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Diablo Player's Guide to Path of Exile

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If you've played a lot of Diablo 3 and Diablo 2 (or any other ARPG), here's a quick and dirty guide that will get you playing Path of Exile in no time!

Pay model

Path of Exile is free to play and is supported by microtransactions and supporter packs. Microtransactions do not provide a direct in-game advantage. The items available in the store are almost exclusively cosmetic, the exceptions being purchasable extra character slots (though you start with 24), extra guild space, and additional stash tabs which all count as utility purchases. Supporter packs can be considered to be similar to Kickstarter backer tiers, with various tiers offering different rewards, such as microtransaction points, unique pets, the ability to work with the devs to create a unique item, etc.

Skill gems

Skills in Path of Exile take the form of gems, which you socket into items. There are two basic types of skill gems in Path of Exile: active skill gems, and support gems. Active skill gems represent skills you actively use (FireballFireballProjectile, Spell, AoE, Fire
Radius: 9
Mana Cost: (6 to 26)
Cast Time: 0.85 sec
Critical Strike Chance: 6.00%
Projectile Speed: 1040
Per 1% Quality:
0.5% chance to Ignite enemies
Deals (7-739) to (10-1109) Fire Damage
(20-39)% chance to Ignite enemies
+(0-3) to radius
Place into an item socket of the right colour to gain this skill. Right click to remove from a socket.
Fireball skill icon.png
, for example). Support gems can be socketed into a linked socket with an active skill gem, to provide a modification of that active skill gem (For example, increasing the damage or the size of your fireball). Active skill gems and support gems are easily visually distinguishable from each other in your inventory. A skill gem must be socketed into an equipped item in order to use that skill.

The skills in PoE aren't class-specific. Any class may use any skill.

Both active skill gems and support gems gain experience (10% of your combat experience) when you fight. Both types can gain levels, thus increasing the gem's potency. The maximum level for any active skill or support gem is normally 20, but this level can be overcome through the use of some items, Vaal Orbs, or the Empower SupportEmpower SupportSupport
Icon: +
Mana Multiplier: 125%
Supports any skill gem. Once this gem reaches level 2 or above, will raise the level of supported gems. Cannot support skills that don't come from gems.Per 1% Quality:
This Gem gains 5% increased Experience
+(0-2) to Level of Supported Active Skill GemsThis is a Support Gem. It does not grant a bonus to your character, but to skills in sockets connected to it. Place into an item socket connected to a socket containing the Active Skill Gem you wish to augment. Right click to remove from a socket.
support gem. Gems must be socketed into an equipped item in order for them to gain experience when you fight.

The leveling of gems is optional. For some reason, it might be more beneficial not to level up a gem:

  • If you cannot support the new mana cost of the gem or the mana reservation.
  • If you want to pass it on to another character which might be lower level.
  • If you are gear dependent on the stats required to use the skill gem and don't think you're going to be able to keep up with the stat requirements.

You'll mainly get active skill gems as quest rewards early on, but you'll also find them dropped by monsters, chests and breakable environment objects such as barrels, crates, pots, etc.

After completing a quest you can buy skill and support gems from the accessories vendor on its sell page 2. You can check which gems your class can buy on the second half of the quest reward page

There are three overarching categories, represented by colors, of active skill and support gems: red colored gems, which require mostly strength to use; green colored gems, which require mostly dexterity to use; and blue colored gems, which require mostly intelligence to use. As the gems level up, their respective attribute requirement amounts will increase as well.

Each individual gem has a set of gem tags associated with it. These keywords are listed at the top of each gem's description, when you mouse over it. You can use these to determine which support gems are able to affect which active skill gems - just match the key words! For example, FireballFireballProjectile, Spell, AoE, Fire
Radius: 9
Mana Cost: (6 to 26)
Cast Time: 0.85 sec
Critical Strike Chance: 6.00%
Projectile Speed: 1040
Per 1% Quality:
0.5% chance to Ignite enemies
Deals (7-739) to (10-1109) Fire Damage
(20-39)% chance to Ignite enemies
+(0-3) to radius
Place into an item socket of the right colour to gain this skill. Right click to remove from a socket.
Fireball skill icon.png
has the keywords "Fire", "Projectile", "Spell" and "AoE" listed at the top of its description. The Fire Penetration SupportFire Penetration SupportFire, Support
Icon: V
Mana Multiplier: 140%
Requires Level 31Supports any skill that hits enemies, making those hits penetrate enemy fire resistance.Per 1% Quality:
Supported Skills deal 0.5% increased Fire Damage
Supported Skills Penetrate (18-37)% Fire ResistanceThis is a Support Gem. It does not grant a bonus to your character, but to skills in sockets connected to it. Place into an item socket connected to a socket containing the Active Skill Gem you wish to augment. Right click to remove from a socket.
gem also has the keyword "Fire" listed at the top of its description. This means that the Fire Penetration support gem will affect the active skill Fireball, because both have the keyword "Fire". Support gems do not directly affect other support gems.

