Path of Exile is one of those games that defines a genre. As a free-to-play action RPG, it’s the best example of that genre in modern times. Since its initial release, we’ve seen updates upon updates that have given the game a transcendent and evolutionary feel that adds to its general mystique and ultimate allure.
The newest update, the 3.3 Incursion League patch is one of the more interesting recent updates to POE. If you need more help for the Incursion League, go to our guide.
Unfortunately, the very same things that make POE such an exciting experience are the very same ones that can make it overwhelming—especially for beginners. Too many options can sometimes overwhelm players. And challenging levels have a way of breaking down the spirit of battle-weary players. From badass monsters to seemingly impossible quests, an endless array of ominously looming dangers awaits the unwary traveler. You could very well say that Path of Exile is a game that lives up to the hype generated by its name. To avoid endless resurrections at the nearest checkpoints—which can be a nuisance—make sure to have a master plan ready. Luckily for you, we’ve put together a list of all the essentials to guide you through your path on, well, Path of Exile.
Here’s a look at the top five PoE tactics for new players you need to learn if you’re to survive in Wraeclast and beyond:
1. Be Efficient with Your Mana
The more enemies you hit, the more damage you deal per mana spent. By strategically placing yourself (and your subsequent attacks), you can multiply your efficiency. Let’s say your weapon’s range is 9 and you manage to hit three opponents with a single blow. That means your efficiency is now equivalent to getting 27 hits with a single attack—this makes your skill usage much more mana efficient.
Another thing to be aware of when leveling is mana regen. There are plenty of items, including cheap Unique items, that most build guides recommend to not only increase your damage, but also increase the rate at which you regenerate your mana pool. This is critical in early levels when you’re not leeching mana from enemies through damage.
If you want to check out some great Path of Exile 3.3 build guides, we’ve got that for you as well.
2. Don’t Forget About Defenses
It’s relatively common for players to keep leveling up their offensive prowess while utterly neglecting defensive aspects such as armor and passive skills. While you may not necessarily have problems with this approach at the onset, trust me when I say that you’ll regret it once you face high-level bosses in later Acts. Again, endless resurrection cycles at the nearest checkpoints are no fun at all.
ALWAYS CAP YOUR RESISTANCES! During each phase of the game, a penalty is applied to your elemental resistances. This mechanic was simplified in 3.0 to the following:
Each resistance has the following cap:
- 75% to maximum Chaos Resistance
- 75% to maximum Cold Resistance
- 75% to maximum Fire Resistance
- 75% to maximum Lightning Resistance
A penalty to all resistances is applied to player characters depending on their progression in the story.
- Completion of Part One: -30% to all resistances
- Completion of Part Two: -30% to all resistances (-60% total)
And because the POE community is always helpful, players have compiled an exhaustive list on the wiki that includes all the sources of resistances in the game. Not having your resistances capped (outside of Chaos Res) is one of the biggest killers of new players to POE.
3. Know the Value of Loot
Picking up loot is a natural inclination in many action RPGs. And like in other games in the genre, not every item is worth your time in POE. If you want to really know the value of POE items at a glance, you’ve got a lot to learn. Knowing item rarities is only half the battle though. You’ll see tens of thousands of item drops while playing this game, and since you have limited inventory and stash space, you cannot waste time picking up and vendoring everything.
But just for the sake of brevity here’s a few basic tips:
- Always carry Wisdom Scrolls with you to ID Rare and Unique items.
- An Item Filter can help distinguish good item bases from bad ones at a glance before you even pick them up.
- If all else fails, just pick up items that fit with your build guide.
4. Explore the Game
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s an essential part of the learning process. No set rule is the “be all, end all” for playing PoE. Create different characters, explore the different styles of play. Chances are, you’ll periodically want to start from scratch and relive different aspects of the story. Just make sure to use the things you’ve learned along the way for subsequent runs.
For general purposes, the idea with leveling POE does have a most efficient path, which usually boils down to only completing content that’s essential to progression, or grants skill points on the passive tree. If you’d like to learn about that most efficient path, here’s a guide. The gist is that you should always complete the Bandit, Skill books, and the quests that grant skill gems you need for a build. Any other content is optional. Although I would recommend running through everything yon your first few characters in order to learn all the rewards and cement the optimum path in your mind.
Each new Challenge League adds new mechanics to the game. These mechanics are often essential to effective and speedy progress. And often, they’re a great pathway for some really OP items and builds. Always check out the newest POE patch notes when they become available to be up on what things GGG have changed in each new patch.
5. Focus on Your Character Build
Not paying attention to character build is a rookie mistake that many gamers fall prey to. It’s understandable, though. People want to delve right into the action. The fact remains, however, that if you neglect this aspect of the game, you’re bound to pay for it somewhere down the line. Focus on it, on the other hand, and your path will surely be a much broader and satisfying one.
Path of Exile brings one of the most incredible gaming experiences in recent years. Just make sure you do your homework and prepare for the inevitable challenges that are inherent in the game. If it doesn’t challenge you, it’s not worth playing. With in-depth research, careful planning, and precise execution, you can survive the harsh and unforgiving landscapes of Wraeclast. Keep these five essential tips in mind, and you’re sure to make the most of your Path of Exile game time.
Once you’ve gotten past the leveling process, the real game begins with end-game maps. Check out our guide for end-game mapping in POE.