PoE Beginner Guide - Learn how to play Path of Exile

PoE Beginner Guide
p3ter 21.11.2019 0

Path of Exile guide for new players

Welcome to MMOAuctions Path of Exile beginner guide for new players. Whether you are completely new to the game or you just want to expand your current knowledge about PoE, you are in the right place. In the article below, we will be covering basic concepts of the game and features that you can find at the beginning. You will learn how both passive and active skills work, what zones are waiting for you in the game, and what different classes you have to choose from. Let's get started.

Table of content:

Introduction

Classes

Choosing a class

Ascendancy

Attributes

Resources (Life, Mana and Energy Shield)

Leagues

Gems (Skills)

Support Gems

Aura Gems

Vaal Gems

Connecting Gems Together

Amount of sockets

Colour of sockets

Links between gems

How to start

Managing loot

Currency in PoE

Strongboxes and Shrines

Progression

Vaal Side Areas

Maps and endgame content

Summary

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Introduction

For new players, Path of Exile can be quite overwhelming. There is a lot of information that has to be adapted before you will be able to play the game in the way it was meant to be played. If you enter it right away without any preparations you will quickly run into a brick wall. The hardest part of learning for both new and more experienced players is the passive skill tree which consists of hundreds or maybe even thousands of perks. Active skill gems are not that obvious either - they can be linked into various combinations and you need to understand how to do it correctly for your build to work. Don't get discouraged by all of it - we will explain to you how these functions work.

Path of Exile classes

Classes

In most MMORPG titles, choosing a class determines your passive attributes which can show how your class should be played. Active skills are already assigned to your role and you just unlock them by leveling up. The only decision about your character abilities that you make, is at the beginning of the game - in character creation window. It is different in Path of Exile as you are the one who decides how your Exile will look like, what skills he will be using and which passive route he takes. Whether you choose to be a Witch who uses two handed heavy weapons or Marauder who specializes in buffs and healing - you are free to do so.

There are three attributes in the game Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence. Choosing a class, determines a spot in the passive skill tree where you start. It does not affect passive abilities and active skills that you will be using in the future. 

SnF PoE

There are, however, some other conditions that you should be aware of. By choosing Strength-based class, you will have an easier time getting to Strength-based perks which can be useful for melee combat. Intelligence-based heroes will have shorter route on passive tree to summoning spells and totemic magic. Dexterity-based ones will pick up more evasion on their way to the main attributes and so on. Although it is really true that you can become anything you want in the game - it is not always optimal thing to do. The Witch who specializes in magic won't be as good with Molten Strike skill as Marauder. Ranger casting spells also won’t be as optimal as Witch that does that. So if you are new and you want to know where you should start - finding a build which you would like to see in action might be a good step before picking a class.

Each class begins at a certain points in passive skill tree so each of them have a shorter route to certain skills than others. On top of that, whether you start in Strength, Intelligence or Dexterity, passive tree zone will determine what passive attributes will you get. Each time you level up, your character will receive a passive skill point which can be spent to unlock a perk in passive tree. This perk is connected to your starting zone at passive tree and all of the perks that you have already invested in. So to unlock one of the core perks in the passive tree, you will have to spend points beforehand unlocking smaller ones which lead to it.

 

You can find a table with starting attributes for each of the classes below:

 

Class

Main Attribute

Strength

Dexterity

Intelligence

Marauder

Strength

32

14

14

Templar

Strength/Intelligence (hybrid)

23

14

23

Witch

Intelligence

14

14

32

Shadow

Dexterity/Intelligence (hybrid)

14

23

23

Ranger

Dexterity

14

32

14

Duelist

Strength/Dexterity (hybrid)

23

23

14

Scion

Full hybrid

20

20

20

 

As you may have noticed, there are classes that correspond to the main stats and classes which are hybrids combining two of them at the same time. The only one which sticks out of this scheme is a Scion. It is a special class that combines all of the main stats. It also offers an extraordinary place in passive tree since Scion has equal access to all three attributes. Unlike other classes, it is a special Exile which is not featured in character creation screen unless previously unlocked. During your first playthrough you can find Scion locked up in a cage and if you choose to free her she will become a playable character that you can choose at character creation skin.

