Crafting and Upgrading in Path of Exile: A Beginner’s Guide

Upgrading your character in Path of Exile, especially in new leagues or as a beginner, can be challenging. This guide will navigate you through efficient upgrading strategies using simple game mechanics and essential knowledge, without solely depending on rare item drops or extensive trading.

Essential Tips for New Players

In the early stages of Path of Exile, your focus should be on increasing life and elemental resistances, as the game’s balance heavily relies on these stats. Here are some benchmarks to aim for:

  • Increase health by 250-300 after completing each act
  • Reach 40% Cold resistance by the end of Act 1, 50% Cold/Lightning by the end of Act 2, and 50% for all three (Cold, Lightning, Fire) by the end of Act 3.
  • Maintain 75% resistance for Cold, Lightning, and Fire by the end of Act 5.
  • Compensate for the -30% resistance penalties applied at the end of Acts 5 and 10, ensuring resistances are back to 75%.

Meeting these targets is crucial; failing to do so can lead to significant difficulties. While damage output is important, this guide focuses more on gear upgrades than on skill and ability enhancement.

Item Basics for Effective Crafting

Crafting in Path of Exile can be complex, but grasping the basics is vital for early game progression.

Implicits, Prefixes, and Suffixes

  • Implicits: These are tied to the item’s base and are mostly static. Prioritize items with strong implicits, like upgrading from a Gold Ring to a Topaz Ring.
  • Prefixes and Suffixes: Items can have various modifiers, divided into prefixes and suffixes.

For example, applying an Orb of Transmutation to a ring adds one prefix and leaves room for one suffix. Armour and jewellery usually have prefixes for Life, Movement Speed (on boots), Armour, Evasion, Energy Shield, and suffixes for Resistances, Attributes (STR/DEX/INT), and other modifiers.

Using an Orb of Augmentation on an item with a prefix can add a desirable suffix, like resistance. A rare item, upgraded with a Regal Orb, can have up to three prefixes and three suffixes, offering more opportunities for customization.

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However, more modifiers don’t always mean a better item. A ring with a low life roll and full suffixes, for instance, offers limited benefits compared to a ring with high life, a resistance implicit, and an open suffix for potential upgrades using PoE currency.

Crafting and Upgrading Strategy

When spotting good items, focus on high resistances with an open prefix or high life with at least one resistance and an open suffix. Utilize crafting benches to add missing stats, balancing life and resistances effectively. Remember, crafting and upgrading gear strategically is crucial, especially when using resources like Chaos Orbs or Exalted Orbs judiciously.

Basic Currency 

Currency in Path of Exile is not just a tool for trading but a means of crafting and enhancing items. Here’s a breakdown of various currencies and how to use them wisely:

  1. Orbs of Transmutation
  • Use: Upgrade Normal items to Magic rarity.
  • Tip: Initially, use them sparingly for vendor purchases or bench crafting. Once you have a good stock, feel free to use them more liberally.
  1. Orbs of Augmentation
  • Use: Add a mod to Magic items.
  • Strategy: Best saved for items with a high single mod (like life or resistance) and an open affix slot.
  1. Orbs of Alteration
  • Use: Reroll the mods on Magic items.
  • Advice: Essential for crafting flasks and other items post-campaign, so avoid using them unnecessarily early on.
  1. Regal Orbs
  • Use: Upgrade Magic items to Rare, adding a mod.
  • Tip: Useful but not common. Use them if you come across Magic items with excellent stats.
  1. Chaos Orbs
  • Use: Reroll the mods on Rare items.
  • Recommendation: A primary trading currency. Better used for trade or endgame crafting, not for casual rerolls.
  1. Exalted Orbs
  • Use: Add a random mod to Rare items.
  • Guidance: Save for top-tier items or sell for Chaos Orbs. Also used for high-level bench crafting.
  1. Orbs of Annulment
  • Use: Remove a random mod from items.
  • Strategy: Save these for items that need one bad mod removed to be ideal. They’re valuable, so consider selling some.
  1. Orbs of Scouring
  • Use: Remove all mods from items, making them Normal.
  • Tip: Save these for map rolling and refining items later in the game.
  1. Orbs of Alchemy
  • Use: Upgrade Normal items to Rare.
  • Note: Vital for late-game map rolling. Pair with Orb of Scouring for efficient map crafting.
  1. Orbs of Binding
  • Use: Upgrade Normal items to Rare with four linked sockets.
  • Advice: Great for early 4-link setups. Use them as soon as you find them for a quick gear boost.
  1. Orbs of Chance
  • Use: Upgrade Normal items to a random rarity.
  • Strategy: Initially, save for vendor purchases. Later, use surplus Orbs for experimenting or specific item targeting.
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Understanding and utilizing these currencies effectively can significantly enhance your Path of Exile experience, allowing for better gear and a smoother gameplay progression. As you accumulate wealth in PoE currency, you’ll find more flexibility in crafting and trading, leading to a more enriched and customized playstyle.

