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Path of Exile Wiki
1 Hour Descent
Race Information
Duration: 1 Hour
Rules: Hardcore
Specials: Dead characters go to Void league
This page is about the race league. For the Act 9 area, see The Descent.

Descent is an hour-long race league introduced in Season Three. It also was the signature event for Season Three, meaning there was a separate leaderboard for Descent racers.[1]

The race uses many aspects of roguelike games. Characters enter a dungeon and fight their way through 15 levels, meeting increasingly tougher foes on the way down to the bottom level where a final boss awaits. Although Descent is a hardcore race, dead characters are still eligible to receive race rewards.

Season 5 introduced a sequel to Descent called Descent: Champions.


Descent is a significant departure from the other race leagues. Here is a rundown of the main differences.

Interaction with other leagues and players

  • No partying is possible. A Descent race is purely a solo experience.
  • At the end of the race, surviving characters join the dead characters in a Void league and become unplayable. Items cannot be transferred to Standard or any other league.

Area differences

  • There is no town area or vendor, and therefore no reason to pick up valuable items that you won't use.
  • Descent areas have their own unique names and themes. They are based on existing tilesets and are similar to endgame maps.
  • Once a character enters the next area, they can't go back. If you log out during the race, your character will respawn at the beginning of the current area and flask charges will not be refilled.
  • There are no waypoints or any other quick means to travel between areas. You cannot skip any levels, aside from running through and ignoring monsters.
  • All areas contain unique bosses similar to their map counterparts, but unlike most maps, bosses may be located near the beginning.

Difficulty and ladder positioning

  • Descent doesn't use the same "Normal—Cruel—Merciless" difficulty system where areas repeat with increasing difficulty, but instead switches to Cruel and Merciless resistance penalties (-20% and -60% respectively) starting with certain areas.
  • If a character dies during the race, it can still hold a position on that race's ladder, marked accordingly.
    • If a character dies in a Cruel or Merciless area, it is subject to experience loss, which is applied before the final experience value is put on the ladder.

Gear and drops

  • Item drop rates are improved compared to other leagues. The exact differences are unknown.
  • There is no stash and no vendors to trade items with. Everything that may be of use must be used or carried in inventory; any items that you won't use are only a burden.
  • Some equipment and currency are provided via special chests in each area.

Special chests

A provisions chest at the starting location

Main page: Descent Chests

There are three special types of chests that appear only in Descent: Provisions, Curious, and Alluring. These chests contain useful items such as flasks, skill gems, equipment, and crafting currency. The contents of each chest are predetermined and depend on the character class and the area they're located in: see Descent Chests for a complete list of items.


This is a chest that appears at the very start of the game near the character spawn point. It contains two Scroll of WisdomScroll of WisdomStack Size: 40Identifies an itemRight click this item then left click an unidentified item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack.
, a Small Mana FlaskSmall Mana FlaskRecovers 50 Mana over 3.00 seconds
Consumes 6 of 24 Charges on use
Right click to drink. Can only hold charges while in belt. Refills as you kill monsters.
, skill gems, and starting equipment.

Curious and Alluring chests

These two chests spawn at a fixed point near the exit of every area. The chests vary mainly in the currency they drop. Players must choose one of the two chests to open in each area; the other chest will vanish along with its contents.


Order Zone Level Difficulty
1 The Phrecia Outskirts 2 Normal
2 The Heart of Phrecia 4 Normal
3 The Lost Cathedral 6 Normal
4 The Mortal Tomb 8 Normal
5 The Arachnid Tomb 10 Normal
6 The Tomb of Statues 12 Normal
7 The Frozen Abyss 14 Cruel
8 The Simian Cave 16 Cruel
9 The Skeletal Caverns 18 Cruel
10 The Forbidden Ruins 20 Cruel
11 The Vault of the Guardians 22 Cruel
12 The Hall of Heroes 24 Cruel
13 The Desecrated Shrine 26 Merciless
14 The Demonic Shrine 29 Merciless
15 The Infernal Shrine 32 Merciless


  1. PChris (June 24, 2013). "Descent Races". Path of Exile Forum. Retrieved October 21, 2013.