Choosing a class

While different starting Attributes can seem crucial to your character development they are not as important as you may think. The thing that defines how strong your character will be and what way it will be played is your choices at passive skill tree. On top of that, gems that you will choose and Ascendancy class will also determine direction on how your Exile will be progressed. Make sure to choose a class that fits your fantasy and that you will like to play. Making a choice based purely on how your class will perform or other statistics can lead to lesser enjoyment from the game. Make sure to choose what you like not what you think is good.

Ascendancy

Ascended classes are subclasses that grant access to special small passive skill tree where players can allocate Ascendancy points for powerful passives. There are three Ascendancy Classes for each of the Exiles except Scion which has only one. Below you can find what each of the Exiles can become after ascending to a subclass.

  • Duelist - Slayer, Gladiator, Champion

  • Shadow - Assassin, Saboteur, Trickster

  • Marauder - Juggernaut, Berserker, Chieftain

  • Witch - Necromancer, Elementalist, Occultist

  • Ranger - Deadeye, Raider, Pathfinder

  • Templar - Inquisitor, Hierophant, Guardian

  • Scion - Ascendant.

 

After completing six trials of ascendancy which can be randomly found around your journey across Wraeclast, you will be able to enter The Lord's Labyrinth. To find this place, Exiles will have to head to Aspirant's Plaza through the Statue of Goddess located at the Sarn Encampment. This maze is a randomly generated dungeon filled to the brim with traps, puzzles and enemies. Completion of Lord's Labyrinth gives access to Ascendancy Class choice and awards players with various rewards. First run grants players two points for their new passive skill tree and the first three runs can be unlocked along the journey with the main storyline giving the player six ascendancy points. Additional two points can be earned for completing Eternal Labyrinth which is unlocked by mapping in endgame.

Here are the rules which players have to obey when completing Lord's Labyrinth:

  • 1. The maze have to be completed without dying

  • 2. You can attempt to complete Labyrinth how often you want to

  • 3. There are no waypoints and there is no way to access town during the run (without ending it prematurely)

  • 4. The Stash will be accessible before the fight against Izaro.

 

Ascendancy passive tree is significantly more powerful than a regular passive tree. It also implies how character will be played. For example, Occultist specializes in minions and summons and Elementalist is the master of elements. Just like with the regular tree it consists of smaller nodes with lesser benefits and the big ones that grant huge bonuses. Resetting skill points require five times as many Orb of Regrets than with regular passive skill points.

Path of Exile Attributes

Attributes

As mentioned before, there are three core Attributes in Path of Exile - Strength, Intelligence and Dexterity. Equipment pieces such as Body Armour, Two Handed Weapons and Skill Gems are connected to Attributes. Dexterity Armour can be examined by having an evasion, Strength pieces have regular armour and Intelligence based ones will be represented by Energy Shield. Attributes are necessary for meeting the necessary requirements to wear some of the items. On top of that they provide various bonuses listed below:

  • 10 points in Strength equals +5 maximum life and 2% increased physical damage

  • 10 points in Intelligence equals +5 maximum mana and 2% increased energy shield amount

  • 10 points in Dexterity equals +20 accuracy and 2% evasion rating.

Getting to a higher attributes is achieved by adding points in passive skill tree. There are smaller nodes which are responsible for attribute points. You can also get them from buying jewelry that grants those statistics. Some unique necklaces can be quite cheap while providing very high Attribute bonuses - this can be used to reach necessary stats without spending passive points into unwanted Attributes.

Resources (Life, Mana and Energy Shield)

At the beginning of the game your Exile will have two basic resources - Life and Mana. Those can be replenished by simply regenerating them over time or by using flasks assigned to keys from 1 to 5. Those mixtures help character improve regeneration effects. Some of them are even capable of regenerating said statistics instantly. Amount of resources that you possess is determined by your level, stats and passive tree nodes. There are also items, which can increase them by a certain percentage.

