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Path of Exile Beginner's Item Guide

Path of Exile Beginner's Item Guide by bakalakadaka

So I've decided to write this guide to help new players, as PoE's item system may look intimidating for a beginner. Although it might look complicated at first, I hope that by the time you finish reading this guide you will see that it's actually quite simple.

In this guide, I will explain what mods are sought after on each type of armor, weapon and jewelry. This guide will NOT include any kind of pricing estimates, or how much currency you can expect to get depending on which mods you roll. It would be pretty much impossible to do something like that, you will just have to learn that by spending more time playing.

This guide is mainly aimed at higher level items, although the same principle can be used for lower level items where it's much more flexible. For example, a lower level item can only have 2 good mods to be considered useful, whereas that's not the case with end-game items.

What you need to know before we get started:

Every item in PoE can have up to 6 affixes, 3 prefixes and 3 suffixes. So you cannot get an item that has 4 prefixes and 2 suffixes. You can see the list of prefixes and suffixes, and their level requirement here:

Now, certain affixes can only spawn on certain types of items, while others cannot. You can see which types of items can spawn with which affixes here:

Simply click at the type of item at the top of the table, and you will get a list of all possible prefixes and suffixes for that type of item.

So how does this all work in practice? The type of mods you can roll on an item depends on the itemlevel of the item, not the required level of the item. You can check the itemlevel of an item by picking it up with your cursor and typing /itemlevel in chat. If an item dropped from a white mob in a lvl 40 area, it will have an itemlevel of 40. If a magic (blue) mob dropped it in a lvl 40 area, it would be 41, and if a rare (yellow) mob dropped it, it would be 42. An itemlevel 40 item can roll all prefixes and suffixes (that that item type can roll) from lvl 1 to lvl 40 (check the prefix/suffix list again to see the affix required level) regardless of the required level of the item.

NOTE: "Affix" isn't equal to "mod". 1 affix can also have 2 mods, for example Archmage's affix has both Spell damage and mana mods. That means an item with 6 mods doesn't necessarily have 6 affixes. This is useful to know when using Exalted orbs.


1.1 "The big three" - Life, +flat defense, +% defense

This is how I like to call these 3 prefixes that will make almost any item very good.

With the nerf to Chaos Innoculation, life has become an even more important stat, probably the most important stat in the game. Most players will try to get +life on every slot they can. Now, this doesn't mean that an item without life is bad, but it would need to have amazing other mods to compensate for it.

Defensive mods (by defense i mean Armor, Evasion and Energy Shield) become exponentially more important as you progress through the game, and are very important stats in the end game. A flat defense mod adds a flat amount of defense to the defensive value of the item, and the % defense then mutiplies that number. For example, you have a 300 Armor chest. If you roll a +100 Armor mod it will bring it up to 400, and if you roll a +50% Armor, you will end up with a 600 armor chest. As you can see, the amount these mods give depends on the base defense of the item, which is why higher level base items are more desirable.

Now that we have this out of the way, let's start talking about every slot individually.

1.2 Chest


The big 3.



As you can see, chests are very straightforward because they can roll the least amount of different affixes

1.3 Helm


The big 3


Helms can roll accuracy. Now accuracy can be useless for some characters (casters), while others are willing to pay a lot for a high accuracy roll. Other than accuracy, you are looking for resistances.

1.4 Boots:


Boots are the only item that can spawn with Movement Speed. Now, there are people who claim MS is one of the best affixes in the game, while others don't find it that useful at all. That means that you are either looking for the big 3, or 2 of the 3 and MS. Generally, boots will be worth more if they have a high value MS mod (25 or 30).



1.5 Gloves:


Gloves are probably the most interesting armor slot, as they can roll added Physical and all 3 Elemental damages, and Attack Speed. Casters don't care for either of those, so they are basically looking for the big 3 here. However, most other people will not care about any defensive properties on gloves as you can get more than enough on other pieces, but rather focus on damage. That means if you roll all 3 high range Elemental mods on gloves, it doesn't matter what else you rolled, those gloves will be worth a fortune.


Gloves too can spawn with Accuracy, and only they can spawn with Attack Speed of all the armor pieces. Again, casters don't care about these so they are looking for resistances, while others will neglect defense on gloves and go full blown offense.

1.6 Belts:

Prefixes: Belts are also pretty straightforward slots. % Weapon elemental damage is the most important prefix (for those who need it), followed by life. For non WED users, life is a priority while Armor and Flask mods come after.

Suffixes: Resistances, although some people are fans of the flask mods.

1.7 Magic Find

Magic find in PoE has 2 parts: Increased Item Quantity and Increased Item Rarity. IIQ and IIR can spawn as a prefix or a suffix, but not both on the same item. MF can spawn on Boots, Helms and Gloves. Most people prefer MF to be rolled as a suffix, so they can get the big 3 on prefixes. High MF mods can be very desirable. For example, someone with capped resistances does not want to roll them as suffixes, and would much rather roll IIR and IIQ.

1.8 So how does this translate to practice?:

As you can see, most mods are actually valuable, there are very few undesirable mods in PoE. So, why is it so hard to roll a good item then? There are 2 reasons for this. First, the number of affixes. A rare with 6 affixes has a much higher chance to be good than a rare with 4, although they are of course harder to find. And the most important thing is numeric value of the affixes themselves. A +25 life mod and +85 life aren't nearly the same. These are most apparent with defensive mods. The same evasion piece can roll either with +45 evasion and +20% evasion or +350 evasion and +100%, and that alone can make or break an item.

