Skill Gems I
Skill Gems I: The Basics
In Path of Exile, all of your skills (other than your default attack) come from items called 'skill gems'. Skill gems must be socketed into your equipped weapons and armour in order for you to be able to use the skill they grant. It doesn't matter which item the gem is socketed into, but the socket has to match the colour of the gem. In other words, red skill gems can go in red sockets, and can't go in blue or green sockets. Support gems work very similarly to skill gems, except they don't grant you a skill by themselves. Instead, support gems can augment the skill gems they are linked to. Not all skill and support gems work together; You can't use a 'Melee Physical Damage Support' with a spell, for example.
For a support gem to properly augment a skill gem, both the skill and support gems must be socketed in linked sockets. If they aren't linked, the support will have no effect. You can tell whether or not your support gem is affecting your skill gem by looking at the on-screen skill icon. Properly linked support gems add a little letter to the skill icon on the user interface. Most support gems also change the mana cost of the skills they're supporting.
You can add or remove your skill and support gems at any time, so don't be afraid to experiment with strange gem combinations.
Skill Gems II
Skill Gems II: Requirements and Restrictions
Support and skill gems, like other items, have level and attribute requirements. Unlike other items, gems can level up, and when a gem levels up, its level and attribute requirements can change. If you level a gem past the point that you can use it, or if your attributes change and disable a gem, the entire item the gem is socketed in will also be disabled. That means it's worth checking whether or not you should level up gems that don't require your primary attributes. Sometimes it's better not to level up a gem!
You may find that you want to use the same support gem for multiple skills. Simply socket that support in the same item as the skills you wish to support and make sure they are all linked. The support gem doesn't have to be adjacent to the skill gems you want to support; they just have to all be part of the same group of linked sockets. You may also find that you want the same skill to be supported by multiple support gems. The requirements for this are the same.
Supports That Change Skill Source:
Some support gems will significantly change the way the supported skills behave. A spell supported by the 'Spell Totem' support will now summon a totem to cast the spell for you, and you won't be able to cast the spell yourself. The same is true for the 'Trap' and 'Remote Mine' supports.
Some support gems can be used to trigger a skill automatically. The 'Cast on Critical Strike Support' gem casts the spells it is supporting whenever you get a critical strike with an attack it is also supporting. Any spell supported this way can only be triggered and can no longer be cast manually, similar to how the Spell Totem Support works. Skills being supported by multiple trigger gems won't work at all. Keep this in mind when deciding which skills and supports you want to use.
Passive Skill Tree
The Passive Skill Tree
Your character build is primarily composed of the items the character is wearing, the skill and support gems that are socketed within those items, and the passive skills you have chosen from the passive skill tree. Because the passive skill tree lays the groundwork for your items and gems, the passive skill tree is arguably the core of every character build. Whenever you level up, and upon completing certain quests, you'll get a passive skill point. Each point can be allocated on the passive skill tree to gain the benefits of the passive skill (often referred to as a 'passive') it is spent on. You can only allocate points on passives that are connected to your other allocated passives. There are far, far more passive skills on the tree than you can ever allocate, so you need to think carefully about what you want to choose. It is often worth planning ahead. There are three types of passive skill:
Many clusters have art in the centre of them to signify what that cluster grants. If you're looking to focus on a particular kind of damage or defence, identify one cluster that fits the bill, then look for other clusters that use the same art.
The passive skill tree also contains jewel sockets. An allocated jewel socket can hold a jewel, but won't grant any sort of benefit by itself:
Planning and Changing Your Build:
The tree is shared by all of the character classes, but each class begins in a different location. Learning what is near each starting location will help you plan out future characters. You can undo your choices with the passive refund points you get from certain quests and from using Orbs of Regret. You can only undo a single point per refund point, so if you plan on making changes later, make sure you can afford to do so.
Items, monsters, strongboxes, and later even maps, can all have different rarities. Something's rarity determines what properties it has. Generally, something that is 'magic' is stronger than something that is 'normal', and something that is 'rare' is stronger than something that is 'magic'. This is achieved through random modifiers, or 'mods'.
Rarity determines how many mods something can have. Magic rarity typically imbues something with either one or two mods, while most rares can get up to six.
If you're lucky, you may also find something that is of 'unique' rarity. Unique items always have the same mods, but those mods can be very different to the ones you find on magics and rares. For example, this unique staff changes how your projectiles work:
Many unique items come with a downside, or provide specialised or conditional power without staple mods, such as elemental resistances or life. As a result, using many unique items doesn't necessarily always benefit you! Unique items also have their own special art, names and flavour text.
When people talk about 'uniques', they are usually referring to unique items, but there are also unique strongboxes, maps, and monsters throughout Path of Exile. Major content updates usually includes a number of new uniques.
Stats and Mods I
Stats and Mods I: How Are They Calculated?
Your Path of Exile character is primarily built from a combination of passive skills, skill gems, and items. Both the passive tree and the items can seem overwhelming at first, so in this tutorial we will cover some of the basics.
The Passive Tree:
The most important thing to know is how the passive tree interacts with your character. In general, passive skills affect all the relevant stats on your character, regardless of where they come from. We call these global modifiers.
In the example above, we see that the 'increased maximum life' passives add together before they affect the character's life. Most passive skills, especially any that use the word 'increased', act this way.
'More' and 'Less':
Passives that specifically say they grant 'more' or 'less' of something are the exceptions to the above rule. These are applied after all of the increases, acting like multipliers. Unlike passives which increase something, passives which provide 'more' or 'less' of something never add together and instead each apply their multiplicative effect separately. These terms appear on Keystones in the passive skill tree, but are most commonly seen on support gems.
Global VS Local:
Item mods tend to come in two varieties: 'global mods', which act like the passive skills, and 'local mods', which affect the item itself. Compare the weapons below, and note that the magic weapon (on the right) has 'Increased Physical Damage'. You'll see that the weapon's Physical Damage is higher, and is a different colour. It is this number that is used when other modifiers, such as your passive skills, are used to calculate how much damage your attacks deal.
