Path of Exile's forthcoming challenge is about to supersize megadungeon.
Delve launches on PC August 31 in an infinite dungeon, an eventless complex without end. You roll up a new character and head into the Azurite mine, and when you explore, you'll find that the darkness is full of dangers. But if you stick with your faithful bulldozer-like Crawler, shining a light to penetrate the dark veil, you're safe. But hanging beyond your glowing rolling companion are taxes that are not comparable, so you can also use some torch to expand the protection … and to uncover the new Azurite resource.
Exile Road has been a success for Slipe Gear Games. The electronic takes on Diablo's loot-based action RPG continues to grow since its debut in 201
3 on PC. The studio said that June's Incursion Challenge League was the most successful expansion to date, reaching 145,690 top simultaneous players on Western servers (this does not count China or the rest of Asia), and the previous update looked great too.  This is part of why Tencent acquired a majority stake in Grinding Gear in May.
"This continues Path of Exile's trend with 50 percent growth year by year since 2015," said the studio. Games use such extensions to resume players and bring in new people, and Grinding Gear manages this every time.
And the very nature of the challenge leagues makes them appeal to committed and lost players alike. You start a new sign, and within 10 minutes you can take on the challenges so you do not have to worry about getting well or not playing for a few months. And if you have friends playing, you can compare running into this dungeon to see who's on. Chris Wilson suggests that Exile Path can generate a mine of levels in the five characters, but they do not expect people to burst 1000.
The idea of an infinite dungeon is something players have asked for before. I love them. I spend too much time in Dungeon Hack and Neverwinter Nights: the Infinite Dungeons module. I asked Wilson why this came as a challenge contest instead of a permanent offer and he said that Grinding Gear worried players would have an infinite depth so much that they would never come out and play the history part of the game.
Diving in Delve
The Azurite Mine asks a single question: Are you afraid of the dark? In the dungeon, darkness is damaging and it will be deadly within a short period of time. So that's why Niko is the food that sends you into the mine to find Voltax sulphite so he can do things with it, throwing Crawler. This little machine reminds me of a farm tractor from the early 20th century, but it's your life line in the mine. It creates a light circle that holds off the dark, and it adds a line that connects Delves while traveling. Sure, you can stick to this area, fight against monsters, and find lots, but the best treasures are beyond protection.
Above: Crawler is your best friend in The Delve.
Image Credit: Abrasive Equipment  You can also use extinguisher. These create small areas of light when throwing them, and this is one way you can go away from Crawler and find lux loot in safety. You can also throw them as weapons – something that Wilson said Sliping Gear later, when game stars kept asking and trying to use them in an offensive capacity.
But some of the monsters can sniff your light, so to speak. They can use an EMP-like ability to prevent Crawler from shining their light. This is another reason to replenish the flare.
When you find any Voltaxic Sulphite, click on it and Niko appears. He's mining it for you. You can save a limited amount, so you use it to explore The Delve on. How to get the new Azurite resource, which upgrades Crawler, Fire and Dynamite (a new element that blows up walls, reveals secrecy areas that may have more loot).
Secret areas and rooms are a key component of megadungeons, so this mechanic adds meaning, Wilson said.
At the end of each part, Wilson said that you often face a big encounter with waves of monsters and bosses. You get a reward to beat this challenge. Then the sites are linked and the Crawler drops away any items taken along the way (it can also be collected in loot!).
Azurite does more than just your power and dynamite. You can use it to upgrade how much voltax sulfite you can carry, the resistance to the darkness or the radius of light from the crawler. You can also use it to make your dynamite and flare more powerful … or buy more of them.
Delve also modifies design with Fossils and Socketable Crafting Items. And those, Wilson said, give you more control over the modifiers shown on weapons. Wilson directed me to a photo showing how a metallic fossil increases the chance of getting lightning mode, adding more to the pool of available modes, and preventing physical injury modes from appearing. Wilson continued to show how he, when placed in an Alchemical Resonator, was the craft of the craft.
Above: Use a fossil on your items to get what you want.
Credit: Slip Equipment Games
Over: And the result.
Image Credit: Sliping Gear Games
You can also use Fossiles to get more contacts on Resonator.
A more skilled you
Wilson notes that Delve also takes up skills, revamping someone and introducing others. The hope is to create some new, powerful character buildings.
He points to the new skill Smite. Grinding Gear intends this for Guardian, a Templar subclass with strong melee attacks and abilities that help teammates. Smite strikes an enemy and then generates an illumination bolt that hits another nearby enemy who also treats injury. It also adds an aura that gives guardians and companions extra lightning damage and the chance to shock an enemy.
Over: Swim in toxic rain!
Image Credit: Grinding Equipment Games
Another new skill is toxic rain, which is an arc skill for the Chaos Pathfinder. This creates a rain of spore pods that lash themselves to nearby enemies. This slows them down and causes chaos to the farmers to explode.
Technical improvements also
Exile path will provide some visual improvements with Delve as well. It now supports shadow lighting (using global illumination and surrounding occlusion), and this should make the new infinite dungeon and all other areas look more striking.
Water also receives physical simulation. Water has foam and eddies, and it changes speeds when it flows. Wilson said that larger rivers and such will travel more slowly, and as the water thins, the water becomes faster. It also goes slowly and bubbles around objects.
Older monsters also get a makeup to bring them up to the more modern specifications of the final path of exile releases.