Path Of Exile: A Comprehensive Beginner's Guide
No ARPG on the market can match the sheer depth of Path of Exile. This free-to-play dungeon crawler offers a degree of customization that would make other games blush. Everything from your skills to your endgame experience can be suited to your needs.
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Unfortunately, Path of Exile's depth comes at the cost of accessibility. This is easily the most obtuse dungeon crawler out there, but don't let that dissuade you. Waiting beyond the game's brutal campaign lies one of the most feature-rich, diverse, and satisfying ARPGs in the genre. To help break down that insurmountable barrier, we've created this guide as a resource for players to reference when needed. Let's start by covering the cornerstone of most RPG games: classes.
Updated March 31st, 2021 by Charles Burgar: While not much has changed with Path of Exile since we originally wrote this guide, this article lacked one of the most important topics surrounding this game: damage scaling. This infamous topic is important for semi-new players to understand if they want to make their leveling experience smoother. We've added a section to this guide covering the basics of scaling your damage and a subsection reiterating the importance of capping your resistances. Stay sane, Exile!
Classes in Path of Exile dictate two key elements:
- Your starting position in the passive tree.
- Your available Ascendancies—Path of Exile's take on prestige classes.
Unlike most ARPGs, classes do not dictate which skills you can use. Path of Exile itemizes its skill system so that any class can use any skill—something we'll cover in the next section. For now, just know that classes do not impose build restrictions. If you want to play a Templar that summons zombies and uses a bow, you can.
Each class in Path of Exile still fills an archetypal role due to their location in the passive tree and their core attributes. There are three core attributes in Path of Exile, all of which should be familiar if you're a seasoned ARPG player.
- Strength: Scales Life and increases melee physical damage.
- Dexterity: Grants Accuracy rating and increased Evasion rating.
- Intelligence: Provides Mana and increased maximum Energy Shield—effectively a second life pool that behaves differently.
As for the classes themselves, there are seven in total:
- Marauder: The Strength-focused class. Best suited for melee builds.
- Templar: A Strength-Intelligence hybrid class. Best suited for spellsword and Mana-focused builds.
- Witch: The Intelligence-focused class. Best suited for spellcaster and minion builds.
- Shadow: An Intelligence/Dexterity hybrid class. Best suited for damage-over-time and trap/mine builds.
- Ranger: The Dexterity-focused class. Best suited for projectile-oriented builds.
- Duelist: A Dexterity/Strength hybrid class. Best suited for more mechanic-heavy melee builds.
- Scion: The true jack of all trades class. Best suited for extremely niche builds that need more passive points. Not recommended for new players.
Every class is available from the start excluding Scion, who must be rescued at the end of Act 3 before she becomes a playable character. Each class starts in its own section of the passive tree (shown below). As implied, the passive tree itself is the same between every class, hence its intimidating size. In theory, a Ranger could path to the top right of the tree near the Templar starting region, although this is highly inefficient in practice and usually not worth doing.
- Marauder: Bottom left
- Templar: Top left
- Witch: Top
- Shadow: Top right
- Ranger: Bottom right
- Duelist: Bottom
- Scion: Center
Every class in Path of Exile has a prestige class that can be unlocked throughout the course of the campaign. Named Ascendancies, these prestige classes offer a unique passive tree that each grant build-enabling features. Every class except Scion has three Ascendancies they can choose from—the Scion only gets one Ascendancy option.
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To unlock an Ascendancy, you must complete a series of trap gauntlets named the Trials of Ascendancy. There are twelve you can find in the campaign, the first six being required to earn your prestige class. When the first six Trials are complete, interact with the statue in Act 3 to open the Aspirant's Trial, allowing you to enter the Lord's Labyrinth. Successfully completing a Labyrinth run without dying unlocks your Ascendancy.
For a list of Ascendancies and their respective nodes, consult this Path of Exile webpage.
What is likely more useful for you are the locations for each Trial. They are listed below in order of appearance:
- Act 1: The Lower Prison
- Act 2: The Crypt, Level 1
- Act 2: The Chamber of Sins, Level 2
- Act 3: The Crematorium
- Act 3: The Catacombs
- Act 3: The Imperial Gardens
- Act 6: The Prison
- Act 7: The Crypt
- Act 7: The Chamber of Sins, Level 2
- Act 8: The Bath House
- Act 9: The Tunnel
- Act 10: The Ossuary
Once you reach Maps, Path of Exile's endgame system, you can find six additional Trials at random. Completing these Trials will allow for an Eternal Labyrinth run, which must be completed to earn the final two Ascendancy points for your class.
How Do Skills Work?
Skills in Path of Exile are provided by your gear instead of your chosen class. Nearly every skill is provided by a Skill Gem, a small item that can be socketed into weapons, armor, and certain jewelry. As long as you meet the Skill Gem's attribute and level requirements, you can equip it.
Note that the color of your Skill Gem dictates what gem socket it can enter. For example, a Dexterity-focused Skill Gem that's green can only go in items with a green or white socket. You can view an item's sockets by hovering over it with your cursor.
Pro-Tip: You can have gem sockets appear on items at all-times by toggling the "Always Show Sockets" option in the options menu.
Newly-socketed skills will automatically appear on your skill bar on the bottom right of your screen. If you wish to change a skill's input, click on your skill bar and select the skill you want to be bound to that input.
- Purchase or find a Skill Gem you wish to use.
- Equip a weapon or armor piece with a gem socket that matches the color of said Skill Gem.
- Socket the Skill Gem into your item.
- Bind the skill to an input of choice (found on the bottom right of your screen on PC).
This is where most players get confused. Support Gems are socketable gems that solely provide buffs to Skill Gems. These gems support skills; they do not grant skills.
For example, someone that finds their Fireball spell lacking damage can slot in the Combustion Support gem to enhance its fire and burning damage. Combustion didn't add a new skill; it supported Fireball, hence why they're called Support Gems.
Two things are needed for a Support Gem to work:
- A link must be connecting the Skill Gem and Support Gem sockets on the gear piece.
- Both gems must share at least one tag.
Gear links are golden lines that connect gem sockets together. The example item above has six sockets, yet it only has four links connecting the sockets. Players typically refer to this as a "five-link" armor piece since five sockets are linked together.
If you can't tell if an item is linked, socket a Skill Gem and a Support Gem onto an item. If you hover over your Skill Gem, the Support Gem should glow. If it doesn't, the item isn't linked.
Tags are a simple concept that most newer players overlook. To keep things simple, tags are properties that a gem has denoted as text. Gem tags can be found directly under the name of the gem. If both a Skill and Support Gem share at least one tag, they are compatible with each other. Let's analyze a Skill Gem together to show this system in action.
Fireball is a straightforward spell in most ARPGs. Your character spawns a flaming projectile that hits targets. Tags break this spell down into core characteristics that Support Gems can bend. In Fireball's case, it has the Projectile, Spell, AoE, and Fire tags as seen under its name. This means that any Support Gems that have at least one of those four properties can affect Fireball.
Let's say you wanted Fireball to shoot three projectiles instead of one. You could consider using the Lesser Multiple Projectiles Support gem.
The tags on this gem read Support and Projectile, meaning it can support any skill with the Projectile tag. Since Fireball has Projectile as one of its tags, Lesser Multiple Projectiles will work. Now your Fireball will be firing three projectiles with each cast instead of one.
As you can see, the system isn't too complicated on its own. Just keep gem tags in mind if you can't easily determine if a Support Gem would work for a certain skill.
Finding A Build That's Right For You
Newer players shouldn't create builds on their own. Path of Exile has so many moving parts that making a good build without external help is nearly impossible.
Instead, look for a build guide that utilizes the skill or class that interests you most. For example, if you want to fire arcs of chain lightning between targets to disintegrate your foes, you would want to look up a build for the Arc skill. Similarly, someone that wants to make a bow build would want to look at a guide that uses the Ranger class.
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Do not follow build guides that focus on endgame content or absurd damage numbers. Most of these builds are expensive, mechanically complex, and far from new-player friendly. Guides that are thorough and easy to parse are far better.
Here are a few beginner-friendly build guides that are easy to understand. If you play one or two of these builds, you will gain a much stronger understanding of Path of Exile's core gameplay systems.
Leagues And Game Modes
Classic ARPG staples such as Hardcore mode are present in Path of Exile. There are also seasonal modes named Leagues that players can join.
Path of Exile has the following game modes:
- Standard: A game world where characters and the economy are never reset. Dying in Standard only incurs an Experience penalty at higher levels.
- Hardcore: Similar to Standard but if you die, your character is migrated to Standard.
- League: A game world where characters and the economy are recently created. Leagues include a new game mechanic for players to exploit. When a League ends, all characters are migrated to Standard.
- Hardcore League: Similar to a League but if you die, your character is migrated to Standard.
- Solo Self-Found (SSF): An opt-in challenge that prevents you from trading and creating parties with other players. NPCs are unaffected. Unlocked after rescuing the Scion in Act 3.
- Hardcore Solo Self-Found (HCSSF): The same as SSF but migrates your character to Standard if you die.
What Are Leagues?
Path of Exile has seasonal content releases named Leagues that players can partake in. Leagues typically last for three months, introduce a new gameplay mechanic, and have a fresh economy. Once a League ends, all of that League's characters will be migrated to their respective Standard variant. Hardcore League characters migrate to Hardcore, and Softcore League characters migrate to Standard.
