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Gear Progression

Last Updated: November 12th 2023

Trial of the Ancestors 3.22

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Cold Dot Elementalist League Starter Gear Progression, Important Milestones, Budget Items, Jewels & Crafting.


The Item Progression in Path of Exile is not as rigid as in most other games. Unique Items can provide easy upgrades early, but overall your gear mostly consist of Rare Items. This means that flexibility is key. The game won't always give you exactly the item you are looking for, so you need to adapt. Even if small upgrades seem insignificant, the sum of them decides whether your character fails or succeeds.

If you want full context to everything, watch my fully detailed Video Guide on Youtube as well. It is linked at the end of the article! You can also check out my stream on and ask me questions or simply hang out!

Early Game

Early Game Goal
Your goals in the early game are to establish skill setups by socketing, linking and colouring your gear appropriately and to start leveling Gems.

Since you are wearing "Act Gear" at this point, you need to focus on upgrades to get the necessary Attribute Requirements and cap your Resistances.

Early Game Gear Overview
Milestone 1 - Capped Resistance + Life

Your very first focus when you hit maps is to upgrade all of your gear to have Resistance AND Life on almost every slot. You can do this by picking up every Rare item that has Energy Shield (to make coloring easier), or to find Evasion Rating/Energy Shield bases for a bit of Evasion Rating and a chance at a Suppression roll which you need 3 of to cap. Use the following Essences you may find on those bases:

  • Screaming Essence of Greed
  • Screaming Essence of Hatred
  • Screaming Essence of Anger
  • Screaming Essence of Wrath
  • Finish the item by crafting Life or Hybrid Elemental Resistances. The Syndicate Hybrid Chaos + Elemental Resistance craft is a very easy way to get your Chaos Resistance to at least 0%.

Do this throughout your early mapping experience. Track which slot is your weakest and upgrade it through Essences, purchasing from the trade site, or by picking a better piece off the ground. For any gear that isn't an upgrade, throw it in a premium tab at 2 Chaos Orbs each (unless many people PM you for it. Then you must figure out its real price). Later you can vendor all those items for Orb of Alteration, or complete the Chaos Orb recipe (vendor 1 item of each gear slot) if they don't sell.

Milestone 2 - Flasks

Flasks are a significant part of your defence. You need every single one of the following:

  • Silver Flask
  • Quicksilver Flask
  • Granite Flask
  • Jade Flask
  • Divine Life Flask

Craft your Flasks by first using an Orb of Transmutation on White Flasks and then alternating between using Orb of Alteration and Orb of Augmentation until you hit the following mods on your Quicksilver Flask, Silver Flask, Granite Flask and Jade Flask (any of the below mods can be on any of the flasks you're rolling):

  • Increased Evasion during Flask effect.
  • Increased Armor during Flask effect.
  • Reduced Effect of Curses on you during Flask effect.
  • Increased Attack/Cast Speed during Flask effect.

When rolling your Divine Life Flask you want Grants Immunity to Bleeding if used while Bleeding. The easiest way to obtain this is through a beast craft that adds an "of Sealing" modifier to your Life Flask after you Orb of Alteration spam one of the following modifiers onto your Divine Life Flask:

  • 46% reduced Amount Recovered / 135% increased Recovery rate / 50% of Recovery applied Instantly
  • 66% reduced Amount Recovered / Instant Recovery
  • 21% reduced Amount Recovered / Instant Recovery when on Low Life

After picking up or purchasing 20 Instilling Orbs and Glassblower's Baubles, check the Crafting Bench and craft Used when charges reach full so that you no longer need to press your Flasks, other than your Life Flask, while mapping.

Milestone 3 - Uniques

Purchase a Mark of Submission as soon as you can, and put your Frostbite into it for easy application of one Curse. When you obtain this item, feel free to spec into Whispers of Doom and use Elemental Weakness on bosses to shred even more Resistances.

An Elevore is a great early pick up to help cap your Chance to Suppress Spell Damage. You also obtain Recover (100-200) Life when you Suppress Spell Damage, which is a great way to mitigate a lot of early Spell Damage. Try to purchase a roll close to 200, since that is the most important roll on the Helmet.

