The Newbie’s guide to loot: Introduction
PoE is a complex game. After the shock and awe caused by the passive skill tree, I think the second biggest impact comes from the itemization.
PoE’s economy, even at this early stage, is convoluted and involves much more than just gear. Skills are itemized, hell, even places are going to be itemized soon in the form of maps. New players are overloaded with this information, which makes it very hard to tell what is worth keeping and what is vendor trash.
I think it’s important to give newcomers guidance on what drops they should be paying attention to, and which aren’t worth keeping. This guide aims to do just that, offering a list ordered by pickup priority. It involves the obvious stuff (rares, uniques) but also the less immediate such as 3-color-links to trade into chromatics or max implicit jewelry.
Obviously, this guide assumes you want to pick stuff up for its general usefulness / market value. Your personal character needs at the moment should be max priority, and if you feel a blue (or a white) is an upgrade over what you’re wearing at the moment, by all means pick it up!
Understand this guide is a product of my own (limited) experience and doesn’t involve the endgame, just the route to MoC. If you have any suggestions or changes, feel free to post it in the comments =).
So let’s say you are just born fresh (and soaked) into the world of Wraeclast. You might think that, just because you’re new, all the items you’re get are worthless. On the contrary! There are items of great value for newcomers too, that can be traded for high end Uniques. I recently got a +16% Whirling Blades gem in the very second area of the game, which sells for a substantial amount of high end currency. You should keep your eyes open!
In order to know what stuff is actually valuable, here’s my personal priority list:
—>a) Max Priority: Pick these all the time<—
a).1: All Currency items. Every single currency item is worth picking up and stacking, with the occasional exception of Scrolls of Wisdom and Portal Scrolls. These last two are plentiful so it is fine if you skip them every now and then. The rest should be picked without exception, as end-game “crafting” uses them in great quantities and they are all valuable. Even the less obvious ones (such as Orb of Scouring) are worthwhile and shouldn’t be left in the ground!
a).2: Quality Skill Gems. This is often overlooked by newbies, which leads to a lot of wealth wasted. Every time you see a skill drop, even if it’s extremely basic, take a second to hover your mouse over it and check if it has a Quality bonus. If it does, no matter how small, pick it up. These sell for high prices as they significantly reduce the number of Gemcutter’s Prisms you need to make them perfect, and high level min maxers will pay for them. They’re also good to use in place of the normal ones, even when underleveled!
a).3: Uniques. Some uniques are better, some are worse, but they’re generally helpful to the appropriate build, and some times they’re extremely powerful (such as Charan’s Tipua Kaikohuru). If you see brown text on the ground, don’t pass. Even if it’s low level, it may come in handy for your next character or a strange build. I’ve made a build that abuses Crown of Thorns, which has been called the worst Unique ever, so remember this: There will be someone out there buying the Uniques you get, even if you can’t figure out how to use them.
a).4: Three-Colour-Links. Knowing that you should pick 3CLs up is one of the best benefits of reading the Sales Recipe thread. 3CL is any item with one socket of each colour linked together (they may have more sockets). They are good because they sell for 1 chromatic orb, in one of the most direct recipes available, so it’s the equivalent to picking a (rather bulky) chromatic orb. Vendor it ASAP and collect your reward.
—>b) High Priority: You generally want to pick these<—
b).1: Rares. More often than not, you want to pick rares up. What you do with them is another issue that I’ll discuss in another section of the guide, but they’re useful material. Identified, they may turn out to be quite powerful and sell for decent amounts, or serve as gear for yourself or your twinks. If they turn out not too decent, they can be turned into Sale Recipes to get special orbs, or outright vendored for shards. Left unidentified they can also net you some orbs thanks to Sale Recipes. How to “spend” your rares will be explained later on.
b).2: Non-Quest Skill Gems. Many skill gems are awarded as quest rewards for the different classes. Others aren’t, and it’s a good idea to pick up the ones that can’t be easily obtained. You can probably obtain a list somewhere else in the forum, but quickly asking on the Chat will suffice. Having a couple copies of every non-quest gem is always good in case you roll a character that uses them, or a sale opportunity turns up. If they start piling up, you may want to skip some.
b).3: High Links. High Links are items with many linked slots. They won’t start appearing until late Cruel, so don’t worry about this at first. 5-links should be picked up without exception, and if you see a 6-link you better dive like crazy for it: they’re extremely rare. 4-links depends on you, and how much storage space you have. They’re rare enough to be convenient, but won’t sell for much.
b).4: Max Implicit Items. Some items (like Jewelry) have implicit bonuses: Those are the ones above the horizontal line before the magic stuff. Implicit values are important because they’re independent of the rest of the bonuses, so if you tinker with a piece of jewelry or belt that value will be left untouched, unless you use a special orb for it. This means items with perfect Implicit mods have an intrinsic value, as they are perfect tinkering material at any level (for example to twink characters). Since jewelry doesn’t take much space, picking up those 15% gold rings and 20 onyx amulets isn’t a bad idea.
