PoE Best Maps to Shape Things Up
If you’ve made it through Act 10 and progressed to PoE’s endgame, then you’re probably already familiar with maps. Maps are consumable items that drop along with other loot and can be used on a mapping device to allow access to an instance. Each map belongs to a particular tier, 1 to 16, with the tier determining the level of the mobs within the instance. There is a process referred to as “shaping,” which involves using a Shaper’s Orb on a map to change it into the shaped version of the map. Shaping carries many benefits, but it only yields the best results if done on the appropriate maps. Keep reading to learn about shaping, and see a list of PoE Best Maps to Shape.
As mentioned above, shaping is a process by which a Shaper’s Orb is used on a map to produce a shaped map. You can obtain Shaper’s Orbs by collecting memory fragments from killing bosses in Elder-controlled maps and giving them to Zana. But what exactly do you get when you shape a map? Simply put, shaping a map increases a map’s tier by five levels. In other words, if you use a Shaper’s Orb on a Tier 1 map will elevate it to Tier 6. Only maps up to a base Tier of 10 can be shaped, and once you shape a map its normal version will no longer drop – only the shaped version.
The Drawback to Shaping
Before getting into the benefits of shaping, I wanted to lead off with a very important caveat. Once you shape a map, you sever its connection to the rest of the maps on the Atlas. Why is this a drawback? Basically, because it can impede your progress to higher map tiers. In order to get Tier 8 maps to drop, for example, you need to run connected maps of a lower tier. If you’ve already gone and shaped all of your maps up through Tier 7, though, you’re never going to see a Tier 8 drop. For this reason, it’s advised to wait before getting started with shaping so you don’t grind your Atlas clearing to a halt.
The Benefits of Shaping
Now that we’ve started off with a warning about how you can ruin the game for yourself with shaping, you’re wondering what benefits there are to increasing a map’s tier and disconnecting it from the other maps. Consider this: let’s say you have a map that you particularly enjoy because it’s packed full of mobs and makes it rain loot, or because it’s very linear and quick to complete, but the downside is that it’s Tier 2 and you aren’t getting much out of it anymore; now imagine that you could take that same map you love and make it a Tier 7 for better loot and experience. Sounds great, right? Well, this is exactly what shaping allows you to do.
As hinted at above, the two most important factors in deciding which maps to shape are map linearity and mob density. Linear maps are desired because it’s much more efficient to run from point A to point B in a straight line than it is to meander around a labyrinth. High mob density is good because the more bad guys there are to beat down, the more items and experience you’ll get from each run.
Another important thing to keep in mind when shaping maps is your build. Different map layouts are better suited to certain builds. By playing through the maps before shaping them, you’ll be able to get a feel for which maps give your character a bit of trouble, and which ones you can faceroll and sail through.
A final salient benefit to shaping is that you can target maps that drop particular divination cards and shape them so that you can farm cards and experience at once.
A Hidden Benefit to Shaping
There is also a less intuitive benefit to shaping maps that requires a bit of explanation. Remember the drawback mentioned earlier about shaping a map breaking its connection to other maps on the Atlas, resulting in your inability to get higher tier map drops when you run the shaped map? This detriment actually becomes an advantage for players who are already satisfied with the completion status of their Atlas.
Allow me to illustrate. Vault is a consistent favorite map to shape. As a Tier 9 map, Vault shapes up to Tier 14. If Vault is the only Tier 14 on your Atlas, then every time a Tier 14 map would’ve dropped for you, it’ll be a shaped Vault map. Every time a Tier 15 map would’ve dropped, it’ll be reduced to a shaped Vault map. The upshot is that you’ll be getting a lot of shaped Vaults, allowing to you to keep farming to your heart’s content.
The Best Maps to Shape in Version 3.1
As already mentioned above, the best maps to farm in PoE depends a lot on your personal preference and your character’s build. There are, however, some common denominators that make a map desirable to everyone, such as linearity and mob density. Therefore, the recommendations of which maps to shape for each Tier should be a good place for most players to get started:
- Tier 1: Beach
- Tier 2: Arid Lake
- Tier 3: Arcade
- Tier 4: Strand
- Tier 5: Ancient City
- Tier 6: Fields
- Tier 7: Bazaar
- Tier 8: Tropical Island
- Tier 9: Vault
- Tier 10: Siege
Shaping is definitely an art form, and it requires a fair bit of experience and trial and error to discover exactly which maps you should shape, and when you should shape them. The list above should be suitable for most players, though, and you can always tweak things here and there to better suit your particular build and playstyle.
That does it for the guide on PoE Best Maps to Shape. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more PoE tips!
For more PoE, check this out: The Best PoE Builds for 3.1