I’ve seen enough people asking basic questions about Low Level Dueling (LLD) lately and getting misinformation from other sources that I decided it was time to put together a simple guide. If you’re new to LLD and/or PVP and this doesn’t answer all of your questions, or if you are an experienced player with suggestions for the guide, please let me know by replying below!
What is LLD
A Player-versus-Player (PVP) format with a maximum character level of 28. Unlike High-Level Dueling (HLD) where anything goes, in LLD there are limits on the skills, gear and passive trees that you can choose from. Despite these limits, LLD has a lot of advantages:
- There is less of a gear barrier for new players. Of course you still need good gear if you want to be competitive, but everything except 10/10 perfect gear should be fairly easy to acquire. A lot of cheap “levelling” uniques are also usable, and sometimes even best-in-slot, for certain LLD builds.
- Once you have accumulated some decent gear, you can literally get a new character ready in about 2 hours!
- The 7 classes each have a more defined identity, since skill trees are limited to a maximum of 34 passive points. This makes it easier to guess your opponent’s build, letting you counter them on-the-fly (either through gear changes or playstyle changes).
- There are lots of competitive builds – off the top of my head, here are 10 builds/skills that I have personally seen win matches:
- 1-hander + shield (melee and/or Spectral Throw)
- Traps (Bear, Fire, and some more creative ones!)
- Crit Freeze Pulse
- Cyclone with life-on-hit
- Fire-based casters with The Searing Touch
- Summoner (yes really!)
- Viper Strike
- 2-handed Spectral Throw / Flicker Strike
- Dual wield claw or dagger
- Your character cannot be any higher than level 28.
- This gives you 34 passive points to work with if you do all the side-quests and kill all the bandits in Act 2, or 33 if you help a bandit.
- Your character cannot have entered Cruel difficulty.
- Just stop progressing after killing Piety and getting the 2 extra passive points.
- In Hardcore leagues, your character does NOT go to Standard if you die in a PVP match!
- PVP is actually the safest thing you can do in Hardcore!
There are several ways to get your PVP fix:
- Act 2 PVP queues
- Talk to Greust and select “Join PVP”. Only level 28’s can join the queues named “Low Level”, so this is a good way to have an “official” LLD match.
- From here you can join 1v1, 3v3, and multiplayer capture the flag games.
- Most matches are best-of-5 format on a single, randomly selected PVP arena (see below for list of arenas!).
- “Challenge To Duel”
- You can right-click on any player in town, or right-click on someone in your friends list or chat log, and select “challenge to duel”. If they accept, you will be put into a 1v1 match against them.
- Each duel is best-of-5 format on a single, randomly selected PVP arena (see below for list of arenas!).
- Sarn Arena
- A free-for-all (FFA) PVP arena. Just join and kill anything that moves! When you die, you respawn so the carnage can continue.
- The Sarn Arena is located to the far north of the Sarn Encampment, up the big flight of stairs.
- As an LLDer, you will only have access to the Normal difficulty Sarn Arena. Technically you can join the Normal difficulty arena with a character up to level 40, but generally you will find level 28 LLDers in here.
- This is also a good (safe) place to test out specific skills or builds.
- Cutthroat events
- So far these have been held as completely separate, short-duration leagues that have nothing to do with “normal” PVP. (Once GGG publishes something useful about Cutthroat I’ll link it here!)
Skill counts for something in PVP, but so does your gear!
- The best LLD gear will have an itemlevel of 36. This is because there are some very good affixes at level 36 (mainly the “Rotund” life affix), and 36 is the highest itemlevel that gear can have without increasing the character level requirement above 28 (using the 80% rule for itemlevel vs. player level requirement on lower-level gear, 36*0.8 = 28.8 which gets rounded down to 28).
- 6-socketable items are a minor exception to this, since you need level 50 itemlevel for 6 sockets; although a 5 link is more than enough for many LLD builds and a level 50 item can be hard to craft for a level 28 player requirement.
- Check out the official prefixes and suffixes lists to see what rolls are possible at itemlevel 36.
- Leveling Gear
You probably already have Decent LLD gear in your stash that until now you have just treated as “levelling gear”, so check your stash tabs! There are lots of cheap uniques that you can make good use of too.
You have pretty much the same trading options for LLD as you do for higher-level gear:
- Using the community-generated search engines like http://poe.xyz.is/ and http://poexplorer.com/ , you can search for gear with a max level requirement of level 28.
- Of course you can get lucky in the in-game trade chat too; people often post collections of “mediocre” or “levelling” gear (especially rings) with buyouts of only 1 or 2 chaos.
- poearena.com has forums dedicated to LLD trading.
Any zone with at least level 36 mobs or a level 36 boss is a good farming area for LLD gear. Some of the most popular farming areas include:
- Normal Dominus
My personal favorite for farming rares, since I find the Upper Sceptre really easy to run, and each of the unique mobs on the roof drops a decent amount of loot. Dominus and the other uniques will drop level 38 loot which is a bit too high making a lot of the item types and some of the affixes useless for LLD, but I still find that it’s worth it.
- Normal Piety
Piety drops level 36 loot which is perfect for LLD. If you’re good at running Lunaris 2 and 3 this might be the best farming strategy for you! Like Dominus she will still drop a lot of higher-level stuff that is useless for LLD (like Lordly Plates, Shadow Axes, Amethyst Rings, etc.) but when she does drop a lower-level item it has the best chance at getting perfect LLD rolls.
- Cruel Twilight Strand
Cruel Hillock drops level 37 loot (which isn’t perfect but almost as good as level 36), and is obviously REALLY easy to farm. In Invasion league the extra Invader per zone made this farming strategy twice as efficient!
- Cruel Mud Flats
The best place to farm itemlevel 36 base (white) items for crafting purposes.
- Normal Dominus
The sad truth is, there aren’t a ton of LLDers to play against right now. You will probably find the Act 2 PVP queues and Sarn Arena empty most of the time. It doesn’t help that GGG is taking so long to meet some of their promises related to PVP! But the PVP community is still growing every day, and there are other ways to find people to PVP against:
- Friends List
Friend people! I friend anyone that I fight a PVP match against or that is interested in buying LLD gear. And I’m usually up for a quick LLD match if you ask. I’m sure this is true for a lot of the other active LLDers too.
There are a few guilds dedicated to PVP and/or LLD. Below are the ones that I am aware of. Talk to any of their officers if you want to join or just need some PVP advice:
- PVP28 – these guys mostly play in Standard (I think) but some play Hardcore now too.
- Calamity – The guild I’m an officer for. We mostly LLD in Hardcore but some Standard too.
- Demigods – not dedicated to LLD or PVP, but a few of these guys have good LLD builds in hardcore. Also check out Twitch streams from WillyWonka and Greendude.
- Team Toilet Paper – their guild leader is named LePvPMaster, how can you go wrong?
- Insomniacs – a big guild and not dedicated to PVP but some of them do.
- Omniscient – not sure how much these guys PVP but at least HegemonyTV has done some PVP – check out his stream here.
The official PoE PVP “Feedback” Forum, and of course poearena.com (this site!) which is dedicated to PoE PVP, are good places to look for build guides and other strategy too.
Below are full images of each of the PVP arenas. One of these is randomly selected for each best-of-5 match.
Small (1v1) Arenas
Sewer – COMING SOON!