path of exile

Path of Exile: Harvest Coming Back and Random Thoughts

I read a day or two ago how Harvest will be making a comeback in a new form in the next league or two. While little had been said about the implementation, what is certain is that it won’t be in the current form. With that in mind, I wanted to ramble a bit about how I would like it to appear along with various things that I’ve been muddling about.

With the announcement of Harvest making a return in a new form, I’m hoping that there’s a lot of changes that especially gets rid of the old UI/UX. First, I think that it should appear as some random map mod starting from Act 1 to allow players to continue progressing the development of their items. The thing I noticed in Heist is that the drops have been quite bad because most items had been locked up within the league mechanic. With the league mechanic being quite sketchy from the beginning, it made gearing up quite tough.

For myself, I pretty much bowed out of the league since the crash reports were too frequent. Also, I just wasn’t a fan of the idea at all. I think if we had the basic Harvest mechanic to go alongside Heist, it would’ve made the early leveling experience a lot more pleasant.

That’s why I think that Harvest needs to be progressed from the beginning. Basically, it’s just an alternative method when players get supremely unlucky to gear up their character, especially for early leveling. One reddit post commented on how one of the Act 10 rewards should be changed from a 4-link chest piece to a 5-link. This just shows the mentality of how a basic 5-link is pretty much the near bare minimum to feel decent in starting up the real end game progress.

Like when I did Harvest, I pretty much farmed the hell out of Quarry just to get the special 5-link crafting options as well as getting my resistances and life to a reasonable level. Now, GGG internally might think, “Oh crap, it’s too easy for players to do this!” Well, my response is that it’s still time someone put into the shitty RNG of this game because some people in their office are too thickheaded.

Now, I did a write up on how things should change. I still think that the farm itself should be something that is upgraded in sections. That’s why having it from Act 1 is a must. It basically allows a player to progress in a secondary manner.

I re-thought about how the layout design should behave. I still think all the stupid gadgets need to be removed. There’s no good reason to have any of those. There really isn’t any immersion aspect outside of me wanting to punch a bunch of bad designers in the nose with a spiked gauntlet.

What they should do instead is take one of those optimized layouts on the net and use that as the base farm. Then allow the player to use their seeds to upgrade aspects of the pieces of the farm. Those pieces of the farm are all upgraded by the level of the seeds, which, of course, is determined by the level of the monsters that the players kill.

I think the monsters should be in the maps themselves rather than being released on the farm. They can still use the same monster assets since those were colored. Also, I’d have them marked on the map. To access the farm, you just would need to talk with Oshabi on the map to open up a portal.

Part of the reason, I prefer having the monsters on the map rather than on the farm is that I’d like them to help characters level up. I don’t think they’re that big of a deal, almost like Incursion. Also, when I’m crafting my stuff, I just don’t want to deal with killing monsters. I want to craft in bulk. That’s the only immersion experience I need from that.

Lastly, should Quarry Harvest farming be a thing? Why not? You can already farm other things like Delve, Delirium, Incursion, etc. on Quarry if you haven’t noticed. The difference here would be frequency since it would be just a random mod. All it means is just increased amount of time to get the mod to appear.

No matter what the real key is to allow Harvest from Act 1 as a mod. The thing that really sucks about PoE is that you don’t feel like you really progress your gear. You have may better gear available, but you never feel as though you can make your current gear better. By having Harvest as a means to constantly be able to progress your gear (and avoid bad RNG), you feel as though you’re upgrading something besides your levels.

So with that out of the way, what about Heist? Honestly, I think it’s just dogshit. I think it’s a boring idea with an anxiety inducing mechanic that doesn’t really do much as far as immersion. The alternative quality gems and replica uniques are the only things that may have some redeeming qualities. But as a league mechanic for what it set out to do, it’s really bad.

The thing to me is that the actual work of the Heist is done by your followers rather than you. And the AI for all that is wonky. But all you’re really doing is entering a random map, going through and looting, killing on occasion then running back all the while waiting for something else to occur.

I know a lot of the features in Heist had been improved namely the experience and alarm parts. But the idea is just bad in general. The implementation was poorly done and obviously rushed. It looked like another version of Incursion. But I think it’s just another pointless distraction.

The worst part about it is that it wastes a lot of time. There’s just too much fucking around. You have to go to a dedicated zone then speak to a bunch of people, then grab a contract that you feel capable of doing, speak to someone else to open up the heist, get into another starting zone then go to another portal to get into the map, then wander around a large map, wait while the worst mechanic in the game (doors) are being opened by wonky AI, grab loot, run back, re-open doors and start everything up again. How can anyone see any positives in this?

Imagine if they added this system to the core of the game. What would be the point? Do you see any progress outside of getting loot? I know that alternate quality gems and replica uniques are the only aspect worth a damn from this but other than that, how is this system really useful?

