In trying to make a concise, all-inclusive video about the best build in Path of Exile, I realized: this thing is going to get old. This video, not Path of Exile. Path of Exile already is old. The point is, what works great now may not work six months from now. You don't want to look one of these kinds of videos up every season. So what advice can I give you that won't age out? Then it hit me: *how* to build your character the best, instead of specifically *what* to make your character into.
There's a few different ways people build their characters, with varying levels of success:
1) Go in Raw/Blind
Back in my day, we didn't have fancy guide and meta-analyses to show us what we were supposed to build towards. We were given a stick and a skill gem, and told to figure it out ourselves. And we did, all the way to Piety, or Malachai. Three times over. Uphill. Both ways.
Going in blind introduces you to a mechanic familiar to many gamers: the wall. You'll hit these barriers in progress and feel like you just can't go any further. Improperly built skill trees, inadequate equipment, badly picked ascendancies and more can halt your progress and make you feel like you need to start over. A lot. I did.
If you use this method, it may seem counter-intuitive, but you're in luck! There's a bunch of tutorials that Grinding Gear Games added in-game that give you solid information on many gameplay mechanics, like skill gems and rarity and flasks and currency and waypoints and shrines and microtransactions and blight and abyss and more. They do nothing to explain the difference between increased and more, or decreased and less, so you're on your own there.
2) Look Up a Build
There are a countless number of detailed build guides out there on youtube and other parts of the internet for you to use/copy/steal/take advantage of. Last I checked, only one in fifty tried to make you download some random exe to make it work. When you're looking at a build from someone else, ask these four questions:
- Was this build made recently? Old builds may have been made less powerful over time due to balance changes or modified stats on equipment. Try to use builds made or updated within the last two patches.
- How far did they go with it? If you're interested in getting through all the content in game, you may want to avoid the meme build that was used to barely make it to Act 10.
- How much does this build cost? Not in real money, that's a no no. But certain builds need specific pieces of equipment to shine, and you may need to trade for them. Some builds are labeled Solo Self Found, which means you can find everything you need without trading.
- Did they add enough lame jokes while describing their build to make it sound awesome? Let's face it, dry builds are boring. Here's a joke. See? Already better content.
3) Check the Meta
Sites like poe.ninja track the builds of high-level characters. They record basic stats, ascendancies, equipment, skill and support gems, and all the fundamental information you may need to copy and make a successful build yourself. Thief.
4) Check the Meta and say Whatever
You can also look at poe.ninja, see that your build isn't popular at all, and use what you have learned from playing to say "f it, I'm trying this out anyway." There's something uniquely appealing about being counter-culture. There's something even more appealing about being counter-culture and it working. If you want to fly that freak flag, let that freak flag fly.
In the end, it all boils down to: build what you want, play how you'd like, and if you need help don't go to /global 4.
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