Energy Shield on the other hand is a special resource in PoE that acts like a shell protecting the life of a user. This barrier will absorb on any damage before your life will be drained. It works against every kind of damage except for the chaos one. This special type of attacks can bypass your Energy Shield and hit directly your health so when you have a character that relies heavily on this barrier, make sure to either have decent life values or Chaos Inoculation perk. This passive node decreases your Life Points to 1 but makes your Exile completely immune to chaos damage.

While we are at the topic of resources let's have a closer look at flasks available in the game. There are three main categories where we can assign different flask types - Recovery Flasks, Utility Flasks and Unique Flasks. Depending on the build you are running, you might use more of mixtures from the first category or from another one. There are also some players that decide to only stick to one flask type for a whole game.

Recovery flasks - They are responsible for Life and Mana regeneration. They are the most common ones and they may vary in amount of life/mana they recover. The better they are, the higher the level required to use them will be. Some of those flasks improve regeneration by a significant amount while some of them recover lesser amount instantly. Most of the players use few regenerative ones since they recover more resources than instant ones but they also carry at least one which can recover health without a wait for a critical moment. On top of that, players can also find hybrid flasks which are able to recover both life and mana at the same time.

Utility Flasks - There is a wide variation of those and they can provide different effects like increased movement speed, improved resistances, additional armor or evasion ratings. Those flasks can be crucial for survival during the later stages of the game where the amount of resistance that you get from your equipment is not enough. The most commonly used flask is the one that provides traverse speed. It greatly improves Exiles ability to traverse through Wraeclast and therefore it is almost a must-have for every player.

Unique flasks - Just as the name states, their unique quality makes them more precious than the regular ones. They come with a wide variety of specialized bonuses. For example, projectile based builds can use Dying Sun flask to increase amount of projectiles shot. They are targeted at unique builds which can benefit from their effects, so most of the players will rather stick to regular ones than experimenting with those.

Leagues

In Path of Exile there are few server types with special rules that you can choose to play. Of course, there is a standard one open for every player that can be played normally but every few months there are new Leagues created, featuring additional content and special variations of standard gameplay. These are the leagues that are present at all times:

    • Standard League - Regular league with no changes to the game.

    • Hardcore League - Same as regular one except those who die at this server are moved back to Standard League making it much harder to reach max level.

    • SSF Standard - Regular league which does not allow trades or party. Every player has to be self sufficient.

    • SSF Hardcore - Same as the above except death penalty which is the same as in Hardcore League.

    • Void League - Characters who take part in races are put in this league after race ends. They can be kept as a trophy but they cannot be played.

All of the Leagues are receiving new content and patches at the same time so choosing different ones won't affect changes made to the game by developers. On top of normal Leagues mentioned above, there are also special race leagues. Path of Exile players can take part in them to earn seasonal rewards which can include various item cosmetics from the store. Challenge league can last a few hours but might also take up to three months. During this time, people will be racing against each other to reach highest spots in the rankings. Only a couple of players who have managed to earn top spots will be able to earn a prize.

Path of Exile Gems

Gems

In Path of Exile, there are no skills assigned to the class you choose. Grinding Gear Games, created a system where players can select abilities they want to use by placing active skill gem in item sockets. Those can be connected later on to support gems to furthermore enhance the way they work. For example, Ice Nova does emit a wave of frost in front of the user. When it's connected to Greater Multiple Projectiles support gem, it generates five waves instead of just one. 

https://www.g2a.com/r/g2stronaglowna1

The color of the skill gem denotes the attribute required to wear it and the color of the socket necessary to use it. Your skills or gems can also be leveled. While using them, you generate experience consumed by the gem. When a certain amount is collected, you can upgrade it which results in improving its stats and value. Maximum numbers of sockets in items determines how many skills you can put in them. For a chest piece and two-handed weapons the number is 6 - the highest in the game - and for rings this number is 1. Gems can be removed and replaced any time.

