Tips for POE Beginners
We were all new in a game at some point and not all of us know how to get around a new game's features. Here's a hint for you: In Path of Exile it is very hard to be successful in your first build! Of course you, the reader, are going to criticize me and make me a 'newbie'. That would have been the case if I have not had +1000 hours in this game and more then 30 characters made.
Let's get to the point: not all of my builds were successful and after my 5th build, I could finish the story (lvl 70) without dying too many times. Again you might judge me and try to play Poe without reading any guide and later find yourself at lvl 20 killing everything and not drying once. You might also realize that using combinations of gems are possible after level 20, hence the reason why you are going to struggle at the boss in act 2 and not beforehand. So if you continue to be stubborn, try the game for yourself without looking at any online build or be helped by anyone. Don't! Spare you some time and trust my words. The tutorial is not going to cover what I am about to say.
A ethereal knives build.
There are some very useful tips when starting to play POE :
1. Not everything is about damage. Sure, the more damage you deal, the more you grind items and experience. But keep in mind, especially if you are a beginner, you are going to die if you get hit at higher levels. And let's assume that you deal enough damage so that you kill everything one-shot but now, what is your plan against Shaper, Guardians, Innocence, mobs with deflect and traps? Even builds with minions, mines and totems have quite a lot of hp, energy shield and resistances so keep these in mind. Just so you know, your resistances drop two times before level 70 (you have -60% resistance on each element by default at that level and you take more damage if those values are negative, so the game actually punishes you more if you don't keep those numbers high).
2. Follow an online build. Since you are not familiar with how gems interact with each other and what mods buff your build, it is highly recommended that you follow some league starter build. The reason why you should follow a league starter build and not a regular one is that they are reasonably cheap and powerful. So unless you were lucky enough to get an exalted orb from some mobs or have some money to spare to buy currency online on platforms like u4gold.com you should have your build already planned.
If your build starts with Scion, try choosing either another build or start with a different character since you unlock Scion on the way to the Act 3 boss.
My personal choice: NeverSink's LOOTFILTER.
3. Keep in mind your inventory. You only have 4 slots of stash inventory and half of the stash tab as your personal inventory. Do not pick every item you find!
At the start you will only want to pick uniques, chromatics and other pieces of gear with surpasses your currently equipped piece. I recommend switching the show items options in the UI settings right away and, while you are at it, downloading an item filter. I personally use NeverSink's LOOTFILTER.
The reason you want to pick chromatics worth items (items that have at least three linked gem slots of different colors) is that you can sell them to NPCs for one chromatic orb, thus giving you some currency for you to trade with.
POE might be the best game you’ve ever played.
4. Know when to grind. You don't need to kill every enemy you find! I usually rush to the boss level and complete the optional quests later. If I have troubles killing him, I farm experience at the previous map node. If you find yourself being close to reaching the next level then do so. At some point, when your resistances drop, you will start to lose experience on death, but you don't lose your level. A good place to grind is Act 9 - the blood aqueducts since it has a high chance of dropping humility cards that can be transformed into one Tabula Rasa (6 linked white sockets; a wonderful item for any starting build which can boost you up until lvl 70 or more).
5. If you get stuck, try asking for help. Poe has a great community when it comes to helping and treading. If you get stuck ask someone to help you in the global chat. You are very likely to get a response from someone who was waiting for trades. Also, there is a list-board in-game where you can find public parties. There is, of course, some pros and cons when joining a party: the more you are in a party, the more enemies, experience and loop you get; but the mobs are also stronger than before. I would suggest you ignore public parties that are not of your level since you will not get any experience (but you will get loot).
A spectral trow build.
6. My last piece of advice is "know to have fun". You are playing a video game and not serving a sentence. It is up to you to decide how to play the game and what builds are fun and cool. My advice here is to consider cold and lightning builds with crit (optional). Some sounds are really satisfying in this game and hitting a horde of enemies with a crit is one of them. Also, some gems that I like are spectral trow, righteous fire and flicker strike.
Good luck and have fun!