Path of Exile: Sacrifice of the Vaal Mini-Expansion is Now Live
Auckland, New Zealand - March 5, 2014 - Following the wildly successful launch of their critically-acclaimed action RPG Path of Exile, Grinding Gear Games today announced that Sacrifice of the Vaal, the game's first mini-expansion, is now live as of 1:00 PM PST (10:00 AM New Zealand time on March 6) as a free update.

Transforming Wraeclast for new and returning exiles alike, Sacrifice of the Vaal introduces an abundance of new content that reflects the vengeful return of Queen Atziri and the corruptive influence of the Vaal civilization. Featuring dozens of secret corrupted areas, over 60 new boss monsters, Ambush and Invasion challenge leagues, Cut-throat Mode and Sarn Arena PvP options, new ultimate skill gems, a crafting item with chaotic results, and an epic encounter with Atziri herself, the mini-expansion adds a rich layer of variety to the game's already highly replayable experience. The launch of this mini-expansion also marks the first simultaneous content release with Asian Path of Exile publisher Garena Online.

Below is a brief synopsis of the many new features now available in Sacrifice of the Vaal:

Atziri, Queen of the Vaal
In her pursuit for eternal youth, the narcissistic Queen Atziri plunged the Vaal civilization into a dark age of sacrifice and terror nearly two thousand years ago. Although her selfish actions lead to the deaths of millions and ultimately destroyed her own kingdom, Atziri has lingered in a nightmare realm that now threatens Wraeclast and its inhabitants. Players must defeat her many disciples and collect Vaal fragments from corrupted areas in order to reach her lair, and will go toe-to-toe with the Queen of Sacrifice herself in a climactic end-game boss encounter.

The first 50 exiles in each of the new challenge leagues to slay Atziri and the other bosses will receive an exclusive cosmetic microtransaction effect that is limited to these 100 players.

Secret Corrupted Areas and New Boss Monsters
Marked by a beating heart and swirling ribbons of blood, secret Vaal-influenced areas have appeared in various corners of Wraeclast. Within these corrupted locations lie substantial challenges similar to those in end-game maps. At the heart of each area is a new boss monster, which guards a chest that is guaranteed to drop a Vaal Skill Gem or Vaal Fragment.

Over 60 new boss monsters have been added to Path of Exile, each of which utilize advanced combinations of skills and support gems that have never been used on monsters before. Players will need to work together to defeat these lethal foes and obtain their valuable prizes.

Vaal Skill Gems and the Vaal Orb
Brutally powerful and fueled by the sacrifice of foes, Vaal Skill Gems are the ultimate versions of many contemporary Path of Exile skills. These gems charge up as enemies are slain, and can be unleashed for a devastating effect. For example, Vaal Detonate Dead chain-explodes all the corpses in an area in rapid succession. Vaal Power Syphon fires a wand at all nearby enemies, culling them and granting power charges.

Along with Vaal Skill Gems, players can now supercharge their characters by using Vaal Orbs to give their equipment powerful modifications. Corruption yields one of many possible outcomes and has different effects depending on what type of item the Vaal Orb is used on.

New Challenge Leagues: Ambush and Invasion
Two new four-month challenge leagues are launching with Sacrifice of the Vaal, providing players with an opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of the game. Ambush and Invasion both have unique properties that set them apart from normal play:

Ambush: The Ambush league is about risk and reward. New types of chests called Strongboxes can be found throughout the game when this challenge league is enabled. Monsters will ambush the player when the strongbox is opened, and must be slain before the contents can be claimed. The Strongboxes themselves can be crafted like items can.
Invasion: A challenge league for Hardcore enthusiasts (characters who die are converted to Standard characters), the Invasion league features additional monster variety in each of the game's areas, forcing players to handle unexpected and dangerous monsters from other levels or acts. A unique boss monster with powerful skill combinations also lurks within each level, designed to catch the player off-guard.

Like the challenge leagues before them, these new leagues have a set of extremely difficult challenges to complete. Players who complete all the challenges will receive an exclusive t-shirt at the end of the leagues.

New PvP Options: Cut-throat Mode and Sarn Arena
Sacrifice of the Vaal enables the optional Cut-throat Mode, a league type in which players are able to invade each other's areas and kill them for their items at any time. Players have been asking for a long-term Cut-throat mode for as long as exiles have known how to cut the throats of their allies. In addition, a new free-for-all PvP area is now open for bloodshed: the Sarn Arena. Located next to the Sarn Encampment, this Arena pits more than a dozen exiles against each other in a no-holds-barred bloodbath.

Additional information about Sacrifice of the Vaal can be found on the Path of Exile website at http://www.pathofexile.com/sotv.

Grinding Gear Games regularly releases videos to expand on and complement updates, including patch previews, upcoming gameplay trailers, Developer Diaries, and Build of the Week segments directly from Chris Wilson. Interested players should check out the Path of Exile YouTube page.

The sovereign of seduction is dead. Long live the Queen of Sacrifice!

About Path of Exile
Path of Exile is an online PC action role-playing game set in a dark fantasy world. Featuring ethical microtransactions, the game is free-to-play, but never pay-to-win. Playing as one of seven character classes, players find themselves banished for their past misdeeds to the dark fantasy world of Wraeclast. There, they encounter hundreds of species of opponents laden with loot and mysterious artifacts as they explore the abandoned continent. www.pathofexile.com

Key features include:

A dark and deep action RPG
Unlimited character combinations with the game's gigantic skill tree
Combine skill gems to create unique combat strategies
Explore a dark and gritty world rendered from a fixed 3D perspective
Download and play for free, but never pay-to-win
Explore randomly generated levels for nearly infinite replayability
Craft weapons, magic items and even end-game maps to become more powerful
Cooperate or compete with thousands of other Exiles in a persistent online world
Ascend online ladders in every game mode
Battle in PvP tournaments for worldwide recognition
Steam and Twitch integration

About Grinding Gear Games
Grinding Gear Games is an independent game studio founded in 2006 and based in Auckland, New Zealand. Its team members come from various countries and have a diversity of backgrounds ranging from artificial intelligence and software security to industrial design and professional tournament gaming. GGG recently released its flagship title, Path of Exile, and is committed to ongoing expansion and new content releases for the critically acclaimed game. You can find more information about Grinding Gear Games at www.grindinggear.com.
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