You already have Delve, Incursion, Betrayal and maps taking up the bulk of your time in terms of major paths away from your normal journey. But each have their places. Delve has a sense of progress because you can always go deeper and encounter more difficult content. Incursion provides certain mechanics for modifiers (namely double corruption), a few recipes and a few potentially decent items. Betrayal has some nice crafts with the 28% increased quality, Vorici’s crafts, Tara’s gem experience boost, etc.

But Heist just feels as though the reward to effort ratio isn’t there. And really the motivation is just the alternate quality gems and replica uniques. Besides, having very specific builds in mind as thought experiments, that doesn’t seem like a great motivation to keep this kind of thing around.

The only thing I can think of as far as Heist staying around is that it plays into the game. The whole Rogue Harbor looked as though it was going to be meant for some role playing hub. Instead, it turned out to be just a jebait for people to troll others from accessing their stash. Also, it just looked as though it would have been incorporated into the start of PoE 2.

But really, big deal. Fuck immersion. I’m here to kill when it comes to ARPGs. If I want immersion, I just call my friends and try to create an AD&D campaign in the Forgotten Realms.

The whole thing stunk of some idiot having grand ideas but no real plan of execution of how everything comes together as a working experience. It’s kinda like saying you want to have a burger, then getting in front of a bar with a thousand options. Everything looks good so you start dumping everything on top. In turn, the burger ends up tasting like shit because you never thought about the experience of what a good burger should be like or just focus on a type of theme the burger should have been.

I think I ranted a lot about Heist. Now, onto the good stuff.

So the two projects I’ve been working on Standard league are a Raider Cyclone build and an Ascendant Cast on Critical Strike build. The Raider Cyclone build was to try out the Raider version of Cyclone with a Facebreaker. I basically repurposed my gear from my Champion to my Raider except for a piece here and there.

The overall effect was impressive. I don’t think this version does as much damage as the Champion because I didn’t take the Claw wheel on the upper right side. I wanted to go more tanky since the Ranger tree mostly uses dodge and evasion for defense. Also, I used a Daresso’s Salute instead of a Rigwald’s Curse. So I think that gives me less damage but with more area and a little more speed.

The Raider overall has more speed due to the synergy of Frenzy charges, high uptime on Onslaught and Avatar of Slaughter. Right now, for the last ascendancy points, I’m probably going to aim for Avatar of the Chase since I get more defense and offense. Also, I don’t feel that Phasing really would add much to this build.

One thing I’m doing is keeping on the side a spare helmet and Bloodgrip amulet for Uber Lab. I want to fit in a Vitality gem but the cost still is high. Instead, I’m using a Stone Golem which isn’t good because of how frequently it dies. But that set up mostly is to help with not getting stomped.

I’ve avoided Acrobatics and Phase Acrobatics for the time being. It seems like a common set up but I don’t know how reliable they’ll be. I am thinking about Cluster Jewels but currently do not know what the best options will be for those.

I think once I can get this character leveled far enough, I might give Uber Lab a try. I was thinking if that didn’t pan out to try a Herald of Agony version instead since that one is said to be a lot tankier.

The Herald of Agony build is something I’ve done before on a Juggernaut. Juggernauts tend to be the best when it comes to tankiness and I rarely feel intimidated by lab compared to almost all other builds (except for Stone Golem golemancer). The difference with this version would be using a Lioneye’s Vision chest piece to get the extra pierce. I’ve seen a few versions use the Crystal Vault piece instead just to help mitigate the incoming fire and cold damage. I suppose I could do that if I used my prophecy to convert the 6L one I have. But not really feeling it.

Overall, the idea with this Raider is just to find a build that I feel comfortable with and can do Uber Lab easily. At the moment, I’ve boiled it down to Cyclone or Herald of Agony. I think Cyclone should be enough but I’m just worried that a misstep will frustrate me to no end.

The other project I mentioned was a little more interesting and something I had been thinking about for some time. Currently, Mathil1 has been doing a Cast on Critical Strike Pathfinder bow build. He incorporates Barrage, Ice Spear and Blazing Salvo on the Cast on Critical Strike links while using an Asenath’s Chant to automate the firing of either Firestorm or Glacial Cascade.

The idea really intrigued me since I found that I had an Asenath’s Chant sitting in my stash. But as I had just been working on a ranger, I felt that doing another ranger would be redundant. Which is why I settled on a Scion.

The big thing about the Pathfinder for Mathil1 was the flask recharge. I figured I could get a similar effect with an Ascendant if I went Pathfinder. So the question was what the other ascendancy choice would be. In the end, I decided on Elementalist as they gain elemental reflect immunity, 40% increased Herald Effect, 10% elemental penetration and a +1 golem (also increased damage if you shock). But the basic parts here looked quite appealing.

