Noperative’s General Guide to PoE (Beginner Guide)

A (hopefully) thorough explanation of how to get through this tough game,

If you’d like to view the original source my guide can be found of Path of Exile’s forums here.

      Table of Contents

1) Introduction
2) Leagues
…Chat Channels
3) Building a Character
…The Basics
4) Currency and How it Works
…Currency Tiers
5) Skill Gems and How to Use Them
…Active Skill Gems
…Linking and Support Gems
6) How to Progress Through Wraeclast
…The Main Questline
…How to Pace Yourself when Progressing
……Act 1
……Act 2
……Act 3
…How Instanced Zones Work
7) Gearing Up
…Life and Resists are Important
……What Resists You Should Have
…Weapon/Armour Types
…Affixes and Item-level
8) What to Pick up?
…Looting Items at a Glance
…Is My Rare Good?
9) F.A.Q.
10) What Now?
11) Tips and Tricks


There are 2 parent leagues in Path of Exile: Standard and Hardcore. If you die in hardcore, your character will be moved to standard (your storage is untouched). So everyone you see in Hardcore has never died.

Aside from the parent leagues, Path of Exile releases 4-month child leagues of the parent leagues. These are basically ladder resets so if you are a new player it might be a good idea to start these child leagues since you will be on a more level playing field. If you die in the Hardcore child league then you will be moved to standard, not the standard child league.

It’s important to know that the child leagues are slightly different from the parent leagues. Aside from being different servers/ladders, each child league has brand new modifiers on them. For example certain items will drop in these leagues or special events will be available to the child leagues only. For a lot of players the child leagues are very enticing and almost everyone will be playing them as they get released. Also, the child leagues will end after 4 months, merging the child league with it’s parent league. This means that if you roll your character in a child league, you will still end up in a regular league after 4 months of play anyway. So a lot of people will treat the parent leagues as a place where they can pool resources from child league to child league and maybe test stuff out, but very few will stay in the parent leagues for the entire time since the inflation and power creep is too high.

Chat Channels
There are two types of chat channels: Trade and Global Chat. These channels are server specific so if you enter global chat in Domination League then you will only be talking with people from the same League as you. There are a large number of channels and you will be automatically allocated to a channel when you first join. Typing /global ## or /trade ## will put you into that number channel, provided it is not full.


This is a very nuanced and detailed section of Path of Exile and I’m afraid that I will be making a totally separate guide on this particular subject.

In the meantime I can just provide a brief summary of what you need to be concerned about as a new player.

There are 7 classes: the pure classes of Marauder, Witch and Ranger (STR, INT and DEX respectively) and the hybrid classes of Templar, Duelist and Shadow (STR/INT, STR/DEX and DEX/INT). The Scion is an ultimate hybrid class with a combination of all 3 stats.

These classes are all placed in the skill tree in different places and end up in a colour wheel style format. Meaning that they will be placed near passives that are beneficial to a particular playstyle. For the most part as long as you stay in your area and travel a bit to the neighbouring areas you will have a fine build. If you want a more optimized build here should be many floating around the forums.

The main subjects you should be concerned about when making your character:
1) How it deals damage. Usually you want to utilize a skill of some kind and get passives that synergize well with a skill. Getiing options for either AOE or Single-Target are good as well.
2) How it takes damage. Not that you have to make a build that is extremely tanky, but it is best that you have a balance of damage and survivability in the build.
3) Resource-management. A huge factor that people overlook. You don’t want to be too reliant on potions and in the end should probably think of some way that can regenerate life or mana and sustain skill costs.
4) How you arrange your skills and hotbar. Another subject that people forget. If you are just playing, you might not completely understand but POE’s hotbar consists of only 8 spots for skills. In addition, your skills are “socketed” into your gear, so you have a limited amount of skills you can hold per character. Often people will talk about using a variety of skills on a character and end up spreading themselves too thin because they cannot fit 10 skills on a hotbar nor have the proper socket arrangements to sustain 10 skills.


For proper viewing of this section, please refer to the original guide here.

The forum version of this guide has “hover-over” elements that show the idea of this section much better than text and pictures.

Skill Gems

For proper viewing of this section, please refer to the original guide here.

