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A Full PoE Mapping Guide for Atlas

PoE Mapping Guide
By | November 21st, 2017 | Categories: Path of Exile

Greetings Exile’s, this time around we are going to be looking into the Atlas, our end game mapping tool implemented in the last substantial end game expansion. Under the microscope will be the how and why regarding the many method’s used to min-max its effectiveness in earning us some sweet currency. If you are newer to Path of Exile do not shy away, this will surely hold information helpful to you starting your mapping adventures. To make navigating this extensive article easier I will lay it out in sections in this PoE Mapping Guide for Atlas.

Disclaimer: The information below assumes you understand the basics of mapping.

What is the Atlas of Worlds of 2.4.0?

The Atlas of Worlds expansion brought with it a myriad of end game content to keep mapping enthusiasts busy, providing 5 new end game bosses, new maps, new layouts for older maps, giving veterans even more numbers to crunch and newer players a real feeling of progression external to their character. The Atlas itself, even now over 12 months on, is still a point of discussion as Exiles attempt to make their Atlas as efficient and profitable as possible.

For more PoE, check this out: PoE Announcements for Delve and Improvements

How about map tiers and completion?

On the Surface, it appears very simple. Every map you “complete” (kill the boss whilst the map is a certain rarity) will add a 1% chance for maps dropped to be 1 tier higher than what you are currently in. The rarity requirements to achieve a “completed” map include the following:

  • Map Tier 1-5: Magic (Blue) – Use an Orb of Transmutation
  • Map Tier 6-10: Rare (Yellow) – Use an Orb of Alchemy
  • Map Tier 11-16: Corrupted; this means it needs to be of Yellow rarity and then Corrupted (Red). You will need to use an Orb of Alchemy and then a Vaal Orb. Keep in mind that once corrupted it cannot be altered, so if you are running a build that cannot handle a certain mod like for example Elemental Reflect, you will have to sell the map or run it with another character as the Atlas is account wide.

So, if you complete 100 maps, your Atlas will provide you with a 100% chance to upgrade every map that drops. This means that if you are in a Tier 5 maps and a map drops with the 100% bonus, that map will be rolled up to a Tier 6 (we will delve deeper into how it works out what map layout drops later in the article). Now, you are probably thinking “but Doc, the bonus goes up to 126%?” This is because anything over the 100% bonus provides a subsequent chance for the map to roll a second Tier higher.

If you are running Tier 5 maps with a 125% bonus (the last 1% is from Killing Shaper for this we will assume you haven’t yet killed him) any map dropped has a 100% chance to roll into a Tier 6 and then that Tier 6 has a 25% chance to roll into a Tier 7. Additionally, Magic and Rare mobs have an innate chance for any map they drop be one tier higher than what you are running and Bosses hold a chance to drop a map two tiers higher regardless of your Atlas completion. A map can only ever roll 2 Tiers higher than it’s base, so our Tier 5 can never drop anything higher than a Tier 7.

When should I complete a map and why?

Now that we know how to achieve map completion across the various Tiers and how completion affects our map drops, let’s discuss the pros and the cons to a completed Atlas.

If a Map is not complete it can only drop when running its adjacent and connected maps. However, once a map is completed, along with the 1% bonus to drops the map itself is added to your “Map Pool.” This means that it has a chance to drop regardless of your current maps location on the Atlas. When you run a map and another drops its layout is selected from A. Completed maps and B. Maps connected and adjacent on the Atlas.

The theory behind not completing specific maps is generally based on two things. Either the map drops a rare item or Divination Card, such as “The Doctor” in the Spider Forest map or it has a layout that you enjoy or finds efficient for your build/playstyle. If you don’t want a map to drop while you are farming do not complete it. If you would like to increase the chances of a certain map dropping, ensure that the map is one of the few maps in that tier you complete to reduce the maps in your “pool” of that tier.

Depending on what your personal goal with your Atlas is, you are either going to carefully plan your completion or just go for a full Atlas. Sitting somewhere in the middle ground with an incomplete, inefficient Atlas could result in you not only running maps with Bosses that result in death’s or layouts that are simply put, bad. My advice is to decide on your goal if you plan to map and stick with it as changing your Atlas later with currency can be extremely expensive.

For more PoE, check this out: Breaking Down the Best PoE Builds for 3.3

What should I know about Atlas Currency (Shaper’s Orb)?

Up next are one of the new types of items added specifically designed to interact with your maps, the Shaper’s Orb. There are 15 available and these are obtained by completing specific maps on the Atlas. The tier they are able to shape is equivalent to the tier of map they dropped from minus 5. The highest tier of Shaper’s Orb that can be obtained is tier 10 from tier 15 maps.