Attack skills take weapon damage into consideration. Spells, traps, spell-casting totems, and mine skills do not (like D2).

There are many skill and support gems, and more are added periodically!

Examples:

  • Put the Life Gain on Hit SupportLife Gain on Hit SupportAttack, Support
    Icon: h
    Mana Multiplier: 150%
    Requires Level 8Supports attack skills.Per 1% Quality:
    +0.5 Life gained for each Enemy hit by Attacks from Supported Skills
    +(6-44) Life gained for each Enemy hit by Attacks from Supported SkillsThis is a Support Gem. It does not grant a bonus to your character, but to skills in sockets connected to it. Place into an item socket connected to a socket containing the Active Skill Gem you wish to augment. Right click to remove from a socket.
    gem next to a linked CleaveCleaveAttack, AoE, Melee
    Radius: 20
    Mana Cost: 6
    Cast Time: 1.00 sec
    Damage Effectiveness: (110% to 163%)
    The character swings their weapon (or both weapons if dual wielding) in an arc towards the target. Also does damage to other nearby monsters. Only works with Axes and Swords.Per 1% Quality:
    0.5% increased Attack Speed
    Deals (110-163.2)% of Base Damage
    When Dual Wielding, Deals 60% Damage from each Weapon combined
    +(0-6) to radius
    Place into an item socket of the right colour to gain this skill. Right click to remove from a socket.
    Cleave skill icon.png
    gem you'll regain life for every enemy hit by Cleave.
  • Combine Detonate DeadDetonate DeadSpell, AoE, Fire
    Radius: 22
    Mana Cost: (7 to 30)
    Cast Time: 0.60 sec
    Critical Strike Chance: 6.00%
    Requires Level 4Targets a corpse, and deals spell damage to enemies around the corpse, as well as causing the corpse to explode, dealing fire damage. The explosion is not affected by modifiers to spell damage and cannnot be reflected.Per 1% Quality:
    0.5% increased Cast Speed
    Explosion deals base Fire Damage equal to 6% of the corpse's maximum Life
    Deals (10-823) to (14-1235) Fire Damage
    +(0-4) to radius
    Place into an item socket of the right colour to gain this skill. Right click to remove from a socket.
    Detonate Dead skill icon.png
    with Spell Totem SupportSpell Totem SupportSupport, Totem, Duration
    Icon: T
    Mana Multiplier: 200%
    Requires Level 8Supports spell skills that do not reserve mana. Instead of using that skill, you will summon a totem that uses the skill for you.Per 1% Quality:
    1% increased Totem Placement speed
    Summons a Totem which uses the Supported Skill
    Totem lasts 8 seconds
    Supported Skills deal (35-26)% less Damage
    Spells Cast by Totem have 30% less Cast Speed
    This is a Support Gem. It does not grant a bonus to your character, but to skills in sockets connected to it. Place into an item socket connected to a socket containing the Active Skill Gem you wish to augment. Right click to remove from a socket.
    to have a totem which casts the spell for you so you can focus on other things.
  • Link Ice SpearIce SpearProjectile, Spell, Cold
    Mana Cost: (9 to 27)
    Cast Time: 0.85 sec
    Critical Strike Chance: 7.00%
    Damage Effectiveness: 80%
    Projectile Speed: 1000
    Requires Level 12Launches a shard of ice that pierces close enemies, before exploding on a distant enemy with a much higher critical strike chance.Per 1% Quality:
    2% increased Projectile Speed
    Deals (17-548) to (26-822) Cold Damage
    (40-78)% increased Chill Duration on enemies
    Second form has 600% increased Critical Strike Chance
    (10-29)% increased Effect of Chill
    Place into an item socket of the right colour to gain this skill. Right click to remove from a socket.
    Ice Spear skill icon.png
    with Greater Multiple Projectiles SupportGreater Multiple Projectiles SupportSupport, Projectile
    Icon: P
    Mana Multiplier: 165%
    Requires Level 38Supports projectile skills.Per 1% Quality:
    Supported Skills have 0.5% increased Attack Speed
    Supported Skills have 0.5% increased Cast Speed
    Supported Skills have 4 additional Projectiles
    Supported Skills deal (35-26)% less Projectile Damage
    This is a Support Gem. It does not grant a bonus to your character, but to skills in sockets connected to it. Place into an item socket connected to a socket containing the Active Skill Gem you wish to augment. Right click to remove from a socket.
    and Elemental Proliferation SupportElemental Proliferation SupportCold, Fire, Lightning, Support, AoE
    Icon: S
    Mana Multiplier: 110%
    Supports any skill that hits enemies, or could otherwise apply elemental ailments.Per 1% Quality:
    0.5% increased Duration of Elemental Ailments on Enemies
    Elemental Ailments caused by Supported Skills spread to other enemies in a Radius of 10
    20% chance to Freeze, Shock and Ignite
    (0-19)% increased Duration of Elemental Ailments on Enemies
    This is a Support Gem. It does not grant a bonus to your character, but to skills in sockets connected to it. Place into an item socket connected to a socket containing the Active Skill Gem you wish to augment. Right click to remove from a socket.
    to fire multiple ice projectiles which freeze enemies and have the freeze effect jump over to nearby foes.

