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12 Rare Path Of Exile Tips For Casual Players [Mega Guide]

Giving you real talk and busting Path Of Exile myths.

You’re about to get the hidden secrets of having more fun & success in Path Of Exile, explained by an ‘obsessive but casual’ player.

We’ll cover common pitfalls that no one mentions to casual players, as well as powerful resources that unlock real progress for you.

Plus, there’s links to many of the most reputable Path Of Exile build creators, guides, and content-makers, all in one place.

Image of a girl posed wearing a Path Of Exile T-Shirt on a transparent background feature an arrow with the label 'casual' nearby.

Disclaimer: This guide is for casual players who know some of PoE’s systems, have made it through (or nearly through) the campaign, and aren’t on their very first build. It’s for people who want to learn possibly the greatest ARPG to date. (If you’re a total PoE beginner, you’ll likely get more value elsewhere.) Also, there’s a ton of value here, but read it in bite-size chunks, and skip anything that doesn’t suit you… because applying even one of the tips can help you have way more fun in your casual Path Of Exile play.

Most people believe a myth about Path Of Exile.

They believe a myth that bricks their builds and kills their progress.

They believe a myth that some dude’s video or blog post can make Path Of Exile easier for them.

Wait a minute… isn’t that what this article promised to do for you?

Yes, you’re right.

And I’ll deliver on that promise, but first I want to point out that most videos and articles fail hard at giving the casual player anything truly useful or substantial.

No shade, but Path Of Exile is an insanely complex game, and most articles aren’t written by clear-minded teachers who understand how to pave the way for a casual player’s journey.

Instead, most content is just a random mish-mash of jargon and concepts that a “no-life” streamer thinks is important for beginners to know… but really isn’t.

When what you really need to enjoy Path Of Exile is true understanding.

What you really need to enjoy Path Of Exile is true understanding.

(The best content I’ve found on this is either Zizaran’s “Everything Explained” series, or Path Of Matth’s “The Casual Exile,” but they don’t cover most of what I do here.)

Learning some foundational concepts of Path Of Exile lets you navigate it smoothly.

It lets you feel powerful.

It lets you breeze through most of the game, and when you come to a challenging point, you actually feel equipped to overcome it, and you feel in control of adjusting your strategy.

(Note: u/noicreC points it’s also about what you play. Playing an experimental build that ‘fails’ can easily burn you out on the game, whereas playing a reliable build that’s easy on your currency can inspire you to play character after character.)

But most players aren’t given solid foundations.

Here’s an excerpt from a reddit thread posted just 10 hours ago at time of writing:

“First-time player. Just hit chapter 6 with my witch and am feeling overwhelmed.

All my tabs are full (probably mostly hoarding garbage) and I can’t make up my mind if I need defense, evade, or energy shield. I’m a flame build and have not utilized hardly any supports so far. I can generally melt enemies. But elites melt me if they get too close. I’m not using an item filter like Neversink. I’m having fun, but I feel like I just hit a wall. Looking for some tips. Are there any skills/supports that are must haves? Any particular stats that I should focus on? Thanks!”

This person is a true novice, not a casual, but the point still stands.

And they’re going to receive tons of advice from well-meaning redditors, and the tips might help out a tiny bit here & there.

But none of them will end up giving the original poster significant understanding.

So I’ve written this guide for people like them, and other casual players.

And I know it looks ‘big’, but Path Of Exile is ‘mammoth’ already, so I can only summarize it so much.

So although it may take a bit of time to read, it’s still worth it, even for a casual.

And actually, I suggest you just skim this post to start.

Just skim and apply any tip that suits you... casually.

Because I guarantee you applying even a couple of these tips…

…will save you far more time than spinning your wheels ‘blind’ in Path Of Exile.

In fact, I believe it’s one of, if not the only, guide to Path Of Exile that explains it in “casual friendly” terms, to fit with a casual player’s lifestyle.

Speaking of which…

I’m what some call a ‘filthy casual’ too.

Or perhaps I’m more of an “advanced casual”, since I’ve played Path Of Exile off and on since 2014.

But when I play, I play in casual bursts.

Sometimes I play for an entire weekend, then avoid PoE for a while. Other times I’ll squeeze an hour or two in here or there during the week.

Sometimes I take such long breaks from the game that I miss many new leagues, mechanics, skills, and items.

This leaves me feeling like I’m re-learning most of the game when I return.

But those small details of what’s nerfed and buffed each patch aren’t crazy important for most casual players.

What’s more important for casuals is the unexplained or overlooked stuff nobody teaches.

You need the hidden, secret principles of Path Of Exile that matter for casuals.

So let’s get into it.

1. Path Of Exile is actually two games (at least!)

Most casual players think they’re playing a single game.

They think they can approach Path Of Exile with a single mindset…

…but that’s totally wrong.

And it’s not your fault.

Because Path Of Exile looks like a single game, markets itself like a single game, and nearly every player discusses it as if it’s a single game.

Because of all this, of course you’d think Path Of Exile is a single game.

But, seeing it that way makes things harder than necessary.

It’s why people say “Path Of Exile is too complicated.”

It’s because PoE is actually two very different games, and each one requires a substantially different approach.

Game one is Path Of Exile “leveling.”

This game takes place from creating a character to about level 80 (or about 80% atlas completion.)

It’s kind of a huge, multi-hour Path Of Exile tutorial where skill gems are heavily restricted, gear is mostly ‘throwaway’ pieces, and NPCs are everywhere.

And since your passive tree during leveling starts from scratch, you’re forced to eke out whatever upgrades you can to keep your leveling feeling good, which doesn’t always lead to the best results.

There are things hidden during leveling that unlock once you’re done leveling.

And they’re practically required knowledge.


Because only a few skills are effective (or available) during the early levels, and once you find one, chances are it won’t work for the next character or class you choose.

Choose a wrong skill and your leveling becomes a miserable chore that makes many casuals give up on the game.

And even if you do gain an understanding of which skill and support gems make for an enjoyable leveling experience…

…gearing, resist-capping, and scaling your damage enough to stay ahead of the Act Bosses can tilt casual players too.

So although I say it’s best to speed through the campaign and get to maps as soon as possible…

…that’s actually one of the most challenging things for a casual player, unfamiliar with the nuances of Path Of Exile to do.

So this is a weird catch-22 about the PoE.

For casuals to copy their favorite pro streamers with the flashy builds, they need to get through leveling ASAP.

But to get through leveling ASAP, they need to understand PoE-leveling similar to how a pro streamer does.


What are things a veteran PoE player would use effortlessly that leveling casuals might be clueless about?

"Leveling gear, for one."

u/noicreC emphasizes that your first playthrough you’ll want to play a strong leveling build that carries you to endgame and lets you farm or trade for some “leveling gear.

This is that gear lets you speed-level future characters, and makes leveling even “unoptimized” builds fun and effective.

And he’s totally right.

Even as a casual player, having even a couple leveling uniques like a Tabula or Goldrim is a game changer that makes all future build experiments way more fun to level.

On a related note, learn to ‘mule’ early game gems or gear via an ‘alt’ account, if you need.

Or let's take “respeccing” for example.

Re-specc-ing just means refunding some (or all) of your allocated passive points, and then re-allocating them in a new way.

You do this once you’ve invested in proper endgame gear, your final sockets are mostly handled, and your gems are mostly scaled.

Note: u/Archieie pointed out to me that if you’re following a decent build guide, you won’t need to respec much, if at all.

Players respec because leveling forces them into gear, skills, and passives they’re unlikely to stick with, and the same will likely happen to you.

The path and notables you select on the Passive Tree during leveling are often NOT the path and notables you’ll want once you get to maps, so it’s very common for players to respec once they hit level 70 or 80.

But casual players may not know how important respec’ing is, or even how to use regret orbs to do so.

(You can avoid respeccing by choosing one of the few leveling skills that scale well all the way to end game, but unfortunately the options are extremely limited, so most players end up respeccing.)

Treat the campaign like a fun tutorial, not an actual game.

I suggest approaching this part of PoE as a comfortable ‘beginner stage.’

And like many beginner stages, if you spend most of your time there, you’ll miss out on so much of what the game has to offer.

So to me, especially as a casual with limited time, it’s best to “speed-run” through so I can start properly investing in gear, assembling your build, and “really” play the game.

But blazing through the leveling phase of Path Of Exile is an artful mini-game of its own.

And then there’s the atlas.

The atlas has its own progression system to replace the “Acts” of the campaign.

It also has its own “Atlas Passive Tree” with its own notables and Keystones that you’ll probably have to respec a few times as well.

(And of course, in classic GGG style, instead of using Orbs Of Regret, like you did to respec your character’s passive tree, you’ll have to use a different currency to respec your atlas.)

Not to mention loot filters.

As someone leveling casually through the campaign, you likely won’t need, want, or even know about loot filters.

But the deeper you get into maps, and the more loot explosions you cause, the more essential a loot filter is going to become.

And you may end up with a collection of loot filters, depending on how ‘hardcore’ you grow towards the game.

I hope you get the point.

For almost a decade of my Path Of Exile journey no one explained how important these things were, and how drastically they changed the game compared to what it was leveling through the campaign.

