A PoE Atlas Guide to Minimize Feeling Overwhelmed in the End-Game
As a newer player in Path of Exile, you’ll likely be overwhelmed by the Atlas. I know I was, and I know very few who were not. The Atlas is bigger than the entire story that you run to get to it and has a lot more possibilities. It can also cost you dearly if you decide to change your strategy halfway through setting it up. In order to avoid that, we’ve written up a PoE Atlas Guide for you!
What is the Atlas?
The Atlas is the end-game of Path of Exile. Once you finish the story you’ll be told to go over to the Templar Laboratory (right side of Oriath) and talk to Zana. By now you should have a handful of maps since they start dropping in late act eight, but either way, Zana will give you an option of the four tier-one maps to take to start your journey.
The Atlas is entirely comprised of ‘maps’. Maps in PoE are not just an idea or what we call the endgame zones, they are physical entities that take up a place in your inventory. You find maps while exploring, and in order to run that map you put it in the map device and the map is consumed to provide six portals to that area. Maps vary from tier one all the way to tier sixteen, and in many cases, maps can be some of the most expensive items in the game, for particularly high tiers.
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How do I get maps?
Maps are acquired in two ways. First, by simply playing the game, maps will drop from the monsters you kill. Second, each time you level up Zana or do her daily mission she will offer you a selection of maps you can purchase – great for filling o234ut some maps you missed.
In order to get higher tier maps, you have to go about it one of two ways. First, any time you’re running a map there’s a chance for any monster within that map to drop another map. This map can be the tier you are running, any tier below, or up to one tier higher. The boss can drop up to two tiers higher, as long as you have the map unlocked. So if you’re running a tier three map, any monster on the map can drop maps that are tiers one to four, with the boss having the possibility of dropping a tier five map.
The only maps that will drop, however, are ones that you have unlocked on your Atlas already by running them and defeating the boss, or ones that are directly connected to the map you are running on the Atlas. To start from the very beginning, this means that when you run your very first tier-one map (let’s say you chose Graveyard), the only possible map drops will be tier ones and the tier twos that are physically connected to your map on the Atlas (in this case that would be Marshes). In this way, you can focus on a specific map to seek out, but you can also get caught in a trap where all of your maps are only in one corner of the Atlas.
The other way to get maps is to sell maps to the vendor. Selling three of the same map to the vendor will give you a map one tier higher. This is a great way to progress your atlas, particularly if you are only missing a few maps here and there. There are some maps that cannot be acquired this way, but they are few and far between.
What strategy should I use to complete my Atlas?
There are two main ways that players typically choose to shape their atlas. One, complete everything. This is fairly straightforward and will provide you access to the most content. Two, ‘shape’ your atlas by only completing a few maps. This will be optimal for experience, but limit you to only running a few maps.
As the name implies, this strategy is very simple. Just run maps as you get them and progress through your Atlas. Buy maps you’re missing and just keep plowing through. Since you’re completing every map you should rack up a high Atlas bonus very quickly, which will allow you to get even more maps. This strategy is perfect for the person who just wants to casually push and have fun or the person who wants to get to the guardian bosses at the end of the Atlas. While this strategy can leave you running a lot of maps you don’t love, it’s still the strategy I would recommend for newer players, since it allows you to see the most content and enjoy the game for what it is.
The other strategy relies on you only completing a handful of the top tier of maps. Instead of completing everything, we do all of the maps from tier one to tier nine, then stop. By this point, you will have experienced Shaper Orbs, which allow you to upgrade a map by five tiers. This strategy revolves around focusing on just getting the Shaper Orbs from tier five to ten, then removing the maps you ran to get the Shaper Orbs (a map can be removed with an item attained by selling three Sextants of the color of a map you want to remove and one Scour to a vendor). Once you have your Shaper Orbs from tier five to ten, and no maps tier ten or higher completed, you are good to go.
Choose maps you love from tiers five to ten, and upgrade them on your atlas using the Shaper Orbs. Now you will have a ‘shaped’ map as your only maps from tiers ten to fifteen. Then just start running them, and never stop. The reason this is so powerful is that these maps are technically not connected to any other maps of a similar tier. So when you’re running a shaped tier eleven map, and it goes to give you a higher tier map, it will try and target one that is connected to the map you’re running, realize there are no connected maps, and just give you one of your other Shaped maps. This strategy is perfect for optimizing experience, as you can run good layout maps over and over again indefinitely.
Both strategies are entirely viable, but if you think you want to try a Shaped strategy, DO THAT ONE FIRST!! If you complete everything and then want to switch to a Shaped strategy, it will cost you tens of dozens of red sextants, which can be extremely expensive. If you do the Shaped strategy first and decide you don’t like it, no big deal, just complete everything.
Thank for scoping this PoE Atlas Guide.