Support Gems

Although skill gems are crucial (since those are the abilities that help you progress through the game) they would be nothing without their connection with Support Gems. They enhance your abilities. They can improve damage, make mana cost of a skill smaller, give you some form of survivability, and so on. 

For effect of Support Gems to be active there has to be a link that connects them in the same item to already existing active skill gems. There is a massive variety when it comes to Support Gems in Path of Exile. You can find ones that will amplify your Physical Damage, Energy Shield, Spell Damage, Movement Speed, Attack Speed, Elemental Damage, etc. These gems look similar to regular skill gems and they have to match the color of the socket.

Aura Gems

Auras are buffs that support your character at the cost of constant mana drain. It can deal damage around your character, boost your Movement Speed or help you by emitting some kind of crowd control against nearby enemies. Auras cannot be connected to most of the other gems, however, they can be improved by some of the Support Gems.

Vaal Games

Vaal stones are special class of gems which provide more powerful versions of standard skills. Their charges can only be activated after a base number of souls (or monster kills) is collected and after use they require to be recharged the same way. Besides, they can be used together with regular skill gems even if both of them have the same name.

Connecting Gems in PoE

For major part of the game you will be trying to link together gems to make them more powerful. You want to unlock as many sockets as possible in your equipment and you will be trying to connect them. Linking two active abilities won't improve their effect and they will act normally. Only default supportive gems can be used to improve active ones, so in ideal composition you will be trying to get one active gem in your equipment piece and as many supportive ones as possible. The amount of slots is not the only requirement standing in your way to do so - there are also other ones.

Amount of sockets

Depending on the type of gear, there might be up to 6 sockets available in item. The maximum is 6 for Body Armour, 6 for Two-Handed Weapons, 4 for Helmets, Boots, and Gloves, 3 for One-Handed Weapons and Shields, 1 for Rings (only special ones). As you can see, gem sockets won't be found in certain items like belts or necklaces. At the beginning of the game you won't be able to find items with more than three sockets, but as you progress through the game you will see that the equipment will have more and more of them. Note that pieces with 6 sockets can be sold for a decent profit to vendor so focus on picking them all up. You can increase the amount of sockets by using Jeweller's Orb.

Colour of the sockets

There are four colors which determine what gems can you put in. Red one is for Strength gems, blue for Intelligence based, and green means that Dexterity gems can be used in it. There are also white ones which correspond to all of the above. Colors of your sockets are random but depending on the type of gear you acquire they might have a better chance at certain attributes. Strength based equipment will have a better chance at red slots, Dexterity at green ones and Intelligence at blue ones. It doesn't mean that you can't roll Intelligence based boots with four red slots but you will definitely be more likely to see some blue ones.

The Color of the sockets can be changed by Chromatic Orb. These orbs will randomize every socket while taking into account the type of item being altered. It means that you can use them to get perfect combination that fits your build. However, usually it is easier to buy it from other players or just to drop it from monsters so if your gear isn't too expensive try to buy it.

Gems have to be linked together in order to correspond between each other. By putting four gems in four slots that are not linked you won't improve the effect at any of them. It is even harder to do than getting certain colors since links can break when you are trying to improve them. Orbs of Fusing are used to change links that connect sockets in items. 

The amount of links doesn't change your chance of getting the next one so if your item has already 5 sockets connected and you want to link 6th it will be as hard to do as without any links existing. It is worth noting that the quality of an item improves a chance at getting links. Since it is very hard to connect pieces and Orb of Fusing is quite valuable currency, try to buy linked items instead of making them by yourself.

How to start

As we mentioned before, it is crucial to know which build you aim to get before you start playing. There are tons of websites where you can find up to date builds. Official Grinding Gear Games forums also provide a place for this so make sure to find one that fits your needs. After that, you can head over to the game and create the character. Make sure to select the Class by what's written in the build - looks won't matter this much since every Exile looks almost the same wearing full gear.

