My challenge guides: 12, 24 and 36 challenges in Delirium

First, the Youtube vids:

If anyone wants my notes in spreadsheet form, they are here (this is a Libre Office ods format, Microsoft Excel will open this, although it’s more written for me than to be easily understood):

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My Atlas guide – 3.10

First the video version. If you view it on the Youtube site, the video description (typed below, but also on Youtube) has hyperlinks to each part of the video.

Step 0: After killing Kitava in A10, talk to Kirac in Oriath and run his fetch quests.

Step 1: Just explore.

Run a few different maps. Kill monsters. Steal their loot. Pay attention to how you can craft maps – a transmute adds about 35% more loot to a map, an alch about 95% more.

– Completion, Bonus Objective: Just killing a boss ‘completes’ a map, making it easier for that map to drop again in future. Completing a new map at a certain minimum difficulty will permanently improve your map drops, increasing their tier by an average of 0.01. This will be magic (blue, i.e. transmuted, or higher) on all maps you can see now. Later you’ll encounter maps where this requires rare maps or even corrupted rare maps.

– Later you’ll get a chance to get more bonuses by running higher tier maps.

Step 2: 5:45 You want to expand to higher tier maps.

For this you need watchtowers and watchstones.

– Watchtowers: Found after your first tier 3+ boss kill in each octant

– Watchstones: Found after killing Conquerors of the Atlas. Focus on the eight Watchtowers first. If you incidentally happen to kill a Conqueror and get a Watchstone, great! You’ve got a headstart on part 3. Zana’s missions will help you progress here, as will any source of ‘random’ maps that will give you maps in unexplored parts of your atlas.

Step 3: 10:41 First 4 Watchstones

– Maps exist at (up to) 5 different tiers. e.g. Beach is tier 1, 4, 8, 10 or 14 depending upon the version you get. Watchstones influence this version.

– Watchstones require you to kill Conquerors at certain minimum map tiers.

– First 4 can be done at low tiers but ONLY in outer octants.

– To spawn a Conqueror, just run maps in that octant. The Conqueror will taunt you and their minions will attack you (first one will always be Baran) – First round you will get taunts on your first 3 maps. After this you’ll get an interface that lets you plan for taunts (you’ll see it soon) – Inner octants need Watchstones socketed.

– When you get your first Watchstone, more info will show up on your Atlas.


– Once you have all 4 your Awakening Level will increase. This gives small bonuses on killing map bosses.

Step 4: 19:23 First 20 Watchsontes

– Check the storage grid for each octant to see how many watchstones must be socketed in a region to spawn Conquerors there. Eventually this will go up to 4 in all octants.

– At any given point in progression, the only maps that can drop are as follows – maps can only drop at their current Watchstone level, and only maps you’ve completed on your Atlas can drop

– OR maps adjacent to the map you are in.

– However, you don’t need to have completed the map at the current Watchstone level.

– Take Fungal Hollow in Glennach Cairns. With no Watchstones socketed in the octant, it’s tier 2 and competes with your other tier 2s to drop – but it can’t drop unless you’ve done it, or you are currently in an adjacent map.

– But with one Watchstone, the 0-Watchstone version can’t drop, and the 1-stone version (tier 5) now fights for your Tier 5 drops.

– You can’t get a 1-Watchstone Fungal Hollow (should you desire it to spawn a Conqueror there) unless the drop source can drop tier 5 maps. Importantly, you’ll want to run tier 4+ maps to get it.

– This means the best way to progress is to first put one Watchstone in each inner octant. Then spawn a Conqueror in each and kill it. (8 watchstones)

– Then put a second Watchstone in each inner octant. Spawn a new tier of Conquerors and kill them. (12)

– Now put a third Watchstone in each, and spawn one more round (16)

– Finally, put a fourth in each, and spawn the final round in each inner octant. You are now at 20, and you’ll get a chance to fight Sirus, the boss of the Conquerors. Don’t worry if he kicks your ass the first time. You’ll be able to get revenge. Chaos resist helps here.

Step 5: 32:50 All 32 and Awakening Level

– This will be a ‘whole of league’ goal for most folks. No shame in taking weeks here.

– Move to the outer octants and bring them straight up to 4 watchstone level. 9 maps per spawn, and you get to fight the conquerors there as well.

– Each round, you will get one more shot at Sirus. You can choose your Awakening Level each fight – 8 for max loot, 0 for the easiest fight (he’s still not trivial at 0).

– You will also make progress on the Awakening Bonus objectives.

Step 6: 34:32 Sirus cycles

– You’ve now completed the core of the Atlas.

– You can continue spawning the Conquerors. Sirus will become available once per cycle.

– Or you can do other things – Shaper or Elder or Uber Elder, Niko’s mine, or more.