Leveling Your Character
Path of Exile only provides experience points when players kill monsters. Unlike most ARPGs, quests do not grant experience points. Instead, some quests grant skill points that can be allocated to your character's passive tree.
Most veteran Path of Exile players will run past common and rare mobs entirely, focusing only on mandatory bosses and magic packs of mobs. This is due to the absurd amount of XP magic mobs grant, allowing players to stay at parity with each zone while avoiding most enemies in each area.
Newer players don't have to use this advice when playing on their first few characters, but experienced Path of Exile players that want to speed up their leveling process should keep this tip in mind.
Skill points come from two sources in Path of Exile:
- Leveling up
- Completing certain quests
A surprising amount of Path of Exile's side quests grant skill points when completed. Skill points are integral to reaching your build's fullest potential, which is why completing these quests is paramount for any player.
For a comprehensive list of every quest that grants skill points, consult this wiki article.
Most build guides will offer curated tips to make the leveling process as smooth as possible. No matter how different these builds are, most of them share similar leveling strategies and tips that you'll come to understand as you create more builds. To help kickstart that process, we will list a few leveling tips to make the first few Acts a smoother experience.
- Reach 75% Fire, Cold, and Lightning Resistance ASAP! Path of Exile is balanced around your character having capped resistances. These resistances will be permanently reduced by 30% at the end of Act 5 and Act 10, so it is imperative you find gear that counteracts this negative. You can check your resistances in the defense tab of your character sheet ("C" by default on PC).
- Flasks are extremely strong and should be used often. You gain flask charges from killing monsters and leveling up. If your build has good clear speed, your flasks should always be active.
- Don't grab everything you see! Your inventory is extremely small in Path of Exile. Focus on grabbing rare items, jewels, and currency. Alternatively, install a loot filter (explained in the "Must-Have Community Tools" section).
- Rebind your left-click from default attack to move only. This prevents your character from auto-attacking while moving.
- After completing the "Mercy Mission" quest, select the Quicksilver Flask as your reward. This drastically boosts your movement speed while active.
- Keep your eyes out for boots that increase your movement speed.
- Obtain a Sapphire Ring before fighting Merveil, the final boss of this Act. If you can't find one, you can make one by selling an Intelligence (blue) Skill Gem and an Iron Ring to any vendor.
- When searching for Alira in The Western Forest, look out for a stone path perpendicular to the main road. This always leads to her camp. Conversely, the opposite end leads to the Weaver's Nest.
- Don't forget to talk to Bestel in Act 1 after completing the quest "The Way Forward" to receive your skill point reward.
- The Vaal Ruins has the worst level layout in the game. Prepare to spend a lot of time here. This is less of a tip and more of a heads-up.
- Obtain the Thaumetic Sulphite quest item in The Docks—a zone north of The Battlefront—before traveling to The Solaris Temple. This saves a lot of backtracking.
- Complete a normal Labyrinth run before facing Dominus, the final boss of this Act.
- Try to reach 75% Fire, Cold, and Lightning Resistance near the end of this Act or the start of Act 4; elemental damage starts becoming lethal around this point.
Those tips should make the earlier portions of Path of Exile easier to level through. If you need a more thorough leveling guide, consult the build guide you're following or this step-by-step Act leveling guide from POE Vault.
Currency And Gear
Gold doesn't exist in Path of Exile, at least not as a unified currency type. Path of Exile has a multitude of currency types that all interact with items in some way. Currency items are useful both for trading with players and for crafting.
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As a new player, it is wise to save any currency you stumble across. Don't use these currency types to craft or modify items unless you know what you're doing or need a gear upgrade.
For those curious, here is a list of every basic currency type in Path of Exile. This information is not needed if you're completely new to the game.
- Scroll of Wisdom: Identifies items with modifiers.
- Portal Scroll: Opens a portal to town.
- Orb of Transmutation: Upgrades a normal item to a magic item.
- Orb of Alteration: Rerolls a magic item with new properties.
- Orb of Augmentation: Adds a modifier to a magic item.
- Chance Orb: Upgrades a normal item to a random rarity.
- Regal Orb: Upgrades a magic item to a rare item. Uncommon.
- Chaos Orb: Rerolls a rare item with new properties. Uncommon; the most used currency for trading with other players.
- Exalted Orb: Adds a modifier to a rare item. Extremely rare.
- Vaal Orb: Corrupts an item, modifying it unpredictably. When an item is corrupted, it can no longer be modified.
- Mirror of Kalandra: Creates a copy of a non-Unique, non-corrupted item. The rarest item in Path of Exile.
- Blessed Orb: Rerolls an item's implicit value.
- Divine Orb: Rerolls an item's prefix and suffix values. Uncommon.
- Chromatic Orb: Recolors the gem sockets on an item.
- Jeweler's Orb: Rerolls the number of gem sockets on an item.
- Orb of Fusing: Reforges the number of links between gem sockets on an item.
Far more advanced, endgame currency types exist in Path of Exile, but these are all of the major ones the community uses or frequently reference. As you can see, everything except Portal Scrolls modify an item in some fashion. This is why picking up any currency you find early-game is important. These items always have some sort of value.
Items in Path of Exile drop in one of four different rarities:
- Normal: An item with no prefixes or suffixes. In other words, an item with minimal modifiers. These items are common.
- Magic: An item with one prefix and/or suffix. These items are uncommon.
- Rare: An item with up to three prefixes and suffixes. Rare items are the most powerful in the game. These items are uncommon, although good rares are hard to come by.
- Unique: Items with properties that can't be found elsewhere. These are not Legendaries! Uniques enable builds, typically with a negative associated with them. Unique items range from uncommon to extremely rare.
As with most ARPGs, items come with a suite of randomly-rolled modifiers that provide offensive and defensive stats. For 99% of cases, modifiers come in the forms of prefixes and suffixes. Prefixes and suffixes are not the same; they both have different modifiers they can apply to an item. For example, modifying the player's Life stat is a prefix, while adding resistances is a suffix mod. Both are vital to making a character tanky, but they both come from different mod pools.
For a full list of potential modifiers on an item, consult the Path of Exile database website—poedb for short. Only experienced players should visit this website, as it is really easy to get overwhelmed while looking at an item's pool of modifiers.
Learning how to craft is a complex subject that is far from new-player friendly. If you are adamant about learning how to craft in Path of Exile, YouTuber ZiggyD has made an excellent crafting guide that's filled with useful information for intermediate players. You can watch it here.
Damage And Resistances
This section is meant for players that have a few hours of Path of Exile experience under their belt. If you've never played Path of Exile before, skip to the last section of the guide to prevent a massive amount of confusion.
One of the first things you'll notice jumping into Path of Exile is how hard this game is. Enemies frequently one-shot you at later Acts, and the game doesn't do a great job explaining why this is.
Path of Exile is balanced around you having capped Fire, Cold, and Lightning Resistance. Most enemies deal some form of elemental damage, so it's imperative that you reach the 75% cap as soon as possible. You can check your resistances by opening your character sheet (default "C" on PC). Damage resistance to Physical and Chaos Damage, provided by Armour and Chaos Resistance, respectively, are useful but not mandatory to gear for like Elemental Resistances are.
Note: When you finish Act 5 and Act 10, you will permanently lose 30% to all elemental resistances. Try to overcap your resistances by 30% before completing either of these Acts.
Why Damage Scaling Matters
In Path of Exile, the best defense is an overpowering offense. If you can kill enemies before they can react, you'll take zero damage since they never got a chance to retaliate. This is why so many builds focus on outputting as much damage as quickly as possible, usually forgoing defensive capabilities excluding summoners and certain niche builds.
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To one-shot everything on your screen, you'll need to understand how damage scaling works. This can get rather complicated, so don't get frustrated if this doesn't make sense the first time you read it. Following build guides and making your own builds are the fastest ways of learning this.
Increase Vs. More
Scaling your damage in Path of Exile can happen through one of two modifiers: additive multipliers and multiplicative modifiers. Here's what both terms mean:
- Additive: Multiple sources of additive damage are added together before damage calculation.
- Multiplicative: These damage sources are multiplied together before damage calculation.
You can remember both as additive and multiplicative. Path of Exile refers to these modifiers as "increased" and "more," respectively. Increased modifiers are powerful while leveling, as you won't have many sources of multiplicative damage yet. More modifiers are much stronger in the endgame, as they will exponentially increase the damage you dish out.
Note: There is one exception to the rule above: "increased damage taken" modifiers. These are multiplicative since they multiply the damage an enemy takes.
Damage Scaling Sources
In general, you'll be scaling your build's damage through your Passive Tree, Skill and Support Gems, gear, and your Ascendancy. There are more ways to scale your damage than that, but that's the gist.
Increased Damage Sources
- Passive Tree nodes
- Gear (local modifiers)
More Damage Sources
- Support Gems
- Elemental penetration/reductions
- Ascendancy notables (varies from class to class)
- Keystones from the Passive Tree
- Certain Flasks
This is why melee players need to upgrade their gear frequently, why spellcasters need to level their skills ASAP, and why certain Ascendancies are considered top-tier while others are seldom used. In general, if you want to make your build stronger, the best things to do are:
- Upgrade your gear
- Level your Skill and Support Gems
- Link more Support Gems to your skills
- Ascend (if possible)
- Penetrate enemy resistances
There are far more ways of scaling your damage than these, but this should give you a rough idea as to what you should be focusing on when your damage starts falling off in later Acts or Maps.
