1. Path of Exile Class Spotlight: Scion
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The last (but not at all the least) PoE class you?ll encounter is the Scion. Because of the difficult learning curve she has, the Scion is initially unavailable until you meet and rescue her in Act 3. She sits right at the center of the skill tree, aligned with all three stats. She isn?t associated with any PoE item equipment (armor and weapons) and can use them all. The player, you, has the choice of building her stats and equipment.
She is also unique in that she only has one Ascendancy Class, the Ascendant.
Strengths and Weaknesses
In general, the build you give her will dictate her strengths and weaknesses. Being in the center puts her in a very unique and enviable position as she has the opportunity to reach all the passive skill nodes easily. The challenge lies in allocating the points properly.
Paradoxically, her vast potential and adaptability is both a strength and weakness at the same time. The number of builds available to her is staggering. Done well, she can be a juggernaut, a mage tank, or the most cunning sneak. However, making one mistake in allocating nodes can break your build in the worst possible way. Collecting the best skill gems and equipment for the build might also prove to be a challenge. Then again, you can collect the items with another character first.
You can also use her to see if certain builds for the other classes are viable, to an extent. Test out gimmicky builds with her as well. Take note that you need to have careful planning and proper handling to play the Scion effectively.
The Ascendant has access to passives based on other Ascendancy Classes. These passives have effects similar to the class skill tree it?s based on, albeit with weaker effects. She can only take up to two, and they have to be from different base classes. One more benefit she has is further investment in one class?s path. Taking that skill lets her use that class?s starting point on the passive skill tree. A majority of her notable skills are named after the Ascendancy Classes, and the rest are named ?Path of (base class)?.
The former skills, the ones named after other Ascendancy Classes, provide general bonuses that are representative of that class. For example, the passive Raider provides increased attack damage, movement speed, and chance to dodge attacks. It also provides Onslaught on full Frenzy Charges, and a 10% chance to gain a Frenzy Charge when hitting a rare or unique enemy. These effects are what Raiders focus on, and the Raider passive reflects that.
The Path of (base class) skills, on the other hand, grants 2 passive skill points and allows the Ascendant to allocate passives from that class?s starting point. It allows the Ascendant to further focus on one base class of the two Ascendancy Class passives she took.
Of course, being unavailable to beginners, this is hardly a proper choice for players only starting out in Path of Exile. However, if you?re considering playing Path of Exile as one, you?d better have a build in mind. As stated earlier, one mistake can break the build all too easily. It gets worse not plotting your course of action ahead of time. The Scion is the one that is the most like a blank slate. If you?re careful and patient, a beautiful painting appears in it. If you?re hasty and careless, she?ll end up an unappealing mess to play. Keep that in mind when you come across her in Act 3.
2. Path of Exile Class Spotlight: Shadow
The Shadow is the Intelligence-Dexterity aligned class in Path of Exile. He?s an agile, spell-slinging trapper. Playing as one will require quite a bit of skill as he is rather fragile ? similar to both the Witch and Ranger. He uses weapons like claws and daggers. His armor consists mostly of masks, jackets, coats, raiment, garbs, mitts, boots, and spiked shields. To understand how you can branch out his passive skills, remember that he starts out in the upper right area of the skill tree, between the Ranger and Witch.
His Ascendancy Classes are Assassin, Saboteur, and Trickster.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Being a hybrid class, Shadow shares most of the Witch?s and Ranger?s strengths and weaknesses. He can make good use of dexterity?s increased projectile damage for his intelligence-augmented spells. While not exactly big on physical damage, strategic use of attacks, spells, and traps is very rewarding. Several of his skill nodes exploit any critical hit he deals, though his normal attacks won?t be nearly as strong.
His natural evasion and ease at keeping up an energy shield add to his overall survivability. However, he is far from many of the HP-boosting or regen nodes, making him quite vulnerable at times. If his evasion fails and his shield breaks, he?s only one lucky hit away from getting squished like a bug.
