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.
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.
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
- two rings
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.
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!
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.
- While not always, for the most part the more slots and links, the better — even if common gray gear.
- Because your skills come from gems you slot, pick items that have the color sockets of your chosen attribute(s).
- 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.
- The functional currencies that change the properties of gear work best on normal (gray) gear, so don’t ignore common stuff!
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.
- Gray items are good to sell because you get fragments that turn into Scrolls of Wisdom. Those are the lovely items that identify equipment.
- 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.
- 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.
- If you see an item with a linked green/blue/red configuration, grab it! That sells back for a full Chromatic Orb!
- 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.