Milestone 3.5 - Syndicate Unveil

This build needs a few modifiers only obtained by unveiling them from Syndicate encounters. These are the modifiers you should look to unveil on your journey through the Atlas, with Syndicate missions or random encounters:

  1. 6% of Physical Damage from Hits taken as Fire/Lightning Damage (Gravicius Body Armour)
  2. Cold/Fire/Lightning Damage over Time Multiplier (Weapons)
  3. #% increased Movement Speed / #% chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on Kill (Boots)
  4. +1 to Minimum Endurance Charges (Rings)
  5. Hybrid Chaos/Elemental Resistance (All Gear)
  6. #% reduced Effect of Chill and Shock on you (Gloves)
  7. #% increased Effect of Non-Damaging Ailments (Amulets)

You probably don't have enough Energy Shield to cast your Hatred with Eldritch Battery. That's OK! Just wait until you do later on in the build, as you don't need that additional damage just yet. Obtain Energy Shield bases on a few slots just to make sure you have enough to cast your basic abilities. Purchase a 5-linked (or 6-linked if you can afford) Body Armour base and craft your own with Screaming Essence of Greed, Screaming Essence of Hatred, Screaming Essence of Anger or Screaming Essence of Wrath. Or purchase/craft one with the following modifiers (one of which can be from the Crafting bench):

  1. +60 to maximum Life
  2. At least 2 +29% to Cold/Lightning/Fire Resistance
Milestone 5 - New Sceptre + Shield

Purchase any Sceptre base with one of the following modifiers:

  1. 69% increased Spell/Cold Damage
  2. +1 to Level of all Cold Spell Skill Gems
  3. +12% to Damage over Time Multiplier

Finish this Item by crafting +19% to Cold Damage over Time Multiplier.

Purchase any Shield base with one of the following modifiers

  1. 69% increased Spell/Cold Damage
  2. +1 to Level of all Cold Spell Skill Gems

Finish this Item by crafting +70 to maximum Life.

Milestone 6 - Amulet

Your Amulet can be a great source of Strength, Dexterity and Damage over Time Multiplier. Try to purchase an Amulet on a Citrine Amulet base with 15%+ Damage over Time Multiplier and an open Prefix to Craft Life or 30% increased Effect of Non-Damaging Ailments.

Anoint Ash, Frost and Storm with the following Oils:

Sepia Oil

Crimson Oil

Crimson Oil

Milestone 7 - Quality Bases

Now that your Gear and Character have been properly triaged, focus now on higher quality bases and modifier dense upgrades. Amethyst Ring as your Ring base and Stygian Vise for your Belt should be priority's in those 2 Gear slots. Keep picking up Evasion Rating or Evasion Rating/Energy Shield Boots and Gloves to obtain a few Suppression rolls combined with Resistance an Life. Even a low amount of Spell Suppression is still very useful (85% Suppression chance is MUCH better than 70%).

All Bases should have Resistances and Life at this point, but now you want more than just the bare minimum. Obtain the following additional modifiers on your gear:

  1. 6% of Physical Damage from Hits taken as Fire/Lightning Damage (Prefix Crafted onto Body Armours)
  2. +6% chance to Suppress Spell Damage (Gloves and Boots)
  3. #% increased Movement Speed / #% chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on Kill (Prefix Crafted onto Boots)
  4. +1 to Minimum Endurance Charges (Suffix Crafted onto Rings)
  5. #% increased Effect of Non-Damaging Ailments (Suffix Crafted onto Amulets)
Milestone 8 - Lesser Eldritch Ember and Lesser Eldritch Ichor

Once you have Quality Boots and Gloves, spend a few Chaos Orbs and roll Lesser Eldritch Ember on your Boots for the Scorched Ground while moving modifier and Lesser Eldritch Ichor on your Gloves for the Inflict Cold Exposure modifier UNLESS you already have Eye of Malice, then you should roll .2% of Cold Damage Leeched as Life as your Helmet already provides a source of Cold Exposure.

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