Preface: I want this to be a guide that a completely new player can follow. It will include info on leveling, gearing, skills, and most efficient way to progress through all 3 acts on all 3 difficulties. The main focus of this guide is efficiency. That means skipping mobs and entire areas that are not worth the time to clear. You do not need to spend currency other than the things that you find while leveling to follow this guide and any class can use this guide. This is a more general guide that expects you to already have a planned build in mind that just needs to get to endgame. If there is anything you disagree with or think can be improved, please comment or pm me.
*I don’t expect new players to complete the game in 12 hours. However, if you implement these techniques into your gameplay, you will get closer and closer to that goal every time you play.
*I do use some techniques that are not my own. I will mention them in the areas where I use their methods
Table of contents:
- Guide Overview
- Must know tips/techniques
- Skillpoint Allocation
- Area by area Breakdown
- Final thoughts
This guide will be focusing on one thing: Getting you to endgame as fast a possible. To do this, you will learn new techniques to implement into your gameplay, efficiently progressing through all three difficulties, and breaking bad habits. If you can do all of these things after reading through this guide and do these things when you play, you will be able to start a new game and get to endgame maps in less than 10 hours.
How you do this is really quite simple: Be as efficient as you can with your time. That means:
- Skipping enemies and entire areas
- Don’t waste any time doing things that are inefficient
- Maximizing your actions per minute
If you watch speedruns of games, you’ll see the player do the bare minimum of what is required to complete tasks. If the quest is to kill X, you are not required to kill any enemies along the way. The time you spend killing random enemies could be spent doing more efficient things.
My philosophy when playing is:
- Always keep moving forward and skip enemies to get to more efficient xp areas
- Level at the efficient xp area ie. Docks
- Once the XP becomes inefficient at that area, repeat step 1
To explain this further, say you’ve just started the game and skipped everything unnecessary to get to The Ledge. Because of this, you should be underleveled, say lv 6. The Ledge is Lv 7 so you will be getting 100% experience. You can now level until lv 11, where the xp penalty kicks in and you only get about 91% experience. Because of the xp penalty, it is now not efficient to be leveling at The Ledge when you are lv 11.
Now that we’ve covered experience penalties, I will say that you shouldn’t level all the way to level 11 at The Ledge. This is because how the experience system of Path of Exile works. To get to level 11 from level 10, you will need 31,516 xp. To get to level 10 from 9 is only 24,297 xp, a difference of 7219 xp. Because enemies always give the same amount of xp each time you kill them, it would take 23% longer to get to level 11 from 10 then 10 from 9. Therefore you should only overlevel if you feel you are too weak to progress to the next area, in this example the Climb.
To focus on efficiency, you should always be the same or underleveled when moving through an area. If you are overleveled, it will take more time to get to the next level. If you can do an area and you are underleveled, you have done a good job progressing. If you take your time to clear every mob, you will not only be slowing yourself down, you are slowing your leveling progression down.
- Always keep moving
- Skip enemies
- Don’t waste any time doing things that are inefficient
- Maximize your actions per minute
Must know tips/techniques
These are the things that will make your leveling process either easy as cake or a nightmare. They say old habits die hard, and learning to do these things won’t come easily. However, when you do get used to doing them, you’ll start doing these techniques naturally like muscle memory. Here we go:
- Moving through an area
- The most efficient way to progress is going straight to the objective. What I mean by this is you will be slowed down if you take your time to kill every mob and check every corner. Complete the quest, get to the higher level area, and stay focused.
- Kill large packs, not individual stragglers
- The best way to level is to kill as many mobs in the smallest amount of time. Run by the 1 or 2 skeletons and kill the huge pack for the best results.
- To get a large pack, run to the edge of the pack and past them. They will start to follow you, and you will find another pack. Once the pack gets large enough, or a little bigger than your AOE can hit, kill them.
- Always keep moving
- When leveling, you should be performing an action every second. Whether it is kiting, clearing large packs of mobs, managing items, or choosing skill points, you should always be moving forward.
- There are only a few things you need to do to progress. You don’t “need” to kill every boss or do every quest. For example, I skip The Fetid Pool every playthrough, and only do the quest when I need the respec points.
- What should I _____?
- Focus on killing only large packs of white mobs, not individuals.
- All blue mobs. Why? They give much more XP per kill compared to white mobs and are only a little harder to kill
- Rare mobs are usually not worth killing if you have low dps. They should be skipped if it takes too long to kill.
- Rogue Exiles are always worth killing. They give you good experience and great loot.
- Pick up
- Always pick up currency items when starting a new league. Once you get to the point where it’s a waste to pick up all portal scrolls, ID scrolls and transmutes, skip them. (Keep moving) Other currency are always worth picking up to be traded for chaos.