Path Of Exile leveling and Path Of Exile mapping may look similar on screen, or at first glance, but they’re vastly different games.

I’ve covered some of the nuances of leveling, but if you want a hand-holding walkthrough of the campaign, Maxroll has written a decent Path Of Exile campaign summary, but the actual way you play it will vary depending on your class, playstyle, free time, PoE-knowledge, etc.

Now let’s talk about endgame.

Game two is Path Of Exile “mapping” or “endgame.”

This game begins once (most) of your maps have been completed and your atlas has been (mostly) filled out.

This is where Path Of Exile truly ‘opens up’ for you to play with builds

At this point…

The game is less a restrictive tutorial and more an open sandbox build simulator.

The ‘progression’ is more like benchmarking and stat-checking your build, character, and game-knowledge against ‘juiced maps’, delves, and/or ‘uber bosses’ when you feel ready.

Even some veterans often don’t see every single part of Path Of Exile.

So as u/noicreC says:

“Set your own goals, even if it’s ‘just’ killing one of the pinnicle bosses, or try to go deep in heist/delve/whatever.”

Like leveling, endgame has its own progression, but instead of the campaign, it’s the atlas, elder, shaper, maven, ubers, etc. If you want to learn more about the progression, Maxroll’s post on Path Of Exile endgame is fairly thorough.

Like leveling…

Endgame has it's own progression system.

But instead of “the campaign,” it’s the atlas, elder, shaper, maven, ubers, etc. If you want to learn more about the progression, Maxroll’s post on Path Of Exile endgame is fairly thorough.

When you reach this point…

…The game becomes more about investing more heavily in gems and gear until your chosen build achieves whatever goals you’ve set for it.

It’s about creating your ‘masterpiece’ (or as a casual, at least pushing your builds as far as you’re comfortable, haha.)

And although this is where builds start to shine and the ‘power fantasy’ of Path Of Exile kicks into high gear, you won’t make it to this fun, flashy part if you can’t do the leveling part effectively.

There’s a ‘natural order’ to most things, including Path Of Exile.

Think about it.

There’s a do X before Y kind of vibe to pretty much everything.

-If you try to vacuum without plugging in the power first, what happens?
-If you have a bunch of kids before you’re financially stable, sheltered, and mentally healthy… what happens?
-If you ask for a promotion before you’ve mastered your current role and demonstrated value, what happens?

In each case…

If you go with the flow of that natural order, things go smoothly. If you resist it, or go against the natural order, things go pretty poorly.

In Path Of Exile, the natural order is to learn leveling first, then learn mapping.

Because if you level well your mapping tends to be smooth, but if you level poorly your mapping tends to be brutal.

For example, during early leveling, you won’t face much chaos damage, which lulls players into neglecting chaos resistance.

Another example is that during early leveling, you may cap your resists and your character may feel quite ‘solid’ to progress through the campaign.

Then Kitava suddenly hits all your elemental resistances for a permanent -30%, and all your low-tier items with five, ten, and fifteen percent resistances on them are basically garbage, providing zero tankiness.

So if you’re a savvy casual, you re-do all your gear, and feel confident once more.

Then, five acts later, Kitava does it again.

So you fix your build again…

…not realizing that you’re going to have ditch all the gear you have and the resists you’ve crafted, which will mess up all your resists yet again…

…meaning all you did to get fire resistance on your gloves was a huge waste of resources, since your high-rolled boots and gloves give 40%+ to all resistances by themselves alone.

Note: u/Archieie points out that getting a lot of resists on your leveling tree is not ideal (it’s better done through gear.)

The point is, if you don’t understand:

  • That low-level items can only roll low-level stats
  • Or the importance of say, “chaos resistance”,
  • Or that you can spec into a couple resist nodes briefly as a temporary fix for your resists, knowing you’ll respec out of them later as your gear improves…

…you may level through the campaign poorly, and compound those problems into something worse once you hit maps (assuming you even make it to them.)

Poor leveling and early maps become a nightmare where you get one-shot constantly and need to 6-portal even against yellow monsters as you try to progress past T14+.

(And if you’re one of the many casuals are happy to stop progressing before red maps, the principle still stands:

Improve your leveling, at least a bit, and the game will be way less frustrating and way more fun.)

So how can you learn to level well?

Watch people who’ve made a career off it.

Path Of Exile speedrunners.

Sure, they may not be the best teachers in the world, but they’re talented, friendly, and just watching them level once or twice will give a casual player enough of a leg up to enjoy their own leveling process.

Even something as simple as seeing what skills a speedrunner chooses when leveling up a Witch, Duelist, or Marauder can save a casual player months of wasted time and many broken characters.

Just briefly watch a speedrunner to open your mind.

I recommend whatever Tytykiller’s latest run happens to be, or watch him level whatever class you’ve chosen to play.

He’ll go too fast for you, and you’ll miss lots of tricks, but that’s the point.

Just watch him to get a sense of how fast it’s possible to blaze through the tutorial and get to PoE’s “real” game.

If you learn even one speed leveling trick, it’ll be worth it.

I’ll also link you to this video from Tytykiller and Zizaran going over the best leveling skills for each class in 3.21 Crucible league, as well as this video that covers the basics of leveling faster, plus this one that covers leveling recipes, and this PoE Everything Explained video, but browsing their channels will give you even more up to date content.

One thing you’ll notice is that these players all skip killing hundreds of monstersper zone. (They focus on killing ‘blue’ magic monsters mainly.)

They blaze through the campaign past thousands of ‘white’ mobs, without a care in the world…

…and you should too.

(At least until maps, where you may run out of map sustain if you skip too many mobs.)

They do this because they understand that Path Of Exile offers never-ending monsters.

You’ll never run out. They’re like mosquitos. Or ants. Are you gonna single-handedly hunt down every single ant on earth? Why? It’d be a crazy waste of time.

The same goes for mobs in PoE.

Path Of Exile isn’t like other RPGs where it’s good to kill every monster.

Skip them, level up off higher zones, and keep hustling forward through the campaign.

You can always re-run a zone and get more experience anytime, and there’s no special achievements or rewards handed out for killing every monster in a zone.

So level your characters like PoE veterans do, stop “hoarding” monster-kills like they’re precious. Stop being a completionist in every zone. Start treating mobs like toilet paper that never runs out, because Path Of Exile basically punishes people who try to level any other way.

And if you’re more advanced, you can just use this handy campaign checklist, or prepare a stash tab of ‘twink’ leveling gear.

Either way, watching a tutorial video, or even a full run, from one of these people will save you so much frustration and help you really shine during your game time.

(You can even just listen to them like a podcast while you’re at the gym, commuting to work, etc.)

Anyway, those are the two main games in Path Of Exile, but there are other sub-games too such as…

Bonus Game Three: The Path Of Exile market.

Path Of Exile competes with Eve Online for “game with the most ‘real’ economy powering it.”

So although Solo-Self-Found mode exists, the majority of players whether in League, Standard, Softcore, or Hardcore are hooked into the Path Of Exile official Trade Website, and use it to assemble some or all of their builds.

Filtering through the millions of items, finding a pool of items you may want, and then finding an affordable version of them…

…is a pretty complex game in its own way. Not to mention selling all the excess loot you have cluttering up your inventory.

Many players get a real dopamine hit from finding a good deal or making a big sale.

Bonus Game Four: Path Of Exile item crafting.

Can you turn that random item you found on the ground into something epic? Can you get an item for cheap, craft it well, then flip it for an awesome profit? Can you get a piece of gear that’s missing one key thing for your build and just craft it into greatness?

Have you even collected all the crafting recipes you’re going to need in the first place? Did you make a crafting mistake that bricked your item? Will you have to find a third-party crafter to make the item you want instead? Should you just gamble on this roll, maybe ‘hunter slam’ this belt?

These are all questions players might ask once they dive into Path Of Exile: The Crafting Game.

It’s good to know the basics of crafting like how to craft and automate your flasks, how to craft resistances, attributes, or socket colors on gear if you’re missing any, where to find crafting recipes, and how to beast craft in 30 seconds.

Subtractem has a 2-hour Beginner-To-Advanced crafting guide if you want, but you can probably avoid advanced crafting guides, but do keep in mind that the lower your item level is, the worse (and less) mods that can be rolled or crafted on it, so it’s usually smart to only craft the bare minimum on gear as you level, and only really start crafting once you’re getting items with an ilevel of 86+.

(Update: I found Locohol’s “Crafting For Noobs” series and it is by far the best education for a casual player who’s new to crafting, imho.)

So… maybe Path Of Exile is actually four games in one?

Or more.

Because then there’s the crazy meta (& market) differences between Standard, League, SSF, Ruthless, league mechanics, and so on, which shakes things up even more.

Fortunately, as a casual player, you really only need to focus on the two main games I outlined above, leveling, and endgame.

Other Bonus Games: League mechanics.

I won’t get into all the “League Mechanics” here, but since PoE releases a new Path Of Exile “mini-game”, expansion, or DLC about every three months, there are tons of “league mechanic” mini-games for you to explore when you feel like it.

Some of them have juicy, build-changing rewards like the anointing oils from Blight.

Others can be a great source of raw currency, like in Expedition. 

