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Version 0.9.3

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Version History
0.9.2g
5 October 2011
0.9.3
13 November 2011
0.9.3b
14 November 2011

Patch notes

These are the official patch notes for version 0.9.3 released by Grinding Gear Games.

Notes

  • This patch will destroy all existing characters and items. Level 1 characters are created to keep players' character names.

Content

  • Revamped quest rewards. Quests that block your progress now grant you a skill or support gem for completion. Act boss quests do not grant gem rewards. Optional side quests now grant a permanent passive skill point for completion.
  • Performed an overhaul of Act Two quests. Added the new bandit quests and quests in the Weaver's Chambers, Church Dungeon and Chamber of Sins.
  • Added two new world areas in Act One - the Tidal Island and the Fetid Pool. The Tidal Passage has been renamed to the Submerged Passage.
  • Added new skill prototype - Firestorm: Flaming bolts rain down over the targeted area. They explode when landing, dealing damage to nearby enemies.
  • Added new skill prototype - Heavy Strike: Attacks the enemy with a forceful blow, knocking them back. Requires an Axe, Mace or Two-Handed Weapon.
  • Added new skill prototype - Dominating Blow: Attacks the enemy with a melee strike. If an enemy is killed shortly after being hit by Dominating Blow, that enemy is revived as a minion until the skill duration ends.
  • Added new skill prototype - Rain of Arrows: Fires a large number of arrows into the air, to land at the target after a short delay.
  • Added new skill prototype - Discharge: Discharge all the character’s charges to deal elemental damage to all nearby monsters.
  • Added new skill prototype - Immortal Call: Makes the character invulnerable for a short time. Discharges all endurance charges and increases the invulnerability duration proportional to the number of charges expended.
  • Added new skill prototype - Lightning Warp: Casts a delayed teleport to a target destination. When the teleport occurs, lightning damage is dealt to the area around both where the player was and where they teleported to.
  • Added new support gem prototypes: Minion Damage, Minion Life, Minion Run Speed, Increased Duration, Gain Life on Hit, Chance to Ignite, Critical Multiplier, Concentrated Effect (reduces the area of affect of a skill, but increases its damage), Cold to Fire (turns a percentage of your cold damage into fire damage)
  • Added a new item series - the Strength/Intelligence one-handed Sceptres.
  • Added new currency item - Divine Orb: Rerolls all values in mods on an item while leaving the mods intact.
  • Added new currency item - Orb of Fusing: Rerolls socket links on an item.
  • Added new currency item - Chromatic Orb: Rerolls the colours of sockets on an item.
  • Repurposed old currency item - Jeweler's Orb: Now rerolls the number of sockets on an item while keeping socket links/colours intact if they still exist.
  • Changed the layout of The The Coast to streamline the start of the game.
  • Added new unique bosses to The The Coast and the Mud Flats. They have interesting skills to use on players.

