Path of Exile: Tips & Tricks to Start

Here are some general tips and tricks for you to start Path of Exile.


General Tips and Tricks

Here I give you some valuable hints and information that do not fit in the other chapters or are just globally true.

  • Let’s start off with the two almost mandatory tools to enjoy Path of Exile:
    – Lootfilters. Use them. The game drowns you in loot, most of it not worthy of your precious inventory space that is so smol it could be compared to Diablo 2 😀

    On you can customize your lootfilter to your liking or just select one of the recommended strictness levels. To start a league I suggest ‘semi-strict’, then go strict once you start maps or soon after. Depending on your build you may want to manually show some additional loot (‘Customize’ tab).

    – Path of Building (community branch!). THE one and only tool you’ll ever need for your character build. You can plan everything in advance and copy in builds from other players to follow.
    Among many other cool features, Path of Building has a complete talent tree and can calculate reliably the DPS of most skills.

  • In general, the ten story acts should not concern you too much. They are a way to get to know the tilesets, monsters, NPCs and story of the game. When you finish Act 10 you will most likely be around level 60-65ish and have found your first endgame progression enablers, in other words: maps.
  • As for chosing a class and build, unless you are a real pro, I recommend checking the forums for build guides (there are also plenty of specialisted build sites around) and follow one of them, ideally with Path of Building.
    With the great complexity of PoE’s talent tree, stats and ascendancies, it’s not a good idea to commit too much time into your own attempt at a good build – unless you know EXTREMELY well what you are doing.
  • Be sure to do all quests that grant skill points!
  • There is only one multiple-choice quest reward in PoE that affects your build in the long term: kill all bandits in Act 2 or ally with one of them.
    The build you follow will normally recommend an option. Many builds ultimately fare better with killing all to get those precious and hard-to-come-by skill points. Some however are better served with the bandit bonuses. Beginners often like to ally Alira to get a big boost to all elemental resistances (that mana regen also sometimes helps during leveling).
    You CAN change your mind later on but it costs you dearly so think about it.
  • Quick summary of what ascendancies are because the game does not explain ingame how to get them.
    Each class has 3 acendancies of which you can chose one. It IS possible to change to a different one but it’s an expensive and timeconsuming process.
    Over time you get 8 points total to spend in your chosen ascendancy. These unlock super-powerful, unique bonuses that very much define your build. A necromancer witch is quite, quite different from an elementalist, a Berserker differs greatly from a Chieftain.
    The first 6 points are rather easy to get: you need to beat the Labyrinth. It’s a special area that you unlock by doing all the ‘ascendancy trials’. Your quest log notifies you about these.
    You will automatically enter the regions for each trial while doing the other quests (exception: catacombs).
    The trial is a jump&run&avoid test with certain traps. You should not have any trouble with these after you get the general idea. Tip: whirling spiky blades probably hurt and holes in the ground often contain spiky surprises 🙂

    The lab comes in 3 difficulties: normal, cruel, merciless. Your goal here is to get to the boss Izaro, defeating him leads you to a room with a unique enchantment option and: your price, 2 ascendancy points.

    The last 2 points are more difficult since they require mapping (endgame content) and are a bit RNG-based.

  • In contrast to Diablo and many other genre titles, Path of Exile is quite unforgiving to the player who ignores defense. You MIGHT get through the story acts by just looking at your DPS but you will fail miserably in medium tier maps at the latest.
    If you follow a popular build it will always contain information about your defenses and will take care to boost them properly through the talent tree and gear recommendations.
    Be warned that you lose 10% of total XP to next level whenever you die (after finishing story) so you see it’s a good idea to think about defense.
    To understand the mechanicsbetter, here’s a quick summary of how you make your character survive.
    – Evasion: works against *attacks* but not spells and not damage over time. Evading is automatic, instant (unlike blocking which has a short block animation) chance-based (higher rating = more often) and naturally agrees with green gems and Dexterity.
    – Dodge: a special defense that is harder to come by than evasion and acts separately. There is dodge against attacks and spells accessible via different routes.
    – Armor: This defense reduces PHYSICAL damage (excluding physical damage over time, like bleeding) from spells and attacks both. So you get hit but you take less damage. Pretty simple to understand? Not quite.
    Armor works better against small hits than big crushing blows. It will work wonders against, for example, those machine-gunning (physical) tentacle ladies but not as well against a slow, strong boss attack. The % shown in your stats ingame is misleading, it’s a kind of ‘average’ for an ‘average’ enemy physical hit. However the game does not tell you what it considers to be average on that level.
    Anyway, keep in mind that armor is always useful but is more effective the lower the hit damage is. If a monster deals 10×10 damage in a second armor will make you avoid much more damage than if it deals 1×100 in the same time.
    Armor synergizes well with Strength and red gems.
    – Life: Your hitpoints. Duh.
    – Energy Shield: Your hitpoints… volume 2? Energy shield (ES) acts like life in many respects, it’s a buffer that is consumed before your life takes damage (exception: chaos damage). It starts to regenerate automatically and with strong effect after not taking any hits for 2 seconds.
    ES is affected by armor, resistances, evasion… just like life.
    Some builds rely heavily on life, others on ES. As a tendency, ES is more expensive to come by, especially the very good rolls. If your chosen build relies on ES exclusively it may not be the best choice for new players (or SSF).
    ES is related to Intelligence and blue gems.
    – Blindness: Blinded enemies miss 50% of attacks (but not spells) which makes it a super-strong defense layer if you can apply it reliably.
    – Resistances: reduce damage taken from elemental or chaos sources. Chaos resistance is hardest to come by. You get a -60% penalty to all resistances as you progress through the story acts. No worries though, talent tree and gear offer lots of ways to get enough resistances.
    They are normally capped at +75% although there are ways to go beyond that. At 75% you take only one fourth of damage.
    – Leech: You can leech life, mana, even Energy Shield. The amount of leech per second is capped although those caps can be raised.
  • Don’t neglect any of the main progression systems. Maps are only the most prominent endgame content but there’s the Azurite mine which can easily check in as a second, contained game mode and there’s the other huge league mechanic ‘Heist’ with its special dungeons aimed at short time spent, big win scenarios.
    Also keep in mind there are many craft recipes not obtainable in maps but only in the Mine or (to a lesser degree) by doing certain league mechanics.

