Hey there, new exile! Welcome to the awesome game that is Path of Exile! Over the many years since it’s release in 2013, PoE has become increasingly more complex. And today, the depth and complexity of Path of Exile can overwhelm just about any new player.
There are 7 classes, 19 subclasses, 228 active skill gems, and passive skill tree with over 1300 nodes. But that’s just barely scratching the surface. There’s the mapping system, endgame bosses, prophecies, the labyrinth, an exhaustingly infuriating crafting system that requires a Ph.D. in data analytics as of the release of the Synthesis update, and so much more.
There’s no shame in not knowing everything about a game when you’re starting out. In fact, there are some things long-time players (myself included) didn’t know until recently. Don’t get discouraged by the know-it-all players saying “Pssh, that’s EZ” or “git gud” and so forth. There are players that will help you and give genuine advice in-game or on the web.
That being said, here are a few tips and tricks I can share with you. It’s nothing grand, but I hope they can help you become a better and more knowledgeable player! Without further ado here are the tips and tricks…
#1 Pick a spell, trap or minion as your starting skill for easier scaling
If you’re new to Path of Exile, it’s very likely your leveling experience with a melee skill or a bow skill will be very unpleasant. This is due to how these skills scale – they primarily use the damage of your equipped weapon (with several exceptions). And accuracy rating is also a must.
While getting a decent weapon isn’t hard, it quickly diminishes in power as you progress through the game. But this is by design, so new weapon bases with higher stats become available, requiring you to craft them to keep up with the content. And you also need to increase your accuracy rating. Otherwise, enemies will die slower, the difficulty will spike, and you may start dying a lot.
Whereas spells, traps, and minions scale based on level, meaning these skills will get stronger with you. And they’ll never miss either. Some recommendations – Storm Brand, Frostbolt, Summon Raging Spirit, and Arc Traps(Arc + Trap Support). But any skill will feel horrible with a bad build. For example, trap skills aren’t that great without the “Clever Construction” passive skill. So don’t be afraid to look up existing builds!
#2 Quicksilver flasks help you level and progress through the campaign faster
When starting out, your character is somewhat slow. So running through zones may feel like a long and uneventful trek. But that’s where Quicksilver flasks come in. They increase your movement speed by 40%, which is almost half of your base movement speed.
You can get the first one by completing “Mercy Mission” located on the Tidal Island, the game’s 4th zone:
And from then on Quicksilver Flasks can drop from any level 4+ enemy, so be on the lookout! Equip 1-3 of these bad boys and zoom through zones. Additionally, the increased movement speed will help you enemy dodge attacks more easily!
#3 Always have bleed and freeze removal to avoid cheap deaths
Two of the most common causes of death in PoE are bleeding and being frozen. You can get the bleeding debuff from enemy attacks, labyrinth traps, and the corrupting blood nemesis effect. In the first two cases, damage taken increases the more you move around. So there’s a chance to survive if you stand still. But why would you stand still on a trap?
Whereas corrupting blood gives you a stack each time you hit the enemy, maxing out at 20. At lower levels, you can power through with life flasks. But the higher you get, the more brutal the damage will become, especially if your character has low armor. I’ve had cases where I bled to death in less than a second because I wasn’t paying attention.
In the same vein, freeze is a diabolical debuff that locks your character in place. You can’t move or attack, you can just hope for the best. Any cold damage that crits can freeze you. And it happens more often the lower your resists and the lower your total life pool. On top of that, Path of Exile’s strongest boss uses cold damage.
So the simplest solution to both bleed and freeze are flasks. Simply take a common (unmodded) flask. Make sure it’s at least itemlevel 4 for freeze removal and itemlevel 8 for bleed removal (press alt on an item to check).
And use a transmutation orb on it.
If you don’t get the desired effect use alteration orbs. Or augmentation orbs if there’s no suffix in the item name. Alternatively, you can use Einhar beast crafting to immediately craft the needed mod.
Or even use items, uniques (Wanderlust, Death’s Door, etc), and passive skills that grant these immunities.
#4 Use utility flasks to maximize removal effects
The main difference between all flasks is not just their effect. Life, mana, and hybrid flasks will immediately end the instant your life and/or mana is full. So let’s say you have bleed removal on a life flask. You fight a corrupting blood nemesis, you use the flask once, your life gets full, the flask expires, and so does the bleed removal.
And if the nemesis is still alive, you get new corrupted blood stacks. But if your life flask doesn’t have charges, you’re out of luck. Then again, if you have the bleed removal on a basalt flask, the bleed removal effect will always have a 100% duration. Thus, it’s better to have utility flasks for removal effects.
#5 Cap (and overcap) your elemental resistances for increased survival
There are only five damage types in PoE – physical, chaos, cold, fire, and lightning. Physical and chaos damage mitigation (armor and chaos resistance, respectively) helps but is not required for the most part. You’ll survive the weak hits but will often die from the really strong ones if you don’t dodge. (For example, Minotaur’s slam or Chimera’s blade flurry)
But it’s quite different for the elemental damage types. Your elemental resistances cap at 75%.
