Path of Exile takes place in a post-apocalyptic grim fantasy world in which the player plays the role of an outcast who has been exiled from their home continent of Oriath (for reasons that vary based on their class selection) to the corrupted continent of Wraeclast. There the player encounters numerous settlements, monsters and fellow outcasts in their quest to survive in this hostile land, as well as uncover the fate of the abandoned continent.
Similar to Ladder Seasons in games such as Diablo II, Path of Exile uses a system wherein players can create characters in Leagues which are isolated instances of the game world tweaked with specific rule sets, some of which can be time limited.
Players can only interact with others who have elected to join that League for the duration of the League event - for example, Hardcore League players cannot interact with "softcore" players until they die, and their character is relocated to the Standard League (Hardcore mode in this game differs mechanically in that player characters are not deleted when a character dies, but rather are demoted to the Standard League).
There are multiple league types, with numerous variants among them.
Races: Races are (typically) temporary leagues in which a tournament style challenge is issued (such as highest level attained in 24 hours) and players may create characters for the duration of the league to take part. Players who place highly in the league rankings will receive rewards, usually in the form of rare and coveted unique items as well as a pre determined amount of reward points, these points can be redeemed at the end of the "Race Season" for items .These items are items that you can acquire when in game the only difference is, these items have unique art and are a perfect stat roll.
Types of Races: Path of Exile has a series of Races that are a dealt out over certain days of the month. These races have specific conditions on them that make them more and more challenging which include but are not limited to:
No Projectile ( Player Projectiles do no damage )
Blood Magic ( Spells cast use life instead of Mana )
Party ( A race that can be completed in a group )
Solo ( Races that can only be run Solo )
Turbo ( Monsters move, cast, and attack 60% faster )
Descent ( Pre determined floors, every location has two chests that have pre -set rewards.)
Alternate Leagues: Leagues in which specific modifiers to the basic game are in place. These could be anything from no potions to increased enemy damage to reduced or increased max health. The well known "Hardcore" mode would be an example of these types of leagues.
Standard League : Like most ARPG's this league allow players to continue playing after death, while later difficulties penalize deaths with a experience point deduction.
Hardcore League: Players in this league on death are transferred with all their items to the Standard League.
Onslaught: (Released for Version 0.11.0 on June 5th 2013) A hardcore League created for players who want more of a challenge, all monsters have 20% Movement, Attack and Cast Speed. ( When characters die in this league they are moved to Standard)
Anarchy: (Released for Version 0.11.0 on June 5th 2013) A variation on the Standard League, this leauge brought in new items only available in the Anarchy League, and rogue exiles that roam Wraeclast, these enemies are more powerful then standard enemies and will always drop an armor piece of each type. ( Helm, Gloves, Boots, Chest, 1 Ring, and a 1-handed or 2-handed weapon.)
Paid Leagues: It is currently planned to allow guilds or clans to purchase their own leagues with specific rule sets that they desire, that can only be joined by those they choose to invite. In this way guilds that wish to have their own play area with their own rules may do so for a fee.
The player can choose between six different classes. Each class focuses on certain attributes: Strength (color coded red), Dexterity (color coded green), and Intelligence (color coded blue). Three classes have one attribute they focus on; The Marauder (Strength), the Ranger (Dexterity), and the Witch (intelligence), while three other classes focus on two attributes and they are referred to as hybrids; the Duelist (Strength and Dexterity), the Shadow (Intelligence and Dexterity), and the Templar (Strength and Intelligence). There has also been an addition of a new character, the Scion (Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence), which can branch into any of the classes with ease as you start in the middle of the skill paths.
There is no in-game currency for the player to buy items with or get in return for selling items. Instead there is a bartering system, the player trades items they find in order to get materials which can be used to create items themselves, or used to in turn trade for other items.
