Blog entry by Claus Oliver
Path of Exile’s active and passive skill systems are two of the more unique aspects of the game. Abilities are gained by making choices as you advance through a skill tree. Path of Exile takes a very different approach. A character gains access to skills by socketing active skill gems into weapons and armor. Active skills can be modified by linking them to support gems.
Gems are not hard to come by. They’re dropped by monsters, given as quest rewards, and sold by vendors in quest hubs. Don’t fret over which one to choose from those offered for completing a quest because all the others can be purchased from the local gem vendor after the quest is completed.
When you start the game, the problem isn’t finding gems, it’s trying to decide which ones to use from the many available options. Gems can be removed from one item and placed in another without cost. Experiment with different skill and support gem combinations until you find ones that suit your play style.
In most cases, three requirements must be met before a gem can be used. First, gems and sockets are color-coded and a gem can only be placed in a socket of the same color. Next, a character’s level must equal or exceed the gem’s level. Finally, the gem and socket colors align with the three attributes that define PoE’s character classes: red for strength, green for Dexterity, and blue for Intelligence. Most gems have attribute levels that must also be met.
Gems level up and become more powerful as your character levels. A gem’s level and attribute requirements also arise when a gem levels. This can create a problem if you’re using gems from an attribute class that isn’t one of the attributes that define your character class. The gem’s attribute requirement can rise above the character’s attribute level rendering the gem unusable.
There’s an easy way to prevent this from happening. Gems auto-level by default. You can turn auto-leveling off by clicking on the gem and toggling Auto-level to Manual. If an item holds more than one gem, setting one to Manual doesn’t affect the others.
Active skills use Mana, and they can be used whether they’re socketed in weapons or armor. Skills can be mapped to the diamond buttons on a console controller by clicking the right stick when you’re not in your inventory.
When we enter the Path of Exile, we can use the Poe currency guide to strengthen our skill gems. If you do not have enough Poe currency, you can choose to buy Poe currency online.