The Assassin focuses on dealing critical strikes and enhancing Power Charges. He may also use poison to augment his critical and normal damage. Of the three Shadow Ascendancy Classes, he is the one who relies on hit-and-run tactics the most. Two notable skills of his are Unstable Infusion along with the Ambush & Assassinate.
Unstable Infusion increases the change to gain a Power Charge on critical by 10%. It also gives a 20% chance to gain the same on non-critical hits. The skill Ambush and Assassinate give different bonuses depending on whether or not the enemy is on full HP. It gives 30% increased damage on low-HP enemies. On full HP enemies, it adds 40% to the critical strike multiplier. It also doubles the critical strike chance on enemies that are on either side of the HP spectrum.
Lastly, it gives a Culling Strike effect on every critical strike.
The Saboteur is the expert trapper. His skills enhance his trap and mine-laying skills. He has other utility bonuses as well, such as synergy with the blind ailment, area of effect bonuses, regeneration, and ailment immunities. His notable skills are ?Born in the Shadows? and Perfect Crime.
The first gives the Saboteur immunity to blindness. Not only that, it blinds nearby enemies and reduces damage taken from them by 10%. It also makes his strikes have a 25% chance to blind more enemies, and even increases the damage of his hits or ailments by 30%. The second reduces the cooldown time of throwing traps. It increases damage by 8% for each trap and gives a 20% chance for traps to trigger once more.
The Trickster is a versatile damage-over-time class. Some of his skills add to his survivability. Others enhance his Power and Frenzy Charges. He has the speed and maneuverability to slip through attacks while dealing his own. Some of his notable skills are Escape Artist and Prolonged Pain.
The former gives +5 to the evasion rating per 1 maximum energy shield on helmet. It also gives a +1 to maximum Energy Shield per 6 evasion rating on armor. In addition to that, he cannot be stunned if he hasn?t been hit recently and takes 8% less damage as well. The latter increases skill duration effect by 20%, and reduces damage taken over time by 10%. It also increases Poison duration by 20% and damage over time by 15%.
The Shadow is probably the hardest of all PoE characters to play. He needs quite a bit of thought and strategy to be effective. In short, he isn?t a straightforward character. If hit-and-run tactics are your thing though, he just may be the perfect class for you. His strength is in burst damage in critical hits and damage over time with status ailments. Do note, however, that he?s practically wet tissue paper when his shield?s down and his evasion fails him. Sure, this could be mitigated with certain PoE items, but that often proves to be an expensive prospect. It?s highly recommended that you do a significant amount of research before playing the guile Shadow.
3. Path of Exile Class Spotlight: Templar
The last dual hybrid class in Path of Exile is the Templar. He looks like a fragile old man, but don?t let that fool you. Behind that faade lies a cunning character! Being the perfect balance of brains (Intelligence) and brawn (Strength), he knows multiple ways to prove he?s anything but fragile. In fact, he can use most weapons, from swords to staves. However, he won?t use bows or daggers. He?s garbed in chainmail coifs, helmets, chainmail or ringmail, mesh or chain gloves and boots, and kite shields.
His Ascendancy Classes are Inquisitor, Hierophant, and Guardian.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Like the other hybrid classes, the Templar shares the strengths and weaknesses of his neighboring classes. He has the brute strength of the Marauder as well as the magical aptitude of the Witch. The combination of stats also makes him the best at deftly dealing with swarms and hordes of enemies. The strength side of his tree boosts his defense and vitality, letting him wade into a crowd of hostiles. Equipped with sweeping or slamming attacks as well as a myriad of elemental spells, he can clear out waves of attackers with but a few gestures.
His big weakness, however, is his low dexterity. As he starts on the opposite side of the Ranger, he doesn?t have access to many dexterity nodes. Sure, he can deal with many enemies at once, but he?ll have difficulty trying to hit a specific one. Using spells can mitigate this weakness, although it might be inefficient. Consider saving up PoE Orbs to compensate for this somehow.