General Tips and Tricks, part II

  • With the relatively new ‘affinities’ you can sort your items into the correct stash tabs or even different chests (like Expedition Chest or Heist Chest) simply by using CTRL+Leftclick while at your main chest. All you have to do is activate the little checkbox in the Stash Tab or Chest that says ‘affinity’.
    It’s small and not very well placed so many players actually don’t know about this AWESOME feature and still sort everything manually.
    To be clear, what this means is: you go to your main chest. You don’t have to select ANY specific tabs, you just CTRL+Leftclick any item and it automatically goes into the correct place.
    If you are already using the special stash tabs for e. g. currency (extremely recommended), that’s the usual place you want the affinity. If you only have the regular tabs you can still select specific affinities for each of them, even multiple ones. So Blight and Delirium stuff could be put into one tab, maps and fragments in another, for example.
  • Vendor recipes are a great way of getting lots of useful stuff and get rid of unwanted items at the same time.
    You can find all recipes here:
    Arguably the most commonly used ones are Chromatic Orb, 7x Jeweller’s Orb and Chaos Orb. See the chapter about orbs fore more details how to create your own Chaos Orbs.
  • Flasks are possibly the most undervalued tool on many Exile’s belt. Understanding and using flasks correctly makes a significant difference in your combat performance.
    Flasks range from clearly offensive ones like Diamond Flasks to defensive ones like Granite Flask and there are utility flasks that grant powerful abilities such as Phasing (move through mobs, invaluable in tight quarters).

    What some refer to as ‘flask piano’ is having a good muscle memory of which flask is assigned to which shortcut (default keys are the numbers 1-5) and playing them just right… like a piano.

    What kind of flask do you need? It depends on your build but there are some almost universally useful effects and some globally true tips about flasks:

    – The Expedition update changed ‘removes X’ effects on flasks to only apply their full power when you are actually afflicted by something. This is a VERY big difference to before and something you must adjust for. Anti-Freeze flasks no longer work in advance, you need to wait until you are actually frozen to pop it. The same goes for anti-bleed, anti-burning etc.

    – ‘Corrupted Blood’ and to a lesser degree bleeding can quickly kill your hero almost ‘out of nowhere’. These effects go through all resistances and directly assault your health. The only defense is a flask ‘of Staunching’ and quick reactions. As soon as you see the debuff icon pop up you should use your flask. This also grants temporary immunity to the effect. You want to make sure you ALWAYS have enough charges to remove these effects, the best place for the mod is normally on a life or mana flask because their flask charge costs are lower than on other flask types.
    Advanced Tip: Jewels can be corrupted into having the ‘cannot be inflicted with corrupted blood’ modifier but it’s a low chance and in a trade league they will normally be VERY expensive.

    – Another universally good flask mod to have is ‘removes freeze’. Freeze is without doubt the most dangerous elemental ailment because you can’t do anything, including evade or block, while you are frozen. 2 seconds of doing nothing is a surefire way of killing yourself in high tier maps.

    – Flask charges refill when you slay enemies. That’s all fine and good as long as there are plenty around. But what if you are up against a boss that does not spawn loads of minions over the encounter? There is no way to gain flask charges and you quickly stand there with your pants down.
    Wrong. There are multiple ways of recharing without killing stuff. One is having the ‘20% chance for a charge on crit’ modifier but this one only works with crit builds (what a surprise). This by the way is one of the main reasons crit builds are so popular. The most important flasks can be made to last forever.
    If you are not relying on crits, there is still ‘gain a charge when hit’. Obviously you need to get hit so this requires thinking ahead a bit and letting harmless hits through (while avoiding any burst boss attacks).
    The Pathfinder ascendancy (Ranger) has some insane means of generating flask charges.
    Last but not least, if you can spare a map portal or two, return to your hideout via portal and all charges will be refilled. Not a particularly honorable way but hey, it works.

    – Your important flasks at least should all have 20% quality because that increases the duration. Before rolling into a perfect magic flask, use baubles on it while it’s white, you get much more value out of them this way (5% quality per bauble).

    – There are relatively new orbs that can enhance flasks further with enchantments. Consult in-depth flask guide for more details.

    – For running ‘no regeneration’ maps you will want flasks that do not stop regenerating life or mana even when you’re full. Look for the respective modifier, it reduces the recovered amount greatly but keeps the regeneration running for the full duration, even if you reach maximum life or mana.

    – The talent tree offers lots of opportunities to further strenghten your flasks and there are also effects in the game that only work during any flask’s duration. Combined with good recharge or wise use of the flask charges this can mean a real difference!

By ApathicAlpaca

More Guides:

Leave a Comment