It's time to roll up a new character in free-to-play dungeon crawler Path Of Exile, because it's league changeover day. Grinding Gear Games have just mothballed their excellent (if ethically questionable) Incursion league, and launched the Delve league today. This quarterly update adds a literally endless new side-adventure to get distracted by on your quest to murder and loot an entire continent. Better yet, this new mega-dungeon is accessible from early in the game, so players are free to plumb its depths between their regular adventures. The update is live now.
While Path Of Exile has always had procedurally generated maps and a very extensive (though finite) endgame, the Delve league's Azurite Mine is something else entirely. It's an endless, branching challenge dungeon which you can dig into or leave whenever you please. The mine is shrouded in cursed darkness which can kill you within seconds, so you'll be escorting a light-generating machine called the Crawler down into the depths. You'll be fighting off monsters as you progress, trying not to get left behind as the Crawler keeps rolling until you reach a crossroads.
As always, this league comes with a new pile of unique loot to find, a new set of crafting items to customise gear with, a handful of new skill gems to discover and a few new monsters and bosses. The Azurite Mine also contains (as its rarest possible loot) Reliquary Keys, which can be traded for a single ultra-rare piece of gear that had been previously removed from the game. While you're probably not likely to find too many of these during the three or so months this league is running, these are going to be very coveted items.
The update also includes a few graphical upgrades, although some of them are for higher-end PCs only. If you've got the GPU grunt for it, shadows in particular should look a lot more detailed - good, considering that they're something that can kill you in this league. Outside of the mines, water should be looking nicer too, with rivers and streams being physically modelled now. Grinding Gear have also gone back and renovated some old monster models, so those starting fresh might find some surprises.