If you want to learn one or all of them, Zizaran’s video League Mechanics In Two Minutes is probably the most popular, but you might like this league mechanics explanation from BraveDreamerPoe too.

2. There’s three hidden pillars to successful Path Of Exile builds.

Wondering why your build sucks?

The reason is probably simpler than you think.

If your build isn’t performing how you want it…

(…and you’re not missing some complex interaction while tackling a complex wardloop build…)

…it boils down to a combination of three simple things.

This is because all ‘combat’-focused games hinge on these three things, and if you understand them, you’ll never wonder about your builds again.

A venn diagram of offense, defense, and move speed with "OK Path Of Exile Build" in the center overlap.

A. Damage, DPS, and offensive capabilities.

Have you ever heard the phrase “Enemies can’t hit you if they’re dead?”

When someone says this, what they mean is that if you increase your damage per second and overall offensive output enough to annihilate the enemy, you’ll never have to dodge, tank, or heal anything.

Essentially, you become a “glass cannon” able to put out ridiculous amounts of damage, but a single touch from an enemy will shatter you.

It technically can work.

Having that much DPS (damage per second) makes you god-tier as mobs melt before they can even look in your direction.

It sounds great, but it’s not plausible in Path Of Exile short of multiple ‘mirrors’ of investment into the game.

I’ve never seen a ‘casual’ gather enough damage to go full glass-cannon and not spend most of their time “resurrecting from checkpoint.”

Throw in the fact that ‘damage scaling’ is hidden behind obscure numbers, multipliers, and modifiers, and it’s very common for a build to seem like it has enough damage, only to hit a ‘damage wall’ far sooner than we imagine.

There’s many ways to scale your build’s damage up:

  • Base Damage
  • Added Damage
  • Damage Effectiveness
  • ”Increased” Damage
  • ”More” Damage
  • Damage Converted To
  • Resistance Penetration
  • Buffs, Etc.

Usually having a decent blend of them helps, because a Path Of Exile damage calculation has many parts, and having any of those parts be ‘zero’ or ‘empty’ sacrifices a good chunk of scaling.

Let’s say you wanted to scale Fire Damage, a total fire damage calculation would look something like this:

Your damage could scale even harder than the calculation above too.

You’d do this by adding other multipliers such as “Fire Penetration”, “% Damage As Extra Added Fire Damage”, and Fire “Ailments” such as ignite.

Not to mention critical strike chance (& damage), hit rate, weapon choice, and more.

On top of that, there are “skill gem interactions”.

Skill gems in PoE that share ‘skill tags’ usually interact with each other in ways that can matter a lot.

For example, any Support Skill Gem with the ‘attack’ tag will scale or reduce or somehow affect the other ‘attack’ skill gems.

Some casual players don’t pay attention to these tags even after hundreds of hours.

The point is, whether you’re playing around with gem tags, or upgrading your weapons…

…most builds have many ways to scale damage.

u/noicreC points out that:

“Every skill has it’s own way of scaling. Damage Over Time builds don’t benefit from penetration. ‘Secondary damage’ doesn’t benefit from ‘spell damage’ modifiers, even if it’s a spell. Looking up what affects your skill and what does not can be very helpful so you don’t waste many passive points for no gain.”

And there’s no point getting caught up in Path Of Building damage numbers every youtuber uses as clickbait.

What matters is how your play, on your character, in your game… feels.

Note: u/Archieie that any debuff that modifies “enemy damage taken” (such as Wither, Shock, Maim, reducing enemy resists, and so on) can be very impactful. These are a bit rare and often overlooked by casual players, and worth adding to your build.

I’ve played countless builds with high PoB damage numbers that just feel weak. I got tricked by the flashy numbers sitting in the high millions and billions.

Don’t let that happen to you.

Instead, pay close attention to how your build feels to you, damage-wise.

So if you’re mapping (or leveling) and it’s taking you too long to kill monsters or bosses, you should “feel” it quite quickly, and immediately start looking to acquire more damage scaling modifiers on your gear & gems, or look to bump up the numbers on ones you’re currently using.

Ultimately, if your damage feels low, despite being a casual, it’s worth reading up on damage scaling a bit. I’d start with the maxroll post Path Of Exile Damage For Beginners.

At the very least head to r/PathOfBuilds and search up how to scale damage on your main gem or overall gear.

(And don’t get caught with your auras off and your curses down, a sure fire way to cripple your damage that could’ve been solved with a click.)

B. Tankiness, healing, and defensive layers.

Have you ever heard the phrase “You can’t deal damage if you’re dead?”

When someone says this, they mean that any investment into high damage is useless if you die before you even get to attack.

They’re telling you to make your character tankier so that you’re actually able to stay on the map dishing out the damage instead of just getting one-shot.

And they have a point.

Path Of Exile is a game full of dangerous monsters and map mods, and being “too squishy” is basically a death wish.

But becoming tanky enough to confidently face anything in the game requires mirror-tier levels of investment, so casuals are often forced to be more choosy with their tankiness.

This is why people talk about getting “as many defensive layers” as possible without “spreading your defenses too thin.”

Unfortunately casuals tend to get either too few defensive layers, or aim too many on a meager budget.

In the early days of Path Of Exile, capping resists, decent life or energy shield, and either armor or evasion was “enough.”

Nowadays though, having all of those combined would actually be considered…


Now you need a healthy blend of the following layers:

Usually you’ll need 5 or more of these layers, total.

Some you’ll need to pick and choose, like maybe you focus on armor over spell suppression, or phasing over crowd control.

Others though, are nearly essentials you’ll need in your build somewhere…

…but you can balance the amount of each to your taste.

u/noicreC categorizes these essentials as Life Pool, Sustain, and Mitigation.

So here’s an overview of the defensive layers you may want to consider for your build:


  • Life (casuals may want ~150% increased maximum life from their passive tree) 
  • Energy Shield (Advanced Players Only)
  • Mana


  • Life Leech
  • Life Gained On Hit
  • Life Recoup
  • Life / Energy Shield Regeneration
  • Life Recovery
  • Energy Shield Recovery
  • Life Flasks


  • Capped Elemental Resistances (75% elemental resists are mandatory)
  • Capped Chaos Resistance (or at least reasonably ‘positive.’)
  • Spell Suppression
  • Physical Damage Reduction
  • Damage Taken As
  • Armor (Often a Noobtrap)
  • Block / Spell Block
  • Increased Maximum Resistances
  • Curses, Auras, Debuffs
  • Ward

MITIGATION (Via Avoidance)

  • Evasion
  • Dodge
  • Basic Ailment Immunity (Freeze immunity available through 2nd tier Brine King pantheon.)
  • Extra Ailment Immunity
  • Phasing, Elusive, Or
  • Other Movespeed Boosts
  • Crowd Control

Just as with damage, if you’re feeling squishy, fragile, or dying too easily, chances are you don’t have enough defensive layers in your build, or whatever defensive layers you have aren’t high enough to be effective.

And it’s not just about layering these things…

To make things even trickier, each class (besides Scion) only has easy access to a certain quadrant of the passive tree, and each quadrant focuses on certain kinds of defense, making defensive layers located elsewhere tricky.

So take an honest look at your build.

If it’s lacking in tankiness and you can’t stay alive, there’s many ways to fix it.

The basics?

Prioritize stacking a few defensive layers, early.

One example of stacking defensive layers might go like this:

  • (75% Elemental resistances are basically mandatory at all times. – thanks again, u/Archieie)
  • First, grab from the passive tree whatever defense layer is efficient for you to ‘stack.’ (Top right of the tree? Head left towards the ‘block’ nodes. Bottom right of the tree? Evasion or Spell Suppression nodes. Bottom left of the tree? Armor and/or Block nodes.) Keep an eye out for major defensive notables and keystones in that area of the tree. (Iron Reflexes, Glancing Blows, Mind Over Matter, Acrobatics, Solipsism, etc.)
  • Next, use and level a single Purity Of Elements or Determination gem as a second layer. (Purity Of Elements if you want to dedicate one gem slot towards resist capping and ailment immunity, Determination if you want to dedicate one gem slot to armor scaling.) You’ll also need to find ways to ramp up your chaos resistances later in the campaign and in maps, usually through a blend of chaos res nodes on the passive tree, chaos res jewels slotted into sockets, and investing in gear pieces with chaos resistance on them.
  • In the current state of the game, spell suppression is very helpful but it’s the kind of stat that doesn’t feel truly tanky until you hit 100% on it, so be careful. (Opinions vary as to whether or not spell suppression is mandatory, skippable for some builds, or somewhere in between, so you may have to experiment or research on your own.) – It’s usually easier to get spell suppression on characters who start the left side of the tree, but due to the amount of spells enemy mobs have, it’s always a layer worth considering.
  • Finally, look to add in some stun, freeze, or ailment immunity, or some life leech, regen, or recoup. (Even better, get some of both.)
  • Also look to squeeze in other defensive auras if you have the mana, life, and/or reservation efficiency to reserve them such as Vitality, Grace, or Discipline.
  • If you’re really still struggling, look to use other gem slots to shore up defenses. (Tempest Shield, Molten Shell, Steelskin, Arctic Armor, etc.) or embrace full glass cannon and use a strong offense as your defense (not recommended.)