—>c) Medium Priority: You may want to pick these<—
c).1: Magic Flasks: It’s always good to pick Flasks up and identify them, because some of their bonuses are valuable. Surgeon flasks sell for alchemy shards, and the ones that heal minions are decently rare. They usually aren’t trade material as most people seem to manage their own ones, but it doesn’t hurt checking them out.
c).2: Weirdly Coloured Sockets: This may be a personal quirk of mine but I like hoarding items with very unlikely socket colours. This could be, for example, a bow with four red slots, or an axe with five blues. These proportions are statistically very unlikely, and if there is ever a build that requires precisely that layout, chances are they’ll be paying a lot for it. Given how specific these would get, I only suggest picking them up if you have a lot of stash space!
c).3: Advanced Flasks: The weirder flasks, such as Resistance Flasks, Diamond and Granite Flasks are rare enough to warrant picking a 5-set of every one, if anything because they’re good to have around. I’d advise to pick them up until you have 5 of each, then keep them just in case.
—>d) Low Priority: You usually don’t want these<—
d).1: Whites without good sockets: There is little use for Whites without interesting socket layouts. Even if they have Quality, there is little point in picking them up, since Quality on a white is very easy to apply. Of course, whites with Implicit bonuses are subject to the Implicit criteria I explained above, but other than that, don’t pick them.
d).2: Blues (although you may to ID+Drop): Blues are very common and picking them up without any criteria will clog your inventory and waste your time and scrolls. This problem is very common with Diablo 3 players, since they’re used to blues being valuable. Here, not so much. However, you might want to pick up blues you might be interested in and drop a scroll on them to see if they have good mods. If they do, they might be good material for promotion into rares with a Regal Orb, but since an effective promotion would probably require some Exalted Orbs too, this is something you should probably be doing in the endgame.
d).3: Quest skill gems: Gems that are given as quest rewards are generally trash, unless you need them urgently.
What do I do with my Rares?
I am not going to replicate the Sales Recipe thread here, but if you haven’t read it yet, you really should =). There are plenty of useful recipes to be used. In my experience, the most interesting have been the 3CL one I explained before (which should be used whenever possible) and the Rare related recipes.
There are recipes involving Quality Gems to get GCPs, but I think they offer a horrible return rate, so I wouldn’t advise to use that one.
When it comes to Rares however, there are many options to cash your rares in for currency even when they suck completely. So unless your Rare is actually good, or you happen to get the legendary quiver Skin Flute, which you should immediately send to me, prepare to turn them into useful stuff.
There are four recipes you want to aim for. Alchemy, Regal, Chaos and double Chaos.
Chaos is the simplest one if you don’t want to bother. Just stash those rares trying to keep different item types, and when you get a full set of gear, vendor it for a Chaos.
There is a twin for that recipe, which involves selling all rares unidentified. This will net you two Chaos instead of one, which is a great bang for your buck, but you won’t get to check whether the rares you got are good by themselves, which would mean they sold for more. It’s up to you. If you do want to farm Chaos orbs, I suggest farming a low level area (such as normal Fellshrine) and selling the unidentified rares in bulk. However, high level rares should be identified just in case.
If you want to put a bit more thought into your rare recipes (and also play a fun collection mini-game) you could aim for the Alchemy and Regal recipes. As you might have seen in the recipe thread, you are supposed to hand in Rares with the exact same randomly generated name, and this will give you rewards. 2 same-namers grant you an alchemy, and 3 give you a valuable Regal.
In order to match names effectively you need a strategy. Many people in this forum use a chrome extension to check for coincidences in their rare names. This is a good idea, but you can go even further.
I have a personal strategy that you may enjoy using: Pick a letter, or a set of letters, and gather rares that start with it, until your stash is reasonably full. This will make it easier to remember which rares you have to keep, but most importantly, you can comfortably buy in bulk. By asking on chat “WTB any bad rares that start with F, G and H” for instance, it will make it easier for people to look them up, rather than request specific names.
What do I do with my Currency?
Except for a very few cases, you do not want to use your currency items in your own gear. This doesn’t mean you should be stingy though. What I’m saying is that, until you reach the endgame, they’re better spend trading than enhancing.
Since the amount of currency items you have to sink to reroll a level 70 item is the same than for a 5 item, doing it on the latter means you’re wasting your currency potential. A spare alchemy every now and then when you absolutely have to replace a piece of your gear is okay, but don’t engage in addictive orb iteration when your base item just isn’t worth it.
Instead, actively engage in trades. It’s amazing how much more value you can get for your stuff by trading. An egregious example of this happened to myself after I started the game, back when I had no clue how valuable a GCP was. I sunk two GCPs on my Ice Spear gem to get a measly +2% quality on it, and then I saw someone in the chat sell a +10% Quality Ice Spear for 2 GCP. Silly me!
So remember: Unless you’re engaging in high-end “crafting”, or you are looking for something very specific, the value of the orbs is much higher when unspent.
That was all folks! I hope you enjoyed the guide, and if you have any criticism, suggestion, or possible change in the priority list, I’m willing to hear about it.