This guide will fully explain what the Crucible league update is in Path of Exile, including how to use forges to upgrade weapons, new skills and unique items, skill tree changes and reworks, and returning league mechanics.

What Is the Crucible League in Path of Exile?

Path of Exile by Grinding Gear Games is one of the largest and most popular ongoing action role playing game series. With regular content updates in the form of new “leagues” being introduced every few months, there is always fresh content, new skills, and bosses for players to conquer. The leagues work like a new version of the game each release, with all players starting from scratch, playing through the campaign to get to the endgame content, and experiencing a prominent new “league mechanic” on the way. This guide will fully explain what the Crucible league update is in Path of Exile, including how to use forges to upgrade weapons, new skills and unique items, skill tree changes and reworks, and returning league mechanics.

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Explaining What the Crucible League Is in Path of Exile

Path of Exile Crucible league is themed around forging powerful weapons using the power of ancient titans. While playing through the Crucible league, you’ll discover a Crucible Forge in just about every area you enter in the game. These forges focus on adding powerful passive abilities and bonuses on to your weapons — but you’ll have to fight for them.

This guide will fully explain what the Crucible league update is in Path of Exile, including how to use forges to upgrade weapons, new skills and unique items, skill tree changes and reworks, and returning league mechanics.

How to Use Crucible Forges to Upgrade Weapons

To engage with the Crucible mechanic, simply walk up to a Crucible Forge and hover your mouse over it. You’ll see the weapons that are available for you to choose to empower, so click the one you want to improve. This will bring up a mini skill tree for Crucible skills that can be unlocked for the specific weapon. There will be a couple of different skill branches you can go down for each weapon, so make sure the skills along the path you start with are the ones that will suit your character the best overall before you commit to it.

Each weapon you find or trade for will also have a different or unique Crucible skill tree, so keep an eye out for good weapons and check them at your nearest Crucible Forge to see if they have a stacked Crucible skill tree! It makes for an exciting mechanic to be able to turn strong weapons into incredibly powerful ones that can really make an impact on the destruction your character is able to deal out.

Once you select a passive skill node to add to your weapon, click and hold it down to increase the path progress towards that skill node, but be aware that the longer you hold this down, the more enemies it will spawn and the harder that they will be to defeat. You’ll need to defeat the majority of enemies spawned from starting the encounter to be able to receive your progress towards the chosen Crucible weapon passive node. You can work your way towards unlocking a node across multiple encounters to make it easier to manage the amount and toughness of the enemies spawned while still improving your weapon as you go.

This guide will fully explain what the Crucible league update is in Path of Exile, including how to use forges to upgrade weapons, new skills and unique items, skill tree changes and reworks, and returning league mechanics.

New Skills and Unique Items

In addition to the Path of Exile Crucible league mechanic, the game introduces nine new Vaal skills; these are skills that existed before that now have a secondary Vaal skill component that you’ll be able to unleash after storing up souls as you kill enough monsters. The newly added Vaal skills are Vaal Absolution, Vaal Arctic Armour, Vaal Lightning Arrow, Vaal Reap, Vaal Animate Weapon, Vaal Domination, Vaal Ice Shot, Vaal Rejuvenation Totem, and Vaal Firestorm. We have explained the new Path of Exile Crucible Vaal skills in depth in a separate article.

There are also 10 new unique items that have been added into the game. If you don’t know, a unique item is akin to a legendary item in Diablo. The main difference is that, in Path of Exile, these items typically come with a set of stats that are powerful and useful and a set of stats that are a hindrance.

Path of Exile Crucible Skill Tree Changes, Updates, and Reworks

Path of Exile Crucible furthermore provides a multitude of changes and updates to the character tree, including a rework of half of the existing mastery nodes on the skill tree, providing some impressive new passive skills and stats that can really improve certain builds and characters. Link Skills, Stun Mitigation, and Marks are just a few areas that have really been built out on the skill tree this update.

Speaking of updated skill trees, the Saboteur and Pathfinder Ascendancy classes have both received reworks to their Ascendancy skills with Saboteur now being able to specialize in Triggered Skills and Cooldown Recovery as well as even being able to increase the cooldown time on enemy skills. The Pathfinder now has skills in their Ascendancy tree that will allow them to turn skills into Concoction-like abilities and consume flask charges for additional effects.

Path of Exile also keeps most of its past league mechanics in the game that you can randomly encounter or even specialize into in the Atlas skill tree. This is even easier than before with the introduction of Atlas Gateways that help you to jump from one side of the Atlas skill tree to the other so that you can make sure you’re spending your precious skill points on exactly the type of content you want to be specializing in. It does cost an Atlas point to activate a gateway, but it could save tons of points you’d have had to have spent to reach it if you’d been investing heavily in one side of the Atlas skill tree over the other. This is a really nice quality-of-life improvement for your endgame grind.

This guide will fully explain what the Crucible league update is in Path of Exile, including how to use forges to upgrade weapons, new skills and unique items, skill tree changes and reworks, and returning league mechanics.

Returning Old League Mechanics in Path of Exile Crucible

There are also a handful of older league mechanics that have been given some fresh love from the Grinding Gear Games team, which is really exciting to someone who played these leagues and was a big fan of the mechanics. First off, we have the Breach league mechanic rework, which sees you enter a fiery purple ring that summons creatures from the Breach for you to fight; the more you defeat, the larger the Breach circle becomes and the better the enemies and loot that you can find.

One of the key items from Breach has been updated, Breachstones. As you defeat enemies in a Breach, they’ll drop Breachstone Splinters; gather enough and you can combine them into a Breachstone that allows you to put it in your map device to fight through Breach-specific maps and bosses. The update sees these Breachstones fully reworked to be upgraded with Blessings that you earn from the Atlas skill tree, which will result in higher-level Breach content and generally better-quality loot. The Breach encounters themselves have been improved to provide better monster pacing, density, and rewards too.

Abyss is another older league mechanic that has been refreshed in Path of Exile Crucible, where you start the encounter and follow an Abyss fissure in the ground that spawns monsters along its path. At the end of the Abyss encounter there usually spawns a chest or an entrance into an underground Abyss area where you can fight through to earn greater rewards. In Crucible league, you now have a chance of a third reward type at the end of an Abyss encounter where, instead of a chest, you can get a Stygian Vise belt drop. These are widely regarded as the best type of belt in the game as they generally have excellent stats and a socket where you can place an Abyss Jewel for even greater stat increases.

When getting an Abyssal depths encounter as your reward for completing an Abyss, you will always get the four-hole version now rather than the less-rewarding single-hole version that was common before. The Atlas skill tree has also been updated with improved Abyss passives to make the mechanic more rewarding to specialize into.

That’s it for this guide on the Crucible league for Path of Exile: With forges, new skills and weapons, character tree reworks, and updated mechanics, there are a lot of changes to explore and interact with. It’s a fun league, and hopefully you’ll get some sweet new powerful passives on your weapons when you try it out!


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Alex Berry
Alex Berry has been a freelance contributor at The Escapist since January 2023. His coverage ranges from funny takes on the latest games to a whole bunch of guide content on such titles as Honkai: Star Rail, Genshin Impact, and various new games. Alex is a jack of all trades when it comes to games, playing almost every new title that shows promise. From RPGs to shooters, all the way through to sports games, he plays it all, although he does have a soft spot for turn-based RPGs having started out his gaming journey with a copy of Pokémon Red on the original Game Boy. Alex has a master's degree in Business and is fascinated by online game economies, often spending a lot of time finding ways to maximize wealth in these games (but he should really be doing that in real life instead).