His first Ascendancy Class, Inquisitor, enables him to manipulate the elements. The class grants skills that increase elemental damage or resistance, critical strikes, or buffs. Inquisitors can also have the ability to create the unique ground effect ?Consecrated Ground?. It confers various beneficial effects, depending on the skills acquired. Augury of Penitence and Inevitable Judgement are some of his notable skills.
Augury of Penitence makes nearby enemies take both 16% more elemental damage and deal 8% less elemental damage. Inevitable Judgement improves the Inquisitor?s critical and normal strikes. It makes normal strikes penetrate 10% of the enemy?s elemental resistances. Critical strikes ignore those resistances completely.
His second Ascendancy Class, Hierophant, deals with unconventional sources of damage and defense. His skills also increase totem and spell utility. He?s more of a magic-oriented class. His skills bolster spellcasting more than physical prowess. Also, he has skills that make use of his large mana pool, either by converting it to defensive bonuses, or conserving and regenerating it. Notable Hierophant skills include Arcane Blessing and Divine Guidance.
The first skill activates Arcane Surge when he or his totem attacks an enemy with a spell. As an added effect, while he has Arcane Surge, he?s immune to elemental ailments. The second skill adds 150 to his total mana, and 10% of damage gets taken from mana first before life.
His third and final Ascendancy Class is Guardian. As the name suggests, he?s a class for tanking and support. His skills put an emphasis on the defense and support of a party. What?s more, even summoned minions can benefit from his skills as well. His notable skills are Radiant Faith and Prayer of Glory.
The former grants an energy shield equal to 15% of the Guardian?s mana to himself and his allies. It also grants armor that?s 160% of his reserved life to himself and his allies. The latter skill makes using warcries instant without costing any mana. It also grants 15% increased attack, cast speed, and movement speed if he used a warcry recently.
The Templar is a solid choice for anyone who wants a more survivable magic user. He?s in a very beneficial position. That is, most of the Marauder?s strengths cover the Witch?s weaknesses and vice versa. His only real flaw is his general lack of accuracy to deal with single enemies in an efficient manner. Other than that, he?s a good all-rounder who?s tough & reliable. While he?s not very flashy, he certainly gets the job done.
4. Path of Exile Class Spotlight: Ranger
The Ranger is another ?pure? class in Path of Exile. Being attuned to dexterity means that she focuses on evasion as a defense. She is also very proficient with bows as her main weapon, but she?s no slouch with swords either. Claws, axes, wands, shields, and daggers are alright with her as well, but blunt weapons are not her forte. The equipment associated with her are caps or hoods, armor made of leather, garbs, tunics, hide gloves and boots, and bucklers. She starts at the southeastern area of the skill tree, between the Duelist to the left, and the Shadow on the right. Her skills focus on increasing ranged damage output, as well as increasing evasion.
Her Ascendancy Classes are Deadeye, Raider, and Pathfinder.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The Ranger has the astounding ability to avoid most of the damage coming to her. Since attacks aren?t hitting, the negative status effects that go with them also won?t stick. However, as no defense is truly perfect, once she gets hit it could be the end.
Movement and attack speed boosters are also available to her very early, making up for the relatively smaller damage output she deals. The movement speed boosts are even almost exclusive to her. Other classes would have to go through many points to get there, and Rangers can access those practically right off the bat.
Because of her high dexterity and precision, her attacks will rarely miss. It?s especially good for active skills, as there will be less wasted mana.
However, she can?t use the heavy hitting weapons, preferring agility and accuracy over brute force. Besides that, any kind of minion she may have from necromancy or a pet will be weaker than usual. It?s a result of the good passive skills for it being a little far from her starting point.
The Deadeye is the most offensive-oriented of the three. Her passives increase projectile damage and area of effect. Even better, it works on all kinds of projectiles, even those from wands and some spells.
That gives a bit more versatility to the class. Two of her more notable skills are Endless Munitions and Ricochet.
Endless Munitions adds 200 to accuracy, increases area of effect of skills by 50%. Also, it makes skills fire an extra projectile. for more damage and an added chance for any additional effects. Ricochet makes skills chain to one more target, as well as adding 10% more damage for each remaining chain.