- All rares. If your inventory becomes full of rares, drop the ones that take up most space (8 inventory slots). ID them and sell them for alteration shards. They can be traded for chaos later.
- Three linked sockets with the three different colors (red, blue, green, all linked). They can be sold to vendors for 1 chrome, which can be traded for chaos. I prioritize these items over rares because they will always be 1 chrome, compared to the few alt shards they give you.
- Uniques (obviously)
- 6 socketed items. They can be sold for either 7 jeweler orbs if unlinked or 1 divine orb if all the sockets are linked.
- 6 link =
- 6 Socket =
- 6 link =
- Any item that is better then the gear you are currently using.
- Quality Gems – If you sell gems with a total combined quality of 40%, your result will be 1 Gemcutter’s Prism
- For example, if you sell 1 fireball gem with 12% quality, 1 clarity with 8 % quality, 1 vaal reave gem with 11 quality, and 1 increased area of effect gem with 9 quality, your result will be 1 GCP
- Skip everything else.
- Why did I include this on a leveling guide? The reason is inventory management can lead to a large amount of time wasted. The reality is you will make a lot more money in the endgame and the sooner you get there, the sooner you will start making real money.
- The repeating theme I’m trying to emphasize is efficiency, or (progress/time). Cut out all the time wasted, and you will be at endgame before you know it.
- Use “exit to character selection” if you finished a quest and don’t need to go back. It saves a portal scroll and just is as fast.
- Learn to kite
- If you are progressing through a map, kite forwards. Corral enemies (like a cowboy) into a large pack while moving forward, with them chasing you for the most efficient XP through maps.
- If you need to retreat, move backwards while attacking, sometimes called orb walking.
- USE POE.TRADE PLEASE! This is absolutely the best way to buy any item in Path of Exile. Once you get used to using it, you will never have to spam trade chat again.
- Trade chat is good for currency trading and that’s mostly it. Don’t waste your time looking for the items you want in horror that is /trade 1.
- Use parties to your advantage.
- More times than not, there is a party in the Social tab that is heading towards a boss. Joining a party and going directly to the boss room drastically cuts down the time than actually walking there. Some areas can be completely cut out of the game if you manage to find a party at the right time. For example, you can get all the way to Brutus from the Lower Submerged Passage.
- One downside is this is not always guaranteed. You may not find a party that you need, or they may have already killed the boss. But, you can advance quickly in the game if you are lucky and check to see if you can skip areas by finding a party that is a little further than you.
*Note: I learned this leveling strategy by watching this video by ZiggyD. All credit for the Skills and gearing sections goes to him.
- The skills you use to get to endgame are not the skills you use when you get to endgame. That means it’s ok for your Marauder or Ranger to use spells. The best leveling skill gems to use to level are:
- Lv 1-24: Freezing pulse and Ice nova
- LV 24-Endgame: Switch to Searing Bond + Flameblast
- If you cannot get freezing pulse or ice nova, use the best aoe skill your character can get in the early quest rewards. (Ranger – poison arrow/ice shot, marauder/ templar – ground slam)
- You can get from lv 24 to getting ready to run endgame maps with only searing bond + flameblast. Searing bond scales well and doesn’t need items to do its damage. Flameblast is an amazing aoe spell and both these skills combined can make your leveling experience as smooth as butter.
- As soon as you get to level 24, use any means necessary to get Searing Bond and Flameblast. Go to poe.trade, put in searing bond, turn on “online only” and “buyout only,” and buy the cheapest one you can afford. They shouldn’t be more expensive than 6 alterations.
- Using Searing Bond with Flameblast
- The best way to use these spells together is putting down the totem in the middle of a pack and start channeling flameblast where your totem is. Enemies will target/group around the totem and should be easy to hit with flameblast.
For this guide the main weapon you will be using is a Crystal Sceptre with 20% increased elemental damage with +1 to fire gems. To get this weapon, find a normal or magic Crystal Sceptre (white or blue, not rare).
If it is normal, use a transmute on it to make it a magic crystal sceptre. Then get any ruby ring (ring with fire resist)
Next, get 1 alteration. Go to a vendor and sell the magic Crystal Sceptre, 1 alteration, and the ruby ring. The outcome will be a magic Crystal Sceptre with +1 to fire gems. You can then use an orb of augmentation on it for another mod. You want at least 1 red socket on this crystal Sceptre, for searing bond. The optimal setup is 2 red sockets and 1 blue socket, all linked. The gems in the sockets are Searing Bond, increased burning damage, and faster casting. Searing bond is weird and not many support gems can be used with it, so increased burning damage is the best choice.