But there are plenty of other ways to stack defensive layers.

It can seem overwhelming as a casual, but choosing a few defensive layers that your gear or passive tree can handle, and improving them, can bring huge results.

Wanna know more? Zizaran does a fairly deep dive on tankiness in his PoE University video “Build Layered Defenses On Your Character.” and his talk with Nugiyen on How To Build Defence On Your Character.

(Or if you want a more concise overview, Tenkiei’s Defense Guide: Making An Invincible Character is a great summary.

So there we go, damage scaling and defensive layers have been touched on. Which brings us to, last but not least…

C. Movespeed, crowd control, and positioning.

Ever heard the phrase “Can’t kill what you can’t catch?”

Admittedly, this phrase is less common than the two above…

…but this is because most people prefer to focus on being tanky or dealing damage, and tend to neglect the importance of movement, positioning, and crowd control.

Move speed is crazy important, at least in Path Of Exile.

This is because unlike Diablo or League Of Legends, Path Of Exile has few, or any, “auto attacks” that instantly cause damage to you with zero chance to dodge them.

A lot of damage in Path Of Exile is something you can avoid if you’re quick.

(We won’t talk about the bullsh*t screenwide stuff and broken map mods.)

This means movement and positioning is key, and you’ll notice that if you’re not slow- or stun- immune, your death count rises rapidly. (It also means that if you can freeze or slow enemies, you gain a huge defensive and offensive layer, because a frozen enemy is soon to be a dead enemy.)

And it’s especially helpful vs. big endgame bosses, as long as you don’t overdo it.

Thing is, most casual players sleep on movespeed because it’s not very obvious, or clearly available.

Or they use flashy movement skills they see on YouTube, but end up clashing with each other (like Flame Dash and Withering Step) or haven’t been scaled well (like Leap Slam without a Faster Attacks support gem.)

So if your build has you getting caught on large packs of mobs, or failing to move out of ground degens or traps, or getting stuck behind terrain…

…it may be time for you to explore movement speed.

Read up a bit on blink skills vs. travel skills, do a search for “move speed” nodes when you open your passive tree, or filter your gear by “move speed.

I haven’t seen many good articles on move speed and movement skills in Path Of Exile, so I’d probably just search in r/PathOfExile and read something like “Best Movement Speed Options For Leveling”, “Best Ways To Increase Movement Speed”, or maybe watch this slightly old ELI5: Movement Skills video from Eli or this recent video from Subtractem on the value of move speed – How To Go Faster.

And whatever your speed, practice positioning well.

For example:

  • Don’t facecheck 3 packs of mobs gathered around a shrine.
  • Don’t open a strongbox without identifying and prepping for it, or at least buffering a blink away. (u/xMasaox says as long as you’re freeze immune you can open un-ID’d boxes, as long as you blink/move away fast.) 
  • Don’t stand on ground degens for multiple seconds at a time.

You’re controlling a character’s movement all game long, so aim to do it well.

*Note: If you’re playing “Ruthless” mode, a lot of the movement tips above aren’t readily accessible, but the overall principle still matters.

Casuals rarely get fast 'clearspeed' and fast 'bossing.'

A couple redditors brought this issue up, and I thought it was covered well enough in the tradeoffs and walls section, but u/jondifool insisted and I… caved.

Basically, it comes down to this:

Path Of Exile is balanced in a way that your build can either excel at single-target, bursty damage for nuking bosses…


…it can excel at multi-target, Area-Of-Effect, steady damage for map clearing.

Getting both usually takes lots of currency, like multiple mirrors.

Get used to making a character for one, and a separate character for the other, because going for both tends to brick most casuals builds.

You can still go for both, and some people manage it, but you’ve been warned.

Most casual builds fail at one or more of these pillars.

Some of my early builds failed at all three at once.

I was too squishy, while dealing pathetic damage, and moving like a turtle.

And then I blamed Path Of Exile for being “too hard” when I died.

Hopefully the section above will help you avoid the same fate, and help your builds truly shine.

Simply looking at your builds in this light is often enough to fix any issues and take them to a satisfying level.

That said, casual players are best served by following build guides.

“I was a casual player… It took me 300 hours to reach yellow maps on my own. This season, I followed a guide… and about 90% of what I learned on my own, all that trial and error, those 300 hours were made unnecessary in a single six-step build… Now I’m past level 80, and I can finally start playing the game… The people who make build guides are brilliant.” – All-Trades Jack, anti-guider-turned-guide-lover.

(Note: Every single mistake you make in your build can easily add up to days of playtime to fix, because most changes require hard-to-find orbs of regret, chromatic orbs, orbs of fusing, and more.)

You can avoid guides if want, it works for some small percentage of people, maybe you’re one of them.

But to me, following a guide when learning PoE is like following a recipe when learning to cook.

It’s just smart.

It saves you tons of burned meals, time, and money.

And when you’re done, the whole world of cuisine (or Wraeclast) is your oyster.

(u/noicreC says if you want to be an innovative build experimenter, go ahead, and the sections above about may give you enough knowledge to get your own builds going (but this casual does NOT recommended it, lol.)

But which build guides should you follow?

There are countless out of date, out of budget, fraudster build guides out there.

And they often have clickbait titles and staged showcases that make a casual player hungry to try them.

Don’t get scammed.

Don't follow bad, obsolete, or advanced guides.

Exercise some judgment and find guide creators who are relaible.

There are some guide builders who have a long track record of caring about beginners and either creating builds for casuals, or offering multiple versions of a build, or specifying clearly when a build may not be casual friendly.

Here’s my list of reputable build creators so far:

Slightly more advanced or less clear build creators:

And of course, MaxRoll.gg, who I’ve linked a few times already.

(Update: I found this beginner-friendly complete League Start to Endgame guide that seems worth a look: Fezz’s Toxic Rain Champion Beginner Friendly Build Guide.)

A really good rule of thumb is to focus on ones that are Hardcore Solo Self Found builds.

This ensures the build will be solid and reliable, with minimal deaths, because it’s designed for Hardcore, a mode where you only get one life.

It also ensures it will be affordable and craftable on your own, with minimal trading, because it’s designed for a mode where everything is “self-found” with no trading involved.

One thing to note though…

Builds in Path Of Exile are like cars.

Cars can be measured on a spectrum.

At one end of the spectrum, some builds are great ‘starters.’

They’re easy to drive, easy to maintain, don’t guzzle all your gas, and get the job done… but you won’t be winning any major races with them.

Pohx’s Righteous Fire Juggernaut is a great example of this. It’s a serviceable workhouse that most beginners can handle, and it’ll take you quite far in your Path Of Exile journey.

At the other end of the spectrum, some builds are luxury ‘sports cars.’

They’re way more advanced, sexy-but-pricey AF, and best piloted by veteran Nascar racers… and these builds can cruise straight through endgame content.

Any bow build, especially Belton’s Tornado Shot Deadeye is a great example of this. It’s an insane beast that will demolish Path Of Exile to a ridiculous degree… but good luck making anything even close to it, and even if you do, you’ll probably misclick and die instantly anyway.

(And then there’s Magic Find builds, which are basically helicopters, or hell, spaceships, piloted only by trained astronauts.)

Be honest with yourself, as a casual, which end of the spectrum should you be leaning towards? Which build-difficulty is going to give you the best experience?

If you really love the bow playstyle, maybe it’s worth exploring, but if it’s not an absolute deal-breaker, perhaps start with an easier-to-pilot vehicle.

3. A lot of Path Of Exile isn’t actually in the game.


Many players spend about as much time, if not more, doing Path Of Exile things outside the game rather than in it.

But when I first started playing casually, I was *not* psyched to do much outside the game.

I didn’t want to “follow a guide”, I didn’t want to “look it up on the wiki”, or anything like that.

And even though I didn’t know it, that choice just made my gaming experience unnecessarily rough.

I could’ve gotten the hang of the game in a couple hundred hours if I followed a few guides and learned some of the fundamentals, but I refused to read much outside the game.

Here’s the thing though.

Treat Path Of Exile like a casual hobby.

Path Of Exile is kind of like soccer, dance, or League Of Legends.

It’s like any ‘deep’ sport or hobby where it’s free to play and try out…

…but a tiny bit of investment makes it so much more enjoyable.

Reading one tutorial, learning a few tricks from a veteran, or picking up a book about it can be a true game-changer.


Doing a bit outside the game can save you time & frustration.

Googling or Wiki-ing Path Of Exile stuff provided a massive boost in my gameplay and experience, for minimal investment.

And then, having a few positive experiences with looking PoE stuff up caused a chain reaction.

It opened the door for me to the huge amount of third-party and community-built Path Of Exile tools and resources.

The number of resources out there is stunning.

As a casual player, no one points you to the bonkers amount of external resources that take Path Of Exile beyond a game you load and struggle through, to one that’s truly enjoyable.

