It’s highly recommended that those reading this guide check out both the New Players Guide to POE, and both the War for the Atlas Guide and the 3.0 Mapping Guide, in order to understand the basics that this new guide will build on. If you’re still looking for a potential starter build in Synthesis League, check out our recommendations. You might also want to check out the Synthesis Patch Notes.
With the launch of Path of Exile 3.6, GGG added a ton of new changes to the base game, including tons of skill changes and a major rework of some damage mechanics. But the thing that most POE players are interested in is the new league mechanics revolving around Cavas and his Memory Nexus. We’ve got a guide about the basics of Synthesis League and the Memory Nexus if you want that.
But let’s get into what you’re really here for, a guide to Mapping in Path of Exile 3.6.
General Mapping Advice
This section will outline some good practices and general tips to observe while mapping to make your experience easier and more efficient.
Basics of Maps
The Atlas of Worlds is the first step on the post-story content in Path of Exile. In addition to all of the other League mechanics, POE introduces an infinitely repeatable end-game via the mapping system.
There are generally 1 to 15 tiers of maps in Path of Exile. Each individual map in a Tier has their own associated level, layouts, bosses and other elements. Each map uses it’s base level to compute it’s item level (relative power of drops) as well as the difficulty of enemies, so higher tier maps are meant for higher-level characters.
Skilled players can also modify the properties of a Map by altering it with currency. The first few tiers of maps should be hit with a Transmute to make them Magic. Later maps should be hit with Alchemy and Chaos spam to get the modifiers you want. Here’s our guide for veteran POE players on crafting maps to farm T16s.
You’ll start seeing map drops in the later areas of the story in Acts 8-10. Once you complete the story and talk to Zana, this will unlock the Atlas of Worlds, your means of tracking your map progression. The Atlas is an expansive and extremely useful gameplay mechanic, so get used to it. GGG makes a habit of shuffling map Tiers around and sometimes introducing new maps and layouts with each expansion, so get used to relearning the layout a bit with each league too. Zana will also hand you a Map device, which is the thing you place your maps into to run them.
As you complete a map, which means killing the boss, it will then be marked as completed on the Atlas and added to the drop pool. One map completion will increase the percentage of Map Completion bonuses up by 1%. This is important because the higher your Completion Bonus, the higher the chance that the next map dropped will be of a higher Tier than the one you’re in. This is vital for farming map drops.
What maps drop in maps are based on the combination of the current Tier of the map you’re running and what related maps are completed on your Atlas. There are a couple of ways to engineer your map drops and vendor recipes to guarantee that you get certain maps.
If a player has three maps of the same type, these maps may be sold to a vendor to receive one map in exchange. This newly acquired map is one tier higher and follows the atlas map progression path. If map is connected to multiple higher tier maps, the outcome will be random. This vendor process works identically for shaped maps, meaning three shaped maps upgrade into one shaped map that follows the same map progression path as its unshaped counterpart.
The drops of maps are determined by what other Tiers you have completed, as well as what mobs you kill. Magic mobs can drop maps one tier higher than the current map Tier you’re in. Rare and Unique mobs have a +2 bonus to Tier drops. Using this, you can game the system by only completing certain maps on the Atlas. Say you want to farm a certain T3 map, do this:
- Complete maps on the Atlas to the point that you have above 110% Completion Bonus
- Delete all other Tier 3 maps on the Atlas, marking them uncompleted. Do this by trading one Scouring Orb and three Apprentice Cartographer’s Sextants to a vendor to receive an Apprentice Seal. Apply this to a completed map to mark it as uncompleted. Use higher Tier Sextants (Yellow for Yellow Maps. Red for Red Maps)
- Repeat the deletion with all Tier 4 maps, except for the one directly connected to your Tier 3 of choice.
- Shape the Tier 4 map(s) connected to your desired map, making sure to also uncomplete any maps you had to unshape to do this.
The goal here is to have 100%+ Atlas completion and only your desired map in the pool of available drops. This setup allows you to essentially force the game to drop your desired map by running the desired map over and over.
What Maps to Shape
What is Shaping
Shaping involves using a special item called a Shaper Orb on maps in your Atlas. you unlock these Orbs after completing a certain tier of maps. I won’t spoil the story, but for the sake of clarity, prepare to face much tougher versions of Maps and their Bosses when they are influenced by the Shaper, or later, the Elder.
Influence is a mechanic introduced in the War for The Atlas expansion which introduced a new boss, The Elder. The Elder and the Shaper are the true end-game bosses of Path of Exile, and part of reaching them involves dealing with their attempts to take over the Atlas. There are advanced strategies for farming powerful items from these influenced maps, go over to another of our mapping guides for that, but for this guide we will stick to just identifying the influence.
Clearing regular Maps up to Tier 5 will unlock your first Shaper Orb, and the rest will unlock once you complete more Tiers. It’s at this point that you’ll need to make a choice about which map to apply the Shaper Orb to in your Atlas. Shaping a map upgrades it’s associated Tier by 5. So a Tier 1 turns into a Shaped variant of that map that’s equivalent to a Tier 6. This means that the Shaped variant will now replace the original version of that Tier in your drop pool.
Shaping Maps in POE is usually a cost analysis of finding the most efficient maps to farm as quickly as possible. This is usually based on a combination of the layout of the map and any rare drops, like Divination Cards, that can potentially be farmed within. The best maps to Shape are ones in each tier that are the simplest to run for your build. You could also Shape maps that you like running in order to increase the challenge in that map. It’s all entirely up to you. I would recommend determining based on how certain map layouts work best for your build.
Recommended Maps to Shape:
- Tier 1 – Iceberg
- Tier 2 – Haunted Mansion
- Tier 3 – Channel
- Tier 4 – City Square or Beach
- Tier 5 – Thicket
- Tier 6 – Burial Chambers or Lair
- Tier 7 – Estuary or Bone Crypt
- Tier 8 – Volcano or Toxic Sewer
- Tier 9 – Canyon
- Tier 10 – Moon Temple