The 4 month leagues in Path of Exile will be ending in two days. At that time anyone who completed all 8 challenges can get a t-shirt! I am not one of those people. For a variety of reasons I ended up not playing very much at all in this last month and didn't really come close to doing the hard stuff. I wanted to watch the Olympics, I wanted to play Final Fantasy IX, I wasn't awake at the same times as Sceadeau and Tom, I really didn't like my characters, and I especially just didn't think I'd be able to do one of the challenges with my current characters (the one to kill all the unique bosses... I didn't think I'd even see the rarest one spawn and really didn't think I could kill her if she did).
They're having a small break between short duration leagues. The next set of leagues will open up on March 5th and will coincide with a major content patch that they're calling a mini expansion. They've shown a small number of things that will be coming in the expansion that look pretty cool. Rings with sockets, a 'corrupted' item mod that can give white sockets or change intrinsic item values, a new game mode more hardcore than hardcore? It's interesting...
They've also put out a couple patches since I last played, which included some pretty big minion changes that Sceadeau told me about. Zombies are tougher, and do more damage, and regenerate life, and have resists... They're smarter about what they attack. I decided to take my summoner out for a little spin to see what was going on and trivially smashed a 73 map. It dropped an unidentified rare 74 map so I stuck it in to see what would happen. I have no idea what mods were on the map except that it apparently had 2 bosses since there were two loot explosions at the end.
I feel like the summoner is probably still slower than a damage spec but it didn't seem nearly as slow as before, and it felt a lot safer. The resists and life regen meant I didn't really have to pay attention to that aspect anymore which was nice. I was able to pretty much zone out and walk in a straight line picking up experience and loot. Then I remembered this loot was irrelevant and just walked over it...
This is a definitely downside to temporary leagues. I want to play the game right now, but I understand that everything I do right now is getting wiped out and I'll need to restart at level 1 on the 5th anyway. On the other hand the idea that I could push to be on top next time around, and have a full 4 months to work on getting a t-shirt? It has definite appeal.
I'd been thinking before that whatever I did next league it wasn't going to be a summoner but I'm not so sure anymore. I really like the changes they put in, and I want a chance to fix the problems I ran into this time around. Going life instead of chaos inoculation, for example! And actually having my respec points to use in the middle since I won't have to burn off all the random fire damage nodes I picked up. The minion nodes have also all changed to get all those extra things stuck on them, so picking an order to level in will be interesting too.
Having a summoner in the group also seems very strong when it comes to generating loot. Most characters need to take gear to do more damage or to not die... If leveling as a summoner works the way it sounds like it will with the rebalanced zombie gem and tree I suspect I'd be able to level the 'glass merchant' build again while being a lot less glassy. And having it be so 'mindless' to play in maps is also a bonus as I can zone out and grind lower level maps again to build up a good set for leveling other people.
So while I do really want to try out the perma-stun guy, and the righteous fire gal... I'll probably just make more zombies on March 5th.