Path of Exile – Breach Mechanics

Now that gamers of all skill levels have had enough time to get better acquainted with Path of Exile’s new Breach League, we now have enough perspective on it to talk about it in an analytical context. Prior to the release of Content Update 2.5.0, many Path of Exile players truly didn’t know what to expect. Some had a guarded approach to the new content, while the more optimistic among us were simply looking forward to new Path of Exile items, bosses, and challenges.

For starters, it may be useful if the developers added an indicator as to the type of Breach you’re about to enter, as well as giving some information about its density, before opening and entering it. The indicator does not need to be an explicit statement; rather a splash of color, fog pattern, or visual cue would be enough. Also an in-game timer that shows the length of time spent inside the Breach is something that would be very helpful for budgeting time and resources.

Visually speaking, there is a lot of color and action. This makes the encounters feel very overwhelming. Engaging the enemies within the Breach League feels like a hectic blur of purple swirling about, and it’s difficult to tell whether your character’s attacks are doing any meaningful damage; that is, until the mobs start to release splinters.

Even the large Breachlords can be hidden in the midst of all the purple haze, which can be confusing, albeit entertaining to say the least. Players often find these bosses difficult to identify without first defeating and eliminating lesser enemies, or hovering the cursor over the sprite to see the Breachlord’s life bar. If the developers were to implement a sound effect or even a short musical tone to alert the arrival of a Breachlord, this might make them more apparent.

For many players, the encounters that take place in the Breach League feel too similar and repetitive. To take things even further, a more obvious and dramatic visual cue, such as having the other monsters surrounding a Breachlord scatter, would give these bosses the attention they deserve.

Players who have invested a lot of energy and time in their Melee builds may feel that there needs to be more variety in Rares. Vortexes come up a lot, which does not do these players any favors.

Another area of concern so far has been the difficulty that players have with Chests. Chests are notoriously unnecessarily frustrating to open, while the possibilities for solving this problem are actually quite easy to implement. If simply standing or walking over them could result in opening them automatically, it would certainly make these PoE items less of an impediment to actual progress. Also, on-screen indicators pointing to chests that have just been revealed would be useful, helping the less agile builds to get the right spot.

Making the Chests immune or unresponsive to the toggle highlight key (Z) would also eliminate clutter from the screen, isolate the Chests further, and help players access them more easily.