Things to know and to do before you even start the game

… don’t use this guide. Why? In my opinion, playing the game for the first time without the influence of external sources is not only fun, but it also lets you experience it in a very unbiased way. Go play the game and explore all the different things. If you feel like you can’t progress due to a lack of damage or because you die too much, come back and follow this checklist. You won’t regret it!

Having a loot filter will enhance your gaming experience by a lot. If you don’t have one, I recommend using this loot filter which is setup for this specific build and highlights the most important items with red and blue colors. Make sure to download it and to save it to the following folder: \Users\User\Documents\My Games\Path of Exile (more experienced players can also use this editable FilterBlade filter).

# Related Links

… you can find the respective pastebin here. (If you don’t know what I am talking about, you are not an experienced player and you can just ignore this :P)

# Related Links

Things to do when you start the game (for the first time)

You can select the loot filter in the ‚Game‘ options menu. If you are not using your own loot filter, it’s highly recommended to use this one (save it to the following path:Users\User\Documents\My Games\Path of Exile).

# Related Links

You can do this by selecting the respective setting in the ‚UI‘ options. This is a simple quality of life improvement.

You can do this by selecting the respective setting in the ‚UI‘ options. If enabled, ‚Screen Shake‘ will make your screen shake whenever you enter combat. Given that there will be a lot of clutter already, this is just an unnecessary annoyance.

You can do this by selecting the respective setting in the ‚UI‘ options. By doing so, numeric values will always be shown above your life/mana bar.

You can do this by selecting the respective setting in the ‚UI‘ options. This is a simple quality of life improvement.

You can do this by selecting the respective setting in the ‚UI‘ options. This is a simple quality of life improvement.

Things to do know about the build in advance

… which means that it’s built around the Toxic Rain skill which is a bow attack skill where you fire multiple arrows in the air, which land and drop spore pods, dealing chaos damage over time and slowing enemy movement speed for their duration. The spore pods explode after a delay, dealing chaos damage. On top of that it’s built around the ‘Champion’ specialization (Ascendancy class) which is limited to the class of the Duelist.

That being said, you won’t use Toxic Rain until you are level 33 because only then the skill unfolds its true potential. Until then, you will use Splitting Steel / Shattering Steel which benefit significantly more from the early skill tree.

.. 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.

… be aware of the following:

  • You want to have a bow with 3-4 links in your stash when you hit level 33
  • You want to have a yellow (rare) quiver in your stash when you hit level 33 (preferably with a ‚# to Maximum Life‘ modifier)
    • Note: In general, quivers don’t have sockets
  • You want to have 2 Rustic Sash belts in your stash as soon as possible (you will use these at a later stage)
  • You want to have at least one mana flask as soon as possible
    • The skills used with this build require quite some mana which is why you want to have at least one mana flask, but don’t hesitate to use 2 of them, if you feel more comfortable then (the best case scenario would be an Enduring Mana Flask which is available on level 16+ mana flasks since It provides the modifier ‚Flask Effect is not removed at Full Mana‘).
  • You want to have some Essences when you hit level 33
    • Essences are items that allow you to add specific, guaranteed modifiers to your items. If you actually get Essences is highly random, but you should come across a few until you hit level 33. Just do them (the monsters that drop Essences are the ones that are trapped in ice, surrounded by other trapped monsters).

By the way: The preset loot filter highlights all mentioned items (red color).

… don’t hesitate to pick up some extra nodes on the skill tree. Some gems require you to have a specific amount of strength and/or intelligence to use them (or to level them up). If that’s the case and you don’t have the required amount, you can take nodes on the skill tree to get additional strength and/or Intelligence. Good options are the +30 nodes near the ‚Hunter’s Gambit‚ node or the ‚Master of the Arena‚ node (if you open the skill tree you can use the search function at the top to find the respective nodes).

… because you use Splitting Steel and Shattering Steel as your main skills which both can only be used with axes and swords. You will switch to a bow and Toxic Rain at level 33.

Leveling uniques are items which have low item requirements although they provide strong powers. Leveling items to look out for with this build and their provided powers are:

  • Tabula Rasa (body armour with 6 linked sockets)
  • Silverbranch (bow with +1 to Socketed Bow Gems)
  • Wanderlust (boots with movement speed)
  • Quill Rain (bow with increased attack speed & increased projectile speed)
  • Goldrim (helmet with elemental resistances)

# Related Links

PoE Trade: Tabula Rasa (Body Armour)
PoE Trade: Quill Rain (Bow)
PoE Trade: Silverbranch (Bow)
PoE Trade: Wanderlust (Boots)
PoE Trade: Goldrim (Helmet)

Last but not least, you have to decide which type of league you want play.

You can choose the following league types:

  • Standard league
    • All characters created here are permanently available in Standard
    • All content, but the current challenge league content (see below) is available
  • Challenge league
    • A challenge leagues offers special content which is only available in that specific league
    • All characters created here are available as long as the challenge league is running (normally ~3-4 months)
    • Once the challenge league is finished, all characters wil be transfered to the Standard league

Additionally, you can choose the following game modes:

  • Default (also known as Trade)
    • You can trade (almost) all items you’ve found with other players
    • You can group up with other players
  • Solo Self-Found (also known as SSF)
    • You play completely alone without any possibility to interact with other players (including trading)
  • Ruthless
    • This is pretty much a masochist version of the default game mode with a lot of changes which make it significantly harder to progress
    • Ruthless can be played as a trade league or as an SSF league

Last but not least, you can choose an additional difficulty:

  • Hardcore
    • A character’s death is permanent, any items they were wearing are lost and the character becomes a standard league character.

Which type, mode and difficulty you play depends on your personal preferences.

I personally recommend any new player to play the default Challenge League with trade enabled (on the league selection screen, this would be the option in the middle without any other options selected). It’s less punishing and gives you more options in terms of item aquisition.