Path of Exile: Synthesis has been out for 3 weeks now and while the community has done a lot of the exploration of the league and its mechanics, we wanted to share an FAQ for those who may still be wondering how things work.
What is Synthesis?
Synthesis is the current Path of Exile league. In it, an NPC named Cavas needs your help to recover his memories. You’ll first meet him in The Coast, where he will open a portal to a Fragmented Memory.
What are Fragmented Memories?
Fragmented Memories are the areas Cavas sends you to. They’re like any other area in Path of Exile, except they decay over time. After entering a Fragmented Memory you’ll have to activate the first Memory Stabiliser to explore the area, but as soon as you do, the memory begins to decay. This is represented by the ever-growing blue wave which disintegrates whatever it passes over.
You need to quickly journey to the other Memory Stabilisers in the area. The total number is displayed at the bottom of the screen, and they are always in one of the four cardinal directions from the centre of the area (i.e. they’re along the north, east, south or west edges of the area). Don’t worry about picking up items during this process, as all of the items dropped by slain enemies will be dropped at Cavas’ feet once you’re done.
If you get swallowed by the decay you’ll be booted back out to where Cavas was standing. If you manage to touch all the stabilisers you’ll gain a Stabilised version of that memory to be used in the Memory Nexus.
You mentioned Stabilised Memories earlier. What do I do with Stabilised Memories?
After you’ve collected a few Stabilised Memories, Cavas will suggest you visit the Memory Nexus. From here you can use the Stabilised Memories you’ve collected to build paths through the Memory Void. This is the meat of Synthesis League’s gameplay and may feel reminiscent of board games.
What is the the Memory Nexus?
The Memory Nexus is the hub where much of the league’s gameplay takes place. Here you will find four bridges, your stash (alongside a guild stash if you are in a guild) and a Synthesiser in which you can use any Fractured Items you’ve collected.
What are Fractured Items?
Fractured items are rare items found exclusively within memories. They have special effects on the art and have light-brown mods which, unlike ordinary mods, cannot be altered. Like most rare items, Fractured items have random mods which may or may not be useful for your character. Unlike other rare items, however, they have a secondary use — by placing three of the same type of Fractured item (ie. three helmets, or three one-handed maces, or three quivers etc…) in the Synthesiser (found in the Memory Nexus), you can produce a Synthesised item with special implicits.
Tell me more about Synthesised Items!
Okay! Synthesised items have the item level of the highest level Fractured item used to create it. The implicits on Synthesised items are determined by the mods on the Fractured items placed within the Synthesiser — but not necessarily the light-brown Fractured mods. If you want super strong implicits, you may have to sacrifice items with high-tier mods. There’s an element of randomness so you may not always get what you want (however savvy players may find ways to swing the odds in their favour).
Tell me more about the Stabilised Memories!
Stabilised Memories often have mods which affect the area and monsters within (like maps!). They can also gain new mods based on what you do with them in the Memory Void. You can use them to build a path to one of the many randomly generated features within the Memory Void, such as Reward memories, memories with Memory Modifiers and Memory Amplifiers, or even one of the league’s difficult boss fights.
There are some restrictions when building paths, however. A memory you want to place must not have any bridges that lead to dead-ends — that is, you won’t be able to place a 4-bridge memory next to a memory with no bridges that would connect with it. All bridges must lead to either an empty space or another bridge.
There’s also a limit to the total number of memories you can have placed at any given time, though you can move previously-placed memories to new locations, or back to your queue, or even just delete them!
Stabilised Memories also have a finite lifespan. Eventually they, like the Fragmented Memories they once were, will decay too. All memories which decay will drop items at a secure location, so you never need to worry about rushing to pick up items in a decaying memory. Stabilised Memories which aren’t decaying will not redrop items, so you will have to pick them up yourself.
Reward Memories sound good. Tell me about them!
You got it! Reward memories (known in-game as Distant Memories) are memories which contain a platform with some sort of reward on it — typically several chests. All reward memories begin to decay as soon as you activate the memory’s Stabiliser. That means you have limited time to find the reward platform, which is placed randomly somewhere in the memory. You need to be quick if you are to claim the rewards!
You can typically tell what a Reward memory will give (at least in broad terms) by the icon hovering above the Memory in your Memory Map (which can be viewed by pressing V).
Remind me what Memory Modifiers are again?
Memory Modifiers are special reward memories which, instead of giving item rewards, allow you to select a (non-decaying) memory and modify it and up to four adjacent memories. Many of these modifiers are potent and will cause the adjacent memories to have more, stronger or different monsters, and cause those monsters to drop more, stronger or different items. Any single memory can only be affected by a maximum of five memory modifiers.
What about Memory Amplifiers?
On your Memory Map you’ll often see empty squares with a yellow prism highlighting them. These are Memory Amplifiers. Each Memory Amplifier influences memories placed on them in various ways. Some add to the number of times you can run that memory, others increase the level of the memory or the quantity of items or monsters found within that memory. Saving a particularly juicy memory for a Memory Amplifier is never a bad idea.
I’m pretty good at Path of Exile and want to kill some bosses. Tell me how I can do that!
Once you have progressed past a certain point in the Atlas (outlined in the spoiler section below), Boss memories can start to appear. These are like any other Distant Memory, except they contain a boss encounter. That’s pretty much it.
What else can I do?
You can move previously-placed memories to new locations, as long as those locations are valid. You can also send those memories back into your memory queue. You can also just run whatever memories you want, regardless of Amplifiers and other special rewards, just to get more Fractured Items.
Cavas is gone and now Zana’s doing stuff. What happened?
After obtaining your first Shaper Memory Fragment, your next memory will be a special one in which Cavas regains his memory, discovering that he is in fact High Templar Venarius — the man who sent the Shaper into the Atlas and who freed the Elder.
This revelation does not come as a surprise to Zana, as she was present when Venarius demanded that her father (the Shaper) build the map device he eventually used.
Venarius, however, has a bit of a saviour complex, and sees himself as the only man who can save Wraeclast from the eldritch horrors of the Atlas. Also he can apparently modify the Fragmented Memories, rewriting what they contain. He plans to rewrite the memories of living people so that they follow him and support him in his planned fight against the Elder. Zana is not on board, and neither are you! So he flees, and Zana takes over his duties in the hopes that the two of you can recover these memories before Venarius has a chance to rewrite them.
So that’s why Zana’s there now.
So is he coming back?
Oh. Whose memories are those anyway?
A broad range of people! Some of them do actually belong to Cavas/Venarius, some to famous lore figures, and some to nameless individuals. Putting the lore puzzle pieces together is meant to be just as fun as putting the memories together in the Memory Void. Also, Zana/Cavas will sometimes tell you whose memory you’ve just stabilised for memories with four bridges.