It’s been six and a half years since Path of Exile initially launched, creating a fascinating adventure that picked up many fans over the years. In fact, this past year alone has seen excessive growth for the game, with just over 500 million hours played. This year should be no exception, as Delirium is set to enter the picture.
Set to release this March for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, this new expansion promises to be one of the biggest yet. With its addition, both action combat and customization options will be pushed beyond their usual boundaries.
That said, when we spoke to Grinding Gear Games’ Chris Wilson, he explained that the story wasn’t going to be let out of the bag, so to speak. According to him, he prefers to let players “experience it on launch day,” in order to go in without knowing what the surprises really are.
Now, let’s take a look at the different aspects of the gameplay, and how they come together with this new Path of Exile expansion.
Looking Into a Mirror of Delirium
Ever hear of Alice Through the Looking Glass? Well, in Path of Exile you come across the Mirror of Delirium. When you first come across it, you’ll discover a reflection of yourself within it. Now, if you touch the Mirror or go through it, you end up entering the state of Delirium for a short while. And here’s where things get really interesting.
As you cross over into the Mirror, you’ll begin to notice some changes to the environment. Namely, with a mist that gathers around you. This is put in place to heighten fears, as the state of Delirium is made to basically bring your greatest fears to life. (No, not cookies that want to eat you — we’re talking real monsters.)
You’ll have to deal with original foes that you’d normally come across in Path of Exile. But, on top of that, you’ll also have to face off against new ones that specifically strike you in a state of Delirium. As a result, the screen fills up rather quickly with these foes, and you’ll have your work cut out for you.
As you go further into the mist, the monsters will actually begin to pile up further. But, in return, you’ll also be able to access additional mods the further you go. These, in turn, will boost your combat and assist you with taking down your foes. The deeper you go, the more risk you take; but also the more rewarding these mods become.
Now, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the larger beasts in the game, which appear as you manifest yourself even deeper into the Delirium. They utilize powerful telegraphed attacks. They can be somewhat easy to avoid unless you’re surrounded; and if they hit you, they’ll do a significant amount of damage. You’ll also want to watch out for both normal and Delirium monsters with mods, which gives them various kinds of both debuff-on-hit effects and on-death mechanics.
You’ll also have to contend with bosses when you deal with Delirium. As expected, they become even tougher than before, and sometimes even contort depending on where you face them. For example, you come across one called the Brine King in act six. He’s capable of not only doing punishing damage, but also opening up his back, revealing an all new Delirium Horror.
Delirium can also have effects with items that have previously popped up in Path of Exile. These include Ambush Strongboxes, Betrayal Encounters, Incursion and Beach. So you’ll want to prepare accordingly for when you come across them. They’ll prove to be extremely difficult. However, you’ll also reap better rewards by getting through them; so they’re worth the effort.
Controlling the Fear
What’s neat about how Path of Exile: Delirium seeps into other elements of the game (and its rewards) is that you still maintain control when it comes to combat. Those of you familiar with Breach should get an idea of what’s in store with Path of Exile’s latest addition, since it feels like a larger version of that. The stacking of content really piles on the difficulty, instead of sitting apart like a separate segment within the game.
And the difficulty changes in Delirium as well, ranging to areas like Delve or Metamorph. This keeps things interesting, compared to how Breach usually stays the same. As you fight your way in this state, you become better with your character and see more reflected growth. And not just in the mods, mind you. The more you build, the better you get rewarded for your efforts.
There are specific Delirium items depending where you visit within the level. These include currency items, rare armor pieces and map items, among others. If you rack up enough of a kill count with the monsters, you’ll see these rewards. But as you get one, the progress goes back to zero and you’ll have to start all over again as you attempt to build them back up. It’s a give and take, really.
You can also find Delirium encounters when it comes to end-game maps, so keep an eye out for those as well. You’ll also want to keep an eye open for Orbs of Delirium. You can apply these to certain maps, increasing the density of the area, pushing up the difficulty and reward scale. What’s more, you can see the reward theme clearly for each Orb.
The goal of being able to apply Orbs of Delirium and tweaking each map is to challenge the community, particularly the most skilled Path of Exile players. Wilson explained that the team encourages this, if only to see just how much players will push themselves when it comes to tackling these outrageous new challenges. But, again, you’ll pick up Currency Items, Delirium rewards and more as you do so.
And these can add up to even more challenges. Some Orbs of Delirium will actually drop Simulacrum Splinters. With these, you can form the Simulacrum and create a special new end-game challenge just waiting in the wings. What that is yet, Wilson isn’t saying. Again, it’s all about surprising players on day one.