Here’s just a taste of…

Some of the most popular, helpful, or interesting PoE sites:

  • Poewiki.net – The most up-to-date Path Of Exile wiki, browse or search it to discover literally anything you might need to know. (Say you find a ‘weird’ item, like a ‘tainted’ orb or a certain ‘oil’… look them up! A quick glance may show you it’s incredibly helpful, or you may find quickly that it’s ignorable.)
  • Poelab.com – Shows the shortest path through the Labyrinth everyday to make getting your ascendancies easier.
  • Path Of Building (Community Fork) – The most up-to-date character importer, build analyzer, and sandbox, lets you do countless amazing things, but casuals mostly use it to make following guides easier.
  • Official Trade Site – Need an item? Search, filter, and find a player to trade for it here.
  • Poe.ninja – This site can do lots of great things, but casuals mostly use it to browse the most successful builds for a certain skill. (It’s easy to misuse because people dismantle their builds on it often, and there’s no explanations.)
  • Craft Of Exile – Their ‘craft emulator’ lets you practice crafting items without spending a single bit of currency and without bricking a single item. Plus their crafting database is beyond compare.
  • Poedb.tw – Look up anything in PoE and get the stats, data, and details behind it. Similar to the wiki, but a more database-focused navigation. More numbers, less reading.
  • The Forbidden Trove – The most popular discord server for buying ‘legit’ services like benchcrafting, lab runs, boss carries, 5-ways (experience), and anything else you may be struggling with in Path Of Exile. Has had some controversy lately but remains helpful.
  • PoE Glossary – Path Of Exile can feel like a different language at times, this site helps.
  • Awakened PoE Trade – If you’re going to sell items, this is a life-saving in-game overlay.
  • Filterblade’s Custom Loot Filter Creator – Create a loot filter as a guest, or login in and save a bunch of different loot filters for your characters.
  • PoE Regex – Tool to highlight and filter “bad maps” or “good gear” in your stash tabs. (Kind of advanced for casuals.)
  • PoE Antiquary – Before you commit to a build, no matter how cool it looks, it’s smart to take a quick peek at the supply and demand for key items of the build. PoE Antiquary lets you do that.
  • PoeBuilds.cc – An index of PoE Builds, including archived ones, popular ones and recently added builds. Buttons to sort them by class and playstyle make browsing easy.
  • Welcome To Path Of Exile – New Player Tips! – A clear, concise, helpful bunch of tips for new players to give them a solid foundation for enjoying their time in game.
  • Grinding.Zone – A site of quick-links to loads of PoE resources.

These are massive sites that provide huge value.

Grinding Gears Games might even be wise to buy some of them and incorporate them directly into Path Of Exile.

Regardless, they’re tools many casual players are sleeping on, where even using one of them could skyrocket your enjoyment of Path Of Exile to the next level.

You don’t have to automatically use them all, but at least invest a click or two in them.

Click the links and see for yourself, or check out a YouTube breakdown on them and let your mind be blown by what’s possible.

4. The wisest approach for casuals is… proper experimentation.

I say ‘proper’ experimentation because some experiment styles are more helpful than others.

For example, you could experiment with different characters, skills, passive trees, and more…

…but that would spread you very thin, take a lot of time & currency, and give only a surface level understanding of a wide variety of things, leaving you an ‘ineffective beginner’ for most of your PoE playtime.

Or you could commit to a character class and maybe a skill or two, and experiment with various tweaks to them.

This would let you learn the nuances of that character and those skills. It would let you figure out exactly the best gear to get.

It would help you become quite polished, experienced, and powerful on that character, and all your experiments would pay big dividends because they’d each refine the character you’d committed to.

And then, when you’re finally ready to switch characters, you’d have a very polished build to sell off to someone else for a tidy sum, enabling you to easily explore new classes.

Committing to developing a character in Path Of Exile has a ton of benefits and the only downside is you may not “see everything the game has to offer.”

But think about it, as a Path Of Exile casual…

Would you rather commit to a character and enjoy your game time, or desperately struggle to explore the whole game with your limited casual hours?

The point is, as a casual, you must find a resource-efficient, cost-effective way of experimenting that doesn’t eat up your precious gaming hours and investment.

(u/jondifool suggests exploring successful builds on PoE.Ninja using their ‘rewind-time’ function to see how players upgraded their builds along the way, rather than just staring at their endgame mirror-tier setup.)

Poorly done experiments can become expensive AF.

How expensive?


Watch Subtractem, a dedicated build-creation streamer, spend hundreds of divines, hitting wall-after-wall, applying all his viewers advice…

…just trying to get a viewer’s “Arakali’s Spider” build to feel right.

(Does he even manage it in the end?)

Haphazard experiments can cost you a lot of IRL game and grind time, and a lot of in-game currency.

So what are wise approaches to experimentation in Path Of Exile?

  • Use a friend’s account.
  • Use Craft Of Exile’s Crafting Emulato
  • Use Path Of Building to test out possible characters.
  • Browse builds on YouTube or Twitch.
  • Browse builds on r/PathOfExileBuilds
  • Fill a tab with twink leveling gear/gems.
  • Look up the 10 div challenge.
  • Learn to speedrun & spend an hour or two on each class (eg: Act 5) or so.

Or figure out some other way that works for you.

Since your game time is limited, make your experiments count.

Whatever you choose, make sure your experiments teach you something valuable.

Because unlike games like DOTA where there’s sandbox modes and all heroes are easy to test out, in Path Of Exile, you don’t even get to explore the items, gems, and play styles you want without significant investment.

As I mentioned above, in PoE builds require commitment.

So if you know what kind of thing you prefer in other games, whether you like being a tank, a glass cannon, a mobile speed demon, or something else…

…please experiment and see what classes, gems, and uniques feel best to you or suit your playstyle.

Once you’ve gotten a handle on that, then decide on a build that resonates, and experiment with it as cheaply as possible.

I like to test out my builds by first pursuing a low-investment rendition of it, so I’m not too heavily committed in time or currency. (ie: An ‘under one divine’ version).

Then, if I see potential in the build, and I just want to make it a bit tankier, a bit higher damage, or a bit more mobile, I pursue a ‘medium-investment’ form of it.. (ie: A 10-20 div version.)

Finally, if the build is really coming together, and I feel it’s worth polishing, I’ll invest in a high-end iteration. (ie: my 100+ div version.)

I wish someone explained what it means to ‘experiment properly’ in Path Of Exile way back when I started, because it would’ve saved me so many headaches, bricked builds, and lost currencies.

5. Have a purpose for your build (‘cause no build does it all.)

The only builds that can “do everything” comfortably…

…require ridiculous amounts of investment (either time, money, or both).

This means that while they’re totally reasonable to talk about and pursue for whales, “do everything” builds essentially don’t exist for casuals, because practically no casual player will actually have enough currency to create one.

Which means you’ll have to accept trade-offs when you’re building.

  • If you want a lazy, one-button build, you may have to sacrifice single-target bossing damage, or area-of-effect mapping damage.
  • If you want an immortal, tanky AF build, you may have to sacrifice clearspeed, mobility, or damage.
  • If you want a map-and-boss melter with extreme damage, you may have to go glass cannon or accept that you’ll need to 6-portal far more often than preferred.
  • And don’t get me started about fitting in “magic find.”

I hope you get the point.

Not sure what trade-offs to make?

All good.

You can solve this by committing to a purpose for your build.

Path Of Exile is a huge game with tons of content, and once you accept that no ‘casual-affordable’ build is going to take you cruising through all content, you can instead build with a certain type of content in mind.

Let’s say your purpose was to blaze through maps as effortlessly as possible, but you don’t mind the odd death or having to skip bosses… you could go Lightning Arrow.

Or if your purpose is to ‘phase’ bosses before they get a single shot off but you’re fine if maps feel sluggish or you can’t screenwide clear… you could go Seismic Trap. (thx u/Archieie)

Or if your purpose is to experience deep levels of delve or many waves of simulacrum but not truly excel in other areas of Path Of Exile… you could go some flavor of Detonate Dead.

And if you wanted an ‘all-rounder’ build you could try something like Righteous Fire.

Either accept the trade-offs, or become a whale.

The principle here is to either make peace with trade-offs, or to go “beyond casual”, invest like a “whale” and create a mirror-tier build.

(Apparently there’s a free mirror service out there by SpicySushi and friends, but I’ve never used it.)

If you really want to try your hand at a build that does everything, google “Immortal Builds” or search r/PathOfExileBuilds for “Immortal” and browse the results, but… you’ve been warned.

And even if you keep your build expectations sane, still…

6. Every build faces bottlenecks, embrace them.

Including yours.

So every player has to ‘troubleshoot’ their build at some point.

And if you’re not aware of the bottlenecks your build may hit ahead of time…

…they can catch you by surprise, halt your progress, brick your build, or even kill your motivation to play.

Here’s some common obstacles (or ‘walls’) casuals hit when building.

  • Needing pricey uniques, jewels (can be 70-80% the cost of a good build)
  • Mapping issues (Mob
  • Density & Clearspeed)
  • Bossing issues (Single Target & Defense)
  • Delves / Simulacrum issues
  • “Socket starvation” (not having the right # of sockets)
  • Off-coloring sockets (item bases which avoid rolling necessary colors)
  • High-cost gem issues (Awakened gems, gem quality, Empower, etc.)
  • High-rolling gear issues (corrupts, enchants, influences)
  • SSF / trade issues (gear / currency acquisition in general)
  • Flask issues (can be 70-80% the cost of a good build)
  • Resists (especially chaos resistance)
  • Physical damage reduction issues (often neglected)
  • Ailment immunity (again, oft neglected by casuals)
  • Damage over time issues (solved mainly by recoup / regen / immunity)
  • Mana Reservation Issues
  • Ascendancies / Labs (Spam life flasks, decoy totem, movement skills)
  • Struggles to 6-Link (There are more ways than ever, now.)
    Needing phasing. (Niche, but sometimes clutch.)

