The upcoming expansion for Path of Exile is going to feature something that has never been in the game before: an infinite dungeon. That’s right, not only will there be the mountain of content that’s already in the game, but Path of Exile: Delve will literally be impossible to 100% clear.
Deep underground in Wraeclast, there is an ancient Azurite mine that is said to harbor untold treasures. The only catch is that an ominous darkness swept through the place and killed everyone it came into contact with. Thankfully, we’ve now made friends with an inventor by the name of Niko the Mad who has created a specialized vehicle called the Crawler, which can pierce the darkness and protect those who stay close.
Traversing the Darkness
Of course, it would be too simple to just follow the Crawler around the mine for all eternity. In order to progress to new delves, players need to accumulate Voltaxic Sulphite, which can be found anywhere on the surface. This Sulphite is used as a resource for Niko’s power network; the amount required depends on the length of the delve. Although Sulphite is required to access new delves, the initial content can be accessed within about 10 minutes of creating a new character.
Once a player enters the mine, the Crawler will begin traveling from the start to end of a specific delve. Players who stay within the light of the Crawler will remain relatively safe, but traveling outside of the light will cause periodic, compounded damage that will quickly result in death. Thankfully, the Crawler keeps pace with the player and will speed up or slow down to compensate.
Staying within the light isn’t always the most profitable endeavor, however, as the best loot is often hidden in the darkness. In order to grab this valuable treasure, players will need to invest in flares (to stay alive) and dynamite that can break down walls and unlock secret areas.
While exploring these delves, the main goal is to harvest Azurite, which is automatically collected when you approach it. Azurite allows players to increase their Sulphite capacity, resistance to darkness, increase the light radius of the crawler, and upgrade flares and dynamite. This provides players with a lot of personal customization. Investing in Sulphite capacity increases the amount of delves that can simultaneously be unlocked, but upgrading flare capacity and radius makes exploring for hidden treasure much easier.
Each player will also have a completely different experience when it comes to exploring the mine. Each map is randomly generated with different biomes scattered throughout and continues vertically and horizontally forever. The deeper you go, the more difficult the enemies become, but sometimes there are other biomes on the same level with valuable items. This gives meaningful choice as to whether to continue downward or explore horizontally.
Finally, players will be able to quantifiably measure their PvE progress against each other. Path of Exile: Delve will introduce a leaderboard system that shows which players have mined the deepest. The team hopes that this will open up the possibilities for new builds and allow the community to measure which ones truly are the best.
All the Loot
What would a Path of Exile expansion be without new kinds of loot? Path of Exile: Delve is introducing two brand-new types of items that work in conjunction with each other. The first is the Alchemical Resonator, which upgrades the rarity of an item, similar to the Orb of Alchemy. However, Alchemical Resonators come with slots that can be modified with Fossils.
These fossils determine the mods of the upgrade. For example, the Metallic Fossil removes physical damage mods and adds additional lightning mods. In the demonstration, the most powerful resonator had three slots for fossils, which allowed a huge amount of customization. Resonators and fossils can be found while exploring delves.
It should be noted that loot dropped while exploring delves is collected by the Crawler and then distributed to the player upon reaching the end. This eliminates the need to balance killing monsters and deciding what’s worth picking up while in the heat of battle with the added complexity of the darkness thrown in.
In addition to the resonators and fossils, there will be 18 new unique items added to the game. Some of these can only be found in delves while the others are meant to complement existing builds. An example is The Primordial Chain, which allows players to have three additional golems but makes each golem slightly weaker.
The last item update will grant players the chance to obtain something from the past. On very rare occasions, Timeworn Reliquary Keys will drop, which can open a portal to a special “Relic” chest. These chests contain unique items from previous leagues that can’t be obtained anywhere else. However, don’t expect these keys to be common; producer Chris Wilson estimated an average of 500-1000 hours of gameplay per key drop.
New Skills and Visual Updates
Not only is Path of Exile: Delve introducing a new league concept but there will also be a bunch of quality of life improvements. To start off, there will be 10 new or revamped skills introduced that should complement existing builds or help create new ones.
Two were shown off in our demonstration and include: Smite and Toxic Rain. Smite is a melee attack recommended for the Guardian (Templar subclass) that chains lightning bolts to nearby enemies. It also grants a temporary lightning aura to the Guardian and nearby allies that causes additional damage with a chance to shock. Toxic Rain is a bow skill that causes deadly pods to crash down on enemies that slow them with tendrils and explode for chaos damage.
Grinding Gear Games is also dedicated to improving the aesthetics of early content in the game. Monsters from the original acts are receiving visual improvements, and Path of Exile will now support Global Illumination and Ambient Occlusion to provide more realistic lighting effects. Finally, water will now use a full physical simulation, which includes dynamic water speeds, foam, currents, and other realistic features.
In conclusion, Path of Exile: Delve looks to be an exciting new chapter, whether you want to explore the infinite dungeon or just try out the new abilities and items. The Delve release date is Friday August 31 on PC and September 3 on Xbox One.Related: ARPG, Expansion, Grinding Gear Games, MMOARPG, Path of Exile, Preview