So you only take 25% of the total elemental damage. But for all intents, purposes, and balance reasons, this is the intended base damage.
Thus, if your resistances are 5% below the cap at 70%, it means you take 20% more damage from that element. 40% more if you’re 10% below, 80% more if you’re 20% below, and so on. The lower your resistances, the crazier enemy damage on you gets, and the easier it is to die.
So if you ever feel like you’re dying a lot it’s either one of three reasons – your damage is too low, your effective health pool is too low, or your resistances are uncapped. So get to capping those resistances! Use the crafting bench to net some easy resists!
#6 Life builds are easier to play and gear towards
When it comes to the effective hp pool, there are 4 main options – pure life, hybrid, low-life, and chaos inoculation. Low-life is the trickiest to build around. The name itself is misleading since you’re relying on energy shield to survive. The only difference is that you’re using auras with blood magic on top of regular auras.
This also requires build-enabling items like “Shavronne’s Wrappings” or “Solaris Lorica”, so you instantly don’t die to chaos damage as it bypasses energy shield. Additionally, every other piece of equipment also needs energy shield to make it worthwhile.
Chaos inoculation is a keystone that sets your chaos resistance to 100% but also reduces your life to 1. So you need to stack energy shield on items to increase your survivability.
Whereas hybrid builds use a combination of life, energy shield, and mind over matter. And these builds can be really hard to gear towards, usually.
Lastly, pure life builds are very straightforward. You just look for gear items with life, take life nodes, and breeze through content. And it’s not just that – life also makes you more resistant to stuns and debuffs such as cold. This is due to how they’re calculated.
For example, if you’re hit with elemental damage, the more total health you lose, the higher the chance you get the debuff. But this calculation ignores energy shield. So if you’re CI or low-life, your life base will be lower than the damage you take, resulting in constantly being debuffed.
That’s why you either need uniques with immunity granting effects (Eye of Chayula, etc) or utility flasks that will remove them. But for life builds they aren’t as important, even though they’re still useful.
And finally, only life and hybrid builds can effectively use life flasks. CI and low-life builds are energy shield based, so you can only rely on regen and leech effects.
#7 Use an item filter to declutter your screen
In PoE, loot sometimes drops in such absurd quantities you can’t see the ground textures anymore. But seeing anything useful in that pile of loot and screen clutter can be painfully tedious. In the early days of PoE, you had to move back and forth and spam Z to get a clear idea of what had dropped.
But now you can use a loot filter. The way it works is simple – it makes bad items invisible, highlighting good items, even adding special sound effects when they drop. It’s not only useful to have a loot filter but also suggested to use one. As it will almost definitely improve your gameplay experience, especially if you’re just starting out. NeverSink’s loot filter is a fairly popular and useful example of this:
#8 Most gear drops are junk, so set your expectations low
With or without an item filter the chances of finding something good is painfully low. You might identify a pile of rares, but you’ll only get a hodgepodge of stats with no real use.
Or you might get that juicy unique drop, only to find out some players are trying to sell it for less than you’d get from a vendor. (that actually happens)
In short, set yourself up for disappointment. Good drops are few and far between. And some rare items can be safely ignored, even if they show up on your filter. Like 2-handed axes, staves, 2-handed maces, and any kind of bow. On the other hand, belts tend to have decent stats more often, so it’s worth to pick them up.
But even if you start ignoring most rares, don’t lose sleep over it. The stats on them could’ve been good or could’ve been bad, there’s no way for you to tell. The same way any lottery ticket could’ve been a winner or a loser. There’s no need for you to buy every ticket. And there’s no need for you to pick up every rare item.
#9 Some currency items are not worth picking up at all
PoE is the bane of your wrist. And the easiest way to contract carpal tunnel in Wraeclast is by picking up wisdom scrolls and portal scrolls. They drop way too often, they require way too much clicking to pick up, and they’re worth practically nothing. To illustrate, here’s the average value of currencies in each league.
When you increase loot filter strictness, they gradually phase out poor currency items. This way you won’t need to restrain yourself. But you might ask: “How do I identify items if I don’t have wisdom scrolls? How do I make portals if I don’t have portal scrolls?”
It’s simple, vendor other low-value currency items to get wisdom scrolls. And exchange wisdom scrolls for portal scrolls. Like so:
#10 Apply quality on items to make socketing and linking easier
The lifeblood of PoE’s skill system is gear sockets and links. To create a socket use jeweler’s orbs and to create links use fusing orbs. Both are spammable, stopping at maximum sockets and links respectively. But your success is largely dependant on RNG.
Luckily, there’s a way to increase success. Simply use quality increasing currencies on items. Blacksmithing whetstones for weapons and armourer’s scraps for armor. It normally caps out at 20% and is dependant on item rarity. Common items needing just 4, uncommon needing 10, but rares and uniques needing 20.
