Path of Exile has seen steady growth over the years since its 2013 early-access launch. Available on both PC and Xbox One, featuring re-designed mechanics for the console, the developers at Grinding Gear Games have released several expansions that significantly boost the game's content and millage, giving veterans new dungeons to explore, monsters to fight, and loot to find. But in the next major update, the creators have something a bit different in mind for the community, which will task adventurers to start capturing beasts, instead of slaying them.

In the upcoming Bestiary update, releasing on March 2, players will be able to join the Bestiary Challenge League, allowing adventurers to capture monsters and store them in a player base known as the Menagerie. In this new area, you'll be able to invite friends to see the many beasts you've captured and also interact with new NPC characters to learn more about the league and what's expected of you. The monsters you find aren't just for show, as capturing the rare beasts often yields access to higher-end weapons and armour. Known as Beastcrafting, you can sacrifice beasts and key monster parts at the Menagerie's blood alter to power up some of your more valuable weapons. But in doing so, you'll summon powerful boss monsters that have to be defeated.

Speaking with Path of Exile's lead designer and producer Chris Wilson, he explained their approach to the many updates, and how Grinding Gear Games wants to ensure that current and returning players will have new stuff to play.

"The basic plan is that four times a year, we release a new league for players. Regardless of whether or not you're new, existing, or returning, there's always something for you to experience. And when they decide to move to another game like PUBG or something, they can always come back to the game and find something new to see. But in addition, we try to make each release a bit different in their own way. You've seen the content for this one, but we've got some weird stuff lined up for June, a larger one in September, and of course, we're planning a mega-one sometime in the future."

Along with new areas and monsters to battle, the Bestiary update will also feature a number of quality of life updates and balance, including new gems, skills, and revamps to the Ascendancy classes. Here's a quick rundown of the core features as written by the developers coming for this update:
  • The Bestiary Challenge League: With a fresh economy and brand new mechanics, the Bestiary Challenge League is ideal for existing, returning, and brand new players to experience the award-winning gameplay Path of Exile has to offer.
  • Capture Dangerous Beasts: Track Wraeclast's most dangerous animals, weaken them and capture them to make them your own. There are around 250 regular beasts and 40 legendary beasts to capture.
  • Complete your Bestiary: As you capture beasts from across Wraeclast, they are marked in your Bestiary, a permanent record of your progress through this league.
  • Populate your Menagerie: Visit and observe the beasts you've captured whenever you want, then use them to fuel your Beastcrafting.
  • Beastcrafting: Perform the ritual of Sacrifice by Combat at the Blood Altar to create and augment potent items. There are dozens of powerful recipes that require the sacrifice of different combinations of beasts that you have collected.
  • New End-Game Foes: Capturing and crafting with the right set of beasts may grant you entrance to difficult spirit boss encounters with powerful Unique item rewards.
  • Bestiary Sets: The Bestiary League contains four new sets of items based on the powerful spirit beasts. Mix and match them with other items and discover potent new builds.
  • The Story Continues: High-level players will be able to challenge The Elder and The Shaper simultaneously, deep in the centre of the Atlas of Worlds--the toughest boss encounter in Path of Exile yet!
Returning players can also expect some changes to the Atlas as well. As one of the more dense, lengthier forms of content in the game, veterans were able to clear through much of the Atlas map's content--which offered access to smaller encounters that yielded high-rewards. But in the upcoming update, you'll be able to return to previously completed nodes on the map and replay them on a higher difficulty--leading to new items and monsters to fight. One boss, in particular, is the Uber-Elder, who is so difficult, Wilson claims that the developers themselves have yet to beat it.

With Path of Exile still going strong, the lead designer stated that they're still committed to the game for many years to come. And with a rather inventive take on monster hunting on the way, which still focuses on the loot in the run, the developers have some strange, but innovative plans in store for the game.

Source: GameSpot