• Things I Hate About Path of Exile

    I’ve been playing Path of Exile for over 6 months now and I’ve enjoyed it quite a lot. After awhile though you start noticing various problems with any game and PoE is no different, despite still being in beta. There are some game aspects that are just frustrating or confusing and lately it’s been infuriating me on occasion. Here’s my top list of issues I have with this game.

    1. Trading

    Public Parties window

    No wonder it’s filled with people trying to trade.

    For a game based so much on loot making trading with other players so inconvenient is a mysterious move in my opinion. It’s becoming increasingly annoying for me to try and trade currencies to other players. Usually it involves me spamming at least five different trade channels only to be replied by players who are just trying to take advantage of me, which amounts to borderline scam. For some reason everyone expects a 30% or higher profit yield in currency exchanges and even refuse to negotiate for a reasonable ratio. I often spend an hour or two just sitting idly in Sarn just waiting for someone to offer a regular trade ratio.

    And I shouldn’t even mention trading items. Unless you have a valuable Unique or a GG item chances are you won’t sell it. Again even with somewhat valuable items that are worth a few GCPs you’ll spend hours spamming channels only to be replied by offers of 1 Alchemy and such. It’s no surprise that the public parties window is laden with people selling and buying items and currency, when there’s no alternative system in place to facilitate more convenient trades between players.

    Furthermore making forum topics with shops and/or relying on 3rd party services to help you sell items is just ridiculous for any game. GGG has mentioned that some kind of a trading system will be put in place before the game’s release, and that can’t come any sooner. For those hardass players who are in favor of the current trading system, all I can say is Diablo II was released over a decade ago and it’s time for you to move on. Trading via forums or chat doesn’t make trading impossible, just inconvenient. GGG should encourage trades rather than hinder them, but that’s just my 2c.

    The best solution would be to add an auction house, at least for the casual Standard league. It’s a proven system for trading in online games and it’s unlikely it would be a difficult implementation.

    2. Dependance on Kaom’s Heart

    Edit: fixed in patch 1.0.0. Base character health increased, Kaom’s Heart down to 500 health.

    Kaom's Heart

    Luckily it dropped for me, otherwise I’d still farm for it after 6 months of playing.

    Currently my build doesn’t provide much room to remove Kaom’s. By significantly nerfing health bonuses from the passive skill tree in a recent patch GGG has in my opinion made a huge mistake. Before you could have insanely high health and truth be told it needed to be reduced, but by reducing health nodes in the skill tree I am now even more dependent on using Kaom’s Heart. By removing it with my current gear I’m left with 2,700 health which is hardly enough for high-level map farming. And there’s no alternative: with the old health values in my passive I could have 4,000 HP fairly easily and using Kaom at that point wouldn’t be mandatory, in fact I’d gladly remove it.

    It doesn’t seem okay that an entire playstyle is viable only because of one item. Anyone who plays melee builds very likely has to get Kaom’s or risk dying far too often. One solution would be to reduce Kaom’s bonus health by half but increase health nodes in the passive tree to the previous amounts. Likelihood of that happening though is extremely slim.

    3. RNG

    Soul Taker

    30 days of /played and I still can’t afford this.

    This might come off the wrong way but I’ll include it anyway since it frustrates me beyond belief at times. First of all I don’t mind farming and grinding, in fact I believe it’s one aspect of the game that keeps me going. I’m always hopeful to get a valuable item or at the very least farm enough currency to buy one. However when you’re farming 30 hours a week and get nothing out of it but some low-value currency you start to get increasingly vexed by the futility of the time invested. Looting an amazing item is fun, it keeps me playing, but farming currency to hopefully be able to afford one some day kind of puts me off.

    If you could get currency more consistently then playing for hours on end would feel more rewarding. A possible solution would be to make sure that for (example) every 5 thousand mobs you kill in maps your chances of getting an Exalted Orb increase exponentially up to the point where a drop is almost guaranteed. It would make farming more consistent in terms of value gained and make it at least a bit more bearable. Just this past week I did well over 100 68+ map runs and got nothing out of it; the most valuable loot I got is a couple of Regret and Chaos Orbs. Vendoring hundreds of rare items for Alterations and picking up every single Chromatic won’t get me near Soul Taker anytime soon.

    Here’s something to put things into perspective for you. I have 40 days played (that’s 960 hours spent in game) and all I got to show for it is a total net value of 50 Exalted Orbs (half of which is due to one lucky drop). Barely enough to buy two GG Unique items for my build, Kaom’s Heart and Soul Taker. Is that a reasonable reward for the time invested?

