Solo Self-Found (SSF) Guide for Path of Exile (PoE Harvest 3.11)
Solo Self-Found is a unique game mode added to Path of Exile in a previous league adding a new layer of challenge to the game by making gearing much harder. The core premise is that you are limited to solo play and can only use gear picked up on that, or other SSF, characters. This is a pretty big shift in tone and difficulty for many POE players, so it necessitates a bit of prep work. Going in blind will just be an exercise in frustration.
With that in mind, we created this guide to combine general tips and create a comprehensive guide for how to play this game mode, even for a new player. Veterans looking to experiment or experience a new level of toughness will want to try out this mode when they feel comfortable.
You may want to read through some of our other guides to get a grasp on various mechanics that we will touch on in this guide:
- Path of Exile: Harvest Seeds Guide
- Path of Exile: Harvest Loot Filter Guide
- Path of Exile 3.11 Perfect Garden Layout
- Path of Exile: Harvest Farming Basics
- POE Atlas Strategies
- Catalysts Guide
- Vendor Recipes Guide
The Basics of SSF:
- No Party Play
- Trading is Disabled
- Masters, Atlas of Worlds progression, and Trial of Ascendancy completion are only shared between SSF characters
- Only the SSF Stash can be accessed, with no Guild or Standard Stashes.
With that in mind, let’s look at what this means for most POE players when they choose to engage with SSF in Path of Exile. There are good and bad things about this mode, so let’s go through some of the things players cite as positive and negative.
- No finagling the annoying trading system slowing down your play.
- Crafting is also much more rewarding, especially in the new Harvest League.
- Farming is a lot more rewarding when you have to focus on learning what gear works for you.
- Testing your game knowledge can be very fun for those who like testing themselves.
- It can be hard for some, and the playstyle isn’t for everyone.
- Nowhere near as much build diversity.
- Requires a lot more game knowledge than casual play.
You have to enable Solo Self-Found when selecting your league, otherwise, the game will default to the standard league choice. There is a ton of consideration to make when choosing a build. The DPS of the build is important. The ability to be flexible with gearing is vital though. Most POE build guides rely on having tons of really expensive gear and are designed for Trade Leagues, Solo Self-Found restricts that crutch.
There are plenty of builds out there, and a newer player looking to try SSF for the first time may want to focus on a starter build that doesn’t have any required Unique items as a baseline. Starting with a powerful Ascendancy or Class, maybe one that got a buff in the current expansion can also be helpful. On-meta choices will be usually the stronger choices according to other players, so maybe take a look at those.
Knowing the limitations of your builds is also key in enjoying Solo Self-Found. If your build cannot run Physical Reflect Maps, avoid those like the plague. As you get deeper into the endgame though, there will come a point when you need to focus on crafting and other sources of gear upgrades with a regular pace. The more familiar you become with the crafting and gear systems, the better your experience will be overall.
The biggest mistake players make when running this version of POE is not choosing an endpoint. Solo Self-Found is meant to be enjoyed sparingly. The mindset it take to play it can be taxing, as you have to focus much more on the planning and efficiency of your actions. Crafting the wrong gear upgrade or wasting Currency can be disastrous for a run. So picking a reasonable point where you stop playing that character is a good idea. maybe you want to stop at a certain level milestone. Maybe you just want to see if you can complete the story. Maybe you want to try and farm a certain Unique for the challenge. Whatever your goals, keep them in mind.
General Tips for Solo Self-Found
- A full set of Item Level 60+ Rare gear (Helm, Gloves, Chest, Boots, Amulet, Rings, Belt, Weapon) to a vendor for a Chaos Orb. A full set of unidentified gear will grant 2 Chaos Orb. iLevel 75+ gear sets yield 1 Regal Orb.
- Keep all skill gems you find, as well as Jewels and other useful items. This makes Lootfilters vital for success, so use a good one.
- Be aware of Vendor recipes, you will eventually need to trade for Orbs of Fusing for 4 Jeweler’s Orbs from a vendor. Jeweler’s Orbs can be obtained by turning in six-socket items to a vendor.
- Always plan ahead. Don’t be reckless with Currency use or crafting. Only be sure you invest currency you can spare in crafting new gear that will yield a sizable increase in power.
The Importance of Stat Choices
The biggest and most important starting choice in Solo Self-Found is your build. If you try to use a build that isn’t tuned for the mode, it will just fail. You CANNOT come into an SSF character with the expectation of hitting perfect gear, you will fail at the first hurdle. The key to succeeding with this game mode is to consistently target the most powerful elements of your build, and augment those through crafting and other techniques.
What Stats to Choose in Solo Self-Found?
There’s no real order of importance for POE stats that will apply for all builds. If you choose a solid build, the core elements will be emphasized by your Passive Tree choices, but you can certainly augment your DPS and survivability by choosing to focus on certain areas.
- Life and Resistances – Without trading to backstop, you will need to focus on your survivability first and foremost. Having your resists capped ASAP will make things so much easier. And starting with a solid skill combination will make your DPS solid while not sacrificing too much for defenses.
- Rarity – There will be a huge need to get as many Rare and Unique drops as you can. Increased Item Rarity Support gems are great here.
- Skill Gems, Cluster Jewels, Jewels and more can be really helpful for stopgaps in Resists and other problems. Essences can really help augment beginner crafting in SSF too.
- Focus less on Energy Shield and related builds, as they are much harder to gear for.
Lootfilters and Other Tips
Lootfilters take on new importance when playing Solo Self-Found. There are certain classes of items you wouldn’t grab in Trade Leagues, but you should always grab in SSF. Here’s a quick list of some items to look out for:
- Orb of Chance
- Bases you want to use Chance Orbs on (e.g. Glorious Plate, Occultist’s Vestment, Sadist Garb, Sapphire Flasks, etc.)
- Remove low tier bases from your filter if you are not doing the Chaos Recipe (you will be getting a lot of them when running Increased Rarity)
- Grab all Maps, Currency, Divination Cards and Essences
- Quality Gems for Gemcutter’s Prisms
- Quality Flasks for Glassblower’s Baubles (you can set it to a threshold to save stash space, such as >15%)
Atlas, League Mechanics and Other Progression
The Atlas will pose a much greater challenge in SSF. Knowing the basics of the Atlas systems are vital here. Learning how Quantity and Rarity modifiers work is important. Generally speaking, the more modifiers on a Map, the more Rarity and Quantity it will also have, although it will be more dangerous to run. This is where a strong build is important.
You will also want to familiarize yourself with the more advanced Atlas techniques. The ability to manipulate the Atlas to encourage certain drops will be instrumental in SSF. Always be sure to do Zana missions and PICK UP ALL MAPS. Lower tier maps can be traded for the next tier up connected on the Atlas at a 3:1 rate. Since you cannot trade Maps to players, this will be vital to getting completion.
ISKMogul is a growing video game publication that got its start covering EVE Online, and has since expanded to cover a large number of topics and niches within the purview of gaming.