There are also cluster jewels. With these, you can actually increase the power of your skill tree. Simply place them in the necessary external sockets of the tree, and new passive skill clusters will open up, with even more slots to put jewels. These offer the most significant change to characters for Path of Exile since Ascendancy classes first came around way back in 2016. You can also reroll jewels, in case you want to find one that’s ideal for your character.
The Jewels of the Exile
Wilson then went on to provide a few examples. First up are fire resistance passives, as well as minor passives (with additional properties) and notable passives, which can create additional sockets. Once you get to the larger clusters, you’ll start to really open up what the minor passives can do for you, doing some modding in the process. The more you progress your tree, the more it can really open up when it comes to potential.
Eventually, you’ll reach the Keystone passive known as the Hollow Palm Technique. This opens up a new play style in the game, in this case being an unarmed monk-style combat. This is excellent for those that want to give melee strikes a try, as this character is quite powerful, based on what we’ve seen thus far.
Wilson explained that “The more winding the path you take to get to the socket, the more powerful the result is.” Considering the immense size of the skill tree overall (you’re going to be a while, newcomers), there are all sorts of possibilities. And that’s before you even get to unlocking the new play style within the game.
As part of the expansion, Wilson then broke down how there will be touch-ups to Conquerors of the Atlas. He explained that the Atlas changes introduced in December’s Conquerors of the Atlas expansion were big hits with fans, but weren’t quite perfect. Improvements have been made since that time, with a variety of little patches that fixed everything from Conqueror spawning to scaling the difficulty and rewards to the proper level, depending on the chosen variation.
But there are more to come with this addition. This includes changing the Conqueror spawning to be more “deterministic,” according to Wilson. This introduces a new user interface element with a breakdown of how many maps are left to be completed before you take on the boss.
Other things include the addition of a Sextant 3:1 trade-up vendor recipe, perfect for those that are into concoction; as well as additional incentives for those that tackle higher Awakening levels. Again, you’ll want to be primed and ready for this, but you’ll be promptly rewarded for doing so.
There are also improvements coming with the Vaal Side Areas, first introduced in the previous expansion. They will now spawn more as rare, with a number of modifiers in tow. What’s more, there will also be extra boss life/defenses, along with extra rewards and giving monsters greater densities. So, yeah, your work will be cut out for you.
In addition, the Metamorph challenge league, initially introduced last December as part of Conquerors of the Atlas, will also become part of the core game. That way, you’ll have better access to the content when you’re good and ready for it.
Skill Up and New Items
Skills will be introduced with Delirium, namely with the Blade Blast and Kinect Bolt. Let’s take a look at each one.
With the Blade Blast, you’re actually able to leave blades behind. What’s more, you can actually use other skills to interact with them. For instance, one modification and suddenly your blades will be able to explode, creating additional damage for any enemies within their blast radius. You can also trigger this blast via Cast on Crit, or setting up the Unleash + Spell Cascade support gems to create more explosions, as well as rain-like “blade falls” on opponents. Set up a number of these and you’ll do significant damage via chaining. You can also tune these with the Animated Weapon skill.
Next up is the Kinect Bolt. It’s a wand skill that lets you send a forking bolt towards enemies, doing physical damage with the help of your wand. Level it up properly enough, and you’ll be able to combo it into shots, and use support gems such as Barrage. Two additional skills are also set for reveal, but they’ll be shown off closer to release.
Delirium will also come with 13 new items, including four that are equipment that can become a cosmetic set together. A Skin Transfer can get this done for you, so that you look like the main antagonist you come across in the expansion. You can also use Perfidy as a melee-focused body armor, providing yourself additional protection.
You can also acquire the Algor Mortis UNique Gloves to open up additional cold/lighting build opportunities, along with Sap, which creates an alternate lighting ailment. You won’t give up Shock to use this either, so that’s extremely helpful.
You can also create “chilling areas” with a combination of freezing storm and lightning, which can leave the enemies literally out in the cold. And, finally, you’ll find the other nine items within the game with help from special Delirium jewels.
In short, there’s a lot that this expansion will unpack, setting the tone for Path of Exile updates to come in the months ahead. While Wilson didn’t detail that far ahead, he did promise that the new expansion will have a lot to offer. It’s set to hit PC first on March 13, and then arrive a week later, March 20, on consoles. It’ll be free of charge to players, so don’t miss out on the fun.
If you need a better idea of what kind of madness awaits with Path of Exile: Delirium, scope out the launch trailer below. We’ll see you in mirror-land!