Before you delve into the harsh world of Wraeclast, you should know of a few community resources that make the game much more enjoyable. As solid as Path of Exile's endgame and crafting systems are, quality of life is not the game's strong suit. Fortunately, the community has fixed most of these pain points.
- Neversink's Loot Filter:Default filter for console players. This loot filter will only show items relevant to you. Garbage items are hidden from view, and rarer items are given unique backgrounds and font sizes. This is downright mandatory on PC. Installing this filter is explained in the "Loot Filters" subsection.
- Path of Exile Trade:You can find, purchase, and sell items through this website. If you own a Premium Stash Tab (obtained from the in-game item shop), you can list items from your Stash Tab to this website with no hassle.
- Path of Exile Gamepedia Wiki:Provides information on every aspect of Path of Exile.
- Path of Building Community Fork:You can create builds and configure character stats and gear with this app. It is handy for theorycrafting builds and sharing ideas with members of the community. The community fork is more up-to-date.
- PoELab:If you keep dying in Labyrinth runs, this website is a blessing. It provides a map detailing the current Labyrinth layout, room modifiers, and Izaro traits.
- Awakened PoE Trade:This tool lets you look up an item's value through a simple keystroke. This tool does not break the game's TOS, and it is straightforward to use. A tutorial on how to use this tool can be found here.
- Engineering Eternity's YouTube Channel:While his videos are somewhat old, they provide a wealth of concise, well-formatted information for players to sink their teeth into. If you ever have a question about a mechanic, chances are he's made a video on it.
Loot filters allow players to filter out lackluster items while making useful items more apparent. There are a wide range of loot filters for Path of Exile, the most commonly used filter being Neversink's Loot Filter. Let's go over how to install it.
The easiest way to install this filter is to sync a Neversink loot filter with your Path of Exile account. From the FilterBlade.xyz website, navigate to the "Download" tab on the top of the webpage. The first option, Sync with PoE, is what we want.
Complete the three steps listed on the website.
- Sign in to PoE: Log in to your Path of Exile account from FilterBlade's link. If you use the console or Steam versions, an option will exist on the Path of Exile website letting you use those credentials. When finished, allow FilterBlade.xyz to access your account.
- Sync with PoE: This allows you to add the filter to your account directly. Click "Add New Filter" and enter the name, description, and platform for the filter. Click "Apply" when finished.
- Start up Path of Exile. When you have loaded into the game, open your options menu. Under the UI tab, look for the "List of Item Filters" option. Click the dropdown box to see your new filter. If it's not there, either reload the tab or restart Path of Exile. Click "Save" when you're done to enjoy your loot filter.
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Read NextAbout The Author
Charles Burgar is an expert on all things tech and gaming. Graduating from Pikes Peak Community College in 2018 with an Associate of Science, Charles has spent his time dissecting popular video games, movies, and technology. With an understanding of games for as long as he can remember, Charles has a large interest in understanding what makes things fun. He is currently a Freelance writer for TheGamer and Game Rant.
Tips & Tricks for New Path of Exile Players - Beginner's Guide
We have decided to put together all the valuable information for new PoE Players. Top Tips & Tricks are included in our Beginner's Guide
We have decided to make this guide for all beginner players that start their adventure in Path of Exile. Furthermore, we believe even experienced Exiles might find some valuable information here. This guide will include tips and tricks for:
- Setting up your game
- General tips
- Leveling phase
- Orbs/Currency management
- Vendor recipes
- Build types
If you have already possessed this knowledge and would like to find out what are our recommended builds check out the link below:
- Best PoE Builds - a complete list of all our Crafty Guide for Path of Exile. Most of the builds get updated to the newest Patches within few weeks of the launch. If you are a beginner, it's best to pick a build that is described as a "Starter" build. This type of builds is powerful while being less reliant on expensive equipment
1. SETTING UP YOUR GAME
- Lags and freezes can be deadly, and deaths may completely nullify your progress. You can display an overlay with your current framerate and latency by pressing F1. If you have any issues with game performance, try different DirectX component versions and find out which one works best for you. There were also reports of "Fullscreen windowed mode" to work better than "Fullscreen mode". In either case, you can always try the following steps to increase game performance:
> add "--waitforpreload" startup command to your path of exile's shortcut
> edit the production_config.ini file in your Libraries -> My Documents -> My Games -> Path of Exile and increase the value of the texture_quality parameter. This will decrease texture quality and should improve performance
- Download and use Loot filter (for example Neversink's LootFilter from the official games forum). You should eventually find out by yourself which items are valuable and worth picking up, but till then the loot filter will hide all the useless stuff. You have to download and move the unpacked lootfilter files to the same location as production_config.ini file (see p.1) and then load them while in-game. You can access this feature by opening Options -> UI. Then scroll down to the "List of Item Filter", choose your desired filter and click the "Reload" button
2. GENERAL TIPS
- Holding the SHIFT button while using currency items (Jeweller's Orbs, Chromatic Orbs, and Orbs of Fusing are used excessively when trying to get the right sockets on your items) will allow you to use the orb repeatedly. If you are crafting sockets on an item with Jeweller's Orbs, you will be unable to use the orb on an item with a maximum number of sockets. However, this rule does not apply to the number of links. You could remove links on both 3,4,5 linked gear even if they connected all of the available sockets. The game will only prevent you from ruining six socket links
- Left-clicking on an item while holding down the CTRL button will automatically buy/sell the items to a vendor, or move them between your Stash, Backpack and Trade window. This feature, however, does not work with Guild Stash
- Pressing CTRL+C while hovering over an item will copy to clipboard all of the items data. You can paste it on forums, chats, etc. for example when you want a more experienced player or a friend to evaluate the item for you (or when you want to post it for sale/trade)
- Holding ALT button while hovering over items will show their item level. Item level is one of the most important factors when it comes to crafting expensive gear and equipment. It's the item level that determines what tier of affixes certain item can have, and the number of sockets it can have when it's dropped by a slain monster. It is arguable, but possible that crafting a high number of sockets on low-level items might be harder than on higher-level gear
- You should always level up gems in items you carry in your alternate weapon slots. You can either do it for gems that you know you will be using shortly (after you replace your gear, or reach a certain level) or Support gems like Empower/Enlighten/Enhance that require a lot of experience points to be leveled up
- You should use different flasks one after the other. When you gain Flask charge, it is added to every Flask, regardless of how many Flasks you have emptied previously
- Auras skills don't have to be on your Skill bar to remain active. You can cast them, and then replace with different skills or abilities on the skill bar
- When using skills that fire multiple projectiles (or any projectile-based skill that is supported by Lesser Multiple Projectiles or Greater Multiple Projectiles) can be either aimed close to your character, making the projectiles to be more spread out and cover wide areas or aimed further away, and the projectiles will be fired in a nearly straight line
- There are few useful chat commands that include:
/hideout - teleports you to your hideout (works only while in town or another hideout)
/passives - shows a summary of all passive points rewards, and the Bandits quests reward the character has gained
/remaining - shows the number of monsters remaining in the area
3. LEVELING PHASE
- Don't worry much about choosing a wrong character class, unless you knew for certain what type of build you wanted to play, and you want to maximize its potential. In general, Path of Exile provides the highest flexibility when it comes to building your character. You can build powerful Witches or Duelist that wield bows, spell caster Berserkers or tanky Shadow class characters - everything is possible in Path of Exile, and unlike other games, still may remain viable if planned well
- Never consume/use currency items (except for Portal Scrolls, Scrolls of Wisdom, Blacksmith's Whetstones, Armourer's Scraps which are rather inexpensive) while leveling your character. Unless these are the first days of a new League when good leveling items are hard to get, using orbs to upgrade or craft items is extremely expensive
- Always pick up 3 and four linked items during leveling. You can easily turn them into powerful gear by using Essences on them. Essences are found throughout Wraeclast starting at the very first levels and are used to upgrade normal items to a rare item with a certain fixed property. The effect of Essences is similar to that of Orb of Alchemy, however low-level Essences are much more common and less valuable
- When you decide you really need to craft some equipment (this rule also applies to maps later on) use Armourer's Scraps and Blacksmith's Whetstones on Normal quality (white) items. This will make 1 orb improve the item's quality by 5%, while it is 2% for magic items, and 1% for rare and unique items. You can upgrade your item/map to higher rarity when it has 20 points of quality
- You should consider buying leveling unique items that are most suitable for your character class. As stated earlier, unless this is the first days of a new League, most of this shouldn't be expensive and will save you a lot of time. Here you can find a list of the best PoE leveling uniques
- When learning the game and leveling up your first character try to play around with different skills and support gems. You can pretty much pick any skill you like for any character class, as long as you know what type of skill is that and how to amplify its' damage.