    Path of Exile has numerous character builds I’d love to try out but it’s so damn expensive. It’s not enough to simply level a character to 80+, you need to spend hours upon hours farming maps for specific items to make it viable. Farming hundreds of maps also brings me to my next two points.

    4. Leveling past 85

    Don’t get me wrong, leveling to 100 should be nearly impossible and unattainable to only but a few who can dedicate a gigantic amount of time and effort it takes. But getting stuck at level 85 or so (or 87 in my case) feels like I’ve yet to reach “high-level”. I like the fact that levels are always the carrot on a stick and it’s just one of the reasons why I keep logging in. But unless you have access to 73+ maps  leveling past 87 is nearly impossible. I get less than 1% of my level for a full map run, and chances are every 10-15 runs I’ll do something dumb and die only to lose 3-4 hours of gameplay, experience wise. Getting to those maps requires either a huge amount of currency or friends with huge amounts of currency, neither of which I’m in abundance.

    Getting plenty of 72+ maps to be able to farm consistently is an entirely different problem.

    5. Sustaining map pools

    Maps

    All my 66 and 67 maps. I barely have any higher level though, and even when I do I quickly run out.

    The only maps I always managed to have plenty of are 66s. A couple of weeks ago I spent an Exalted to buy sixty 68 maps just to try and get a bit closer to higher level maps, again. I managed to turn those 60 maps into about a hundred total but right now I’m almost out of 68s. I did get about fifteen 69s and six 70s but I quickly ran out of those. Sustaining a high-level map pool to me seems impossible if RNG isn’t in your favor. Frankly, spending 4 Chisels and a few Scouring + Alchemy Orbs to get 80+ quantity is a noticeable investment and then not getting a single map drop is irritating. Just yesterday I was in some public group doing blue 70 maps for an hour or so and the guy always got 1-2 level 70 maps in every single run despite extremely low quantity (usually about 20%).

    I tried buying 70 maps, I rolled mazes and 100%+ quantity and whatnot and if the RNG doesn’t favor you it makes absolutely no difference. Sooner or later I fall back to farming 66 maps, hoping to get a few 67s or 68s, all the while spending currency to roll them which barely gets back my investment. From what I can gather most players start having problems with sustaining their 72+ map pools; I can’t seem to get even near that level. Considering I don’t gain any experience from < 72 maps farming them also feels completely futile, and I might as well farm Docks or Lunaris.

    Basically, it doesn’t feel right that unless you have friends in high places you’re getting denied the full endgame experience.

    6. Magic Find

    I feel it’s unfair that having Increased Item Quantity & Rarity is exclusive to practically one build in the game. If this trend continues Sporkers are soon going to be played by half of the population, and the builds popularity is in no way surprising. It’s cheap to get started with and requires practically no defensive stats all the while yielding currency at a consistent rate. With every other skill tree build your gear must focus on defensive and offensive stats, and Sporkers only have to get IIQ/IIR and they’re more than ready for Merciless Docks. I hate to bring another game into the discussion, especially one so hated by the PoE community, but Diablo III had an interesting system implemented in a later patch where Magic Find was a base character stat depending on level rather than being exclusively gained through equipment.

    Considering some of the other points I outlined above perhaps such a system wouldn’t be entirely wrong in Path of Exile either, because getting gear with health, resistances and damage is hard enough without having to think about IIQ & IIR as well.

    7. Item Filtering

    Loot

    In some maps this covers the entire screen. Good luck finding valuable whites this way.

    If you ever did Coward’s Trial you know why there’s a need for item filtering options. Sometimes there’s so much loot that you literally can’t even see or pick it up because it goes over your screen boundaries. Even in regular maps there are often dozens of monsters and a boss at the same place and you have to spend a minute just looking at the loot and see if there’s anything you missed.

    I probably picked up more 6-socket items because someone missed it in the giant blob of text rather than having them actually drop for me. Before loot allocation options were implemented you could at least filter out white items, now it’s either all or nothing. A customizable item filter for white and blue items would definitely be a welcome addition to the game and I can’t possibly see anyone complaining about it.


    In-game passive skill tree planning, more gem choices, useless currencies (Glassblower’s, Transmutation, Augmentation), accuracy stat (awful mechanic), clearer wording (“More” and “Increased”)… Those are just some of the other minor issues that may or may not be fixed, improved or implemented with time. The game is still in beta and GGG has said multiple times Path of Exile is aimed at “hardcore” gamers, but I can’t help but whine about some of the things that irk me on a daily basis. The 7 outlined issues I have with the game are more of a quality of life change rather than making the game overly casual, at least that’s how I feel about it.

