Sunday, February 2, 2014

Thordyn's Path of Exile Newbie Guide

Chances are you have heard some of your gamer friends frothing at the mouths about how good this game is and how it is the Diablo 3 destroyer. I am here to tell you they are absolutely correct and you need to get in that ass Larry. Path of Exile just had its official release and is available free to play via the client which is available at pathofexile.com or through steam. The game has an item shop but it is all cosmetic and inventory upgrades. Path of Exile is an action RPG dungeon crawler with a very old school Diablo 2 feel, which is why it appeals to so many people that were dissapointed with the changes made in Diablo 3. That being said, you don't have to be a curmudgeonly old school hardcore diablo 2 player to enjoy what Path of Exile has to offer. This guide is both for people that have experience with the genre and complete shiney eyed tuna newbies, for both groups I have this to say.
NO, I AM SERIOUS!!!
Okay, now lets get down to the base mechanics of the game. First, what I want you to do is to go to the local convenience store and go buy a pack of adult diapers. Go ahead. I will wait. DON'T QUESTION ME DO IT! Ok good, you didn't leave, well don't blame me when your rectum opens like a burst dam spewing forth a powerful blast of brown fear. The reason I say this is because this is the skill tree.
Now that you have gone and gotten a fresh pair of underpants. Don't be intimidated by the skill tree. The truly awesome thing about this game is that EVERY class shares a single skill tree with different starting areas and starting base stats. The official skill tree calculator can be found here. The three base stats are Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence. Strength gives you extra life and added physical damage. Dexterity gives you attack accuracy and evasion. Intelligence gives you extra mana and energy shield. The classes that begin with a focus in each of these stats is the Marauder, Ranger and Witch respectively. The hybrid classes that begin with a focus in between the other two are Templar (STR INT), Duelist (STR, DEX) and Shadow (DEX INT). There is also an unlockable character, gained from beating the game on normal difficulty, called the Scion which begins in the middle of the tree and has balanced beginning stats.



Now that you know all this, FORGET ALL OF IT. The reason is, the only thing that matters is where you start in the tree and even that matters marginally. This is why I love Path of Exile. You have free reign to be creative with what kind of character you want to make. Want to make a Freezing pulse marauder? That shit exists. Were you a melee huntard in Wow who got ridiculed because it was dumb and you are dumb and should feel bad? Well feel bad no more (No, I take that back, keep feeling bad for what you did), but alas you can make a melee ranger like this one. There are a plethora of builds and many ways to achieve them. You can just dive right in or read up on builds other people have made. For some reason though a lot of the information out there can be kind of old and Path of Exile has had some changes during its beta phase. I would have at this point put up links to various build sites, but most that I have come across are wildly unreliable and out of date, so for now the best bet is to peruse the forums for the answers to all your questions.

The other reason base stats are important is because of armor types and skill gems. Lets talk about gems first. The other cool thing about Path of Exile is that you are able to use abilities based on the types of skill gems you socket into your gear. That is another reason there are virtually no limitations to what you can do. The limitations are that there are base stat requirements on gems and as you level them the requirements get higher, so caster gems will be int based and tanky and big physical damge gems are str and quick agile attack gems will often be dex. This synergizes with armor types in that armor types will often produce gem slots that correlate to the color of the base stat of the armor, which is to say str requirement armor will often produce red slots and so on and so forth. However, this is not neccesarily the case and you can use crafting materials called Chromatic Orbs to change the color of the gem slots. Do keep in mind that while using the orbs the armor will still have a tendancy to produce the color slot that correlates with the armor. The other thing about armor is that it, much like the gems will have base stat requirements and give base stat defensive bonuses that correlate to that base stat. That means strength gear will give you armor, Dex gear will give you evasion and Int gear will give you energy shield. I will have a more detailed breakdown of the defensive stats and how the rank in my opinion.



Alright, so you have made a new character! Good on you mate. You have felled the mighty Hillock and gotten into the first town. "Man this game is easy, what was Thordyn getting all worked up about?" You are totally right, Normal is easy. This is because the game engine feeds on human suffering and the game really doesn't get hard until the end game boss Dominus, because it wants to lure you into a false sense of security and be ready with its machine that collects tears. Everything, you have known up to now has been the equivalent of squishing cockaroaches and in comparison Dominus is Godzilla and you are a sleepy Japanese fishing vilage... that squishes cockaroaches. Mixed metaphors aside. even as you get passed Dominus in normal, you won't really see weaknesses in your build until act 3 of cruel, but it will still be manageable. You will say to yourself, I can change baby, really I can. Then Merciless comes along and your bootyhole will be torn asunder. The additional reason that cruel and merciless are especially difficult/frustrating is that everytime you die it takes a way a chunk of the exp you just gained. That last five minutes of grinding you just did? Flushed like a childhood goldfish.
So my advice when building a character is to generally go more defensive than you think you need to even if you are going to play in a group. In fact if you can only go defensive throughout normal, because it is just that easy. Then as you get into cruel start working in the damage nodes. Anyway, all of that will be learned and perhaps expounded upon in a later guide. Before I end this verbal cyclone of poop jokes and metaphors, I will provide some links to some valueable resources online. As well, Kripparian and Ziggy D are youtubers (you probably know Kripparian from hearthstone) that have excellent videos. Kripparian is largely seen as the authority on Path of Exile, but he is currently playing Hearthstone instead and we can only hope that he gets tired of that crappy pay to win game and returns to us in all his glory.

Some links that will be useful:

Vendor Recipes the game actually has hidden recipes that you can turn into currency/crafting items. One in particular that I think people overlook, is that if you are able to combine a group or armor (shields count as armor) or weapons that have a quality that has a sum value of 40% or more you get an armorer's scrap and blacksmith's whetstone respectively. These item's can be used to improve the quality of a piece of gear, which increases the base stats of the item. The max is 20% quality. There are many other helpful recipes as well, this link is worth a gander.

Bandit Quests The Bandit quest is something you will encounter in Act 2. This page tells you the location of each bandit camp and rewards for each difficulty. Before you dismiss this and say "why wouldn't I just get a skill point each time?" The reason is that the abilities they offer can be really helpful. In particular the 40 health from Oak is very popular because most of the life skill nodes in the tree are percentage increase to maximum, which means as you spend more and more points in this, the number continues to get larger as you level. Also, life is very important. The bandits also tend to correlate to a type of character style Oak STR physical damage tanky Kraityn DEX attack speed Alira Int Caster, this does not mean you have to been one of these types to benefit. I just pointed it out to confuse you apparently.

Currency Exchange Rates So currency is a funny thing in Path of Exile. There is no such thing as gold or money per se in this game. This works both for the lore and because Grinding Gear Games did not like the grind for money and just buy gear on the auction house model of D3 and many games. That is why there is also no auction house. There is a trade chat and forums for trading. It can seem intimidating at first, so this conversion rate of currency will help out a bit. Chaos orbs tend to be the standard unit of currency and everything branches from that. The best way is just to look at trade chat to see how much things are going for maybe try to purchase a few gems before you get in the game yourself, but it is helpful to be able to utilize trade chat, so eventually you are going to have to get in there.

That is it for now, I have left out a few things which will be covered in Thordyn's So you're not a noob anymore? So what? Fuck you! guide that I will make in the future. Possibly to be followed by Thordyn's Alright, hotshot you think you got what it takes? So what? Fuck you! guide. I also plan to showcase a couple of the builds that I have made that I find to be interesting. Thanks for taking a look and keep on gaming!

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