The New Changes: Preferred Map System

– Once you complete every map in a region, you can tell the game to ‘bias’ map drops toward your favorite map in that region.

– Completing all maps in a region lets you pick one map to make it ten times as likely to drop.

– Completing all Atlas bonus objective lets you pick a second, all Awakener bonuses a third.

– These stack additively.

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Map Mods and the Shaper Guardians

Phoenix. Chimera. Minotaur. Hydra.

These are the hardest bosses that are affected by map mods in Path of Exile. Here’s my thoughts on which mods are the scariest on each of them.

The spreadsheet can be downloaded here:

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Legion Challenge Video Guides and Spreadsheet

As per a few requests on Youtube, here’s my challenge spreadsheet

The video guides:

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Legion Atlas Thoughts

The 3.7 Atlas. Thanks to the following people for labelling it: Vocandin, Empyrian, Redsameri, Chilly, Hobbitcraftlol, Dampin, Stubbs. Click to make full screen.

The Very Best Maps (subject to change if div cards move, or there are drop rate changes)

All natural 16s (I expect Shaper fragments to be valuable with the necklace being made more rare)


15 – Desert Spring (for absolute monster count – high count = better returns and more XP).

15 – Summit (balance of smooth layout and high monster count, boss is a killer though.

13 – Shrine, 11 – Precinct and 12 – Lava Lake (div card and map returns).

13 – Tower (div card)

11 – Crimson Temple (div card, if Headhunter was made much rarer The Life Thief may be the best source of Soul Eater. Have not personally seen this card drop so may be wrongly attributing it to this map)


10 – Bazaar, 9 – Arsenal. Each has good monster count, each has a good div card.

7 – Spider Forest. Premium div card.


4 – Crater

Initial thoughts:

Currency/Loot optimized: Complete all 1-8. 9 – Arsenal. 10 – Bazaar. 11-12 all. 13 – Tower. 14 – nil. 15 – All. 16 – All.

Run Towers where possible. When out of Towers (may happen at times), take your Arsenals and Bazaars and run them with Zana’s +5 tiers to a map.

This will require considerable atlas respeccing.

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My Cold DoT Occultist build

Been having a lot of fun with this one even though it wasn’t intended to be my whole of league build.

The video version

And some gameplay footage:

Here’s the Path of Building code for those of you that are familiar with that program:


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Path of Exile – My Synthesis Early Atlas Strategy

First the video version:

This isn’t a plan for a farming atlas. This is about the journey from a blank atlas, to having around 120/159 Atlas completion bonus.

The key summary:

  • Always run your highest tier map (unless you can’t beat them).
  • Use alchemy orbs on maps. If you run out vendor bad uniques and/or run Delves. Delves drop heaps of alchs.
  • If you want a Tabula, farm Humility div cards in Channel map (T3). Do this by completing Strand as your only tier 2, then Channel, then just farm more Channels. If you run out and are capable of doing so, run an Atziri (her trash mobs will drop a fuckload of Channels)
  • Have a razor focus on getting to Zana’s “Alternate of the Same Tier” mod. Use it liberally when repeating maps.
  • Focus next on completing a tier 10 Elder influenced map to unlock “Shape a tier 1-5 map”.
  • Run tier 5 maps with this +5 tiers effect. Sell many/most of your map drops.
  • Push toward red maps and a tier 15 Elder influenced map to unlock the higher tier Zana shape mod
  • Do one Guardian. Not Minotaur, do one of the others.
  • Farm tier 10 maps with +5 tiers. Sell your tier 16 drops.

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Path of Exile – My Synthesis league start plans

Less than twelve hours to go.

If you’ve watched any of my Youtbue videos on currency generation at league start you will know I am a huge believer that the actual beginning of a league is an incredible opportunity.

The opportunity is too great for me to pass it up.

So I’m aiming for maps within 6-7 hours. This is not even close to a world record time – there will be at least a hundred in maps within 4 hours. But it’s what I can achieve.

This guide has been inspired by many videos produced by talented racers – Kammell, Zizaran and many more.

I’ll league start as a Cold Damage Over Time Occultist. Later I will transition into a Hand of Wisdom and Action Molten Strike Occultist.

Here’s my key milestones:


  • Beers in the fridge. (This part is important).
  • Build outline done
  • Atlas plans made
  • The three S’s: Shower. Shave. Shit.
  • LOOT FILTER. This is to be done during the patching.
  • Check, double check, triple check the time league starts
  • Snacks. Start with carb light ones (cold meat, etc). Carby stuff should wait.
  • Double check the beer situation.
  • Decide upon the silly stuff. What MTX am I using (Sin set with the wings, Crucible weapon, the most flashy and ugly Heralds possible)
  • Get Baby Shark out of your head
  • Triple check the beer.