Try to complete prophecies while you level up. If you are lucky, you may find some valuable Prophecies you can keep for later or sell with profit. These are: Jeweller's Touch (will create 5-links in an item after using Jeweller's Orb on it), Fated Connections (will create 6-links with single Jeweller's Orb) and Trash to Treasure (will turn normal item to unique item, should be only used on Sorcerer Boots to craft Skyforth boots)
4. ORBS MANAGEMENT
- In general, and this is the most important rule, do not use/consume your orbs while leveling/learning the game. Almost all of the orbs carry significant value(with the exception of Scrolls of Wisdom, Portal Scrolls, Blacksmith Whetstones and Armourers Scraps). All the orbs you collect during your early/mid levels should be stored, or used to purchase leveling equipment (usually 1-2 items every ten levels is more than enough to help you progress). Keep in mind, that each piece of leveling gear shouldn't cost more than Orb of Alchemy/Orb of Fusing each. Only the best leveling items may cost up to few Chaos Orbs, like Goldrim, Praxis or Tabula Rasa. However, these items will work for your entire leveling phase (50+ levels)
- To get rich during the leveling phase, and when playing your first character, you should know and use all of the Vendor recipes provided in the next section
- Do not use Chromatic Orbs to change socket color into one that is not corresponding with the item type. Sockets on items with Strength requirement have the highest chances to turn out red, Dexterity requirement - green, and Intelligence requirement - blue. Unless you are crafting your end-game gear, forcing certain colors is a waste of currency
- Do not use Jeweller's Orbs / Orbs of Fusing to craft sockets on items you will use only temporarily (for example most weapons). Usually buying items with the sockets you want is cheaper than crafting them yourself. Again, crafting sockets should be done on items you will keep for most of the leveling part, or when crafting your final gear
- Never use Orbs of Chance and Orbs of Alchemy during leveling - craft gear with low tier Essences instead
- Never roll stats on rare items with Chaos Orbs - Chaos Orbs are extremely valuable, and crafting low-level items with it is a complete waste while using it on high-level items (which you most likely don't have at this point) is a gamble
- NEVER use/consume Exalted Orbs. Unless you know what you are doing, trading it for equipment is your best option
5. VENDOR RECIPES
Vendor recipes are one of the best and the most effective ways of becoming rich until you get to the end-game content, and can farm Atziri and Shaper. There are several recipes that should be used unconditionally by all Path of Exile beginners and casual players. This is:
- Chromatic Orb recipe: trade any item with red, green and blue sockets linked together. This is the most commonly used vendor recipe in PoE. During leveling, your every visit to town should result in you getting 2-3 Chromatic Orbs
- Gemcutter's Prism recipe: trade gems with a combined quality of 40% or a single gem with 20% quality. Keep in mind that each combination of gems has to be with at least 40% of quality. If you have gems with a total quality of 80 %, but the first group has 42% while the other only 38 %, you will only receive 1 Gemcuttter's Prism in the trade. The best solution is to always group gems into exactly 40% quality packs so that you don't lose these extra percents on each trade
- Jeweller's Orb recipe: vendor any item with 6 sockets. If the sockets are linked together it's not advised to vendor it at all, however, then it would grant a Divine Orb instead
- Cartographer's Chisel recipe I: trade maps with a combined quality of 40% or a single map with 20% quality. This is usually used by players that have already reached end-game content (mid/high tier maps and bosses), when you are no longer interested in clearing the white low-level maps. The recipe, however, makes collecting any quality map worth it
- Cartographer's Chisel recipe II: trade any map and a 20% quality Stone Hammer, Rock Breaker or Gavel (any rarity). This is one of the most profitable recipes that most players may be unaware it even exists
- Glassblower's Bauble recipe: trade flasks with a combined quality of 40% or a single flask with 20% quality. Glassblower's Bauble is not exactly the most sought-after orb in Path of Exile, but this recipe may still grant some extra profits for PoE's newcomers
- Orb of Chance recipes: there are 3 known recipes that grant the Orb of Chance. This is:
-trade 2 identified rares with the same name for 1x Orb of Chance (some prophecies, unique encounters and strongboxes may contain mirrored copies of the same rare item)
-trade normal, rare, magic and unique item of the same base item type (for example Leather belt) for 5x Orbs of Chance. This recipe is basically free money if you have time to do it. Simply select some popular base item type, and collect all items of this type. You can then turn 1/3 of them into magic items with Orbs of Transmutations, 1/3 into rares with low tier Essences, and then buy corresponding base item type uniques on poe.trade. In most of the cases, each unique item shouldn't cost more than 1 Orb of Chance or 1 Orb of Alchemy depending on the item type you have chosen previously
-through full rare item set recipe (more commonly referred to as the Chaos Orb recipe) with lower level items (with item level between 1 and 59). It grants 1-3 x Orbs of Chance
- Orb of Alchemy recipes: there are several ways of obtaining Alchemy Orbs from vendors which are:
-trade 3 identified rare items with the same name for 1x Orb of Alchemy
-trade 2 identified rare items with the same name and quality 20% for 1x Orb of Alchemy
-trade normal, magic and rare, 20% quality item of the same base item type for 1x Orb of Alchemy
-trade normal, magic and rare, 20% quality unidentified item of the same base item type for 2x Orb of Alchemy
- Chaos Orb recipe: also known as the "full rare item set recipe". It is the most profitable recipe in Path of Exile. Some fast map clearing builds like Spark Templar or Frostblades Raider may earn over 100 Chaos Orbs per day using just this recipe (plus all the directly looted orbs and items). It is also advised to trade only unidentified items in this recipe for double Chaos Orb reward. Way under 1% of all rare items you come across will be actually worth 1 Chaos Orb or above, and the most expensive ones are usually crafted anyway. You can get:
1 Chaos Orb for trading a set of rare, item-level 60 or above gear:
- 1x Two-handed weapon / 1x One-handed weapon + 1x Shield / 2x One-handed weapons / 2x Shields
- 1x Helmet
- 1x Body Armour
- 1x Belt
- 1x Boots
- 1x Amulet
- 1x Gloves
- 2x Rings
2 Chaos Orbs for trading all of the above, unidentified items
3 Chaos Orbs for trading all of the above, unidentified, quality 20% items
6. BUILD TYPES
When choosing a character, you should determine two main factors: How are you going to deal damage? and how will you survive monster attacks? There are several main types of characters in Path of Exile, and to put it simply, we can divide them into:
- Melee fighters: they use melee weapons, with either high physical or elemental damage. Even though their name, they may still be fairly powerful ranged fighters (yes, that's possible in Path of Exile) and depending on skill and weapon chosen you may amplify the damage by:
-added flat physical damage to attacks
-increased physical damage
-increased melee damage
-added flat elemental damage to attacks
-increased elemental damage
-added flat chaos damage to attacks
-increased chaos damage
-increased projectile damage - certain melee abilities shoot additional projectiles, which make up for good portion of the skill's damage, including Molten Strike, Lightning Strike or Frost Blades active skill gems
-increased area damage for certain skills that deal area damage, for example, the popular Sunder and Earthquake skills
-increased attack speed
- Ranged fighters: they use bows and ranged attacks. As a ranged fighter, you will be looking for the same attributes and melee fighters, with the exception of "increased Melee damage". Most ranged fighters use high physical damage weapons and use elemental damage conversion to increase their DPS (more information on damage conversion can be found at the end of this section). As a ranged character you may also need:
-increased projectile speed
-increased projectile pierce chance
-increased number of projectiles
-increased number of arrows
- Spellcasters: they use wands, scepters and other items that increase spell, elemental or chaos damage. As most active skill gems in PoE spells can have various types which include: area spells(e.g. Firestorm, Ice and Shock Novas), channelled spells (e.g. Arc, Scorching Ray), projectile spells (e.g. Fireball, Frostbolt, Kinetic Blast), spells with damage over time effects (e.g. Blight, Essence Drain). Depending on the active skill gem you are using, spells can generally benefit from the following:
-increased spell damage
-increased elemental damage
-increased chaos damage
-added flat physical/elemental/chaos damage to spells (yes spells in Path of Exile can deal physical damage as well)
-increased cast speed
-increased area damage
-increased projectile damage/speed
-increased damage over time
- Summoners: are types of characters that rely on Minions to deal the damage. These types of characters usually have to kite attacks and cast supportive spells that amplify their minion damage. This is achieved through numerous Auras, Curses, and Offerings. This kind of builds can only increase the minion's damage directly through increasing:
-minion movement speed
-minion attack and cast speed
Other affixes like increased physical/melee damage, or spell/elemental damage will not affect Minions, even if this is their(minion's) corresponding damage types. This forces Summoners to:
-increase effectiveness and area of a radius of their Auras, as well as increasing the number of active Auras through the use of Enlighten Support gem, and other Reduced Mana Reservation sources including passive points and ascendancy powers of certain classes
-increase effectiveness and number of Curses you can apply to enemies. This can either increase the damage monsters receive(offensive curses like Punishment, Elemental Weakness, etc.), or make kiting and avoiding attacks much easier (defensive curses like Enfeeble or Temporal Chains)
-supporting minions with the Offering spells and Vaal gems (Vaal Haste mainly)
Minions can deal either physical or spell damage (chaos damage inclusive), and depending on the type of Minions summoned, they should be supported by different and appropriate gems.