Now that you have arrived at the land of Wraeclast you are ready to start playing. You will be deployed at the beach where you will find a weapon and your first skill. By defeating enemies, you will be able to make your way to the boss which protects the entrance to the first encampment. The boss - Hillock - shouldn't pose much threat. He can be easily defeated just by mashing skill button and by some easy dodges. You can also use your flasks to recover some health. They are bound to keys 1-5 on your keyboard. If you have managed to kill him you will be rewarded with access to the first city where you can find waypoint, NPC's, shop and missions to complete.

Path of Exile loot

Managing loot

The most overwhelming thing for new players is without a doubt the enormous passive skill tree. It can be quickly solved by looking into builds - you don't even need to fully understand why you pick perks. All you need to do is to stick to the build. 

Another thing that might be too much for a new player is the loot. It's hard to estimate for the new player which items are worth picking up and which are not. Some items sold to vendors are much more valuable than the others. For most of the equipment you won't be able to get anything besides scraps. Because of that, it is worth knowing what can you leave on the ground. The inventory space is limited and travelling to the Town means wasting Portal Scrolls which also counts as a currency. To be efficient in that matter you need a proper guidance or a tool. We’ve prepared a general list of items, that you don’t want to dump, once you find them.

    • All of the orbs and scrolls - Since Orbs are the currency in the game they are all valuable

    • Items with all three colors of sockets connected - If you see an item that has red-green-blue sockets linked together make sure to pick it up. You can trade it later to NPC for a Chromatic Orb.

    • Items with six sockets - Although they take a lot of inventory space, they are worth taking. Seven Jeweller Orbs will be given to you from NPC for that piece.

    • Fully linked 6 socket items - One can be traded for a Divine Orb.

Of course, there are many more recipes of exchanges with NPC's and you can find all of them on Path of Exile wiki page. Besides loot listed above, it is usually worth to pick up flasks, rings, rares and uniques.

There are thousands of items in PoE and even the most experienced players won't be able to know them all. For new players, it could be extremely tough to learn which ones are worth picking up and which are not and because of that there are Loot Filters. It literally takes a few minutes to set them up and they make looting monsters easier than ever. 

Loot Filters are not 3rd party illegal programs and they can be used without a fear of getting banned. By adding them to the game, the player will only see valuable items on the ground while basic ones not worth anything will remain hidden. It helps in terms of money making and also the gameplay itself. The screen is less cluttered and the game runs more smoothly since there is less info to show. Although during early game it might not seem like a necessity to set up a Loot Filter - it is recommended since it will highlight most valuable items that you can pick up to make a decent profit. Later in the game this filter will be a must anyways since there are too many items that drop from monsters.

Progression

During your gameplay, you will come across many acts which divide the game storyline into smaller sections. Each Act has its main city, quests, NPCs, monsters and boss at the very end. Maps differ by their style, level of challenge and climate. After the end of a major expansion there is usually a new Act added to the game. As mentioned by Grind Gear Games developers, one act takes around 12 months in production before being released.

Completing one of the acts is necessary to access the next one. They are chained together by one big story divided into smaller parts taking place in each of the acts. In Town, you can find quests leading to act progression and some rewards. There are also Waypoints - teleportation system that connects cities to most crucial locations in Wraeclast. Unlocking other waypoints by finding them in new areas connects them to already known ones.

Every zone in the PoE is instanced, which means that when you enter a location the game creates a special instance just for you. It remains open for as long as you are there and additional 15 minutes after you leave it. If you come back after that time, everything will be reset back to its original state. It can be helpful if you want to farm the same zone many times. However, keep in mind that you won't be able to repeat quests already completed and you won't be able to repeat boss fights for additional loot. You can invite other players to your instances but they are not able to join it without your invitation, though.