The same is true for increases to armour on items that naturally provide armour, or increases to evasion on items that naturally provide evasion, and so on. Some mods, such as 'Increased Attack Speed', can appear on both weapons and armour. Like the Increased Physical Damage modifier, the Increased Attack Speed on the weapon shown below is local to the weapon, and changes that specific weapon's rate of attack. The gloves shown below also have Increased Attack Speed, but they affect any weapon you are holding and use the Attacks Per Second value displayed on the weapon to calculate how quickly you attack.
The attack speed mod on these gloves is a global modifier, so it adds together with other global increases to attack speed, including those on your passive tree. As a general rule (though there are occasional exceptions), if the values in the top section of an item are different to the normal basetype, they are benefitting from local modifiers. If a modifier on an item doesn't seem to be affecting anything in the top section, then it is global. See if you can work out which mods are local and which mods are global in the image below.
Stats and Mods II
Stats and Mods II: What to Look Out For
Character builds in Path of Exile are extremely varied, and which items and passives are important to a character is highly dependent on what that character is trying to achieve, but there are some things almost everyone should look out for.
Unless you're in a coordinated group, every character needs a way to kill monsters. Figure out how you plan to deliver damage and look for items that amplify that. If you plan to shoot arrows at monsters from afar, a high-damage bow, as well as passive skills that benefit your chosen weapon, are a must. If you plan to cast spells, look for weapons with 'increased Spell Damage'. If you're strictly dealing fire damage, look for things that boost your fire damage. A fire spell like Fireball benefits from increases to fire, spell, and projectile damage. A character who wants to smash things with a one-handed mace should look for modifiers to one-handed weapons, maces, attacks and melee attacks specifically.
You can't kill monsters if you're dead, so you should also carefully consider your defences. Most characters will want some armour, energy shield or evasion, or some combination of the three. Sources of life and increases to it are a great way to extend your lifespan, but you'll also want to seek out ways to mitigate the damage before it ever touches your life pool. Fire damage, such as the fire from a cannibal's thrown torch, can be mitigated by sources of 'Fire Resistance'. Merveil's spells deal cold damage, so 'Cold Resistance' is very useful against her. If a certain spell or attack deals significantly more damage to you than anything else, it might be of an element that you don't have much resistance to. If you're ever unsure where you spend your next passive point, it's almost always worth investing in a relevant defence.
They may not be as flashy as a powerful weapon or armour item, but flasks in Path of Exile will literally mean the difference between life and death.
Flasks in Path of Exile are not consumable items. Unlike Scrolls of Wisdom, when you use a Flask, it does not vanish. Instead, it simply consumes a number of flask charges based on the flask you're using, and, once empty, must be refilled before it can be used again. Flasks can come in normal, magic or unique rarity, but not rare. Usually, flasks refill as you slay monsters. This means as long as you're successfully engaging in combat, you should always have a flask or two available for use. But if you get into a spot of trouble and empty your flasks, you'll either have to carefully slay enough monsters to refill them or return to town. Your flasks also refill when you return to town, so jumping into a portal is a valid strategy when you're running low on flask charges. Some flasks, such as those with the 'Surgeon's' prefix, can be refilled based on other conditions.
Other magic mods can enhance the amount of life or mana a flask restores, or the duration it lasts, or the number of times it can be used. Some also provide extra utilities, such as removing curses or ailments. Carefully selecting your flasks and which mods they have is just as important as selecting which weapon to wield or passive skills to take. If ever you are struggling to survive, take a look at your flasks and see if improvements can be made. They are often a cheap and effective place to start solving character build problems.
While out in the wilds of Wraeclast, you might've run out of bag space and found that you couldn't pick anything else up. Luckily, every town and hideout in Path of Exile comes with a stash. The items you put in your stash can be accessed wherever a stash can be found. You'll find the same items you stashed in Lioneye's Watch waiting for you at the Forest Encampment, your hideout, and anywhere else with a stash.
In fact, all your other characters in the same league can also access the same stash, so if you get a great bow while playing your Marauder, you can stash it to use on your Ranger later.
Expanding Your Stash
At some point you may find yourself running low on stash space. Extra stash tabs can be bought in the Microtransactions shop, and once purchased, will be available in every league. They come in a few different varieties:
All stash tabs have a search bar at the bottom that lets you search for and and filter out items, so you can quickly find what you are looking for. The items in your stash never go away. However, when a temporary league ends, all the items in your stash will be moved to the stash in its permanent equivalent. When this happens, your items can be found in stash tabs labelled "Remove Only". These will hold your items indefinitely, but anything removed from a Remove Only tab can't be returned to that tab.
Waypoints and the World Panel
Wraeclast is pretty big, and is full of places you'll want to visit and revisit. To help you get around, the land is dotted with 'Waypoints' which let you quickly travel to destinations you have previously visited. To use a waypoint, activate it and select where you would like to travel. You can only travel to waypoints you've activated previously, so it is always worth activating new waypoints when you come across them.
The World Panel:
When you click on a waypoint, the panel that pops up is called the World Panel. It doesn't just show your waypoints, however; It also displays every area you have previously visited, as well as some connected areas you haven't been to yet. Your quests are listed below the map, and by selecting one you can highlight the path that you need to follow to complete it. Because areas in Path of Exile have varying degrees of random generation, you may not always recognize the layout of an area, even if you've been there several times. The minimap or map overlay may also be different and will need to be revealed again. This may take some getting used to, but it means no two playthroughs are exactly the same.
Monsters throughout Wraeclast won't just hurt you -- they can also inflict ailments. Fortunately, you can too.
Ailments usually come from a specific kind of damage. Fire damage can 'Ignite', which deals further fire damage over time. Cold damage can 'Chill', slowing you down, or 'Freeze', causing you to stop moving entirely. Lightning damage can 'Shock', causing you to take a lot of extra damage from any source. Some enemies can also 'Poison' you or inflict 'Bleeding', both of which deal damage over time. If you move while you're bleeding, the bleeding will deal extra damage.
Dealing with Ailments:
Items, passive skills, support and skill gems, curses, and other things can each influence how likely it is that you'll suffer or inflict any of these ailments, as well as how effective these ailments are.
Flasks are capable of removing each ailment if they have the right mods. Figuring out which ailments might be dangerous to you and getting flasks that will remove them can make a big difference to your journey.
