Solo Self-Found (SSF) is an official game mode in Path of Exile, similar to choosing Hardcore in Diablo 3 when creating a character. The idea behind it is simple: you are on your own, unable to group up or trade with anyone else. In PoE, trading is an integral part of the game to find the right equipment and build your endgame character. In Diablo 3, most items are account-bound by default and trading is limited only to people in the same game (although this was different back in the game's original release). Regardless, grouped players can farm Greater Rifts for Paragons and Bounties for items much more efficiently than solo players.
Even without an official SSF mode in Diablo 3, some people enjoy restricting themselves to this style of play for various reasons, can't find teammates to play with or simply play on their own by default. Accomplishing your goals all by yourself can feel very rewarding, and the way you approach the game changes since there is no one around to give you a hand. Everything is up to you. You have to grind every single character you want to play without leeching or getting carried. You have to make difficult gearing decisions because there is no loot-share or efficient bounty grinding. You can't unlock high Greater Rift Tiers easily in group play and then solo push any level you want. You have to boost all your Legendary Gems by yourself.
Today we want to discuss important things we've learned to be successful when playing SSF. We hope this article encourages you to try this playstyle and show the world what you're made of!
- Start your season with a top tier farming build for the initial season start grind, then transition to the weaker builds/classes you want to play later.
- Understand well how to build your character. Know which items to go for first (the biggest damage multipliers and survivability boosts) and how you can play around the RNG of loot early on.
- Don't lose time on the journey from 1 to 70. Read our Leveling Guide and practice a run or two before the season starts!
- Acquire your Haedrig's Gift set quickly to jump into endgame farming right away.
- Use the Cube Recipe 4 (Reroll Set Item) to finish your first set quickly when you have extra copies of an item. If you have extra materials, rerolling them additional times can be quite valuable to score the correct rolls on non-ancient pieces.
- Avoid slow, difficult runs early in the season. Always play at a difficulty where you destroy everything to level up and acquire your first set of gear. As a rule of thumb, trash should die instantly to your attacks, and Elites shouldn't live longer than 5 seconds under any circumstances.
- After major power spikes, level up your main gems but don’t go to the point where you risk failing the GR timer.
- Level up a Boon of the Hoarder (acquired from your first Puzzle Ring) immediately to generate Gold in T16 Rifts for empowering GRs. This gem also helps you to power level your alts later on (combined with Goldwrap).
- After setting up your main farming build, work on the first set of Augments for a tremendous damage and toughness boost. Lastly, level all other main gems you want to use for other builds.
- Town is Lava! You should be doing keys or GRs 95% of the time. Greater Rifts are the only effective way to gain Paragon Points, Augments and gem-ups, which all have a massive impact on your final power level. Since we're by ourselves, Bounties take way too long to be worth it, except for cases described below.
- Use the 30sec downtime between Nephalem Rifts as efficiently as possible: Clean up your inventory or stash, reroll items at the Mystic, cube items or run a Bounty to eventually complete a full cache. When doing this, just remember to enter the next Rift as soon as possible. If you really want to tryhard, simply leave the game and create a new one to forgo most of the closing timer.
- Complete the Challenge Rift every single week (even at times when you don't play much otherwise) for some quick bounty materials.
- Create a top-notch Follower setup, especially for builds running with Enforcer that can use the all skills or 50% cooldown reduction relics. Check out our Follower guide for full details!
- If you need to roll off-class mainstats on items for your Followers, make a level 1 character with the mainstat you're looking for and reroll them at the Mystic.
- If you’re playing a long season and are aiming for P3000 or beyond, maximizing XP is the key. After P2500 you can start farming T16 for Pools of Reflection and then blasting Speed GRs in tandem for a colossal 40% XP boost, allowing you to grind keys and Paragons at the same time. XP Pools last longer and thus become more effective the higher level you are, so at low levels they simply dry up too quickly to be worth it. This strategy is especially useful for stacking up keys for your final end of season pushes since you will need many of them to fish for the right rift. Note that your XP/h will go down compared to just grinding GRs with no pools if you can't make use of the extra keys!
