The latest Path of Exile: Ascendancy character class has been revealed as the Berserker, a Marauder specialization who's all about reckless disregard for personal safety. The Berserker moves fast, hits hard, and doesn't mind taking a few shots in return. In fact, he's often at his best when he's getting mugged.
Many of the Berserker's passives rely on being in the middle of a fray, or are meant to get him to one as quickly as possible. Rite of Ruin, for instance, reduces damage taken by five percent if you've killed something within the past four seconds, while Crave the Slaughter confers either a ten percent increase in movement speed if you haven't been hit within the past four seconds, or a 25 percent increase in attack speed if you have.
Ascendancy classes are unlocked the first time you complete the Lord's Labyrinth, a new dungeon in the expansion that's both very challenging and greatly rewarding. Each new class has its own skill tree, which is grown with Ascendancy Points earned by completing the Labyrinth at each of its three difficulty levels: Two points per level, six points in all. That necessitates careful consideration of the path you wish to pursue, because there simply won't be enough points to acquire every skill.
We actually took a closer look at the Lord's Labyrinth in November, and while it clearly isn't the friendliest joint in town, developer Grinding Gear Games is working to ensure that it's balanced for players of all levels of skill and free time. The dungeon will change every day but its layout will be identical for everyone, which the studio hopes will lead to players sharing information about how to beat it on user forums. It will maintain the same between difficulty levels as well, but with some traps and hazards disabled at the lower difficulties, so players won't be caught entirely by surprise when they take it on at a higher level.
Path of Exile: Ascendancy is tentatively set to go live on March 4, a date that's not carved in stone but “pretty solid,” the studio said. At the same time, the currently-running Talisman challenge leagues will come to an end, and a new one will begin. Grinding Gear is keeping details about the upcoming league a closely guarded secret, but the word on the street (wink, wink) is that it will be themed to tie in with the Ascendancy expansion.
More information about Path of Exile: Ascendancy is up at pathofexile.com.