Greetings from Wraeclast, exile. Knowing how to efficiently power through the Path of Exile Act 1 usually takes time and experience. Without doing a few playthroughs, you’re likely not going to finish each act quickly or at the right level. In today’s guide, we’re going to walk you through a few leveling techniques and how to progress through Path of Exile Act 1 so you can keep up with more experienced players.
Our Guide To Efficiently Clearing PoE Act 1
To ensure that things go smoothly, we recommend that you aggro (trigger) large packs of white mobs and focus on taking down only the magic and elite (rare) packs of enemy mobs as you traverse through the light green path. If done correctly, you should easily be able to stay within 1-3 levels of the monsters in each zone.
Although this is a leveling guide, we’ve kept it away from being class-specific to give you a general approach to clearing the Path of Exile Act 1 quickly and efficiently. We’ll cover the intricacies of each zone, and the best order for clearing everything including the side quests and beneficial areas / mechanics.
With that said, let’s dive right into our guide for Act 1!
The Twilight Strand
After being tossed into the depths of a raging sea, you’ll wash ashore to the Twilight Strand. You’re an exile from Oriath, and your adventure is only about to begin. First thing’s first – you need a weapon. Pick up the weapon lying on the ground and smack the living crap out of the zombie next to you for a skill gem. When you’ve equipped your skill gem, you may start following the shoreline towards Lioneye’s Watch. To maximize your efficiency and reduce any sort of time-waste, we recommend that you don’t bother with killing any of the mobs in this zone besides the area boss. Simply rush to the end and kill Hillock. Your starting skill from the gem you acquired should suffice to end the boss-fight in a matter of seconds.
Immediately after killing Hillock, rush up the stairs into the Lioneyes Watch and speak with Tarkleigh to receive your very first quest reward. Depending on your class, Tarkleigh will offer you a choice of skill gems for completing the Enemy At The Gate quest, to give your character that much more oomp for the coming areas. If you’re not new to the current league and have any valuables worth picking up from your stash, such as leveling uniques and other useful gear, now’s the time. While you’re at it, talk to Nessa and pick up the Mercy Mission quest. This quest will help you get a Quicksilver Flask that will help you run a heck of a lot faster, and thus level much faster as well. Once you’re done with organizing your character’s equipment and picking up new quests – proceed to the next area, The Coast.
Because The Coast is a reasonably linear map, you should be able to follow a straight path from the start to the waypoint and the end of the zone. Simply move along the shore and keep right as you navigate around the cliffs, and you’ll make it to the waypoint that lies between the entrance to the Tidal Island and The Mudflats. There’s very little benefit to killing anything in this area, and we recommend that you just run through it as quickly as possible for the best efficiency.
Because it’s a side quest, you don’t necessarily need to stop here. However, if you need a Quicksilver Flask and have picked up the Mercy Mission quest earlier in town, grab the waypoint back at The Coast and enter the Tidal Island. Here you should probably try to run through to find Hailrake (the area boss). You can kill some stuff on the way to pick up a little bit of extra gear, however if you’ve got some leveling gear on, it’s not necessary by any means. When fighting Hailrake, keep in mind that he uses Artic Armor, Glacial Cascade and Ice Spear pretty frequently throughout the fight, so you’ll definitely want to make sure that you can actually tank him before you try to fight him to avoid getting steamrolled. Once he’s dead, grab the medicine chest and either teleport back to town or exit to login screen and log back in and then take the waypoint to the Coast after picking up your Quicksilver Flask from Nessa. Once you’re back at the waypoint, head up to enter The Mudflats in Path of Exile Act 1.
The mudflats should be one of the shortest zones on the list. On either map pattern, you should typically follow the river to collect the Breaking Some Eggs quest items from the three Rhoa nests. There is also an optional quest for you to clear the Fetid Pool that will grant you a free passive point reset, but it’s best to clear it later one you’ve leveled up and can breeze through the area in seconds. Once you’ve got the quest items, head over to the Glyph Wall and activate it to reveal the entrance to the Submerged Passage.
Submerged Passage – Part 1
There’s not a whole lot to this area, just push through it and kill any magic or elite mob packs that get in your way for some quick and easy experience.
Run through the Submerged Passage until you find a hanging bridge made from small wooden planks stretched across the cave’s stalagmite-like formations. Cross it and run forward from the bridge to clear the sides of the caverns and find the entrance to the Flooded Depths. Throw down a quick teleport portal here and then run to the upper center of the map to find the exit to the Ledge.
