Path of Exile – Beginners Guide

This is a loose walkthrough on how to build your way through POE. Game is not for everyone, constantly asking questions from global will get you trolled hard AF. Well, on that happy note, lets get started.

Guide for New Players

Character Selection

If you follow a build guide, then you can skip this section because your guide will dictate a character based on the needs of the build. If you’re just gonna wing it, might be some helpful info here. Every character has needs that cannot be ignored, damage and defense. Every class has it’s own seperate brand of either, with some generally available options throughout the tree. Not every option works as well, not every option available to the same extent from every class, so here is a compass to help you decide;

  • Witch (Intelligence, energy shield, curses, minions and spell dam.) Due north.
  • Shadow (Intelligence/Dexterity, Energy shield/evade crit, attack/spell trap/mine dam, daggers/claws and ailments) Northeast.
  • Ranger (Evade, bow, projectile, Evade/suppress ailments and potions) Southeast.
  • Duelist (Armour/Evade, Attacks, dual wielding, 1h+shield, ailments) South.
  • Marauder (Armour 2h, 1h+shield, fire damage, rage, fortification) Southwest.
  • Templar (Armour/Energy shield, elemental attack/spell damage staff and mace damage) Northwest.
  • Sion (Unlocked in gameplay, has access to all of the above, because is dead center in tree. 10 skill point buffer zone to reach close to the start of any other class though.).

Now, a marauder can throw fireballs, a duelist can use wand attacks, and a witch can cyclone her way through some pretty nasty situations, the only limitations on what any char can attack/defend with are you, and RNG. That said, simpler is better for initial runs.

Ascendancies are another form of specialization, allowing a good build to far exceed it’s normal efficacy or a bad build to squeak as passable. I recommend looking at the available ascendancies for whatever exile you pick before moving on with using it. Or just pick what looks cool, and deal with more issues later, up to you.

Leveling and Beginning Your Journey

So, on to methods. The game will give you a 2link weapon, and 2 gems to put in it as part of the initial tutorial. Sockets connect support gems to active gems to give you a skill, sockets can link up to 5 supports to an active skill gem. A 4link, or 1 active with 3 supports is all thats necessary to beat story. You’ll have learn how to move, how to dodge if your char isn’t a nascent God-tank, and how each boss attacks to make this simple.

Different skills level on different scales of difficulty, and the most common flag is on the gem itself; “Effectiveness of added damage” is one of the most important things to pay attention to, though your build may switch to more entertaining skills later, a high effectiveness means it uses all damage modifiers to a greater extent. The spell skill freezing pulse, is fully capable of blasting through story and leveling you through the game to a reasonable level. Additional skills, like wintertide brand, lightning trap, armageddon brand, and arc make it somewhat simple to beat the story. Knowing how to modify these skills is key, as each separate skill has it’s own buff tags, effectiveness of added damage and playstyle

If a skill has ‘Spell, Fire, Duration’ as it’s tags, then damage over time universal and fire DOT modifiers as well as spell and fire damage will modify its interactions. It is important to read skill and support gems, to have a decent understanding of how they interact.

My method for building a lvling skill is this: Find a skill with good effectiveness of added damage, allow 1 quality of life gem, or 3 damage gems. At the start of the games most gems do not have good supports available, so you have to stick to ‘increased’ damage, as you get to later acts, you want not ‘increased’ damage supports on your 4 link leveling skill, you just want ‘more’ damage gems.

To explain this,100 damage+10% increased is 110 dam. increased multiplies base damage, creating a total. More multiplies this total, so 110+10% MORE becomes 121 dam. I take increased from skill tree, its abundant there, and more from gems as much as possible, with 1 quality of life modification maximum.

Now that damage is accomplished, quick note here… Asking for leveling without beating story is bad. You don’t have the defense, or attack necessary to survive actual leveling, so I recommend using the best leveling device in the entire game; The story.

No death is meaningless, if you can’t kill a boss and beg for help in global, the worst outcome will happen. The worst outcome is that someone helps you kill the boss, and you are less than 10% prepped to fight the next boss. Taking 10 minutes to upgrade your gear, work on elemental resistance and possibly running a couple of the last area you were in to level can get you past the boss. These things are necessary anyway, and you will have to do them to advance.

Story is decently cut and dried, they provide all the necessary pointers and quest objectives. This guide is for building a character, so I’m going to not list how to run the entire story.


At the start of the game, a couple skill points of max life and a quick bottle finger is all you need to survive. As you move forward the needs expand at a malicious rate. Elemental resistance is the most important part, though recent changes to the game seem to have amplified incoming phys as well. 75% ele res is not hard for seasoned players to accomplish, but can be really difficult for new players, so a quick guide.

  1. Identify everything. Every rare item that hits the ground is a chance at upgrading your gear. Sockets are most important, if it’s your skill gear, resistance next and base defence last. So a pair of gloves that gives you 800 armour, but that drop your fire res to 50% are worthless, even if the gloves you are wearing give only 20 armour and are ilvl 32.
  2. Essences are creatures encased in glass, that if you free them generally put up a pretty hard fight and drop a specialized form of chaos orbs, called essences. An essence random rolls a piece of gear and promises 1 mod outcome, guaranteed ele res is actually pretty simple like this, cuz you can pick up a white item, essence it 1 time and get your res capped. these are for acts like 6 to 10 though, not always available in the start
  3. Trade chat/website… Yep, exactly that. basic currency items can often be traded for decent low ILVL gear that can come in handy. Make sure you don’t get lost in trade, because after 20min of searching, if not lvl 80 and polishing and minmaxing an almost complete build, 20 min of gameplay would definitely have gotten you better gear.

I know this guide is a chip off the tip of the iceberg, but this is everything I’ve seen new players have trouble with. Almost every boss has unique patterns and stats, learn these and you can ace the boss with a crap build. Don’t care to? Then your build is gonna need to walk on water while frying bacon on a crystal ball.

Jan Bonkoski
About Jan Bonkoski 823 Articles
A lifelong gamer Jan Bakowski, also known as Lazy Dice, was always interested in gaming and writing. He lives in Poland (Wrocław). His passion for games began with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64 back in 1998. Proud owner of Steam Deck, which has become his primary gaming platform. He’s been making guides since 2012. Sharing his gaming experience with other players has become not only his hobby but also his job.

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