Special chests, called Strongboxes, can be found throughout Path of Exile. Unlike ordinary chests, Strongboxes are protected by monsters that must be defeated before the Strongbox will relinquish its treasures. Although Strongboxes are not technically items, they do share some special traits in common with many of Path of Exile's items. Specifically, Strongboxes have mods and, like items, these mods can be changed with the use of currency. There are several different kinds of Strongbox to find, each one providing different amounts or kinds of items. Here are a few of the more common ones:
It is often worth carrying some currency items with you, so you can modify any strongboxes you happen to come across. The difference between a normal Strongbox and a well-crafted magic Strongbox can be quite significant.
Prophecies are similar to the quests that characters like Tarkleigh send you on, however they are less structured, less predictable, and can only be acquired from Navali in exchange for a silver coin. Prophecies can do a broad range of things. Some can guarantee that certain items will drop from specific monsters. Some add new monsters to areas, some drastically change the look of certain areas, and some grant avenues to new or upgraded unique items.
Sometimes you may get a prophecy that you don't want or need at that moment. Navali can seal such prophecies for some silver coins, turning it into an item that you can store in your stash or trade to another player.
While some prophecies can grant you access to powerful and valuable rewards, sometimes the prophecy IS the reward. Remember, you can end up fulfilling a prophecy without meaning to, so it's always worth considering spending some silver to save a nice crafting prophecy for an item that could greatly benefit from it.
Crafting and Currency Orbs
You can modify a vast number of objects in Path of Exile using the various orbs, scrolls, essences, whetstones and other stacking consumables. Collectively these items are referred to as "Currency", as they are also used to trade and barter with both NPCs and other players. At higher levels you might find currencies that other players value highly. The Orb of Transmutation, Orb of Alteration and Orb of Augmentation are great items to carry and use during your journey. They can be used to upgrade normal items to magic and to reroll or change the mods on magic items, and they're common enough that you can pretty quickly replace whatever you use. Using these currencies on flasks can let you customize their behaviour.
If you're in need of a damage boost, try using them on a weapon base-type that is close to your level. Sometimes a magic item with the right mods is better than a rare item with the wrong ones. We've listed out some of the more common currencies, and what they do, just below:
There are many more currency items than just these, and they can be used in other ways. Later on, you will be able to fill your hideout with devices which let you spend currency to modify your items very precisely. If you've accumulated a few of a type of currency, don't be afraid to try using it on an item. Sometimes the results will surprise you!
Even strongboxes can be modified with currency. Keeping some with you will give you a degree of control over the contents of the strongboxes you come across.
Auras and Heralds
Auras and Heralds
Auras are skills that persistently affect things around you. Most auras, such as 'Hatred', affect you and your nearby allies and party members. They usually grant some sort of benefit, but reserve a portion of your mana for as long as you keep them activated.
Some auras instead affect your nearby enemies. The 'Blasphemy Support' turns any supported curse into an aura that reserves some mana and curses any enemy that enters its radius.
Reserved mana can't be used or recovered until whatever is reserving it is disabled, so consider whether you will be able to use your skills with the mana you have remaining. Things that change how skills interact with your mana (like 'Blood Magic') also apply to mana reservation. Heralds also reserve mana and grant benefits that are similar to some of the aura skills, however they only affect you. Heralds also have special behaviours that interact with ailments. Some auras don't reserve mana or don't persist indefinitely. This is true of Vaal versions of auras such as Vaal Grace. Vaal auras have a limited duration but grant very powerful bonuses for the short time they are active.
Each Herald skill interacts in some way with its associated ailment.
Jewels are items that have mods just like your weapons and armour. However, instead of being equipped, they are socketed in the passive skill tree. Jewels only work when they're socketed in a jewel socket that has been allocated with a passive point. If they are in an unallocated socket, the jewel won't do anything.
Just like other items, jewels can be normal, magic, rare or unique. They can be modified with currencies like other items, though unlike your weapons and armour, a rare jewel can only have up to four mods. Some unique jewels, such as Energised Armour above, can modify the passive skills around them:
The colour of a jewel affects the likelihood of it having certain mods, but has no effect on your ability to socket it. Since the number of jewels you can socket is only limited by the number of jewel sockets you've allocated, some unique jewels have limits placed on them. If you have more of that type of jewel than the limit allows, the extra jewels won't have any effect.
You may encounter large blue crystals throughout the world that have imprisoned several monsters. By activating the central crystal you can free the monster within, but beware: that monster has been empowered by an Essence, and will be significantly tougher to kill than usual. If you manage to defeat the monster within, you can claim the essence for yourself. Essences are a special type of currency item that can typically only be found by defeating these trapped monsters. Unlike ordinary currency items, Essences have semi-predictable outcomes -- they will always guarantee that a certain mod appears.
Essences are particularly useful early on, or when your character needs a certain mod, such as fire resistance. When the usefulness of low-level essences drops away, you can upgrade them by selling three identical essences to a vendor. Doing so will grant you one similar, but more effective, essence.
The Forsaken Masters
Throughout your journeys you will encounter other exiles. The Forsaken Masters are a set of such exiles who, when found, will offer you a quest for the area you're in. Each Master has a different style of quest, and within those quests there are many randomised features, so although you might have a general idea of what your task may be, the specifics may vary greatly. Be prepared! If you succeed in helping one of these Masters, they will gain experience and eventually level up. Whenever a master levels up, you unlock something within their realm of expertise.
When a Master reaches level 3, they can grant you the ability to create a hideout -- a place all to yourself that you can decorate as you see fit. If you have a hideout, a Master of level 2 or higher can also give you their crafting bench.
Each Master's crafting bench offers different crafting options. Elreon's Blessing Font primarily works with rings and amulets, for example, while Vagan's Sharpening Wheel improves melee weapons. As you level up the associated Master, their crafting bench options grow.
Masters also buy and sell items. At high levels, some of the items they offer can't be found anywhere else. They will also sell hideout decorations in exchange for favour, which is earned as you help them. Their range of decorations for sale also grows as they level up.
Masters in your hideout can also offer you a daily mission. Daily missions take the same structure as their ordinary missions but offer significantly more Master experience and favour. Whenever you complete a Master's daily mission their inventory of wares for sale changes. Be sure to check your hideout daily if you want to rapidly level up your Masters!
