Path of Exile: Harvest feels like it was released such a long time ago, and yet the game has only had two expansions after that. Thankfully, it’s become a part of the standard league, giving players access to its unique mechanics. But Grinding Gear Games has decided that Harvest is actually a bit too unique, so they’re implementing a few changes related to it. This means Exiles will be back to using Exalted Orbs.
What is Path of Exile Harvest
Before anything else, here’s a rundown on what Harvest is for that recent Path of Exile joiners and lapsed players that missed out on it. Players will be growing these monster-bearing plants in the Sacred Grove, a place tended by Oshabi, a member of the Azmeri race. To get to the grove, they must open up a seed cache – which, as the name suggests, also contains the seeds to be planted – from one of the areas.
Upon getting 8 fully grown crops, you can start harvesting them. Doing so will spawn special kinds of enemies. In turn, these enemies will be giving out two kinds of rewards: lifeforce and a one-time crafting option. The former is the resource that will be used to fuel the former.
Players are encouraged to kill as many monsters as possible to get the most amount of Lifeforce in one sitting. But before doing so, players must ensure that they have a Storage Tank, or else excess Lifeforce will simply be lost. Also, apart from being used in crafting, Lifeforce can be also used to make plants grow with the use of a Disperser. As for the crafting modifier, this has to be used the moment it is revealed to the player, unless he or she has a Horticrafting Station.
Later on, players can fight the Heart of the Grove after getting a Tier 4 seed and completing 100 Cycles. Its rewards, however, leave much to be desired. While games should be giving players the incentive to fight a boss, Grinding Gear Games is excused for not doing so in this case, as the focus of Harvest is to encourage players to take advantage of its one-of-a-kind crafting system.
Why the Nerf
Or at least used to, as the studio has changed its stance on Harvest’s crafting system. Why? Because it’s just too good for the good of game balance, and now they’re cutting away the very reasons that made it the crafting option for players. Compared to the usual crafting methods such as using Exalted Orbs or resonators with fossils, Harvest crafting consumes no item. Simply mow down enemies to farm Lifeforce and then use them up once the crafting option shows up. Or if you have a Horticrafting Station, then you can wait a little later.
This crafting method being infinitely cheaper has not only encouraged players to use it but also use it on items that they otherwise would not have modified. Your alt needs PoE items? Do Harvest crafting on a low-level gear that no sane player would’ve used POE Currency on. You want to sell Rare items and want to bump up their price? Once again, Harvest crafting. It costs nothing, so the profit is going to be huge.
On top of that, POE Harvest’s crafting is a lot more deterministic. While fossils and resonators from Delve had a way of cutting RNG, they are simply ranges that limit it. Much like the many other things in the game, RNG is still inevitable even in Harvest crafting. However, unlike using an Exalted Orb, Harvest crafting tells the player right off the bat the modifiers they’re going to get.
With all of these advantages, GGG felt like Harvest’s crafting made it become the most favored endgame content of all players, to the detriment of not just Exalted and Chaos Orbs, but also other content such as Delve and Atlas of Worlds. It’s an understandable sentiment, given that part of good game design means all items and content are relevant.
At the same time, a lot of fans didn’t like how GGG is corralling them into relying on these items. Plus, it’s not like various endgame content has fallen off the wayside, so it can feel like GGG is being disingenuous.
So, what do you think of this, nerf? Is it justified, or is this GGG being obstinate and not knowing how to balance things out without relying on a nerf? Tell us what you think.