The Ledge – Part 1
Once you’re at the Ledge, you can exit to the character screen and log back in quickly to get to Lioneye’s watch without resetting your existing teleport. Use this time to pick up the pending quest rewards and drop anything off in your stash. Once you’re ready to continue, jump back through the teleport you left at the entrance to the Flooded Depths.
The Flooded Depths
At first glance, this area might look tricky, and there’s a lot of short paths that lead to dead ends. Use your best judgement to avoid them and run to the end, where you’ll find The Dweller Of The Deep, killing whom will award you with a Book of Skill that grants you one passive skill point on use. Once he’s down, you can either teleport back to town or use the character-screen log-in trick that we mentioned earlier to get back to Lioneye’s Watch. Pick up your book of skill, peruse the vendors, use your stash – once you’re done, take the waypoint back to the Ledge.
The Ledge – Part 2
This is the simplest area in Act 1, just follow the cliff-line go get to the Climb. Keep in mind that there’s quite a number of magic and elite monsters here, so go ahead and farm up some exp as you run.
This is another super-linear area, and we strongly recommend that you run through it without stopping to kill anything, as if you’re undergeared – there are quite a few annoying mobs here that can easy make short work of your character. And the worst part is that they don’t give much exp either due to the fact that there are very few magic packs in this area. Run through to the end, where you’ll find The Lower Prison.
The Prison features the unique set of different layouts that you’ll face in the Path of Exile Act 1. In any case, following your in-game map to the right will yield the best results while rushing through.
The Lower Prison
There isn’t a whole lot to do here , besides running through the area to find the exit to the Upper Prison. However, if you haven’t gotten the Trial of Ascendancy (Spikes) from this map yet, it might be worth taking a moment to grab it along the way.
The Upper Prison
After clearing the first floor of the Prison and you’ve reached the upper level, there’s realistically only one easy way to follow the map. If you start from the top, work your way down, and vice versa. The upper Prison should be easy to follow. There will always be a dead end behind your starting point, and it should follow a relatively straight path around to The Warden’s Quarters. There are loads of small rooms to explore, and it’s not entirely worthwhile unless you desperately need the experience. We especially recommend that you avoid the axiom guards and Sawbones because they don’t offer any meaningful rewards and take a long time to kill for new characters.
The Warden’s Quarters & Brutus Bossfight
The moment you enter The Warden’s Quarters, there will be a trail of blood leading you directly to Brutus, the Lord Incarcerator. Fighting Brutus might be an easy task for a caster class, but melee users won’t necessarily be so lucky. Brutus hits hard with his ground slam when you’re close and will reel you back in with his chain hooks if you’ve managed to gain some distance from him in addition to casting spike traps and summoning skeleton soldiers via the cages hanging from the ceiling of the room. Do your best to dodge his attacks and defeat him. If you’re getting stuck, we recommend that you pick up a skill gem like Caustic Arrow that does damage over time, allowing you to slowly kill him while you focus on kiting his damaging abilities.
After kicking Brutus to the curb, follow the path behind his arena to the Prisoner’s Gate, and grab the waypoint. Before getting started on the Prisoner’s Gate, head back to Lioneye’s Watch and turn in your quests for their rewards. The quest reward for slaying Brutus often includes movement skills that can give you character a lot of mobility and save you a tonne of time. So, pick up a movement skill if you’re able to!
Note: At this point, most characters can also pick up a totem skill, which is useful to give you a little added damage or a bit of extra situational safety.
After wrapping up your dealings with the NPC’s at Lioneye’s Watch, take the waypoint you back to the Prisoner’s Gate. Run up the road and if the road goes from the bottom left up to the right, go to the right to find a break in the cliff-ridges. Alternatively, if the road goes from the bottom right to the top left, go to the bottom left. One you’ve found the break in the ridges, follow it until you hit the exit to the Ship Graveyard. This area will also have quite a few magic mobs, so if you’re more than 3 levels behind the zone’s level – farm up a little while you run.
The Ship Graveyard
The Ship Graveyard can be pretty confusing for most people. Luckily, there’s a handful of great tips to keep yourself headed in the right direction.
As you push through the Ship Graveyard, you’ll want to eventually speak to Fairgraves, who will set you on a quest to find the Allflame. In most instances of this zone, you’ll often find him relatively close to the waypoint.
