Path of Exile: War for the Atlas – Guide to Mapping


It’s highly recommended that those reading this guide check out both the New Players Guide to POE, and the 3.0 Mapping Guide, in order to understand the basics that this new guide will build on. It’s also advised to keep an eye on the War for the Atlas wiki page for more info.

We’ll be updating this post throughout the next few weeks as more information about War for The Atlas becomes available.

With the release of version 3.1 and the War for the Atlas expansion, Path of Exile has a very different endgame. With 32 new maps and a variety of nerfs to existing builds, even veteran players might need some help adjusting to the new way of life in POE. Veteran players might also want to read the 3.1 patch notes to get a very thorough understanding of all of the changes.

Lets get started!

Mapping Changes

There are a total of 32 new maps in War for the Atlas. The full map pool is listed below, with tiers next to the map name. Lots of old map layouts have had their properties buffed, so be careful. Some Tier 1 Maps have been upgraded to Tier 11 for example. Please note that this list is based on loot filter info from GGG, so it may change in the future.

Maps that have been added to the tiers as new maps have their wiki page linked.


Lookout Map – 1
Beach Map – 1 (Linear)
Graveyard Map – 1
Dungeon Map – 1
Twilight Temple – 1 – Unique

Alleyways Map – 2
Pen Map – 2
Desert Map – 2
Arid Lake Map – 2 (Clear Speed)
Flooded Mine Map – 2
Marshes Map – 2

Iceberg Map – 3
Cage Map – 3
Springs Map – 3
Excavation Map – 3
Leyline Map – 3
Peninsula Map – 3
Port Map – 3
Burial Chambers Map – 3 (Linear)
Cells Map – 3
Arcade Map – 3

City Square Map – 4
Relic Chambers Map – 4
Courthouse Map – 4
Strand Map – 4
Chateau Map – 4
Grotto Map – 4
Gorge Map – 4
Volcano Map – 4
Lighthouse Map – 4
Canyon Map – 4

Conservatory Map – 5
Sulphur Vents Map – 5
Haunted Mansion Map – 5
Maze Map – 5
Channel Map – 5
Toxic Sewer Map – 5
Ancient City Map – 5
Ivory Temple Map – 5
Spider Lair Map – 5
Barrows Map – 5
Pillars of Arun – 5 – Unique

Mausoleum Map – 6
Fields Map – 6
Jungle Valley Map – 6
Phantasmagoria Map – 6
Academy Map – 6
Thicket Map – 6
Wharf Map – 6
Ashen Wood Map – 6
Atoll Map – 6
Cemetery Map – 6
Underground Sea Map – 6

Tribunal Map – 7
Coral Ruins Map – 7
Lava Chamber Map – 7
Residence Map – 7
Ramparts Map – 7
Dunes Map – 7
Bone Crypt Map – 7
Underground River Map – 7
Gardens Map – 7
Arachnid Nest Map – 7
Bazaar Map – 7

Laboratory Map – 8
Infested Valley Map – 8
Overgrown Ruin Map – 8
Vaal Pyramid Map – 8
Geode Map – 8
Armoury Map – 8
Courtyard Map – 8
Mud Geyser Map – 8
Shore Map – 8
Tropical Island Map – 8
Mineral Pools Map – 8

Moon Temple Map – 9
Sepulchre Map – 9
Tower Map – 9
Waste Pool Map – 9
Plateau Map – 9
Estuary Map – 9
Vault Map – 9
Temple Map – 9
Arena Map – 9
Museum Map – 9
Scriptorium Map – 9

Siege Map – 10
Shipyard Map – 10
Belfry Map – 10
Arachnid Tomb Map – 10
Wasteland Map – 10
Precinct Map – 10
Bog Map – 10
Pier Map – 10
Cursed Crypt Map – 10
Orchard Map – 10

Promenade Map – 11
Lair Map – 11
Colonnade Map – 11
Primordial Pool Map – 11
Spider Forest Map – 11
Coves Map – 11
Waterways Map – 11
Factory Map – 11
Mesa Map – 11
Pit Map – 11

Defiled Cathedral Map – 12
Summit Map – 12
Overgrown Shrine Map – 12
Castle Ruins Map – 12
Crystal Ore Map – 12
Villa Map – 12
Torture Chamber Map – 12
Necropolis Map – 12
Racecourse Map – 12

Caldera Map – 13
Ghetto Map – 13
Park Map – 13
Malformation Map – 13
Terrace Map – 13
Shrine Map – 13
Arsenal Map – 13
High Gardens Map – 13
Desert Spring Map – 13
Core Map – 13

