The class you pick at the beginning of the game determines which specialization (from here: Ascendancy class) you can choose later on. This build guide is designed for a Champion which is one of three possible Ascendancy classes you can choose as a Duelist class.
Did you know? The choice of your class is permanent and can’t be changed, but you can change your Ascendancy class (which comes with opportunity costs).
You either want to equip or sell blue or yellow items you don’t need to a vendor since you will get useful currency items by doing so (unlike in many other ARPGs where you just get gold). If you sell a magic or an identified rare item to a vendor, you will receive one or more Alteration Shards (20 Alteration Shards will transform into 1 Orb of Alteration). If you sell an unidentified rare item to a vendor, you will get one or more Transmutation Shards (20 Transmutation Shards will transform into 1 Orb of Transmutation). You will need several of those Orbs to buy gems during the campaign (but they will also drop from enemies). You can also buy some of them from vendors, but it’s not worth it most of the time during the campaign.
Did you know? Don’t go back to town every time you don’t have any space left in your inventory in order to sell stuff (it’s not worth the time, normally). Instead, just sell them when the game wants you to return to town for completing quests anyway – unless it’s an item this guide wants you to pick up. Then, pick it put.
There are a lot of currencies in Path of Exile and each of them has its own purpose. Going into details now, wouldn’t be helpful so just keep the following in mind: For the campaign and the first part of the endgame, you especially want to stockpile Orbs of Transmutation, Orbs of Alteration and Orbs of Chance. The preset loot filter highlights all named currencies (red color). Just make sure to pick them up.
.. I recommend following this skill tree path which was explicitly designed to make the gaming experience as pleasant as possible for new players. That being said, it focuses more on survivability and comfort than damage, but the guide will elaborate on options to adjust the skill tree in order to be more damage centric later.
If you’ve followed the tutorial notifications, you already should’ve placed (G) Double Strike into your weapon. Take it out and put in (G) Splitting Steel instead. I also recommend reading the description of the Splitting Steel gem to get an idea of how it functions.
You can increase the power of gems by connecting them with support gems. In order to connect two or more gems, they have to be placed in sockets of the same item whereby the respective sockets need to be connected (visibly indicated by a string between sockets). Connected gems/sockets are referred to as ‘linked’.
At this point, you have a weapon with two sockets [one (G) green socket and one (R) red socket] and one link. This is where you want to put both your (G) Splitting Steel and (R) Chance to Bleed Support (if you’ve followed the tutorial help notifications, you already should’ve placed Chance to Bleed Support into your weapon).
Did you know? You can have two weapon sets: An active one (I) and an inactive one (II) – you can switch between them by clicking the respecitve option in your inventory. Crucially, gems that you put into the second weapon set will still get experience. This guide will recommend you in various places to level certain gems in the second weapon set. Therefore, it is recommended to equip two one-handed weapons with 3 sockets each in your second weapon set as soon as possible.
You can do this by left-clicking on your skills in your bottom right skill bar and choosing the respective option (at the top). If you don’t do this, the skill will be used where your cursor is at that specific moment. As a result, it often happens that you move to the position of the cursor instead of attacking monsters. In order to prevent that from happening, activate ‘Always Attack Without Moving”. This is basically recommended for almost all skills you use in this build, but (G) Dash (if you activate this for Dash you will dash backwards instead of forwards).
Did you know? In Path of Exile, a lot of enemy mechanics are signaled by sound effects. Bosses, for example, mostly have a voice line connected to their mechanics which – given that visual indicators can sometimes be hard to identifiy due to the visual clutter – can not only be a lifesaver, but a reliable source of information. So if you tend to play the game without sound, it’s recommended to at least activate ‚Sound Effects‘ and ‚Dialogue‘.
What does G-G-R mean? It indicates an item with two (G) green sockets and one (R) red socket which are all linked. If no 3-linked G-G-R item drops, just occasionally check the vendor in town. The preset loot filter also highlights G-G-R items (red color).
Did you know? Each time you gain a level, the vendor in town will offer you new items.
If you don’t have a 3-link item yet, just level it in your second weapon set until you can do so.If you don’t have a second weapon set yet, just put the next weapon you find in there. You can select the weapon set by clicking on the II on the top of your inventory.
Did you know? The only relevant item modifier to look out for at this stage of the campaign is ‚+# to Maximum Life‘. You will get damage from other sources. Nevertheless, additional useful modifiers are those who add damage to attacks or increase physical damage (e.g. Iron Rings provide ‚Adds 1 to 4 Physical Damage to Attacks‘). That being said, having the needed links on items in the early game is way more beneficial than having good modifiers.
You can buy (R) War Banner from Nessa in Lioneye’s Watch after completing the quest Breaking Some Eggs. Use this gem as soon as possible. It’s an aura, therefore you have to activate it once (you don’t have to use the active part of this gem).
Did you know? There really is no need to kill all enemies in an area or to take 1v1 fights versus rare enemies during the campaign. Instead, just keep moving forward to kill the next big normal or blue monster pack and finish the quests. A common mistake new players also make is that they overlevel quite often (due to the fact that they full clear areas) and somehow have problems gaining experience due to experience penalties. To avoid this, just make sure your level isn’t more than 4 levels higher than the monster level in the current area. You can see the current monster level at the top right (when pressing TAB).
Did you know? You will soon encounter the boss of Act 1, namely Brutus. Even boss fights in the early game can be quite challenging, especially for new players. A common problem new players run into is that they run out of flasks due to the length of the fight or due to using them too frequently.
Here, a little trick can help: You can use a Portal Scroll before or during the battle and go through the portal in dicey situations which gives you the following two benefits:
All your flasks refill in town
When you re-enter the boss fight through the portal, you are invulnerable for one minute as long as you don’t do any action – this affects any incoming damage, including boss mechanics.
You can repeat this as often as you want as long as you have Portal Scrolls. And: The boss’s life does not reset when you use this trick.
Did you know? Completing all available trials will allow you to access The Lord’s Labyrinth which – once completed – allows you to choose strong powers. You will learn more regarding this later on – for now, you can complete or skip the trials (but keep in mind that you have to do them later anyway – so you might just complete them when you discover them).