Have you heard of Path of Exile? It’s a Diablo-like Action RPG with plenty of dark themes and unique gameplay mechanics. In fact, Path of Exile is unlike any other Action RPG.
The game does a lot to change how you think playing a game like this should be and most of it is for the good. However, a lot of these systems will be new to you and you should really understand them before sitting down and getting too far in the game.
Since the game is now in open beta (there will be no character wipes at the end of it and the game is free to play so basically, it’s out) I figured this would be a good time to help out some new players or returning players with some valuable tips.
I’m going to cover character creation, character growth, the skill tree, stats, defenses, resistances, skill gems, farming, the barter system, the upgrade system, and some just other general tips to help you out.
Create a dummy character first
Path of Exile’s class system is largely dependent on the skill tree system. You’ll see that you have six classes to pick from but the differences between are moot unless you really want an optimized build for end-game. Besides that, you can effectively pick any class and be what you want to be.
The things to remember when picking a class are:
- Each class has an affinity with a certain stat and therefore starts with a higher number than a class that does not have that affinity.
- Marauder – Strength (Red)
- Ranger – Dexterity (Green)
- Witch – Intelligence (Blue)
- Shadow – Dex/Int
- Duelist – Str/Dex
- Templar – Str/Int
- Based on the class’s affinity, the skill tree will be more accessible to those affinities.
- For example: the Marauder, Ranger, and Witch will primarily be able to access their single affinity at first then have the chance to branch off.
- If you look at the Templar’s skill tree, you’ll see that he has fast access to both red (strength) and blue (intelligence) skills but it will take him a bit before hitting some green (dexterity) ones.
- Starting stats are based off of affinities. A Marauder will have much more strength and health than a Witch at level 1 and may continue that trend all the way to the top level.
- Starting weapons mean nothing, you’ll be able to find a new one quick.
Now, taking those tips in hand the best thing to do as a new player in Path of Exile is to create a dummy character to look things over. Pick a class and then enter the world. Open up your skill tree screen and begin scouring the skills. Every class’ tree will look different but have the same skills. Any class can access the Blood Magic or Iron Reflexes skills but it will placed somewhere different in each tree (a class with a Dex affinity will have quicker access to Iron Reflexes).
Look over the entire tree and make note of some really cool skills that you may like. You might find the Blood Magic skill to be awesome (gets rid of Mana and makes all spells dip from your health pool) and if that’s the direction you wish to take then you best think about taking a class with high health like the Marauder, Duelist, or even a Templar. A Witch with Blood Magic is basically asking for rapid deaths.
You might think that being a high-defense bow wielder sounds pretty epic. Then maybe you should take the Ranger and work towards full evasion gear and the Iron Reflexes skill (turns all evasion into armor).
Going over the tree and its skills is extremely important if you want to have some direction with your skill points and character growth, otherwise you find yourself at the later levels looking at a bunch of wasted skill points.
Once you have found a direction you want to take your character, think about what class would be best for that direction and then go ahead and create it.
Know the difference between the types of armor
Path of Exile has a lot of unique gameplay mechanics and armor is one of them. You’ll find three different armor types in the game: armor, evasion, and energy. Obviously each of them cater to a certain affinity (armor/red (str), evasion/green (dex), and energy/blue (int)). Try not to mix and match because then you won’t have a high enough defense in either of the types and you’ll wind up vulnerable.
Armor is the purest of defense. Even if you mix and match armor and energy, once energy’s shields are down you are faced with your pure defense and that is either armor or evasion. You can always rely on armor while evasion uses a chance percentage based on the number of evasion you have on your gear and/or skills. That isn’t to say evasion isn’t good, it is. However, it will work a lot better if you are going to have a focus or split your skill points down a green (dex) side of the tree and even more if you decide to use Iron Reflexes.
Either way, it is always good to either have a focus on just one type or mix and match armor or evasion with energy. Having both high armor or evasion and a good sized energy shield will keep you up and fighting longer.
So either focus on one type or utilize energy with another armor type.
Understand the barter and upgrade systems, don’t discard any loot
One thing you really need to let slam into your noggin is that Path of Exile does not have a gold system or any other kind of coin/dollar/price tag currency system. It uses a barter system in which items are the form of payment and trade.
Let that sink in because this is a very rare system to see in games like this.
The first thing you need to know is that any piece of loot can be worth your while – either for barter or even use. So do yourself a favor and get rid of the Diablo-like “oh it’s only a white-colored item, it’s not worth it” attitude, because you’ll be missing out. Any item can theoretically be something of worth.
This system does well to make sure that almost any item put into Path of Exile will be something to note and there is no need for gold farming or price gouging among players. In fact, the barter system and item upgrade system in Path of Exile promotes player trading and helping out those around you.
That being said, the way to tell if an item is useless to you is to look at its quality level and parity (level of rarity).
For instance, if you have a common (white) level Superior Mace with a quality level of +15%, I’d keep that thing. What you can do is use your obtained orbs and increase the quality to, say, +20% and then use an Orb of Alchemy to reforge it into a rare (yellow) item and you may have just made yourself a brand new weapon.