Colosseum Map – 14
Acid Lakes Map – 14
Dark Forest Map – 14
Crimson Temple Map – 14
Plaza Map – 14
Dig Map – 14
Palace Map – 14

Lava Lake Map – 15
Basilica Map – 15
Sunken City Map – 15
Reef Map – 15
Carcass Map – 15

Pit of the Chimera Map – 16
Lair of the Hydra Map – 16
Maze of the Minotaur Map – 16
Forge of the Phoenix Map – 16
Vaal Temple Map – 16

Maps with linear layouts, good clear speed or high mob density have been marked. Players should bear these map types in mind when choosing which maps to Shape with Shaper’s Orbs. Remember that these Orbs turn a map that it’s applied to into a Shaped version that is five tiers higher than the previous version.

Here’s my personal Shaping list to give readers a guideline. Bear in mind that this is by no means the optimal set of choices, it’s just maps that I liked running. Some of these choices like Beach and Arid Lake are holdouts from the pre-3.1 list because they remain good choices in WFTA. So if you’re thinking about what maps to shape in 3.1, you should take your own preferences and builds into account.

Tier 1 – Beach
Tier 2 – Arid Lake
Tier 3 – Arcade
Tier 4 – Strand
Tier 5 – Ancient City
Tier 6 – Fields
Tier 7 – Bazaar
Tier 8 – Tropical Island
Tier 9 – Vault
Tier 10 – Siege

Bear in mind that many of the old linear map layouts have been been nerfed in terms of their mob density. So if you’re making map choices for Shaped maps based on the list from the old guide, bear that in mind. GGG clearly wants these 32 new maps to be more popular when it comes to players crafting their Atlas’.

Also, if you complete a map that was created before the War for the Atlas expansion, it will complete a chain of maps from the start point on the Atlas up until the tier of map you completed. Shaped and Elder items do not drop on these maps. Elder Guardians also cannot spawn from them.

The Atlas

The Atlas has been reworked and many of the map locations have changed from what returning players may be used to. A helpful community member has made attempts to map the new Atlas locations, check it out.

When you first open the Atlas when you complete Act 10, you’ll start to see a black starry area inhabit some map cells. Up to this point you should have completed some early Map Tiers as normal. Once you reach Tier 6 Yellow maps, you’ll start to see a grey influence area marked by a black border, this is the Elder’s influence.

If you complete maps bordered on the Atlas by Shaper’s Influence, you’ll receive a fragment from the map boss that can be traded to Zana for a Shaper’s Orb for that tier. Shapers Orbs work the same way they did in previous POE expansions.

One aspect that some players often ignore is the Pantheon system, or more specifically, upgrading Pantheon powers. Here’s a video guide on the basics.

The other major mapping change players need to be aware of is the Elder and his Guardians.

The Elder

Players will be battling against the corrupting influence of the Elder as it’s spread across the Atlas. This influence serves as an addition to the Map Shaping of the Shaper. The Elder’s Corruption allows players to further change properties of their Atlas.

Every time you complete a map there is a chance for the Elder’s influence to appear on the map. Once the Elder appears you can complete an Elder map to remove his influence there. Eventually Shaper will take over maps to contain the Elder and stop the spread. To make the Elder spread complete Shaper maps connected to Elder influence. To suppress the Elder, complete the Elder maps next to Shaper’s influence.

Players will need to review the Atlas for which maps they want to allow to be influenced by the Elder or the Shaper. Bear in mind that a map can only be influenced by one of these at a time.

GGG also introduced Shaped and Elder items. These items can only be obtained in areas where the Shaper or the Elder holds influence, or by defeating the Shaper or Elder themselves. Shaped and Elder items can obtain mods not found elsewhere, as well as higher-tier versions of some existing mods.

The Shaper/Elder items with background animations (space for Shaper tentacles for Elder) and special mods are only available as random drops from maps with the Shaper/Elder animation on the atlas. Shaper items can only drop in Shaper maps and Elder in Elder maps.

Once you’ve spread the Elder’s influence, the Elder Guardians will spawn, read more about them under their heading below. For now lets talk about actually fighting the Elder.

Elder Boss Fight

The Elder’s arena will not inherit the mods of the map. The tier of the Elder and his Guardians appears to be random in the zone of influence as Guardians may spawn in maps with higher levels and tiers than the Elder map itself. Once you kill the Elder most of the Atlas will reset. If you fail to kill the Elder it doesn’t appear to remove his influence even if you clear the whole map so you can try again. Don’t be afraid to use portals especially in hardcore as you can always try again.