- Totem builds - are specific types of builds that rely on Totems as their main damage source. They can cast spells or perform attacks of any of the previously mentioned types (including summoning minions). This types of builds will benefit from all the damage amplification sources as their corresponding damage type. On top of that Totem builds will also benefit from:
-increased Totem damage
-increased Totem placement speed
-increased Totem cast and attack speed
Totems are not considered minions. However, Minions Summoned by Totems (for example Spell Totem linked with Summon Skeletons Spell) will benefit from the increased Minion damage and speed bonuses. Totems also benefit from Auras and can generate endurance/frenzy/power charges on their own (charges generated by Totems will not apply to the player's character)
- Traps & Mines builds - these are very specific and niche types of build. Traps can be laid down anywhere on the screen (they are thrown by the player's character) but take a moment to be armed. After a Trap is armed, it can be triggered by monsters. On the other hand, Mines can be only planted under the caster's character, but can be detonated instantly, and even remotely. If using the Trap Support or Remote Mines Support gems, basically any spell can be cast by either of those. This is similar in a way to Totem builds - spells and abilities cast by Traps and Mines will benefit from the corresponding support gems, while Traps' and Mines' damage can also be globally amplified by the following stats.:
-increased Trap/Mine damage
-increased Trap/Mine laying speed
-increased Trap/Mine duration
-increased maximum number of Traps/Mines that can be laid down
-increased number of Traps/Mines that are laid down with a single cast
It is very important to understand how certain skills have their damage calculated. All skills deal a certain amount of physical/elemental or chaos damage. While most spells have it determined by the skill gem itself, melee and ranged attacks will usually deal a certain percentage of your weapons base damage (whether it's physical or elemental). Both spell damage on skill gems, and your weapon's damage is increased by the flat added damage to spells and attacks (the damage values are added to that of the skill gem and weapon). Later on damage conversion takes place, and finally, it is multiplied by all corresponding damage type bonus, from your items, skill tree, and ascendancy points.
To understand how damage conversion works you should know there are two main types of damage conversion:
- % of [damage type] is converted to [damage type] - the damage is converted to another type. For example, your skill deals 2-4 physical damage. With 50% fire damage conversion, it will deal with 1-2 physical damage and 1-2 fire damage. Increased Melee/Physical Damage affixes will apply to the 1-2 value, while Fire/Elemental Damage Bonuses will apply to the 1-2 Fire Damage dealt.
- Adds % of [damage type] as extra [damage type] - basically, this means, the original damage of your skill remains the same, while certain % of it is added as extra damage. For example, your skill deals 5-10 physical damage, and 20% of it is added as extra cold damage. This means your skill will still deal 5-10 physical damage, and also 1-2 cold damage, greatly increasing your overall DPS. This conversion type, makes damage amplification apply to both types of damage. Melee/Physical Damage bonuses will apply to physical damage, while Cold/Elemental Damage will apply to the 1-2 cold damage dealt. With this types of skills, it is usually the main idea to stack as much flat physical damage bonuses on your items, because the damage is not only added in the form of physical damage, but also some part of them is added to other types of damage (usually elemental)
Any damage can also be increased by:
- Increased Critical Strike Chance - most abilities and weapons have a base critical strike chance (e.g., 5%) By increasing Critical Strike Chance you increase the base chance to critically strike an enemy. This value is not additive, but multiplied - if your Increased Critical Strike Chance attribute is at 200%, it means an ability with 5% base critical strike chance will have 15% to Critically Strike.
- Increased Critical Strike Multiplier - determines the damage increase of your Critical Strikes
- Frenzy Charges - a type of charges associated with Dexterity attribute. It increases Attack Speed, Cast Speed and Damage per Frenzy Charge
- Power Charges - a type of charges associated with Intelligence attribute. It increases Critical Strike Chance by 40% per Power Charge
In a nutshell, this should give you a basic understanding of how damage works in Path of Exile. It is common that players assign certain passive points, and buy expensive items, while falsely thinking they will affect their currently used skills.
Let's now get down to the main defensive mechanics in Path of Exile. There are three main types of builds in Path of Exile:
- Life builds - this is the most common and popular types of builds in Path of Exile. They are based on high life pool - which should be increased by pretty much every item except for certain unique items that you may require in your build, which simply don't have this attribute. As a beginner, you should be more than fine just using Life-based builds during your adventure. It is easy to recover Life directly using Life Flasks, Life Leech or Life Regeneration.
- Energy Shield builds - are usually more suitable for advanced PoE players. Energy shield recovery works in a completely different way. After not taking damage for a brief moment, Energy Shield will recover it's own, at a setup pace which can be increased by certain items or passive points. This means some encounters and combat, in general, may be troublesome for newcomers. Also, it is impossible to regain Energy Shield with Flasks, and Life Leech requires Zealot's Oath passive to be active or provided by items or Flasks. In general, having a high Energy Shield pool requires tremendous investments in gear, and staying alive may pose a challenge to beginners. This types of builds are usually based on the Chaos Inoculation passive, which turns the character's Life to 1, but makes the character immune to Chaos Damage.
- Hybrid builds - this is a mix of Life and Energy Shield. These are not as widely popular anymore but still used in some builds. Hybrid build choices are usually made because of the necessity to use certain high Energy Shield items, and keeping the characters ES a level high enough, to make it more effective to spend a couple of extra points on Energy Shield nodes, rather than following the regular Life route for the build.
- Low life builds - these are very niche types of builds nowadays because of the Patch's 3.0 nerfs to Energy Shield. They are based on Shavronne's Wrappings Body Armour, which makes no Chaos Damage bypass the Energy Shield. Granting similar effect to Chaos Inoculation, but allowing the players to reserve the available Life for additional Auras
On top of the above types, Path of Exile introduced several other defensive mechanics that include:
- Armour - mitigates incoming Physical damage from hits (for example bleeding deals physical but does not hit, so your Armour will not lower the damage from bleeding)
- Evasion - grants a chance to evade enemy attacks (chance to hit is calculated based on enemy accuracy rating and the player's evasion ratings). Only melee and ranged attacks can be evaded, while spells will automatically hit
- Dodge - is similar to evasion. However, both attacks and spells can be dodged
- Avoidance - is a mechanic, that allows avoiding damage from hits. For example, you are hit by an attack but avoided its damage. It still however counted as a hit and may apply on-hit effects (for example bleeding)
- Block - is a mechanic that grants a chance to prevent damage of attacks when wielding a staff, shield or when dual wielding weapons. A chance to block may also be applied to spells by certain items or abilities
- Immunity - certain items and abilities may grant permanent or temporary immunity. The most common skill that uses this defensive mechanic is Immortal Call, which grants brief Immunity to any damage. Various items, including Flasks, may grant immunity to certain damage types or negative status ailments
- Endurance charges - are the defensive type of charges associated with the Strength attribute. Endurance charges are generated through various skills and abilities and last only for a brief duration. Each charge provided physical damage mitigation and increased all elemental resistances. Certain items, passives, and abilities may increase the maximum number of charges your character can have at a time.
In this section, we are going to cover only the most basic and important information about mapping. This will include the most valuable information for new Path of Exile players that just started their adventure. We might write a more detailed and in-depth guide about mapping and the Atlas if we see a lot of you guys interested in this topic :) Leave it in the comments below and we will get right to it ;)
- Maps are the end-game content in Path of Exile. They are regular lootable items, that start dropping from slain monsters on areas level 60 and above (this is an estimate, it is possible you may find maps on slightly lower level areas)
- You can use the map in the mapping device which will open portals to specific areas inhabited by monsters, rogue exiles, and unique bosses
- Areas you can gain access to by using maps have the lowest level of 68 (Tier 1 maps)
- Map device opens six portals to each map. You can enter each portal only once, meaning you should only farm maps you are comfortable with. Dying too much will render it impossible to complete maps and obtain the most valuable loot from its' bosses
- Each map has a specific layout, monster types, monster densities, and bosses. Try to explore different types of maps and find out which one works best for you (clear speed and deaths per map should be your main concern)
- Magic, Rare and Unique maps have different mods affecting monsters or the player's character. You should make sure you can complete maps with their mods before you open it. For example, elemental/physical resists maps are extremely hard for a lot of popular builds
- Maps can be altered with orbs, in a way similar to crafting/reforging items. For starters, you can upgrade low/mid-tier maps to magic rarity, and higher tier maps to rare with Orbs of Alchemy. This increases the item quantity and rarity of slain monsters but makes the difficulty level higher
- Before opening unique maps make sure what type of encounters wait ahead. Certain unique maps may require a specific set of skills or items to complete (for example movement skills, or specific status ailments immunity items)
- "Fast map clearing" builds usually allow clearing maps in 2-3 minutes each. You can use this as a reference to measure how effective your current build is.
Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Grinding Gear Games.
[3.15] Enki's Archmage Hierophant - a beginner-friendly Lightning Caster
Gearing in Path of Exile is all about opportunity cost - sure, that unique item may look good,
but is it better than all other options? Can you make up the loss of vital stats somewhere else?
In this section I want to give you a quick rundown on what to look out for in each slot.
This build uses staves as weapons, just avoid warstaves as they can't roll caster-specific stats! The most important stats to look out for are 100%+ Spell- or Lightning Damage and 100+ Mana, any Mana Regeneration Rate or Cast- and Attack Speed are good additions.
Avoid Cold Damage added to Spells and Fire Damage added to Spells, both can ruin the Exposure applied by Wave of Conviction!
Pledge of Handsis our endgame staff. It comes with lots of Spell Damage and Mana, and grants Greater Spell Echo to socketed skills. This adds two additional repeats as well as 30% more Damage and 50% AoE per repeat, which synergizes perfectly with our Ball Lightning setup.
Another advantage is that it helps mana sustain, since we get 4x casts of Ball Lightning while only spending mana for one. Be aware that this also locks us in place for longer when casting!
The best Harvestenchantment is Grants 1% increased Elemental Damage per 2% Quality.
Any intelligence-based body armour works, focus on 80+ Life, 40+ Mana and Resistances.
