So, you want to build your own Path of Exile character from the ground up, but you don't know where to start, and you don't have 300 years to research the process. What do you do? Well, you read this guide. We won't tell you how to build the ultimate min-max character that's stronger than anything you've ever seen before, but if you need an outline of what you'll need to figure out when making a character, this is it.
Read on to see the ultimate beginner's guide to making a build in Path of Exile.
Step 1: Choose A Playstyle
First, you need a general idea of what you want out of your gameplay experience. Do you want to be a spellcaster or a melee fighter? Do you want to focus on clearing enemies, or do you want to be a boss-killing machine? Is there a particular piece of gear, skill, or mechanic you want to build around? In general, you need some idea of what you want.
To help figure this out, check out PoE Ninja. If you browse by builds, you can see what the most popular builds are for all the classes, and you can even break that down further by particular skills, passives, weapons, and more. Seeing what people play, what kind of success they have, and what works is a good way to find some inspiration.
You don't need to know specifics, but make sure you have a general idea of what you want out of a build. All the better if there's a particular skill or piece of gear, or something, you want to build around. Of course, watching different builds in action on YouTube is a great way to get a visual of stuff, too.
Step 2: Outline Your Build's Major Features
Okay, so, you want to play a melee fighter, or whatever else, perfect. From the general concept, you want to narrow it down a bit. Now's the time where you look up builds similar to what you want to build on PoE Ninja and see what major passives they take, what kind of gear they tend to use, and everything else.
Decide on your main attack skills, if there are any major pieces of gear that you want to work towards, and what major passive tree skills you'll want to pick up. You don't need to know everything at this point, but if by step one you decided you wanted to play a melee fighter, by step two you might say you want to play a Cyclone build with Heavy Strike for bossing that focuses on physical damage and critical passives.
Step 3: Filling Out Your Build
Once you have a basic idea of what you're building and what the major features of your build are, now you're going to want to start filling in the details. If you're looking for critical strike and physical damage passives, what's a good path around the skill tree to get those? Well, have a look at the skill tree and the passive trees of other similar builds on PoE Ninja and start picking out points.
Look up your major attack skills and see what others in the community use to support them with. With a melee build, there's a lot of overlap when it comes to stuff like flasks, so you can look up what other melee builds use for flasks and see if they make sense for you and what the alternatives might be.
In general, once you've got an idea of what you want and just know a couple specifics, you can start building around that. Many builds in PoE are built around one particular skill, for example, so if you know what your one skill is, that gives your build a lot of focus in terms of what you'll be looking for.
Step 4: Use Path of Building and Compare Your Build With Others
When you begin filling out your build, that's when Path of Building becomes a necessity. This is a great tool you can use to input in all your various skills, passives, and gear to see what kind of damage you'll be doing and see how picking different things can change how your build works.
While you're doing this, open up other similar builds in Path of Building and see what kind of numbers they're doing. Look at what kind of gear they're using. This is a great way to help you make decisions informed by the data, the actual damage you're doing. Path of Building is an absolutely essential tool.
Step 5: Making a Plan to Build Your Build
When building your build, chances are you'll be building it for an endgame character with a high level and lots of gear. When you're actually playing your character you're going to need a plan to actually get the character from the beginning of the game to the completed build.
So, you'll want to plan on using a totally different set of skills and gear while leveling, assuming you can't get access to the skills and gar you ideally want to use early. Plus, you'll probably want to have a different set of gear for the campaign than for when you start mapping than for the true endgame content. Different tiers of content require different levels of gear, and the most powerful gear you probably won't be able to access for a long time