Plus, there’s more, and most of these walls are ‘invisible’ or hard to notice for casual players

You feel like you just end up dying for "no reason."

Hitting walls where you barely tickle mobs or die to a slight breeze can feel overwhelming…

…but most builds are only affected by a handful of these at time, and usually solving even one of them is a great quality of life improvement.

u/noicreC adds:

“Resists are usually best found on rings, attributes, from amulets… also, tankiness [trumps everything] for [struggling beginners] who are learning the game.”

But you can be creative, using other gear pieces, jewel slots, or whatever you have to as a casual on a limited budget.

I’ve only seen one video or resource that helps beginners and casuals overcome walls in PoE, and it’s just a general overview called “Getting Unstuck” by Salendrak that covers barely any of the common bottlenecks I mention above.

So how do you overcome these walls?

Well, when facing these walls we can either…

…give up and stop progressing (or playing)…

…or we “solo grind” item-, currency-, and crafting- based solutions to them…

…or we can use Path Of Exile Trading (via the official website) to beat them.

And out of these options –for casuals at least…

Trading is pretty much required (for most casuals).

If you’re a die-hard anti-trade player, or if you prefer Solo Self Found, so be it.

But this video from All-Trade Jack’s Casual Path Of Exile series covers his stubborn refusal to avoid guides and never trade, and his conclusion?

Trade is pretty much required.

This is because casuals will hit one or more of the above walls and simply not have the free time available to grind past them.

Trading is the fastest and easiest way to find solutions to these “build walls” or “progress walls.”

And for most casuals with jobs and family responsibilities, it’s the most efficient.

Do you really want to grind it out, farming a pair of gloves for months, then a pair of boots for months, then a helmet for months… only to discover you don’t even meet the attribute requirements for your main skill gem once you socket in them?

Or would you rather treat Path Of Exile like any of your favorite hobbies, and simply spend a bit (of in-game currency) on it, unlock your build, and start enjoying the ‘real game’?

That said, even I was hesitant to get into trading, and I know others are too.

Now I say, “don’t be.”

Just YouTube a trading tutorial and dive in. Even if you only use it to get a single item and move your build forward, you won’t regret it.

It’s a massive part of the game that lets you progress quickly to the awesome ‘endgame power fantasy’ Path Of Exile has.

If you’re a casual like me, do yourself a favor, ‘trade’ yourself past any progression walls you can.

7. You’ll also want to ‘git gud’ (at least to a point.)

If you’ve never heard the term ‘git gud’…

…it means to improve your personal skill and talent at something.

In other words study and practice.

The better you are at knowing which enemies are dangerous, which map mods are deadly, and how to roll, craft, or trade for gear that fills holes in your build, the less struggle you’ll have in Path Of Exile.

The better you are at timing your cooldowns, dodging enemy mechanics, or predicting enemy behavior, the more fun you’ll have in Path Of Exile.

Some of the top builds and fastest speedruns are done by players using incredibly squishy gear, who play on a razor’s edge, relying on their skill to carry them through to endgame.

These players know that their personal skill is one of the most valuable things they can bring to their time in PoE.

Conversely, “boomers with potato-skills…

…generally have to invest way more in survivability, close themselves off to the more powerful ‘face-melting’ glass-cannon builds, and end up struggling vs. content many other players don’t…

…simply due to their lack of skill, focus, or practice.

“But we’re casuals!” you say.

I know.

Playing casually doesn't mean you should avoid all improvement.

It means you should make casual improvements that create major results.

Do that and you’ll benefit massively.

Even something as simple as learning how to react with a Flame Dash to an exploding magma or poison orb that’s locked on to you can feel like heaven.

Simple skill improvements can save you investing tons of time or currency into gear upgrades.

For instance, u/noicreC points out that learning boss mechanics is vital. In maps, despite you being geared well, bosses (especially damage-modded) can kill you with a single blow.

And speaking of dying by a single blow, being tanky is the best way to learn the game.

“The tankier you are, the easier it is to learn the game. If you’re tanky, you’ll notice whenever a certain mob or mod will hurt much more than others. If you play a glass-cannon build, all you know is… [everything kills you.]” – u/noicreC

So aim to ‘git gud’, at least a little bit.

Here’s a list of some of PoE’s most dangerous game mechanics.

Learn how to handle them and your experience will be drastically better:

There are also ’meta’ ways to ‘git gud’ that aren’t strictly about in-game skill, but more about game configuration or how you approach Path Of Exile. These are things such as:

This last one sometimes goes unnoticed, but it’s one of the most helpful, since PoE is such a content-bloated game.

Use search in the in-game shop to highlight key items. (Try typing “support” in the search bar to highlight only support gems, or “speed” to highlight items with move speed.)

Ultimately, as with any game, the better you get, the more fun it is.

So don’t just rely on ‘creating the perfect build’ to carry you through, because you’ll be missing out on what your own natural talents, focus, and practice can bring to the table.

And as a casual with limited playtime, you can probably use any advantage you can find.

8. Path Of Building can save you hundreds of divines...

…And months of effort.

Since Path Of Exile is practically a ‘build maker’ game where you test your build in the ‘sandbox’ of maps and bosses…

…you can technically “play” most of the game in Path Of Building, since it gives you the freedom to craft any item, use any gem, and choose any passive tree.

I’m sure some dedicated theory-crafting people play PoB, and use PoE to test it.” – u/jankufood

Most casual players don’t want anything to do with this, because Path Of Building is ugly, overwhelming, off-putting.

Unfortunately, Path Of Building looks super scary to casuals.

And hey, I get it.

It took me years to even download it, but I was so glad when I did.

I didn’t go crazy and turn into a Path Of Exile guru or anything, I just clicked a couple buttons and, voila, I had a build.

Just having the option to paste a guide-creator’s link and have the entire build front-and-center was amazing.

And that’s just one reason so many Path Of Exile veterans use Path Of Building.

So, if you can bring yourself to click a few of Path Of Building’s basic functions, you’ll make your Path Of Exile gametime a million times more fun.

(If you really can’t stand PoB, u/noicreC suggest PoePlanner – Less powerful, but also less intens for newer players.)

Path Of Building is the 'safest' lowest-investment way to learn Path Of Exile.

It lets you make super-expensive experiments with your build and character in a safe environment.

For example, you may be wondering:

“For my build, is it better to focus on ‘crit multiplier’ or ‘attack speed’ or ‘increased damage’?”

In PoB it’s easy to find out.

Import your character, keep an eye on your “total DPS” damage number on the left, and then add your gear with attack speed or add your crit multiplier passive node, and see which of them delivers higher DPS.

Or say you’re not sure if a jewel on the trade site is a worthwhile investment…

Simply click the “copy item” button on the trade site, go to the ‘items’ section of your character in PoB, paste the item from trade, place it on your character and notice your effective HP number, total DPS number, or both.

A few clicks and all the crazy numbers of Path Of Exile become clear and you know exactly what to do next in your build.

Or import your character, click the “Show Node Power” button, and watch all the best Passive Nodes on your tree light up in a heatmap, showing you which ones are best to path towards for your build.

I honestly wish this program’s functionality was built into Path Of Exile…

…and I bet countless other players feel the same.

That said, fair warning:

“PoBs from creators can be misleading. They may use mirror-tier items a casual can’t get. They may ‘cheat’ to pump damage numbers, by setting PoB to ‘shock for 50%’ on a ‘pinnacle boss’ which a casual won’t ever do.) So it’s best to just import your own character and see what nodes, gems, and gear increase it’s power.” – u/noicreC

9. Sometimes you'll f**k up your atlas.

First of all, if you’re a casual…

…you may not have finished the campaign, made it to ‘maps’, and started exploring your atlas progression.

You may not know who Kirac is, or how he, and all the “Kirac passives”, can help your early mapping.

In which case, you’ll want to watch this checklist on What To Do Once You Finish The Campaign or this one on What To Do When Entering The Endgame.

The two key parts of all progression in the endgame is a) “finishing your atlas” (completing one of each map and their bonuses), and b) pathing through your atlas passive tree.

It’s important to do them in the order I just outlined because you mainly get points for your atlas passive tree *by* completing maps and their bonuses (and invitations).

(Since Path Of Exile doesn’t really explain How To Finish Your Atlas, many casual players get stuck on early maps, or haven’t gotten their voidstones, *and* their atlas passive tree doesn’t progress either.)

Assuming you checked out the link in the above paragraph and are progressing well with finishing your atlas, you’ll eventually want to shape your atlas to suit your playstyle and goals.

The Atlas is where Path Of Exile's biggest fun factor comes in.

At least, for a majority of the players who make it there.

If you’ve reached the Atlas…

By this point you’ve poured a bunch of love into building your character, and want to explore various PoE endgame content.