Features

  • Added monster auras. Rare monsters can now spawn with an aura which affects nearby monsters. These can stack if multiple rare monsters are nearby. Auras added in this version are: Resistances, Energy Shield, Accuracy/Critical Strike Rate, Speed, Damage Reflection, Elemental Damage Reflection, Medium Damage Increase, Large Damage Increase, Life Regeneration.
  • Attributes (Strength/Dexterity/Intelligence) are now available on items as mods. These do allow you to equip other items and we do currently allow items to support themselves. The addition of these attributes on items means that players will be able to more easily solve problems with item requirements.
  • Added zoom to the passive skill tree screen.
  • Revamped the character screen. It's not completely finished yet, but it's a lot more useful than before. The DPS displays are now pretty accurate and it lets you see your stats with regard to specific skills.
  • Added a display of what gems are supporting an active skill on the hotbar, to differentiate between otherwise identical skills. Each support gem has a letter that is displayed in the top right of the skill.
  • Changed monsters so that they walk around randomly more often and are more likely to disengage chasing their target if they can't see it.
  • New monster hover user interface added.
  • Moving belt flasks around is now allowed again if the inventory is open.
  • Shield crabs now throw their shells off a lot faster.
  • Tidied up the display of monster mods so that it is easier to see at a glance what the monster does.
  • Temporarily made Hillock's door one-way so that he can't be farmed as easily with the new boss drops.
  • Added new user interface for the level information display on the minimap screen.
  • Improved the server backend to make player saves substantially faster.
  • Added quartermaster voice intro in the ship scene when creating a new character.
  • Added tent bandit-spawners in Act Two.
  • Characters and monsters now have three blood effects depending on the size of the damage relative to their maximum life.
  • Alira will no longer use the Raise Zombie skill. She has a cauldron for that.
  • Monster descriptions now show their resistances and have been tidied up to only show properties that are special about that monster.
  • Added support for a new system of creating, storing and displaying unique items.
  • Implicit mods on items now do not stop explicit mods of the same type being spawned. For example, a wand with built-in "+10% Spell Damage" can now get an additional random spell damage mod generated.
  • Disabled ground tile tesselation for now as a workaround to problems with the nVidia 285 series of drivers. We'll re-enable it in the future.
  • Updated and added pages on the official Path of Exile site that describe skills, support gems, monster auras and advanced item mod information.

Art Improvements

  • Substantial art changes were made to reduce visual chaos in many areas.
  • Changed the art for item sockets to make them easier to distinguish for colourblind players.
  • New flask graphics have been added for each base type.
  • Seagulls have shadows now.
  • Added a new level-up effect and sound.
  • Updated buttons in the user interface and their font used on them.
  • Substantial environment/texture changes to many world areas.
  • Improved almost all sounds in the game.
  • Fixes to the shimmer postprocessing effect.
  • Added a wind effect to the Ledge and Rocky Climb.
  • Changed the ground hover of items to be smaller with less border.
  • Added new amulet/ring artwork.

Core Mechanics Changes

  • All classes have been rebalanced to promote their core strengths. Melee classes are now substantially stronger with regard to dealing damage up close. Spellcasters have lower damage output than before but can be formidable if left unchecked.
  • Changed the gem-support system so that only Support Gems in the same physical group as a Skill Gem connect to it. If you have two groups with the same skill, you get two bindable skills. This is done so that supports can be made more impactful and so that players can have multiple variations of the same skill in their build.
  • Attributes (Strength/Dexterity/Intelligence) now affect the player. Strength provides a physical damage increase and additional Life. Dexterity provides Evasion and Accuracy. Intelligence provides Energy Shield and Mana. This makes it more appealing to specialise in your character's core attribute (as it synergises with the rest of your build), while still providing incentive to splash in other attributes to get the aforementioned benefits.
  • There's now a massive discrepancy between the difficulty of normal monsters vs that of magic or rare monsters. This is to make the higher difficulties less grindy while still providing extreme challenge when you encounter multiple bosses at once. Monster auras help this substantially because they promote nearby normal monsters.
  • On the new passive skill tree, non-attribute nodes do not grant attributes any more! You must get your attributes by allocating the nodes as you need them. This allows us to create passives stat and attribute gains that are meaningful, while also allowing easy travel around the passive skill tree on attribute highways.
  • Increased spell damage percentage is now likely on caster weapons. A larger amount of late-game killing speed for casters now comes from their weapon mods. This makes their itemisation similar to that of weapon users.
  • Changed the way that to-hit calculations are done so that they are much more reliable. There is far less variance now, which will result in Evasion being less swingy.
  • Armour and Evasion and values on items are now comparable in scale and roughly equivalent to each other. This allows you to objectively say as a Duelist that a 35 Armour item is probably better than a 30 Evasion item.
  • Overall monster damage per hit has been reduced so that the high variance of Evasion is less of a problem. Evasive characters still need to care about getting enough life to survive if they're unlucky.
  • The damage reduction (Armour) system has been changed so that it doesn't provide a linear reduction in damage received. The equation now reduces the damage based on the size of the damage you take. The equation is: reduction = armour / (armour + 25*damage). This allows Marauders to tank groups of swarming enemies much easier, while technically making Evasion more useful against monsters that strike for large hits at once. If you have 500 armour and are hit for 50 damage, you'll reduce it by 28.6%. 25 damage is reduced by 44.4%. 75 damage is reduced by 21.1%.
  • The critical strike system has been changed so that your weapon and/or spell have a direct critical strike percentage that other things modify. For example, if you're using a weapon with 8% critical strike chance and have a total of +50% critical strikes from your passive skills and items, then you have a 12% chance to score a critical hit. The old "critical strike rating system" is gone. To clarify a common misconception - spell critical strikes do include the normal critical strike chance.
  • Support gems now have a flat multiplier to the mana cost of the skill that does not go up exponentially as they level up. Much of their benefit is available at the first level of the gem, but higher levels offer improvements (for free) if you meet their requirements. Support gems are balanced such that only a few of them are needed to make a skill feel powerful.
  • Made damage scaling from weapon-based skills multiplicative. For example, if a skill adds 50% damage, it'll do so regardless of your other damage scaling.
  • Made damage scaling from weapons themselves multiplicative. +% damage on a weapon is more important than anywhere else.