I knew that I would be using Herald of Ice and an Ice Golem no matter what. The +1 golem would be at least in the form of a Stone Golem for the life regeneration since the build doesn’t have much in that format. But I thought if I could incorporate more Heralds, the boom would be pretty sweet.

So far, I’m at level 58 and right before Cruel lab. I’m trying to get 2 more levels in so I can get a little more mana and life as well as the Charisma node. I just brought back in Vitality but my overall mana reservation leaves me quite thin. I just switched a few pieces of gear to sacrifice huge mana regeneration in favor of more life, resistances and critical hit chance and life leech.

The leveling process up to this point has been sketchy. I’ve found Scions very difficult to level in general and while I could have just used another one of my spare Scions, I wanted the experience of trying this out on a fresh character.

I started out with Freezing Pulse, which worked well in addition to some zombies. Once I got to level 12 or so, I switched to Poet’s Pen and Barrage. I tried only using a single Poet’s Pen but the cooldown nerf made that single target awful. Basically, I had to rush to 28 to get the Cast on Critical Strike support gem and switch to a bow. But I kept the wand setup a little longer until I was able to use a Death’s Harp, followed by a Death’s Opus (which I’m currently using).

Now, the real carrot on the stick for me was that awaiting Asenath’s Chant. However, once I got to level 45, I ended up finding out that I had a junky older version where the trigger only occurred 25% of the time. I went to look at Mathil’s version and saw that the 25% chance wasn’t there. What the hell?

I checked when this change was made on the Wiki and read that the change still was made to older versions. However, that didn’t seem to be the case with mine. I knew though that I had another fated prophecy as well as a few spare Asenath’s Marks so I went to do the Dig map. Of course, that was yet another jeibate and ended up just wasting time. So I did Kira and got the proper Asenath’s Chant.

What was frustrating up to that point was not realizing that the older version was dogshit. That entry on the backport was completely incorrect and I could easily trigger my Firestorm every time I attacked with my Barrage. I probably could have used a Divine to update the item but the wiki entry didn’t indicate this possibility. So you have to question who the hell writes these things up.

Either way, I managed to fix the setup so that my single target no longer was horse crap. The only problem with this setup is hitting something to trigger the effects. That’s an accumulation of a variety of issues with bow characters as well as UI and a bit of the abilities here.

First, is just being able to aim at what your real target is. Some people say it’s skill, but there’s a lot of bullshit in this. For instance, let’s say you’re right next to your enemy but there’s a tiny object in the way. You can be spam clicking the shit out of barrage and nothing will trigger.

Second, to have enough safe distance from a lot of monsters and be clear of the UI effects, you practically have to be a screen away. But you can’t see for shit because the effects are in the way and you have no idea where the boss could be. So you don’t know if you’re hitting anything.

Next, you have abilities that come INTO the camera view. It’s bad enough that the stupid environment blocks the camera view. But why should your abilities not be transparent as they fall onto enemies? You literally end up blinding yourself because the graphics effect is so bad. That’s probably why Mathil changed to Glacial Cascade (on top of it being more reliable and hitting targets more faster).

But you have no real choice in all of this. You either have to get lucky by offscreening things or risk being up close and getting whacked by some boss. The thing about this build is that the defense is bad. Your only real compensation is getting far enough away and trying to avoid getting hit. It wouldn’t be a bad situation if only you could see what the fuck was hitting you.

Despite all this, I really like the concept. It’s different and I think you can do something neat potentially with the build. I think it’s missing a lot of life leech to help face tank bosses. Also, it really needs something else to help mitigate damage. The life regeneration is mediocre and hard to pull in without investing in mana reservation reduction.

However, I feel that the way I’m doing makes the build a bit all over the place. Like the Elementalist aspect makes me want to invest in golems (Golem Commander, Anima Stone, Primordial Eminence) as well as some Herald nodes for mana reduction. But the mana reduction for the Heralds don’t mean much because of how much mana Zealotry requires.

The only real defense that this build seems to have is freezing enemies. I think picking up Blood Drinker would help a little but I find myself bouncing between the really big hits. I don’t know how much Pathfinder will help with keeping flasks up. But the main issues are just being able to take a random big hit as well as reliably being able to hit a boss back.

That’s where I’m hoping having Elementalist and Pathfinder will mitigate more. Like I want to get a Chaos Golem in the build and buff that up with some Primordial Eminence jewels (which also will help with life regeneration from my Stone Golem). It won’t be nearly as good as a Necromancer or pure Elementalist but I hope it helps more than what I have now.

The other thing that I struggle with is mana. I still have to get Quick Recovery but I’m thinking some mana leech from Mind Drinker could help as well. Also, I think getting rid of Hired Killer in favor of Blood Drinker might be the better play.

Overall, the current damage isn’t bad. But I need to play around a lot more with this. I might just ditch the basic character if I get demotivated and move the gear and gems onto an existing Scion and just re-spec. But I want to continue giving this a try until I hit a nerve wracking point.



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