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Preview: Path of Exile: Harvest – PS4

Harvest is Path of Exile’s next challenge league, and it’s hitting the PS4 during the week of June 22nd. Like previous updates, it brings new items and some changes to the overall game, but it’s a new mode that gives players a lot more control over the loot that makes it such an interesting addition to this BAFTA award-winning game.

The new update’s lore focuses on a character named Oshabi. She was interested in the supernatural, but her people, the Azmeri, were not. They threw her out. After that, Oshabi’s curiosity led her to discover the Sacred Grove, a magical place. You will be able to grow magical plants in this garden with some excellent benefits for you.

These plants aren’t just for demonstrating your green thumb. In each area of the game, you’ll find Seed Caches. The seeds you collect can be taken to the Sacred Grove for planting. Growing will take time, and activating a new Seed Cache in the world will cause one unit of time to progress in the Sacred Grove.

After you fill-up the gauge, your plants are ready to harvest, and here’s where the magic happens. After activating the Collector you built nearby, monsters will pop out of your plants, and you’ll eliminate these garden pests. The Collector accumulates the Lifeforce of the defeated monsters, and the unprocessed Lifeforce can be used to craft powerful updates. Those updates are dependent on the seed type you used, so you can start to craft items with attributes you want.

The philosophy here is to make the rewards you earn more about quality than quantity. You’ll still receive items by beating the monsters, but there will be fewer items in the Sacred Grove area. The tradeoff is that everything is much more valuable and more customizable, and that value only goes up the more you engage with the new mechanics.

The Sacred Grove allows you to build anywhere, but rare tier 2 and rarer tier 3 seeds are going to require a lot more effort. Dropped by lower-tier monsters, higher tier seeds require irrigation using the processed Lifeforce from one of the other categories of Wild, Primal, or Vivid seeds. You can build collection tanks to store the processed Lifeforce you didn’t use for upgrades and share it with plants. Depending on the plant, they may also need to be adjacent to another plant type to grow. Since you can plant anywhere in the Sacred Grove, you can start to design some intricate areas and networks for harvesting up to 48 plants. If you can survive the fight, the rewards can be huge.

This is a screenshot from the PC version UI, but the idea will be the same on the PS4.

To craft some of the best items, you’ll need harder fights, and you can even grow some very tough boss fights too. If you’re not too busy trying to stay alive, you can appreciate Harvest’s new monster designs. With disruptions to business, the Path of Exile 2 team contributed to some of these new monster designs, so the quality is higher than normal.

Harvest is a light city-building loop with no micromanagement that aligns perfectly with Path of Exile’s existing systems of risk and reward. All the seeds you find are tradeable with other players. You can chase the seed types with the monsters and rewards that fit what you want to craft. As you move to higher challenges and seed tiers, you gain better rewards. You can also choose to stick with the tier 1 seeds only or choose to not participate at all and trade the seeds to other players for items you want in the player-driven economy.

Harvest also brings the usual item and skill updates. There are twelve new unique items that give you powerful advantages for use in your build but always with a catch. One of those items is Doryani’s Prototype Unique Armor. It gives you more lightning damage by absorbing lightning resistance. You’ll be bringing a powerful debuff everywhere you go that could also put you at a disadvantage around enemies with strong lightning attacks.

Melee weapons are also receiving some updates and skills are being added and reworked. Melee “Slam” skills, new warcry skills, and new brand skills are being added or tweaked for more effectiveness to make them more attractive for your next build.

Updating the skill tree may be a bigger change than anything else. In the last update, Delirium added cluster jewels (these are awesome!) to expand it, but the developer added new keystone and notable passsive skills to support the new and reworked skills. Considering how important passive skills are and how much time I’ve spent on which skills to update in the past, I’m looking forward to seeing how it’s changed.

I’ve been playing a ton of the current Delirium challenge league, and I’m happy to report it’s being added into the core game. The encounter rate for this content is lower than past integrated content, but crafty players will be able to increase the encounter odds.

If you haven’t tried Path of Exile, it’s free-to-play without any of the free-to-play tricks and nonsense. You cannot spend money to buy a more powerful character in any way. You have to earn it in this action RPG, hack ‘n’ slash loot game with multiple classes for you to play, a lot of loot to collect, and a risk/reward mechanic that keeps the gameplay addictive.

The new update every three months keeps the game feeling fresh, and I’m looking forward to trying everything Harvest has to offer when it releases the week of June 22nd.

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