Path of Exile Act 1 Normal Guide
Act 1 starts with you as the Exile washing up on a beach in Wraeclast. A tainted land where those cast off from a distant empire are sent to die. Your first moments in this rotten land are brutal, as the only other survivor from the shipwreck that marooned you is devoured by a zombie. Pick up the skill gem and weapon that drop by clicking on them. Equip the weapon and slot the skill gem into the appropriate slot on said weapon.
Enemy at The Gates
Next, fight your way up the coast, collecting your first set of equipment and weapons (which will equip automatically.) Be diligent in killing everything you see in order to level up for the upcoming boss fight. You’ll notice that you don’t find health or mana potions in the loot drops. Instead, your bottles (hotkeyed to the 1-5 keys by default) will refill automatically as you kill creatures.
Once you make it to the gates of Lioneye’s Watch, you’ll encounter Hillock, the first boss in Path of Exile. If you’ve leveled up at least once while on the beach, you shouldn’t have a problem rushing in and hacking away until his health is gone. If he appear to be getting the better of you, back off and heal, then run in again for a few more strikes.
Once you enter Lioneye’s Watch, sell any unneeded loot to Tarkleigh or Nessa. If you haven’t already done so, look over the Skill Tree and attribute your first point. Then, you’ll want to collect your reward skill gem. Pick the gem best suited for your build. And don’t worry, each act has a character that will sell you gems of various types throughout the game. So you can always come back and stock up on gems later in the game.
Once you have your skill point and gems set, head out the back of Lioneye’s Watch to The Coast. Here, you will encounter some tougher enemies, so spend your time fighting along the coast, mopping up every monster you see. Once you’ve gained enough experience to reach Level 3 or 4, begin looking for a small land bridge between the waves of the ocean. This is the entrance to the Tidal Island. Skirt the outer edge of the zone and look out for the zone boss, Hailrake.
Hailrake is a tough fight for new players because of his cone of cold damage and quick movement, keep moving and kite him around if you’re playing ranged. If you’re a melee character, it may be advisable to grind out an extra level and just brawl him face to face. He will rear back when he’s about to cast his cone of cold, so move to his side when he does this to avoid it. Once he’s down, pick up the Medicine Chest item and hightail it out of the zone. IF you have a Portal Scroll handy, use that to jump back to town quickly.
Run over to Nessa, she’ll have an exclamation point over her head once you have the Chest, turn it over to her for a Flask reward. Flasks are your primary way of healing, recovering mana and creating various bonuses while in a map. They usually recharge when you kill an enemy, although some skills or magic will recharge them in other circumstances as well. For now, pick a Quicksilver Flask, this Flask grants a 5-6 second movement speed boost that can be used to either dodge attacks or move through a zone quickly. As with all other Flasks though, you must be judicious in their use. You don’t want to get trapped in a pack of powerful mobs and have no way to heal or run away.
A Dirty Job
The next mission will have you hunting down monsters in the Mud Flats zone that is connected to the coast. Skirt the edge of the Mud Flats and kill the zombies, Rhoa (watch out if they start to charge) and other beasts in a circular pattern. You will eventually find three nests of Rhoa with quests markers on them. Click on each nest to be given a set of quest items you’ll need to progress.
Your next goal will be to find the side area called the Fetid Pool. Your objective there is to clear the zone of monsters.
Inside the Fetid Pool, work your way along the walls, killing the undead enemies as you go. Eventually, you’ll come upon Kadavrus the Defiler. When you do find him, focus your attacks to damage him alone. If you kill any of the undead enemies around, he will simply raise them back up. Once the necromancer is dead, mop up the rest of the creatures in the area and head back to Tarkleigh at Lioneye’s Watch for your reward and next quest.
Breaking Some Eggs
After turning in A Dirty Job, use the waypoint to head back to the Mud Flats and search the area for the Submerged Passage. Hopefully, you picked up the items from the scattered Rhoa nests on your previous trip. If you didn’t just hunt the zone for the nests and pick up the glyphs. Once you have the glyphs, find the submerged passage entrance in click on the spot on the wall. The area around the passage entrance will drain of water and you can then progress to the next zone.
The Dweller of the Deep
Much as in the last major quest, A Dirty Job, you must enter a dungeon and kill a specific baddie – in this case,The Dweller of the Deep. You can find your quarry by first entering the Submerged Passage that opened when you put the glyphs in the wall in the Mud Flats.
Fight your way through the various baddies and scour the entire zone. You’ll want to look out for Cave Crustaceans, when their first form is killed, Crustacean Snipers will spawn from their corpse and attack from range. So be sure to kill both forms. Eventually, you’ll reach a dead-end with an optional side zone called the Flooded Depths. This is the area where The Deep Dweller spawns. Luckily, it’s essentially just more of the same in terms of enemies. So if you made it there with no problems, getting to the Deep Dweller should pose no issues.
The Flooded Depths is a level 8 zone, so if you’re at or below that, I would spend a few minutes grinding out another level if you can. Being a few levels ahead now will make the next few areas a bit less challenging. That said, on to the Ledge; and eventually, onto fighting the first major boss.
After defeating the Dweller of the Deep and exiting the Flooded Depths, you’ll come across The Ledge. First thing’s first in a new area like this — look for a waypoint! (Open up the overhead map with the TAB key and look for a blue circle if you’re having trouble finding it.)
The Ledge is infamous for being the best farming/leveling zone in Act 1. The linear layout and decent monster pack size make it very easy to farm or grind out a few levels here.
As you run through the zone from the Depths entrance, you’ll find the waypoint. Some players might get lost here. Just look on the ground around the waypoint, there are three small stacks of stones on one side of the waypoint. Go in that direction to progress.
Eventually, you’ll come across Kuduku, the False God. Kuduku is immobile and deals heavy Lightning Damage. Kuduku is surrounded by other mobs and casts repeated lightning AOE, so skirt around and clear the other mobs first. If you’re a ranged character, just stand way back and pelt him. For a melee-focused character, try the old ‘run-in-for-a-few-hits-then-retreat’ technique.