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Beginners Guide to Path of Exile

Mô hình thu phí

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Skill Gems

Skills in Path of Exile take the form of gems, which you socket into items. There are two basic types of skill gems in Path of Exile: Active skill gems, and Support gems. Active skill gems represent skills you actively use (Fireball, for example). Support gems can be socketed into a linked socket with an active skill gem, to provide a modification of that active skill gem (For example, increasing the damage or the size of your fireball). Active skill gems and support gems are easily visually distinguishable from each other in your inventory. A skill gem must be socketed into an equipped item in order to use that skill.

The skills in PoE aren't class-specific. Any class may use any skill.

Both active skill gems and support gems gain experience (10% of your combat experience) when you fight. Both types can gain levels, thus increasing the gem's potency. The maximum level for any active skill or support gem is normally 20, but this level can be overcome through the use of some items, Vaal Orbs, or the Empower support gem. Gems must be socketed into an equipped item in order for them to gain experience when you fight.

The leveling up of gems is optional, for three reasons:

  • If you cannot support the new mana cost of the gem or the mana reservation.
  • If you want to pass it on to another character which might be lower level.
  • If you are gear dependent on the stats required to use the skill gem and don't think you're going to be able to keep up with the stat requirements.

You'll mainly get active skill gems as quest rewards early on, but you'll also find them dropped by monsters, chests and breakable environment objects such as barrels, crates, pots, etc.

After completing a quest you can buy Skill and Support gems from the accessories vendor on its Sell Page 2. You can check which gems your class can buy on the second half of the quest reward page

There are 3 overarching categories, represented by colors, of active skill and support gems: Red colored gems, which require mostly Strength to use; Green colored gems, which require mostly Dexterity to use; and Blue colored gems, which require mostly Intelligence to use. As the gems level up, their respective attribute requirement amounts will increase as well.

Each individual gem has a set of keywords associated with it. These keywords are listed at the top of each gem's description, when you mouse over it. You can use these to determine which support gems are able to affect which active skill gems - just match the key words! For example, Fireball has the keywords "Fire", "Projectile", "Spell" and "AoE" listed at the top of its description. The Fire Penetration support gem also has the keyword "Fire" listed at the top of its description. This means that the Fire Penetration support gem will affect the active skill Fireball, because both have the keyword "Fire". Support gems do not directly affect other support gems.

Attack skills take weapon damage into consideration. Spell, Trap, spell-casting Totem, and Mine skills do not (like D2).

There are many Skill Gems, and Support Gems and more are added periodically!

Examples:

