If you just entered Path of Exile and are looking to level up quickly, you might get intimidated by all the intricacies and mechanics. Its systems are often dark and full of terrors, so it would be reasonable to follow a guide if you’re a newcomer.
Fear not, in this article, we’ve assembled enough information for you to finish the Acts at a reasonable pace and level faster with less attrition.
Buckle in, it’s going to be a lot. Also, don’t forget to use the navigation to your right to find the part you’re most interested in.
Factors contributing to fast progress
Going through the Acts one time is grueling enough. But as new leagues roll in, you’ll have to do it again and again, and knowing the ways of quick leveling becomes that much more important.
Firstly, we’ll list the factors that contribute to the speed of leveling, ranging from the most to the least important:
- Know thy build – plan your build beforehand. It will help you to manage your resources and time;
- Socket and link management, build gems – it’s a good idea to learn what quests give you the gems you need and prepare the items with the required links and colors for them. Knowing the progression of gem builds and socket management is integral to quick leveling;
- Completing quests in a specific order – completing quests in a specific order is actually one of the key aspects to finishing Acts quickly, so we recommend following a dedicated guide;
- Experience management – you’ll need to kill only as many mobs as is necessary to gain enough experience;
- Build trees – Path of Building will save you tons of time;
- Quicksilver flasks and movement skills – despite being helpful, they wouldn’t do much if the previous factors were ignored;
- Location layout — contrary to popular opinion, you don’t really need to know every single location perfectly. Concentrate on memorizing simple static locations and landmarks, but leave perfection for speedrunners.
We’ll elaborate on these points in the following paragraphs. For now, let’s establish the main things to bear in mind if you want efficient leveling in PoE.
Starting the game with a new character, your main objective should be getting through the Acts and unlocking Atlas as fast as possible.
Note that quest progression should be more important than leveling — you can get busy with leveling at any time. Breaking free of the Acts is the goal here. Concentrate on completing the main questline as well as additional quests that reward you with skill points and Lord’s Labyrinth.
Do not focus on the character level at this point. Also, there’s no sense in destroying every single mob or object on location. Items you might get from that aren’t worth the time you spend on them.
Movement speed and teleport use
Since the main objective is to move through the Acts as quickly as possible, it’s only logical to concentrate on your character’s speed. This includes both movement speed and different movement skills.
The skills come in handy when you have to get around obstacles — jogging around would be a considerable waste of time. The choice of your movement skills depends on the build you have. Universal options would be Flame Dash or Dash, but do consider a skill that best fits your build too.
To increase your base movement speed, use Quicksilver Flask and boots’ attributes. Quicksilver Flask can be rewarded for the completion of quests or dropped. Boots can be bought, dropped, or crafted with a recipe. To craft them, use any white quality boots with the necessary links and sockets and any quality Quicksilver Flask.
The speed of movement is also important for switching between locations, and for that, you’ll need to use Portals.
Portal Scroll bypass
Getting enough Portal Scrolls can be a bit of a pain, especially in the early game when they don’t drop too often. To solve this problem, you can try using a little speedrunner trick and re-log.
Go to the character selection menu (click Escape – Character Screen) and then go back into the game again. This will automatically transport your character to the last town you visited.
Note: make sure you’ve unlocked waypoints before re-logging. Otherwise, you’ll have to go through the locations again.
There’s another teleport trick to help you fight some sturdy bosses.
Teleport use for boss fights
Usually, you can use flasks to get around locations. Killing monsters restores your flasks fast enough. However, during boss fights, you can find yourself in a sticky spot with no flasks at hand.
In this case, try creating portals with a Portal Scroll. As soon as you are back in town, your flasks will be full again. Moreover, when you continue your fight, you’ll get a brief invincibility buff, allowing you to ignore dangerous boss skills. The buff will disappear if you move or use your skills or flasks.
This trick will allow you to avoid unnecessary deaths and experience loss.
However, regardless of your speed and teleport use, you won’t get far if you spend too much time on monsters.
Another thing to pay attention to would be the speed of killing monsters.
Again, your goal is to get through the Acts, so don’t bother killing off every single monster, just concentrate on the ones that actually hinder you. If they’re minding their own business, let them be and run by.
Magic monsters (blue) are great for farming experience, they are usually easily destroyed. Rare (yellow) ones are sturdier and harder to bring down, so consider your risks. Whatever the rarity, if you feel you don’t kill them fast enough, it might be a good idea to abandon them and move on to others.
Some of the monsters can also be unique (brown). These have heaps of health and some spectacular skills, making them a pain to kill. Good news is, you don’t have to tackle them all.
While killing unique quest monsters is necessary for quest completion, the rest you can safely ignore. They don’t drop any special rewards nor do they give any impressive amounts of experience. So do yourself a favor and avoid fighting them.
Character levels and experience
Even though reaching high levels isn’t entirely necessary at this point, you’ll still need to keep an eye on the experience you’re getting and the level you’re currently at.
First of all, if the location level is significantly higher than yours, you’ll hardly get any experience for killing monsters — provided you’ll be able to do it at all. So try to kill enough as you go so that your character level isn’t too far behind.
