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Preview: Path of Exile: Delirium

Path of Exile’s newest update, Delirium, will arrive next month, and I have the details. The new Delirium League is jam-packed with new skills, quality of life improvements, changes to the skill tree, new unique items, and changes to the endgame for players skilled enough to get there. It offers even more of the addicting risk/reward mechanics that make the game so replayable, and, like the game’s other updates, it will be absolutely free.

The name of the update comes from your interaction with the new Mirror of Delirium. One mirror will be located in each area, and the animation looks like floating shards of glass with your ethereal reflection on the other side. I really like the look.  After you activate the mirror, a fog will shoot out along the ground, and monsters will rise out of the mist. They will be harder than the same monsters you have fought with new abilities. As you move further away from the mirror, more challenging monsters appear, and your fight becomes more difficult, which leads to better rewards. However, if you’re running away because things got too hot, you’re probably just killing yourself faster.

This is the risk/reward and player choice mechanic that is present in every part of Path of Exile. Killing those monsters will grant you sweet loot, and eliminating more of them gives you more loot up to a point. There is a diminishing return. If you can push yourself and survive, you’ll be collecting riches. If not, you’ll be one more exile corpse in the unfriendly land of Wraeclast.

The twist on Delerium is that it can be added to every encounter. It can be triggered around Ambush Strongboxes and Betrayal Encounters to increase the difficulty and rewards. If you want a real challenge, you can activate the delirium effects on a boss. The example I was shown was the Brine King from Act Six. Not only is he tougher, but, in a very creepy effect, he occasionally splits open and a Delirium Horror pops out and attacks you.

If you want the best from Delirium, you’ll need to work on your build, and the skill tree is going to have a fascinating new change to help with that. Cluster jewels can extend the skill tree and add more passive skills. At the end of a branch, you can insert a cluster jewel to make a new branch of passives appear. A large cluster jewel could add ten passive skills and extend the branch out two more times with other cluster jewels for even more skills. Like anything in Path of Exile, you’ll need to earn them, but they can be incredibly valuable to your build, with further character customization from 280 new skill tree skills.

The great part about skills is finding the ways they can interact. For Delirium, there are new support gems including a new skill named Blade Blast. In the past, you have been able to create blades with other skills, and Blade Blast lets you blow them up. You could also combine gem skills to animate those blades or make blades rain from the sky for even more explosive fun. Combining these gems can radically change how your blades work in this newest update, and Path of Exile always encourages experimentation.

For me, I’m more excited about the Kinetic Bolt skill. It gives wand users an attack with a “forking bolt” for physical damage and area of attack. It’s a skill that’s effective as an early player, but it can be just as deadly in the endgame if combined with other support gems. Grinding Gear Games has more to unveil on this skill when they get closer to release, but it’s something I look forward to trying.

You’ll need every advantage if you plan to take on the endgame, and Delirium will give you a way to shape those maps even further. All of the endgame maps in Path of Exile can be tweaked in different ways. As part of the new update, Orbs of Delirium will allow you to set a reward type for the maps, but everything comes at a cost. The rewards go up, and so does the challenge. Keeping with that risk/reward I keep mentioning, you can create maps that are too hard for you to complete.

Maps with an applied Orb of Delirium can also drop the new Simulacrum Splinters. If you combine enough to create the Simulacrum, there is a new end-game challenge. Along with some of the general story details in the new update, the developer is keeping the details of this encounter a secret for now, but it’s easy to guess that you’ll have some hefty bragging rights if you win.

Path of Exile: Delirium is adding more content and ways to play a game already packed with both. The new skill tree changes give you even more control over your character customization. The Mirror of Delirium encounters give you more control over your difficulty and rewards, and it can be added to everything, including boss fights. There’s a reason Path of Exile made my top games of 2019 list, and it keeps getting better.

If you want a chance to play the new content, it’s releasing sometime the week of March 16th. When we know the exact day, we’ll be sure to let you know. Until then, check out the screenshots below to see more.

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