Leveling Areas And Tips For Grinding XP

In the easiest difficulty grinding experience is pretty pointless. You’re gaining levels extremely fast and can finish it quite easily without any item or level grinding required. By the time you get to Cruel (second) difficulty you should be over level 30 and you can start farming the first few areas of Act I without much trouble.

Afterwards, you should always try to be at the very least the same level as monsters in a particular area otherwise progression might get difficult, especially if you prefer playing solo and not in groups. Some skill tree builds also aren’t as strong until level 50 or so (dual totems or Freezing Pulse for example) so it’s highly recommended to stay a few levels above the mobs in the zone you’re in. You can take a look at the table below for a quick overview of the monster levels in every zone.

Zone Normal Cruel Merciless Waypoint*
Act I        
The Twilight Strand  1  33  52 Yes
The Coast (Terraces)  2  33  52  
Tidal Island  3  36  58  
Mud Flats  4  34  52  Yes
Fetid Pool  5  39  58  
Submerged Passage  5  34  53  Yes
Flooded Depths  6  37  58  
The Ledge  7  35  53  Yes
The Rocky Climb  8  36  54  Yes
Prison  9  36  54  Yes (Lower)
The Prisoner’s Gate  11  37  55  Yes
The Ship Graveyard  12  38  55  Yes
Ship Graveyard Cave  13  39  59  
The Coves  13  39  55  
Cavern of Wrath  14  39  55  Yes
Act II        
Old Fields  16  41  57  
River Crossings  16  41  57  
The Den (Cave)  17  42  61  
Crossroads  17  42  57  Yes
Fellshrine Ruins  18  42  59  
Blackwood (Dark Forest)  18  42  57  Yes
The Weaver’s Chambers  20  43  58  
Western Forest  21  43  58  Yes
Crypt (Church Dungeon)  21  43  60  Yes (lvl 1)
Chamber of Sins  20  43  58  Yes (lvl 2)
Broken Bridge  21  43  58  Yes
Vaal Ruins  21  44  58  Yes
Wetlands (Pools and Streams)  23  45  59  Yes
Dread Thicket  24  47  60  
Caverns (Waterfall Cave)  25  46  60  Yes
Act III        
The City of Sarn  26  47  61  Yes
Sarn Slums  27  47  61  
Crematorium  28  47  61  Yes
Warehouse District (Warehouses)  29  49  61  Yes (sewers)
Marketplace  29  49  61  Yes
The Catacombs  30  50  67  
Battlefront  30  50  62  Yes
Solaris Temple  31  50  62  Yes (lvl 3)
The Docks  32  50  62  Yes
Sewer Waterway (Sewers Aqueduct)  32  51  63  
Barracks  32  51  64  Yes
Lunaris Temple  33  51  65  Yes (lvl 2)
Imperial Gardens  33  51 66 Yes
The Library  33  51 67 Yes
The Sceptre of God  35  53 67 Yes

I included the waypoint information just in case you need to know which zones have them. If you’re looking for specific quest walkthroughs read this article.

Where to grind levels?

Below are my absolutely favorite areas to grind experience, so if you’re looking to gain some quick levels I suggest you do it here.

Act I: The Ledge

The Ledge - Path of Exile Screenshot

Probably the best of all areas, The Ledge is really straightforward. Monsters include mostly Skeletons which are slow and really easy to mow down either one by one or with AoE skills. There’s also a waypoint in the middle of the zone so you don’t have to spend too many Portal Scrolls if you wish to clear your inventory.

Tip: the “sharp” tip of the waypoint always points towards Kuduku and the next area (Rocky Climb).

In The Ledge I recommend you simply run from one end to another and clear everything along the way. Reset the instance and repeat. Really easy, fast, and like everything else in Path of Exile best done in groups.

Act II: Fellshrine Ruins

Fellshrine Ruins - Path of Exile Screenshot

There are actually a few areas which are equally good for grinding levels in Act II, but Fellshrine Ruins is probably my favorite zone. Take a waypoint to Church Dungeon Level 1, and take the exit to Fellshrine Ruins immediately next to it. In Fellshrine I found it best to simply follow the road, and once you get to Crossroads exit just reset the instance. Rinse and repeat. If you don’t have Church Dungeon waypoints go to Crossroads and just follow the road east.

Monsters in Fellshrine mostly include skeletons and zombies which are both extremely easy to kill, and when you come across Hulking Titans you can easily skip them if you find them hard to kill.