  • Put the Life Gain on Hit SupportLife Gain on Hit SupportAttack, Support
    Icon: h
    Level: (1-20)
    Cost & Reservation Multiplier: 140%
    Requires Level 8Supports attack skills.Per 1% Quality:1Superior2Anomalous3Divergent+0.5 Life gained for each Enemy hit by Attacks from Supported SkillsSupported Skills deal 2% increased Damage when on Full Life+0.1 Mana gained for each Enemy hit by Attacks from Supported Skills+(6-44) Life gained for each Enemy hit by Attacks from Supported SkillsThis is a Support Gem. It does not grant a bonus to your character, but to skills in sockets connected to it. Place into an item socket connected to a socket containing the Active Skill Gem you wish to augment. Right click to remove from a socket.
    support gem next to a linked CleaveCleaveAttack, AoE, Physical, Melee
    Level: (1-20)
    Cost: 6 Mana
    Attack Speed: 80% of base
    Attack Damage: (125-170)% of base
    Effectiveness of Added Damage: (125-170)%
    Radius: 20
    The character swings their weapon (or both weapons if dual wielding) in an arc, damaging monsters in an area in front of them. Only works with Axes and Swords.Per 1% Quality:1Superior2Anomalous3Divergent4Phantasmal0.5% increased Attack Speed+1 Life gained for each Enemy hit by your Attacks2% increased Area of Effect while not Dual Wielding5% chance to Destroy Corpses on KillDeals (125-170)% of Base Attack Damage
    When Dual Wielding, Deals 60% Damage from each Weapon combined
    (2-75) to (3-113) Added Attack Physical Damage
    +(0-6) to radius
    Place into an item socket of the right colour to gain this skill. Right click to remove from a socket.
    Cleave skill icon.png
    gem you'll regain life for every enemy hit by CleaveCleaveAttack, AoE, Physical, Melee
    Level: (1-20)
    Cost: 6 Mana
    Attack Speed: 80% of base
    Attack Damage: (125-170)% of base
    Effectiveness of Added Damage: (125-170)%
    Radius: 20
    The character swings their weapon (or both weapons if dual wielding) in an arc, damaging monsters in an area in front of them. Only works with Axes and Swords.Per 1% Quality:1Superior2Anomalous3Divergent4Phantasmal0.5% increased Attack Speed+1 Life gained for each Enemy hit by your Attacks2% increased Area of Effect while not Dual Wielding5% chance to Destroy Corpses on KillDeals (125-170)% of Base Attack Damage
    When Dual Wielding, Deals 60% Damage from each Weapon combined
    (2-75) to (3-113) Added Attack Physical Damage
    +(0-6) to radius
    Place into an item socket of the right colour to gain this skill. Right click to remove from a socket.
    Cleave skill icon.png
    .
  • Combine Detonate DeadDetonate DeadSpell, AoE, Fire
    Level: (1-20)
    Cost: (5-20) Mana
    Cast Time: 0.60 sec
    Critical Strike Chance: 6.00%
    Effectiveness of Added Damage: 160%
    Radius: 22
    Targets a corpse, and deals spell damage to enemies around the corpse, as well as causing the corpse to explode, dealing fire damage. The explosion is not affected by modifiers to spell damage and cannot be reflected.Per 1% Quality:1Superior0.5% increased Cast SpeedExplosion deals base Fire Damage equal to 6% of the corpse's Maximum Life
    Deals (15-798) to (22-1197) Fire Damage
    +(0-4) to radius
    Place into an item socket of the right colour to gain this skill. Right click to remove from a socket.
    Detonate Dead skill icon.png
    (active) with Spell Totem SupportSpell Totem SupportSupport, Spell, Totem
    Icon: T
    Level: (1-20)
    Cost & Reservation Multiplier: 200%
    Requires Level 8Supports spell skills that are not triggered. Instead of casting that spell, you will summon a totem that casts the spell for you.Per 1% Quality:1Superior2Anomalous3Divergent1% increased Totem Placement speed1% increased Totem Duration1% increased Totem RangeSupported Skills will summon a Totem which uses that Skill
    Totem lasts 8 seconds
    Supported Skills deal (35-26)% less Damage
    Spells Cast by Totem have 30% less Cast Speed
    This is a Support Gem. It does not grant a bonus to your character, but to skills in sockets connected to it. Place into an item socket connected to a socket containing the Active Skill Gem you wish to augment. Right click to remove from a socket.
    (support) to have a totem which casts the spell for you so you can focus on other things.
  • Ice SpearIce SpearSpell, Projectile, Cold
    Level: (1-20)
    Cost: (8-23) Mana
    Soul Gain Prevention: 0 sec
    Cast Time: 0.70 sec
    Critical Strike Chance: 7.00%
    Effectiveness of Added Damage: 80%
    Projectile Speed: 1000
    Requires Level 12Launches shards of ice in rapid succession. After travelling a short distance they change to a second form, which moves much faster and pierces through enemies.Per 1% Quality:1Superior2Anomalous3Divergent4Phantasmal2% increased Projectile SpeedProjectiles Pierce 0.1 additional Targets1% increased Cold DamageTravels 1% reduced distance before changing formsDeals (22-383) to (33-575) Cold Damage
    Second form has 600% increased Critical Strike Chance
    Second form has 300% more Projectile Speed
    Second form has +(30-49)% to Critical Strike Multiplier
    Fires an additional Projectile
    Place into an item socket of the right colour to gain this skill. Right click to remove from a socket.
    Ice Spear skill icon.png
    (active) with Greater Multiple Projectiles SupportGreater Multiple Projectiles SupportSupport, Projectile
    Icon: P
    Level: (1-20)
    Cost & Reservation Multiplier: 165%
    Requires Level 38Supports projectile skills.Per 1% Quality:1Superior2Anomalous3DivergentSupported Skills have 0.5% increased Attack Speed
    Supported Skills have 0.5% increased Cast Speed
    Supported Skills have 1% reduced Mana Cost
    Supported Skills have 0.5% increased Projectile Speed
    Projectiles Fired by Supported Skills have 1% increased Projectile spread
    Supported Skills fire 4 additional Projectiles
    Supported Skills deal (35-26)% less Projectile Damage
    This is a Support Gem. It does not grant a bonus to your character, but to skills in sockets connected to it. Place into an item socket connected to a socket containing the Active Skill Gem you wish to augment. Right click to remove from a socket.
    (support) with Elemental Proliferation SupportElemental Proliferation SupportCold, Fire, Lightning, Support, AoE
    Icon: S
    Level: (1-20)
    Cost & Reservation Multiplier: 120%
    Supports any skill that hits enemies, or could otherwise apply elemental ailments.Per 1% Quality:1Superior2Anomalous3Divergent0.5% increased Duration of Elemental Ailments on EnemiesSupported Skills have 1% increased Area of EffectSupported Skills deal 1% increased Damage with Hits and Ailments per Freeze, Shock or Ignite on EnemyElemental Ailments caused by Supported Skills spread to other enemies in a Radius of (12-15)
    Supported Skills have 20% chance to Freeze, Shock and Ignite
    (0-19)% increased Duration of Elemental Ailments on Enemies
    This is a Support Gem. It does not grant a bonus to your character, but to skills in sockets connected to it. Place into an item socket connected to a socket containing the Active Skill Gem you wish to augment. Right click to remove from a socket.
    (support) to fire multiple ice projectiles which freeze enemies and have the freeze effect jump over to nearby foes.

