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Choosing A Class In Path Of Exile 101

Learning the basics and finding your footing

By Daisy M. Marino

So, you’ve been thinking of playing Path of Exile for some time now. Good! There’s no better time to begin as the 3.13 patch has been delayed. Don’t be intimidated by the veteran gamers–just take the game at your own pace. To help you start and know what POE Currency to get, here’s a quick rundown of the Path of Exile classes and their Ascendancies.

A New Path of Exile Class Consciousness

Before we begin, we need to first explain how attributes work in the game. Aside from being the requirements for gear such as POE Uniques (especially after POE orbs are used on them) and gems, they also increase offensive and defensive potential. Strength increases physical damage and life, Dexterity increases evasion and accuracy, and Intelligence increases mana and energy shield.

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Thus, traditional PoE builds of certain PoE classes follow a particular main attribute. This can be seen by looking at where each of them begins in the shared passive skill tree. Following traditional Path of Exile builds, however, has become obsolete, as a mixture of attributes is the way to better, well-rounded, and specialized PoE builds later on.

Also, we bring up Ascendancies as early as now because it’s important to begin with the end in mind. Knowing which Ascendancies’ specializations early on helps players determine how they’re going to Path of Exile build their chosen PoE class, and even choose their main class.


A strong tribal man, the Marauder is the game’s scrapper melee class as he can take hits as well as dish them out. Depending on your Path of Exile build and choice in Ascendancy, he can dole one out better than the other.

class in path
The Marauder is the game’s scrapper melee class. Wiki

If you prefer going on the defensive, then there’s no better Ascendancy than the Juggernaut. On the other hand, if you like being on the offensive almost exclusively, then the Berserker is for you as the PoE builds up an aptly-named special counter called Rage.

Lastly, if you want a different kind of Marauder, go for Chieftain. Unlike the other two, this is more oriented in dealing with fire damage and summoning totems. Thus, unlike other Marauder Ascendancies, it requires a good chunk of Intelligence as well.

Burned by the Witch

Cast out to Wraeclast for using sorcery, the Witch is the game’s primary spellcaster. She has total mastery of the elements for burst damage and DPS, cast curses and debuffs, and call forth the dead as her armies, so it’s no surprise that her three namesake Ascendancies–Elementalist, Occultist, and Necromancer–specialize in each of them.

Time for the Duelist

A man with a penchant for fighting, the Duelist was thrown to Wraeclast after striking down a nobleman. He’s also a melee class, but unlike the Marauder, he’s more focused on dealing swift damage while evading and parrying incoming hits.

The Duelist’s three Ascendancies are the following:

  • Slayer – which is all about dealing with huge single-target physical damage, making him an effective boss killer
  • Gladiator – which balances between offense and defense through blocking and parrying
  • Champion – an even more defensive PoE class that can not only take damage but also support his allies

On the Hunt: The Ranger

Branded as a poacher and a thief, the Ranger was exiled to Wraeclast for hunting in the lands that the local lords claimed. Now, she hunts the evil infesting the dark and treacherous island from a safe distance.

Chiefly, the Ranger is a Dexterity class because of her range. However, only Deadeye is the Ascendancy that bolsters traits related to projectile damage, accuracy, and piercing. On the other hand, Raider is focused on evasion, Frenzy, and Onslaught charges, making it some sort of hit-and-run Path of Exile class that can still do well with melee weapons.

class in path
The Ranger is a Dexterity class because of her range. Wiki

Lastly, the Pathfinder is the closest thing the game has to a survivalist. Its passive skills increase flask effect and duration, be it for offense, defense, and utility, with a greater focus on the last two.

Hiding: The Shadows

Cunning and deadly, the Shadow is all about killing in the most efficient and underhanded ways. All its Ascendancies are dedicated to that, the only difference they have with one another is how they do it.  Assassins are more hands-on, as it’s geared to dealing with critical strikes and poison. Saboteurs are the more meticulous Ascendancy since they damage and debilitate their enemies through traps and mines.

Finally, the Trickster walks the tightrope of carefulness and deadliness through defensive passive skills that boost evasion and energy shield and offensive ones that increase attack speed, damage over time, and frenzy charges.

Fallen from grace among his peers but not with God, the wise and fortitudinous Templar is a holy man that strikes up the perfect balance between body and mind. His Asendancies, however, obviously have leanings. The Inquisitor channels God’s wrath through elemental damage, the Hierophant has both offense and utility through totems and brands, and the Guardian is a tank that also has auras, allowing him to be a shield of strength and hope.

Iron, Lion, Scion

Last, but definitely not least, would be the Scion. Unlike other Path of Exile classes that begin in the part of the passive skill tree that is dedicated to their traditional mechanics, the Scion begins in the middle, as it’s meant to be the most customizable PoE class.

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The downside to this is that she only has one Ascendancy: the aptly named Ascendant. It can learn one passive skill from each Ascendancy class, albeit with toned down effects. While some say that the versatility more than makes up for the lesser versions of the passives, there are also those that say it’s not worth it.

In the end, it’s up to you to make the Ascendant work. With enough work from you, it can and it will.

Choosing a POE class today is not like it used to be. Hopefully, we helped you catch up to speed. So, which Path of Exile class and Ascendancy will you go with? Tell us in the comments section!

(Disclaimer: The article is sponsored, and hence promotes some commercial links.)



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