Vaal side areas

During your journey across Wraeclast, you will come across portals that imitate red light coming out of heart in the centre of them. These are the Vaal areas - small zones filled with monsters and one boss. Players who enter the portal will have to make their way through enemies to reach the boss who once defeated drops Vaal Vessel. From this, you can get either Vaal Gem or one of four Vaal Sacrifice Fragments. Those fragments can be merged to give player access to Atziri which is one of the hardest endgame bosses. Keep in mind, that said zones can have different modifiers which can drastically improve level of monster strength and therefore bosses in those instances might be extremely tough early in the game. If you are hardcore player be careful in Vaal Areas or just skip them to not take the unnecessary risks.

Maps and endgame content

Finishing all acts available in the game does not mean that you will reach maximum level available in the game (100). Because of that, some people might be worried that there is nothing to do at later stages in the game. It is completely not true. Most of the PoE players believe that the real game starts after finishing all of the acts. Finishing last zone gives a player access to the Templar Laboratory that unlocks map system.

Map System is designed for players who have already finished the main storyline and want to keep playing the game. Late game monsters drop various tier maps. They can be used on a special machine inside player Hideouts and in Templar Laboratory. Those generate special zones with unique modifiers that can be cleared for loot. The harder maps players clear, the better reward they receive. There can be various obstacles added to the maps to make them harder to complete like Exploding Corpses, Elemental Resistance or Damage Reflection. Overcoming them and finding maps with good reward to difficulty ratios is crucial in end game content.

Path of Exile Currency

Currency in PoE

Path of Exile has a very special currency system which cannot be compared to normal MMORPG titles. Instead of regular coinage you can find there barter. The main currency of exchanges between players are the orbs that are used to upgrade and alter equipment. There are websites tracking values of orbs and you can see estimated values split between orb types. The main currency in the game is Chaos Orb which is not extremely rare but also not a common one. During late game when Chaos Orbs can be seen more often players trade by using Exalted Orbs. There is no fixed value for orbs since there are no vendors that buy them. Because of that the market demand estimates the price of them and therefore their prices change quite often.

Strongboxes and Shrines

While travelling, you might come across locked boxes that lie on the ground. Some of them will be identified showing you various alterations that they come with. For example, one of the strongboxes can have only rare items in it while others can emit waves that deal damage all depends on its mode. All of the strongboxes are protected by enemies that appear around the boxes as you try to open them. Some of the modifications can be quite dangerous as a Strongbox that can freeze you in one place or damage you with a huge nuke. However, they are always valuable and worth opening. The most desired Strongbox is the Jeweller's one - it offers a wide variety of orbs and other currency. Make sure to upgrade it with Alchemy Orbs or other items which increases the amount and quality of drops that they give.

On the other hand, besides Strongboxes players can also come across Shrines which are statues granting players temporary boosts to their powers. They are randomly located in regular zones and maps. Upon usage, they improve various statistics and apply some special effects like increased traverse speed, lightning bolts that come out of a player to struck enemies, slowing aura around Exile, increased amount of projectiles and more.

The recipe to successful start at Path of Exile is the plan. You can jump straight from being a novice to an endgame content by reading our updated build guides. Those will intoduce you to specific game mechanics, give you extra tips on various topics, teach you about crafting so you will be able to craft you own gear and more. If you want to reach highest effectiveness in learning you might also want to watch video guides but make sure to download latest version of Flashplayer.

Summary

This is the end of this Path of Exile guide for beginners. We are hoping that with our article your journey across Wraeclast will be nothing but pleasant. If you need to read more guides which could give you some insight on problems related to Path of Exile - make sure to check out our blog page.

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Every bit of information in our guide was designed to fit into the newest version of the game. We assure you that each stat in said guide is still supported so you won't have to worry about guide being outdated. If your November days are turning pretty boring you always have an option which is never wrong - visit MMOAuctions daily and kill boredom by reading what we have prepared for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I start in Path of Exile?

The best way would be reading this guide and finding yourself a build.

What is PoE Betrayal?

It is a league which was created in December of 2018.

What are the classes in Path of Exile?

There are Marauder, Ranger, Duelist, Witch, Templar, Shadow and Scion.

How do you get a Scion?

By unlocking her from the cage in act 3.

 

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