Wandering Wraeclast: A gear guide to getting started in Path of Exile

    
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So, you’ve picked your class in Path of Exile. And now you’ve started to play. Huzzah! Now you get to begin your story as an exile on Wraeclast, helping the denizens there while gaining power so you can hopefully return to exact vengeance on the ones who sent you there. To do that, you’ll need to gear up! Luckily, as you might have noticed, loot is far from scarce in this game; you’ll be privy to loot explosions resulting in more gear than you can ever carry. I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you about that.

The good news is that you’ll enjoy a freedom you may have never experienced anywhere before. Armor and weapons in PoE are distinctly different than other games; you can wear whatever you want, trade whatever you want, and even (RNG permitting) alter whatever you want to better reflect your personal playstyle. The bad news is all these options can make for a confusing mess when you are playing for the first time.

So how do you know what you want to keep and wear? What will be useful for what you want to do? Which loot is best to sell? Add in a very limited inventory, and knowing which loot to keep and which to leave (because you will reach a point you just leave tons laying there!) is even more vital. Wandering Wraeclast is here to help with that! Here’s the first half of a basic guide to get you started.

In the beginning

The starting process for a new player isn’t the same as for a seasoned player who has a bank full of stuff to get them going. You’ll have to loot everything. Don’t worry, there is plenty to select from (that’s part of the confusing problem, remember?). However, when you first begin your adventures, don’t even worry about what the gear is – just take it.

In the short term, questions about whether it’s good for your build or advances your stats doesn’t matter so much. If it fills a slot, take it! You can start being pickier once you are fully dressed. You get a starter weapon and one skill gem in the beginning (and maybe an extra piece or two in that tutorial), but you’ve got a number of slots to fill in:

  • two main weapons (or weapon and shield/quiver)
  • two alternate weapons (or weapon and a shield/quiver)
  • body armor
  • helmet
  • gloves
  • boots
  • amulet
  • two rings
  • belt

Go ahead and grab everything else too and take it back to town to sell as well. It won’t be long before you have to stop. (Hint: If you get portal scrolls, grab loot, portal back to sell fast, then pop right back to where you were — just don’t dawdle more than a few minutes or your zone will reset.) As you continue to play, you will want to start being more selective.

No bound-aries: Wear, trade, alter to your heart’s content

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of which gear is usually better for you, let’s just get the basics out of the way. There are three unique aspects to understand about Path of Exile’s armor and weapons that will impact your decisions and your play. This game gives you control and customization out the wazoo!

One, what drops is never bound. (Skins and items from the cash shop, however, are bound.) Not bind on pick up, not bind when put on — nothing. You can trade any gear you loot to others or share between your our alts. That includes gear you are using: Once you get something better, you can give away your current stuff. This means you can experiment more and be creative.

Speaking of experimenting, the second vital aspect is that any class can wear any gear! There are no constraints on what you ca use other than character level or stat requirements. Path of Exile gives you extreme levels of control and customization. You can be a wand-wielding Shadow or a bow-wielding Witch if you want. You can even dual wield wands, a fact I just recently discovered myself!

The third important aspect to be aware of is that the loot that you see on the ground is not the final form of the loot. Using in-game lootable currency items, you can change many aspects of gear, from rarity level to gem sockets available (number and color). For instance, Jeweller’s Orbs change the number of gem sockets, Chromatic Orbs change color of sockets, Orbs of Fusing change the links between sockets, and Orbs of Transmutation change a normal item into a rare one. (Check out the full list of functional currencies.) If that piece of loot has an inherent property you really want, you might be able to alter other aspects to better fit your needs. Is it gray but has six linked sockets? Grab it! You can also change the inherent modifiers if you want. Just be prepared to ride the RNG rollercoaster until you get what you’re happy with — knowing you might run out of currency items before that happens!

Gear for a build, not a class

As noted above, unlike loot in many games, PoE gear is not restricted by class; the whole of lootdom is your oyster. You are your own personal tailor, mixing and matching armor and weapon types all you want and making alterations to get that almost perfect piece to fit even better. In some ways, however, this makes it worse because you can’t just outright dismiss certain categories of items. Instead, you might feel as if you have to carefully inspect every single item to make sure you don’t pass up something useful. That stresses me out!

