.. 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.
The preset loot filter highlights Thicket Bows with an itemlevel (ilvl) of 64 or higher (red color). You can see the itemlevel by pressing ALT when you mouse over the item.
You might ask yourself „Why does the bow need to have an itemlevel 64 or higher?“ – The reason why is that specific modifiers have specific level requirements in regards to the item. In your case, you want to have a chance to get the ‚+2 to Socketed Bow Gems‘ modifier which is only available on items with an itemlevel (ilvl) of 64 or higher (check the next task for details on how to craft your early endgame bow).
Once you have found a normal itemlevel 64+ Thicket Bow, you can start to craft your early-endgame bow
In order to acquire your early endgame bow, follow these steps:
1. Get a normal or magic Thicket Bow (ilvl 64+)
- The preset loot filter highlights Thicket Bows with ilvl 64 or higher (red color). Note: If you only find a rare one, you can use an Orb of Scouring to make it normal.
2. Use Blacksmith’s Whetstones to increase the quality of the bow
- A Blacksmith’s Whetstone increases the quality of weapons. Quality does not only increase the base modifiers, but also increases the chance to get the maximum number of sockets when using Jeweller’s Orbs (see 3.) and the maximum number of links when using Orbs of Fusing (see 4.). The default maximum quality of an item is 20%. The amount of quality added to an item per usage of a Blacksmith’s Whetstone depends on the rarity of the item: normal item = +5% quality | magic item = +2% quality | rare/unique item = +1% quality).
3. Use an Orb of Transmutation to make the bow magic (if it’s normal)
- An Orb of Transmutation upgrades a normal item (only) to a magic item and adds up to two random modifiers to it. If your bow is rare, you can use an Orb of Scouring on it to make it normal. Then use an Orb of Transmutation.
4. Use Orbs of Alteration until the bow has ‚+1 Socketed Bow Gems‘ as a modifier
- An Orb of Alteration randomly rerolls the modifiers of a magic item. Magic items can have up to two modifiers. There’s a chance you can get ‘+2 Socketed Bow Gems’, but wouldn’t recommend going for this if you don’t have a tremendous amount of Orbs of Alteration (which is pretty unlikely).
5. Use an Orb of Augmentation to add another modifier to the bow
- An Orb of Augmentation allows you to add an additional random modifier to a magic item if it only has one modifier since magic items can have up to two modifiers. If your bow already has two modifiers, you can skip this task.
6. Use Jeweller’s Orbs to create at least 4 sockets
- A Jeweller’s Orb changes the amount of sockets on an item. The amount of sockets you get on usage is random (so you might need to use several of them on an item to get the amount of sockets you want). One-Handed Weapons and Shields can have a maximum of 3 sockets. Gloves, Helmets and Boots can have a maximum of 4 sockets. Two-Handed Weapons and Body Armours can have a maximum of 6 sockets. Note: If you were lucky and you’ve looted an Orb of Binding already, you can use it instead since it has a 100% chance to add 4 sockets and 4 links to the item.
7. Use Orbs of Fusing to get 4 linked sockets
- An Orb of Fusing changes the links between sockets. The amount of links you get on usage is random (so you might need to use several Orbs of Fusing on an item to get the amount of links you want). Note: If you’ve used an Orb of Binding in the step before, you can skip this one.
8. Use Chromatic Orbs to get 4 linked green sockets
- A Chromatic Orb changes the colors of sockets. Socket colors you get on usage are partly random. Which colors are more likely to appear is determined by the item base type and its associated modifiers. Here, the rule of thumb is: Armour/Strength is related to red sockets; Evasion/Dexterity is related to green sockets; Energy Shield / Intelligence is related to blue sockets. (For example: An item with Energy Shield / armour and a stat requirement of 10 Intelligence and 5 Strength has a higher chance to get blue sockets rather than red socket and green sockets are quite rare). That being said, you might need to use several Chromatic Orbs on an item to get the colors you want.
9. Use a Regal Orb to make your bow rare
- A Regal Orb upgrades a magic item to a rare item. Rare items can have up to six modifiers.