We recommend to run through the area to find the Ship Graveyard Cave (the entrance will be in the middle of a sunken ship) and leave a portal there before running to find exit to the Cavern Of Wrath and picking up the waypoint there. Once you’ve got the waypoint, use the character screen trick to go back to Lioneye’s Watch and take the teleport to the Ship Graveyard Cave entrance. Rush through the Ship Graveyard Cave and kill the elite mob at the end to pick up the Allflame.
Use the character screen trick again to take the waypoint to the start of the area and hand in the Marooned Mariner quest to Fairgraves and fight him. Once he’s dead – head back to Lioneye’s Watch and talk to Bestel to receive another Book of Skill (+1 passive skill points). Then, take the waypoint to the Cavern Of Wrath.
The Cavern of Wrath
The Cavern of Wrath is a straightforward path in every instance. If you start from the bottom, head up, and if you start from the top head down. It won’t take long to determine which way to go, and in a short amount of time, you’ll reach the end of the line and enter the Cavern of Anger. Don’t forget to kill magic and elite monsters along the way for some added experience.
The Cavern of Anger
The Cavern of Anger is another semi-linear path. To ensure you’re headed in the correct direction, keep your eyes peeled for piles of gold; these are a sign that you’re following the right path. Not much is wroth killing here – just run through to the end of the zone to find an entrance to Merveil’s Lair.
Finally, you’ve made it to the end of Path of Exile Act 1! Fighting Merveil is the final challenge of the first act, and the completion for the last quest – The Siren’s Cadence. If you’re a newer player, keep in mind that she can be a bit tricky.
Merveil primarily uses cold skills like Ice Storm, Ice Bolts, while also summoning animated weapons that use Cyclone and statues to help her fight. In order to keep yourself safe, try picking up some cold resistance armor along the way. To fight her, try to dodge her projectiles and kill the minions she spawns to keep your flasks full.
Once she’s dead, you can peel back the curtains behind her pedestal to reveal the exit to the Southern Forest, the start of Act 2 in Path of Exile.
Path of Exile Act 1 Side Quests:
The town’s wounded need help – you’ll need to retrieve the Medicine Chest from Hailrake, who resides on the Tidal Island.
Quest Giver: Nessa at Lioneye’s Watch.
Notable Rewards: Quicksilver Flask & access to Support Gems.
A Dirty Job
Kill off all monsters inside of the Fetid Pool area.
Quest Giver: Tarkleigh at Lioneye’s Watch, alternatively triggered when you enter the Fetid Pool for the first time.
Notable Rewards: Book of Regrets.
The Dweller Of The Deep (Skill Point)
Kill the giant crab (Dweller Of The Deep) that resides in the depths of the Submerged Passage in Act 1.
Quest Giver: Tarkleigh at Lioneye’s Watch.
Notable Rewards: Book of Skill.
The Marooned Mariner (Skill Point)
Find the mythical Allfrlame, deliver it to Captain Fairgraves and then kill him once he turns on you.
Quest Giver: Captain Fairgraves at The Ship Graveyard, handed in to Bestel at Lioneye’s Watch.
Notable Rewards: Book of Skill.
Helpful Tips For Clearing Path of Exile Act 1
If you’re short on portal scrolls – you can exit to character screen and then log in again with the character to be teleported back to town. Keep in mind that this doesn’t reset your existing portals, making it a great way to speed up the efficiency of your leveling.
It’s totally fine to be a bit underleveled, given that you’re still doing decent damage to the enemy mobs and bosses. When we level new characters, we generally end up being 2-3 levels under the area level at most times.
Stacking 2-3 Quicksilver Flasks is a fantastic way to really speed up your leveling process. You can pick up a few via the public trade forums really cheap, or run two more characters through the Mercy Mission quest and throw the flasks into your stash.
If you want an insane leveling unique straight from the first few minutes of Path of Exile Act 1, it might be worthwhile to try and spawn Uber Hillock while clearing the Twilight Strand and kill him for a chance of droping the Oni-Goroshi unique charan’s sword. It’s a crazy 6-link item that you can use well into the end-game as an incredibly solid build to start off the Delve League. However, despite it being one of the most powerful uniques for league start, and the fact that it drops right in Path of Exile Act 1, it can take several hours to farm up. On average, most players are spending up to 6 hours farming it, given that they’re doing so efficiently. However, it’s well worth it!
If you’ve stuck with us up until this point in the guide, you’re now armed with all the knowledge, tips and tricks to rival the best speed-runners in Path of Exile. Following the above guide, you should be able to run through the first act in under 15 minutes consistently and get your characters into Act 2 in the blink of an eye.
With that, do you have any tips for clearing Path of Exile Act 1 quickly that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!