Thursday, October 17, 2013

Path of Exile (Part Four)

Skill Gems
If you are worried about the complexity of the skill system in Path of Exile, then have no is actually pretty simple.

Path of Exile - Skill GemsPath of Exile - Cold Snap
It is first of all categorized into three color types, namely, Red, Green and Blue. The color of the gem not only specifies the sort of colored socket it will fit into but also the primary attribute requirement needed to use the gem.

For example, the Cold Snap gem that you see above. This skill gem can only be fitted into a blue-colored socket and will require a decent amount of "Intelligence" in order to use as well as level it up properly.
Path of Exile - Purity
However, you may have to take note that there also exists skill gems which, despite their color, would have a secondary attribute requirement (amount needed is usually lower than primary's).

And since these gems need two stat attributes instead of one to use, they are more often thought of to be meant for the hybrid character classes rather than the pure classes.
Path of Exile - FireballPath of Exile - Casting Fireball
The skill gems are then further classified as either an Active-type skill gem or a Support-type skill gem. If its an "Active" type, like "Fireball", this means that upon placing the gem into an appropriate socket on an equipment that you wear, you will gain a cast-able skill, "Fireball" in this case.

After gaining the skill, you will just need to assign the skill to a hotkey slot at the bottom right corner of your HUD (right beside your Mana Pool) and then press the corresponding hotkey to use the skill. Do note that depending on the skill, you may need to use your mouse cursor as a guide to the location/direction where the skill is targeted. (Projectile skills will fire in the direction of the cursor while AoE skills will be casted upon an area with the cursor position as its center.)
Path of Exile - Support Gem in Connected SocketsPath of Exile - Modified Rejuvenation Totem
If its a "Support" type, then the skill gem simply cannot be used on its own. It can only be used in a combination with an Active-type skill gem where its function is to "modify" the active skill that it supports. But in order to do that, you will need to place both the "Active" skill gem and its "Support" into two separate sockets that are connected to each other.

When pushed to the highest level of usage, this Active, Support and Socket system actually allows for high-end combos such as the dual spark spewing spell totems that I've talked about much earlier...which, if I'm not wrong, is made up of one Active skill gem with multiple Support skill gems augmenting it. Like for example, a "Spark" skill gem (Active), a "Spell Totem" skill gem (Support), "Greater" and/or "Lesser Multiple Projectiles" (Support) and perhaps maybe a "Fork" skill gem (Support).

And while the possibilities may be endless with such a system, please take note that the system dictates that you may not use multiple copies of the same Support skill gem to augment the same active skill. Furthermore, such high-end combos would require an item to have multiple, connected sockets of the right colors as a host...which might be very rare or hard to come across, like a 5- or 6-linked socket item.
Additional Need to Knows
  • Leveling Skill Gems Up
    Each skill gem apparently has its own experience bar as well as skill level which can be seen via its item description when you hover your mouse cursor over the skill gem.
    Path of Exile - Skill Gem Level Up
    Upon gaining enough experience points to fill up the experience bar, you can then rank the skill gem up to its next level by clicking on the "+" icon as shown in the screenshot above. However, you must meet its next level's requirements first before this can be done or else the icon would be greyed out instead.

    As far as I know, a skill gem need not have to be "used" by the player for it to gain experience points. So long as the skill gem is placed into one of the sockets of an equipped item, it will automatically gain experience whenever the player kills a monster. And what's more, this gain of experience points is separate for each skill gem and does not get diminished by the number of skill gems you have equipped upon yourself. Neither is it leeched off your character's potential experience gained so you need not worry about them slowing down your leveling speed.

    Oh and if you were planning on using items to temporarily boost your stats in order to circumvent the requirements and "forcibly" rank up the skill gem, then I would recommend that you perish that thought lest you end up with an unusable gem that would even make its host item (along with all the other skill gems inhabiting that item) unusable until you remove that "offending" skill gem (right click to remove gem from its socket).
  • Mana Reserving? Mana Multiplier?
    Whilst looking at some of the skill gems' item descriptions, I am sure you would have spotted these two weird and unfamiliar terms, "Mana Reserved" and "Mana Multiplier".
    Path of Exile - Mana Reserved
    Well...from what I can tell, this "Mana Reserved" thingy is most usually found on aura-based active skill gems. And what it does is that after you toggle the aura on, it will "reserve" a portion of your mana pool, sealing it up and preventing you from touching/using that portion. You can kind of think of it as a trade-off to sustain or maintain the aura skill I guess...but effectively, the end-result is that you will be left with less mana for actual combat usage.

    As for "Mana Multiplier", it is a term that is more often found on support-type skill gems. What it does is to literally multiply the costs (in mana) of using a particular active skill once it is augmented by the said support skill gem.

    Like for example, if a regular active skill costs 29 mana points to use and you add in a support gem with a mana multiplier of 140% to augment that active skill, then usage of the augmented active skill would now cost 40 mana points instead (29 x 1.4).
  • Gem Quality
    Apart from leveling up a skill gem to increase its potency, one can actually find that there is some other factor called the gem's quality which also plays a part in improving the skill gem's "power" so as to speak. For instance, the two "Raise Zombie" skill gems that you see below.
    Path of Exile - Raise Zombie Gem 1Path of Exile - Raise Zombie Gem 2
    The first one is a regular "Raise Zombie" skill gem while the second one is of +15% quality. And essentially, what this quality difference does is that if both gems were of the same skill level, you will notice that a zombie raised from the second gem would have 15% more HP and movement speed than compared to one that is raised from the first gem.

    However, I will have to state beforehand that this is only for the case of a "Raise Zombie" skill gem. What the quality factor does to a skill gem and how it affects its stats will of course be different for every skill gem. But anyway, now that you know what the gem quality does, I think its time to explain to you on the ways to "obtain" these skill gems of better quality.

    Now apart from looting them yourselves, which is both inefficient and random (since it may not be an easy feat to loot skill gems...let alone getting one that you would want and is of high quality), there is a more surefire and direct way where you will be guaranteed to have a high quality skill gem that you would want. That is, through the use of something called a "Gemcutter's Prism".
    Path of Exile - Gemcutter's Prism
    Basically, what this Gemcutter's Prism does is to improve your desired skill gem's quality factor 1% at a time...up to the maximum quality attainable (which is 20%). But since these prisms aren't exactly easy to come by, such a method may be too costly and you won't be able to do it to all your skill gems. Thus we then come to the second alternative method which is much more feasible but nonetheless still requires the Gemcutter's Prism...though only 1 is needed.

    With this second method, all you need to do is to level the skill gem, that you want to improve, up to level 20 and then sell it off to an NPC together with the Gemcutter's Prism. In exchange, the NPC will offer you a level 1 version of this skill gem but it will be of 20% maximum quality.

Previous: Path of Exile (Part Three)Next: Path of Exile (Part Five)