Moron guide to Path of Exile

Morons Guide to POE Draft 1
This guide will have sections: 1 will be solid starter build guides made by some great people in the community, 2 will have some of the mechanics which aren’t super explained but are important to utilize to be successful, 3 will explain as briefly as possible the league mechanics you can encounter. 

  1. What build do I go?

Depends on the mechanic direction you want to push. Good starters:

  1. Minions:  Both highly active and passive versions available. 
    1. Skeletons can be bros Necromancer A speedy summoner build constantly active and resummoning a classic summoner archetype.
    2. Zombies otherwise known as summon all the things Necromancer A slower paced summoner more set and forget but the gold standard for summoners.
    3. Golemancer Elementalist or Necromancer Specialized summoner with more personal safety at the loss of some damage and item options. 
    4. Spectres “niche king” Necromancer The utilitarian summoner highly modular at the cost of some maintenance headaches.
    5. I wanna hit things even if it does no damage Herald of Purity Guardian Your attacks summon little dudes who do the actual killing, but you get to feel like you helped out.
    6.  Dominating blow Your attack summons a horde of temporary dudes, those summons then use another attack which you could have just used yourself, but we all know you lazy…. Oddly Satisfying if unconventional “summoner” playstyle.
    7. Summon Raging Spirit A spinning plates build early which transforms into an endless barrage of self-sustaining fire skulls head bashing enemies later on. 


  1. Melee: Gladiators is a good learning ascendancy due to its strong baked in defenses, but its not the only option.
    1. Max Block Whirlwind Glad Hold Right click and melt the pack. A whirlwind barbarian with 3x the defenses.
    2. Impale Whirlwind Champion Similar to the Whirlwind Gladiator but with less defense but much higher boss damage with a fun ramp up mechanic.
    3. Earthquake Gladiator (King of the mega bleed)Smack the ground once and watch the horde melt and explode on death killing what little survived the attack.
    4. 1-2 Punch Earthshatter Juggernaut Jump with reckless abandon into a pack, and hit the ground doing no damage but setting up pillars of rock around you. The enemies taken in with the apparent lack of damage are not ready for your shout to shatter the pillars, much less the shrapnel cascade which will end their lives. 
    5. Flicker Strike Gladiator You don’t mind headaches and want to see how far you can travel across a map without ever using a movement skill or telling your character to walk somewhere. 
    6. Lacerate Bleed Gladiator The OG bleed build slash the air and let your enemies hemorrhage out. 
  2. Spells: 
    1. Basic Arc Selfcast Chain lightning is an evergreen, and this lets you live out your best life as a red mage. End of turn, bolt the bird. 
    2. Curse Everything Bane Occultist I want to do a dot build, but I also want to make my dots as indirect as possible. Thus, I use bane. 
    3. All of the poisons Blade Vortex Assassin This build is about ramping up spinning swords before a fight and then running through the enemies applying dozens of poison stacks and watching them puke their guts out.
    4. Screen Shake Intensifies Discharge Chieftain Easy build. Get hit or Hit other stuff. Get red spinning orbs around you. Hit discharge. Orbs go away. Enemies go away. Fps go away. Desire to play anything else…go away.
    5. Drakon Ball Z Divine Ire Inquisitor Stand in place channeling a fucking orbital death laser beam blow up everything in a line. Don’t look directly at it with the naked eye. 
    6. 1-2 punch Essence Drain Contagion Trickster Throw out a tiny virus doing infinite damage, then we hit them with an area attack doing very little damage. Problem for the enemies is our area attack much like the average Walmart customer is a super spreader, and the pack falls to the spread of your very own lil covid 2021.
    7. AFK Rightoeous Fire Walk around and let the game play itself. Deal fire damage in an aura and sometimes click a flamethrower on enemies who have orange names.
    8. Freeze Everything Occultist If dodging enemies sucks and is hard, why not make everyone move slow? 
    9. Storm Brand Inquisitor Make an enemy a conductor for sky lightning and taze them until they give up their valuables like you are a college security guard. 
  3. Bow/Ranged: 
    1. Lancing Steel Champion The best “I wanna melee but not actually be in melee ranged build”
    2. Toxic Rain Pathfinder Run around throwing poison flowers at enemies feet, after a brief pause enemies mimic you by pushing up their own daisies. 
    3. Ice Shot Deadeye A classic true ranged build. Shoot ice arrows they freeze stuff, frozen stuff doesn’t hit back. Profit. 
  4. Totems: 
    1. Totem Smack Ancestral Warchief Chieftain Totem jumps around attacking enemies for you. You feel like a clown gang leader, you might be powerful but it still look a bit silly. 
    2. Freezing Pulse Hierophant Absurdly powerful for how little seems to happen. A chill build for a second monitor player. 
  5. Mines and traps are not good mechanics to learn the basics from but
    1. At your own risk Ball lightning miner I told you not to, you might not like mines, they might feel like shit to you. I refuse to hear complaints about mines sucking. They don’t suck. You suck. They are clucky yes, but they also obliterate the hardest content in the game. PS Don’t do mines as a starter. PPS seriously don’t use as a starter.