Alternatively Church Dungeon, Western Forest, Pools and Streams and Pyramid are all just as good for farming, so take your pick.

Act III: The Docks

The Docks - Path of Exile Screenshot

Without a doubt The Docks is the best area for experience grinds in Act III on any difficulty. Another area littered with skeletons and zombies who won’t cause you any trouble. There’s plenty of room for kiting, and ranged classes will certainly enjoy killing monsters from safe spots over ledges.

If you’re level 30 or so after finishing Act II, press the magic “S” button and find a group for The Docks. You’ll be level 35 in just a bit over an hour, making progression through early Cruel difficulty much easier. If you’re trying to go on Merciless, you can easily farm this zone until level 60 if you wish and still get plenty of experience.

Docks may be my favorite Act III grinding spot, though it isn’t the most optimal. The typical progression players do (especially in Merciless) is City of Sarn > Catacombs > Library > Lunaris. In Cruel and Normal difficulties I tend to over-farm in Act I & II so I can completely skip XP grinding in Act III.

Endgame Leveling

If you really wanted to you can finish Merciless by the time you hit level 50, although there’s not much point. You can just open up Docks and farm there until you’re level 74 with ease. It’s one of the easiest area to farm, has decent drops so you can upgrade your equipment, and you can even get quite a few maps there to get you started. If you’re around level 62 you should still be getting almost 20% of your level by doing just one full Docks run which takes no longer than 10 minutes in the worst of groups. At level 73 if I remember correctly you’ll get about 8% of your level with one full run which is still a decent amount.

Before doing level 66 maps I would recommend you try and hit at least the same level in non-map areas: it’s extremely easy and even though it’s a grind, that’s what Path of Exile endgame looks like so you might as well get used to it. As for equipment and defenses you should try and max your elemental resistances and get at least 2,000 health (or 3,000 energy shield), otherwise you might end up dying far too often to continuously get experience.

Leveling really slows down after you hit 75, in which case you’ll want to do maps at least level 67, or find a group for Lunaris Temple. By the time you hit level 80 I’m sure you’ll already know what your preferred way of leveling is. Realistically you shouldn’t expect to hit level 100 anytime soon as it takes a tremendous amount of time and effort, but in case you’re planning your character skill tree build you can expect to be level 90 at most.

General leveling tips:

  1. Try grouping up with other players if you’re having trouble progressing, or find a group that just grinds the same area over and over again and farm experience. Once you’re 3-4 levels above the monster’s level in a particular area you should have no problems clearing it alone.
  2. Farming experience in groups for a couple of hours may be boring, but it’s definitely better than dying constantly. Remember that dying on Cruel and Merciless difficulty levels will decrease your experience by 5% and 10% respectively, meaning you’ll eventually have to farm that XP anyway.
  3. Also it doesn’t really matter what level you decide to go grind for experience, you will have to catch up in levels sooner or later. Simply progressing through quests in harder difficulties won’t give you enough experience points and you WILL have to grind. I suggest you do it early while you’re about the same level as monsters in order to maximize your experience gain and loot.
  4. On Cruel and Merciless difficulties try not to have a full XP bar before you engage bosses. In fact I recommend you go attempt to kill bosses just after you gained a level to make sure you lose as little as possible if (or rather when) you die.
  5. It’s always best, fastest and safest to do maps with a full group. If your defenses or damage is lacking don’t be afraid to run in and out of fights and play more passively and safely. Once you figure out you gain 1-3% XP for a full 66 map run dying and losing 10% of your experience is a significant amount of farming.

I do hope this post helps you at least a little bit to powerlevel your characters as quickly as possible, or at the very least make sure you know where to catch up with levels. If you have any other great areas for farming you like or other leveling tips be sure to post them in the comments below.

There are 16 comments left Go To Comment

  1. Joe /

    Good wee website you’ve got here!
    Looks very neat and provides good info about poe. Hope you keep it running :)

    Another good option to farm in act 2 is western forest. You just have to look out for the exploding mobs (stack some fire resists). All you need to do is follow the road & kill (the usually fairly big) groups of mobs.

  2. John /

    Quite a well laid out and informative guide! Thanks for the tips—I had a build in mind similar to this one, but my first attempt to realize it fell a bit short of being effective…time to try it your way :)

  3. tom /

    In act 2 , my preferred area for farming XP is Old fields, u get there immediatly after you’ve done act 1. It’s a one-way path , not to wide and it contains mostly packs of easy-to-kill apes. (IMO it feels a lot like ledge in act 1)

  4. jesse /

    The docks aint the best place to farm exp. Best and fasrest place is right at the begining of act 3. The mobs r only 1 level lower then the ones at the docks but r 10x easier to kill.