Let’s say you’ve a decent build, but are still barely progressing or seeing the content you want…

…chances are you haven’t made your atlas into one that serves your goals.

  • Some people like certain types of maps.
  • Some people prefer to fill their maps with boss encounters and invitations.
  • Some people prefer to focus on farming currency.
  • Or maybe you’ve heard names like Sirus, Uber Cortex, Maven, but haven’t figured out how to get to them.

Or maybe you’re a bit more advanced and have more targeted, specific goals:

  • High investment mapping”
  • Farming apothecary
  • 8-mod fully juiced maps” specifically

Bonus Tip:

“I always do two atlases during my leagues. The first one is for the first clearing, I pick up nodes that increase map drop chances, drops higher maps, gives me more kirac missions etc. Once I hit around 130 points, I reset most of the tree and pick up the mechanics I want. This speeds up how fast you can complete the atlas, without having to buy maps from other players.” – u/noicreC

There’s lots to explore - what part of endgame is calling you?

Whatever your goals, it’s key to get clear on them, and then ask yourself some questions.

Is your ‘map sustain’ or ‘map drops’ helping you reach that content, or do you need to fix it?
Have you bought some of those unique maps off of the trade site or favored certain maps?
Is your atlas optimized decently for your goals?

Because if you haven’t at least learned the basics of the atlas passive tree, then your atlas modifiers and map drops may be frustrating your favorite way to play.

(And if you want to see what’s possible and explore the entire atlas without completing every map right away, you can try poeplanner’s mock Atlas Tree.)

Lastly, for many casuals…

Their 'campaign-build' just isn’t ready for endgame content.

If your build can’t handle high map tiers, or many map mods, and you don’t see many viable build improvements… you may have hit your personal ceiling on that build.

If this is the case, you may have to make major tweaks to your character or re-roll a character from scratch and do the campaign again (ideally with a focus on speed-leveling an endgame viable build.)

Also, often for early map sustain we use one path in the atlas tree, and as we progress we use orbs of unmaking and recreate our atlas tree for other purposes.

So pick some PoE endgame content to explore, experiment, and find the Atlas Tree that suits your playstyle best.

10. Avoid losing due to settings (keybinds, lag, etc.)

As a casual player who likely loaded up the game and jumped into playing like you would any other…

…chances are PoE’s game settings have been overlooked.

This can really impact the enjoyment level you get from the game.

Let’s look at performance first.

Because if the game isn’t performing well for you, that’s a lot of hours for you to be suffering through a poorly performing game, right?

And even though Path Of Exile is an older game, that should run fine on modern machines…

…it’s also pretty cluttered.

It has crazy amounts of animated entities on screen at a time, especially late game, and especially with certain skills.

It’s common for even good computers and solid GPUs to lag, so you may need to tweak your settings.

(“Wardloop” builds in particular are brutal for most computers to handle, and I don’t even know what consoles would do.)

This is the best guide for improving Path Of Exile performance I’ve found, and it helped me play even when my laptop had a sketchy cable and kept switching to battery power and on-board GPU.

One trick I haven’t tried myself, but that Wardloop players often use…

…Is to buy less “flashy” skins for your minions or spell effects. (I think this is going a bit far for casuals.)

Next we’ll explore quality of life tweaks.

There’s also quality of life tweaks and settings that make a big difference to your in-game experience.

Things like:

  • Making most skills set to “attack without moving” because it feels a million times better. (Especially movement or travel skills, you need those to be instant when you press them, not have you moving around randomly first.)
  • Binding spammable movement, guard, or instant-cast skills on left- or right-click. (Or at least binding “move” to left click so you can move freely and master the “run in circles” gameplay that works so well vs. PoE enemies.)
  • Or binding your auras & golems to your second hotbar so you don’t accidentally turn them off… just remember to turn them back on if you die.
  • Lowering the opacity or detail level of the mini-map so you can keep it on screen and see through it without your eyeballs bleeding.
  • Also, this one’s more for beginners, but if you haven’t disabled Global chat and Trade chat, or learned to use /dnd mode, those can really add peace to your sessions when you’re tired of the chatter.
  • CTRL-Clicking a zone to reset a zone’s layout and re-fill it with monsters.

Small tweaks, life-changing impact.

11. Avoid losing (the fun) to inventory management.

Path Of Exile serves you up so much loot, so many items, and so many gems…

…And, uh, well… Most of them are junk.

But some of them are essential.

And as casual players, we often can’t tell the difference, so we resort to hoarding.

But hoarding a bunch of junk that no player would want, use, or purchase just turns your PoE experience into a giant chore of inventory management.

So take a few moments and learn the basics of Path Of Exile inventory best practices, it’ll save your sanity, and help your few hours a week be spent actually playing Path Of Exile and progressing your character, rather than fighting their inventory system.

The first thing to do is get yourself a Loot Filter.

Neversink’s General Loot Filter is by far the most popular go to, and is actually my most commonly loaded filter, so that’s where I’d start.

(If you want to get a bit more advanced or customize your filter to suit your playstyle, head over to Filterblade’s PoE Loot Filter Customizer, or for speed-running, you can use Tytykiller’s Leveling Filters.)

Many casuals actually do take this step, but if you haven’t, I can’t recommend it enough.

I can’t even explain how much easier, smoother, and better this makes the game, and I’m so glad GGG added a loot-filter manager into the main game options.

Next, learn some stash tab basics.

As a beginner testing out Path Of Exile, you can play for hours and not really need to explore stash tabs much.

But as a casual who’s getting more into PoE as a hobby, you’ll likely want to invest in at least one stash tab, or else inventory management will suck a lot of the fun out of Path Of Exile.

The currency stash tab is so essential, it really should be part of the core game, but Grinding Gears Games have created such an epic game, it’s hard for me to begrudge them the sale.

In you're not careful, PoE goes from "fun game" to "inventory manager."

My second favorite tab is the Map Collection stash tab, and my third is my ‘premium’ stash tab.

Zizaran’s “What Stash Tabs Should You Get In Path Of Exile?” goes into this stuff much deeper than I have space to here.

I should also mention if you make multiple characters or if you sell on the trade site, getting “nameable” premium stash tabs can be super helpful.

I will say though that I invested in a gem stash tab a while ago, but ever since they put Lilly in our hideout selling all available gems for peanuts, I just use her as my gems-on-demand storage whenever I need one, so my gem stash tab hasn’t turned out to be that helpful.

Either way, a big time-saver is to right click your tabs and assign them an affinity, so that you can “CTRL-click” an item in your character’s inventory, and the item will automatically sort itself into the correct stash tab with matching affinity.

To go along with all the stash tab tips above…

Stop hoarding: Learn to tell what’s worth keeping.

Even with a loot filter turned on, Path Of Exile sends a constant stream of items to your screen, and if you hem-and-haw over which to keep and which to leave, your few casual Path Of Exile hours mostly be spent poring over item details.

It’s not necessary.

There are a few tricks and mental shortcuts you can take to blaze past most items and only keep ones that are actually worth the inventory space. (Most aren’t.)

Zizaran’s PoE University Episode “When are your items good in Path of Exile?” from a couple years ago is OK if you want something in-depth, but I’d probably start with Asmodeus’s simple “what to keep early, what to keep mid-game, & what to keep late” approach in his video “Which Items Should You Pick Up” for a quick casual overview.

As a casual player with few game hours per week, do your best to minimize time spent in inventory, and maximize time spent “playing the game”, if that makes sense.

Which leads me to the last tip…

12. Use your resources wisely (especially time.)

As a casual, you have *less* time to play than streamers and hard-core gamers.

Time is your most precious resource.

And unless you want to spend a decade sluggishly plodding through the campaign and not even seeing the majestic power fantasy that awaits you in PoE’s endgame…

…it’s worth learning to speed up your progress, minimize your mistakes, and ‘git gud’ – at least a bit.

Some would say this goes against the whole point of being a casual, but I disagree.

I run my own business, devote massive amounts of time to philanthropy towards others, and have League Of Legends as my main game.

I only play Path Of Exile casually, maybe once every couple years for a month or so.

But I get a ton of value out of my time in it, because I use the tips I’ve shared above, and because I’m willing to read a post or watch a video while on public transit.

The point is…

Most of these tips –even if they require a bit of time invested up front– are aimed at saving you time, helping you get more value out of your time in-game, or helping you convert something else into time.

Even one of these tips will save you many deaths and divines.

Because I know what it’s like to be busy.

I’m usually editing podcasts, coaching students, designing branding materials, marketing street campaigns, juggling family, and having other priorities besides games.

Use your resources wisely.

Look for the silver linings in your crafting or trading mistakes.

Shuffle gear around or sell old gear off so you can explore new builds.

Invest in your hobby to make it fun.

If that extra stash tab is going to save you constant inventory headaches, buy it.

A casual soccer player invests in new cleats, a casual paper-crafter invests in card stock.

You can invest in the gaming side of your life, especially if it’s going to buy your time back.

Some people hate doing this out of some principle of “never paying for a game” or something.

To me that’s like going to a bowling alley, but refusing to even rent a pair of bowling shoes to enjoy your experience.