Cloak of Defianceis our endgame body armour. It provides a ton of Mana and another %-based Mana Regeneration modifier, saves us a passive point for Mind over Matter and adds another 10% of Damage taken from Mana before Life.
The best Harvest enchantment is Grants +1 to Maximum Mana per 2% Quality.
A basic helmet with 60+ Life, 40+ Mana and Resistances is a good start.
On higher budgets you can add in #% maximum Manaor Nearby Enemies have -#% to Lightning Resistance.
The best enchantmentsare Arcane Cloak spends an additional #% of current Manaand Spells Triggered by Arcanist Brand Unnerve enemies on Hit for 4 seconds.
Atleast 60+ Life, 40+ Mana and Resistances are once again the baseline here.
Cast Speed, Spell Damage, Culling Strikeand #% chance to Unnerve Enemies for # seconds on Hitare good additions.
The Ritual-specific basetypes Leyline-, Aetherwind-and Nexus Glovesare insanely good.
We gain lots of mana sustain from their #% chance when you pay a Skill's Mana Cost to gain that much Manamodifier and the 30% reduced maximum Manais not as much as it sounds.
Enchantments aren't really significant for us here, don't bother with them.
Focus on 60+ Life, 40+ Mana and Resistances together with 20%+ Movement Speed.
Two-Toned Boots and Fugitive Boots are desirable for their Resistance implicits.
You have Tailwind if you have dealt a Critical Strike Recentlyis a good addition for endgame boots.
The best enchantment is #% increased Mana Regeneration Rate if you've cast a Spell recently, don't settle with anything else.
An entry level amulet should have 40+ Life, 40+ Mana and either Cast Speed or Spell- or Lightning Damage.
The Aylardexis our first endgame choice. It gives us the basic Life and Mana, +1 Power Charge and Mana Regeneration Rate as well as Damage taken from Mana before Life based on active Power Charges, but also removes the Crit Chance we'd gain from Power Charges.
Atziri's Foibleis another endgame choice. It provides more Mana and -Regeneration Rate than Aylardex and saves us some Dexterity investment, but lacks the other stuff.
Eventually we want to improve its stats with Fertile Catalysts.
Good anointmentsare Mind Drinker, Disciple of the Forbidden(w/ Aylardex) and Mana Flows.
Rings are great to gain lots of Resistances from, once again together with 40+ Life and 40+ Mana.
A highend ring has all that on a Cerulean Ring base and with Mana Regeneration Rate, enhanced with Fertile Catalysts.
Essence Wormshould be our second ring. It allows running an aura without reservation cost while raising the reservation cost of other auras, our choice is Wrathfor more damage.
Without this ring, running Wrath would remove most of our damage and defenses!
Surprisingly, 80+ Life, 40+ Mana and Resistances are also our focus here. Stygian Vise gives an additional Abyss Jewelsocket, otherwise go for a Leather Belt or Heavy Belt.
For endgame we want a belt with all that and high Mana Recovery Rate. This stat multiplies our Mana Regeneration and Mana Flask Recovery and is insanely helpful for endgame sustain.
Fertile Catalystsare once again our best choice here to perfect an endgame belt.
Our jewels should have Life or Mana together with some of the following: Increased Damage, Increased Lightning Damage, Increased Spell Damage (-while wielding a Staff), Increased Cast Speed (-while wielding a Staff), Increased Attack & Cast Speedand Increased Mana Regeneration Rate.
Avoid Cold Damage added to Spells and Fire Damage added to Spells, both can ruin the Exposure applied by Wave of Conviction!
Tempered Mindsocketed near Mind over Matter gives a great amount of Mana Recovery Rate. This doesn't affect Mana Regeneration in your character sheet, but will be very noticeable.
It can only drop from the Vaal Omnitectin the Temple of Atzoatl.
Healthy Mindconverts life passives in its radius to mana at twice its value. We can use it next to Mystic Bulwark to convert Cruel Preparation, Heart and Soul and the small passives for a massive mana and damage increase.
Militant Faithwith Carved to glorify # new Faithful converted by High Templar Dominuscan be used in the socket near Mind over Matter instead of Tempered Mind. This will grant us Inner Convictionfor a great damage increase at the loss of Mana Recovery Rate. It can only drop from the Templar Legionwithin the Domain of Timeless Conflict.
When using this, make sure that you have Mind over Matter allocatedand that the jewel doesn't transform any Notables we usewithin its radius.
Unnatural Instinctis a very high budget option that grants the effects of all Small Passiveswithin its radius at the cost of the effects of allocated Small Passives within its radius. We can use it near Shaper to gain Mana, Mana Regeneration Rate, Skill Effect Duration and Cast Speed.
When using this, we have to path to the Jewel Socket through both Life Regeneration- instead of the Mana passives.
Watcher's Eyeis a highend option that gives Life, Mana and two or three aura-related affixes.
They can only drop from the Elder (2-affix)or Uber Elder (3-affix).
Useful affixes for this build are:
I've already briefly explained flasks earlier in the guide, just as a reminder they're more than just Healing Pots that you may know from other ARPG's.
There's two types: Life/Mana/Hybrid Flasks which heal the respective stat over a duration, and Utility Flasks which grant buffs during their listed duration. Prefixes augment the flasks effect or duration, while suffixes add additional buffs that are active during the flasks duration.
Crafting Advice: Start by scouring all flasks and put 4x Glassblower Baubles on each, which can be bought for 8x Blacksmith's Whetstones each at the gear vendor in town. Transmute and use Orbs of Alteration until you hit one of the listed prefixes without a suffix, and add one of the listed suffixes through Einhar's Beastcrafting in the Menagerie. If you hit a listed prefix already together with a listed suffix, you should of course keep that.
Your Flask Setup should be the following:
Divine Life Flask - Eternal Mana Flask - Diamond Flask - Granite Flask - Quicksilver Flask
Divine Life Flasks are best for instant heal, get Panicked with Staunching to remove Bleeding.
The Eternal Mana Flask backs up our mana drain while casting, for that we want Concentrated with Curing to remove Poison.
Diamond Flasks add additional Crit Chance to proc Elemental Overload, we want with Experimenter's and Warding to remove Curses.
Our Granite Flask adds a tiny amount of Armour to mitigate small physical hits, best with Experimenter's or Alchemist's with Iron Skin.
Quicksilver Flasks provide Movement Speed, aim for Alchemist's with Adrenaline.
Cluster Jewels expand the passive tree by adding new branches when socketed in any outer 3-point jewel socket. There's three types, Large-, Medium- and Small Cluster Jewels, each with their own implicits and pool of notables. They only drop from Delirium encounters and need to be crafted first, therefore i'm including them as optional choices rather than an integral part.
Our Large Cluster needs to be Lightning Damage based and ideally has only 8 added passives.
Disorienting Display is our main goal to gain Blind for added survivability, additional notables are Scintillating Idea, Thunderstruck, Vengeful Commander, Storm Drinker and Tempt the Storm.
Our Small Clusters need to be mana based, ideally with 2 added passives.
We want Mindfulness here, which provides additional Mana and lots of Mana Regeneration Rate while stationary, which we happen to be while casting.
Mapping & Pantheons
Before you start mapping, make sure that your Elemental Resistances (Fire, Cold & Lightning) are capped at 75% and you have atleast 3.5k Life and 4k Mana.
Your first maps shouldn't be an issue with this build, just keep on progressing through the Atlas. Read up on monster mods and map mods to understand what everything does and how they may affect enemies or yourself, and this guide for Atlas progression.
Use Orb of Storms for packs of enemies, Ball Lightning is only needed for anything that refuses to die quickly. Use Leap Slam and the Quicksilver Flask to move between enemies or dodge their skills, if it's safe to do you can leap into the enemies to gain Fortify.
Try to keep Arcane Cloak up as much as possible. A good way to do that is putting it on your Left-Click - you can still move freely, but Arcane Cloak will be casted when possible.
Enemies usually give visual cues to react and often lock target on the position you're at during their animation start, so in that case simply move to avoid all damage. Sometimes you can also use the environment to block enemies from getting to you or preventing damage from their skills.
That said, there's many things in this game that aren't meant to be tanked in the first place,
and may kill you if you try. There's lots of trial and error involved to figure them out.
As a general rule, remember: Standing still for too long is a death sentence in this game!
Bossfights are all mechanical, the build can take some hits and allows you to learn those fights. Generally going in circles around the boss works well. You only want to gain distance for a few skills such as AoE slams, explosions or burrow attacks.
Same as above, keep Arcane Cloak up at all times! Put Arcanist on the boss, start the fight, cast Orb of Storms and burst them down with Ball Lightning. Move to dodge skills or replenish mana and repeat the rotation until the boss is dead.
Beware of any iteration of Atziri! She has an inherent 2% damage reflection, use Sibyl's Lament and Soul of Yugul to be safe.
Mapmods to look out for
Temporal Chains - absolutely annoying
Players have less AoE - single target damage loss
Elemental Equilibrium/Resistance/Enfeeble - overall damage loss
Monsters poison/ignite on hit - can mess up your mana regeneration
No Regeneration - can't safely run this, skip
Elemental Reflect - equip a Sibyl's Lament and use Soul of Yugul, or skip.
Special thanks to everyone who helped improving the guide or supported it in any other way,
and to GGG for this awesome game and their exceptional support!
Hope you enjoy the build and have a nice day!