The maximum number of possible linked sockets is 6 and it's hard to come by such an item. Most support gems raise the mana cost of the active skill(s) they are linked with.

For future reference: some Keystone Passives are also available as support gems if you want their effect for only some of your skills, for example, Arrogance SupportArrogance SupportAura, Support
Icon: B
Level: (1-20)
Cost & Reservation Multiplier: (220-201)%
Cooldown Time: 0.00 sec
Requires Level 31Supports any skill with a reservation.Per 1% Quality:1Superior2Anomalous3DivergentSupported Skills have 0.25% increased Aura effectSupported Skills have 0.1% reduced Life ReservationSupported Skills deal 0.5% increased DamageSupported Skills have (10-19)% increased Aura effect
Supported Skills Reserve Life instead of Mana
This is a Support Gem. It does not grant a bonus to your character, but to skills in sockets connected to it. Place into an item socket connected to a socket containing the Active Skill Gem you wish to augment. Right click to remove from a socket.
.

Classes

The classes in PoE are very liquid.

The biggest difference between classes are their Ascendancy class choices. In later acts, completing The Labyrinth will allow you to choose one of three Ascendancy class (or just one for the Scion). Each of these classes grant access to a powerful passive to specialize your characters in. While the given choices are still versatile enough for any build to take advantage of, it's advisable to take a look a them first if you have a certain type of build in mind.

Besides Ascendancy classes, the only differences are: how your hero looks, what their starting attributes are and their position in the passive skill tree (more on that next up).

For now:

Type Name STR DEX INT
INT Witch 14 14 32
STR Marauder 32 14 14
DEX Ranger 14 32 14
STR/INT Templar 23 14 23
DEX/INT Shadow 14 23 23
STR/DEX Duelist 23 23 14
STR/DEX/INT Scion 20 20 20

That said, there's little guidance on how to skill a class and I highly suggest to first try a pure class and dabble with hybrid classes only after some experience. Starting a hybrid can be a bit daunting for new players. The Scion must be unlocked in Act 3 in order to select her during character creation.

Starting (HP, Mana, Evasion Rating) = (50, 40, 53) for all classes. Each level up gives a passive skill point but also {{#ask:

-Has subobject::Character
Has stat id::~*per_level*
[[Has stat value::>>0]]
|?Has stat text=
|format=ul
|sort=Has stat text
|mainlabel=- 

}} Max level is 100, but you can get a maximum of 123 Passive skill points. It is inadvisable to create a build based on 123 points; around 85-100 is better. Leveling passed the Act content is arduous, and your character will need to be more or less complete to navigate the endgame.

Passive Skill Tree

Check out the passive skill tree

Every class has a specific starting area on the skill tree. Starting at the top and working clockwise, we have the Witch, the Shadow, the Ranger, the Duelist, the Marauder, the Templar, and finally, dead center, the Scion.