Poe has a set of important mechanics. 

  1. Flasks: The game is balanced around flasks being used at all times (other than your life flask). Flasks carry a tremendous amount of defense, utility and for some builds offensive power. It can feel very hard to get used to piano style flasking but having 4 keys which feel comfortable to hit every 5-8 seconds will save you headache and hand strain long term.
  2. Dodge, evade, block and armor:
    1. Evade. Evade provides defense in 2 ways: It firstly prevents you from receiving attacks NOT SPELLS, secondly it makes it harder to be critically hit from attacks by effectively having attacks roll chance to hit twice against you. Spells always hit and thus bypass both mechanics.  Evade is a hard entropy system. To prevent lucky players from being immune to damage and unlucky ones effectively having no defense you will exactly be hit for your dodge value, it is deterministic. If you dodge 43% of the time you will be hit 57 times per 100 hits. 
    2. Dodge. Dodge is not entropy based and thus is highly luck driven. It is rolled after evasion and thus if a hit “avoids” your evasion it then rolls against your dodge to see if the hit connects. Since spells cannot be evaded, they bypass that evasion roll but can still be dodged.
    3. Block. Block can be viewed as static mitigation, but its luck driven. If you have 75% block, 75% of all melee, ranged attack and spells hit you doing no damage and applying no status ailments, but it counts as a hit for the opponent which has niche implications. Block is rolled against “Hits” so it combos very nicely with evasion against melee and ranged attacks because evasion isn’t luck based and rolls first. 
    4. Armor is highly unintuitive and very difficult to get any kinda gut feeling on. This is because armor scales inversely with the scale of the hit. The rule of thumb is to stop roughly half the damage of a hit you need 10x the hit value in armor. This is not a reasonable system to try to understand as a player but you can stack armor in the tens of thousands thus adding a lot of static mitigation. 
  3. Bleeds vs Poisons: 
    1. So, Bleeds as a defender has 3 important components: 1 Armor doesn’t reduce the value of the bleed, 2 the damage of the bleed is based upon the PRE-MITIGATED hit thus padding Armour prior to the hit will not help with the bleed in anyway, 3 Moving triples the damage of the bleed. As someone using bleeds there is one important component. Bleeds only apply one bleed at a time (other than things specifically saying they allow you to break this limit) but Bleeds override one another to maintain the biggest bleed you applied. Mechanics which let you fish for giant bleeds will never get overridden by a tiny bleed proc. You are safe fishing.
    2. Poisons have no upward limit to the number of poison applications per target; you can literally apply thousands of poisons on your self and consequently crash the server with the calculations you’re forcing the server to do. Thus, anything increasing the duration of the poison is a net plus because they can all run in parallel. No determent effect for moving while poisoned but its incredibly easy to get shotgunned and have way more poison stacks running than you thought.
  4. Power, Frenzy, and Endurance charges
    1. Power charges are connected to int. They give you more crit strike chance per charge. They are the least important for new characters unless your mechanic specifically cares about power charge count. An easy way to generate power charges is with the “Gain Power Charge on Critical Hit” support gem 
    2. Frenzy charges are connected to dex. They give you more attack speed cast speed and flat damage % per charge. They are the strongest charge for gaining damage as a new character. An easy way to sneak some Frenzy charge generation into your build is with the skill “Blood rage”.
    3. Endurance charges are connected to strength. They give you resistances and flat physical damage reduction per endurance charge. An easy way to generate Endurance charges would be either with “Warlords Mark Curse Gem”, or “Enduring Cry” a warcry which also heals you over time. 