Last edited by Enki91 on Aug 16, 2021, 6:52:09 PM
Table Of Contents of this Page
- Welcome to Wraeclast: Fresh Exiles, Start Here
- Character Classes and Core Attributes
- Gems – The Abilities of Path of Exile
- League Play
- Build Choice
- Getting Started in Path of Exile
- Home Cities
- Understanding Experience Gain
- Currency in Path of Exile
- Installing a Loot Filter
- About the Author
Welcome to Wraeclast: Fresh Exiles, Start Here
Path of Exile is an enormous game with so many different facets it can make your head start to spin. Players new to the game, in particular, are sometimes discouraged by how intricate and interlocking many of the game’s systems are. Failing to understand some of the fundamentals will cripple your ability to make progress in the game, or make it feel far more difficult or sluggish than should be.
With that sobering message out of the way, we can jump right into our Beginner’s Guide to Path of Exile! Stay sane, exile.
As we discussed in the introduction, many of the systems in Path of Exile are interlocking, and it can be difficult to fully understand one concept without explaining another. If you encounter unfamiliar words and concepts, rest assured we will cover everything you need to know within this page.
Perhaps the most discussed portion of Path of Exile is its infamous passive skill tree, spider-webbing in all sorts of directions.
This intimidating tree has over 1200 nodes available to choose from. While we will discuss the Passive Tree in greater detail later on, suffice to say that it is not nearly as complex as it appears at first glance.
Character Classes and Core Attributes
The first deviation from the standard video game formula is the class design in Path of Exile. Choosing a class affects where you start on the Passive Skill tree, rather than what abilities your class has. Certain classes are more suited to the use of certain abilities, as they reach passives that synergize with their build for less skill point investment.
There are three core attributes in Path of Exile. They are each associated with a certain color, which is important as it relates to many other systems within the game.
The core attributes are:
If we divide the passive tree roughly into three slices of pie, each slice has many nodes related to one of the core attributes. While this is not an absolute rule, it is a helpful way of gaining some insight into how the Passive Tree works.
All combat skills and items have attribute requirements; for example, using the Farrul's Fur chest requires at least 95 Strength and 116 Dexterity. Attributes also have their own benefits for every 10 points you obtain. They are as follows:
|Attribute||Bonus Per 10 Points|
|Strength||5 Maximum Life, 2% Melee Physical Damage|
|Dexterity||20 Accuracy Rating, 2% Increased Evasion Rating|
|Intelligence||5 Maximum Mana, 2% Increased Maximum Energy Shield|
These attributes are associated with the classes of Path of Exile, as well as the passive tree itself. There are seven classes in Path of Exile, and each of them begin at a different point on the Passive Skill Tree you saw above. The starting areas of the core classes look like “wheels” on the tree. For example, here is a low level Marauder investing points from his starting wheel.
Each time you level up, you are granted a skill point to invest into your tree, however, you must always remain connected to your class’ starting wheel. The seven core classes are:
|Marauder||Strength||32 Strength, 14 Dexterity, 14 Intelligence|
|Templar||Strength/Intelligence||23 Strength. 14 Dex, 23 Intelligence|
|Witch||Intelligence||14 Strength, 14 Dexterity, 32 Intelligence|
|Shadow||Dexterity/Intelligence||14 Strength, 23 Dexterity, 23 Intelligence|
|Ranger||Dexterity||14 Strength, 32 Dexterity, 14 Intelligence|
|Duelist||Strength/Dexterity||23 Strength, 23 Dexterity, 14 Intelligence|
|Scion||Strength/Dexterity/Intelligence||20 Strength, 20 Dexterity, 20 Intelligence|
The Scion is a special class that starts in the center of the tree. It is not available to new players until you have rescued her during the main storyline of the game. The reason for this is the extreme degree of customization possible, coupled with an extremely weak early game, making it very unfriendly to new players.
One thing to emphasize is there is not a “best” class in Path of Exile. Unlike typically role playing games or MMORPGs, choosing a class is one of the least important decisions in Path of Exile, as there are practically infinite builds to choose from for each class.
One of the main differences between classes is their Ascendancy options, which we will cover in full detail in a later section. Ascendancies are essentially “sub-classes”, or specializations, which further diversify playstyles. Each class has 3 Ascendancy options, except the Scion, who only has 1.
Gems – The Abilities of Path of Exile
Path of Exile has a unique take on skills and abilities. All players start the game with no abilities, save for a default auto attack. Almost immediately, however, you will acquire a weapon and a skill gem.
Skill Gems are the abilities of Path of Exile. When a skill gem is placed into a socket, the ability can be used by the player, assuming you meet the requirements. The color of the skill gem denotes the required attribute. Gems must match the socket color in order to be slotted in. Gems gain experience the longer you use them, and leveling up gems increases their power and effectiveness, however, the attribute requirement also increases.
Gem sockets are only found in certain items. While there are a few esoteric exceptions to this rule, gem sockets can typically only be found in the following types of equipment:
|Equipment Type||Maximum Number of Gem Sockets|
Players can attempt to reforge the number of sockets on a piece of gear using Jeweller's Orbs, but not above the maximum listed above. The likelihood of achieving higher numbers of sockets in an item is reduced at an almost exponential rate for each additional socket (e.g. getting 5 sockets on a Chest item is significantly more likely than 6). An item with a higher Quality bonus has a greater chance to receive a higher number of sockets.
Sockets can also be recolored using Chromatic Orbs.
Additionally, there are restrictions on how many sockets a piece of gear can have based on its item level. This means that a 2-handed weapon you find near the beginning of the game will not be able to have 6 sockets, no matter how many Jeweller's Orbs are used. The easiest way to see item level is to hold the ALT key and hover your cursor over an item. The item level restrictions on sockets are as follows:
|Number of Sockets||Minimum Item Level|
Gem Sockets can be linked together using the Orb of Fusing currency. As with Jeweller's Orbs, the chance of obtaining a higher number of links is significantly lower than achieving a low number of links. An item with a higher Quality bonus has a greater chance to receive a higher number of links.
Perhaps even more important the skill gems themselves, support gems augment empower existing abilities in unique and interesting ways. For a support gem to take effect, however, it must be linked to the skill gem in a gem socket chain, as described in the section above. Support Gems do nothing on their own, or if they are not linked to an active skill gem.
There are a massive variety of support gems in Path of Exile, and they vary extremely greatly in effect. Certain support gems will not work with active skill gems; for example, Greater Multiple Projectiles Support will only support Projectile skill gems, as you might expect. Here is an example of the skill gem Elemental Hit being used with and without Greater Multiple Projectiles Support.
Support gems are subject to the exact same restrictions as Skill Gems; they must match the color of the socket, and have attribute requirements based on the color of the skill gem. Support gems do not have to match the skill gem color.
Setting Up Your Skills
Path of Exile builds typically revolve around one or two main skill gems, augmented by multiple support gems in a link. In the end-game, your goal will be to have a chest or 2-handed weapon with 6 linked sockets. In such an instance, you will always have a single skill gem supported by 5 support gems. The result is that your main skill will become exponentially more powerful than if was not linked to support gems. Here is an example 6-Link a player might use in the end-game of Path of Exile:
As you should be able to piece together from reading the tooltips, Firestorm is the skill gem in this link. By adding these support gems, we are reducing the area of effect of the skill but increasing its damage using Concentrated Effect Support. Elemental Focus Support and Controlled Destruction Support both increase the elemental damage of the skill, while Fire Penetration Support grants the skill the ability to punch through monsters with Fire resistance more easily. Finally, Spell Echo Support allows you to cast multiple instances of the spell rapidly. The damage difference between this setup and Firestorm on its own is absolutely enormous. Hopefully, you are starting to understand how important it is to link your skill gem to support gems.
Additional gem links, such as in Boots or Gloves (that have a maximum of 4 Links), are typically used for defense or mobility. Every build in Path of Exile incorporates at least one mobility skill, such as Whirling Blades.
Here is an example mobility link used in some builds:
Whirling Blades is the skill gem in this link, and we link it to Faster Attacks Support to increase the speed of the skill. This allows us to travel quicker through areas in the game. By linking it to Fortify Support, we will gain a nice damage reduction when we dash into a pack of monsters, granting additional defense. Finally, Blood Magic Support makes the skill cost Life instead of Mana, which can be helpful for Mana hungry builds.
Aura gems are technically considered skill gems, but instead of granting a combat skill, they provide a buff that lasts until canceled in exchange for a portion of your maximum Mana pool.
There are a variety of Aura gems in Path of Exile. Some are focused around enhancing damage, while others bolster the players defenses.
Vaal gems are a special class of gem, as they can be both Skill Gems and Auras. Vaal gems only exist for specific skills and abilities, and provide empowered versions of the base skill gem. When using a Vaal gem, the player gains the use of both the base skill gem, and the empowered Vaal ability. For example, if Reave was your main ability, you could use the Vaal Reave gem instead, and still be able to use the normal Reave ability. To activate the Vaal version of them, a fixed amount of “souls”, or enemy kills, are necessary. Here is an example of a player using the Fireball skill, and then activating Vaal Fireball.
The majority of Path of Exile players choose to play on the temporary Leagues, which typically last around 3 months. You can think of Leagues as seasonal or quarterly resets on the game, each of which brings a new special twist to the game. For example, during the Beyond League, slaying groups of monsters in close proximity could causes monsters from the “Beyond” to appear and attack you. This adds some new flavor to the game every few months that many players quickly come to appreciate.