Fighting the Elder requires some trial and error. Learning the sequence of his AoEs and area denial attacks is crucial to beating him. Highly mobile builds will fair better in some cases. But be sure to watch out for his Blood rain attack where the arena is bathed in shadow. Once you see rings of shadow, run and get close to the Elder or else you will die.

You’ll also want to watch out for his “shadow scythes” that create a cone expanding from his front. These cones of shadow cause massive movement penalties.

The Elder will also summon a set of exploding tendrils that form beneath the player and are most of the time going to one-shot you. If you see inky black runes forming at your feet, RUN!!!

The final warning is that you must stay on top of NOT killing the additional mobs unless you need to, as they stack degen on the player when they die.

The Elder Guardians

The Elder Guardians are powerful foes to the four Guardians loyal to The Shaper. If players want to take on the Elder, they’ll need to beat these folks first.

Once your Atlas has started to fall to The Elder, you’ll notice some maps will be marked with certain modifiers for each Guardian.

Once the Elder has control of enough connected maps his Guardians will be available to fight and they will be labeled on the atlas with a different coloured map and a note that says which Guardian is in that map. The Elder’s Guardians will replace the boss of that map and be in a separate arena that doesn’t inherit the map’s mods.

These are the four guardians:

Once you kill all 4 of Elder’s Guardians you can enter the map marked on the Atlas that contains the Elder and the Elder himself will replace the map boss.

Elder Rings

There’s a meta-game concept that you need to be aware of if you want to maximize currency gain in POE. That concept is the Atlas manipulation tactic called “Elder Rings”. Prior to 3.3, the Elder Ring was a quirk of Atlas design that allowed players to manipulate Elder and Shaper influence in maps to essentially generate endless strings of Elder and Shaper influenced maps, with the goal of quickly farming valuable Elder and Shaper Rare items that sold for multiple Exalted Orbs easily.

GGG decided that after 3.2 that this strategy was far too strong in its potential to warp the in-game economy, so they modified the underlying mechanics to increase the level of lucky RNG needed to sustain a viable Elder Ring.

With these new mechanics, Elder now moves to a new map, breaking your Elder Ring after a few map runs, unless you fight him directly. Now, the new strategy is to try and keep Elder from spawning at all. Bear in mind that Elder spawns once 20 or more maps contain his Influence. Keep your maps with Elder influence below 15 maps and you should be fine. Other than that, construct a triangle in one Atlas corner on a much smaller scale. You can then keep Elder influence contained using Sextant blocking and selective map runs to keep the block in place.

The overall idea is essentially a bubble, rather than a ring, using Shaper influence and Sextants to block Elder into a corner of the Atlas. I’ll let Thi3n explain:

For help planning your Elder Ring, use this tool.

Other Changes

Mapping isn’t the only thing GGG are doing in 3.1. The new systems listed below will have an impact on everyone, so please read them.


GGG have begun reviewing use of the Trade API and have introduced a whitelisting system. Here’s the full details, but if you want the TL:DR, here it is:

Recently, we have received a large number of requests to “whitelist” the trade API, which means granting permission to a specific set of sites that are allowed to consume it. This would instantly disable all of the sniping tools. Unfortunately, it would also make it hard for people to develop new trade sites (as they wouldn’t have data to work with) and all sorts of cool research projects (like machine learning for item pricing) would be killed.

Our solution is to delay the item data by 60 seconds for everyone except certain whitelisted public sites. Developers doing research projects or getting started on trade sites can use the delayed data and existing public trade sites receive fast access. We believe that this solution solves the sniping issue without unnecessarily harming tools developers. If you’re a developer of a public community tool who would like to unlock the undelayed data, please email us at [email protected]. Thanks!

Updated list of sites with access to the fast API:

  • (added December 8, 2017)
  • (added December 8, 2017)
  • (added December 8, 2017)

Useful Tools

POESummary – A helpful member of the community made a website that compiles links to many of the major POE tools in one place. Save space on your bookmarks toolbar using this helpful compilation. POE,Trade, POELab, POE’s Subreddit and more are all here.

POEChecklist – Another community-made tool. This one allows players to track quests, item checklists, lets you know which trials you’ve completed in the Labyrinth, and many other QoL improvements.

POEDB – Using POEDB to search for affixes for the new Shaper and Elder Rare items is a huge boon for the trader looking for different deals on high-end rares that will take their builds to the next level.

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