New Challenge Leagues
December's 1.3.0 Content Update marks the start of two new Challenge Leagues - Torment and Bloodlines. These leagues have self-contained economies and provide an opportunity for you to enjoy a fresh start and demonstrate your mastery of Path of Exile.
The new leagues contain eight difficult challenges. Completing your first challenge awards you a Totem Pole decoration, which can be displayed in your Hideout and grows taller and more impressive as you complete more challenges. If you're one of the first 50 players to complete all of the challenges, we'll also send you an exclusive Torment/Bloodlines T-Shirt!
Torment Challenge League
Torment is the upcoming standard Challenge League. In the Torment league, your adventures are haunted by the spirits of tormented criminals that yield their ill-gotten gains when slain. Eager to protect their trove, these spirits flee when encountered and imbue nearby monsters with dangerous powers, which improves their item drops. It's also possible for spirits to possess rare and unique enemies, greatly increasing their threat (and value!) to treasure-seeking exiles. Check out this video of the Torment league in action!!
Bloodlines Challenge League
Bloodlines is the upcoming hardcore Challenge League. Each pack of magic monsters has a shared Bloodlines mod that greatly influences combat - sometimes while the pack is still alive, and sometimes after it has been killed.
Where Nemesis involved individual rare monsters gaining an additional power, Bloodlines revolves around groups of monsters with synergistic powers. Various strategies are needed for approaching the different Bloodlines, as there are a wide variety of effects, such as constructing an Animated Guardian piece-by-piece or monsters becoming immortal while near their slain brethren. Check out this video of the Bloodlines league in action!
Huge Player vs. Player Revamp
A major focus of this Content Update is to overhaul Path of Exile's PvP systems and introduce formal competitive events. Our successful racing scene has taught us that prizes and news coverage are critical to competitive play. In addition to introducing tournament seasons, we've performed a lot of PvP-specific rebalancing that doesn't affect the regular game. New UI improvements include an Events Screen that shows upcoming events (including PvP tournaments) in the game client.
Leo Redmane, Master of the Arena
Leo Redmane, disgraced duelist; famous for slicing the defeated around the neck, adorning them with a 'mane of blood'.
Leo's not one to let exile get in the way of opportunity. It is with great pride that he dubs himself 'Master of the Arena' and now organises exile-on-exile duels on the very dirt that the Eternal greats once fought over.
Like the other Masters, Leo offers you a Hideout (in the Gardens tileset) with his own decorations and PvP crafting options. His daily missions all involve playing PvP and reward you for completing different objectives. Unlike other Masters, Leo doesn't take up a slot in your Hideout. You can have him in addition to your regular set of Masters.
We're introducing several different types of PvP tournaments, scheduled at specific times.
Free-for-all tournaments take place in the Sarn Arena. They're a massive brawl where you get a point per player kill. If you die, you're sent to a new arena to continue the massacre.
Blitz tournaments are a series of rapid-fire duels where you're quickly matched against a new opponent as soon as your last round finishes. Your goal is to get as many victories as possible within the time limit.
Swiss tournaments are highly competitive tournaments that match players with similar records against each other. They're run in a regimented series of matches, each one a best-of-seven. Swiss tournaments provide the most competitive structure of the three tournaments on offer.
PvP Season One
Competing in tournaments earns you points towards tiers of Alternate Art Unique Item prizes.
PvP Tournaments are grouped into Seasons that consist of a month of themed events. Weekdays contain free-for-all and blitz events, while the weekends have larger tournaments with Swiss pairings and awesome prizes from our sponsors.
Top players will be invited to a special event at the end of the season so that they can battle for more prestige and prizes.
Dueling with level 28 characters is very popular within our community - so much so that we're running it as the primary event type in the first PvP season. Because the fun of PvP lies in creating builds, perfecting your items and destroying your opponents, we're adding an option to create blank level 28 characters that are only able to play in PvP matches.
These PvP-only characters won't impact regular gameplay, but will allow you to shortcut the process of trying out level 28 PvP builds and creating characters for tournaments. You'll still need to acquire their equipment in the core PvE game.
Hundreds of Other Improvements
This update isn't entirely about the new Challenge Leagues and PvP. We've massively changed the Passive Skill Tree, added more gems and unique items, and made a myriad of small improvements to Path of Exile across the board. For example, new Stash Tab filtering functionality allows you to highlight specific items you're looking for as you browse your tabs.
8 New Gems and 25 Unique Items
This update introduces seven powerful new player skills and one new support gem. Three counter-attack skills allow you to build reactive melee characters. A pair of new bow skills allows you to either travel rapidly in combat while leaving a decoy behind, or create a remote decoy from afar, with the enemy being unaware of which option you chose. A new lightning melee skill expands the Templar's set of low-level elemental skills, and the introduction of an area-of-effect wand skill creates new options for powerful wand builds.
Content Update 1.3.0 also introduces a wealth of new Unique Items, with 25 more to find, including eleven designed by our community. Six of the items are specific to the new challenge leagues, while others provide new options for both PvP and PvE play.
Updated Passive Skill Tree
The changes we made to the Witch, Shadow and Ranger sections of the Passive Skill Tree in Forsaken Masters were very well received. We've continued to improve the tree by applying similar changes to the Templar, Duelist and Marauder sections along with their surrounding areas.
In addition to improving progression for melee players and opening up previously unexplored builds, the passive tree changes provide a new and diverse metagame for PvP and PvE players alike.
All players will receive a one-off passive tree reset so that they can adjust their characters to these changes.
Coming on December 12!
Content Update 1.3.0 will be released at 5pm on December 12 (US Pacific Time). This is 2am in the CET timezone and 2pm on December 13 in New Zealand. The Torment and Bloodlines Challenge Leagues will also start at this time.
This article does not contain the full patch notes for the 1.3.0 update. We'll be releasing more details on specific features over the next couple of weeks, culminating in the final patch notes a day or two before the update is released.
We're really looking forward to releasing this update. The Torment league has some awesome risk vs. reward decisions and Bloodlines really ramps up the combat challenge with the varied mods that you'll encounter. Player vs Player combat has never been more fun in Path of Exile - the tournaments add an extra level of meta-strategy and reward on top of a more balanced experience. Of course, the real reason why we're so excited might be that we get to try out our new PvP builds against some fresh meat ;)