Path of Exile's next big expansion is all about abusing time in new the Temple of Atzoatl

Path of Exile proves that "free to play" doesn't have to be a bad thing. The action RPG sets the standard for free to play titles supported by cosmetic microtransactions, heaping piles of quality content that keeps its playerbase thriving. The game arrived on Xbox One earlier this year, and has enjoyed similar levels of support to its PC counterpart.

The next big Path of Exile expansion is called Incursion, and is set to land on June 1st, 2018.

Brave the Temple of Atzoatl

The Incursion League arrives on June 1st, and brings with it a pile of new content. As you travel around Wraeclast and the existing world, you will encounter explorer Alva Valai, who offers you the opportunity to explore the lost temple of an ancient civilization. The Temple of Atzoatl is crammed with powerful relics and enchanted riches, but gaining access to its plunder will present a unique, dire challenge.

In Incursion, to maximize your treasure hoard, you'll be travelling across time, manipulating events in the past to customize your temple in the present. The Temple of Atzoatl was constructed by the extinct Vaal Empire, and comes complete with a revamp of the Vaal skill gem system. Previously, Vaal skills had to charge over time, and were often overlooked as a wasted slot in your gear. After Incursion, Vaal skills will cost less to activate, and additionally, will always be available to use, even when not fully charged. Many underused Vaal skills have also been buffed, as well as traps, and some other non-Vaal staples, such as Incinerate and Cold Snap.

Temporal incursions

When you encounter the explorer Alva in the wild, she will offer you the opportunity to travel into a Temporal Incursion, allowing you to manipulate the construction of the temple itself through your actions.

While inside the temple's rooms, you'll have the opportunity to violently destroy the inhabitants for awesome loot. Additionally, if you're particularly fast, you'll have the opportunity to manipulate the outcome of events as well, leading to changes in the present day version of the temple. Picking sides among feuding architects who want different things to be built will lead to different types of rooms being built and upgraded, containing new types of loot. Additionally, unlocking rooms in the past as you speed through the temporal incursions will open new passage ways in the present.

After completing several temporal incursions (planned currently to be around eleven), Alva will have completed her research into the temple's present day location. This tailor-made dungeon crawl will be full of all sorts of ancient nasties and forbidden treasures.

In the present

Depending on how you manipulate the temple's construction, you will be presented with different types of enemies, hazards, and indeed, treasure. Alva will appear once in each campaign area offering the opportunity to manipulate the temple, so as you play through the game's story, you will have multiple opportunities to do full temple runs.

One example we were shown explains how your actions can dramatically effect your chances in the present, as you tailor the difficulty to your skill (and bravery). One architect seems particularly big on growing poisonous plant gardens, if you kill him, you won't have to deal with any hazards as a result of his strange affinity for toxic flora. If you let him live, and perhaps even reinforce him by killing off his rival architects, you could end up dealing with a huge poison plant epidemic upon entering the temple, severely limiting your movement.

Why would you want to leave the poison plant growth unchecked? For those who are willing to brave this unique hazard, you will be able to get to a special present day Poison Garden room, which comes with an extremely powerful build-defining item, which fans of poison-oriented damage builds will be unable to ignore.

Launching very soon

The new Incursion league which contains the Temple of Atzoatl is launching June 1st for Windows PC, alongside upgrades to the Vaal skills, revamps to underused skill gems (including a full revamp of trap-oriented skills), and tons of new items and skills to uncover. Grinding Gear Games is aiming to have the Xbox One version ready within a week after launch of the PC version, but the date isn't fixed as of writing.

Path of Exile is a shining example of free to play done right, with the vast, vast majority of microtransactions focusing entirely on cosmetics. It also hits 4K60 on Xbox One X, which few games can claim, and is frequently updated with new features, such as the Incursion league.

Sporting an unprecedented amount of character playstyle customization, Path of Exile is a wonderful Diablo-like co-op ARPG that is as addictive as it is fun, and it's all free, all free!

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!