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Everything You Should Know About Shapeshifting In Path Of Exile 2!

May 30, 2023

In 2019, on the stage at ExileCon, the founders of Grinding Gear Games revealed the biggest surprise in Path of Exile’s history to the 1700 fans in attendance live at the Aotea Centre in Auckland and the tens of thousands watching from home.

Path of Exile 4.0, now known as Path of Exile 2, is a giant expansion of Path of Exile that would only build and improve on the years and years of work that had already gone into the project rather than a sequel that would ultimately replace it.

Shapeshifting Reveal

The reception in the Aotea Centre was incredible. But of all the teasers and reveals that were shown off at ExileCon in 2019, one of the biggest reactions from the live crowd was for one feature - Shapeshifting.

Shapeshifting was coming to Path of Exile. It is a massive feature that had been requested for years and years by fans prior to this announcement and in Path of Exile 2, it’s finally going to be a thing.

Everything You Should Know About Shapeshifting In Path Of Exile 2!

How Will It Work?

But how exactly is shape-shifting going to work in Path of Exile? We know that Shapeshifting will be a reservation skill that will allow you to freely switch between human form and the beastial form, the type of which is specific to the Shapeshifting skill gem that you’re using.

Think of stance swapping in Blood and Sand Stance. The reservation was a flat amount similar to vitality and precision when it was shown in the live demo on the stage at ExileCon in 2019. And it’s unclear if there will be ways to augment the shapeshifting skills through the use of support gems other than their reservation costs with things like Enlighten and Arrogance.

But, it’s very possible that Path of Exile 2 introduces new support gems for this type of skill with stats like shapeshifting buff effect, similar to the aura effects that we have in the current game. So, you’d better prepare enough POE Currency for emergencies.

Also Read: Here's Everything We Know About Path Of Exile 2!

The Beastmaster

But there are going to be ways to augment shapeshifting through the new ascendancy classes. There are 19 brand new ascendancy classes coming to the game with the release of Path of Exile 2. One for the Scion and three for each of the other classes.

And one of those new ascendancy classes is the Beastmaster, a ranger ascendancy with a heavy focus on animal companions and shapeshifting. This class will have unique access to the Werecat Form Skill, a shapeshifting ability that morphs the ranger into a formidable Werecat. This skill will be acquired from the Born to Be Wild ascendancy notable, which also grants 10% more damage while shapeshifted.

While you’re in the Werecat Form, you’ll gain increased Critical Strike chance and some crit multi, too. But the unique interactions with shapeshifting on the Beastmaster don’t stop there. Because the Beastmaster will also be able to spec into Wildshape, a powerful ascendancy notable that grants a 100% increased buff effect to all shapeshifting abilities and perhaps more importantly allows you to retain the shapeshifting buff even when you morph back into human form.

The even crazier part of this notable though is that the developers confirmed that you could retain the buff of a previous shapeshift form while you use a different shapeshift form, essentially allowing you to run two different shape shifts at once and have double buff effects from both of those abilities while you’re actively playing in one of these shapeshift forms.

Imagine keeping the Critical Strike buffs from the Werecat Form whilst actively playing in the tanky Bear Form.

Path of Exile 2 The Beastmaster

Shapeshifting Forms

Speaking of the Bear Form, what do we know about the types of shapeshifting abilities that will be available in Path of Exile 2?

We know of the Werecat Form, as mentioned earlier. That one will be exclusive to the Beastmaster. But we also know of the Wolf Form. The developers didn’t talk too much about this one. But they did mention that it will have a focus on increasing damage and mobility.

Path of Exile 2 Wolf Form

There’s also the cat form, which will have a movement speed bonus and interactions with phasing and being stealthy. The developers likened it to Aspect of the Cat. And the last form that we know about is the Bear Form.

Now, it was clear from the keynote ExileCon in 2019, they probably weren’t supposed to mention the Bear Form by name. But it did slip out and we only know of a single word used to describe the Bear Form, and that’s tanky.

So, expect some reduced damage taken modifiers and maybe some endurance charge generation or recovery mechanics.

Gameplay Mechanics

What about the gameplay mechanics of shapeshifting skills? How are they going to factor into how you actually play your character?

Chris Wilson, one of the co-founders of Grinding Gear Games, was very clear that they wanted shapeshifting to feel free and not be clunky to use. So, you’ll be able to change forms at any time, even during the animation of another skill.

He said that “one of the things that we thought was really important to shape-shifting is that you could just change back and forth at any time, walking around in the middle of a skill, whenever, just hit the button and go”. And you can just imagine how amazing this is going to feel to play with. It really goes far in the fluidity of combat and keeping that freedom of movement, similar to the new weapon type that’s also coming in Path of Exile 2, the Spear, which will have new combat movement abilities tied to the weapon itself.

Weapons & Shapeshifting

Speaking of weapons, Chris went on to say that “each shapeshifting form can use any regular Path of Exile 2 attack, that makes sense”. But things start to get really crazy here. Because the character that they were showcasing shapeshifting on in the live demo was using a bow and that character was using normal ranged bow attacks and dropping Ballista Totems until they morphed into the Wolf Form and started using Leap Slam and Cleave.

Path of Exile 2 Leap Slam

They were using Leap Slam and Cleave with a bow. Now, this technology is actually going to exist on another Ranger ascendancy, the Tactician. This new ascendancy will have a very special notable called Close Combat Specialist, which will allow you to use ax and sword melee abilities with your bow.

And this means that with Chris’s statement, it’s likely that the same sort of technology exists on all shapeshifting abilities as a baseline so that you’re able to use those melee abilities while you’re morphed into the beastial form regardless of which type of weapons you have equipped. That does, of course, pose some potentially ridiculous balance issues. The balance aside is a really fun and interesting prospect.

Wolf Form Tooltip

We just have to talk about that tooltip that was very briefly shown in the demo. This is a level one skill gem, which is why the flat reservation is so low.

But just look at that 50% reduced damage taken stat, I feel that there’s no way this is going to make it into the live release of the game. But even the description hints that the form has some kind of tankiness - “Assume the form of a Mighty Wolf - harder, better, faster, and stronger than that of a Human”.

It’s very possible that all shapeshifting forms will have a baseline defensive layer that may not even be tied to the shapeshifting buff effect itself. And I haven’t even mentioned the 20% increased movement speed and the impact that will have on both the racing community and the general feel of leveling.

Interestingly, while we didn’t wait for Path of Exile 2 to launch, we did wait for Diablo 4, which is also getting a lot of attention. In a few days, Diablo 4 will be officially released. If you want to reduce the tedious leveling process, it would be a good choice to directly buy Diablo 4 Gold. Now, APRG fans, let's do it!


Next: Will POE 3.22 Have More Ascendancy Reworks?
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