Descent: Champions Information
This weekend, the first Descent: Champions race events occur. Today's news post explains the events in more detail and includes a lot of previously unannounced information.
Path of Exile race events are short-duration leagues that award prizes for playing through the game efficiently and surviving. If you're new to racing, we strongly recommend you check out this beginner's guide.
In Race Season Three, we introduced Descent events. These were races that took part in custom sequences of levels that differed from the normal Path of Exile experience. For more information about Descent, check out this announcement article from June. It's important to understand that these events are solo races without access to a town.
We received so much positive feedback from the Descent races, so we knew we wanted to created a sequel to Descent for Path of Exile's release. Many ideas were discussed, but the following were picked as the core design space to investigate:
- Forks in the path so that players can choose which of several areas to play.
- Optional side areas with rewards to compensate for the time spent on them.
- Using more game systems such as map mods, skill book rewards, etc.
- Better crafting items from chests and some custom unique items. Because items and characters can't leave this league, it's safe to do so.
To play a Descent: Champions event:
- Find an event on the Race Schedule that you'd like to play.
- During the event registration period (30 minutes before it starts), run Path of Exile and go to the character selection screen. You should see the event on the blue upcoming list.
- Click “Join" and choose a character name/class.
- You'll appear (unable to move) at the start of the event. Just wait until the starting time and then play!
- During the event, if you die, you can start a new character. Dead characters still count for points.
- At the end of the event, your character will stop moving. Monsters still finish their last attacks, so be careful.
- A few minutes after the event is over, prizes will be awarded to a new stash tab on your account. Be aware that Descent: Champions characters are not moved back to the regular leagues, so the (better than normal) items you received from chests during the event cannot be brought into the regular economy.
The (non-canon) plot of Descent: Champions is that nobles have created a dungeon full of dangerous monsters for contestants to fight through. Champions from all over the land have come to compete for glory.
In the starting area, you'll receive provisions from a chest. The contents of these chests differ by class and contain basic skills and white items. There are also two chests that contain special Unique items. You can pick one from each chest to aid you with the challenge.
While progressing through the event, you will often encounter multiple exits from an area. Because you're unable to backtrack, the choice of which exit you take has several consequences such as access to a different chest of items after the branch. The branches also affect what monsters you'll face. Some branches lead to interesting side areas that allow you to obtain Leap Slam, a Quicksilver Flask, or boots with guaranteed movement speed, etc. For example, when you encounter The Freezing Chamber, you can skip it and go straight to the boss. By playing the Chamber, you could receive an important reward. It's up to you whether it's worth the time and risk.
You'll encounter powerful bosses that use different skills and effects than their regular counterparts do. When killed, these bosses drop books that grant two passive skill points. These bosses cannot be skipped.
Some areas that you enter may have mods like the ones we use on end-game Maps in the core game. For example, one area has "Shocked Ground" which is an unreleased Map mod from patch 1.0.2.
Because characters and items can't leave Descent: Champions, we've been more generous with what crafting currency is given in chests. You may receive Exalted Orbs or even a Mirror of Kalandra.
Descent: Champions features new Rogue Exiles that represent other contestants in the dungeon. The ones that you meet depend on your class and are a great source of gear because they drop an item for every equipment slot.
Typically, our race events award points to players who were the first to complete certain goals (for example, completing a specific quest). In Descent: Champions, the points awarded for killing specific bosses are given to all players who killed that boss, rather than the first one to do so. There are also points given out to players who full-clear some of the side areas.
Descent: Champions is designed so that you can play it many times to learn the best strategy and path through it. It isn't the Signature Race of Season Five. This means that we're able to change its balance during the season to address feedback. The events start this weekend. We're really interested in seeing what you think after you've had a chance to play it!