The maximum number of possible linked sockets is six. This means one active skill gem can normally be supported by a maximum of five support gems. Six-linked items are expensive and hard to come by. Most support gems raise the mana cost or mana reservation of the active skill(s) they are linked with.

For future reference: some keystone passive skills are also available as support gems if you want their effect for only some of your skills, for example, Module Error: Item link: No results found for search parameter "blood magic"..

Classes

There are currently seven base classes to choose from.

The biggest difference between classes are their Ascendancy class choices. In later acts, completing The Labyrinth will allow you to choose one of three Ascendancy subclasses (or just one for the Scion). Each of these classes grant access to a powerful passive to specialize your characters in. While the given choices are still versatile enough for any build to take advantage of, it's advisable to take a look a them first if you have a certain type of build in mind.

Besides Ascendancy classes, the only differences are: how your hero looks, what their starting attributes are and their position in the passive skill tree (more on that next up).

For now:

Type Name STR DEX INT
INT Witch 14 14 32
STR Marauder 32 14 14
DEX Ranger 14 32 14
STR/INT Templar 23 14 23
DEX/INT Shadow 14 23 23
STR/DEX Duelist 23 23 14
STR/DEX/INT Scion 20 20 20

That said, there's little guidance on the "best" way to play a class (many people have posted their builds on the Path of Exile forums, however, and it's a good place to start). However, it is recommended to first try a "pure" class (Witch, Ranger, Marauder). Starting a "hybrid" (one of the other four) can be a bit daunting for new players. The Scion must be unlocked in Act 3 in order to select her during character creation.

Starting (HP, Mana, Evasion Rating) = (50, 40, 53) for all classes. Each level up gives a passive skill point but also

The level cap is 100, but a maximum of 122 Passive skill points can be obtained. However, most builds are made using between 90 and 100 skill points, and making a build hinging on using all 122 points is not a good idea. Leveling past the storyline content is arduous, and your character will need to be more or less complete to navigate the endgame.

Passive skill tree

Check out the passive skill tree

Every class has a specific starting area on the skill tree. Starting at the top and working clockwise, we have the Witch, the Shadow, the Ranger, the Duelist, the Marauder, the Templar, and finally, dead center, the Scion.

The tree may seem a little intimidating at first, but it may make things easier to realize that you can group the nodes into four categories.

Starting Areas: These areas are where you'll be starting your character, but there's absolutely nothing keeping you from heading toward another class's nodes! The nodes where you begin are often very powerful, and it's not a bad idea to scan your neighbors' starting points to see if they've got anything you could... borrow.

Paths: Approximately 30% of the skill tree is composed of nodes that grant +10 to one of the three base stats. These nodes are generally used to move around the tree and get to Clusters and Keystones.

