Active Skills are abilities which an exile activates by using an equipped Skill Gem, they are controlled by mouse or keyboard events. They take mana and grant an immediate effect. They are not Passive Skills, constant effects which are mainly earned through character levelling.
All Active Skills are contained in portable gems which must be equipped in gem sockets before their use. Support Gems augment these skills when the gems are linked.
Gems gain experience and levels alongside the character wearing them. For all the experience the exile receives, a gem gains its own additional experience at 10% of that amount. Additional gems do not share that experience, but gain their own 10%. Gem experience is not restricted by player level boundaries, so a high level characters might not gain experience from low level enemies, but the gem will continue to gain the 10% it normally would. The experience required for each gem level tracks the requirement for the corresponding character level closely until gem level 15, at which point the gem experience required begins to climb much more rapidly. Gems do not need to be utilized for them to gain experience, only equipped. Gems equipped in both weapons slots gain experience, though only the currently active weapon slot's skills can be used.
Once a gem has enough experience to level up, it will stop gaining experience and a level-up icon will appear on the right of the screen and in the inventory menu. Left-clicking it will level up the gem, right-clicking the icon will hide it on the side of the screen, but it will still be accessible in the inventory menu. Not levelling up a gem is useful in some situations.
As gems level up, the abilities they grant get better, but the requirements to equip them also increase, as well as the mana cost for active skills. Each gem level, the exile must have both the attribute corresponding to gem colour and a character level high enough to meet its increased requirements. If a gem gains enough experience to level up, but the exile currently does not meet the requirements, the level-up icon will appear greyed out and not be useable until the requirements are met. For specifics, see the lists of Active Skills and Support Gems below.
Gems may be traded like normal items and they will retain their experience.
Obtaining a level 26 gem
Generally, level 20 is the maximum level a gem can get by gathering experience. There are, however, ways to increase the level of a gem beyond 20; either by placing them in certain items with the modifier +1 to Level of Gems in this item or linking them with the support gem . With the appropriate gear, a skill gem can even reach level 26. To do this, you need an item, for example a bow, with the modifiers +1 to Level of Gems in this item and +2 to Level of Bow Gems in this item. Then, place a level 20 bow skill gem like in a socket of the bow. Lightning Arrow is now level 23. Now link it with a level 3 . A level 3 Empower increases the level of linked skill gems by 2, but since Empower is affected by the +1 to Level of Gems in this item mod, is actually level 4. A level 4 Empower increased the level of linked skill gems by 3. So we get a level 26 Lighting Arrow. Note that it is not possible for every skill gem to get level 26.
Lastly, there are three gems that only have three experience levels:
Each gem must be set in a socket corresponding to the gem's colour. Sockets can be found on all Armour and Weapons (except for Kaom's HeartKaom's Heart
Glorious PlateArmour: 553
Requires Level 68, 191 StrHas no Sockets
+500 to maximum Life
(20 to 40)% increased Fire DamageThe warrior who
fears will fall., which has no sockets) and can hold either active skill gems or support gems.
Orbs can modify the sockets in items.
- Chromatic OrbChromatic Orb
Stack Size: 20Reforges the colour of sockets on an itemRight click this item then left click a socketed item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack. - Reforges the colour of sockets on an item.
- Jeweller's OrbJeweller's Orb
Stack Size: 20Reforges the number of sockets on an itemRight click this item then left click a socketed item to apply it. The item's quality value is consumed to increase the chances of obtaining more sockets.
Shift click to unstack. - Reforges the number of sockets on an item.
- Orb of FusingOrb of Fusing
Stack Size: 20Reforges the links between sockets on an itemRight click this item then left click a socketed item to apply it. The item's quality value is consumed to increase the chances of obtaining more links.
Shift click to unstack. - Reforges the links between sockets on an item.
The random choice of colour for sockets is weighted based upon which attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence) are required to use the item as well as how much of each attribute is required to use it. For example, a low strength requirement (low base-level) pure Strength armour has a higher probability of rolling off-color sockets than a high strength requirement (high base-level) pure Strength armour. This is also true for any Chromatic Orb reforging. The estimated probability of rolling an off-color socket color is roughly 10-20%, though this depends on the stat requirements of the item in question.
Support Gems are gems which modify the active skills they are linked to. To link support gems to active skill gems, they all need to be socketed in a segment of sockets which have lines between them. Many linked sockets can be used to give many skills a number of support bonuses.
For example, the two skillsand may be linked with the support skill in a three linked item, or may be replaced by to enhance the even more.
This is why rare maximum of "6L" or six-linked-socket items are so powerful, they can link up to 5 Support Gems to 1 Active Skill.
- One-handed and Shields up to 3 gems;
- Helmets, Gloves, Boots and Fishing rods can have up to 4 gems;
- Chest armor up to 6 gems;
- Two-handed weapons up to 6 gems.
Level Requirement for Sockets
The maximum amount of sockets (and therefore also the amount of links) possible on an item is determined by its item level. The higher the item level is, more sockets can be added. The ilevel required for a number of sockets is :
|Number of sockets||Minimum item level||First vendor|
|2||1||Normal, Act 1|
|3||15||Normal, Act 1|
|4||28||Normal, Act 3|
|5||35||Normal, Act 3|
|6||50||Cruel, Act 3|
Vaal Skill Gems
The Vaal civilization may have existed thousands of years ago, but it had its own form of Skill Gems. Brutally powerful and fueled by the sacrifice of foes, these gems are the ultimate version of many contemporary Path of Exile skills. Vaal Skill Gems charge up as you kill enemies and can be unleashed for a devastating effect. Where applicable, cosmetic microtransaction effects do work on the equivalent Vaal skills. There are 17 Vaal Skills Gems in this patch and more will be added in later updates.
Sorted By Attribute
Active Skills have requirements based on each of the three main Attributes, and can be easily identified by the attribute colour.
You cannot support skill with more than one copy of each support gem. If you place more than one of any support gem linked to skill gem, only top-level will work.
For more information on Support Gems, refer to the full page.
*Decreases with higher gem levels
For a list of skills not separated by attribute, see List of skills
- h0b0_lemnade (April 29, 2012 11:45 PM). "change (modification number) sockets, colour of sockets". Path of Exile Forum. Retrieved March 16, 2013.