- Focus on health and resistances for your armor pieces. If you have an empty stash, use whatever you can find. You can get away with this early game. If you cannot tell what armor piece is better, the one with the higher level and higher resists/hp should be the one you use.
- When leveling, your gear should only help you survive. With searing bond + flameblast, you shouldn’t be in any danger unless it’s a tough boss.
- Resistances start to matter later in the game. Once you get to cruel, you should focus your gear to give you 75% resistance to fire, cold, and lightning.
- While maxing resistances doesn’t negate damage completely, they reduce all incoming elemental damage. If you don’t have resistances, progressing may be too difficult for your character to handle.
- While 50% resist and 75% resists seem like only a 25% difference, it is not. You will take double the damage if you only have 50% resist compared to 75%.
- The most important defensive stat is HP, and then resistances. Aim for as much as you can with your gear.
- To make this build as fast as possible, use 2 quicksilver flasks. Once you get a hang of it, you will be able to keep them up indefinitely with this method:
- Use flask
- group enemies
- kill them with flameblast (your flask charges should now be refilled)
- repeat step 1
- If you can, try to get +# to charges as a mod to your quicksilver flasks
- Your other flasks should be 2 life flasks and 1 mana flask.
- To survive you must have 1 staunching flask (removes bleed), and one flask that removes frozen and chilled, only if you don’t have gear that prevents frozen.
- Other good flask mods are: Immunity to curses, dispel shock/burning, and + to flask charges.
- Good leveling uniques (Why this item is good, price on poe.trade)
- Tabula Rasa (6 white links, usually 1 ex)
- Goldrim (high resists and item rarity, 1-3 chaos)
- Aurumvorax (very high resists, 1 chaos)
- Atziri’s Foible (High mana regen and reduced attribute requirements, 1-5 chaos)
- Wanderlust (Mana regen, movespeed, cannot be frozen, 1 chaos)
- Aurseize (High resists, item rarity, 3-6 chaos)
- Meginord’s Girdle (increases life, strength, and cold res, 8 chaos)
If you are following a build guide, try to get the more defensive skills early and the damage skills later. You can also put points in fire/burning damage if there are clusters near your original build’s skill points. You will have 18 free respec points from doing quests, so use them. When you transition into your final build, respec the points you used to level.
Area by area breakdown
Here I will show you how I normally progress through the game. In my experience it’s the fastest way through the game. Note that many areas are skipped and not worth doing until you need the quest reward there, ie. respec points. You also only need to get the waypoints if you need to return to that area later. You will also have to farm areas that give good XP by creating new instances and going from entrance to entrance. You can do this by ctrl + clicking the area.
- wp = Waypoint
- complete = Complete quest, get reward when in town
- Town = Major hub of each act ie. Lioneye’s, Forest Encampment, Sarn
- Bolded words are the areas you will go to progress through the acts. The rest are supplementary info for progressing.
- Twilight Strand (Kill Hillock) — Lioneye’s
- The Coast — The Mud Flats (Get Waypoint) — Tidal Island (Kill Hailrake and complete “Mercy Mission” *You should only do this quest if you need quicksilver flasks or it’s your first playthrough) —Lioneye’s
- Mud Flats (wp) — Lower Submerged (get wp) — The Flooded Depths (complete “The Dweller of the Deep) — Lioneye’s
- Lioneye’s — Lower Submerged — Upper Submerged — The Ledge(Good XP, get at least level 7 here) — The Climb — The Lower Prison — The Upper Prison (Kill Brutus) — Prisoner’s gate (get wp) — Lioneye’s
- Lioneye’s — prisoner’s gate — Ship graveyard(wp) — The Ship Graveyard Cave (get Allflame) — Ship Graveyard (Kill Fairgraves) — Lioneye’s (receive quest reward)
- Lioneye’s — Ship Graveyard — Coves — Cave of Wraith(Return to Lioneyes, receive support gem and prepare for Merviel) — Cave of Anger (Kill Merviel)
*Here in act 2 you should hit level 24 and should transition to Flameblast + Searing Bond
- The Southern Forest — Forest Encampment
- Town — Riverways — Blackwood (Get wp and use a portal in front of the Weaver’s chambers. Make your way to the Western forest) — Western Forest (Get wp and go back to town. Use your portal from before to get to the weavers chambers) — Weaver’s Chambers (Complete Sharp and Cruel)
- Town — Western Forest(Kill Alira, you can find her by finding a break in the road
, complete the Way Forward)
- Town — Old Fields — Crossroads (get wp) — Fellshrine — The Crypt (get wp) (Farm Fellshrine until you are strong enough to complete “Intruders in Black.” Stay on the road and create new instances in the Crypt and Crossroads. This is not necessary in Normal)
