Path of Exile is currently in open beta. Sign-up for an account to download the game. Friends list shows your _account name_ and toon your currently playing. So you can’t hide from your “friends”. For new players, it’s a Diablo 2 style game which fans say is what Diablo 3 should have been.
PICK A CLASS
The primary difference between classes is the initial stat distribution and where they start in the passive skill tree (P). Unlike traditional talent trees, PoE doesn’t unlock any skills. There is no right or wrong passive nodes. Hardcore players pick specific passives for survivability and skill support. For complete class stat distribution, check out the game mechanics thread. PoE provides a skill tree builder. Make sure to click full screen so you can zoom, select the class, and build your tree from the attribute node.
GRAB A WEAPON
Your given a weapon at the beginning (it’s on the ground above you) to help you start. However, you’re not locked into any particular weapon; there is no class specific weapon in this game. You can have a bow wielding witch if you want.
GEM A SOCKET
You’ll get a freebie gem in the beginning too (and through subsequent quests after you make it to Act 1 town). Open your inventory and insert it into any gear with a matching socket color to use right away. In PoE, you learn skills (spells, attacks, traps, summons, totems, etc.) with gems, not from a traditional talent tree. Gems level as you progress but you don’t have to level the gems (right-click to dismiss lvl up, lvl up later through inventory panel). According to Islidox, max all gems. Right-click action bar to rearrange skills. FYI: support gems [that improve offensive type gems] require linked sockets to apply the effect.
PICK UP LOOT
You must press ALT to see loot on the ground by default. To always see loot, toggle “Always Highlight” in options or with hotkey, Z. You will automatically equip gear you pick up for empty slots. To compare item to equipped item, rollover item in your inv (I) and press ALT. White items is normal, blue is magic, yellow is rare, and orange is unique. Get used to the fact you’ll leave loot behind because of the bag space.
GO TO TOWN
Once you make it past the newbie boss, you’ll enter the primary town for Act 1, Lioneye’s Watch (Act 2 is Forest Encampment, Act 3 is Sarn Encampment). Your shared stash is here along with vendors, quests, waypoint (portal to other parts of map), town portals (player opened portal), and Noticeboard = party finder (or press S, under party tab). There isn’t a waypoint for every instance (it looks like one is available every other instance). Town portals are only visible to the owner and party members, disappears when owner enters it twice (doesn’t apply to other party members), and has a timer.
BUILD UP CURRENCY
Mats (materials) is currency in PoE. You get mats in return for selling items to vendors in town or as random drops in instances. Certain items sell for more or better mats like an item with three, linked sockets of different colors. Instead of lugging everything back to town to sell try picking up small items like rings and flasks (small weapons work too, like wands), potential upgrades, or certain items you know will give better mats (check the recipe thread). GCP (gem cutters prism) is currently the standard currency for trading high end gear. You can convert one currency to another at vendors. Learn what the currency conversion is at the vendors so you don’t overpay for items from other players.
LEARN TO BARTER
The market is a barter system and there’s no real set standard for currency. So you’ll have to learn to talk to ppl to get what you want and have an idea of what the going rate is for the item you want. A common crude behavior is listing an item but not a price; the seller will ignore all whispered offers that doesn’t meet his satisfaction. You’ll have the most luck with people who actually answer your offer, if they say no then you can raise your offer or ask what do you think is fair. The other method is to buy it off the POE forum and people seem to get good results (and price) if they don’t mind the wait.
PICK UP QUESTS
Technically you can just grind your way to max level but you’ll miss out on nice quest rewards and some areas must be unlocked first. Open the World panel (U) to see your active quests. Clicking on each quest icon will show you where you need to go.
CHAT WITH PLAYERS
Hit enter to open chat box and type @nameofplayerhere to whisper, # and message for global chat, $ for trade chat (CTRL+ALT click item to link in chat), and % for party chat. To see linked items in chat, hit enter (or click chatbox arrows) to open chat window and mouse over items (feature in deliberation with devs).
PARTY FOR INSTANCES
To party with friends,
click their name in chat (have them whisper you) for party option or add them to your friends list and click their name for party option type /invite playername in chat. For random party, check the Noticeboard or open social panel (S) > public party tab to join a party. Once you join a party, look for town portals to their location or take the waypoint. Learn to quickly grab your loot in randoms because the loot timer is 5 sec. To leave a party, open your social panel, current party tab, and click leave. In PoE, any area is an instance with variable layouts. Instances and portals have timers to lessen resource load for servers. So if an instance is empty for too long, 8-15 min, any loot and portal is lost when the area resets (if the portal doesn’t expire first). You can reset an instance by CTRL + left-clicking the waypoint node or instance entrance. Some party members may end up in the party leaders old/cleared instance, they just need to exit and CTRL click and join the new/correct instance.
CRAFTING FOR INVESTMENT
Read the crafting thread to save yourself a lot of headache or watch a detailed explanation (skip 15:24 to see crafting in action). Easiest way to craft an upgrade is to Alch a normal (white) item and chaos it until you get the stats you want. Use this method if your in desparate need of upgrades. PoE community advice is to save your mats and buy your upgrades instead of gambling away precious mats on the right stats especially if your low level since you’ll outlevel gear very quickly. Min-max’ers will buy or craft items with maxed # of sockets, all linked with desired socket color combination, and best stats.
LIST OF BOSSES
Act 1 Merveil
Get into melee range; tank and spank. Don’t stop dps and health/mana pot as needed. May need to run around a bit for your health to catch up, if she’s out dps’ing your health pot. Look for or craft health pots with better magical stats like instant heal effect. Single best thing you can do is buy at least one cold resist ring. Buy one in town before you start boss or craft one (iron ring + any blue gem). I start looking for 40% cold resist rings x2 early on from vendors. *fun fact: In the caverns leading up to Merveil, male characters get female sirens and female characters get male sirens except for the archer who gets female sirens.
Act 2 Vaal Oversoul
Boss has following abilities: summon’s minions that do chaos dmg, shoots laser beam 3 times, shoots ice bullets, and does a crushing blow move. Boss disappears temporarily when he summons his minions. Use this time to kill minions b/c their attacks hurt. If laser targets you, dodge until 3rd laser then back to dps. Only melee have to worry about the crushing blow which is just an arm with a ball at the end. When you see him raise arm, run through boss and attack him from opposite side. The ice bullets freeze the ground and slows if you step on it but doesn’t do any dmg. Has a set minimum range when casting close to himself, so melee is safe from this attack.
Act 3 Piety
Throws lightning balls. Recommend maxing lightning resist cap or wearing light resist rings for this boss. Also cap frost resist if you can. She transforms into a frost archer (shoots painful multi-frost arrows) and a duel wielding assassin (painful jabby jabs). It really helps to have enchanted health pots that give speed boosts, heal faster or for more, gives resist, etc. Was able to solo in full subpar yellow gear (random drops) and maxed cold/light resist. Act 3 will pretty much test your char’s gear and skill tree.
NOTE ABOUT HARDCORE
You can select Hardcore league or Default league during character creation. The two are separate game modes and don’t communicate with each other. If your hardcore toon dies, it’s demoted to Default league instead of permanent death.
tl;dr — Have fun; don’t worry about gear in the beginning.
Path of Exile
Mechanics Thread, recommened read, everything you need to know about the game in more detail
Recipe Thread, also has other very useful PoE links
Watch Nugiyen or Kripparrian @TWitch.tv to see gameplay.