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Path of Exile: The Race to Merciless Dried Lake

Speed. Some Path of Exile players have come to appreciate clearing areas of the game in record time.

Internet forums and social media discussions are minefields when it comes to advice and gameplay strategy. Hidden among some of the true gems of wisdom on gameplay are some really tall tales about how easy it is for some players to level up, garner a ton of PoE items, or reach the endgame. This tends to leave newer players and even some veterans of the game disheartened at their skills and perceived lack of progress.

For example, Internet forums and message boards have some players claiming having reached The Dried Lake in Merciless after playing for just four hours. As seasoned Path of Exile players would attest, The Dried Lake is a favorite location for farming experience points, maps, and filling one’s stash with Path of Exile items. In fact, the area is so densely teeming with items, that for some gamers it’s an endgame of sorts. They spend more of their time at The Dried Lake than elsewhere in the game, and often at the detriment of improving their characters.

Back to the assertion about getting to Merciless Dried Lake in around four hours time: can this really be done, and if so, under what conditions, and at what cost?

The short answer is, yes. But it certainly isn’t worth doing, unless the goal is to appeal to a niche group of players who value speed and racing each other over literally all other things that make the game so special for everyone else.

First of all, experience itself can’t account for the speed. Veteran players who have been around since the closed beta of the game may still take twice as long to get to this landmark. And clocking in at four hours at Merciless Dried Lake in a fresh league simply cannot be done. Players who have gotten to this point in four hours are a select few: pro streamers with leveling gear already in hand.

Additionally, players would also have to run past most of the gear and enemies that show up, and do so in the straightest line possible. Side quests and labyrinths are also out of the question, so leveling up would be compromised. As far as actual fighting, engage only the bosses and not much else, using public parties of other gamers to gang up on the bosses and swap waypoints.

Items that racers would prioritize would include Boots as well as Pots. Pay attention to the Run Speed for the Boots, and be disciplined about upgrading Pots, since staunching becomes increasingly important to the point of being required as you come closer to Merciless Dried Lake.

As for extracurricular activities, if speed is what you’re really after, there are YouTube videos of Path of Exile players racing through the maps. Take note of what weapons they use, which characters they use, and apply them to your own strategy. The more you understand your own build, including which passives to take and when, as well as what gear to use, and the right time to use them.

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