The good folks at Grinding Gear are getting ready to unleash a brand-new Path of Exile Challenge league to its players when Incursion launches on June 1st. It’s going to bring some fascinating new content to players as well the chance to travel back in time over a thousand years. The goal for Incursion is, according to Chris Wilson, to blur the line between league and expansion and to give players new items, new areas, new monsters, new characters.
Incursion content has a decidedly Aztec feel to it with the centerpiece being the Temple of Atzoatl. Players will have a chance to find and explore the temple through something called a Temporal Incursion whenever Relic Hunter Alva is encountered. This sends players back to a time when the temple was under construction. The goal is for her to learn the location of the present time’s temple and to let the player influence the types of encounters and loot they will find then. Don’t think it’s easy either. It will take eleven Incursions for her to determine the location.
Once the Temple’s location has been discovered, players will travel to the past for a short time and enter a random room that is packed with monsters and at least two boss types. The more Vaal blood that is spilled, the longer a player remains like Breach. The idea is basically a speed run. Luckily, loot doesn’t drop until the end of the encounter and each room type has its own “unique risks and rewards”.
Actions in the past can affect the present and players can literally change the course of history by killing Vaal Architects. Player actions in the past affect the present day. Rooms are modified it through what is done in the past. Players will want to keep an eye out for keys to open a door and get much further in the temple.
Each room features two Architects that oppose each other. Players can choose to kill one in the past to take them out of play to get a higher tier of a given room (all rooms begin at Tier 1). Looking at the map, players will want to identify which door they want to open and which architect to kill. Some will want to kill the one who is opposing this room's creation, so that it upgrades to the next tier. It’s important to remember that each room has its own set of drawbacks and rewards based on its evolution. You can make the rooms that are too rewarding and too risky.
Lastly, there are lots of secrets, things to find and ways to work towards rare outcomes. The team is anxious to see how players work through Temples to try to affect things in unique ways. In addition, there are unique rewards from specific Temple rooms. Many of them come with rewards worth of the increased danger they present to players.
For example, the series of Poison Garden rooms overgrow the temple with more and more poisonous plants that harm you as you step near them. In the absence of any reward, it'd be best to kill its Architect so that another room replaces it. But daring players may find that a fully-upgraded room offers them a potent poison-themed unique item found nowhere else. It may be worth the risk of keeping the Poison Garden room around to upgrade twice, in case you can earn that item.
Temples evolve over time and changes over time as rooms are completed and upgraded. According to Chris, the content can be completed quickly -- a complete temple in an hour or dedicated players can get through a temple or two each day for the 13 weeks of the League. After each temple run, it resets back to the start and you can do another batch of Incursions. Players will play a lot of Incursions and a lot of Temples.
Other pieces of the upcoming Incursion League include:
- Vaal Skills are getting reworked for the first time since 2014. As they are now, these are uber skills but can only be used occasionally when charged up. “In Incursion, we have changed how Vaal skills work so that they also grant the non-Vaal equivalent skill, attached to the same support gems. We have reduced their soul costs and have buffed many underused Vaal skills. In addition to adding six new Vaal skills in this release, we have reworked another half-dozen to be better-designed and more powerful than before.”
- Traps have been reworked and new ones have been added to provide trappers with new ways to play. Traps have always been slow, but players have been using them aggressively. We are embracing the notion of bombs / projectiles. They can be support or players can go all in. There are new traps and reworked ones. Trappers are a new playstyle and are becoming very beginner friendly
- Lastly, and because I HAD to ask: “Battle Royale - it’s a fun project that we’d love to but it’s a matter of resources. We’ll see.”
Want to know and see more about Incursion, skill changes and revamps that have already been announced? Head to the Path of Exile site.