The forum version of this guide has “hover-over” elements that show the idea of this section much better than text and pictures.


The Main Questline
Path of Exile follows a typical ARPG style story progression, if you are familiar with the likes of the Diablo and Torchlight series. You will have a series of zones grouped into Acts (eg. Act 1, Act 2, Act 3). Each of the Acts will have a variety of areas to kill monsters and one town where you can do quests. By completing the main storyline in each Act you will be given access to the next Act. This is where the main problem comes in for most people that don’t play ARPGs, there will not be unique Acts all the way up to the end-game. Instead, you will find yourself ascending Difficulties (Normal, Cruel, Merciless) and doing the past Acts over. Some people will find this extremely tedious so I am very sorry for this.

Note: Sometimes when you meet with people they will tell you to meet at “norm 1” or something of that flavour. Because each act has only 1 town you should always assume they are telling you to go to the act 1 town of the normal difficulty.

Aside from the main storyline, you will see a variety of side areas that include optional quests that will reward you with extra gear/gems and respec points. NPCs out in the field also tend to give out these side-quests so keep your eyes peeled!

How to Pace Yourself when Progressing
Rush the main storyline and skip sidequests until later. Some side quests and area bosses are a bit tough early on so it would be best if you could skip some of the harder zones and focus mainly on progressing through to the “farming areas”. I won’t spoil the main storyline for you guys so I’ll just highlight where to stop by to farm and which side areas to be careful of. I will also highlight certain things to watch out for in each act, but only ones that are not story-relatedpdLgPsR!

For Act 1:

Mobs to watch out for:
– The mini-boss, Hailrake, is a deadly Unique mob in Tidal Island that is well known for his noob-killing Ice Spear skill. Getting tagged by his spears usually freezes you for a few seconds, letting you get mobbed by his horde of adds.
– Certain mobs in the mud flats, fetid pool and ship graveyard, the rhoas, are dangerous to a lot of people. They sport a powerful charging skill that does more damage the farther they charge. Many people will meet their death aggroing too many of these guys and taking significant burst damage from mass charges.
– In a similar fashion, the Goatmen of the climb and prisoner’s gate have a similar attack where they will leap slam to you and deal considerable damage. Be wary of them as you are of rhoas.
– In the ship graveyard cave, you will find a mass of black pirate spectres. These guys possess the powerful ability to “blink-strike” or flicker to you, immediately closing the gap and dealing a chunk of damage as well.

For Act 2:

Mobs to watch out for:
– The Chamber of Sins holds a slew of lightning casters and poisonous spiders in the lower floors. Do not progress recklessly unless you are very strong.
– There are more flicker spiders in the Weaver’s Chambers. In addition, the Weaver is one of the scariest boss-fights in the game. Make sure you have a lot of AOE clearing ability.
– The Bandit Lords are dangerous fights that you have to fight in one go, if you do not have the sustainability you will find yourself with no flask charges and a half-health Bandit Lord ready to slay you.

For Act 3:

Mobs to watch out for:
– Noob-killer #2, the unique mob Perpetus, tends to get the jump on people looking to farm the City of Sarn with his bear traps. He is fast and deadly but only resides in the top half of the city so stay near the water.
– The voidbearers of the Docks love to melt down weaker players with torrents of fire. Keep your resists in mind and watch out for rare dogs!
– While most of the sewer area is optional, the little bit of the sewer you do explore will contain poisonous bombers, flicker mobs that “discharge” (think a big explosion-style nuke) and leap slammers. Ouch.
– The later zones will feature some more deadly Blackguards that will charge you and cast Lightning Thorns. If you hit a mob with lightning thorns, you will take a bunch of reflected lightning damage.

Many of the zones in each act will be very tough and dangerous, but the farming areas tend to be very safe. So you should aim to stay in the levelling zones as long as possible to build a buffer of levels so you can quickly go through the next few zones until you reach the next farming zone.

The general pace of progression is:
Farm farm farm -> Rush the storyline to next farming area -> repeat

Get in the habit of not killing everything. Many areas are poor in terms of mob difficulty and density, so stopping to kill them ends up being a waste of time when you can be killing in a more effective farming spot. Usually run past everyone and turn around when the pack chasing you hits 5+ mobs while progressing. The only exception to the rule is magic and rare monsters packs because they give a lot of exp. Always try to kill magic mobs but sometimes it is a good idea to run from certain rares because they can end up very tough. Some rares will end up with special auras. Click the link and try to familarize yourself with them.

