Path of Exile Narrative Designer Matt Dymerski recently wrote about the design of the Trialmaster, the new NPC from the recent Ultimatum League, who challenges players with increasingly difficult combat encounters for increasingly greater rewards. Specifically, he talked about the Trialmaster’s employer, “a Vaal entity known as Chaos,” who monitors all the different possible realities within Wraeclast and is even aware that there’s “a higher-dimensional entity” — namely, you, the player — creating and adventuring through these realities.
Every Exile washing up on the shores of Wraeclast represents a different reality, and the Trialmaster recognizes those that are controlled by the same player (or at least the same account). As such, he’ll often refer to your successes of failures, regardless of what character you’re playing as. It’s a neat bit of reality-bending storytelling that comes this close to breaking the fourth wall, but not quite.
All of that, combined with the fine voice work of David de Lautour, combine to make the Trialmaster a fascinating character — though one that players are having a hard time finding. Responses to Dymerski’s post indicate that encounters with the Trialmaster are incredibly rare, with one player saying that they “play 6+ hours a day, and it’s just impossible to get him to spawn.” Given the severe issues the league had at launch, it might be understandable if fine-tuning an encounter rate might be lower on the priority list, but it’s something Grinding Gear Games will probably have to tend to eventually.