Path of Exile’s world includes shared encampments where players can meet and group up, as well as instanced areas to tackle solo or as part of a group. The instanced areas are randomly generated, so levels are different every time you play.
Originally, Path of Exile consisted of four Acts and multiple difficulty levels for each act – a game structure based on Diablo. With the War for the Atlas expansion, the structure has shifted so that players no longer have to move through difficulty levels in order to reach higher difficulties. Instead, Grinding Gear chose to add new acts on top of the original four acts, more than doubling the size of the game.
A new section at the end of Act 4 bridges this act with the next one. Players will climb a mountainous region to find a magical machine that teleports them back to the homeland from which they were exiled (hence the game’s title).
Act 5, the first new chapter added in the latest expansion, sees your character returning to the city that exiled him or her in order to exact justice. This act involves a visit to the Torched Courts. Your hero has accidentally released the gods of the world, once held in check by a divine creature called the Beast. This has a destructive domino effect on the rest of the game world.
Acts 6 through 10 primarily involve revisiting areas from the first portion of the game that have changed since the first time you explored them. Naturally, they include new areas, enemies, and poe items – not to mention increased difficulty. Twenty-four new boss fights spread across the new acts further ratchet up the challenge.
In Act 6, we visited the Brine King’s Reef, a location from Act 1 that has undergone many changes. The grotesque water and sand-based enemies include Animated Reefs, Sand Strikers (mud men), and Brine Vassals (octopus monsters merged with human skeletons). This act shows off Path of Exile’s gorgeous water effects, which have been significantly improved since the initial PC launch.
The Brine King’s Reef ends with a boss fight against the Brine King himself. Upon reaching the throne, players encounter a mermaid they met earlier in the game. A haunted amulet she found has corrupted her body, transforming her into a huge monster called the Brine King. The big boss summons lobster-like minions and eventually creates a tunnel of water around the area that players must avoid. It’s a visually impressive and exciting boss battle.