It’s been four weeks since Path of Exile’s new challenge league started, and I’m making good progress. By my pretty slow standards, that is.
My Summoner is at level 81 now – just nine levels below my main character on Standard. I’ve finished the campaign at level 70 or so and started doing maps straight away. My supply of tier 2 maps and above builds pretty slowly though, so I’m doing mostly tier 1 maps at the moment, which are level 68, and xp gains have slowed down noticably.
The character is now powerful enough to fully clear incursions most of the time though.
One reason for that is a new type of monster I’m using as Spectres: Solar Guards. These bad boys have two kinds of attacks. The normal one is a fire damage projectile that does good damage at decent range. The real kicker is their secondary attack though. Every eight seconds or so they fire a big energy beam at a target area, which does a hell of a lot of damage after a short ramp up time.
They are pretty much Sharks With Frickin Laser Beams.
Of the league’s forty challenges I have checked off eleven with another eight somewhere between halfway through and nearly finished.
I will not manage to get the required 36 for the exclusive portal effect, that much is certain. There are substantially more than four challenges that lie well beyond what I can hope to achieve. It’s a shame because the portal looks very nice, but not ‘I’m willing to play 24/7 for three months straight‘-nice. The lower-tier rewards don’t interest me that much, but I’m not in it for the rewards anyway. I’ll just try to finish as many as I can in a reasonable amount of playtime. After all it’s one more carrot to chase, and I’m actually curious how far I can get.
Speaking of carrots, the RNG gods were in a particularly good mood yesterday. In my whole time playing Path of Exile before Incursion I had found exactly one Exalted Orb. They’re rare, is what I’m saying. My second dropped about one week into the league. Yesterday evening two dropped within half an hour!
Exalts are one of the rarest currency items and are generally used as the main high-end trading currency. They also have gameplay purposes you can use them for of course, but most players (at least those as poor as me) only use them to trade for items they wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. I guess I’ll hold on to them until I have a clear idea what to use them for. In any case I’m really happy to have found them.
Overall I’m still having much fun playing this league. There’s one downside to playing the same character build in both Standard and a challenge league though: after the league ends you basically end up with twin characters on Standard, making one of them redundant. The other day I had a Eureka-moment about how I can still benefit from that.
Shortly before Incursion started I found The Baron, a unique helmet with special properties for Summoners, on Standard. It’s bonuses revolve around making physical-damage-dealing minions in general and Zombies in particular stronger, but it requires the character to have a very high strenght stat to fully exploit its properties. This makes just switching to this helmet on a high level character rather inconvenient, you’re much better off building from the ground up for it.
I’ve decided to play my Incursion character with her current build until the league ends, and after her migration to Standard I’ll shelve her until the next optional passive tree reset comes around. These are generally given out to all characters every time the tree is changed. Then I’ll build her around The Baron. That way I can continue to use most of the minion skill- and support-gems I’ll have leveled up during Incursion while trying a different flavour of the Summoner achetype.
This is doubly great because it also gives me something to look forward to for after the league has ended.