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The upcoming Delve challenge league for Path of Exile will be going live on August 31, 2018. As usual, the new league will introduce plenty of new content to the free-to-play action-RPG while also revamping some of its existing mechanics. And if you're interested in getting up to speed with all the new stuff, you should check out the recent announcements on the game's website.
First, we have a skill reveal for a new chaos-based bow skill. Then, there's a preview of the new lighting system and challenge rewards, a look at the new visuals for some of the existing skills, an introduction to a new “Herald” skill, new unique map and instant skills. There's also an overview of the upcoming changes to the map system.
Out of all of those, the instant skills seem like the most universal quality of life improvement, so check them out:
Until now, we didn't have the ability to have truly instant-casting skills. Even if we set the cast time to zero, you still had to be standing still and doing nothing else in order to cast skills. An example where this was a problem was detonating mines, where the player wants to be able to time it exactly, but can't do so while doing other actions.
In Path of Exile: Delve, we now support truly instant skills that can be cast at any time. For now, detonate mines, all of the auras, heralds, self-targeting skills like Righteous Fire, Molten Shell and others have been modified to cast instantaneously. In addition, if you have the appropriate passive skill, warcries will now be truly instant (rather than just taking zero time).
In the future, we plan to use this tech a lot more to open up design space for additional skills where you want to use them at a moment's notice to react to events in combat.
And here's what the developers have in store for the map system:
In Path of Exile: Delve we're making some improvements to Zana's quests and also introducing a new feature on the Atlas called Shaper's Strongholds that create a more powerful Shaper influence.
The initial quests that Zana offers to explore Shaper and Elder influence on the Atlas now also offer maps as quest rewards. These maps will be of the same tier of the map you explored. For example, if Alleyways has Shaper influence, the quest will indicate that you should investigate the Alleyways map. Upon completing the quest objective, Zana will reward you with any Tier 2 map of your choice.
The placement of the influence for these quests will always have a higher chance of being placed in maps that you have completed over ones that you have not.
Changes to the Atlas
There is a new feature on the Atlas called Shaper's Stronghold. This influence is a more powerful Shaper influence that cannot be defeated by the Elder naturally. Only you can impact removing this from your Atlas.
On completing these influenced maps, you will receive extra rewards, including Chisels, Sextants, Unique Items (including ones that would normally be restricted to leagues) and various Shaper Rare items.
There are four of these initially on yellow maps. Upon completion, each one will appear on red maps. Upon completing these, they will have a chance to randomly spawn when Shaper Influence is created. It's a percentage chance whenever a Shaper influence spawns (to defend against the Elder) that it'll be a Shaper's Stronghold. Its tier can't be guaranteed but you can restrict it by controlling the position and level of your Elder influence.
In addition, the Zana questline has generally been updated with clearer instructions with what it's guiding you to do.