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PoE Leveling Guide

PoE Leveling

Path of Exile is pretty complex, but once you master the ins and outs, it is one of the most enjoyable and long-lasting games. However, there’s one aspect that never becomes exciting: leveling. Leveling up characters is almost always a chore, and many want to rush through it as fast as possible. This is especially true considering you often have to level with a different skill than the one you plan to use on that character.

In Path of Exile, the level cap is 100, a feat most players don’t obtain due to the severity of death penalties at later levels, which can remove hours of progression. Only 6% of Steam players have achieved the level 90 milestone, let alone reached the level cap. We’ll cover multiple strategies you can use during your grind to level 100, as it may take several weeks, depending on the available time and skill level. That being said, there is a strategy for everyone, no matter how inexperienced with the game you are!

How to Improve Leveling In General

First, there are a few ways to improve your general leveling process. The most significant improvement you can make is learning the many layouts you’ll encounter. Each zone has multiple layouts, which can take a long time, but learning the general layouts will help. I challenged myself to speed up my leveling and did four characters to 70 back to back. My time from the first to the last character dropped from 5 to 3 hours and 30 minutes. I’m sure there were some other factors, but there was a clear progression between the four, and my understanding of the layouts was the biggest difference.

Apart from layouts, the biggest thing you can do to speed up your leveling is to have the right items. Leveling up your first character of the league will always take significantly longer than your second, simply due to the items you find during your first run.

Road to Level 80

Once you finish the story progression of Wraeclast and defeat Kitava at the end of act 10, you’ll find yourself in Oriath. After a short epilogue storyline with Officer Kirac you’ll unlock the Atlas end-game system via the map device in your hideout.

Most exiles will find themselves around levels 65 and 70 by this point. Any players that struggled through the last act or are lower than level 65 should head to the Blood Aqueduct at the beginning of Act 9 and farm there for experience points, as the next installment of leveling requires a solid foundation of passive points and character progression.

At lv 70, you should build up your character's defense by capping your elemental resistances and pursuing layers of evasion or armor to deal with physical attacks. Once you feel comfortable, you can head to your hideout and talk to Kirac again to obtain your first map. Most Exiles will tell you this is the beginning of the game since there is so much to explore through the Atlas progression system.

Now you can place your newfound map in the device located in your hideout to begin the end game. Feel free to alter the map using orbs of currency, such as orbs of chance or transmutations. This will increase the difficulty of maps but also the rewards, allowing you to find more maps to progress your Atlas. This is crucial as you do not want to be dramatically over-leveled for a map zone, as you will get reduced experience if you are higher than seven levels higher than a zone. The higher-tier maps also grant more experience.

Continue grinding out Atlas progression until you make your way to level 80. This should be reasonably easy if you have decent defenses, as deaths are not penalized too harshly at this character level.

On The Way to Level 90

Most Exiles will continue their Atlas grind into the high 80s. With good mechanics and builds, they can push into level 90 by advancing through the tiers of maps and starting their conqueror progression. This end-game system allows them to pursue the end-game boss Sirus. Deaths become worse, consequence-wise, at this point, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying all that the Atlas has to offer. 10% of the experience bar is a small price to increase your familiarity with the Atlas.

Alternatively, players may seek to pursue side content from previous leagues. One such league is Delve, which allows Exiles to explore the infinite Azurite Mines on a voltaxic sulphite-powered crawler. The voltaxic sulphite is found on maps when players find a character called “Niko,” the chance for them to spawn is random, however. Delve creates a safe place to consistently level. The further down players go, the greater the risk and rewards, creating an exciting end-game progression loop outside the Atlas, with its bosses and mechanics.

A type of side-content from a more recent league is Heist. It involves you managing a group of rogues in the Rogue Harbor to undertake Heist contracts for bounty and glory! These contracts are very lucrative, as many reward rooms are full of currency and valuable items. Heist end-game progression involves taking on more challenging blueprints, which contain greater rewards at the cost of having to pay more rogues to run the Heist with you. Each rogue is full of personality and creates a fun leveling experience while providing plenty of currency for upgrades.

Hitting Level 100

At this point, we can continue our Atlas progression and fight some bosses. Let your hair down for a bit and enjoy the game, as now, when you level, you should focus on not dying, as deaths can cause you to lose hours of progression. Players with highly geared characters and good mechanics can continue mapping. This is good money whether you die or not and is excellent for end-game progression. 

All methods we mentioned for getting level 90 will still work. Still, as we are more than ten levels higher than those areas, so experience gained starts to fall off while having not to die either. However, Heist and Delve are still very popular among many Exiles as they are enjoyable alternatives to the Atlas. Players can continue doing 5-way Legion conflicts in the Timeless Domain as there is a low chance of dying and fast experience up to level 95. After this point, it gets expensive, and you will have to farm a lot of currency. However, it is one of the fastest ways to get to the level cap.

Are Seed Caches Worth It for the Harvest League?

Let’s tackle the big question in this guide regarding PoE Harvest leveling: seed caches. Are they worth it? The answer is, unfortunately, a solid ‘sometimes.’ While leveling, Harvest crafts give an incredible number of Augment (exalted) and Remove (annul) crafts, allowing you to tailor your gear very reliably. However, it is incredibly tied to your item’s level. You can only use seeds on items up to ten levels higher than the seeds. Which means you better use them or lose them. If you’re trying to go as fast as possible, don’t expect to be able to bank some crafts for when you get that new item at level 50, you’ll need to find all new seeds in that level range.

This doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth it. In particular, if you’re playing hardcore, it’s almost always worth slowing down to get substantially better gear. But for us softcore plebs, we don’t mind a few deaths if we get to the end much faster.

What’s the Best Build to Level Up With in the Harvest League?

the best build

The best PoE builds to level with vary considerably from league to league. For the Harvest League, a Chaos-based Spellslinger build has taken the cake for the strongest leveling build. You just use basic chaos spells (Essence Drain, Contagion, Blight) until level 24, when you get access to the Spellslinger skill. Spellslinger allows you to reserve a portion of your mana; every time you attack, it uses the skills it is connected to. You will have three different spells in different Spellslinger setups.

First, Soulrend. Soulrend is an incredible skill for clearing out packs, but it needs to be improved in the single-target department. This is why we use the second option: Essence Drain. Essence Drain does extreme single-target damage. Contagion is our third setup and does more damage and clear, as it carries Essence Drain around. You will use Frenzy with Barrage Support as your attack skill to procure all of your Chaos spells.

Make Leveling Fun Again

Leveling is something that many players don’t enjoy. If you do, or if you’re new, by all means, take your time and experience everything. But if you’re a veteran or trying to speed up something you find tedious, these tips should help you level faster than ever. If you’re interested, a variety of community-hosted and official races go on. Check out some of them, or the replays, to see how the fastest players in the world progress. Who knows? Maybe they will inspire you to be the next competitor!

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Path of Exile Leveling

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