General Balance Changes

  • Single target skills are now designed to be substantially more meaningful than before. It should be a viable strategy to kill the enemies one by one as opposed to before where you were forced to use Area of Effect skills. Monster pack sizes in higher difficulties were reduced slightly to facilitate this.
  • Combat equations do not care about your level or the level of the monsters any more.
  • Players now gain enough accuracy per level that they are never going to be completely terrible at hitting. This allows us to reduce the accuracy bonuses from elsewhere so that they are individually rewarding but neither mandatory nor overpowered.
  • Base weapon types now have more appropriate implicit mods to create strong differences between them. For example, Axes do additional damage and Swords are more accurate.
  • Rebalanced every single weapon in the game so that they have a hand-crafted progression of median damage, damage range, speed, requirements and variations on their implicit mod.
  • Rebalanced all the shields to have an interesting progression. They all have different amounts of block chance, armour (or evasion, or energy shield) bonus, or implicit mods specific to each type of shield.
  • The level requirements, drop levels and implicit mods on Rings, Amulets, Belts and Quivers have been rebalanced so that there are more interesting choices available at different levels. Most of these items are available substantially earlier in the game.
  • Strength-aligned weapon types now do slightly more damage than other weapons. Many weapon types now have implicit accuracy built in, due to their Dexterity alignment. Intelligence weapons have higher critical strike chances.
  • Bosses can only drop equipment now. This was done so that we can control the distribution of currency items and skill gems better.
  • Added PvP damage multiplier of 1/(1+(attacker_level/8)) for now.
  • Completely rebalanced the drop rates of all the currency items.
  • Increased the currency item drop rate, but added a penalty to the rate of currency item drops if you're playing in areas far under your level.
  • Changed the experience split in parties so that it more strongly favours playing with people near your level.
  • Changed the experience penalties for killing monsters far above/below your level. There's still a large safe zone of full experience near your level.
  • Energy shield now makes it a lot harder to get stunned, but doesn't prevent it all the time like it did before.
  • Set the maximum number of each type of charge to two for all classes. Additional ones can be picked up in the passive tree.
  • Charges have been rebalanced. They have large effects now because the default limit is two of each type and it takes a substantial investment in the passive tree to get a large maximum.
  • It's now much easier to get appropriate socket configurations on items. The average number of sockets and links is a lot higher.
  • Players now have a default critical strike damage multiplier of +50%. Monsters are now set to +30%.
  • Higher difficulties now have a substantially increased chance of magic and rare monsters spawning.
  • The Marauder and Templar now start with one-handed weapons.
  • The Shocked state that enemies enter when dealt a critical strike with lightning damage now adds +40% damage taken per instance stacked, and stacks up to three times.
  • Default drop rate per monster is reduced to 16%. Boss drops and experience gained are increased dramatically.
  • Reduced the drop rate of Rare items to compensate for the much higher rate of boss drops.
  • Changed how uniques bosses are balanced to make it far easier to control how hard their fights are.
  • Implicit bonus for dual wielding is now reduced to +10% attack speed. The rest will come from passives.
  • Characters now block 15% of the time by default while dual wielding.
  • Adjusted the rarity of all currency items to make the common ones more common and the rare ones rarer.
  • Hybrid skill gems now have a primary attribute and are changed to 60/40 alignment.
  • Removed the 12% extra damage mitigation you get from aligned armour types. This is going to be handled by the new passive tree instead.
  • Increased default mana regeneration of characters.
  • Reduced monster density in The Ledge.
  • Modified the set of monsters that flee due to being ignited so that it is only humanoids, monkeys and Sea Witches.
  • Improved the flasks from the Medicine Chest quest in Normal Difficulty to be the second tier flasks.
  • Monsters are now not resistant to elemental damage if the value would fall at less than 15%.
  • Disabled the item mods that added three stats related to a single weapon type.
  • Added some new Unique items. More will be added in subsequent patches.
  • Added the "Culling Strike" mod (for some uniques). It causes monsters to die if you strike them down to 10% or less life.