Clusters: Groups of nodes with a common theme, frequently represented by a small icon in the center. As an example, the cluster focusing on lightning spell damage has an image of a lightning bolt in the center. Clusters can range in size from three nodes (Acrobatics Improvement, located behind the Acrobatics keystone) to as many as twelve (wand physical damage). Many clusters also have a notable passive, a special node rimmed in gold that is more powerful than other nodes and can have as many as four modifiers while normal nodes have a maximum of two.

Keystones: Special and very powerful nodes that change a basic game mechanic for your character. Resolute Technique will prevent you from ever missing again, but it'll cost you every critical strike you will ever land. Elemental Equilibrium will reward you for alternating elemental damage, but punish you for using the same element consistently. Each keystone gives a buff and a nerf, with the exception of Phase Acrobatics, which grants +30% spell dodge, but requires taking Acrobatics, which cuts armor and energy shield in half, and reduces block chance.

Plan ahead, for there are no full respecs in Path of Exile (except when a major patch changes the skill tree). Respec points are available through completing quests and spending Orb of RegretOrb of RegretStack Size: 40Grants a passive skill refund pointRight click on this item to use it.
Shift click to unstack.
currency items, but these are pricey and if you find yourself built in a corner, it's often best to reroll (start over).

Jewels

There are some nodes in the passive tree that can be allocated but appear to do nothing. These are jewel sockets, which can have jewels socketed within them. These jewels impart passives like every other node on the tree, but are arguably more powerful and can be all rarities (though the normal rarity of these items does nothing). Some unique jewels, scale off of nearby nodes or change them into different bonuses. There are also threshold jewels which impart a special modifier to skills specified if it's placed in the right areas (For example Overwhelming OddsOverwhelming Odds
Crimson Jewel
Limited to: 2
Radius: Medium (1200)
(10-15)% increased Physical Damage
With at least 40 Strength in Radius, Cleave grants Fortify on Hit
With at least 40 Strength in Radius, Cleave has 3% increased Area of
Effect per Nearby Enemy
Even as the tide turned, and victory swiftly became impossible,
The legionnaires of Lioneye's Watch stood their ground and fought on,
Every last man dying a brutal but honourable death.
Place into an allocated Jewel Socket on the Passive Skill Tree. Right click to remove from the Socket.
improves CleaveCleaveAttack, AoE, Melee
Radius: 20
Mana Cost: 6
Cast Time: 1.00 sec
Damage Effectiveness: (110% to 163%)
The character swings their weapon (or both weapons if dual wielding) in an arc towards the target. Also does damage to other nearby monsters. Only works with Axes and Swords.Per 1% Quality:
0.5% increased Attack Speed
Deals (110-163.2)% of Base Damage
When Dual Wielding, Deals 60% Damage from each Weapon combined
+(0-6) to radius
Place into an item socket of the right colour to gain this skill. Right click to remove from a socket.
Cleave skill icon.png
.)

Resource management

Flasks are refillable potions which can be "sipped" from a few times (depending on the charge count). They come in a variety of types and sizes, and have their own special affixes (e.g. double armor during the base effect). They refill on killing non-summoned enemies, or when a town or hideout is visited.

There's also regular mana and life regeneration, life on hit, life on kill, life leech, mana leech, etc.

Each character starts with 1.75% of Mana Regenerated per second and no life regeneration. Life and mana leech has a maximum rate cap, which prevents healing more than 20% of your maximum life/mana per second without upgrades.

There is also energy shields that act as a health buffer that regenerates after not taking damage for a short time. Energy shield is the preferred method of defense for Intelligence-based characters. Chaos damage will bypass energy shields, however.

Currency items

There's no gold in PoE. Items are sold to and bought from players and NPCs by trading for a variety of currency items.

Any loot you find but have no use for can be sold to a vendor. Vendors will trade you Scroll FragmentsScroll FragmentStack Size: 5A stack of 5 fragments becomes a Scroll of Wisdom.
Shift click to unstack.
, Transmutation ShardsTransmutation ShardStack Size: 20A stack of 20 shards becomes an Orb of Transmutation.
Shift click to unstack.
, Alteration ShardsAlteration ShardStack Size: 20A stack of 20 shards becomes an Orb of Alteration.
Shift click to unstack.
or Alchemy ShardsAlchemy ShardStack Size: 20A stack of 20 shards becomes an Orb of Alchemy.
Shift click to unstack.
for it, depending on the rarity of the sold loot. These shards and fragments are of low value, but can be combined into orbs and scrolls that have a use in crafting items. See the vendor recipe system for more information.