First, let me assure you that you likely will pass by something that was useful. Many somethings, many times. But that’s OK! Plenty of loot will drop, and you’ll have more than you will need to equip yourself well as a newer player. Now, if you want optimal equipment for perfect endgame builds, that’s a more advanced guide for later. Right now we will focus on general things to look for that fit a general playstyles. (If, however, you’d like to minimize the chance of missing something prime, you can install an item filter that will then show only what you select.)

As mentioned in our class guide, the three core attributes of Path of Exile are strength (armor), dexterity (evasion), and intelligence (energy). These follow your standard gaming definitions:

  • Strength (red): when you want to be able to take hits
  • Dexterity (green): when you want to avoid hits
  • Intelligence (blue): when you want to cast

Specific gear will be aimed at one of these three build types. Additionally, you can also have multiple combinations of these reflected in your playstyle, such as a caster that evades or a tank that casts. That gear then will combine strength with intelligence, strength and dexterity, or intelligence and dexterity. We’ll go deep into the details of which gear is which next time, so stay tuned!

Gear also comes in four qualities: normal (gray) , magic (purple), rare (gold/yellow), and unique (orange). As in many other games, the higher the quality, the higher its rarity. Just remember, however, that the fact that an item is more rare doesn’t make it better than a lower tier – simply because you can increase the rarity!

Quick hints for picking good gear as a beginner

So there are obviously many intricacies in gearing up that will come into play as you delve deeper into the game, but you can follow some simple steps when starting out.

  1. While not always, for the most part the more slots and links, the better — even if common gray gear.
  2. Because your skills come from gems you slot, pick items that have the color sockets of your chosen attribute(s).
  3. Linked slots allow support gems to bolster/enhance skill gems. For gems to work in tandem, they must be linked. Pick gear with linked slots when possible.
  4. The functional currencies that change the properties of gear work best on normal (gray) gear, so don’t ignore common stuff!

Best loot to sell

Now that you have a slight idea of what you want to keep, what about some hints on what to sell? Not all loot is created equal on the vendor market, so here are a few tidbits to help you out.

  1. Gray items are good to sell because you get fragments that turn into Scrolls of Wisdom. Those are the lovely items that identify equipment.
  2. Higher-tier gear will give you a bit more upon sale if they are identified, but it really isn’t worth it to waste your scrolls of wisdom.
  3. To get the most items to sell, focus on picking up gloves, boots, belts, and jewelry. Many more items will fit than if you grab those giant weapons.
  4. If you see an item with a linked green/blue/red configuration, grab it! That sells back for a full Chromatic Orb!
  5. If you won’t use it, six-socket items (sells for seven jewelers) and transmute stones, which sell to vendors for a bunch of ID scrolls.
What if your world changed every three months? What would you do differently? Path of Exile does, and MOP’s MJ Guthrie explores and experiences each new incarnation in Wandering Wraeclast. Join us biweekly for a look into each new challenge league and world expansion — and see whether MJ can finally reach the end of one world before it ends!
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Covynant001
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Covynant001

Two major currencies used for trading, chaos and exalted orbs, collect and hold dearly any you come across, especially the latter.

While it’s possible to go it alone in figuring out a build, I recommend players Google low cost (1 EX, meaning costs less than 1 exalted orb) builds for the latest league.

Will give you a great starting point with most builds providing helpful tips on gear to buy, passive skill trees, and other great tips.

Once you get a decent understanding of how things work you can start going off on your own.

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Franciscö Chiquinho Ferreira

One thing I always say: max all resistances, they are important because you won’t be able to tank certain hits without it.

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Yohan Einherjar

You must make this guide un korean for the new players and the only think they need to know is how no send party for trades and spam like anormals….

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Bryan Correll

And……MJ can’t start a non-witch even just for the purpose of getting a screenshot of being washed up on the beach.

Edit: Actual tip – You can check equipment vendors for RGB all linked items. You can buy them for a mere transmutation then sell it right back for a chromatic. They’ll occasionally have 6 slot items that you can get a quick turnaround profit on also (at higher levels.)

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Also:

1. Be careful about when you level gems. Gems have increasing Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence requirements the higher they go. If you level a gem beyond your stats, it will not work. Keep a good eye on what your BASE stats are. That ring with +25 to strength may get replaced and then, oops, you don’t have enough strength for your skills. Or you may find yourself equipped with an otherwise worthless piece because it has the single stat you need for your gems.