The Raider focuses on buff maintenance as well as conferring bonuses through kills. She can specialize in one of the following: Frenzy Charges, Onslaught, or Phasing buffs, enhancing its effects. Her skills seem to come in pairs, evidenced by Quartz Infusion and Avatar of the Veil.
The first raises the chance to dodge by 6%, and grants Phasing at maximum Frenzy Charges or while you have Onslaught. It also provides Phasing for 3 seconds after a successful kill. The second grants a 40% increase in elemental damage, as well as a 10% increase in movement speed, and a 10% chance to dodge spells. It also gives immunity to elemental status ailments while Phasing.
Finally, the Pathfinder specializes in flasks. She can improve her flasks to boost offensive or defensive abilities. It gives her flexibility to use spells and attacks whether elemental, physical, or chaos effectively. Some notable skills are Master Alchemist and Nature?s Adrenaline.
Master Alchemist makes the Pathfinder immune to elemental status ailments, gives a 40% increase in elemental damage, and a 20% chance for elemental statues to afflict an enemy during flask effects. With Nature?s Adrenaline, there?s even a 15% increase in movement speed and a 20% increase to attack speed while using a flask.
The Ranger is a good choice for those who prefer finesse and elegance rather than brute force. There are Ranger builds for those who prefer ranged or melee combat, so that?s not something to consider. Take note that while Rangers are good at dodging, they can?t dodge everything. You?d better invest those PoE orbs on something that can help your Ranger survive getting hit.
5. Path of Exile Class Spotlight: Duelist
A hybrid Path of Exile class, the Duelist, takes advantage of strength and dexterity. He has good defenses from strength, augmented by the evasion boosts dexterity gives. Whether by bow or sword, enemies fall at his hand. He can use PoE items such as swords, axes, maces, and bows. He wears helmets, scale/brigandines/doublets/lamellar, scale gauntlets and boots, and round shields. His skills are a balance between his two primary stats. Strength for armor and damage. Dexterity for attack speed and evasion.
His Ascendancy Classes are Slayer, Gladiator, and Champion.
Strengths and Weaknesses
He shares many of the strengths and weaknesses of his neighboring classes, the Marauder and Ranger. Because of his affinity for strength, he can deal powerful blows and tank damage. His other affinity, dexterity, grants him increased dodge and movement speed. It also grants increased accuracy, making more of his hits land on enemies. He gets the best of both worlds. Dual wielding is also his forte, and he starts out quite near the needed nodes for that.
As the intelligence skill nodes are on the opposite side of where he starts, he has a limited mana pool. Any spell he casts will also be weak, as he cannot reach the spell modifiers. To keep on using skills, he must rely on mana leech and conservative magic. While not as fragile as a Ranger, he can?t tank at the level of Marauders either.
The Slayer specializes in two-handed weapons, such as bows and greatswords. His skills revolve around power and sustaining it. They also boost life leech and stun, with some passives boosting damage against tougher monsters. Some notable skills are Headsman and Endless Hunger.
Headsman activates when you?ve killed recently. It increases damage and radius of area skills by 20%. As a bonus effect reflected physical damage doesn?t hurt him. Endless hunger makes 20% of overkill damage turn into leeched life and gives immunity to bleeding while leeching.
The Gladiator maximizes the Duelist?s hybrid nature. His skills synergize well with dual wielding or one-handed weapon and shield combinations. He can then improve on that by applying bleed, improving blocking, or enhancing Endurance and Frenzy Charges. His notable skills are Outmatch and Outlast and Blood in the Eyes.
The former provides a 25% chance to gain a Frenzy Charge on kill with the main hand. It also provides the same opportunities to obtain an Endurance Charge on kill with the off-hand. Then, at max Frenzy Charges, he deals 10% more physical damage. At max Endurance Charges, he takes 10% less physical damage. The latter provides a 25% chance to make enemies bleed. Upon hitting a bleeding enemy, his attacks maim and has a 10% chance to blind. Lastly, maimed enemies take 10% more damage.