By checking the town NPC or pressing S to bring up your social tab, you should be able to see a party bulletin with public parties available. Usually the main purpose is just to kill a particular boss or dungeon in the safety of a group so if you want to rush acts it will be a good idea to hop between parties to progress.

How Instanced Zones Work
As an MMORPG, Path of Exile would experience severe server costs trying to main instances for every player in the game constantly. This is why portals and instances “expire” after a period of time. The timer is about 15 minutes right now so if you leave a zone for too long, it will disappear since the server is trying to conserve processing power.

However you can also abuse this to your own means. For example, if you are farming a specific area due to the mobs being dense and weak, it is a very good idea to forcibly make the server “reroll” that zone so you can repeat it. This is done with ctrl+click on a doorway or waypoint to the zone you are trying to reroll. Doing so will bring up a UI that shows your existing instances of the zone and the option to create a new instance of the zone.

The ctrl+click is also useful for partying, as it will show you existing zones of that area that contain your party members.


Life and Resists are Important
– Elemental Damage will kill you. In general most of the deaths experienced by players in Path of Exile will be some whack form of elemental burst from some boss or a mob of spell-casters. This is because most of the zones have a pre-determined amount of resistances they expect you to have. If you have resists, the damage will be controllable. If you do not, you may just die near-instantly. The general resistance cap is 75% so always try to get them high.
– In addition, a lot of damage will be based on an expected amount of Life as well. Having a robust pool of Life or Energy Shield (or both) will keep you survivable. Always prioritize Life and Resistances on your gear. Once you are survivable you will have the luxury of thinking about damage.

Areas where you should try keep your resistances high: Normal/Cruel/Merciless

Act 1:
– Try to have at least 50%/50%/50% cold resist before facing the final boss

Act 2:
– Try to have at least 40%/40%/75% lightning resist before proceeding through the Chamber of Sins lower levels
– At least 30%/30%/30% fire resistance is useful to have when exploring the Blackwood
– Try to have 50%/75%/75% lightning resist before facing the final boss

Act 3:
– Try to have 75%/75%/75% lightning resist in Crematorium, the Sewers, Battlefront, Ebony Barracks and onwards.
– In addition, have at least 50%/50%/75% fire resist before fighting the boss in Ebony Barracks and farming the Docks

Try to prioritize your resistances on your rings. For most of Normal difficulty you can keep a couple of resistance rings on you to put on for specific fights and you will be fine. Sometimes extra resists are good but this is doable. Once you enter cruel and merciless, you will need a resist or two on gear to keep yourself capped, in addition to your rings.

Weapon/Armour Types
– Back to the idea of Skill Gems, each gem has a pre-determined colour. In addition, your skill tree will determine your spread of STR, INT and DEX. This ends up tying in with your armour types. In general, each type of armour corresponds with a particular colour and stat. Evasion-based armour will require DEX to equip and has green as it’s main socket colour. Armour-based armour requires STR and is mainly red sockets. Energy Shield gear requires INT and rolls mainly blue sockets. This is not to say that you can’t find Evasion-based gear with red and blue sockets, but you are much more likely to have green over the “off-colours”. In addition, the hybrid gear that possess two armour types will roll two colours and have just one “off-colour”.

Affixes and Item-level
– Affixes are the enchantments that a piece of gear can get. They are separated into “Prefixes” and “Suffixes“.

Magic/Blue gear will only be able to have 1 prefix and 1 suffix.

Rare/Yellow gear will have multiple affixes. This means it will have anywhere between 3-6 affixes, but it can be anywhere between 3 prefixes to 3 prefixes and 3 suffixes.

The next thing to note is that each affix has a particular level related to it. This is referred to as the item level and is a bit of a hidden thing in Path of Exile that is hard to explain. Basically there is the base level of the item, the topaz ring is level 11. However, there is also a hidden level called the Item Level. In this case the Sorrow Band is itemlevel 30. This means that it comes from a level 30 monster. The affixes that roll on a particular piece of gear are dependent on the Item Level instead of the base level. So higher item level items tend to be more valued as they can roll some of the best affixes in the game, resulting in the best items.