When one of your Forsaken Masters reaches level 3 you gain the ability to create a hideout. To create a hideout, talk to one of your level 3 (or higher) Masters in town. They will give you the option to create a hideout.
Your hideout is your own private space, and is shared by all of the characters on your account in that particular league, much like your stash. It comes with a stash, a guild stash if you're in a guild, and a waypoint. You can place and arrange hundreds of decorative objects in your hideout. You can purchase your hideout decorations from your Forsaken Masters for favour, but some exclusive (and very cool-looking) decorations can only be bought in the microtransaction shop.
Crafting benches are a special kind of hideout decoration, and are given to you as a reward for levelling up your Masters. Unlike other decorations, these can be used to enhance and modify your items. Vagan's sharpening wheel, for example, lets you modify a wide range of weapons in different ways. These crafting benches are great tools for keeping your items relevant as you progress through the acts, or for filling gaps in your damage or defences. Don't be afraid to use them; even small enhancements across a few items can make a huge difference to your damage output or survivability. Once you have created a hideout, you can access it from any waypoint. Hideouts can later be upgraded in size, allowing for more space and increasing the number of Masters that can be invited into it.
You can change your hideout to a new location by talking to another level 3 or higher Master. Any decorations or crafting benches you have bought or earned are saved and can be reused in your new hideout. You can enter a friend's hideout through the social panel (depending on their permission settings), and they can enter yours. You can change who can and can't enter your hideout from the hideout editing screen.
The Labyrinth is a dungeon unlike any other in Path of Exile. It is filled with perilous traps, valuable secrets, tricky puzzles, and objectives that may require you to do things across several areas. To gain access to the Labyrinth, you must complete the six prerequisite trials that are scattered across the first three acts. A portal to the Aspirants' Plaza will then appear in the centre of the Sarn Encampment, and it is in the Aspirants' Plaza that all versions of the Labyrinth can be reached.
Best each of the six trials and you can enter the Aspirants' Plaza via the Sarn Encampment.
Successfully navigating the Labyrinth ultimately leads to a sequence of fights with the Labyrinth's creator, Izaro. Failure to survive the Labyrinth means starting again, so be careful where you step. If you manage to make it to the end, you'll be rewarded with treasure, an opportunity to enhance an item, and the ability to select your Ascendancy class.
There are four versions of the Labyrinth, each with a different set of entry requirements, and each reward you with two Ascendancy points upon completing it for the first time. Unlike most areas in Path of Exile, the Labyrinth's structure does not change greatly between runs during the same day, but once a day the layout is randomised. If you get very good at running the Labyrinth, you may make it to the leaderboards. The fastest time each day for each Labyrinth is awarded a prize. Some players make builds solely optimised to run the Labyrinth, however, so it can get very competitive.
Although any class in Path of Exile can eventually reach any passive skill on the passive skill tree, each class has their own distinct set of Ascendancy classes. A Witch can, for example, eventually become an Elementalist, but a Templar cannot. You can unlock your Ascendancy class by completing the Labyrinth and using the Altar of Ascendancy in the final room. Higher-tier Labyrinths then grant two more Ascendancy points when you reach the Altar of Ascendancy, for a total of 8 points.
Once you've chosen your Ascendancy, you can change it by returning to the Labyrinth, refunding any allocated Ascendancy points (Refunding an Ascendancy point costs five refund points each), and selecting a new class at the Altar of Ascendancy.
The current challenge league is called Incursion. In the Incursion league, you will encounter Alva Valai in the world. Alva is trying to find the location of the lost treasure temple of Atzoatl. With her help, you will travel back in time two thousand years, to the Temple of Atzoatl during its construction. During this time, you can help influence the temple's construction, so that when you eventually find it, it is filled with glorious treasure. You'll only have a limited amount of time during this visit to influence the layout of Atzoatl in the present day, but this time can be extended by slaying its inhabitants. Enemies will not drop loot during your Incursions, but once the timer runs out, you'll be returned to the present-day and showered with loot based on how well you did. There are two primary objectives to pursue during your incursion: Architects and Altars of Passage.
Altars of Passage
Each chamber in Atzoatl has several walls which could potentially allow it to connect to another chamber. Some of these may already be connected, but many won't. If, during your Incursion, an enemy drops a Stone of Passage, you can pick it up and place it in an Altar of Passage, and it will connect the chamber you are in to an adjacent one. This is important, because when you visit the Temple of Atzoatl during the present day, you may only be able to reach the chambers you managed to connect in the past!
Within each Incursion you can find two Vaal Architects. By slaying one, you will allow the other to escape and later develop that chamber in their own vision. If the surviving Architect had previously influenced the development of that room, that room will then be upgraded. If not, then that room will change to something within their realm of expertise. For example, if you land in the Banquet Hall during an incursion and slay the Architect of Fortifications, allowing the Architect of Toxins to survive, the Banquet Hall will become the Poison Garden. If in a later Incursion you land in the Poison Garden and kill the Architect of Iron, again allowing the Architect of Toxins survive, it will be upgraded to the Cultivar Chamber.
The types and tiers of the rooms you help engineer through your Incursions ultimately form the Temple of Atzoatl in the present day. Each room has a different effect. Some are purely positive, while others may put you at significant risk for valuable rewards. By upgrading the Cultivar Chamber to the Toxic Grove, for example, you will fill the Temple of Atzoatl with dangerously poisonous plants, but you will also give yourself the opportunity to loot a unique item that can be found nowhere else.
Finding the Temple
Once you've performed enough Incursions, Alva will discover the location of Atzoatl, and will offer you the opportunity to go there. At long last, you can explore the temple you helped create, and loot it for all it's worth! After you've visited the temple in the present-day, the next time you find Alva in the world, she will offer you the opportunity to start your Incursions all over again, with a new temple layout and with new opportunities to maximise your rewards.
