prophecy may even allow for the conversion of useless PoE items into ones worth having and using, which has important implications for gameplay and strategy.
The potential for Prophecy as a game mechanic may very well be as vast as the imagination and effort the developers choose to exert in the process. Whether they plan to involve Prophecies in interactions with heralded boss characters such as Rigwald, or create a currency exchange between Perandus Coins and Silver Coins, careful implementation and consideration of the wants and needs of their target audience as a dynamic, fickle and demanding clientele must be tempered with suitability and common sense. Indeed, Prophecy itself can potentially be an important expansion of the game, especially with the prospect of creating much more content.