The Champion supports his allies through taunts, buffs, and de-buffs. He can even boost their already high defense or gain a burst of adrenaline. His skills all focus on increasing his survivability. Notable skills of his are Worthy Foe, Fortitude, and Unstoppable Hero.
Worthy Foe makes enemies he taunts take 20% more damage. It has the added effect of making taunted enemies unable to evade attacks. Fortitude grants permanent Fortify. Then, it activates the effects of Unstoppable Hero. That skill allows a 10% increase in attack speed and a 30% increase in armor and evasion. What?s more, it adds 1000 to his armor and evasion, and he cannot be stunned. He becomes genuinely unstoppable at that point.
The perfect balance between brute force and finesse, the Duelist, is an excellent physical all-rounder. He has enough power and defense to defeat his enemies, helped by his natural agility and grace. Take note that due to his positioning on the skill tree, he?ll never be good at slinging spells. He?s a good choice for those preferring physical damage to spells, but not the brute strength of the Marauder nor the fragility of the Ranger.
6. Path of Exile Class Spotlight: Marauder
The Marauder is a purely strength-based character focused on dealing damage. He uses swords, maces, axes, and staves. The PoE items you can equip related to this class aside from the weapons are casques, plate mail, gauntlets, greaves, and tower shields. His node starts out in the lower left area of the skill tree, between the Templar and Duelist classes. The skills he learns revolve around increasing damage output, as well as durability. That means either leeching off enemies or increasing his maximum life.
His Ascendancy Classes are Juggernaut, Berserker, and Chieftain.
Strengths and Weaknesses
He deals devastating blows boosted by his high strength but mostly restricted to melee. His natural enemies are those who rely on avoiding damage. Hit-and-run tactics will frustrate Marauders, as his blows are useless if they don?t hit. Also, he has a slower attack and movement speed compared to other classes. Unless players figure out a strategy, those hit-and-run tactics will annoy you.
Marauders also have a large life pool. It enables them to receive the heaviest hits without breaking a sweat. However, without raising evasion or using energy shields, he will take all the hits aimed at him. Every point of that huge life pool is necessary for survival.
Lastly, many of his early skills increase the chance to stun enemies or the duration they stay stunned. Adding those to his mastery over all kinds of assault skills makes him a good crowd controller.
The Juggernaut focuses on defense and durability. His skills boost physical damage reduction, life regeneration, and prevention of de-buffs. Some of his more notable skills are Unstoppable and Unbreakable.
The first gives a 10% increase in movement speed, immunity to stun, and resistance to slow. It only means Juggernauts can?t be slower than his base movement speed. The second provides a 2% per second life regeneration, 5% damage reduction. It also doubles the armor received from equipment. Its last effect takes 1.5% of the total damage prevented through the reduction in the last 10 seconds. Then, it converts that damage to life regen per second.
The Berserker takes giving back a step further. Most of his skills revolve around killing something or being hit. They also have access to the Rage counter. It provides bonuses in attack damage, speed, and movement speed. It has a downside of increasing those bonuses as life decreases.
Some of the Berserker?s notable skills are Aspect of Carnage and Pain Reaver. The first is a simple 10% increase in damage taken along with a 40% increase in damage dealt. The second provides a 1% life and mana leech, which increases to 2% when there?s a recent kill.
The Chieftain will burn up the battlefield. His skills revolve around fire damage, whether through attacks or totems. Other skills boost his totems. Some of those boosts include increasing their resilience or giving them the ability to direct enemies? attention. His notable skills include Ramako, Sun?s Light and Ngamahu, Flame?s Advance.
The former doubles your fire resistance and provides a 1% life regen per second (increased to 2% when fire damage was taken recently). Then, it also turns 10% of physical damage taken into fire damage. Its last effect makes the character unaffected by ignite. The latter converts half of your physical damage into fire damage. It also makes your fire damage penetrate 10% of the target?s fire resistance. Then it provides an additional effect every 10 seconds. That effect makes 70% of your physical damage to extra fire damage for 3 seconds.