I say invest a bit of time or currency to enjoy your experience.

Your time on earth is precious, do whatever you’ve gotta do to make sure you’re enjoying it fully.

So invest in your own joy in whatever ways feel right to you.

If that’s playing with the four original stash tabs and never sending a dime to GGG, so be it, but for me, I’m happy to flow dollars into the economy if it means I’m going to spend more time joyfully playing and less time fighting the UI.

A reminder though:

“Don’t forget: Path Of Exile for casuals is still all about having fun and relaxation. That’s often why we’re gaming in the first place. As a casual player with a full time job, a family, other games to play, etc… this is the time you are unwinding, when you’re letting go about everything else. Don’t turn it into a second job.” – u/noicreC

Or take a look at your characters.

Even getting a character partway into the game takes a lot of time and currency investment.

So it’s wise to avoid wasting them.

And most casuals do waste them, because they character-hop way too often.

If you pivot to a new build, you’re starting all over from scratch, and you’ll have to spend all that time again getting *them* partway into the campaign.

If you’re able to choose wisely, commit, and invest in a character, you’re going to get so much more fulfillment, depth, and longevity out of it.

And if you do feel compelled to drop a character or pivot to a different one, try to sell or repurpose the original character’s gear so you get some of your investment back, rather than just throwing it away.

And even guides like this should be used wisely.

It’s easy to read too much, or go down the rabbit hole, or follow out of date guides because PoE changes all the time.

I remember doing all the “labyrinth trials” on multiple characters, when the whole time I could’ve just used an “offering to the goddess” item to run my labs and ascend.

I also remember trying to buy things with ‘Exalted Orbs’, not realizing that GGG revamped the entire PoE economy and that now Divine Orbs were the standard currency people were using.

Lastly, I remember constantly pressing my flask keys, piano-flask style, because I didn’t know I could go to my craft benching and automate any flask to ‘press’ itself.

Or on the flipside, if you find a truly helpful guide (hopefully like this one,) don’t just forget about it or bury it in your bookmarks, save it somewhere front-and-center so it pops into your mind when you need it. Save it on your desktop or pin it to your “Bookmarks Bar” or something.

Keep good PoE resources front-and-center.

I know I’ve been repetitive on this one but, truly…

Use your resources wisely and your Path Of Exile journey will be a blast.

Bonus: Path Of Exile with “least thinking” & most “go" factor.

There are different types of casual players.

There are the “enjoy-the-scenery” players who play slow and never reach the endgame.

There are the “woo-hoo thrill-kill” players who just wanna go fast and kill stuff.

And then there are the casuals like me, who want to listen to podcasts, “do work”, or chat with friends while the game gives my hands something to do.

Casuals like me try to…

Turn Path Of Exile into a higher-budget version of Vampire Survivors.

We like ‘lazy’ builds.

Zero-button, one-button, or two-buttons, tops.

We try to make it a game where we can login, move our character around, and have monsters melt all around us.

So I’ve spent years finding the ‘laziest’, most zero-thought ways to play Path Of Exile.

Unfortunately, to truly turn your brain off in PoE, requires multiple mirrors of kalandra to buy or craft an ‘immortal’, one-button, walking simulator build.

Which, as noted earlier, is an unlikely investment for most casuals to make.

So I’ve done the next best thing, and come up with my “Walking Simulator For Casuals” approach.

I was inspired by Wrecker Of Days’ Trigger Happy Max-Block build and his ‘stress-free Path Of Exile’ approach to “Hardcore builds,” but I wanted more variety, I don’t mind pressing one more button occasionally, and since I often have to tab out, my strategy relies on Standard Softcore.

First, I needed to make leveling as ‘brain dead’ as possible.

To do this, I hopped into Standard Softcore, filled a tab with ‘twink gear,’ organized it by ‘class’ & ‘level,’ and stocked it with hundreds of regret orbs so when I was done using my speed-leveling build, I could respec any character to the build I wanted to play.

It’s basically Hollow Palm Infernal Blow speed-leveling on crack, tweaked for all classes, and as close to a walking simulator as one can get to leveling (outside of righteous fire, which I found slow, unreliable, and hard to respec.)

You can use u/_treB’s zone layout cheatsheet if you tend to get lost in zones.

Then, once my chosen character was leveled to a reasonable state…

I’d start gearing and socketing it into a walking simulator.

I’ve found what I believe are the ‘laziest’ builds for each class.

Necromancer: Summon Raging Relic, Absolution(?)
Elementalist: Carrion Zombies, Bubonic Trail, Cold BV, Fblink Dissolution, Herald Of Thunder Autobomber
Occultist: Death’s Oath, Bane ED/Blight

Guardian: Herald Of Agony Arachnophobia Allstars
Inquisitor: Nimis Ethereal Knives
Heirophant: Manabond ‘Nova ‘Warp, Dex Stack Siege Ballista, Shockwave Totem Astral Projection

Champion: Corrupting Fever + Hidden Blade
Slayer: Cyclone CoC, Riposte/Vengeance, Flicker Strike
Gladiator: Nerfed Ascendancy, avoid.

Assassin: Nerfed ascendancy, avoid.
Saboteur: Some Cast On Crit build(?)
Trickster: Frostblades?

Pathfinder: CoC Forbidden Rite, Galvanic Field?, Scourge Arrow Totem
Raider: Hollow Palm Ice Crash, Perfect Form Cyclone
Deadeye: Cospris CoC Ice Spear

Juggernaut: Righteous Fire Trap (Explode Variant)
Berserker: General’s  Cry
Chieftain: Crit Fire Vortex

Ascendant: Wardloop (GPU Intensive)

Some of these are more “one-button” than others, it’s true.

Some of them are a bit too far from Vampire Survivors, but I’m a casual, and I did my best.

Ultimately, they’re all pretty ‘lazy,’ ‘brain dead’ builds.

I should also mention, some of these are NOT casual-friendly budget, or struggle with single target, but that’s why this is in the bonus section. It’s up to you if you wanna try low-budget versions with some of these or if you wanna invest to shore up single-target damage.

Once you’ve got a character leveled and geared, grab a super-strict filter from Filter Blade so it only shows you the truly valuable currency (maybe customize it to allow your favorite map drops to show up, too).

Now that your leveling is out of the way, and your one-or-two button build is and filtering loot well…

…it’s time to set your atlas up for a go-go-go playstyle.

To do this you path your atlas tree towards:

  • Eldritch Gaze
  • Strongbox Nodes
  • Harbinger Nodes
  • Shrines Nodes
  • Delirium Nodes
  • Wrath Of Cosmos (Risky)
  • And fill the remainder with map drop nodes

And either make a note of map mods your build can’t do, or use a regex (advanced) to make sure bad maps are highlighted in your stash.

As long as you invest in a true one-button build like Wardloop, Righteous Fire, or Riposte… this essentially turns Path Of Exile into Vampire Survivors.

(u/TheHappyEater also recommends Harvest.)

And although it does take a bit to set up…

To me…

It’s the ultimate Path Of Exile casual mode.

The funny thing is I wasn’t ‘casual’ at all about creating this guide.

I poured an insane amount of love into it.

(I even reached out to the generous r/PathOfExile to correct any of my ‘casual-level’ mistakes, and they were super helpful.)

And I know it looks like a lot…

And I probably should’ve broken it up into small chunks…

But really I just wanted casual players to have a single post they could scroll through to pick up the hidden basics of Path Of Exile.

I hope you got value out of it.

P.S. Since I’m a casual, I may have gotten something wrong here or there, or oversimplified when I shouldn’t have, so kindly just write to Cyn she’ll let me know if something important needs to be changed.

It’s possible all this will be obsolete with the upcoming Path Of Exile 2 release anyway, lol.

Table of Contents

"But how do I get currency to apply all these tips?"

Unfortunately, effectively navigating the Path Of Exile economy is beyond the scope of this guide.

Most casuals will have to “make do” with whatever they can find or trade on their own…

…and outside of ‘major luck’ or ‘real money trading’, a lot of Path Of Exile’s best items will remain out of reach.

But if you really want some guidance on farming currency, these videos may help:

Extra Bonus: Path Of Exile Lore

I found an epic video series by streamer Kitten Cat Noodle that covers tons of Path Of Exile’s lore and story.

And damn…

She does a fantastic job compiling all it’s hidden bits and pieces together, as well as narrating it.

She offers playlists on Path Of Exile’s History & People, Path Of Exiles Acts & Story, Path Of Exile Complete Lore Series, Bloopers, and more.

It is pretty gripping stuff.

It’s also pretty grim-dark, so if that’s your cup of tea… check it out.

Post Author:


‘J-Ryze’ Fonceca's childhood diagnosis as 'genius' made him arrogant. This led to him scraping by as a homeless entrepreneur... for years. Eventually he got out by helping Evan Carmichael build his empire of 3 million followers. A brief stint as 'the bimbo whisperer', coaching OnlyFans models followed, after which he finally pivoted to his "Eyes Wide Open" podcast with his partner Cyn. His clients call him the ‘living mindf*ck’, ‘mindset adrenalin’, & ‘best mentor ever.’ He lives in Toronto, has read thousands of books, & can play any champ in League Of Legends passably.


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