    A couple of years ago I asked Chris from GGG for a small favor and although he had no reason he was very forthcoming. For someone as busy as I’m sure he is to take the time of the day to accommodate me is unprecedented and just one of the reasons why I don’t feel bad at all when buying weapon effects and stash tab bundles. I’ve observed the way he and the rest of the company interacts with the community and I’ve grown very fond of the way they do business. I admire their patience and envy their well-deserved success. I’m not their targeted audience though: I’m a casual player and I’m sure some of my opinions differ from what the majority of the community feels.

    It’s the small things that make a game great and Path of Exile is already there. But there’s always room for improvement and I’m certainly hoping that some of the peeves I have will be eventually addressed.

    What annoys you in Path of Exile?

  • How Increased Item Quantity and Rarity Works

    Increased Item Quantity and Rarity

    Increased Item Quantity and RarityI got asked recently about Increased Item Quantity and Increased Item Rarity stats and how they work so hopefully this short post will explain some basics to new players. It’s one of many game mechanics that new players seem to have a hard time figuring out at first although it isn’t as complicated as it may seem.

    Note: IIQ and IIR combined is often referred to as MF – Magic Find.

    What’s Increased Item Quantity?

    Increased Item Quantity (IIQ) affects the number of items dropped by monsters you slay. As a basic example having 100% IIQ would mean you get twice as many items. IIQ affects not only equipment drops but also currency, and is generally considered much more valuable than IIR.

    What’s Increased Item Rarity?

    Item Rarity (IIR) basically determines whether the item dropped will be normal (white), magic (blue), rare (yellow) or unique (brown, orange, or whatever it looks like). Having 100% IIR would mean you get twice as many rare and magic items than you normally would.

    The main difference is that IIQ increases all drops, while IIQ only increases your chance to get rare/unique items.

    What about item Quality?

    There is no stat that affects item quality! The wording in Path of Exile can take awhile to wrap your head around at the start but there is no stat that affects whether items dropped will have +Quality on them. Whether gems, items and flasks have +Quality on them is pure chance. Although technically having more IIQ would increase the amount of items dropped thus increasing your chances to get more +quality items.

    Is IIQ better than IIR?

    IIQ is generally considered better than IIR, most importantly because it affects currency drop rates as well as equipment. However if you’re focusing on high MF you should try to get a good mixture of both stats, so if you have about 50% IIQ try to get at least 150% IIR to go with it. Having a high amount of either IIQ or IIR rather than both can be beneficial but rarely as much as having both.

    Do note that if you’re mostly farming in groups having more IIR is better since a full group already has +250 IIQ (excluding any map bonuses if applicable). If you prefer to farm alone then either get a mixture of both stats, or consider getting high IIR if you want an increased chance to get rare rings and amulets for the Chaos vendor recipe.

    How much IIQ/IIR should you have?

    Dual Spark Totem is currently the main build that focuses on high MF. Most other skill tree builds have to focus on far too many other stats to be able to afford high MF as well. Players with some of the best gear available have +150% IIQ and +450% IIR which is considered an extremely high amount. It is possible to reach high amounts of IIQ/IIR on other builds but it’s ridiculously expensive and to most first-time players well out of reach.

    On most characters/builds having any MF is not considered mandatory in any way. High-level players typically farm in groups where only one player has high MF and he’s the one who finishes most monsters, while others focus on damage. You should always prioritize high defensive stats followed by damage, and any MF you’re able to get is helpful but secondary.

    Yes, IIQ+IIR of the player who deals the killing blow on a monster is the only one that counts!

    Typically when you hit a certain threshold where you can clear Docks or low-level maps with ease you can consider getting MF. Even having 50% IIQ and 100% IIR will give you a noticeable increase in items and currency: the easiest way to notice it is when you start running out of Wisdom Scrolls.

    Conclusion

    Although there are diminishing returns on high amounts of IIQ and IIR there is no sweet spot: the more you have the better. If you can choose to have either IIQ or IIR, IIQ is at least twice as valuable, but if you decide to build a character with high MF then focus on getting both not just one. For solo play IIQ is better than IIR.

    I hope this short guide helps you understand Quantity and Rarity better. If you have any questions or thoughts shoot them in the comments below!

  • Leveling Areas And Tips For Grinding XP

    The Ledge - Path of Exile Screenshot

    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.

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