Character level also determines the ability to use and upgrade certain skill gems as well as the number of available skill points.
However, there is a very good reason for having your character stay a bit behind the location level.
The thing is, to gain the full amount of experience for killing monsters, your character should be of a similar level to the monsters. If you are too far above or below their level, you’ll get experience penalties.
The safe zone is character level ± 3 of the monster level. The safe zone increases by one every 16 levels.
For character level 95+, there are additional experience penalties.
|Level Range||Safe Zone|
|1 — 15||3|
|16 — 31||4|
|32 — 47||5|
|48 — 63||6|
|64 — 79||7|
|80 — 95||8|
For example, if you have a level 24 character, your safe zone is 4 levels, and you may kill monsters that are between levels 20 and 28 to gain full experience. For 19 level monsters you’ll get 95% experience, for level 17 — 52.5% experience, for level 15 — 20% experience. The same happens if you get above the recommended monster level.
The rule of thumb here would be to make sure your character is always 3 – 4 levels behind. If you get above the monster level, it means you’re killing too many, so try to skip the encounters whenever possible and concentrate on the quests instead.
It kind of goes without saying, but yeah, try not to get your character killed. You’ll lose experience and, if you die too much, valuable time.
Experience loss depends on your current progress.
- If you die in Acts 1 – 5, you don’t lose any experience;
- If you die in Acts 6 – 10, you lose 5% of experience;
- If you die in Atlas maps, you lose 10% experience.
League content for leveling
Generally speaking, it might be better to avoid league content if your objective is to get through the Acts and unlock the Atlas.
Although the mechanics might sound intriguing, the rewards are usually insignificant compared to what you’ll get in the Atlas content. That’s why it would be more profitable to delay fully participating in the leagues until you’ve unlocked it. Alternatively, at least wait until you’ve begun farming the Blood Aqueduct to make it more worthwhile.
Resistance affects the amount of damage taken from elements. The higher the resistance, the less elemental damage you take.
It’s hard-capped at 75%, but there are certain things that alter the maximum resistance, such as Auras (e.g., Purity of Fire), passive skills (e.g., Survivalist), and unique items (e.g., Kaltenhalt). Incursion rooms and certain map areas may decrease your maximum resistance.
Elemental resistance is one of the primary defense mechanics. A lot of the damage you take is going to be elemental, and the farther along you are, the more of it you’ll take. So it’s important to remember about it as you progress and to make sure you’re upgrading your resistance levels as soon as you can. The goal here would be to increase elemental resistance to 75% when you’ve finished the Acts.
In the beginning, you’ll find rings with resistance attributes, such as Sapphire Ring. Farther along, in Act II, you’ll come across rings with two resistance gems.
Trials of Ascendancy and the Lord’s Labyrinth
As you progress through the Acts, you’ll be coming across Trials of Ascendancy. You need them to get access to the Lord’s Labyrinth. The Trials can be completed in any order, but you’ll need to finish Labyrinths in the order of increasing difficulty.
It is recommended to go through the Trials when you find them. The list is as follows:
Labyrinth 1 (normal)
The Lower Prison, Act 1, contains spike traps.
The Crypt Level 1, Act 2, contains spinning blades.
The Chamber of Sins Level 2, Act 2, contains sawblades.
The Crematorium, Act 3, contains furnace traps.
The Catacombs, Act 3, contains blade sentries.
The Imperial Gardens, Act 3, contains dart traps.
Labyrinth 2: The Cruel Labyrinth
The Prison (Act 6) contains spike traps.
The Crypt (Act 7) contains spinning blades.
The Chamber of Sins Level 2 (Act 7) contains sawblades.
Labyrinth 3: The Merciless Labyrinth
The Bath House, Act 8, contains furnace traps.
The Tunnel, Act 9, contains blade sentries.
The Ossuary, Act 10, contains dart traps.
Labyrinth 4: The Eternal Labyrinth (“Uber Lab”)
Trial of Piercing Truth contains spike traps.
Trial of Swirling Fear contains spinning blades.
Trial of Crippling Grief contains sawblades.
Trial of Burning Rage contains furnace traps.
Trial of Lingering Pain contains blade sentries.
Trial of Stinging Doubt contains dart traps.
When you finish the Labyrinth for the first time, you unlock the Ascendancy class and get points for the Ascendancy skill tree.
Completing the Lord’s Labyrinth is important for your progress. This way, you’ll access your Ascendancy class and skills pretty early on in the game, which will significantly increase your power and propel your progress in the Acts.
We offer you the following plan:
- Complete the first Labyrinth on level 29 – 33. At this point, you’ll be getting extra skill gems, so you should have enough power to kill Izaro;
- The timing of the second Labyrinth depends on the build you’re playing. For most builds, the period between the end of the seventh Act and the beginning of the ninth Act is best. However, some builds need to wait until the end of the tenth Act;
- The third Labyrinth is best completed before you kill Kitava in the tenth Act. It is because after the Kitava encounters your resistance will be decreased.
