Path of Exile is an enormous game with so many different facets it can make your head start to spin. Players new to the game, in particular, are sometimes discouraged by how intricate and interlocking many of the game’s systems are. Failing to understand some of the fundamentals will cripple your ability to make progress in the game, or make it feel far more difficult or sluggish than should be.With that sobering message out of the way, we can jump right into our Beginner’s Guide to Path of Exile! Stay sane, exile.
The Standard League is always available to join by anyone, and it splits into Hardcore and Solo Self-Found versions. The Standard League is the default, and has no modifiers. The Hardcore variant introduces its own version of a perma-death mechanic, but you will not lose the character if it dies, and instead the character goes back to the default version of the Standard League upon dying without losing items and progression. Solo Self-Found is another variant, and in this variant players cannot trade or party with other players, thus converting the game into a single player experience.
Challenge Leagues are special “temporary” Leagues that only last for a certain amount of time, and they usually have specific modifiers or features. When these Leagues end, your character is transferred to one of the Standard League, so there is no lost progress. This is where the majority of players will be playing, so it is recommended that new players begin in this League, which is currently called Betrayal. In Path of Exile, players usually play in the Challenge League until it expires, and then create a new character when the next Challenge League is released.
Private leagues are custom made Leagues that allows additional modifiers. They are purchased with real money, and the initial cost is 120 Points, or roughly 12$ USD. The default duration is 10 days and it has 10 player slots available, but these both can be increased with further purchases. Private Leagues can be based around the Standard League or the current Challenge League.。
Each time you want to join a new league you will need to create a new character, each character has their own attributes or in some cases a mixture of attributes, however no skills or attributes are locked to any one character class. All of starting character classes have 3 (or 1 for Scion) ascendency classes which can be thought of as a specialisation by that character class into a specific attribute area. The 7 starting characters and their core attributes are as follows: Marauder (strength), Duelist(strength and dexterity), Ranger (dexterity), Shadow(dexterity and intelligence), Witch (intelligence), Templar (strength and intelligence) and Scion (strength, dexterity and intelligence).
Marauder can ascend into either Juggernaut, Berserker or Chieftain. Duelist can ascend into either Slayer, Gladiator or Champion. Ranger can ascend into either Deadeye, Raider or Pathfinder. Shadow can ascend into either Assassin, Saboteur or Trickster. Witch can ascend into either Necromancer, Occultist or Elementalist. Templar can ascend into either Inquisitor, Hierophant or Guardian. Scion has a slight different mechanic, as this character starts off with a balanced set of attributes their ascendency class is known as the as Ascendent, and it can take attributers from other ascendency classes, giving it greater flexibility.
Acts and Quests
Progression through Path of Exile's storyline is divided into sections known as acts. An act will contain it's own unique quests, NPC's, a town and an act boss. More often than not a new act is added to the game on the release of an expansion. Currently there are 10 acts and an epilogue in total. All new players start at act 1 and progress through the acts one by one. The first act “The Shore” is where you will arrive first in Wraeclast. In this act the player will make their way up a beach to find the settlement “Lioneye's Watch” and then progressing further to find other interesting places such as Axiom Prison and Sirens Cove. You will encounter monsters from level 1-13 in this act. As mentioned there will be numerous quests to complete during an act, you do not have to complete all quests but they will all have rewards with many giving passive skill points
Passive Skill Tree
When leveling in Path of Exile up you will acquire Skill Points. By placing these Points you increase core Attributes, other Stats, and can modify various other “things”. Every Class has a unique starting point on the passive Skill Tree, and that difference is a crucial one, since it limits how far you can go in each direction. There are 99 passive Skill Points you can get from leveling up and 22-24 from Quests. The maximum level is 100, but it is extremely hard to reach since it requires huge time investment, so 80 is more realistic goal. Keep this in mind when planning your Build.
Following Attributes on this massive Skill Tree, that are connected to your starting Class, is usually recommended. Let’s take Shadow as an example. Its increased starting Attributes are INT and DEX. On the tree both of these attributes spread out into many INT and DEX based passives. STR does not have any immediate passives connected to it, meaning you are going to have to invest heavily in that direction to reach lots of STR based passives. It is doable but it needs careful build planning.
In addition, plan ahead to reach Keystone Nodes that would improve your build a lot. These are very powerful passives that modify how some things behave. In the case of using Shadow, the closest Keystone Nodes are Pain Attunement, Acrobatics and Perfect Agony. Some skills might benefit tremendously from some of these Keystone nodes but it all depends on the skills you are using. As you can see, there is no one way of going about this huge skill tree, and because of this, planning is the most important thing because there is no respec option (so choices are mostly permanent).
Path of Exile does offers refund points, that are gained through some side quests, and by way of Orbs of Regret. Orbs of Regret can be farmed, but are uncommon. In addition, the devs sometimes offer every character a full respec for free, which can be used on the passive skill tree screen. This is usually offered when major changes are made to the game. Note that respecs given this way must be used before allocating or refunding any other points otherwise the option will go away.
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