Last November, we reported on an exclusive reveal for Grinding Gear Games’ popular ARPG, Path of Exile. The upcoming Ascendancy update will introduce a bevy of new features and outlets for character customization, most prominently an all-new (and quite maniacal) set of dungeons called the Lord’s Labyrinth. One of the rewards for completing these dungeons is the option to flesh out one of three sub-classes for your main class, called an Ascendancy Class. Grinding Gear Games had previously revealed Ascendancy Classes for the Duelist (Gladiator, Champion and Slayer), Ranger (Deadeye), and Witch (Necromancer). As of today, a new Ascendancy Class enters the grim wilds of Wraeclast: the Berserker.
A trailer for the Berserker can be seen below:
The Berserker is the first Ascendancy Class revealed for the Marauder, who focuses on rough-and-tumble melee builds similar to a traditional RPG’s warrior archetype. True to its name, the Berserker class emphasizes reckless play and soaking up enemy damage to dish out more in return. One of the Berserker’s talents, Crave the Slaughter, increases the player’s attack speed and movement speed if they’ve been hit within the past four seconds. Another talent, Rite of Ruin, reduces the amount of damage the player takes if he or she has killed an enemy within the past four seconds, in addition to preventing stuns during that time. Other talents offer bonuses to life leech and damage traits if the Berserker player has recently taken serious amounts of damage, while others permanently increase the player’s attack power at the cost of making them more vulnerable to damage. To top off the raging ‘zerker theme, Berserkers can spec into talents that enhance the potency of their war cries.
It’s clear from the Berserker preview that Grinding Gear Games has a firm grasp on what makes a zerker, well, a zerker. The playstyle seems to emphasize fast-paced resource management. It also tasks players with juggling varying states of self-vulnerability and increased damage to create a loop of get hit > unleash pain > get hit more > unleash more pain, all while teetering on the brink of life and death. The Berserker embraces mortality, and revels in staying alive while taking the lives of others in the most brutal fashion possible.
For those not in the know, Ascendancy classes are new to Path of Exile as of the upcoming Ascendancy update. Back in November, Path of Exile’s Lead Designer Chris Wilson told me that Ascendancy Classes are a response to fans who noted that Path of Exile’s base classes are not uniquely defined enough to provide engaging, specialized playstyles. Ascendancy Classes narrow down a base class’ chosen role to promote popular play styles, which were concocted using a list of over 20 different preferred playing styles. These, in turn, were culled from player base studies Grinding Gear Games conducted last year.
So far, Ascendancy classes have been received generally positively by Path of Exile’s player base. Many players see them as new opportunities for diversifying popular playing styles, though others are concerned that they will dilute existing build diversity. Meanwhile, some players argue that a little of both will occur.
Path of Exile: Ascendancy is set to release sometime early this year, with a proposed month of March. To read more about what Ascendancy will have to offer, you can visit its official page here.