Quests with passive skill points as rewards
Some quests reward you with passive skill points, thus helping you progress. The list here contains all such quests, although some may be missing depending on your choices in the Bandit quest.
Act 1: The Dweller of the Deep
Act 1: The Marooned Mariner
Act 1: The Way Forward
Act 2: Deal With The Bandits (+2 if you kill all bandits)
Act 3: Victario’s Secrets
Act 3: Piety’s Pets
Act 4: An Indomitable Spirit
Act 5: In Service to Science
Act 5: Kitava’s Torments
Act 6: The Father of War
Act 6: The Puppet Mistress
Act 6: The Cloven One
Act 7: The Master of a Million Faces
Act 7: Queen of Despair
Act 7: Kishara’s Star
Act 8: Love is Dead
Act 8: Reflection of Terror
Act 8: The Gemling Legion
Act 9: Queen of the Sands
Act 9: The Ruler of Highgate
Act 10: Vilenta’s Vengeance
Act 10: An End to Hunger (+2)
Skills for Early Game
When deciding on the skills for the early game, it would be a good idea to choose skills with strong base damage and skills with area damage that don’t require support gems. Also, consider skills that have similar passive trees to the build you intend to create in the end. You can respec later in the game using the points you’ve accumulated through the questlines.
Some of the recommended skills are:
- Arc (especially in synergy with Totem and Trap/Mine builds)
- Armageddon Brand
- Blade Vortex
- Fire Trap
- Freezing Pulse
- Purifying Flame
- Storm Brand
- Static Strike
- Winter Orb
Items for leveling
Items mentioned in this article will have different prices throughout a league. During the first two or three days, some of them will be extremely expensive or not available at all. After the first three days, most unique items will be available. Usually, Tabula Rasa will cost 22 – 24 Chaos Orbs, and Goldrim will cost 3 – 4 Chaos Orbs. After the fifth day, almost all unique items will be cheap. Tabula Rasa will cost 14 – 16 Chaos Orbs, and Goldrim – around 2 Chaos Orbs.
Sockets and socket characteristics
Amount of Sockets
To change the amount of sockets Jeweller’s Orbs or Orbs of Binding are used. Other Orbs don’t influence the amount of sockets available.
The maximum amount of gem sockets in an item depends on the item level:
- All item levels – 1 – 3 sockets
- 25+ level item – 4 sockets
- 35+ level item – 5 sockets
- 50+ level item – 6 sockets.
So, unless we’re talking about Tabula Rasa, in the first Act, you won’t have any items with more than 3 sockets. This includes unique items below level 25, even if you use Jeweller’s Orbs on them. An Orb of Binding, however, can make four sockets regardless of the item level, but it cannot be used on unique items.
While buying unique items, make sure they’re above 25 item level.
Use an Orb of Fusing to link sockets in unique items. On others, you can use an Orb of Binding.
Socket colors you’ll get most often depend on the characteristics you require to use the item:
- Items with high dexterity requirements will most often get green sockets.
- Items with high strength requirements – red sockets.
- Items with high intelligence requirements – blue sockets.
The higher the requirement is, the less often you’ll get other socket colors. For example, Goldrim buffs dodge, making dexterity its main characteristic. This means you’ll most often get green socket colors, but because dexterity requirements are fairly low, you have a chance of getting other colors as well.
Universal items for leveling
In this section, we’ll list items you’ll find useful regardless of your build.
- Quicksilver Flask increases your movement speed by 40% and refills as you kill monsters. It’s a good idea to buy or craft them in advance and have two flasks available at all times;
Silver Flask gives Onslaught, which increases movement and attack/casting speed. Minimum 40 level is recommended;
- Goldrim – a universal helmet, that can be used from 1 level, gives 30% – 40% elemental resistance. Will be helpful for building up your resistance;
Tabula Rasa – universal body armor, can be used from 1 level. Contains 6 links with 6 white sockets giving you the opportunity to use up to 5 support gems and boost your damage;
- Karui Ward – an amulet, can be used from 5 level, gives a 10% increased movement speed, +100 to accuracy rating, +30% projectile speed. Good and universal item to use in the early game even if you don’t use projectiles;
- Seven-League Step – boots, can be used from 1 level, giving the biggest movement speed bonus of 50%. These boots might be costly, but they are definitely worth buying in the early game.
5 way leveling
Once you’ve figured out the basics, the best thing you can do to boost your level is to use the 5 way method.
Once you’ve reached the Domain of Timeless Conflict, find a Map Device and place five emblems in its slots. By default, you only have four slots, but the fifth will be unlocked once you’ve placed the fourth emblem in the slot. You will encounter endless enemies, but once you’ve killed them, you’ll give yourself a huge experience boost and get to 100 level in no time.
5 way is better done with a party. Ideally, there will be a carry, a resetter, and three leechers. Since it can be somewhat problematic to gather a party or do the 5 way run on your own, we suggest you save time and consider our 5 way carry service.
Leveling in Path of Exile can cost you hours of your life, but with our tips, you hopefully will be able to save a considerable amount of time. Stay tuned for more guides on Path of Exile!