All currency items can also just drop randomly as world drops. These are the most important currency items for beginners:

Portal ScrollPortal ScrollStack Size: 40Creates a portal to townRight click on this item to use it.
Shift click to unstack.
Opens a portal to town
Scroll of WisdomScroll of WisdomStack Size: 40Identifies an itemRight click this item then left click an unidentified item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack.
Identifies an unidentified item
Orb of TransmutationOrb of TransmutationStack Size: 40Upgrades a normal item to a magic itemRight click this item then left click a normal item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack.
Upgrades a normal item to a magic item
Orb of AlterationOrb of AlterationStack Size: 20Reforges a magic item with new random propertiesRight click this item then left click a magic item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack.
Changes all the modifiers of a magic item
Orb of AugmentationOrb of AugmentationStack Size: 30Enchants a magic item with a new random propertyRight click this item then left click a magic item to apply it. Magic items can have up to two random properties.
Shift click to unstack.
Adds another affix to magic items with only one prefix/suffix
Orb of AlchemyOrb of AlchemyStack Size: 10Upgrades a normal item to a rare itemRight click this item then left click a normal item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack.
Upgrades a normal item to a rare item
Orb of ChanceOrb of ChanceStack Size: 20Upgrades a normal item to a random rarityRight click this item then left click a normal item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack.
Upgrades a normal item to a random rarity (magic, rare or unique)
Chromatic OrbChromatic OrbStack 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.
Changes the color of sockets randomly
Jeweller's OrbJeweller's OrbStack 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 increases the chances of obtaining more sockets.
Shift click to unstack.
Changes the number of sockets randomly
Orb of FusingOrb of FusingStack 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 increases the chances of obtaining more links.
Shift click to unstack.
Changes the number of links between the current sockets randomly

There are many more currency items. See the currency page for a full list. It is advised not use any currency until you know its value, since many rarer orbs are quite valuable in the late game to trade for items with other players.

The best weapons are often crafted with the use of currency. Example: find a high base-quality type white weapon, increase the quality to the max of +20% with Blacksmith's WhetstoneBlacksmith's WhetstoneStack Size: 20Improves the quality of a weaponRight click this item then left click a weapon to apply it. Has greater effect on lower rarity weapons. The maximum quality is 20%.
Shift click to unstack.
s, then apply an Orb of AlchemyOrb of AlchemyStack Size: 10Upgrades a normal item to a rare itemRight click this item then left click a normal item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack.
which will upgrade it to a rare weapon, adding a random number (between 4 and 6) of different mods to it, which can increase its power significantly.

The most valuable/rare piece of currency in the game is a Mirror of KalandraMirror of KalandraStack Size: 10Creates a mirrored copy of an itemRight click this item then left click an equipable non-unique item to apply it. Mirrored copies cannot be modified.
Shift click to unstack.
. Their drop rate is approximately 1/5,000th of the drop rate for Exalted OrbExalted OrbStack Size: 10Enchants a rare item with a new random propertyRight click this item then left click a rare item to apply it. Rare items can have up to six random properties.
Shift click to unstack.
s, which are already rare drops and are used as high tier currency for trading with other players.

The least valuable/most common piece of currency in the game is a Scroll of WisdomScroll of WisdomStack Size: 40Identifies an itemRight click this item then left click an unidentified item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack.
. Expect to obtain several hundred of these eventually.

Attributes and stats

Attributes (STR, INT, DEX) are gained only from item affixes and passive nodes. Leveling up gives no stat bonuses.

Each additional 10 attribute points give:

10 strength = +5 HP, +2% Melee Physical Dmg
10 intelligence = +5 Mana, +2% Energy Shield
10 dexterity = +20 Accuracy, +2% Evasion

The defensive stats are:

Evasion, which is a chance to avoid a damaging hit from attacks, it is entropy-based to avoid streaky results. It is also affected by accuracy.
Energy shield, which grants extra hit points that rapidly regenerate after not taking any damage for a short time.
Dodge, which is a chance to avoid a damaging hit, it is not entropy-based like evasion.
Block, which is a chance to block a damaging hit.
Armour, which mitigates incoming physical damage from a damaging hit, proportional to how much Armour you have compared to damage taken.
Resistances, which mitigates incoming elemental and chaos damage.