- Crossroads (wp) — Chamber of Sins (Complete “Intruders in Black.” Once you finish the quest, the 3rd level of Chamber of Sins is a better area to farm then Fellshrine) — Town
- Town — Crossroads — Broken Bridge (Kill Kraityn) (For this area follow the road, it will lead you to Kraityn)
- Forest Encampment — Riverways(Follow the main road until you see a break, that path will lead you to the next area
— Vaal Ruins — Wetlands(get wp)(Help or kill Oak based on your build guide. Get the Pyramid Apex)
- Wetlands (wp) — The Caverns — Ancient Pyramid (Kill Vaal Boss to get to Act 3)
- City of Sarn — Sarn Encampment
- Farm The City of Sarn until you are strong enough to progress through The Slums
- Town — The Slums (Acquire quest “Lost in Love”) — Crematorium (get wp) (Get Tolman’s Bracelet) — Town (Complete Lost in Love)
- Town — Crematorium (wp) — The Slums (Find Sewer Grating) — The Slum Sewers (Find the first Platinum Bust) — Warehouse Sewers (Very important, You must find the WP here. If you don’t it will set you back if you continue without it)(Find 2nd Platinum Bust) — Warehouse District — Marketplace(get wp) — Market Sewers (get last platinum bust) —Town (Receive Quest reward for “Victorio’s Secrets”)
- By now you can access the Docks, the most popular farming area in Act 3. Find a party doing docks runs and you will receive the wp. Farm here until you feel strong enough to progress)
- Docks (Find Thaumetic Sulphate) – Battlefront (Find Ribbon Spool) – Solaris Temple (Give Lady Dialla Sulphate and Ribbon Spool for Infernal Talc.)
- Warehouse Sewers (wp)(Use Infernal Talc on Undying passage) — Ebony Barracks (get wp) — Lunaris Temple (Kill Piety, finding a party is recommended) — Town (Receive quest reward for killing Piety)
- Ebony Barracks (wp) – Imperial Gardens(wp) – The Sceptre of God (Kill Dominus)
The boss fights in the game are fairly straightforward. One thing that will increase your chance of survival is your movement. Many attacks can and should be dodged simply by strafing around the boss. If may be easier just to spam your attacks and hope they die but your chances for survival are much higher if you put a little effort into each fight. Here I will give you strategies on the harder bosses in the game. I highly recommend finding a party to kill bosses because they increase your chances of surviving and can get you right to the boss fight if you join a party at the right time. Right before starting a boss, it’s a good idea to refill your flasks by going back to town. You should also use a town portal in a boss area if you feel you might die in the fight and need to get out quickly. z
- Run tight circles around him to avoid his attacks. They are slow so if you know you won’t be hit by them as he begins the attack animation, get attacks on him.
- Have as much cold resist as you can when fighting her. You do not want to be frozen so have flasks or a item that dispen frozen
- Human form – Dodge the ice spear barrage by moving perpendicularly and get attacks in when she isn’t attacking
- Siren form – Stay in attack range of her and move out of the water torrents as soon as possible. Get attacks on her at every opportunity
- Every attack can be dodged here. Watch him carefully; if he winds up his “mace” arm backward, the ground slam attack is coming. If he charges his laser, run circles around him. All other attacks shouldn’t be a problem.
- Make sure you kill the elemental portals in the boss zone. If she reaches one of them she will turn into a much more powerful version and will make the fight much harder. Use the environment to your advantage and use your quicksilver flasks to stick to her so she cannot use the portals.
- I HIGHLY recommend finding a party to fight Dom. I can almost guarantee you there will be a party to fight Dom on any difficulty and will make the fight much easier.
- Use your AOE flameblast to hit as many enemies in the area and position yourself far away from any enemies.
- Make sure you have a staunching flask (removes bleed) before starting the fight. Dom’s second form can kill you very quickly if you have too many bleed stacks
If you ever feel like you hit a roadblock, 2 things may be the problem – your gear and your level. If it is your gear, you may have low resists. With this leveling setup, damage should never be an issue. Focus more on defensive stats (armor/evasion/energy shield.) If enemies are too hard to kill or you are dying, you might be underleveled. Go to a good leveling area (Ledge, Fellshrine, Docks) and get to a higher level before progressing.
Path of Exile is not an easy game. If you are first starting out and you feel lost, that’s ok. Success in this game will be determined by three things: Your game knowledge, skill, and RNG. Two of those things are completely controlled by you can can be improved on over time. If you implement the things I’ve laid out into your gameplay, you will get better every time you play. Once you master the areas of the game, bosses, and the skills you use, I guarantee you can complete the game much faster than you did in the past.