Avoid Bounties unless:
- You can do them easily at Torment 16 difficulty (not counting the run you need for Haedrig’s Gift)
- You need plans at the beginning of a season
- You need to cube an item for your build
- You need to reroll a weapon, ring or amulet really badly (especially before your final pushes)
- You need to craft Captain Crimson's Trimmings, Aughild's Authority or Cain's Destiny
- You need a bounty-specific item like Ring of Royal Grandeur, Avarice Band, Illusory Boots, etc.
For longer Bounty sessions, build a proper setup (check out our Bounty Tier List) to do them as efficiently as possible. While Bounties are generally inefficient in SSF, farming a good Ring of Royal Grandeur (RoRG) from A1 Bounties or even some reforging can save you a ton of headache for certain classes. Instead of trying hard to acquire commonly used rings like Band of Might, Halo of Karini, Krysbin’s Sentence or Ring of Emptiness which are incredibly difficult to roll well, you can just wear RoRG and cube those items with only a small loss in stats. The best part is that you can share your RoRG across many different builds and classes!
Since you won't use your Forgotten Souls very much for Reforging, use them on Cube Recipe 4 to reroll Set items! While this recipe can't give you ancient quality loot, it can be a great tool to gear up a new build or prepare for an endgame push. Some slots are nearly impossible to roll with a rare perfect combination of stats such as "Quadfecta gloves" Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage, Cooldown Reduction, Area Damage or "Trifecta shoulders" with Skill Damage, Area Damage, Cooldown Reduction. Since it's futile to acquire these from gambling, crafting or reforging, reroll til' the cows come home with Recipe 4!
Plan the builds you want to play beforehand so you know what gear you’re looking for. To get a better picture, take a look at our Build Guides and Salvage List! Playing by yourself makes it harder to acquire gear than in groups where you can trade and get boosted.
When making Alts:
- Gem of Ease (in a big level 70 weapon) + Legacy of Dreams + Hellfire Ring + Leoric's Crown (with Flawless Royal Ruby) + Leoric's Signet = Instant Easy Power Level!
- Spend your Paragon points instantly on a fresh level 1 character and select some extracted items in the cube.
- Save up Bovine Bardiches to power level yourself in Cow Levels on Torment 6. These can also be used to gather pools at high Paragon levels, two are guaranteed in every cow level.
- Gather Blood Shards on your main to spend on alts you want to build until they are standing on their own.
- Get a T16 build ready to go before you start, then blast with it for a while until you're ready for higher difficulties in GRs. Your T16 efficiency barely improves with better gear, but GR efficiency does as you get stronger!
- Aim to do mega speed GR 90s on a new character to gear up the fastest. GR90 is the loot cap so doing this tier as quickly as possible allows you to get a new character up and running in no time (be mindful that many builds can go way beyond that and get better XP/h for Paragon farming, so this is a trade-off for more loot). The ideal strategy is to start with GR90 and get a feel for how fast the runs are going. Then slowly increase the GR level until you notice a slight drop in speed. That’s the tier you should be farming for maximum loot + XP on an alt. As you gain power through better items, you can slowly raise the GR level further.
- If you play many builds in a season, make mule characters and deposit items on them for more storage space. For example, if you aren't playing a class for some time because you are grinding more Paragons for your final pushes, just put all items of that class on that character to free up your stash!
- Share items between your characters when you switch, especially Follower gear and jewelry, even if they have the wrong mainstats.
- Some classes don’t have great GR speedfarming builds compared to the top builds, so prioritize farming T16 for keys on these and do GRs on the better ones. T16 Rifts can be completed fast & easily by almost anything!
- SSF is a fun way to play Diablo 3. Everything is up to you and it feels very rewarding!
- Level Boon of the Hoarder first for more Gold and easy power levels.
- Start with a strong farming build to get going, then transition to weaker builds if you want to play/push them.
- Stay away from Bounties! Instead, maximize your loot by speeding up your GRs. Challenge Rifts will provide you with the bounty materials you need.
- Avoid slow and difficult runs when you're not pushing or boosting main gems.
- Abuse Cube Recipe 4 to craft the hardest set pieces.
- Build a top-tier Follower setup and share it between your characters.
- Solo doesn’t always mean alone. Don’t be afraid to be social while playing: Twitch streams, Reddit, Discord, Forums, YouTube, Twitter, Clans, etc.!
Written by wudijo
Contributions by Raxxanterax
Updated for Season 26 / Patch 2.7.3