Path of Exile Classes
Just like Diablo (and pretty much every CRPG game, like Divinity: Original Sin or Baldur’s Gate) classes are inspired by the classic pen-and-paper role-playing games. In Path of Exile, classes are linked to the three main attributes of the game: strength, dexterity, and intelligence. Each class excels at a specific attribute, which means they have access to unique skills and improved stats. The main classes are also known as core classes, and they’re later able to ascend to an ascendancy subclass, depending on their starting class.
We’ll take a look at these core classes, their strengths, and weaknesses, and also, we’ll take a cursory look at their ascendancy classes. The fun in a game like Path of Exile comes in creating an array of different characters and seeing how the different classes interact with the game world. Luckily, Path of Exile is very flexible in this regard, allowing you to create multiple characters and letting you log in simultaneously with more than one character at a time.
There are a total of seven core classes in Path of Exile. The first three classes are known as “Pure” characters since they’re aligned with just one of the main three core attributes. The remaining four core classes are the “Hybrid” characters, who use a combination of attributes and are considered a little more complex than the pure ones. Although Path of Exile does not require the greatest specs, we still recommend buying a gaming PC that can handle it with a little extra room to spare. Check out our buying guides of the Best Gaming Laptops Under 2000.
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Marauder – Strongest Path of Exile Class
The marauder aligns with the strength attribute, granting him access to an array of devastating melee skills and improved physical damage. The marauder’s also the tank of any party, being able to take many hits before being defeated. It’s also very useful for crowd control thanks to its generous selection of area of effect skills.
This class is deceptively simple and an ideal choice for newcomers to Path of Exile. The melee gameplay works as a great way to familiarize yourself with the game before you choose a more technical class, and at the same time, the Marauder’s raw attack power turns him into a veritable powerhouse against many of the game’s creatures.
Fire is the element that’s mostly associated with strength skills, and that also applies to monsters who prefer strength attacks. Besides the melee skills, the Marauder also has access to a variety of cries and shouts, these work as a buff for their party or as a deterrent that debuffs enemies. This makes the Marauder an essential part of most parties, both as a tank and as a heavy support unit.
After clearing the Labyrinth, the Marauder can ascend into one of these three subclasses: Juggernaut, Berserker, or Chieftain.
The Juggernaut is the tank par excellence of any party. The superior endurance and health boosts provide a stunning amount of damage mitigation, as well as some degree of protection against some obnoxious debuffs like slow or stun. He’s also capable of delivering stuns and his skill tree focuses on increasing accuracy and armor.
Berserkers are offense-focused warriors that gain powerful buffs when they’re in the middle of a ferocious battle. They’re a little more brittle than the base marauder when it comes to hit points, but they make up for it via their arsenal of war cries.
Finally, the Chieftain focuses on fire damage and more technical strength skills, and also is the only one of these classes that has access to totems. They can cover enemies with ash to deal even more damage, and also comes with a variety of life-leeching and regeneration spells.
If you prefer to attack from a distance or are partial to a more skillful set of attacks, then the Ranger might be your preferred class. The Ranger uses an assortment of bows and rapiers to deliver attacks more quickly (although not as strongly as a Marauder) and evading more frequently. They’re nimble and hard to hit, ideal for taking out enemies from afar or for taking out a large number of enemies while guarded behind a tank.
Just like the Marauder, the Ranger also aligns with an element. In her case, it’s cold, a deadly element capable of chilling enemies or even freezing them in place. This is very helpful in crowd control situations, providing the brittle Ranger with an advantage over many enemies.
The Ranger is a dexterity class, and as such it excels when equipped with light clothes and small weapons. A well-equipped ranger can easily become one of the best starting classes in Path of Exile, dealing a lot of damage and gaining the upper hand thanks to the distance between her and her target. Even though she can use rapiers, equipping a bow is heavily recommended.
When the time comes, the Ranger can specialize and ascend to one of her three subclasses: Deadeye, Raider, or the Pathfinder.
