Thursday, October 10, 2013

Path of Exile (Part Three)

Stats and Passives
Do you remember that I've mentioned that all classes have access to the same Passive Skill Tree web but their starting positions are different? Well, the following screenshot roughly depicts what I've meant at that time.

Path of Exile - Passive Skill Tree
As you can see, the whole web can be essentially divided into three sectors, color-coded as red, green and blue. And if you further take note of the starting position of the various classes, you should ought to notice that the three "pure" classes (Marauder, Ranger, Witch) start within their own sectors while the "hybrid" classes (Duelist, Shadow, Templar) start at the borders in between two sectors.

So therefore, if you still have not guessed it, these three "sectors" that I've drawn out are exactly what you would reckon as the "Strength", "Dexterity" and "Intelligence" sectors. But what does all of this have to do with stats and passives?
Path of Exile - Nodes
Basically, if you zoomed in closer (at lets say the center where all three sectors meet), you will start to realize that this intricate web that you see before you is actually made up of many tiny circular thingys called "Nodes". And the way these nodes work is such that they can be either a "Stat" node or a "Passive" node.

If its a "Stat" node, it will offer a boost to one of your primary stat, like for example +10 Strength, +10 Dexterity or +10 Intelligence. If its a "Passive" node, then it would offer bonuses that improves your proficiency with a particular weapon type or equipment, ability to use certain skill gems to their full potential and/or other whatnots like for example +40% mana regeneration, +10% spell damage, +6% attack speed, +3% movement speed, +10% armor, +8% projectile damage and +12% physical damage with Axes...etc...etc.

So the rough idea is that nodes that are typically associated with "Strength" would be colored in red and found mostly in the "Strength" sector. Nodes associated with "Dexterity" would be green in color and found in the "Dexterity" sector while the "Intelligence" nodes would be colored blue and found in the "Intelligence" sector.
Path of Exile - Witch Skill Path
Whenever you level up, instead of being awarded with a couple of stat points for you to directly allocate to the primary stats (Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence) plus some skill points for you to spend on some fixed skill tree like in regular RPG MMOs, you will be only getting 1 "passive skill point" for every one level gained. (Note that you may also get some of these passive skill points when you complete certain quests as you progress in the story.)

You will then need to use those passive skill points to "unlock" or "activate" nodes at a cost of 1 point per node and slowly work your way out from your class's starting position...forging a path kind of like the one shown above. The only rule that you will need to observe here is that you may only activate nodes that are adjacent to those that you've already activated.

Anyway, depending on what sort of equipment and build you have in mind for your character, the nodes that you would choose to unlock will be vastly different from what I have done. That is the freedom and flexibility that this game has to offer.

Minor Keystones and Major Keystones
Path of Exile - Minor KeystonePath of Exile - Major Keystone
Next, I reckon that I would have to point out to you that not all of the nodes are "equivalent". In a sense, some of the nodes are more important and highly sought after than compared to others. And the way these nodes are reflected in the skill web is via their size, literally (with the major ones found towards the outer edges of the skill web while the minor ones are littered all over the place).

These so-called, "Keystones", often play a pivotal part in the formation of some decent/powerful build for your character class. And frankly-speaking, part of the gameplay (in my opinion) is for you to plan ahead and find a cost-effective path for you to reach and acquire your intended keystones.

Finally, if you ever decide that you've gone wrong somewhere along the way in the choices made for your current skilling path, then there's always something called "Passive Respec Points" to salvage the situation. However, these respec points aren't really easy to come by and so are primarily used for minor alterations.

If there is a major screwup in your build where you would require a lot of these respec points to make things right, then the proper course of action would probably be to create a brand new character instead. But that does not stop you from opting to slowly respec yourself one node at a time if your patient enough though...
Path of Exile - Book of RegretsPath of Exile - Orb of Regret
To obtain these respec points, all you have to do is acquire one of these items, like a "Book of Regrets" (which you can get as a quest reward, but is limited in supply) or an "Orb of Regret" (which you can purchase from NPCs like Yeena at the Forest Encampment at a hefty price, but is unlimited in supply).
Path of Exile - Apply Refunds
After that, right click on the items to gain the respec points and then enter your "Skills" web. You may then respec yourself via clicking on "Refund Passives", select the unwanted nodes to deactivate and then apply the changes like as shown.

Just remember that each of these respec points may only deactivate one node and thus redeem one passive skill point. Furthermore, at no point in time should the to-be deactivated node cause a break in the link between the rest of the activated nodes such that there's no way back to your class's starting position.

To start planning for your character's build or just to get more ideas on what sort of nodes exists, please visit Path of Exile - Passive Skill Tree Planner.

Previous: Path of Exile (Part Two)Next: Path of Exile (Part Four)