Skill Balance Changes

  • All skills were rebalanced against each other from first principles in this patch. The following notes are functional changes only:
  • Shock Nova and Freezing Pulse now scale all damage from support gems in the same way as their main skill damage (based on distance).
  • Shock Nova now deals its damage from outside (maximum damage) to inside (minimum/no damage). The outside damage is dealt first. It is a linear damage progression (not exponential) now.
  • Spark now defaults to casting two sparks (with reduced damage). This makes it have less variance in outdoors areas.
  • Cleave now does its augmented damage to one target and half of that damage to other enemies caught within its swing. The penalty for hitting with two weapons in a Cleave is now -40% total damage.
  • Ice Spear now uses an increased critical strike chance to achieve the damage bonus and freeze when in its armed state.
  • Double Strike is now disabled on bows (and wands). It was far too abusive and will be replaced by much more interesting single-target bow skills soon.
  • The stats which convert damage from one type to another (used in skills such as Infernal Blow and Glacial Hammer) now calculate the damage in a way that takes into account your physical damage bonuses as well.
  • Flicker Strike now only attacks one target (ignoring Frenzy charges). Changes are coming soon that will restore the good parts of the old behaviour while not having the myriad problems it had before.
  • "Warlord's Mark" now only grants life leech to physical attack damage.
  • Blood Rage now gives increased attack speed that only comes into effect when the character is on low life (35% or less).
  • "Reduced Mana Costs" is now a Strength support gem.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a bug where Infernal Blow was able to explode an enemy several times.
  • "Beast" type monsters (the large bear monsters from Act Two) have been re-rigged so that attached effects do not scale to strange sizes.
  • The outskirts of levels do not have monsters walking around them in places where they can't be attacked any more.
  • Upon re-entering an area, dead Moss-Monster-category-monsters are no longer targetable.
  • Fixed a bug that would cause a small graphical stutter when a new item type was dropped for the first time in a session.
  • Removed some incompatible flask mods from hybrid flasks.
  • Fixed a bug where flasks would appear unverified when linked on the website if the number of charges had changed.
  • Fixed a bug with elemental effects being played at the wrong sizes.
  • Fixed a bug where Cleave dealt damage with the wrong timing.
  • Fixed various ways that skills could be used to target monsters that were too far away.
  • Fixed a bug with amulet inventory positioning.
  • Fixed a problem where Templar footsteps were 60% louder than other classes.
  • Fixed a client crash that would occur if you die to damage reflection.