2. Keep an eye on that marvelous support gem Cast When Damage Taken. It has a high strength requirement and a level cap for supported skill gems. You may find you’ve leveled your supported skill gem higher than what CWDT will support. You usually realize this when your defense skills aren’t cast and you can’t figure out why. Then you see the skill gem is level 47 and at its current level CWDT will only support gems level 45 and below.

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Arktouros

A few things:

1. Grey items are awful and ID scrolls are super abundant when you sell off Transmutes, Whetstones and Scraps. Don’t waste inventory space/time on grey items unless they already have links or are a really good base you want higher up.

2. IDing yellows and selling them is an extremely valuable source of Alteration orbs at any level. Alteration Orbs are very important for rolling your flasks with the right kind of stats early on in a league (IE: Getting your Staunching/Warding/Heat flasks).

And some tips:

1. The socket colors you can roll generally correspond with the stats on an item. So if you need 3 green, 1 red socket for a 4 socket combination then having an energy shield item (intelligence) is going to be extremely difficult to roll those colors on and instead you should look for evasion or evasion/armor hybrid for that combo (as even pure armor means you need to roll 3 off colors (green) for).

2. Most builds are looking for some combination of health and resistances when leveling up (even most Energy shield builds start out as health then transition later). If you ID armor/accessories without them just consider it garbage and sell.

3. Each rare item can have 3 prefixes and 3 suffixes at their max. You can see what an item has rolled on it by turning on the Advanced Stats and holding down Alt when you mouse over the item. This will show how many Prefixes/Suffixes are open. This is important because…

4. A lot of times when leveling crafting can be used to plug the gaps. For example resistances are Suffixes, so an item that has good health but no resistances can be fixed if it has an open Suffix. The reverse is true as well but health takes a prefix slot (Missing Crafting Recipes appear on the bottom of the crafting list of where to get them).

5. Learn the currency recipes you’re interested in doing. Some people do Chaos recipes each league. Some people do Chisel recipes. Other people decide it’s not worth the effort. Entirely up to you.

Covynant001
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Covynant001

Pro tip: You can switch between primary and secondary weapon slots using the “x” key.

While rare is the build which requires secondary weapons, they are great for leveling up to 6 gems in the background which you might want to swap out like the above mentioned “portal gem” or plan on using in the future when you finally get your six slot, six link chest piece.

If you play long enough you will skill up your gems to level 20. At this point you can trade your gem in along with a gem cutters stone and receive back a level 1, Quality level 20 gem in return.

Great time to swap your back up gems in the secondary slots into your main build and put this new gem in the secondary slots to level for a while before using.

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Dug From The Earth

A quicker way to sum things up:

1. Sockets and links are most important at lower levels. Regardless of stats on an item, being able to use your main attack + 2 support gems is going to let you perform the best. Find something that is at least 3L with the color sockets you need, asap.

2. Early on the number 1 stat you should want on gear is Life.

3. Later, in addition to Life, you want as many resists (Fire, Lighting, Cold) as you can get, until you hit the cap (75%). remember, that after a later act in the game, you get a global negative to your existing resists, so you will need to get more.

4. For melee and non-spell attacks, base weapon damage is king, along with any flat damage bonuses like +fire damage. For spells, stack spell damage and the elemental damage of the spells you are casting.

5. If you are starting your first character, pick up ALL currency items.

and a bonus tip: Finding boots with +movement speed is a big plus.

And thats pretty much it. that will get you easily through the first 40 levels of the game without having to worry about 99% of the rest of the loot that drops.

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Bryan Correll

For me getting some +movement boots is the number one priority early on. I hate moving slow.

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Greaterdivinity

Also, 6 socket items (sells for 7 jewelers) and transmute stones, which sell to vendors for a bunch of ID scrolls.

And yes, GET A LOOT FILTER. Neversink is regularly updated and a freakin godsend for making drops easy to evaluate at a glance.

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Darthbawl

Agree 110% on the loot filter. When I played it was insanely helpful, esp. when there is a literal room full of loots.

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Bryan Correll

Yup. Early on a loot filter might not seem so important, but you quickly get to a point where there’s so much stuff lying around that it covers the screen.

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Darthbawl

Nice guide MJ! 👍✔

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