The offensive stats are:

Accuracy, which is a measure of your chance-to-hit your target(s) with attacks.
Damage, which indicates how much damage you will inflict with each attack/spell, on your target(s), if your attack/spell is successful.
Attack speed, which is how quickly you can repeat each attack.
Cast Speed, which is how quickly you can repeat each spell cast.
Critical strike chance, which is how high your chance is to perform a critical strike


Body armour and shields can have movement penalties (typically the heavier ones).

Dual wielding grants:


Maximum block chance is normally capped at 75%, but this cap can be overcome to a certain extent, with certain items. If you would've been stunned, there's a blocking animation, otherwise the block is "free". Only Attacks can be blocked or evaded, unless you have Spell Block from passives or an item - for example, Saffell's FrameSaffell's Frame
Branded Kite Shield
Quality: +20%
Chance to Block: 24%
Armour: 223
Energy Shield: 43
Requires Level 59, 76 Str, 76 Int3% reduced Movement Speed (Hidden)
+4% to all Elemental Resistances
(70-80)% of Block Chance applied to Spells
(20-30)% increased Spell Damage
+10% to all Elemental Resistances
+4% to all maximum Resistances
Cannot Block Attacks
A swift mind solves problems before they occur.
.

Buffs & debuffs

There are various types of status effects in Path of Exile:

Charges

Charges grant stackable bonuses. By default, a character can have three of each charge, but the maximum number of charges can be increased. There are also certain skills that consume charges and skills that gain additional bonuses to charges.

Ailments

Ailments are a secondary effect that is applied on hit and has its effect scales with the type of damage associated with it. Damaging ailments have a separate damage modifier and critical strike multiplier and scale off the base damage of the hit.

Fire, cold, and lightning damage each have an element ailment associated with them. The non-damaging ailments have their effect proportional to the percentage of life the elemental damage did. There are passives and items that grant a chance to apply these efects, and will always be applied on critical strike.

  • Ignite - Deals a damage over time that deals 160% of Fire damage dealt from the hit that applied it over 4 seconds. Comes from Fire damage.
  • Chill - Slows down animation speed. Chill is always applied with Cold damage.
  • Frozen - Effectively a stun. Frozen enemies shatter when they die, leaving no corpse behind. Comes from Cold damage.
  • Shock - Target takes increased damage. Comes from Lightning damage.

These ailments aren't automatically applies on critical strike, only certain skills and item bonuses will apply these.

  • Bleed - Deals damage over time equal to 70% of the Physical damage dealt from the attack that applied it per second for 5 seconds. While moving, bleed deals triple the damage per second.
  • Poison - Deals 40% of the damage dealt from Physical and Chaos damage that applied it over 2 seconds in Chaos Damage. Poison can stack multiple times, and each stack has a separate 2 second timer.

Curses

Curses are powerful debuffs with varying effects, such as reduced elemental resistances, granting the attacker life and mana leech, and so on. However, only one Curse can be applied at a time, but this can be increased through a notable passive and some unique items.

Stuns

Stuns are handled differently from other ARPGs. Instead of applying it for a set time, its length depends on the stun duration modifier.

When you play you’ll notice that your attacks interrupt enemies (or vice versa), which is actually considered a stun; the default duration is 350 ms.

Check out the stun page for more information.

Instances

All areas in Path of Exile are instanced. When you enter an area, a new instance is created. Once you leave the area, the instance will remain in its current state for 15 minutes for main areas - if 15 minutes passes with no players entering the instance, it will be closed. Entering the same area again will create a new instance with a new randomly generated map. Areas without side areas attached (any area with two or fewer exits) has a shorter timer and will only last 8 minutes while empty.

Instances you create are private and cannot be entered by other players unless they join your party. However, once a player has entered an instance, that instance remains associated with the player even if they leave the party. So it is possible to share an instance with non-party members in some circumstances. The exception to this is towns, which are always public, and cut-throat leagues, where all instances are public - meaning anyone can enter your instances at any time.

Those 15m/8m timers are subject to technical limitations. Those times may be lower on open weekends when the servers are rushed by more players than usual.

You can force the creation of a new instance by Ctrl+clicking on the entrance, or map waypoint, while interacting with a waypoint.

Game modes

There are currently 10 acts of increasing difficulty in the game. Acts are split into two parts, with Part II revisiting Wraeclast in a changed environment.

