Welcome Exiles! In this article, we answer a question philosophers have asked themselves for ages: WHY do we play Path of Exile?
PoE is an incredibly grindy and demanding game. Setting goals for yourself is important to stay focused and motivated. Without them, you can easily lose yourself in a neverending web of content and new things to learn.
I always knew my philosophy degree was good for something, let's talk Endgame Goals!
Path of Exile has some incredibly strong endgame Uniques that come with a hefty price tag.
Some of those items are build-defining, while others are build-transforming. Let's look at some common examples:
- Headhunter is the strongest and most fun Mapping Item in the game. Whenever you kill a Rare Enemy, you gain all of its mods for 60 seconds. This transforms every build into an absurd abomination of invulnerability and incredible damage. Whether it is through gambles, farming The Doctor or straight up buying it, getting a Headhunter is one of the most common goals in Path of Exile, with a lot of prestige attached to owning one.
- Mageblood is the strongest Allrounder Item in the game. It is currently most expensive Unique, and nobody but the most dedicated players can even dream of getting one. This Unique Belt turns all of your Flask Effects into permanent Buffs, so you don't have to press them or worry about Flask Recharge. This allows you to enhance them with Enkindling Orbs to give increased Flask Effect without any downsides attached.
- Crystallised Omniscience is a gamechanger for Elemental Builds. With this Amulet, all of your Attributes become Omniscience. This gives you a huge amount of Elemental Penetration and Elemental Resistances, resulting in an absurd increase in damage while also conveniently capping your Resistances.
- Ashes of the Stars fits into basically every caster build, with its power level ranging from "great" to "build-enabling". The high Mana Reservation Efficiency often allows the use of another strong Aura, while the +1 to all Skill Gems provides a huge damage increase for Casters. The % to Quality of Skill Gems can enable funky builds with Alternate Quality Gems, for example converting 100% of Spark's Lightning Damage to Chaos, opening up the possibility to play a Poison Spark build.
- The Squire allows you to use your main skill in your One-Handed Weapon + Shield instead of your Body Armour. This opens up builds with Unique Weapons like Arakaali's Fang which has their main skill already attached to their main weapon. It also allows you to use Influenced Items that give you pseudo-Support sockets, enabling you to get up to 12-linked setups. Having a weapon like that + The Squire is the best in slot Damage for a lot of builds, but also incredibly expensive and almost impossible to reach for most players.
The best Rare Items in the game are made through elaborate crafting methods!
Endgame Crafting is the most complex Activity in this game, by a long shot. 10 years of Path of Exile comes with a ton of knowledge to absorb, with new Crafting Methods being added every 3 months.
Here are some of the more common examples of Crafting Projects people like to pursue:
- Weapons: These are the core of many builds and some of the most prestigious items. Whether you make a Physical Claw, a +3 Bow or a +2 Caster Weapon, these crafts will eat up a lot of your Currency with absurd damage increases on the horizon.
- Boots: These are often crafted due to their potential to give you a lot of movement speed through mods like Tailwind, Elusive or Onslaught. While other gear pieces might provide you offensive or defensive upgrades, Boots are the only gear slot that makes your build FEEL better.
- Energy Shield Gear: While you get Life per Level, you don't gain any Energy Shield, resulting in you having to focus more on gear than usual. The best crafting bases for Energy Shield builds are: Vaal Regalia, Sorcerer Boots, Sorcerer Gloves or Titanium Spirit Shield.
True master crafters create rare items so powerful that other people want to use their Mirror of Kalandra to get a copy of it. This is called a "Mirror-Service", where the owner of the original item creates a copy for someone else in exchange for a fee. This can easily pay for the next expensive project.
Perfecting your Character
Not everyone wants to play 10 different builds every League. Perfecting one or two Characters can be just as fun, depending on your gaming habits.
Evaluating every piece of gear, every Passive Skill Tree Node, every Gem and trying different Setups. This is where you start dreaming about your build, obsess over getting every detail right and playing it will become second nature. The moment when it all comes together perfectly can be one of the most satisfying goals in this game.
However, upgrading builds to this level has diminishing returns. You start out having a ton of options to make your build stronger, but in the end the only upgrades left will be incremental with unreasonable price tags attached to them. Then again, having other people open your profile and be disgusted by their own mediocrity is a reward that has to be earned!
One of the more fun things to do in Path of Exile is Gambling! Nothing better than spending days on end farming Currency to just lose it all for some small dopamine-kicks!
Here are some gambles people love the most:
- Opening Stacked Deck: Yes, you COULD theoretically get a House of Mirrors, but most of the time it's a Rain of Chaos or something in between. A fun gamble that is very flexible in price since you can buy as few or as many as you want.
- Harvest Gamble: There is a Harvest Mod that lets you sacrifice a stack of Divination Cards, giving you back between 0 and double of the cards you put in. This is one of those high risk/high reward gambles you don't want to lose, especially if there are Divination cards worth hundreds of Divine Orbs on the line!
- Double Corrupting Items: Ever thought a Vaal Orb isn't risky enough? Well...Incursion has you covered! There is a Tier 3 Room you can unlock in the Temple of Atzoatl that lets you Double Corrupt an item. This can end brutal, with your item getting turned into a random Rare or literally deleted. However, you can also get 2 Corrupted Implicit Modifers instead of 1, so my recommendation: just get lucky!
- Unidentifying Watcher's Eyes:These Jewels drop unidentified, which lends itself to gambling! Some of these are traded for several Mirror of Kalandras, so you can already guess how likely it is to actually get a good one! However, that never prevented anyone from gambling, so do your worst!
Exploring the Game
Learning more about the game will open up new possibilities you didn't even know existed when you started.
Whether it's trying out new builds, testing out new Atlas Strategies or learning how to craft, Path of Exile has nearly infinite options to explore. Every puzzle piece will give you a new perspective of the game and new knowledge to conquer some of the hardest content this game has to offer!
Path of Exile has a lot of goals to pursue, even after you completed the Atlas:
- Save up for a Chase Unique to enhance your build or make new ones you didn't know were possible!
- Throw your Currency into Crafting Projects. With enough investment, this can result in a crazy Rare Item that people want to use their Mirror of Kalandra on!
- Perfect your Character to a point where people get envious while looking at your profile!
- Gamble your hard-earned Currency away... uhm "win big" is what I meant, my bad!
- Explore the game and get better at Path of Exile, which will pay off in the long run!
Written by Palsteron.
Reviewed by MacroBioBoi.