Another key benefit of League play is the economical reset it provides. All players begin on an even playing field, and the economy never has a chance to stagnate. This makes farming for items a lot more exciting, as they are worth significantly more than on the permanent “Standard” league, where there are limitless quantities in the game already.
Finally, Leagues afford experienced players the opportunity to “race”. Whether it is the first person to kill a new boss, or the first to reach maximum level, there is always an objective that the best players want to make their mark on before anyone else.
Hardcore leagues are identical to their “softcore” counterparts, with the added caveat that the player only has a single life. If the player’s character dies, it is moved to the permanent Standard league.
All leagues have a “Solo Self-Found” variant, commonly known as SSF. In SSF leagues, players will neither see, nor be able to form a party with any other player(s). Trading is impossible, and as the name implies, everything must be acquired by the player themself.
SSF leagues are not recommended for new players, as there are specific strategies followed to help make obtaining key items a lot more manageable. There are no benefits to playing on SSF leagues versus “trade leagues”, as they are often referred to, and the difference is merely a choice of playstyle.
Now that you understand some of the most basic mechanics of the game, you will want to choose a build and create your first exile. We recommend browsing our guides for a build that is budget friendly or a league starter. League Starters are a type of build meant to function well without much currency investment or items. Many experienced players use these builds for their first character on a league, to build up wealth before embarking on a more ambitious and expensive build later on.
New players often make the mistake of choosing a build that boasts “insane damage”, or “all content viable” — this is a trap. Typically such builds are difficult to level, require a vast amount of wealth to properly outfit, or involve difficult gameplay mechanics. Many a new exile has chosen such a build, only to get smashed while leveling and have a miserable experience with the game. A mistaken belief is that if they persevere long enough, they will eventually acquire the necessary means to complete the build. This is a fallacy, however, as new players also lack the knowledge to quickly accrue wealth and identify valuable items.
Certain classes are also easier to level than others. The Marauder, for example, starts very near to a large number of Life nodes on the passive skill tree, making him more innately tanky than other classes much earlier in the game. This means you will be much less likely to die from mistakes or lack of knowledge. The Witch, on the other hand, is generally a much more fragile class early in the game, and requires some finesse to safely level without dying.
Getting Started in Path of Exile
Select your preferred League and chosen class, christen your character with a name, and enter the dark and dangerous world of Wraeclast. You will be immediately confronted with your first enemy, and provided with a weapon to defeat it with. The weapon will be automatically equipped, and all you will need to do is simply left click to auto-attack it to death.
Pick up the skill gem that it drops, and socket it into your weapon to acquire your first special attack. By default, the skill will be assigned to the right mouse button. You will be able to move using left click, and attack enemies with a right click.
At this point, you should change your auto-attack (left click) keybind to be move only. The basic auto-attack is virtually never used in Path of Exile, as all damage is done via our attack skills. Having your left mouse button configured as move only allows for much easier movement, as you cannot mislick on enemies and interrupt your movement with an auto-attack.
To change this, simply left click on the binding itself at the bottom right hand of the screen, and select move only.
Make your way down the beach, looting your first support gem from the chest you come across. Place it into your weapon’s second socket to bolster your newly acquired skill gem. Continue to venture further down the beach, until you encounter Hillock, the first Unique enemy you will encounter. Unique enemies are denoted by their orange flavor text, which signifies they are either intended to be a boss or an enemy with several unique mechanics.
Defeat Hillock, who should not pose much of a challenge. If you need more Life or Mana during the battle, use your Flasks, which are bound on the 1-5 numerical keys by default. If it is your first character, you will likely want to pick up the items that Hillock drops and equip them if possible. After Hillock’s defeat, the door to the game’s first home city opens, inviting you into Lioneye’s Watch.
Each Act in Path of Exile has its own home city, which functions as a sanctuary and travel hub to help you move quickly around the game. Quest givers are always located in the home cities of the game, and often double as vendors that you can sell your drops to.
There is also a Waypoint in every home city, which is a means of fast travel throughout the world of Wraeclast. While you adventure throughout the game, you will encounter inactive waypoints which can be activated by simply left clicking on them. Once active, they are permanently unlocked for your character and can be used to quickly travel between other unlocked waypoints.
Quests are designated by exclamation marks above the quest giver’s character model, and speaking with them will automatically accept the quest. Quests do not have to be accepted to be completed, and will automatically be added to your log if you complete an action that is related to the quest. Picking them up manually is helpful for new players, however, as it makes navigating much easier and allows you to follow the story thread without interruption.
Press ”U” to open the Quest Log, which also shows any connected areas and waypoints. You can select a different active quest by left clicking on them, however, this is only helpful for navigational purposes.
Understanding Experience Gain
Unlike many RPGs, Quests do not grant experience in Path of Exile. The only way to increase the experience of your character and level up is to kill enemies that are within your level range. Killing enemies that are close to the level of your character grants the maximum amount of experience, however, killing enemies that are too high or too lowly leveled grants nothing.
For a new player, you will likely want to stick to killing monsters that are roughly the same level as your character to avoid any difficulties. Press Tab to see the instance information displayed at the top right, including monster level.
A common mistake that new players make is trying to fully clear every zone of monsters. While this does become necessary late in the game, it is extremely inefficient to do so in the early acts, as you will end up extremely over-leveled. Additionally, the drops for these low level monsters are extremely poor, so there is practically no incentive to kill any more than necessary.
For peak efficiency, it is ideal to be a few levels below the zone you are currently in. Advanced players will often intentionally ensure their character is 2-3 levels below the zones they are progressing in, as that is generally the range that maximum experience is rewarded.
Experience values to level up taper very heavily as you gain levels. While you will only need to kill a few monsters to go from level 1 to level 2, you will have to clear entire zones to level up once you are in the 50s. The maximum level is 100, although this is a hefty milestone that many players never reach. The experience jumps are so extreme in the 90s that it actually takes more experience to go from 99 to 100 than all the levels from 1 to 97.
Dying in Path of Exile imposes an experience penalty. Players progressing through Act 1-5 will receive no penalty on death, however, in order to give newer players time to familiarize themselves with the basic mechanics of the game.
Once Kitava is encountered for the first time, at the end of Act V, a hidden penalty will be imposed. Each death will remove 5% of your experience bar. Once Kitava is encountered for the second time, at the end of Act X, this penalty is increased to 10% per death.
Players cannot lose levels from dying; the experience bar will simply reach 0% but go no further.
Currency in Path of Exile
Path of Exile has one of the most unique and engaging currency systems in any game to date. There are a variety of currency items, called “Orbs”, within the game world. The orbs all have a practical usage; for instance, the Orb of Fusing can be used to link together sockets in an item. The value of the orb is determined by a combination of practical value and rarity.
One orb, in particular, is used for most transactions, or as a relative “dollar value” within the game that all other orbs are measured against. This unit of currency is called the Chaos Orb, and is the most common form of payment accepted when trading with other players. Most other orbs are measured in their relative value to the Chaos Orb. This is best tracked using the website poe.ninja to determine their values.
The value of currency is not fixed, and is determined by market demand. For example, the Orb of Fusing usually starts the league quite cheap, being worth about 0.25 Chaos each. After a week or two, however, when players are trying to link their newly acquired end-game gear, the value can often double or triple as the demand for them greatly increases.
Installing a Loot Filter
There are thousands upon thousands of items and currencies in Path of Exile, and it would be impossible to teach a fresh exile every single one to keep an eye out for. Fortunately, a Loot Filter is a great way to highlight the best and rarest drops, while filtering out the items that are not worth picking up. It only takes about two minutes to do, and is absolutely necessary at higher levels, where so much loot is dropping that it can obstruct your screen entirely. Take a look at this comparison below, showing the same loot with no filter (top) versus a basic loot filter (bottom).
To get started installing a basic loot filter, take a look at the following steps.
1. Go to https://www.filterblade.xyz/
2. Set your basic options. We recommend “semi-strict” for new players.
3. Name and download your filter.
4. Put the filter file in your Documents/My Games/Path of Exile folder.
5. Log in to Path of Exile. Press Escape, then Options, and navigate to the UI tab. The last option on the page will allow you to select a Loot Filter in-game.
Having a Loot Filter will greatly reduce confusion for new and seasoned players alike, highlighting the rarest and most valuable items with colors, sounds, and more visible text. Most of the useless items are filtered so that they are longer seen, and this level of strictness can be changed later on if need be. Higher level players, or those with greater wealth, often choose to run stricter filters, only stopping to loot items that are “worth their time”.
About the Author
Furty has been playing Path of Exile since the release of the Onslaught League in 2013, and has a deep and diverse well of experience within the game. Equally comfortable playing on Hardcore, Softcore, and Solo-Self Found Leagues, Furty finished the Betrayal League at Rank 186 on the ladder playing Elemental Hit. You can follow him on Twitter, or check out his occasional streams on Twitch.
Updated for Ultimatum 3.14.
Ritual 3.13; checked and ready for the new league.
Checked and ready for Patch 3.8 Blight League.
Updated for Patch 3.7 Legion.
Added new sections on Getting Started, Home Cities, Experience Gain, Currency, and Loot Filters.
Mi, young. doy man. vek. - Maybe. to bed.[ POE ] Basic Crafting Guide for Beginners - Path of Exile
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