Whenever you create a new character, you specify what league you want them to join, which is essentially the game type.

Currently there are four permanent leagues: Standard and Hardcore plus the Solo Self Found variants.

A new 'challenge' league split into 4 leagues will be created every three months or so. One challenge league always follows standard death rules, the other always follows hardcore death rules and the last two are the same as the two before but with no partying and trading (Called Solo Self Found, or SSF). These challenge leagues always have their own unique rule sets on top of the standard or hardcore death rules. When these challenge leagues end (usually after three months), the characters in these challenge leagues always return to their respective 'base' league type (standard, hardcore or the SSF variants) - along with all their inventory and stash items. Characters in the hardcore challenge league are moved to the basic standard league when they die (just like in normal hardcore). Characters in the standard challenge league remain in that challenge league after they die (they are not moved to the regular standard league until the current standard challenge league ends).

Solo Self Found characters can be transferred to their base league by a click of a button.

Characters can be moved between leagues (usually towards the Standard league) when certain events happen. Usually at the end of a ladder race/reset, characters are moved back to Standard so they can keep being played after the event. There are prizes for events, usually in-game currency or items with alternate art/model and higher item levels.

Endgame content

Towards the end of the game, you may find maps. Maps are used in a Map Device to open randomly generated high-level areas. Maps can also be modded like you can any other item in PoE, making it more difficult and more rewarding.

After completing Act 10, players will meet Zana, Master Cartographer, who will give an introduction of maps, and the Map Device in the The Templar Laboratory. After completing your first map, she will reveal to you the Atlas of Worlds. The Atlas visualizes the player's progress through the map content, with the ultimate goal of reaching the highest tier maps. Players are encouraged exploring the Atlas as each map you complete adds a permanent bonus to map drops. You can also modify the Atlas, adding temporary mods to maps in a radius or upgrade lower tier maps into higher leveled ones.

There are a few endgame challenges to face as well. Exploring corrupted zones or maps could let you find map pieces that open a realm to Queen Atziri, an optional, challenging boss. Defeating Atziri opens up a chance to face an even tougher version of Atziri. There are a few unique items that exclusively drop from Atziri, with the Uber version dropping some of the most powerful unique items in the game.

There is also the difficulty of the Lord's Labyrinth. Unlike the first three Labyrinths, the trials for the endgame version are found in maps. Completing a trial once grants you one chance to challenge the Labyrinth, with a tougher and deadlier layout and an even stronger Izaro. Completing this version of the Labyrinth grants two additional Ascendancy skill points, as well as valuable treasure and the most powerful enchantments.

The Shaper lies in the heart of the Atlas. He serves as the final encounter of the Atlas, and to gain access to his realm, you must obtain the four key fragments, guarded by the bosses of the highest tiered maps.

Hotkeys and GUI tips

Ctrl+click to move an item into the selling window or stash. (does not work with guild stash)
Ctrl+Alt+click to post an item into chat. (Open chat window by pressing enter to mouse over linked items)
Shift+click on a stack of items to open the split stack interface.
Get a minimap in the options menu. (map transparency adjustable)
Shift+enter or a “#” for global chat.
Ctrl+enter for a whisper reply.
Ctrl+Shift+enter or a “%” for party chat.
“@” followed by a character name for whisper.
"$" for trade chat.
"&" for guild chat.
You can hide global, trade or guild chat by unchecking the corresponding option box at the top of the chat window.
/help displays a complete list of commands and a short description of each one.
/itemlevel will show the item level of the item you’re holding in your mouse pointer.
/oos will make the client try to resyncronise with the server (use when you are desynced).
/remaining displays a message on how many monsters remain in the current instance.
/hideout will take you to your hideout, provided that you are in a city instance and you already gained a hideout.
/passives will display all skill points acquired on the current character and where/how they were acquired.
Holding Control and clicking on an instance will give you the option to reset the zone. Use this sparingly as it increases the server load.
Holding Alt while mousing over an item in chat will display its corresponding item level.
Hold shift to attack in place.
Press X to switch between two weapon presets.
Press Z to show/hide item labels.
/afk [message] Autoreply to whispers that you are AFK with the text [message]. Performing any action, including chatting, will cancel AFK mode.
/dnd [message] Autoreply to whispers that you are DND with the text [message] and ignore all incoming messages.

See also