The Incursion league includes a set of 40 new challenges. When you complete 12 challenges, you will receive the Incursion Bandana. At 24, you will receive the Incursion Cloak. When you complete your 36th challenge, you will receive the Incursion Portal Effect. These cosmetic effects are only obtainable in this league. From the 19th challenge onwards and for every third challenge after that, you will receive pieces of the Incursion Totem Pole decoration to display in your hideout. The Totem Pole permanently showcases how many of the Incursion challenges you completed during the league.
The Pantheon lets you selectively enhance your character for the dangers that lay ahead. By defeating any of the major or minor gods in Part 2, your character gains access to that god's Pantheon power. You can have one major and one minor Pantheon power active at any given time. Each Pantheon power only enhances a narrow aspect of your character's survivability, so carefully consider what you are likely to soon face, and select a power that'll best help you. You can only change which Pantheon powers are active in a town or hideout, but doing so is entirely free.
Enhancing Your Pantheon
At later levels you can upgrade each power, broadening the protection it provides. To do so, you have to obtain a Divine Vessel and put it in your map device, then open a map that contains one of the map bosses displayed on the Pantheon.
In your travels you may come across mysterious entities with names in a language you don't recognise - Harbingers from an unknown realm. These Harbingers can create and command monsters from the area, and empower them with their own abilities. You can't directly harm the Harbingers yourself, but defeating a Harbinger's monster allies hurts the Harbinger as well. Successfully defeating a Harbinger earns you currency shards of both existing currency types and currency types exclusively available from these entities.
One of these currency types may lead you to the source of the Harbinger incursion. If you can halt their arrival, you'll find pieces of shattered unique items that can be arranged to form powerful Harbinger-summoning uniques.
Throughout the latter half of Path of Exile, you will find fissures (called Abysses) which open as you approach them, and monsters will spill out from below. You can pursue these cracks as they form, and they will lead to difficult encounters with great rewards.
Time is an important element when following an Abyss. Each Abyss you encounter will close after a short duration, but may spread further if you can slay enough monsters in time. If you're quick and a little bit lucky, an Abyss chest may appear at the end of the sequence of events. By slaying Abyss monsters you may be able to obtain items not found anywhere else:
Abyss jewels are special jewels with their own pool of mods. Unlike ordinary jewels, Abyss jewels have multiple tiers of many of their mods, as well as level requirements. They can also be socketed in a new type of item socket -- the Abyssal socket -- as well as in the passive skill tree. Abyssal sockets can be found on the Stygian Vise belt base type. At higher levels, some Abyss events will lead into subterranean areas with special bosses. The most dangerous of these bosses can drop special Abyss league-exclusive unique items with Abyssal sockets.
You may have noticed that sometimes when you sell some items to an NPC you get something unexpected. You may have encountered a 'vendor recipe'! Items with certain properties, or specific combinations of items, can be sold together to fulfil a recipe. Listed below are a few useful examples:
There are many more than these, some of which are complex and result in powerful unique items or valuable currency. Try experimenting with different combinations of items. You might just stumble upon a new recipe.
Standard, Hardcore and Solo Self-Found
The two primary modes for playing Path of Exile are Standard and Hardcore. In Standard, if your character dies, you respawn at a nearby checkpoint and have the opportunity to try again. At higher levels you will start to lose a portion of your experience when you die. Don't worry, you can't go down in level from dying too much. In Hardcore, however, one death means you're out. Characters that die in Hardcore are sent to Standard, along with any items they were carrying. To reach a high level in Hardcore is a big achievement -- one that even very experienced players struggle with.
Both of these modes also have a Solo Self-Found (SSF) variant. In these SSF leagues players cannot team up or trade with any other players. That means the only items they have access to are the ones they've found or made. Players in SSF leagues can opt-out at any time and join the community of players in Standard (if they were playing Standard SSF), or Hardcore (if they were playing Hardcore SSF). There is no tangible benefit to playing Hardcore or SSF -- only the prestige. So if the idea of not being able to play with others or being booted out of your league if you die doesn't appeal, don't worry. It's the same game no matter how you choose to play.
Path of Exile launches new temporary challenge leagues several times a year. These temporary leagues always have some twist or new gameplay mechanic that changes how you play, and a fresh economy. Everyone starts with nothing in their stash or on their character, other than a few flasks and scrolls. These leagues usually last about three months.
Challenge leagues also come with a set of special challenges (hence the name!). If you complete enough, you can earn exclusive microtransactions and hideout decorations that are only available from that league. When a challenge league ends, all of the items, characters, Atlas progress, Master levels, and virtually anything else you can think of, transfer to their parent leagues, the permanent Standard and Hardcore leagues. Once everything has transferred across to Standard or Hardcore, you can continue playing those characters where you left off. The start date of a new challenge league is usually announced several weeks in advance, and the first day of a new league is always very exciting, and bustling with players. The great majority of Path of Exile players play in these temporary challenge leagues. If you've never had a chance to experience it, we recommend joining us for the next one!
Helpful Tips and Tricks
There are many little tips and tricks that you will naturally pick up as you play Path of Exile, but here's a few that will make life in Wraeclast easier.
Quickly Moving Items:
While your stash or a vendor window is open, you can hold down 'Ctrl' and click items to quickly move them into or out of your inventory.
Seeing Detailed Item Information:
Holding Alt while hovering over an item in your inventory will display it against what you have equipped. It will also show any extra information if the item uses some complex or obscure game terms.
Filtering Out Items:
Your stash has a field at the bottom that lets you filter out items.
At high levels you may find that item drops fill up your screen. In the UI tab of the Options menu you'll find an option to turn on an item filter. Item filters will limit which items are displayed and when.
If you pick up a cool unique item or see a skill gem you want to use but it doesn't suit your build, stick it in your stash! Remember, your stash is shared across all of your characters in that league. Don't be afraid to make a new character and try out a new build. Building new characters is a big part of what makes Path of Exile so much fun.
Currency that enhances an item's quality works more effectively on Magic and Normal items. If you want to craft an item or need an item with a certain amount of quality, try enhancing the item before you upgrade its rarity.
Some item mods, such as "Squire's" on weapons and "Beetle's" on armour-based body armours, can give the appearance of actually being two mods. These are hybrid mods, and are actually single mods that grant two stats at lower values. That means you may still be able to craft an extra mod onto that item! If you're unsure if you have room on an item or not, try putting it in a Master's crafting bench.