There are two main types of scrolls the player comes across throughout the game; Portal scrolls and Wisdom scrolls. Portal scrolls allow the player to return to town from anywhere on the map, while wisdom scrolls let you unlock the properties of items.
|Armourer's Scrap||40||Improves the quality of an armour. Right click this item then left click an armour to apply it. Has greater effect on lower rarity armours. The maximum quality is 20%.|
|20||Improves the quality of a weapon. Right click this item then left click a weapon to apply it. Has greater effect on lower rarity weapons. The maximum quality is 20%.|
|Blessed Orb||20||Randomize the numeric values of the implicit properties of an item. Right click this item then left click another item to apply it.|
|Cartographer's Chisel||20||Improves the quality of a map. Right click this item then left click a map to apply it. Has greater effect on lower rarity maps. The maximum quality is 20%.|
|Chaos Orb||10||Reforges a rare item with new random properties. Right click this item then left click a rare item to apply it.|
|Chromatic Orb||20||Reforges the colour of sockets on an item. Right click this item then left click a socketed item to apply it.|
|Divine Orb||10||Randomize the numeric values of the random properties on an item. Right click this item then left click a magic, rare or unique item to apply it.|
|Eternal Orb||10||Creates an imprint of an item for later restoration. Right click this item then left click on an item to create an imprint. This imprint can later be used to restore this specific item to that imprinted state.|
|Exalted Orb||10||Enchants a rare item with a new random property. Right click this item then left click a rare item to apply it. Rare items can have up to six random properties.|
|Gemcutter's Prism||20||Improves the quality of a gem. Right click this item then left click a gem to apply it. The maximum quality is 20%.|
|Glassblower's Bauble||20||Improves the quality of a flask. Right click this item then left click a flask to apply it. Has greater effect on lower rarity flasks. The maximum quality is 20%.|
|Jeweller's Orb||20||Reforges the number of sockets on an item. Right click this item then left click a socketed item to apply it.|
|Mirror of Kalandra||10||Creates a mirrored copy of an item. Right click this item then left click an equipable non-unique item to apply it. Mirrored copies cannot be modified.|
|Orb of Alchemy||10||Upgrades a normal item to a rare item. Right click this item then left click a normal item to apply it.|
|Orb of Alteration||20||Reforges a magic item with new random properties. Right click this item then left click a magic item to apply it.|
|Orb of Augmentation||30||Enchants a magic item with a new random property. Right click this item then left click a magic item to apply it. Magic items can have up to two random properties.|
|Orb of Chance||20||Upgrades a normal item to a random rarity. Right click this item then left click a normal item to apply it.|
|Orb of Fusing||20||Reforges the links between sockets on an item. Right click this item then left click a socketed item to apply it.|
|Orb of Regret||40||Grants a passive skill refund point. Right click on this item to use it.|
|Orb of Scouring||30||Removes all properties from an item. Right click this item then left click on a magic or rare item to apply it.|
|Orb of Transmutation||40||Upgrades a normal item to a magic item. Right click this item then left click a normal item to apply it.|
|Portal Scroll||40||Creates a portal to town. Right click on this item to use it.|
|Regal Orb||10||Upgrades a magic item to a rare item. Right click this item then left click a magic item to apply it. Current properties are retained and a new one is added.|
|Scroll of Wisdom||40||Identifies an item. Right click this item then left click an unidentified item to apply it.|
The store which is located on the games website offers mostly cosmetic enhancements, and one type of convince item, in the form of bag upgrades. The game can be played and finished without spending a dime, without worry of time restrictions, or other "pay-to-win" trappings.
Every weapon or piece of armor has a varying number of slots for skill gems. Skill gems are what give the player more powerful attacks and spells. These attacks and spells once placed in a gem slot can be mapped to the right or left mouse button, the mouse wheel, as well as the keyboard letters Q, W, E, R, and T. To level up skill gems they must be in a slot on an equipped item or weapon.
Path of Exile is not unlike other Action Role Playing Games, there is gear..there is lots and lots of gear. The only difference and one of the main things that separates this game from others is that gear always has sockets, these sockets are used to hold gems that allow players to use skills, and change their skills from a simple fireball, to five fireballs that bounce between enemies.
When the player levels up, they are presented with a skill point to use on the passive skill tree. This skill tree is also the same for all other classes, and if the player has more than one class currently active they can see that classes progress on the tree of their current character. All classes can obtain every slot on this tree no matter where the player starts.
Some weapons, armor, and items increase the player's Energy Shield. This is represented by a blue-white/frosted color over the player health in the lower left hand corner. With this active an enemy must first bring down the players shield in order to inflict damage to the the players overall health.