If you find a common item with a low quality level then its barter food, sell it or just don’t pick it up.
In fact, the most common bartered items are magic (blue) items. Most of them are useless and they can’t be converted into rare items so keep them unidentified and just sell them as unknown items, unless you desperately need something to fill a slot early on in the game.
Try your best to not sit there and identify every item with Scrolls of Wisdom, they are precious and not something you can buy from vendors. Scrolls and Orbs can be made from fragments you get from bartering or you can find them out in the world as loot drops. Either way, don’t sell them and don’t squander them. Also, they are the preferred items for trade among players.
Also, don’t upgrade every item with your Orbs. Wait until you get to a point where you need an upgrade and then use them. You can typically get by most areas with the gear you have until you hit a boss or come up to a strong elite enemy. Carefully read what each Orb does and try to memorize the names for every Orb and what they do because when trading with players you’ll need to remember what each does if you’re asked for one as a negotiation piece.
Finally, know that Divine Orbs, Chaos Orbs, Gem Cutter Orbs, and Exalted Orbs are the rarest, most powerful, and most sought out of the Orbs. They will do some amazing things to your items and you could get some amazing things from other players for them.
Don’t be afraid of Hardcore mode in this game
Hardcore modes scare a lot of players. The aspect of losing all of one’s progress, items, and accolades in one fell swoop is daunting but in Path of Exile you don’t have to worry as much. Of course, if you want to go through the whole game in Hardcore then you should still worry but even if you die, you won’t lose everything. Your Hardcore character will just transfer over to a normal league and you can continue playing.
Farming is quick and easy
If you need to farm for experience, items, or just looking for rare monsters then while in town go to the waypoint and bring up the area map. Hold down the control key on your keyboard and click on any area to reset it. You can then go to it and find the map and monsters back for your slaughtering purposes.
Utilize skill gems correctly
Skill gems are rare to find out in the world but you’ll have plenty of quests that offer them as a reward. Make sure you pick and choose your skill gems wisely.
In the early part of the game, having a good Area of Effect (AoE) skill gem like Firestorm or Sweep will be really helpful. If you’re using a high strength character, Sweep will take you far into the game thanks to its quick use and high damage.
Also, don’t just click on the “plus” button when a skill gem is ready to be leveled up. Hover over it and look at how much higher the mana cost and stat requirements will be. If you think upgrading a skill at the present moment may drain your mana too much or if you’re using gear to help raise your stats and be able to use a specific gem, it may be best to hold off on leveling the gem. Wait until you get more mana points or regeneration and get better stats in general.
If you find a gem that you think is cool but you won’t use it at the moment, just equip some weapons and armor in your second gear set and then put the gems in there. Even though you’ll primarily be using gear set 1, the gems will still gain levels.
Accuracy and Elemental Resistance are very important stats in this game
Unlike other Action RPGs like this, Accuracy is a very important stat. If you are close to a +Accuracy skill on your skill tree it may be worth it to plug a point in there and wait another level to continue on in the tree.
If you don’t put points in your accuracy you’ll find yourself swinging for the fences with your weapon or wasting valuable mana points on a missed spell. It will happen often so make sure you invest some time in the accuracy department.
As for elemental resistances, they will come up very often in this game and your first “stat wall” battle will come at the end of Act 1. If you don’t try to increase your overall elemental resistance or save up the good ele. resist gear you find, you may be in trouble at times.
For instance (and help), the end boss for Act 1 uses high damaging cold attacks. If your Cold Resistance or general elemental resistance is not high enough, you’ll be chewed up and spit out quick. I had my Cold Resistance at +63% and the boss wasn’t hard at all for me to take down. I still had to heal periodically but it wasn’t like my first attempt with zero resistance and dying fairly quickly.
Stand still while fighting unless movement is necessary
Unless you are a ranger, witch, or shadow and you need to constantly move to stay alive then don’t move while fighting. The reason being is that many enemies (especially those in higher difficulties) have a special skiill called Puncture. What Puncture does is that if you are struck by it you will bleed out like crazy if you move.
You’ll notice that you are effected by Puncture if when you move you are trailing a large blood line and your health is dropping insanely fast. So unless survival depends on it, stay still during combat.
If you are a class that needs to move a lot during combat, do everything in your power to keep enemies away from you. Slow them down or get faster with skills and gems.
Use the official site and forums if you have any questions
The official site is filled with awesome tools to help you out. You can look at full skill trees for any class (basically negating my “create a dummy character” tip) and you can even view your characters on the site to see what you got equipped at the moment if you can’t play.
Also, use the official forums or even the Path of Exile subreddit for help. If you have a build question, item question, or need help with a boss or area then ask. There is no harm or foul in asking a question. If someone is a jerk, ignore them (that’s a prime rule on the internet, by the way).
There are plenty of places and avenues to turn to if you need help. Path of Exile has a lot of unique systems in it and sometimes a bunch of tips like this isn’t going to solve your problem. Ask around, figure stuff out, and enjoy the game.
There is a lot of cool things about Path of Exile and it’s a very fun game if you just want to loot and kill. Hopefully these tips help you out as your start (or even if you’re been playing but learned something new here).
Enjoy Path of Exile!