If you ever get stuck, don't be afraid to ask for help. If players in the global chat can't answer your questions, you can always visit our forums.
If you want to run the same area many times back to back, you will need to create new instances. You can do this by Ctrl+Clicking the waypoint marker on the World Screen of the area you want to rerun while you're at a waypoint, or the entrance to the area you want to rerun when you're in an adjacent area. This opens the Instance Manager, which displays all of the instances of that area that you currently have access to, how long they have until they close, which servers they are connected to, and which players are in each one.
Chat and the Social Panel
Path of Exile is an online game where you can talk, trade, and play with other players whenever you want.
The Chat Window:
There are several chat channels enabled by default, which can be toggled on and off using the buttons at the top of the chat window. You can also select which channel you want to talk in via the drop-down menu at the bottom.
The Social Panel:
The Social panel (Hotkey S) is where you can quickly access your friends list, guild and party. Once you add a friend, both their account name and character name will be visible to you. If they have a hideout and have enabled their friends to enter it, you'll be able to enter their hideout from this menu while in your own hideout or a town.
You can also use this panel to join public parties created by other players, or create your own.
Trading with Other Players:
If you're looking to buy, sell, or exchange items with another player, you can open the trade window by right-clicking a character in the world. If they're in your party, you can trade by right-clicking their character portrait. Items up for trade must be checked by each player before the trade can be completed, to ensure you know exactly what it is you're trading for.
Path of Exile's players come from all walks of life, and the Path of Exile community is an important part of what makes Path of Exile so much fun. So please remember to be respectful when you talk to other players.
Divination cards are items found throughout Path of Exile that can be turned in for a reward. Different divination cards reward you with different things, including currency, specific item basetypes, other divination cards, and even unique items that can't normally be found. There are even some items that can only be obtained by collecting the right cards. Every divination card was designed with the help of our supporters, though the rarity and drop locations were determined by Path of Exile developers. Some divination cards can only be found in certain locations or from certain enemies, so pay attention to where you are when you find them. If there's one you really like, you might consider visiting that area frequently to find more.
The number of cards you need to turn in for the reward is visible on the card itself. If you have a full stack of cards in your inventory or stash, the value on the icon will be blue instead of the usual white. Once you have enough, Tasuni in Highgate will accept them and reward you with the prize on the card.
Microtransactions and the Shop
Path of Exile is completely free to play. You can't buy items, experience boosts, or anything that provides power, and you can do every bit of content without ever spending a cent. That said, we greatly appreciate our supporters as they allow us to continue to develop the game we love.
To that end, cosmetic items and stash tabs can be purchased from the Microtransaction shop. If you run out of stash space, the store sells extra stash tabs (you can even buy them in bulk!). If you would like to organise your stash to a greater degree, premium stash tabs and specialised stash tabs such as the Currency tab are available for purchase. There's also a wide variety of cosmetic items available for purchase. Some replace the appearance of an item, while some add to the appearance of the items you're already wearing. Some even completely change the way a particular skill looks. After you buy a cosmetic microtransaction, you can proudly display it by opening your inventory panel and navigating to the Cosmetics tab. From here you have the ability to display any cosmetic microtransaction you own in its appropriate slot.
Many players who want to support Path of Exile opt to buy Supporter Packs, which contain points for purchasing microtransactions as well as forum titles, player portrait frames, exclusive cosmetics that are only available from those packs, and more. Each Supporter Pack is only available for a limited time. Once it gets taken off the market, it never returns. If you would like to support us and the continued development of Path of Exile, please consider visiting our Shop.
Mapping and the Atlas
Although the main storyline ends at Act 10, hundreds (if not thousands!) of hours of fun still lay ahead, by way of a special kind of item called maps.
Maps are items that open up brand new areas through the Map Device, located in the Epilogue area. High level monsters in the last few Acts can drop the earliest maps, but higher tier maps can only be found within other maps. Like other items, maps can be normal, magic, rare or unique, and have a wide pool of mods that affect both the difficulty and reward of the areas they open. Carefully crafting your maps for challenges that suit your build is an important part of Path of Exile's map system. It's always worth checking the mods on a map before you try to complete it. Some of them can be very punishing!
Using the Atlas
You can view which maps you have completed in your Atlas (default hotkey G). You can also further influence the properties of each map by applying a sextant to the Atlas icon. Sextants last for a limited number of maps and affect every map within its radius. While in a map, enemies can drop any maps of a lower tier that you have previously completed, as well as maps of a higher tier that the map you are in is connected to. Map bosses have an especially high chance to drop a map. Maps also have a bonus objective; usually to complete the map as a specific rarity. Completing this bonus objective increases the chances of finding higher tier maps. The higher the map tier, however, the harder it is to obtain even higher tier maps.
Later, you'll find Shaper's Orbs which let you upgrade the tier of a map, increasing the difficulty and levels of the monsters within. Most players aim to work their way towards the centre of the Atlas in the hopes of challenging The Shaper, a very difficult but rewarding boss.
Player VS Player
Path of Exile features several player-versus-player (or PvP) modes. At the top of the Sarn Encampment is an entrance to Sarn Arena, an area for open, unstructured player-slaying. Want something more structured? You can duel individual players, or form a team and fight as a group. Path of Exile also supports a Capture the Flag game mode. There are two main PvP brackets -- Open PvP, which has no limits on player level, and Low Level Dueling (LLD) which is limited to players of level 28 or below. Leo Redmane in the Sarn Encampment offers daily PvP missions, and rewards active PvPers with hideout decorations and crafting options, similar to other Forsaken Masters. Dying in a PvP area on a Hardcore league does not send you to Standard, but if you die to another player outside of a PvP area, such as during the Act 2 Bandit questline, you will be sent to Standard as normal. Note that special damage scaling rules are in place for PvP to level the playing field to some degree. Even so, the difference in both player skill and gear can be extreme, so don't become discouraged if you get slaughtered on your first try.
Glossary of Common Game and Player Terms
A section of Path of Exile's main story. Each act has a town, quests, and a story arc contained within it.
Any skill that performs an action is an active skill. Most skill gems provide you with an active skill.