A perfectly rolled chest would have something like high life, high flat defense and % defense and 3 high resistances. Needless to say, that is almost impossible to find, and if it was found it would cost a fortune. So what makes a good chest? Well, you cold roll the big 3 and 1 resist, that would be a pretty good chest. You could roll both defensive stats and 2 resists but no life, that would also be a good chest. You could roll a uber high life and triple resists, but poor defense, I'm sure you would find a buyer for that too. It's just a matter of what people need to fill holes in their builds. If your chest will cap all their resist, they wouldn't mind sacrificing the defense on it etc.


2.1 Swords, Rapiers, Axes, Maces


Most people are playing physical damage builds if using these weapons. Prefixes are what makes or breaks these weapons and there are also the big 3 here: +flat physical damage, +% physical damage and +% physical damage/accuracy. If you roll a weapon with these 3 in high ranges (and even the first 2 are enough) you are guaranteed to make a lot of money off of it. There are also probably people who play elemental damage builds, so getting 2-3 high elemental rolls can also be beneficial. Most often than not though, you are going to get a mix of physical and elemental rolls, which can be good but only if all the rolls are in the higher ranges.


Attack speed is the main one. Some are looking for accuracy, and crit builds especially value the Crit Chance, with Crit Multiplier coming second. Resistances are also never bad.

2.1 Bows and Quivers:


A huge majority of players are playing elemental damage bow builds so they are the most important. A high elemental damage Bow or Quiver (by high I mean 2 elemental rolls in the higher range) is pretty much guaranteed to sell, as a big percentage of players is using bows.


Pretty much the same as with Melee, with the addition of Projectile Speed.

2.2 Wands are Daggers:

Wands are daggers are probably the hardest weapons to roll properly. This is because they can spawn with both caster and weapon mods.

2.2.1 Caster wands and daggers:


The 2 important ones and +spell damage and +spell damage/mana. +Mana and +1 to level of gems comes in distant second.


Cast speed is by far the most important (can only spawn on wands). If you roll a wand with the 2 prefixes listed above and cast speed, all in the high ranges, you pretty much hit the jackpot. Next comes %cold, fire and lightning damage, spell crit chance and multiplier, and mana regen.

2.2.2 Weapon wands and daggers:


What makes the trouble even bigger here is that some people are looking for physical mods while other are looking at elemental. As for physical, you are basically looking at the same mods as for Swords/Axes, and for elemental you are looking for the same mods as Bows.


Physical users are looking for Attack Speed, Accuracy and Weapon Crit chance and Multiplies, while elemental users are looking for all of those, together with +%cold, fire and lightning damage. It's important to note that dagger users are ones most commonly going for Crit builds, so these mods can be very valuable for them. This is especially true for Crit Chance, and here is why: Say you have a dagger with 6% base crit chance and +100% crit chance from you passive tree. This means that in total you have 12% crit chance. Now, if you roll a +25% crit chance on that dagger, you will not have 6*(2,25)=13.5% crit chance, instead you will have (6+(6*0,25))*2=(6+1,5)*2=15% crit chance. Basically, this means that the crit chance roll on the weapon is first applied on the base crit chance, and then the rest of the crit chance mods on your gear/passive tree is applied to THAT number.

2.3 What does this mean in practice?

First of all, the base attack speed of the weapon is one of the most important things to look for. This is because every attack speed increase you get from items and passive tree, is being applied to this number. You can see the attack speed of various weapons here:

This is ESPECIALLY true for elemental damage builds. This is why 95% of Bow users use a Thicket Bow, and you will have a hard time selling a 1.10 AS Bow or Wand, even with insane mods. Generally, The most used end-game base weapon types are weapons around level 60 with the highest attack speed. For bows this is Thicket Bow, for Wands its an Imbued wand, for Rapiers it's a Spiraled Foil etc. AS has no effect on casters, so they don't care about it.

Other than that, like I said, prefixes are generally what make a weapon good. Physical users look for mainly those 2 high physical rolls (%physiscal/accuracy as a 3rd mod is a roll that would separate a great weapon to an insane one). Elemental users look for at least 2 high elemental rolls (3rd ele roll, again, makes it insane), and Casters looks for those 2 Spell Damage mods and Cast Speed.


It's really hard to write something like this for jewelry. This is because jewelry is VERY versatile and can roll many different affixes and because of this, people generally use it to fill holes in their builds. If you lack damage, resists etc, you can get it from jewelry. One more thing is, jewelry pretty much doesn't have bad affixes. The tricky part is 1. getting a high number of affixes 2. getting high rolls on those affixes and 3. not getting both caster and weapon rolls in the same item. What's also interesting is that, unlike most other items, suffixes are what makes or breaks rings and amulets.

It's much easier to do something like this for casters so I'm gonna do that first:

3.1 Caster Rings:


Not a lot to be said here. Look for life, possibly mana and base energy shield.


Cast speed is the most important, for most people mana regen comes second. After that, there's a huge amount of options depending on a person's needs: % cold, lightning or fire damage, resistances, MF and +attributes

3.2 Caster Amulets:


Spell damage is #1. After that comes life, MF, mana etc


Exactly the same as rings, except Crit Chance and Multiplier probably come right after Cast Speed.

3.3 Weapon rings:


Elemental damage mods are the most valuable after by far, followed by life and mana on distant third.


There's simply a huge number of useful affixes here, and it's pretty much impossible to rate them anyway because they depend on individual's needs. They are: accuracy, attack speed, mana regen, resistances, +attributes.

3.4 Weapon Amulets


Again elemental damage mods, followed by life and defenses (Armor, Evasion, ES)


Exactly the same as rings, with the addition of Crit Chance and Multiplier.

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