#11 Use the chaos orb recipe to get rich
A chaos orb is one of the most used currencies in Path of Exile. So you’d often price tags of many items on poe.trade listed in chaos orbs. There are several ways you can get them. They can drop. You can trade in divination cards. Or you trade in a chaos recipe to a vendor like so:
You simply need to vendor a full gear set of items, with every item being at least itemlevel 60 and one item below 75(press alt over an item to check). If any item is lower than 60, you’ll get chance orb instead. And if all items are above itemlevel 75, you’ll get a regal orb.
It’s a great way to get currency early on in a league. You can keep doing it as long as you want to. But the efficiency of this diminishes the longer a league goes on. It’s up to you! Also, check out the Chaos Orb guide for more simple, but helpful advice.
#12 Use the exalted shard recipe to get even richer
This one works the same way the chaos recipe does. The only difference is that all items need to be elder or shaped, regardless of itemlevel, like so:
#13 Use other vendor recipes for extra currency items
There are many ways you can get extra currency items with the help of PoE’s vendor system. Three linked item with all three color sockets will exchange for a chromatic orb.
6-socket items will give you 7 jeweler’s orbs.
6-linked items will give you a divine orb.
7 vaal gems and 1 sacrifice fragment will give you a vaal orb.
You can also vendor 20% quality items to get a corresponding quality increasing currency. Or you can exchange items with a combined quality of 40% to get a corresponding quality currency item. Like so:
Most of the quality vendor recipes are often not worth the time or effort, but the Gemcutter’s Prism vendor recipe can be quite useful. Especially if you need more Gem Quality or to use the Gem Quality vendor recipe.
#14 Don’t be afraid to vendor maps in threes for atlas progression
When progressing through the atlas, sometimes you won’t get the map you need to advance even after multiple tries. Then you can only rely on Zana to sell the map to you. Buy it on poe.trade (which is frankly a nightmare). Or get it through the vendor.
When you vendor three identical maps of a lower tier, you’ll get an adjacent map one tier higher. Like so:
Additionally, if you change map combinations, you’ll get a different map:
A pretty nifty way to speed up your atlas progression!
#15 The last map you run today will be the daily mission tier for tomorrow
Path of Exile has daily missions for its 5 masters – Zana, Niko, Einhar, Jun, and Alva. You can see their colorful symbols on the Atlas as such:
When you activate a mission, the counter will reduce by one. But one of the counters will also randomly increase after you complete a certain amount of maps. Additionally, you’ll also get one free mission for each master as a daily login bonus. You can get it once per day, but it resets at 00:00 UTC. You can see the timer here.
While your daily mission counter will increase randomly, you have some control over it. For example, if the last map you run today is Tier 2, then the free daily missions tomorrow will be on the White counter (Tier 1-5). Or if the last map you run is Tier 16, the daily mission will spawn on the Red counter (Tier 11-16).
There’s one thing to note, however – the new counter system is weirdly implemented, retaining a certain aspect from the old master system. To be more specific, the free daily missions are a random roll of -1, +0, and +1 to the last completed map tier. So if the last map you complete is a Tier 5 map, the free daily mission can be White (Tier 4-5) or Yellow (Tier 6), adding some randomness. So to perfectly control which counter increases, complete Tier 1-4 for the White counter, Tier 7-9 for the Yellow counter, and Tier 12-16 for the Red counter.
This can also be combined with Zana’s shaped and elder map device mods. Simply activate dailies on White maps or Yellow maps. And then upgrade them 5 tiers higher (Shaped) or to Tier 16 maps (Elder). It costs some extra chaos orbs but helps you get the most value out of the masters, aside from Jun. Avoid high-tier Jun encounters unless your character is godlike.
#16 Get some premium tabs for an increased quality of life
Path of Exile is a free game packed with over hundreds upon hundreds of hours of content and nearly limitless replay value. But the developers, Grinding Gear Games, make money primarily through microtransactions. While most of it is harmless cosmetic stuff, there are some gameplay-affecting exceptions – the premium tabs.
There’s a handful of these, but if you plan to get some, I recommend getting 1 Premium Stash Tab (for trading), 1 Currency Tab, and 1 Map Tab. That’s about $30.
And trust me, they’re worth every penny. So much so in fact that I sometimes get pissed they’re not part of the base game. But at least I know my money went to support the developers who’ll make the game even better!
#17 Have fun above all else!
None of the advice above really matters if you’re not having fun. If any part of the game becomes too overwhelming, tedious or difficult, simply ignore it. (like the crafting system or the syndicate) Instead, focus on what’s fun to you!
Enjoy slaying monsters? Hit some maps or jump into delve and shred those baddies to pieces! Like trying out different skills? Experiment all you want! Love running the labyrinth? Become the best maze runner there ever was!
So what do you think? Anything else you’d like to know about Path of Exile? Have any tips you’d like to share? Or any other insights related to PoE? Comment below!