The modifiers (or mods) that are randomly assigned to items. A magic item can have two affixes; one prefix and one suffix. Most rare items can have six; three prefixes and three suffixes.
Bleeding, Ignite, Chill, Freeze, Shock and Poison. Ailments can be removed by certain flasks, or negated by items or passive skills.
Area of Effect:
The area in which a skill has an effect. A fireball's explosion has a small area of effect, while the secondary effect of Earthquake has a large area of effect.
The primary defensive stat from Strength-based equipment. Armour reduces the damage taken from physical attack and spell hits.
A specialised subclass unlocked via the Labyrinth.
One of the main skill types. With few exceptions, attacks use your weapon to calculate damage. Any skill gem with the "Attack" tag is an attack. Attacks can be both ranged and melee, and items and passive skills can affect ranged attacks or melee attacks exclusively. Some attacks, such as Spectral Throw, use a melee weapon but are not considered melee.
Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence. Most items have an attribute requirement.
A persistent field of an effect. If you step outside of an aura's radius, you won't be affected by it. Auras are also a specific set of skills that frequently reserve a portion of mana.
A group of monsters that are summoned, under certain conditions, when many enemies are slain in close proximity.
A strong unique enemy. Every non-unique map has one or more map bosses, and every act has one or more act bosses.
Visible as a clawed hand reaching out of the ground. Breaches grow in size and fill with monsters for a period of time. The more monsters slain within a breach, the longer the breach will remain open and continue to grow in size.
The way a character is played or intended to be played. Eg. A Tornado Shot build uses Tornado shot as its primary skill, and most of the items and passive skills serve to improve the effectiveness of Tornado Shot.
One of the five damage types, along with Physical, Fire, Cold and Lightning. Chaos damage bypasses Energy Shield by default.
Usually refers to the Marauder, Duelist, Ranger, Shadow, Witch, Templar and Scion playable characters.
May refer to one of several things: Frenzy, Endurance, and Power Charges, which can be gained from items or skills, and which grant significant boosts to damage with attack skills and attack/cast speed, damage reduction and resistances, and critical strike chance and spell damage respectively. Charge may also refer to Flask charges, which determine how many uses a flask has. Flask charges are regained primarily by slaying monsters. Charge can also reference the number of uses a skill has, such as trap skills or Vaal skills that can store enough souls for multiple uses.
One of the five damage types, along with Fire, Lightning, Physical and Chaos. Cold damage can chill and freeze by default.
One of the mysterious forces that is causing the dead to rise and life to mutate on Wraeclast. Also refers to the act of using a Vaal Orb on an item to change its properties. A corrupted item cannot be further modified.
The act of changing or creating an item. This can be done through the use of the various Orbs, Essences and Forsaken Master crafting benches.
Usually refers to the various Orb items such as the Chaos Orb.
Each Forsaken Master can offer you one quest per day from your hideout. Completing the Daily Mission awards much higher experience for that Master than normal.
Damage Over Time:
Damage that occurs over a period of time without a 'hit'. Eg. Standing on burning ground, or the poison component of Viper Strike.
Armour, Energy Shield and Evasion are the three main defences. These are found on most non-weapon equippable items.
One of the three attributes, along with Strength and Intelligence. Dexterity passively grants some Accuracy and increases your Evasion.
A type of item that can be turned in at Tasuni in Highgate for the reward written on the card. Each of these was designed by a Path of Exile supporter.
The primary defensive stat from Intelligence-based equipment. Energy Shield protects Life from all damage types except Chaos by default. Energy Shield also rapidly recovers after a period of taking no damage.
Weapons, shields, helmets, body armours, boots, gloves, rings, amulets, and belts all count as equipment.
The primary defensive stat from Dexterity-based equipment. Evasion provides a chance to ignore incoming attacks. Evasion provides no benefit against spells.
Any NPC who was exiled from Oriath. Each of the player characters is also an Exile.
One of the five damage types, along with Cold, Lightning, Physical and Chaos. Fire damage can ignite by default.
An item type that sits in the flask slots and is used to gain some effect on the player character, such as restoring life or mana, or gaining a temporary buff. Flasks are refilled by slaying monsters, or returning to a town or hideout.
The town in Act 2 that is sitting atop the river.
May refer to Skill Gems or Support Gems. Not to be confused with Jewels.
A mod which affects more than just the item it is on.
A collection of players that have access to a shared chat channel and a shared stash. Guilds can also have Guild Tags, a sequence of letters that represents which guild they are a part of.
An area owned by the player that can house Forsaken Masters and crafting benches, and can be decorated and altered by the player. Hideouts are shared across all characters on the same league and account.
Any object that can be moved and placed within a hideout.
The town on Mount Veruso, first encountered in Act 4.
The mod that appears above the randomly generated mods on an item. This is guaranteed by the basetype that the implicit is on, but can be changed by a few different sources. The most common way to change an implicit is by using a Vaal Orb (see Corruption).
One of the three attributes, along with Strength and Dexterity. Intelligence passively grants some Mana and increases your Energy Shield.
An item that can be socketed in the passive tree.
Usually refers to rings and amulets. Sometimes also includes belts and jewels.
One of the very large passive skills on the passive tree. Keystones drastically change the function of your character, and often come with a drawback.
A long, difficult dungeon that grants the player Ascendancy points upon completion. The layout changes every day.
Usually refers to items that have mods, mod values or other features that cannot be obtained through normal means anymore. May refer to the Legacy challenge league, which ran in 2017.
Players, Forsaken Masters and some items have levels, used to track the progress or strength of a range of features.
Determines whether your character is alive or dead. If your life falls to zero, you're dead.
One of the five damage types, along with Fire, Cold, Physical and Chaos. Lightning damage can shock by default.
The bridge between two sockets on an item, that allows skill gems to be supported by support gems.
The remains of a fortress that now acts as the town in Act 1.
Any mod that only affects the properties of the item it is on, and not the character as a whole.
A keyword that denotes that a mechanic that has some randomness will be checked twice, and the best outcome of the two checks will be used.
One of the tiers of rarity. Things that are of Magic rarity are tinted or coloured blue.
The primary resource for using skills, represented by the Blue orb on the UI.