The Marauder is a solid choice for anyone who likes a straightforward and simple answer to battles (namely ?Attack! Attack! Attack!?). There will still be times where strategy will be required. However, with the character?s high damage output and HP reserves, brute force is the Marauder?s main weapon. Also, it?s a good idea to choose an Ascendancy class beforehand. You?ll be able to choose those passives and skill gems that have good synergy with the chosen specialization.
7. Path of Exile Class Spotlight: Witch
The Witch is the third pure class in Path of Exile. Her intelligence makes all her spells powerful and devastating. She can sling curses and diseases as well, increasing the ways she can destroy her enemies. Her weapons are wands, daggers, and staves. She might pick up a mace or claw, but she cannot dual-wield swords and axes. She wears circlets and other light armor. Examples include gloves, slippers or boots, and spirit shields.
Her Ascendancy Classes are the Necromancer, Elementalist, and Occultist.
Strengths and Weaknesses
She has access to passives that boost spell range, duration, and damage right off the bat. Any spell she uses becomes a force of nature. In addition to that, her high intelligence means she has a large mana pool to draw from. It enables her to sling spells one after another without worrying about mana. She also has easy access to the passive skills that improve her undead army?s size, durability, and lethality.
She excels in burst damage or debilitating curses. However, if those don?t work or the opponent finds an opening to counterattack, her shields won?t last long. That energy shield is her main source of defense. If it falls, she will follow soon after. It also has the drawback of allowing poison or chaos damage to bypass it. Foes who use those as their primary element can very easily dispatch a Witch. She also can?t deal much physical damage by melee.
The Necromancer, as her name suggests, uses zombies, skeletons, and spectres to deal her dirty work. With a good base in minion boosting passives as well as the class?s own, she might not have to lift a finger to defeat all her enemies. Two of her more notable skills are Invoker and Mistress of Sacrifice.
The former increases the maximum life and damage of minions by 20%. It also lets them regenerate 2% of their life per second and decrease convocation cooldown speed by 50%. The second increases skill effect duration by 20%. Also, it makes your Offering Skills affect yourself but only at 50% effectivity. It boosts damage by 40% after eating a corpse, too. Its last effect is to increase attack and cast speed by 2% for every corpse consumed recently.
The Elementalist is master of the elements. Their skills increase elemental damage bonuses but are conditional. They may specialize in ailments, Heralds, or elemental golems. Some of her skills even allow for combinations of multiple damage types! Some of her notable skills are Pendulum of Destruction and Paragon of Calamity.
The skill Pendulum of Destruction grants 75% increased area of effect or 75% increased elemental damage. It alternates between these two effects, each one ending after 5 seconds. Paragon of Calamity leeched 0.5 of elemental damage taken as life. Then it boosts specific elemental damage by 40% and elemental resistance by 8% when damaged by that element. And its last effect is to render her immune to reflected elemental damage.
The Occultist focuses on chaos damage or curses. They?re the class that relies on and maximizes the energy shield the most. They?re also a generic way to generate Power Charges in builds that lack other means to do the same. Her notable skills are Profane Bloom and Void Beacon.
The first makes your curses affect all enemies, even Hexproof ones. Once they?re cursed, killing them will trigger a 25% chance to explode. Exploding creatures will deal a quarter of their maximum life as chaos damage. The second reduces nearby enemies? chaos resistance by 20% as well as negating their life regeneration.
The Witch is a trickier class to play. They?re more fragile and vulnerable when compared to Rangers. However, this is mitigated by their more powerful minions and an energy shield. Playing this character will require a bit more thinking and careful observation of shield and life amounts. Investing PoE currency to increase her durability would be good too. Of the three pure classes, the Witch is the most challenging to play.
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***7 Best Path of Exile Character classes***
Path of Exile Class Spotlight: Scion
Path of Exile Class Spotlight: Shadow
Path of Exile Class Spotlight: Templar
Path of Exile Class Spotlight: Ranger
Path of Exile Class Spotlight: Duelist
Path of Exile Class Spotlight: Marauder
Path of Exile Class Spotlight: Witch