Act 1

  • Create a Scion. Get Onslaught Support. Kill Hillock, check vendor for BGG, BBG weapons and for 10% speed boots. Exit to character. DO NOT FUCK UP and alt-F4 or exit to login. That results in another queue.
  • Create a Witch
  • Kill Hillock, rush Mud Flats. Complete mandatory quest there. WP back to the Tidal Island. Kill Hailrake. TP (don’t log due to queue). Quicksilver – transmute/augment it.
  • FROST BOMB. Frost Bomb – Onslaught – X
  • Straight to Ledge (skip passive quest until A2).
  • ONLY KILL BLUE PACKS and shit that is in the way, or to recharge zoom zoom flask.
  • Skip Prison trial unless in group
  • After Brutus dies loot then TP (don’t log). Added Cold or Added Lightning as appropriate to gem colours.
  • Wear a dex ammy if available (deviate for good items)
  • No chest armor for the moment (due to move speed penalty of 3-6%). Alter if dying.
  • Do Fairgraves ASAP, skip turnin until Cavern WP. Then FLAME DASH and BUY STORM BRAND.
  • Ignore cold res, just dodge Merveil’s casts

Act 2

  • Do the Den. It sucked once, it now has a guaranteed zoom zoom flask that’s high enough level to roll Adrenaline
  • Kill Kraityn
  • Do Chamber of Sins trial
  • Kill Fidelitus
  • Riverways – follow road, flame dash over rivers. Get WP.
  • Kill Oak, get WP, WP to Riverways. HELP ALIRA. Emblem. Spider. A1 skillpoint crab.
  • Look for 3L BBB – Flame Dash, Arcane Surge, Faster Casting
  • Crypt trial (skip the stupid quest, even if it is a challenge)
  • BRAND RECALL (Yeena)
  • Zoom zoom to Vaal Oversoul
  • Celebratory Toucan in global

Act 3

  • Crematorium + trial
  • Sewers – usually 1 bust before WP but sometimes two. After WP, depth-first search following right wall to find 2nd bust.
  • Do trial in Mausoleum
  • WP + Spool in Battle, then Solaris, WP back then docks
  • Sulphite all that’s needed there (WP not needed now)
  • TP then WP to Dialla, then WP to Sewers.
  • CHECK FIRE RES. If low play careful on Gravy
  • CHECK COLD RES. If low, play careful on Piety
  • Imperial Gardens – Trial
  • Dominus (check lightning res) then Aqueduct then Dried Lake then A1 trial
  • Note – Can’t get Haste on a Witch. If partied get friends to get it. If solo just use Malediction (should be able to get this). Failing that Hatred

Normal Lab

Act 4

  • Already done Dried Lake
  • Stoned Golem. Stupid OP at this level
  • Rush to Deshret then to Veins WP
  • Kaom – check fire res
  • Daresso
  • Piety. CHECK BLEED FLASK. Play careful if you don’t have one
  • Malachai

Act 5

  • Whole act quite linear. Check lightning res for Innocence.
  • Look for BBBB 4 link x2.

Act 6

  • HASTE. EFFICACY (for 3L Vortex, now BBBB).
  • Storm Brand no longer a major damage source
  • If fire under 60 be CAREFUL in mud flats
  • Prison – TRIAL
  • Do Aberrath and Ryslatha on curve. Aberrath rippy AF.
  • If cold/elec under 60 be CAREFUL on Brine

Act 7

  • Crypt first. TRIAL in top level. MAP in bottom.
  • Chamber of Sins – TRIAL
  • Ralakesh. No bleed flask = OUCH
  • Fireflies, Gruthkul (no Granite = OUCH)
  • QUEST (locket/star/whatever it is)
  • Rest straightforward

Act 8

  • Doedre hardest boss yet.
  • EAST
  • Docks – depth first search staying RIGHT
  • Grain Gate – enter doors with corpses marking them
  • Solaris – turn RIGHT
  • Cross Harbor Bridge to Lunaris Concourse
  • Loony Temple
  • Yugul
  • Bath trial
  • Finish

Act 9

  • Desert has a quest
  • Foothills WP, Boulderback
  • Quarry WP (trial in mines)

Cruel Lab

Act 9 again

  • Foothills WP to Basilisk
  • Town, get access to Oasis
  • Oasis, scorpion god
  • Quarry – that Factory map zone
  • God from Quarry (the Darude – Sandstorm god)
  • Enter Beast

Act 10

  • Straightforward enough
  • SC and undergeared? Death rush Kitava if needed, reward is worth it
  • Skip Merc Lab unless in a serious party with someone who gets the world from it

