Path of Exile Delve Expansion Announcement
Delve is focused around Path of Exile’s first-ever infinite dungeon, the Azurite Mine. This deep, ancient mine was once exploited for resources in Wraeclast’s past. Unfortunately, it has since been consumed by a darkness that kills miners on contact, and regular torches and fires couldn’t pierce it. An inventor, known as Niko the Mad, has created some tech that will finally allow players to explore the mine and claim the riches that lie within. He’s got a generator and minecart that can create a light powerful enough to cut through the darkness, but they require Voltaxic Sulphite to run. You’ll encounter deposits of this through your regular play, but you can only store a certain amount at a time.
This limit on how much you can gather at a time leads to some interesting decisions on when to delve into the mine and for how long. You’ll begin to encounter Delve content at around 10 minutes into playing a new character, so new characters won’t have to wait long to dive in. The Delve content also ramps up in difficulty as your character progresses through the mine.
Once you’re in the mine, the minecart, called the Crawler, travels from one point to another while casting out its light. If you stay within the light, you’ll be safe from the darkness. Stray out of it, and you’ll take exponentially stacking amounts of damage. If you lag behind the Crawler, it will slow down for you. You’ll also have access to flares that cast a small area of light and can be thrown to quickly explore paths that stray from the cart’s. In addition, dynamite can break through unstable walls and reveal more secret passages.
As you defeat monsters in the mine and reach new levels, you’ll be rewarded with Azurite. You can use this valuable resource to upgrade your cart, flares, and dynamite. Any other treasure you earn during the delve will be dropped all at once when the Delve is complete, so you don’t have to micromanage your inventory while you’re trying to keep up with the cart and fight monsters.
It’s not all just rocks and darkness though. There are a ton of biomes underground, each with its own monsters, bosses, and secrets. These range from petrified forests to ice caves to massive ancient cities.
The delve isn’t all that’s new though. The new expansion also introduces a new socketed currency type. These basically function like orbs but can be socketed with Fossils that help dictate what mods are possible and which ones have a higher chance of showing up on the piece of gear you decide to use it on. This will allow you to have a little more control over what your result will be and cut down significantly on the number of crafting items you’ll need to burn to get a useful and desirable item.
As per usual with Path of Exile’s expansions, new skills have been brought in. Of the eight new skills, two have been revealed so far. The first is Smite, a skill aimed at Templar Guardians. When you strike an enemy with Smite, a nearby enemy is also struck with lightning, dealing AOE damage. The skill also creates an aura that grants the Guardian and his teammates added lightning damage and the chance to shock.
The other is Toxic Rain, a bow skill for Chaos Pathfinder builds. The rain creates spore pods that slow nearby enemies and deal chaos damage until they explode. This skill synergizes well with other chaos damage bow skills such as Caustic Arrow.
Easily the most exciting part of this expansion, however, is the Timeworn Reliquary. Throughout your adventures, you’ll rarely find Timeworn Reliquary Keys which open a portal to a room with a special chest containing a Relic unique item. The items available from this chest are unique items from past leagues that can’t be obtained anymore. These items will also have a “holographic” effect in menus, which looks awesome. Here’s the kicker: the items’ chance to appear aren’t weighted. Each time you open the chest, you have exactly the same chance to get any of the items you haven’t already received. Getting there won’t be easy though, as these keys are EXTREMELY rare.
Finally, Delve will also bring a few graphical improvements to the game, including an overhaul to the lighting system which now supports Global Illumination and Ambient Occlusion. Water is also now fully simulated with dynamic speeds and directional flow. For those of you who don’t follow, here’s the short version: spells and light sources now give off light in a more realistic way, and the environments reflect it. Shadows and water are now also more dynamic and centered around the light sources and riverbeds respectively. A bunch of monsters also got some nice visual updates. If you’re playing on a potato and Path already pushes your machine to its limits, don’t sweat it. You’ll have the option to turn these features on or off individually to save those precious frames.
Path of Exile: Delve launches for PC on August 31st on PC, and on September 3rd for Xbox One.
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