How to Start Leveling in PoE

John Miller 0

A guide for beginners

Path of Exile gives players a lot to think about, such as where to go in the passive skill tree, what to loot, what to keep, and what to sell. Plus, skills come from gems that need to be slotted into equipment. Then, there’s the fact that there’s no money system, and PoE trade is quite important for progress. All these can overwhelm a beginner and could discourage them from playing the game. This article will try to introduce all these systems so they can better understand the game.

Building Your Character

There’s no way to go about it, you have to take a leveling build first before getting to your endgame one. For one thing, you wouldn’t have the necessary passive or support gems at the beginning. Another reason is that endgame builds need endgame equipment, which is inaccessible when you’re at level 1.

The recommendation is to take a leveling build that lets you get closer to your chosen endgame build. That means using a leveling build with a big overlap in passives and equipment mods. Otherwise, you’ll have to stock up on Orbs of Regret, which makes all your effort thus far moot. Also, it’s a pain to respec all the skills you need again.

Here are some recommended leveling skill gems, though you still have to check which one would synergize with your endgame goals.

  • Arc
  • Blade Vortex
  • Vortex
  • Armageddon Brand
  • Purifying Flame
  • Winter Orb

Otherwise, your build can have a recommended leveling build you can follow. That’s preferable because that way, you’re sure to know that it would work.


PoE Items are important in the game. When trade relies on a barter system, all active skills are actual PoE items, and clearing maps result in your character being knee-deep in loot, that’s a given. Now, a beginner whose first time seeing the last item on that list might get overwhelmed with all the item names covering the whole screen (yes, it can happen).

That’s why knowing what to loot and learning how to let go is important. Your character only has a limited inventory after all, and looting and keeping each and every drop isn’t efficient nor possible. It’s better to know and learn this early in the game so you’re well-practiced by the time the game turns it up to eleven.

Veterans recommend Neversink’s Loot Filter paired with FilterBlade to keep irrelevant and junk PoE items out of view. By tweaking and tuning filters, only what’s important and valuable to you will be shown, and you don’t have to wade through piles of loot to find them.

This also has the side effect of saving time. Since you don’t have to parse and root through what a ton of mooks dropped, you can just pick up what’s on your screen and go your merry way. Of course, you should keep looking for upgrades to your gear, but keep in mind you’ll be replacing them soon.

PoE Currency and Crafting

There isn’t a fixed money system with gold, silver, and copper in this game. Trades and vendors operate on a barter system, which resulted in players considering a category of Path of Exile items as PoE currency. That’s the Orbs and crafting materials, and it also includes scrolls and fragments. These PoE items are pretty common, and that’s also what vendors use to trade, which is why they became the unofficial currency.

Now, with them being the method of crafting, many beginners would ask ‘should I start crafting early?’. A valid question, but veterans would always recommend avoiding it at first. For one thing, when you’re leveling, the turnover of new gear is pretty quick. After gaining a few levels, you’ll be due for an upgrade, which would waste the orbs you used on your crafted gear.

Crafting should be done in or near the endgame, when leveling up slows down and it’s harder to find better gear. Plus, since crafting requires currency, you can use your currency to buy what you need instead. It’s faster and quite cheap, so you don’t need to worry about your savings.

So, you don’t have to worry about crafting just yet, and go and level your character first.

If you need gem links on your gear, just set your filters to show what you need. Alternatively, you can check the hub vendors for what you need.

Leveling Gems

You can start your skill gem collection early, and once you get the gear with the proper links, you can start leveling up your endgame skill. Slot the gems you want to be leveled onto an alternate weapon and equip that on your secondary weapon slot. Even if you’re not using it, the gems on the alternate weapon still get experience and level up.

Now, some builds recommend that gems stay at a low level, to increase the chances of their effects activating. To keep these gems from leveling, all you have to do is ignore the level-up notification. Well, you can also just unequip them once they reach the desired level.

Made a mistake? Just trade in the gem with an Orb of Regret to a vendor, and they’ll give back the same gem one level lower.

Start Your Journey as an Exile on the Right Foot

Armed with this knowledge, you should be able to level up smoothly and learn what you need to as you play. Yes, the game can dump so much information on players, so to keep from overwhelming yourself, take it one step at a time. It’s also good to ask for help from veterans, and the game’s community is friendly enough to give a helping hand.

Most importantly, you should find it in yourself to enjoy the game! If the gameplay isn’t for you, no matter how much you try to understand the systems, you’ll still feel unsatisfied. When that happens, the best thing you can do is to move on to another game. That is unless you still have a strong motivation to know the story or complete some challenges. In which case, all you can do is to tough it out and maybe the game will grow on you.

At any rate, hope you find enjoyment in the game, and have fun playing Path of Exile!