The tree may seem a little intimidating at first, but it may make things easier to realize that you can group the nodes into four categories.

Starting Areas: These areas are where you'll be starting your character, but there's absolutely nothing keeping you from heading toward another class's nodes! The nodes where you begin are often very powerful, and it's not a bad idea to scan your neighbors' starting points to see if they've got anything you could... borrow.

Roads: These nodes aren't very exciting, offering just 10 points to a specific attribute, but they go places. You'll carve out the distance between where you are and where you need to be much faster on roads than in the...

Suburbs: These nodes of nodes contain groups of thematic bonuses for your character. They can be as specific as increased spell critical strike chance and multiplier, or as open ended as melee physical damage. Typically, these nodes are more powerful the more specific they are, and they usually contain a Notable Passive that has a high concentration of power. It's often the best choice to carve into a suburb and take the notable passive than to take every node available, since you'll get a much better return on skill point investment that way.

Keystones: These guys are designed to change the way you play the game. Resolute Technique will prevent you from EVER missing again, but it'll cost you every critical strike you will ever land. Elemental Equilibrium will reward you for alternating elemental damage, but punish you for using the same element consistently. These keystones have a major impact on the game, so plan wisely before you take one...

Speaking of thinking wisely, the are no full respecs in Path of Exile (except when a major patch changes the skill tree). You will get some refund points from quests, and you can even spend an Orb of RegretOrb of RegretStack Size: 40Grants a passive skill refund pointRight click on this item to use it.
Shift click to unstack.
to get more, but these are designed mostly for when you make mistakes on your character. If you decide that the entire path you chose just isn't for you, prepare to reroll!

The Path of Exile Forum has a Class Discussion section at the bottom which can be very helpful for getting ideas for builds. Even if you don't want to pull a cookie cutter build from there, using the guides to help you understand the layout of the skill tree is a great first step to making your own builds.

Resource management

There are Flasks, which are refillable potions which you can drink from a few times before they are empty. They come in all colors and sizes and have their own affixes (e.g. double armor while the flask fills you up). They refill when you kill enemies, or when you visit a town or hideout.

There's also regular Mana and Life regeneration, life on hit, life on kill, life leech, mana leech etc.

The character starts with {{#ask: -Has subobject::Character Has stat id::mana_regeneration_rate_per_minute_% |?Has stat text= |mainlabel=- }} and no life regeneration. Life and mana leech has a maximum rate cap, which prevents you from healing more than Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character "[".% of your maximum life/mana per second without upgrades.

There are also Energy shields that act as a health buffer that regenerates after not taking damage for a short time. Energy shields are the preferred method of defense for Intelligence-based characters. Chaos damage will bypass energy shields, however.

Currency Items

There's no gold in PoE. You "buy" items from NPCs by trading for so-called Currency Items.

You can vendor each white item for 1 Scroll FragmentScroll FragmentStack Size: 5A stack of 5 fragments becomes a Scroll of Wisdom.
Shift click to unstack.
. A full stack (5) of Scroll FragmentScroll FragmentStack Size: 5A stack of 5 fragments becomes a Scroll of Wisdom.
Shift click to unstack.
s will result in a Scroll of WisdomScroll of WisdomStack Size: 40Identifies an itemRight click this item then left click an unidentified item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack.
. You can vendor unidentified blue items for a Transmutation ShardTransmutation ShardStack Size: 20A stack of 20 shards becomes an Orb of Transmutation.
Shift click to unstack.
. A full stack (20) of Transmutation ShardTransmutation ShardStack Size: 20A stack of 20 shards becomes an Orb of Transmutation.
Shift click to unstack.
s creates 1 Orb of TransmutationOrb of TransmutationStack Size: 40Upgrades a normal item to a magic itemRight click this item then left click a normal item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack.
. You can vendor an identified blue item for an Alteration ShardAlteration ShardStack Size: 20A stack of 20 shards becomes an Orb of Alteration.
Shift click to unstack.
. Collect a full stack (20) of Alteration ShardAlteration ShardStack Size: 20A stack of 20 shards becomes an Orb of Alteration.
Shift click to unstack.
s and you will get an Orb of AlterationOrb of AlterationStack Size: 20Reforges a magic item with new random modifiersRight click this item then left click a magic item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack.
. An Orb of AlterationOrb of AlterationStack Size: 20Reforges a magic item with new random modifiersRight click this item then left click a magic item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack.
can be used to reroll any affixes and/or suffixes on a magic (blue) item, randomly.