The Shaper’s Orb “Shapes” a map upgrading it by 5 tiers. This allows you to cause lower Tier maps you enjoy running to drop with higher level monsters, providing more experience and higher item level loot. If the Tier 2 Map “Beach” is your jam, once shaped it will drop as a Tier 7 provided you are running maps Tier 5 and higher, the original Tier 2 Beach will effectively be removed from your pool. Using this to your advantage is what it means to “Shape” your Atlas and refine your map pool to remove unwanted maps.

How about Atlas currency (Sextant’s and “Blocking”)?

Before we start here I would like to shout out to Therosass for his contribution to the community in the way of creating a very easy to understand text guide for this subject.

Sextants are the Alchemy Orb for your Atlas, adding mods to the selected map and those around it within the Sextants radius. They can be utilized to a min max the map you are choosing to farm consistently. They have three levels applying to the tiers of maps listed in the above section.

  1. Apprentice Cartographer’s Sextant – Map Tier 1-5
  2. Journeyman Cartographer’s Sextant – Map Tier 6-10
  3. Master Cartographer’s Sextant – Can be applied to any map of any tier.

As modifiers from Sextants apply in a radius this means you can cause these to overlap providing multiple maps with multiple modifiers. Sextant’s overlapping cannot double up on the same modifier, additionally, modifiers are not only excluded from nearby maps but also maps adjacent to the nearby maps. You can use this to your advantage to effectively block unwanted (we will refer to them as bad further down to make things easier) modifiers on your chosen to map by rolling them onto outlying maps.

There are generally 4 layers to be considered when using this method. We will refer to them as:

  1. A – The map you want to run.
  2. B – The maps within sextant radius of A.
  3. C – The maps within sextant radius of B and D.
  4. D – The maps within sextant radius of C and as a result indirectly affecting B.

For this example, we are assuming that A is a red, tier 11-16 map (always crafting the map we are running first as red maps are far more expensive to reroll). We would want to continue by crafting mods onto C and D that are bad to exclude them from the pool of possible roles on B (C also excludes mods from A). Our next step is to craft a desirable mod onto B, crafting here last because it is far less expensive to reroll.

Once this gets rolling on several maps around the one you are running, you have a very efficient mean of applying “good” modifiers to your map of choice.

Now, you are probably thinking “but Doc, how do I know what is good or bad?” Anything that adds monsters like Pack Size, Nemesis or Bloodlines are excellent choices since map density was nerved.

For the bad well, I suppose anything that doesn’t increase density is significantly less desirable. This is largely open to opinion and discussion and as the game changes this too will change so it would be wise to stay up to date with the current “map meta” for the latest patches.

What about unshaping and completing maps?

The last of our map specific currency’s function the same as an Orb of Regret does for the passive tree except for the Atlas. Unshaping Orb’s can be used to unshaped a map. These can be obtained by vending 20 Cartographer’s Chisels and 5 Orbs of Regret.

Cartographer’s Seals can be used to “uncomplete” a map and again come in three levels the same as the Sextant’s, Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master. These can be obtained by vending three Sextant’s of the correct tier and an Orb of Scouring. Keep in mind that completing a map also removes the completion bonus that the map provided.

How about sustaining a map pool?

This is going to assume you are newer to mapping and Path of Exile and as a result, are not using any of the more advanced method’s to increase you Atlas efficiency or profitability.

By the time you reach Red Maps with a respectable amount of Bonus Completion on the Atlas, this shouldn’t be a serious issue. At worst, you may have to Sextant and Chisel (increase the Quality of a map) in the event your stash starts to run low.

I personally haven’t had an issue in this regard since they changed the way the completion bonus is calculated.

How about Atlas completion?

You did it! You killed all four of the Guardians, killed the Shaper, and cleared all the unique maps. Now, you are running around with a whopping 126% map drop bonus!

“But Doc, everyone is telling me I shouldn’t have done this and I have now ruined my Atlas??”

Don’t listen to them Exile, sure your Atlas probably isn’t as efficient as their’s in terms of currency per hour and you are running maps you would rather not from time to time, but this is absolutely an achievement. The elite 1% (or rather sometimes the wannabe 1%ers) in every game are convinced that there is a right and wrong way to do things and this just is not the case with Path of Exile. There is nothing in this game so black and white, the end game here is largely driven by personal goals and how you achieve those goals is entirely up to you.

I am going to say great job and I hope you enjoyed your time doing it. On another note, there is substantial evidence indicating that a reasonable amount of currency can be made simply running random maps from the mid tier’s 6-11 with the “alch and go” method (using an Orb of Alchemy and only rerolling if you are absolutely unable to run it), no sextants and only shaping what you enjoy.

Closing Thoughts

My fellow shipwrecked brethren; I sincerely hope you managed to learn something from this PoE Mapping Guide that will aid you on your many adventures through Wraeclast and the realms that lie beyond. If any of the information here is something you didn’t understand or disagree with please comment below or email me (listed on my author page).

Until next time, stay safe Exile!

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