Image via Grinding Gear Games

What is Ruthless mode in Path of Exile? Answered

Get ready for a ruthless grind.

A new “hard” mode for Path of Exile was announced and teased by Grinding Gear Games for a long time. The game already had Harcore mode, in which players lose their character when they die, but that wasn’t quite enough for those who want progression without starting over all the time. Finally, Ruthless is coming to PoE with a host of rules and mechanics that will challenge the players in new ways and promises to truly mix up the builds and endgame for those seeking an extra challenge.

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Path of Exile Ruthless mode, explained

The new “hard” mode for Path of Exile is truly ruthless. Just like the regular game, there are several combos that you can start the game in, picking between Softcore and Hardcore, and between Trade and Solo Self-found.

Items

One of the main components of this game mode is that the item drops have been severely reduced. And by ‘severely,’ we mean you won’t find item drops for a while, and each drop will likely be a huge upgrade for your character. To compound that, item rarity drops are even less likely, meaning that you’ll be running in white items for the most part, with just a dash of blues and barely any yellows. By that logic, Unique items will be nigh-impossible to get, making each one that drops a real treasure for your build.

Related: All new unique items in Path of Exile: Siege of the Atlas

Crafting

In the Ruthless game mode, the all-important crafting bench is removed. There is no Master Crafting, and even the crafting currency drop rates are vastly lower than usual. A lot of the standard vendor recipes have been annulled and cannot be used, while items such as Chaos Orbs, Orbs of Binding, Awakener’s Orbs, and others simply cannot drop.

Skill and Support Gems

Right out of the gate, all movement skill gems have been removed in the Ruthless mode. That significantly slows down the game and makes positioning and mob pack control much more important and difficult. Skill Gems themselves will drop much less often, and to add hurt to the fact, they cannot be bought from vendors at all. The only one selling them is Siosa in the Library, but even he only takes rare tokens to trade for gems instead of normal currency.

Meanwhile, Support Gems cannot be bought in any way, and you have to be lucky to get one to drop randomly. Furthermore, the gem experience bar will fill out much slower than usual, making gem leveling more than just an afterthought, but something you really have to invest in. In other words, grind them out.

Progression changes

Past level 68, your experience gains will be severely reduced, with further compounding reductions for each level thereafter. Mana and Life flasks won’t refill once you portal back to town, and instead, you’ll have to ask that town’s flask vendor to refill them for you. Related to that, Utility flasks won’t get their charges while they’re in effect, and even the duration of their effects is reduced. Bosses will regain chunks of their health pools if your character dies near them during the Campaign, making you lose progress if you’re not careful.

And after all of that, if you somehow manage to get to the endgame and mapping, you’ll find a custom Ruthless Atlas Passive tree but won’t be accumulating any free daily Atlas missions. Most items that dropped from league-specific sources will now drop only from those sources and nowhere else, while some mechanics, such as Vaal Side Areas, are completely removed.

When is Ruthless coming to Path of Exile?

All of this is punitive but exciting, giving brave players a unique challenge in an already unforgiving game. The Ruthless mode will clearly bring back the ‘crawl’ to dungeon crawl, and it will be fun to see how it all shapes up. The Ruthless game mode is expected to come with the next big patch for Path of Exile, with the update 3.20 sometime in December, with Alpha testing already underway.


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Author
Miljan Truc
I have been into gaming since the days of Sega Mega Drive and Amiga. Over the years in gaming, I have raided at a high level, completed rare achievements, coached other players, and written about games since 2016. Whether it’s been clicking heads; developing cities, colonies, and empires; or commanding parties of adventurers; I’ve always prided myself on being able to understand the underlying mechanics of games. Outside of gaming, I enjoy a variety of activities and hobbies, including playing with my pup Astra, working out, as well as crafting, painting, and leatherwork.