All Currency Items can drop as loot.

There is also:

Orb of AugmentationOrb of AugmentationStack Size: 30Augments a magic item with a new random modifierRight click this item then left click a magic item to apply it. Magic items can have up to two random modifiers. The item's Catalyst quality increases the chance of applying a modifier which matches the quality type. Removes 2% Quality applied by Catalysts on use.
Shift click to unstack.
, which adds another affix to Magic Items with only one prefix/suffix
Orb of ChanceOrb of ChanceStack Size: 20Upgrades a normal item to a random rarityRight click this item then left click a normal item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack.
, which changes a normal white item to a random rarity (magic, rare, unique)
Chromatic OrbChromatic OrbStack Size: 20Reforges the colour of sockets on an itemRight click this item then left click a socketed item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack.
, which changes the color of sockets randomly
Jeweller's OrbJeweller's OrbStack Size: 20Reforges the number of sockets on an itemRight click this item then left click a socketed item to apply it. The item's quality increases the chances of obtaining more sockets.
Shift click to unstack.
, which changes the number of sockets randomly
Orb of FusingOrb of FusingStack Size: 20Reforges the links between sockets on an itemRight click this item then left click a socketed item to apply it. The item's quality increases the chances of obtaining more links.
Shift click to unstack.
, which changes the links between the current sockets randomly
Blessed OrbBlessed OrbStack Size: 20Randomises the numeric values of the implicit modifiers of an itemRight click this item then left click another item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack.
, which changes the roll of the implicit

- and many more Currency Items. You can use Currency Items to reroll almost any mod on an item.

The best weapons are often crafted with the use of Currency Items. Example: Find a high base-quality type white weapon, increase the quality to the max of +20% with a Blacksmith's WhetstoneBlacksmith's WhetstoneStack Size: 20Improves the quality of a weaponRight click this item then left click a weapon to apply it. Has greater effect on lower-rarity weapons. The maximum quality is 20%.
Shift click to unstack.
s and then make it rare, with an Orb of AlchemyOrb of AlchemyStack Size: 10Upgrades a normal item to a rare itemRight click this item then left click a normal item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack.
which will change it to a rare weapon, and add a random number (between 4 and 6) of different mods to it, which can increase its power significantly.

The most valuable/rare piece of currency in the game is a Mirror of KalandraMirror of KalandraStack Size: 10Creates a mirrored copy of an itemRight click this item then left click an equipable non-unique item to apply it. Mirrored copies cannot be modified.
Shift click to unstack.
. (You can go your entire career in Path of Exile and never see one of these drop!)

The least valuable/most common piece of currency in the game is a Scroll of WisdomScroll of WisdomStack Size: 40Identifies an itemRight click this item then left click an unidentified item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack.
.

Attributes and Stats

You only gain attribute points from passives and items, not from leveling up, per se.

Each additional 10 attribute points give:

10 Strength = +5 HP, +2% Melee Physical Dmg
10 Intelligence = +5 Mana, +2% Energy Shield
10 Dexterity = +20 Accuracy, +2% Evasion

The defensive stats are:

Evasion, which is a chance to avoid a damaging hit from attacks, it is entropy-based to avoid streaky results. It is also affected by accuracy.
Dodge, which is a chance to avoid a damaging hit, it is not entropy-based like evasion.
Block, which is a chance to block a damaging hit.
Armour, which mitigates incoming physical damage from a damaging hit, proportional to how much Armour you have compared to damage taken.
Resistances, which mitigates incoming elemental and chaos damage.

The offensive stats are:

Accuracy, which is a measure of your chance-to-hit your target(s) with attacks.
Damage, which indicates how much damage you will inflict with each attack/spell, on your target(s), if your attack/spell is successful.
Attack Speed, which is how quickly you can repeat each attack.
Cast Speed, which is how quickly you can repeat each spell cast.


Body Armour and Shields can have movement penalties (typically the heavier ones).

