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Path of Exile's currently ongoing Abyss Challenge League introduced quite a few new features to Grinding Gear Games' action-RPG. And if you'd like to know which of these Abyss-specific features will remain in the game after the league rolls over, you can check out this Development Manifesto that talks about Abyss content integration. A snippet:
So having worked out that we want to keep the league, what are the details of how we integrate it? We decided to add the content from Part Two (i.e. the start of Act Six) onwards. It works well with existing level design, so we can keep it in the levelling content. It is fairly intrusive to play, so we opted to keep it entirely out of Part One, and then introduce it when another significant change has also happened to the world.
The content will extend into Maps. We decided to delay Abyssal Depths from occurring until maps. In the league, Abyssal Depths happened around level 40, so we are basically pushing the league content (and also the Depths) further into the game.
Abysses will occur 10% of the time in instances, with some adjustments for smaller and special areas. The 10% will also apply in maps. As Breaches will occur 10% of the time in maps, players have a considerable chance of finding either a Breach or Abyss in their map.
We have increased the odds of a Lich occuring in the Depths, so there is a still a reasonable chance of finding them, despite Abysses being much less common than they were in the league.
Abyssal Depths and Troves will also be able to drop maps, so the content will never be penalising to play.
Abyss Jewels and Stygian Vises make up much of the reward for the league. Abysses will still have good general drops from their Troves, and Depths will continue to be rewarding. However we will reduce the shower of Jewels from each Abyss. An Abyss will have a magic Jewel, and some chance of a rare Jewel.
Belts will now only come from Depths and Liches. There will always be a Stygian Vise drop from a Stygian Spire or a Lich.
As these bases are now only available from this side content, there is now no chance of a Stygian Vise also being an Elder or Shaper item. While this combination does occur in the League, this will not be the case once the content is in the core game. This is a conscious move, to allow there to be effective competitors for the belt slot in top tier play.
While Abyss Jewels and Stygian Vises will be much less common than they were in the league, we still expect that Abyss content being the only way to get these valued items will make the content worth doing.