Choosing A League
Before we get to choose our character and dive into the world of Wraeclast, Path of Exile offers 3 different league types for you to choose from with an additional option of playing Solo Self Found. As a beginner, we recommend starting with the current challenge league.
What Are Challenge Leagues?
Roughly every 3 months Grinding Gear Games will introduce a new temporary challenge league. Challenge leagues bring new and exciting content to the world of Path of Exile, an example would be “Delve” which introduced a whole new end-game system to the game, this is amazing for us because it gives Path of Exile a ton of replayability – I’ve been coming back every league for over 3 years now! Path of Exiles League Selection Screen
Solo Self-Found & Hardcore
Once you’ve garnered more experience in the world of Path of Exile you may want to try Solo Self-Found, Hardcore or both at the same time. Solo Self-Found (also referred to as SSF) essentially turns your league into single-player, with the exception of talking to players, you cannot form parties with other players which means using the trading system is no longer an option – you’ll learn how to play the game completely independently. SSF offers no additional perks to a trade league it is simply a play-style some people prefer.
Hardcore leagues are exactly the same as “soft-core” challenge leagues with one change – if you die in hardcore your character will be kicked from the challenge league and placed in the Standard league (Not the soft-core challenge league), if you choose this route, say hi to Hillock for me.
Let’s Get Started
Now we know what league we’ll be playing let’s go ahead and dive into Path of Exile. On your first run of Path of Exile, you’ll be able to select one of six possible classes. The Scion is the 7th class in Path of Exile, she is playable when you have freed her from The Upper Sceptre of God in Act 3. Path of Exile’s Character Selection Screen
Choosing a Class
Each class has its own unique starting point on the passive skill tree in Path of Exile, essentially setting a premise of what type of attribute you’d be building on, for example, The Duelist starting point is at the bottom of the tree which can build towards the right side, predominantly dexterity, or the left side, predominantly strength. This allows the duelist to be versatile in builds meaning you could build an evasion/dexterity bow character or a tanky face-tanking melee character. In turn, the Witch starts at the top which is intelligence, this means you’d be a lot squishier starting with a Witch than a Duelist. A breakdown of the attribute spread on the passive skill tree.
Despite the starting attributes of a class you do not have to commit to building your skills around that element, Path of Exile’s versatility lets you create unique builds for every class, a classic example of this would be the Strength Stacking Necromancer build for the Witch class.
Choosing your class can be tricky, do you want to use a sword and cut and slice away your foes? Or perhaps you’d rather have an army of undead following you slaughtering the content for you while you focus on positioning and looting? Here we’ll provide a breakdown of the most common ways classes go including some build guides for starting your character.
The Duelist (Strength & Dexterity)
The Duelist is one of my personal favourite classes, he is adept at building tanky and slicing enemies away with skill builds like Cyclone to absolutely crush the endgame content up-close and personally. Alternatively, if you’re a player who likes to stay far away from enemies and barrage them with arrows, you could try one of the many bow builds the Duelist is capable of such as a puncture bleed bow build. Either way, if you’re new and ready to jump straight in I’d personally recommend trying the Duelist out.
The Maurader (Strength)
The Maurader is the behemoth of the classes, he starts with pure strength so he is extremely tanky compared to the other classes at the start of the game. The Maurader typically only uses melee weapons such as Maces, Staves and Swords. The Maurader has some cool and interesting variants to his builds, if you’d like to one-hit your opponents with powerful slams that literally smash the ground from your raw strength perhaps you’d like to try the tectonic slam build.
The Ranger (Dexterity)
The Ranger, as you may have guessed, is an excellent character for wielding bows and dodging attacks from afar. The Ranger is great at zooming from content and annihilating it quickly without any real threat to her health as long as she’s at a distance, she typically builds into evasion which can give her up to 95% chance to evade if you can reach that high. If you’d like to give the Ranger a try perhaps you’d like to start with a tornado shot build.
The Shadow (Dexterity & Intelligence)
The Shadow is a high DPS, typically squishier character. The Shadow has excellent clear-speed and typically insane boss DPS, he specializes in chaos damage, traps & mines and critical builds. If you’re new and want a cheap but effective build where you don’t mind pressing a few more buttons, you may be interested in a toxic rain miner build. Alternatively, if mines don’t tickle your fancy, you could try out an essence drain chaos damage over time build.
The Templar (Strength & Intelligence)
The Templar is a tanky, diverse class that can make almost any spell feel good to play with. The Templar has a well-sized HP pool, puts out a lot of spell damage and can even use their spells through totems if they want. If you’re looking for a build that’s laid back and only requires a few button presses to wipe content out maybe try out the ballista totem support build. Alternatively, if you feel like setting yourself on fire and ploughing through mobs to burn them to death you could try our righteous fire build.
The Witch (Intelligence)
The Witch is my other favourite class, she specializes in spell damage, chaos damage & summoning hordes of undead minions to fight for her. Despite starting on an intelligence only zone, the Witch can be built to be incredibly tanky, by that by hoarding of masses of energy shield, or having up to a total of 70 active summons at one single time (yes it’s possible). If a chilled out summoner playstyle where your minions destroy the content for you sounds interesting, try out a zombie summoner build. Alternatively, if you’d like to fry your enemies with heaps of lightning from your bare hands, I’d recommend checking out Enki’s Arc Witch
on the official Path of Exile forum.
The Scion (Strength, Dexterity & Intelligence)
The Scion is a class that isn’t playable initially, you must free her from the Upper Sceptre of God in Act 3 of the Path of Exile main story. The Scion is a rounded character with even attributes unlike the rest, she can also start at any point in the skill tree after she has ascended in the Emperor’s Labyrinth.