Dual Wielding grants: {{#ask:

-Has subobject::Character
Has stat id::~*dual_wield*
|?Has stat text=
|format=ul
|sort=Has stat text
|mainlabel=- 

}}

Maximum Block chance is normally capped at 75%, but this cap can be overcome to a certain extent, with certain items. If you would've been Stunned, there's a blocking animation, otherwise the block is "free". Only Attacks can be blocked or evaded, unless you have Spell Block from passives or an item - for example, Saffell's FrameSaffell's Frame
Branded Kite Shield
Quality: +20%
Chance to Block: 24%
Armour: 223
Energy Shield: 43
Movement Speed: -3%
Requires Level 59, 76 Str, 76 Int+4% to all Elemental Resistances(15-20)% Chance to Block Spell Damage
(20-30)% increased Spell Damage
+10% to all Elemental Resistances
+4% to all maximum Resistances
Cannot Block Attacks
A swift mind solves problems before they occur.
.

Buffs & Debuffs

There are various types of status effects in Path of Exile:

Charges

Charges grant stackable bonuses. By default, a character can have 3 of each Charge, but the maximum number of charges can be increased. There are also certain skills that consume charges and skills that gain additional bonuses to charges.

-Has subobject::Character
Has stat id::~*endurance_charge*
Has stat id::!~*max*
|?Has stat text=
|format=list
|sort=Has stat text
|mainlabel=- 

}}.

-Has subobject::Character
Has stat id::~*frenzy_charge*
Has stat id::!~*max*
|?Has stat text=
|format=list
|sort=Has stat text
|mainlabel=- 

}}.

-Has subobject::Character
Has stat id::~*power_charge*
Has stat id::!~*max*
|?Has stat text=
|format=list
|sort=Has stat text
|mainlabel=- 

}}.

Elemental Status Ailments

Fire, Cold, and Lightning damage each have a status ailment associated with their element. The length of these statuses depend on the amount of damage the element dealt proportional to the target's maximum life. There are passives and items that grant a chance to apply these effects, and will always be applied on a Critical Strike.

  • Ignite - Deals a damage over time that deals 80% of Fire damage dealt from the hit that applied it over 4 seconds. Comes from Fire damage.
  • Chill - Slows by 30%. All Cold damage can apply Chill, but it won't apply it if the duration of the Chill would be too low.
  • Frozen - Effectively a stun. Frozen enemies shatter when they die, leaving no corpse behind. Comes from Cold damage.
  • Shock - Target takes 50% increased damage. Comes from Lightning damage.

Non-elemental debuffs

Unlike elemental statuses, only certain skills and item bonuses will apply these.

  • Bleed - Deals a damage over time equal to 10% of the Physical damage dealt from the hit that applied it per second while standing still. If you move while bleeding, it deals 60% of damage per second.
  • Poison - Deals 16% of the damage dealt from Physical and Chaos damage that applied it over 2 seconds in Chaos Damage. Poison can stack multiple times, each stack has a separate 2 second timer.
  • Blind - Halves the chance to hit with attacks.

Curses

Curses are powerful debuffs with varying effects, such as reduced elemental resistances, granting the attacker life and mana leech, and so on. However, only one Curse can be applied at a time, but you can increase the number of Curses you can apply with certain passives and unique items.

Stuns

Stuns are handled differently from other ARPGs. Instead of applying it for a set time, its length depends on Stun Duration modifier.

When you play you’ll notice that your attacks interrupt enemies (or vice versa), which is actually considered a stun; the default duration is 350 ms.

Check out the Stun page for more information.

Instances

All areas in Path of Exile are instanced. When you enter an area, a new instance is created. Once you leave the area, the instance will remain in its current state for 15 minutes for main areas - if 15 minutes passes with no players entering the instance, it will be closed. Entering the same area again will create a new instance with a new randomly generated map. Areas without side areas attached (any area with two or fewer exits) has a shorter timer and will only last 8 minutes while empty.

Instances you create are private and cannot be entered by other players unless they join your party. However, once a player has entered an instance, that instance remains associated with the player even if they leave the party. So it is possible to share an instance with non-party members in some circumstances. The exception to this is towns, which are always public, and cut-throat leagues, where all instances are public - meaning anyone can enter your instances at any time.

Those 15m/8m timers are subject to technical limitations. Those times may be lower on open weekends when the servers are rushed by more players than usual.