Usually refers to the Map item type, which can be used in a Map Device to enter an area that is imbued with the mods that were present on the map when it was used. May also refer to the navigation tool on the UI.
Shorthand for Forsaken Master.
Refers to the use of the various crafting benches available from the Forsaken Masters.
Any attack which is not ranged. Typically very close-range.
A stationary object that can be placed and detonated by the player.
Usually refers to Mirror of Kalandra, the rarest currency item. A Mirrored item cannot be modified.
Short for Modifier. Anything that modifies an item, area or skill is a mod.
Short for Microtransaction. Usually refers to the cosmetic effects for sale in the shop.
One of the rarity tiers. Normal items have no special qualities and appear white or uncoloured.
Passive skills that are smaller than keystones but larger than most other passives. Notables usually provide strong benefits.
Short for non-player character. Includes any character that can be talked to or traded with, but usually doesn't refer to enemies.
The small, sole-surviving city of the now defunct Sarn Empire. Each player character was exiled from Oriath.
The powers obtained from major and minor gods are stored and selected on the Pantheon screen.
Any group of two or more players that have joined forces. Players in a party all gain experience from slain monsters if they're close enough, and can chat to one another.
Anything you can assign a passive skill point to. Passive skills provide incremental benefits for the player character.
The area surrounding Sarn, named for one of Sarn's early emperors.
One of the five damage types, along with Fire, Cold, Lightning, and Chaos. Physical damage has no special features by default.
Created by using a Portal Scroll. Most portals take players to the nearest town.
One of the Affix categories. Prefixes are typically stronger than suffixes.
An attack or spell component which travels without being connected to the casting or attacking player.
Improves the effectiveness of weapon, equipment, skill gems, support gems, and other items. Quality is usually limited to 20%.
A task which either forwards the story or rewards the player upon completion. Questgivers are indicated by a yellow '!' above their head.
One of the rarity tiers. Rare items typically have up to six random mods. Rares are coloured or tinted yellow.
The term used to describe how many mods an item can have, or how strong an enemy is. There are four rarity tiers: Normal, Magic, Rare and Unique.
A keyword which is short for "within the last four seconds".
Used to calculate the amount of damage dealt or taken by sources of Fire, Cold, Lightning or Chaos damage.
An enemy, usually clad in Microtransactions, that attacks with skills commonly used by players. Rogue Exiles drop an item from each equipment slot.
The capital city of the Eternal Empire, and the primary location for Act 3.
The source of most active skills. Skill gems, when socketed in weapons or armour, grant a skill. This skill can be augmented by linking the skill gem with a support gem.
A slot where a Skill or Support gem can be placed in weapons or armour. The passive tree also has sockets, however these sockets can only hold jewels.
One of the main skill types. Any skill gem with the "spell" or "cast" tag is a spell. Spells are unaffected by anything that affects attacks, unless an item or skill specifically says otherwise. Spells can create things that attack (such as Raise Zombie) but do not themselves count as attacks.
The primary way to store items and pass them between characters is via the stash. The stash can be expanded by purchasing stash tabs in the microtransaction shop.
One of the three attributes, along with Dexterity and Intelligence. Strength passively grants some life and melee physical damage.
A special kind of chest that can be modified with Currency. Almost all strongboxes are guarded by several packs of monsters, and cannot be opened until those monsters have been slain.
One of the two main affix groups. Suffixes tend to be weaker than prefixes. On Magic items and monsters, suffixes can be seen as the last part of the item's name (such as 'of Heat' or 'of Calm')
Used to modify the behaviour, cost, and power of skill gems. Support gems have no effect by themselves and must be linked to a skill gem to have any effect.
Any player who purchases a Supporter Pack or other microtransaction from the shop. Supporters keep the Path of Exile developers fed and happy. We love supporters!
One of the past challenge leagues. Tempest is also the name of the signature effect of the Tempest challenge league. Tempests create fields around the world that influence player and monster behaviours, such as shrinking them or granting a speed boost.
A stationary object that can cast spells or attack remotely. Unlike traps and mines, totems have a life pool akin to minions. Unlike minions, totems can't typically move around, and are unaffected by minion modifiers.
Any location other than a hideout where players can buy, sell, and stash items. Towns also contain quest-givers and other NPCs.
The act of exchanging one good for another, typically between two players (rather than between a player and an NPC). There is a trade chat channel designed to allow players to advertise their items for sale.
A stationary object that, when triggered, can attack or cast a spell. Traps break after they have been triggered, and can be easily destroyed by enemy attacks and spells, however they are also very difficult to see. May also refer to the traps in the Labyrinth which serve as damaging obstacles.
Typically refers to items or skill or support gems that cast a spell or deal an attack without the player's direct input. 'Cast on Critical Strike Support' is an example of a Trigger gem. May also refer to the act of setting off a Trap.
One of the rarity tiers. Uniques do not have randomly generated names or mods, setting them apart from the other rarity tiers. Unique monsters are typically very strong, while unique items can provide a wide range of effects not available on other items.
The oldest known culture on Wraeclast. The Vaal were the first known users of the gems, and their ruins are scattered across the land. Traces of the Vaal can be seen most notably in Act 2, and in the corrupted side areas. Vaal may also refer to the act of "Vaaling" an item -- using a Vaal orb on an item to corrupt it.
Typically refers to the act of selling an item at an NPC for scraps and fragments. May also refer to the NPC themselves.
One of the past challenge leagues. Warbands also refers to the four groups of enemies that could be found throughout the world during that league. The four groups consists of the Redblade, Brinerot, Mutewind and Renegades. They can currently be found through other means.
A subset of skills that are not attacks or spells, and thus are unaffected by things that ordinarily affect attacks and spells. The potency of any Warcry skill is affected by how many enemies are nearby when it is used.
The primary way of saving your progress through the world of Path of Exile. Waypoints allow travel to any other waypoint that you have previously found.
A type of item that can only be equipped in the main-hand and off-hand slots. Weapons are a major factor in the damage dealt by most attacks, and can also influence which skills you can or cannot use.
The largest continent in Path of Exile's known world. Criminals on Oriath are exiled to Wraeclast, a mysterious continent with a murky and bloody history. Most of Path of Exile's main storyline takes place on Wraeclast.
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