Socket Coloring 

Coloring your gear’s sockets is crucial for optimizing your build. Here’s a guide to efficiently color your equipment:

The Basics of Socket Coloring

  • Attribute Requirements: Socket colors are influenced by an item’s attribute requirements. For instance, an item requiring high Intelligence (INT) will likely roll more blue sockets.
  • Strategy: Avoid using Chromatic Orbs on items whose base attributes don’t align with your desired socket colors. This is particularly vital during leveling.

Using the Crafting Bench for Coloring

  • Vorici Calculator: This tool calculates the most cost-effective bench-crafting method for achieving your desired socket colors. It can be a lifesaver for achieving 3-4 off-color sockets on an item.
  • Example: If you need BBRG sockets on an item requiring STR and DEX, the calculator might suggest using the “At least one Blue” craft for the most efficient results.

Color Forcing for Off-Colors

    • Method: This technique is useful for forcing 5-6 off-colors. By alternating between adding and removing sockets at the crafting bench, you can roll for specific colors.
  • Process:
  1. Craft up to 3 sockets.
  2. Add your hardest-to-get colors.
  3. Increase to 4 sockets, and if unsatisfied, reduce back to 3.
  4. Repeat until you achieve the desired colors.

Socket Linking

  • Early Game: During the campaign, Orb of Fusing and Jeweller’s Orb can start being used around Act 4. However, your supply will be limited.
  • 4-Link Strategy: Be flexible with your support gems to make the best of available colors. If needed, use some Chromatic Orbs on linked bases that are likely to roll your colors.
  • 5-Link Goal: After the campaign, prioritize getting a 5-link setup for increased clear speed. Use Jeweller’s Orbs to 5-link or consider purchasing if playing in a trade league.
  • 6-Link Strategy: Acquiring a 6-link is a major boost. Consider using a corrupted 6-link for early mapping. Remember, corrupted chests can’t be crafted, and changing their colors costs more due to the need for Vaal Orbs.
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Crafting a Base

  • Uncorrupted 6-Links: These become more affordable as the league progresses. Consider buying an uncorrupted 6-link base and crafting it yourself with essences or harvest crafting.

Remember, efficiently coloring and linking your sockets can significantly impact your character’s performance. Take the time to understand the mechanics and use your resources like Chromatic Orbs and Jeweller’s Orbs wisely. As you accumulate more PoE currency, you’ll be able to further refine your gear for optimal performance.


Embarking on your Path of Exile journey, remember that efficient crafting and upgrading are keys to your character’s progress. Start with understanding basic item attributes and gradually explore deeper crafting mechanics, including the strategic use of PoE currency for optimal upgrades.

Begin by identifying items with potential for upgrades and experiment with various crafting methods. As you progress, watch your character grow stronger, ready to face the challenges of Wraeclast. Happy crafting and may your loot be ever valuable!

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