Early Maps – If Offense Lacking

  • Skip if damage output feels fine
  • Do T1s until you have Strand. Do no other T2s
  • Do Strand ASAP
  • Run T1s and Strands until you have at least one Channel.
  • Alch and go Channel to farm Tabula cards
  • Alch and go Strands when out of Channels.
  • If feeling strong and out of channels, run one Atziri
  • Upon completing Tabby, add Hypothermia – Swift Affliction to main setup

Maps – If Offense Fine

  • Always run your HIGHEST map. Don’t worry about holes. Work UPWARD.
  • Prioritize Zana chain
  • Once alternate of same tier unlocked use it on any map you are repeating
  • Once Shape T1-5 unlocked AND a T11 map complete, spam T5s with it. Sell high tier maps at exhorbitant prices.
  • Once character stronger, push red maps and unlock Shape T6-10 and do one T16.
  • Spam T10s with +5, sell T13-16 natural maps at exhorbitant prices.
  • Sell high ilvl Vaal Regalias early (keep one for self)
  • Fit in Merc Lab when it feels right. You want to do it pretty fast.
  • Level a Discipline
  • Do Eternal Lab

Delve Strategy

  • Get into mines reasonably early but not until map pandemonium ends
  • Azurite key early. Need all upgrades. Flare radius and sulphite cap first. Don’t worry about dankness farming at first.
  • Will need to do a number of sub-map tier delves for Azurite. Do this while under level 80.

Eternal Lab Trials Cheatsheet

Top line: Piercing Truth, Burning Rage

Middle: Swirling Fear, Lingering Pain

Bottom: Crippling Grief, Stinging Doubt

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Path of Exile – An Introduction

I’ve become hooked on Path of Exile again.

Path of Exile is produced by Grinding Gear Games, once a tiny indie game studio and now a medium size NZ game studio. It is in many ways the spiritual successor to Diablo and Diablo 2, featuring similar action RPG gameplay and an immense degree of character customisation.

The game attracted my interest by being the first “Free-to-play” game I had seen that wasn’t a pay-to-cheat shitheap. And the developers have kept it this way through over five years. The game sells storage space which is the only gameplay relevant cash shop item, but mostly is funded by sales of cosmetics.

There are no ‘cheat codes’ for sale in the form of XP boosters, game currency, consumables or items, and all of the game’s content can be accessed by free players at the same pace a paying player would experience it. The game sells cosmetics, in-game storage space, and very expensive (but cool) IRL swag like t-shirts and hoodies.

At the highest pricepoints the game sells the ability to leave a slight mark on the game through designing unique items, divination cards and other things, as well as developer-signed IRL swag.

I made a video on the Path of Exile business model and making the case that it is not a pay-to-cheat game, that can be found here:

I plan to produce a number of videos and guides aimed at players from newbie to veteran. I’ll use the following terms throughout:

Beginner: A player that has not yet completed the Normal Labyrinth. Beginners will often have major misconceptions about the game, may not yet understand even the basics of the Ascendancy system, the Passive Skilltree or the support gem system.

Novice: A player who has completed the Normal Labyrinth, but has not completed Act 10. A novice should understand the basics of Ascendancies, the passive tree and support gems, and will be starting to develop a basic idea of which currency items are common enough to use frivolously and which ones are precious. However, a novice will not understand the intricacies of those systems.

Early Endgamer: Upon completing Act 10, a whole new world becomes available to players. An early endgamer is exploring this new world. You graduate past this step when you feel confident that you can comfortably and easily beat all yellow maps, plus the Eternal Labyrinth.

Veteran: Once you pass the Early Endgamer stage, you are One Of Us.

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I’m an Australian gamer in my 30s that got hooked on games as a young kid during the “Nintendo Hard” era – an era when game designers were unable to design long games for technical reasons, and so they made games tough to extend the time they would remain engaging.

I loved that era of games.

Games that tested you, that made you fight to progress.

As a kid and teenager, my favorite games were the original Super Mario Bros, Bubble Bobble and Tetris from the NES era, and Secret of Mana, Super Metroid and Final Fantasy 6 from the SNES era. Honorable mentions to Ninja Gaiden 1 and 2, and Super Castlevania 4.

During this era I also played Magic: The Gathering, mostly competitively at low level tournaments. I still play MTG and occasionally write about it at

After the SNES era wound down, I switched to PC gaming and loved Diablo and Diablo 2, Dungeons and Dragons Online (before it became the pay-to-cheat cash shop grindfest it is today), EVE Online and now I’m consumed by Path of Exile.

I’m also a prolific Reddit shitposter (with the same screenname there, /u/sirgog) who works full time in aviation, dealing with aircraft technical records and in teams handling end-of-lease transitions for jet aircraft.

Games are not my job, and I’m no web professional. This page is amateur, and it will look amateur. It’s done in WordPress after all.


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