  1. League mechanics The end game explained by an adult child

Poe has a large end game but we can break it into chunks

  1. Maps: 
    1. The Atlas. Maps are fairly simple to explain but complicated in the effects for the player. Maps lay within the atlas. The maps connect to other maps within the atlas, and are proximity bound within “Zones” called Regions. Regions are secretly controlled by Conquerors which can be spawned after their conditions have been met. The conditions depend on the Region the further out from the center the region the easier to spawn the conquerors. So, the first goal is to get to the outer edge of the Atlas as early as possible to spawn and murder the conquerors. After you, the hero, inevitably murder in cold blood the protector of this region of maps they cough up a watchstone and thus begins phase 2 of the atlas. 
    2. Watchstones each Region in the atlas has slots for up to 4 watchstones. Those watchstones “Tier” up the maps within that region making for more difficult and more rewarding content, and sometimes revealing new map types. Watchstones add up to a tally for your “Awakener Level” which increases the quality of items which drop, and the ability to fight more Conquerors for more watchstones, at the cost of more difficult bosses. 
  2. Delve.
    1. Delve is an end game system which runs parallel with the maps. It trades story content and visual diversity for a min maxers dream. The mine runs off sulfite collected from maps and it allows you to travel between nodes in the mine. In the mine you only get 1 death per journey failing to survive the trip or the encounter at the end will result in not only your death, and all the shame that carries, but the loss of that sulfite investment. The hardest content in the game lays within the mines as it scales infinitely, but its very hit or miss with players due to the lack of visual diversity as well as the feeling of always being rushed to maintain with the cart.
  3. League mechanics listed most recent to most distant. Explained as briefly as possible.
    1.  Heist. Endless deaths prior to alarm going off, no deaths allowed after. Run through building click on chests to open goodies, collect goodies, get to final item, final item always sets off alarm. Get out alive. Grand heists same rule but more goodies, and more heists in parallel. You reveal locations for $ pick your team bust up some kids and take their candy. 
    2. Harvest. Plant farm. Look at possible rewards. Pick a plot. Plants become monsters. Murder monsters. Get crafts you can either cash in now or send to your hideout to collect later. 
    3. Delirium AKA why is my whole screen, character, enemies, and effects grey? Mirror exists, you walk through mirror it is a race against time. Mist travels revealing enemies, killing enemies adds progress to rewards seen on the bottom left on the screen. Gotta keep moving mist eventually dissipates and the fun of seeing nothing ends, as does the loot rain.
    4. Metamorph. Kill stuff. Get parts from murdered stuff. Combine murdered stuff into 1 big monster. Big monster never die. Big monster cover screen in green black nonsense which either does zero damage or all of the damage. Eventually with the blessing of the pope, god hopefully strikes down the beast for you. Give no reward. 0/10 will do every time because greedy and maybe this time does give reward, but probably not.
    5. Blight. Tower defense. Enemy get to pump = bad. Play wackamole. Pick one tower  type and build ad nauseum, never deviate because small brain. Some say meteor, they also wage war on framerate. Some say build arc tower, some say freeze tower, some say minion towers, and some build no tower and afk while zombies beat stuff up for them as they watch Netflix.
    6.  Legion. Giant glowy rock, looks like rock candy. Click. Dudes everywhere. Scurry like a mad man trying to break men out of crystals or click 2 buttons as Essence drain contagion and watch the disease spread faster and claim more lives than measles in an LA school. Kill guys again for good measure. Collect rocks on ground. When enough rocks are collected form Stones with colored symbols. Symbol stones can be combined in either counts of 3-4-5 (no double colors tho) to summon a special encounter where you fight generals all at once. During that encounter you beat up generals and you return to the center of the area to spawn a new wave. A race against time or a quick way to burn a lot of currency.
    7. Delve mentioned above. 
    8. Incursion Temple is unknown. Going through portals of Alva lets you rewrite past to form what those chambers have now. Rooms can be ranked up to 3 giving more intense rewards related to the room. Confusing system for new players, also will almost never feel worth the fuss. Niche league mechanic for tryhards using very specific rooms or a change of pace for the rest of us. Consult wiki as needed for what the rooms do. Too many to list here, and again, not worth the fuss.
    9. Betrayal. A weird insular system unto itself. You fight immortal guys, pump them for info and then kill them, however because they are immortal death is their proudest moment and it causes them to rank up if someone else in the syndicate witnesses their great job taking an axe to the head. With enough info you challenge their branch’s leader and with enough info from those leaders you challenge the mastermind of their whole Ponzi scheme of an operation.  If you have 2 hours you can watch a great poe player despite his inability to pronounce a single currency correctly cutedog do a breakdown of betrayal here. Go do that now and skip to jj. Ok for the rest of us not turbo nerds the rule is such. Setting up rivalries and alliances is good. More red lines and more green lines is profit. You don’t wanna run the mastermind without good reason because her death table flips the betrayal board faster than an 8-year-old losing at monopoly. Each of the members gives rewards related to the division in the syndicate they are in, you can see here what those rewards are now(the community is not unified on what are best so you can choose to ignore the color coding if you want). If you have a guy in a branch you don’t want, interrogating them from 3-2-1-0 stars will bump them out of that branch and they have a chance to pop back up in the one you want. If you really don’t want to understand the system or work with it, that’s understandable then just aim to get Vorici, It that fled, and/or Vegan into Research, along with Jorgin, Rin and/or Cameria into intervention and make as many red or greed lines between those guys and each other and other members of the syndicate as possible. If neither of the two given options are good you can let them escape with a 3rd option just to the bottom right of the screen.  
    10. Beast league. Beasts in maps, fight beast, best bro captures them. Can go to best bros house to fight beast again for specific rewards. Clean, fun, no hassle just kill stuff cant go wrong.
    11. Abyss Little under ground monsters run away, you follow. Sooner or later some pop out to duel you. They lose. Rest run away again. Rinse repeat either across the fucking planet or 3 times in a tiny room. Your results may vary. Rewards one of 3 outcomes. A box with some jewels in it, a pit in the ground with a totem with a belt you can put previously mentioned jewels into, or a pit in the ground with a dude in it who will give you garbage 90% of the time and every now and then an item which is pretty cool. Not perfect but I will also disregard that point and give it a perfect score of 5/7
    12. Harbingers aliens come to see us. They are immortal but luckily kill themselves to summon very killable toadies. Kill their pathetic clout chasers get your blood money in the form of nifty currency.

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