  5. Profile photo of kame
    kame /

    why leveling in groups? I find mobs much harder than alone.
    Are there good bonuses? Or is it just for the possibility to escape from a fight in hard moments?

    ( i ‘m quite noob, just began playing :P )

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      Admin / Post Author

      If your equipment and damage is good then leveling solo is probably faster, but when you start killing monsters too slow it’s easier to just group up and let others “carry” you. Also, the damage is always spread out to multiple players so there’s a lower chance you’ll get focused by a group of mobs and die. You also get the benefit of additional auras which can be helpful as well, and you don’t have to waste time picking off that single stray skeleton who for some reason went to other side of the screen.

      You can breeze through Normal and even Cruel difficulty, but it gets harder in Merciless unless you’re ahead in levels, so grouping is often the best solution.

      1. Profile photo of kame
        kame /

        Thank you very much

  6. norathem /

    Could you maybe explain the side effects of playing in a group.
    Me and a friend recently started playing this game. We play HC and only in our 2 man group. So far we are level 50 while we just finished Solaris Temple in Cruel. It seems like we are getting alot more XP as so far we’ve never farmed nor even killed every monster on the maps … we did every side area though.

    However we are not “breathing” through the content as from time to time there are quite mean mobs who nearly killed us. (We have decent equip and a defensive build with lots of hp% stuff etc – both of us got more than 2000hp, atleast 60% res and atleast 50% dmg reduction). So are mobs much more difficult or is this just poe or are we missing something?

    The last time i got nearly killed by one of the mages lighning thornes armor in battlegrounds, I got something around 9% lifeleach but it was 3 hits and i was at around 5% hp

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      Admin / Post Author

      It’s safer to play in groups for two main reasons. First is auras, second the damage you take is spread on multiple targets (players) so not all mobs focus you. Regardless of the number of players monster damage remains the same, only their health increases with each additional player in the instance.

      There is no increased or decreased experience gained from killing monsters in groups, you get exactly the same amount (official confirmation from patch 0.9.13e).

      The biggest downside to playing in groups for most players is lag. Some abilities can cause FPS drops on low-end machines which doesn’t happen as often when you solo. Additionally if your gear is really good it’s likely you’ll clear stuff faster, but on the other hand if your equipment is lacking having just one players with above average items can carry you through tougher areas.

      Also Lightning Thorns are a problem for many characters, especially for crit-based physical damage builds. High health pool and maxed lightning resistance helps. Since you’re about to hit Merciless you’ll probably want to max all your elemental resistances and stay about 6-8 levels ahead of the areas to be safe. Here’s a few tips that might help.

  7. Jiaozy /

    Great leveling guide, but since release it’s a bit outdated.

    In Act 3 Merciless, it’s more efficient and safe to grind City of Sarn till 68-70 (only 1 level lower than docks) and then start farming Library or Catacombs, the first is faster to farm since it has one entrance and one exit, so you can run the zone without ever going to town, and a Unique monster while Catacombs has little higher XP but to farm it you have to go TP -> WP to Marketplace -> reset Catacombs, making it a bit slower.

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      Admin / Post Author

      You’re right: Docks isn’t the no-brainer top farming spot like it used to be. Personally I still prefer it over any other area in Act III, but Catacombs and Library are better for experience grinding since there’s a lot more monsters there. I never really liked City of Sarn, it’s too small for my taste and I feel like I spend more time resetting the instance than farming.

      I edited the original post slightly to at least include a mention of the other Act III areas.

      1. Jiaozy /

        I spent a few hours grinding both Sarn and Docks and the XP/hr was higher in Sarn, because of bigger packs, ease of reset, less backtracking and easier mobs, but ot each his own I guess! :)
        City also has the added bonus/problem of Perpetus, if you can manage to take him down it’s a fair chunk of XP and loot, otherwise is very risky even if easy to avoid!

  8. Vurts /

    Great job on this guide and the site in general. Really useful. Well-written and informative. See you in guild chat =)

  9. poe orbs /

    That’s one of the best guides on leveling I have seen recently. I had no idea some items could work this way, simply loved it (with 20 chaos I got to 60 within 1 day like this)

  10. poeorbs /

    Any chance to update the guide?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      Admin / Post Author

      Unlikely for the time being.

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