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Path of Exile Guide for MMORPG Players

This guide was written for beginners in Path of Exile who may have played other action role-playing games before, but not yet familiar with this game's radically different system. Grinding Gear Games took this game to a whole different direction while still respecting its ARPG roots, all while maintaining a free-to-play model with ethical microtransactions. Doing all of that would have never been easy at any stretch of the imagination, but they did it anyway. What we have to look at today is perhaps the core of its gameplay.

For most games, there's a skill tree of sorts with a mix of active and passive skills in some hierarchy, and you must determine the most optimal build for getting all the skills you need for a specific set of desired functions. That's the kind of system all of us have gotten accustomed to, but this one is very much unlike that. For instance, active and passive skills have been separated. This is something that other games have attempted in the past, but not to this extent.

Path of Exile's skill system seems to take inspiration from Final Fantasy X's sphere grid, or at least something similar to that. It's not just a skill tree, but a whole forest of passive skills branching out from the center, wherein each character class starts from somewhere within it. While each class starts from somewhere different, everyone has the chance to get passive skills that are supposedly of a different class, which makes build possibilities a bit more open and diverse.

As for active skills, they come in the form of gems that can be socketed into items. Many other games have gems as well that give special properties to PoE items, but these gems give the wielders of socketed Path of Exile items actual skills that can be used in battle. Along with that are support gems that bolster the power of these skills, which means that you can build around a skill to suit your character's needs and your preferences.

These gems come in 3 colors - blue, green, and red. Each color corresponds to different needed attributes—blue needs intelligence, red needs strength, and green needs dexterity. You have to put these gems to their corresponding colors, which adds more challenge to the process of building a character. Therefore, there's a lot of planning in advance with this game, and that's a big part of its appeal.

Some of the most valuable gems are Empower, Enhance, Portal, Enlighten, and so on. It does seem like the most widely used gems tend to vary from time to time, depending on changes within the game. Also, Grinding Gear Games has been adding new gems as they go along, which means that you can have more options to choose from as you go along. This game is all about having tons of options, so this is indeed a good thing.

Even if this is still confusing to you right now, this system makes more sense once you're playing the game. It's something that must be seen to be really believed, which is something that may irk some people. But since Path of Exile is all about depth and breadth at the same time, then it comes as no surprise indeed.

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