10. Use your Crafting Bench to craft attack speed on the bow (if possible)
- The Crafting Bench lets you craft a modifier onto items or modify sockets and links at the cost of currency. It can be found in your hideout which is unlocked after freeing Helena in Act 2 (you’ve completed this quest already). In general, useful modifiers are (in order of importance):
- +#% Chaos Damage Over Time Multiplier
- Increased Damage Over Time
- Increased Chaos Damage
- Increased Attack Speed
- +#% Elemental Resistances (Fire, Cold or Lightning)
- Adds X to X Cold/Fire/Lightning Damage
Most of the named modifiers are most likely not available to you if this build is your league starter. For now, just pick one that is available to you.
Trade League players can also check the PoE trade website for a decent bow (but note that these items will most likely be overpriced at league start):
Once you’ve found an Eternal Mana Flask, use Orbs of Alteration to roll for the ‚Flask effect is not removed when Unreserved Mana is Filled‘ (=Enduring) modifier as well as the ‚Removes Curses on Use‘ modifier (=of Warding). Getting both modifiers on this flask will give you an ‚Enduring Eternal Mana Flask of Warding‘. This will be your endgame flask, so don’t hesitate to use Glassblower’s Bauble to increase its quality which enhances their duration as well as their base modifiers.
Note: In case you roll ‚Flask effect is not removed when Unreserved Mana is Filled‘ (=Enduring) as the only modifier on your flask and if you’ve killed some yellow or red beasts (the ones you hunt together with Einhar) during the campaign, you can go to The Menagerie to check out if you can beastcraft the ‘of Warding’ suffix. You can do so by putting the flask into the Altar, selecting ‘Adds „of Warding“’ and by defeating the wave of monsters that spawns. In order to go to The Menagerie you have to go to a waypoint and then click on the respective icon on the right side of the waypoint map.
In case you’ve skipped any quests which grant you skill points as a quest reward, it’s now the time to do them. You can find a list of all these quests here. If you are a new player, I’d just recommend completing all remaining quests in Act 1-10. You can identify not completed quests by opening the waypoint map (U). Not completed quests are displayed as blue squares (at the bottom).
You will do The Merciless Labyrinth soon, so there’s no benefit in skipping this now. Trials of Ascendancy are mazes within specific areas of the campaign – in this case, The Ossuary.
Do this now since you will do The Merciless Labyrinth next. You can find all trial locations here.
Once you’ve completed The Merciless Labyrinth you can invest 2 additional Ascendancy skill points. Here, you want to go for Inspirational next.
You can find the respective option at the end of the room on the top right side (don’t go through the portal before you’ve chosen your Ascendancy skills – otherwise you have to redo the whole Labyrinth).
Note: The layout of The Merciless Labyrinth changes on a daily basis. You can find the optimal pathing for the current day here.
You can buy (R) Defiance Banner from Yeena in The Forest Encampment in Act 2. Use it as soon as possible in your aura & utility setup (preferably helmet), which should now look like this:
- (B) Malevolence
- (R) Determination
- (B) Despair
- (R) Defiance Banner
Note: Defiance Banner is an aura, so you have to activate it once, but unlike Vitality or Malevolence this aura also is an active skill. Here’s a short explanation of how it works: While having the aura activated, you will gain banner stages over time. Once you use the aura/skill again, the aura deactivates and you get additional buffs for at least 10 seconds. The effect of the buffs and their additional duration are dependent on the number of stages you had when you used the skill. Normally, you want to use the active part in dangerous situations only. Once you are safe again, press the skill to reactivate the aura (it’s basically a toggle) – by the way: the buffs disappear as soon as you reactivate the aura.
And just so you know: Normally, Defiance Banner would also have mana reservation costs, but since you’ve chosen Inspirational (see task before) banner skills have no reservation, but you can only have one active banner as a trade-off.
You will receive 2 skill points as a reward for killing Kitava in Act 10 by talking to Lani in the Karui Shores.