The Deadeye focuses on dealing with a lot of projectile damage, with stellar accuracy to make sure you never miss a shot. Additionally, she has passive projectile modifiers that turn her arrows and bolts into deadly ammunition capable of insane area of effect damage.
Raiders are a more skillful sneaky class that can phase through combat. She also specializes in frenzy charges and onslaught skills, abilities that grant her superior avoidance and speed.
The Pathfinder has flasks that deal with a variety of effects and spread on the battlefield, hitting multiple targets at once. She can also use these flasks on herself, granting a variety of boosts to her stats.
The Witch is the class for those focusing on intelligence builds. The Witch is the basic spellcaster of the group, wielding either a wand or a scepter into battle. Their knowledge of the mystical arts grants them an increased critical chance, and they’re also able to wield an energy shield that recharges itself when out of combat. Lightning is the preferred element of the intelligence adepts, causing shock on your enemies.
This class can deal enormous damage, but it’s also quite complex, and so it’s only recommended as a second character. The technical approach to battle of the Witch is better suited for those that are more accustomed to the game’s menus and mechanics and could prove overwhelming for total beginners.
After clearing the Labyrinth, Witches can ascend to Necromancers, Elementalists, or Occultists. The Necromancers is a class specialized in death and undead creatures and spells, and are recommended for minion-based characters. The Elementalists gain additional power towards elemental damage, and are good at hybridizing the spellcasting with the summoning of minions. Lastly, the Occultist focuses on cold and damage over time, with an especial focus on devastating chaos magic, ideal for those looking to create the ultimate cursing Witch.
The first of the hybrid classes is the Duelist, who specializes in both strength and dexterity. This is a very flexible class that’s able to deal a lot of damage and also sustain a good amount of punishment before expiring. He wields both swords and axes and has an enhanced attack and speed due to its starting stats.
After clearing the Labyrinth, the Duelist ascends into either a Slayer, Gladiator, or a Champion. The Slayer is a damage-oriented class who specializes in dealing the final blow; his high damage output, critical-hit chance, and life leech make him a fearsome fighter when dealing with any boss. The Gladiator focuses on dual-wielding and being an all-around balanced class. The Champion is a support class that’s able to empower his party with an array of empowering banners and demoralizes the enemy with taunts.
The templar mixes strength and intelligence into a powerful class that imbues his melee attacks with elemental energy. He also has a good amount of endurance, being a nice addition to your front lines. This balanced class can ascend to the Inquisitor, Hierophant, and Guardian subclasses.
The Inquisitor has a strong focus on elemental attacks and critical strikes. He’s also quite adept at applying buffs to himself to become an unstoppable damage-dealer. The Hierophant is an advanced and technical class that depends on a large mana pool to cast a variety of non-conventional damage-dealing spells. The Guardian deals more with melee attacks and is considered a tank class due to his high hit-points, also, they can imbue themselves and the party with auras.
Shadow – Stealthiest Path of Exile Class
The rogue of the group, Shadows focus on dexterity and intelligence to overcome their enemies. They fight using claws and daggers and are quite adept at dealing with high critical damage. Their stealth-focused gameplay gets stronger when they ascend into any of his subclasses: The Assassin, Saboteur, or Trickster.
Assassins are all about critical strikes, enhancing their power charges and the chances to score a critical by a considerable amount; additionally, they have access to several poison-based skills. The Saboteur, on the other hand, deals with traps and mines, with powerful chain reaction techniques to control the flow of the battle. Lastly, the Trickster is a quick and versatile class with a focus on dealing damage over time and quickly finishing off wounded enemies.
Lastly, the Scion is a balanced class that combines all three main attributes. Initially unavailable to new players, she must be first rescued during the story before you can create a Scion character. Using this character is not as simple as it seems, as it has a quite steep learning curve and complicated skills. Unlike the previous classes, she only has one ascended class, the Ascendant.
The Ascendant is a malleable class that offers the best of every other class, without really specializing in a single class. She can pick passive skills from other ascended classes, meaning the player can completely customize their play style. It requires a lot of comprehension of the game’s mechanics to fulfill the potential of the Ascendant, and it’s a task better reserved for veteran players.