You can force the creation of a new instance by Ctrl+clicking on the entrance, or map waypoint, while interacting with a waypoint.

Game modes

There are currently 4 acts with 3 difficulty types in the game.

Whenever you create a new character, you specify what league you want them to join, which is essentially the game type.

Currently there are two permanent leagues: Standard and Hardcore.

Two new 'challenge' leagues are created every few months or so. One challenge league always follows standard death rules, and the other always follows hardcore death rules. These challenge leagues always have their own unique rule sets on top of the standard or hardcore death rules. When these challenge leagues end (usually after a few months), the characters in these challenge leagues always return to their respective 'base' league type (standard or hardcore) - along with all their inventory and stash items. Characters in the hardcore challenge league are moved to the basic standard league when they die (just like in normal hardcore). Characters in the standard challenge league remain in that challenge league after they die (they are not moved to the regular standard league until the current standard challenge league ends).

Characters can be moved between leagues (usually towards the Standard league) when certain events happen. Usually at the end of a ladder race/reset, characters are moved back to Standard so they can keep being played after the event. There are prizes for events, usually in-game currency or items with alternate art/model and higher item levels.

Endgame content

Around the second half of Merciless difficulty, you may find Maps. Maps are used in Map Devices in the Eternal Laboratory in Act 3 to open randomly generated high-level areas. Maps can also be modded like you can any other item in PoE, making it more difficult and more rewarding.

Afterwards, players will encounter Zana, Master Cartographer, who will introduce you the Atlas of Worlds. The Atlas visualizes the player's progress through the map content, with the ultimate goal of reaching the highest tier maps. Players are encouraged exploring the Atlas as each map you complete adds a permanent bonus to map drops. You can also modify the Atlas, adding temporary mods to maps in a radius or upgrade lower tier maps into higher leveled ones.

There are a few endgame challenges to face as well. Exploring corrupted zones or maps could let you find map pieces that open a realm to Queen Atziri, an optional, challenging boss. Defeating Atziri opens up a chance to face an even tougher version of Atziri. There are a few unique items that exclusively drop from Atziri, with the Uber version dropping some of the most powerful unique items in the game.

There is also a fourth difficulty of the Lord's Labyrinth. Unlike the first three Labyrinths, the trials for the endgame version are found in maps. Completing a trial once grants you one chance to challenge the Labyrinth, with a tougher and deadlier layout and an even stronger Izaro. Completing this version of the Labyrinth grants two additional Ascendancy skill points, as well as valuable treasure and the most powerful enchantments.

The Shaper lies in the heart of the Atlas. He serves as the final encounter of the Atlas, and to gain access to his realm, you must obtain the four key fragments, guarded by the bosses of the highest tiered maps.

Hotkeys and GUI tips

Ctrl+click to move an item into the selling window or stash. (does not work with guild stash)
Ctrl+Alt+click to post an item into chat. (Open chat window by pressing enter to mouse over linked items)
Shift+click on a stack of items to open the split stack interface.
Get a minimap in the options menu. (map transparency adjustable)
Shift+enter or a “#” for global chat.
Ctrl+enter for a whisper reply.
Ctrl+Shift+enter or a “%” for party chat.
“@” followed by a character name for whisper.
"$" for trade chat.
"&" for guild chat.
You can hide global, trade or guild chat by unchecking the corresponding option box at the top of the chat window.
/help displays a complete list of commands and a short description of each one.
/itemlevel will show the item level of the item you’re holding in your mouse pointer.
/oos will make the client try to resyncronise with the server (use when you are desynced).
/remaining displays a message on how many monsters remain in the current instance.
/hideout will take you to your hideout, provided that you are in a city instance and you already gained a hideout.
/passives will display all skill points acquired on the current character and where/how they were acquired.
Holding Control and clicking on an instance will give you the option to reset the zone. Use this sparingly as it increases the server load.
Holding Alt while mousing over an item in chat will display its corresponding item level.
Hold shift to attack in place.
Press X to switch between two weapon presets.
Press Z to show/hide item labels.
/afk [message] Autoreply to whispers that you are AFK with the text [message]. Performing any action, including chatting, will cancel AFK mode.
/dnd [message] Autoreply to whispers that you are DND with the text [message] and ignore all incoming messages.

See also