Another important topic regarding item-level: Sockets. The number of sockets you can find in an item to put gems in is also reliant on the item level. For the most part:

Item Level | Max Sockets
1 | 1
1 | 2
15 | 3
28 | 4
35 | 5
50 | 6

You can check the itemlevel on an item by holding it into your cursor and typing /itemlevel into the chatbox.

An often overlooked part of gearing, but the flasks are a huge part of character survivability and should get at least a small section.
Always keep your flasks up to date with your level until you are able to make some more mathematical decisions on flask efficiency. Like a lot of things in Path of Exile, flask balance is dictated by how the developers are expecting you to progress through the game. If you are using an underleveled flask in a high level zone, you will quickly realize that you are not healing as much as you may need to. In addition if you are healing too much from a particular flask you’ve either got a really good one or you are lacking in health compared to what the devs think you should have. Flasks are fair benchmark for how much Life you should be having until maybe Act 3 Cruel, though how much Mana you have will be extremely variable.


Loot is perhaps one of the most important things in Path of Exile, perhaps even the calling card for most players. However it’s confusing, even for me. Sometimes I look at an item and I don’t even know what it’s worth. Whenever I sell such an item I always feel that perhaps I was selling myself short and someone else will go on to make more off of it than me.

To start off, take a look here.
When selling items to a vendor, you will receive currency based on what recipes you fulfill.

Looting Items at a Glance
– Pick up Unique items (red text)
– Pick up quality flasks and gems – you can sell quality gems to other people if they are over 10% quality. Low quality gems and quality flasks can be saved to sell at the vendor NPC for Gemcutter’s Prisms(trading currency) and Glassblower’s Baubles(for your own flasks).
– Pick up all rares and ID them once you have enough wisdom scrolls. They will sell to the vendor for Alteration Shards which will build up to Orbs of Alteration which can be traded in bulk or used.
– Pick up items with at least 3 linked sockets and R, G, B sockets. These will vendor for a Chromatic Orb which can be sold in bulk to players or used for yourself.
– Pick up items with 6 sockets. These can be sold for 7 Jeweller’s Orbs which can be traded in bulk or used on your own gear.
-Pick up items with 5 and 6 linked sockets. These are quite valuable and you should use them yourself or sell them to others for currency.
– Pick up all currency unless you are too lazy to pick up scrolls.

Is My Rare Good?
– The subject of most player’s woes, the rare items.
First of all, we should understand why a rare item can be valuable. Rare items are randomly rolled and the affix pools are cumulative. This means when you get a rare item, it’s enchantments will be anything from level 1 to the item-level and the game randomly cobbled together a few from that amount. That means that a rare could get a very powerful combination of the highest level modifiers or a couple of useless level 1 modifiers.

So you can tell a rare is worth selling/using if:
– The rare has a combination of useful stats
– The useful stats are high-level rolls


Are child league items different from parent league items?
There is no difference, only that certain items will only appear in child leagues. Items that are found in both leagues will be exactly the same.

What do I do when I do not meet the stat requirements to use items/gems?
This is a common issue that new players will encounter when going against the grain. Usually based on the starting character that section of the tree will not be open to different stats until later in the game, so early on it is near impossible to gain the stats to use a bow on Marauder, for example. To alleviate this, it is bet to gain your stats through your amulets such as wearing a Jade amulet for DEX. In addition, each class should have some nodes near them that will give +30 DEX/INT/STR or +20 DEX/INT/STR and a small other bonus. By combining these options you should be able to scrape by on stat requirements as long as you are willing to respec points later.

More to be added as questions are asked.

Tips and Tricks

Will be added later when I have more time


Learn! I’ve only shown you the tip of the iceberg right now. There is a wealth of complex mechanical information on Path of Exile yet untouched. I will always be happy to answer any more questions I have and will update this guide with an FAQ or expand it if I see more questions directed towards me. Also if you are using a computer, you can pop by my stream at if I am on and I will be happy to answer anything if I am not busy.

More guides:

Incoming search terms:

  • beginer guide to poe
  • path of exile low level build
  • poe ebony barracks how to get to
  • PoE starter guide