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Path of Exile Beginner's Guide to Orbs

Path of Exile Beginner's Guide to Orbs

Find out how to properly use your Orbs in PoE. Know the value of your Exalted Orbs and never again let yourself get tricked into bad trades.

Path of Exile Beginner's Guide to Orbs

This Guide is about Path Of Exile Orbs in general. Pretty much everyone knows how they work, but knowing what to do with certain orbs or using the right is a much harder task. I won’t get into meta-crafting (although if you would like to learn about that let us know in comments below) but rather give tips to casual players to simply do it right. From my experience, most of the players that are still new to the game have no idea what to do with certain PoE Currency. With Path of Exile looting system it is highly unlikely, but possible, for low-level players to loot items like Exalted Orbs and ruin them by “upgrading” worthless equipment. Majority of those players unwittingly dispose of currency that would let them finish the story mode on Merciless difficulty and start mapping in PoE.

I will list all of the currency, and next to each add a short comment, and certain tips and tricks I have learned along the way on my Path of Exile adventure.

Please note: all the ratios mentioned in this Guide are based on current exchange rates for Legacy League Standard Orbs and may differ on other game Modes as well as they fluctuate over time.


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Scroll of Wisdom

Most players at some point stop picking Scrolls up because there is just so many of them. However, if you are a casual player, I suggest collecting them anyway. Eventually, when you reach level 66-70 and want to buy your starting gear for low tier maps this can come in handy. If you have identified only items that you could have possibly used for your character, at that point you should have hundreds (if not thousands) of Scrolls. You can also trade around 300 Scrolls of Wisdom for 1 Chaos Orb.

What should beginners do with it?

Identify possible gear upgrades

Collect and trade them in big quantities for other Orbs

What else can beginners consider doing?
-
What do pros do?
Ignore them
Portal Scroll

Same as above. They are worth around 4 times more than Scrolls of Wisdom though, staying at around 80:1 exchange rate to Chaos Orbs. Cumulatively, if done right, you should be able to fill about 2-3 item slots at level 66 with a decent piece of equipment, just from the Scrolls.

What should beginners do with it?

Keep some of them to allow you porta back to Town

Collect and trade them in big quantities for other Orbs

What else can beginners consider doing?
-
What do pros do?
Ignore them
Armourer’s Scrap

This orb is used to improve the quality of an armor piece. I suggest not using it until late game.

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs, after all, they have a value on their own. You will get 1 Chaos Orb for about 160 Armourer’s Scraps

What else can beginners consider doing?

Upgrade your own gear, to increase armor/energy shield or evasion bonuses

Upgrade decent gear you find, that you want to sell for a better price

What do pros do?
Ignore them
Blacksmith’s Whetstone

This orb is used to improve the quality of a weapon. It has very similar usage as Armourer’s Scrap but additionally can come in handy when leveling new characters. You will squeeze out most of the value from this Orb by using the "Hammer Recipe"

What should beginners do with it?

Store them until you are able to loot low-level maps. It's most efficient to upgrade normal quality hammers ( Stone Hammer, Rock Breaker, Gavel ) with 4 Blacksmith's Whetstones, and vendor it with a random map (only normal low-level ones, you do not plan on running). You will be getting Cartographer's Chisel for every Hammer traded that way

What else can beginners consider doing?

Upgrade your own gear, to increase damage on weapons (only Physical and Elemental Damage, does not improve affixes values)

Upgrade decent gear you find, that you want to sell for a better price

Upgrade normal quality weapons when leveling new characters, which you will use to craft relatively high damage weapons.  Bows and Two-handed melee weapons are good examples. You can make a high damage blue (magic) weapon relatively cheap that will obliterate enemies at Normal difficulty

Trade them directly for Chaos Orbs. You should get 1 Chaos for around 70 Whetstones (Still, turning them into Chisels is much more rewarding)

What do pros do?
Ignore them
Orb of Augmentation

This Orb adds a new property (affix) to a magic quality item. This orb has several uses, although mainly related to the late game activity.

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get 1 Chaos Orb for around 55-60 Augmentation Orbs. This can also be traded with vendors and eventually get you Orb of Fusing. You will need 32 Orbs of Augmentation to get 1 Orb of Fusing. This is a rather negative ratio but is much faster and there is no limit to the vendor’s Orbs stock.

Use them to craft affixes on magic potions and possibly low-level blue maps

What else can beginners consider doing?

Use them to craft low-level high damage weapons for leveling. This is the only use for the Orbs of Augmentation I suggest doing before you reach the Merciless difficulty

What do pros do?
Use this Orb for Meta-Crafting. They will need hundreds of them for that purpose and that is just a small percentage of Orbs that are usually spent when crafting end-game gear
Orb of Transmutation

Used to improve normal item to a magic item. Has multiple uses, but rather irrelevant on low levels, except for maybe crafting a decent high damage magic weapons (bows, two-handed melee weapons). I suggest storing them until later on when you can vendor them for Orbs of Fusing, or eventually craft quality magic potions, low-level maps.

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get 1 Orb of Fusing for 128 Orbs of Transmutation from vendors. Yes, it sounds harsh, but you should have so many of them it will be nearly impossible to find a better use for them

What else can beginners consider doing?

Crafting high physical damage bows or two-handed melee weapons while leveling. You basically find the highest iLvl normal quality weapon you can get, improve its' quality with 4 Blacksmith Whetstones and hope for an increased physical damage % roll.

What do pros do?

They are used for meta-crafting. Each craft starts with Orb of Transmutation, and after you use Orb of Scouring on a failed craft.

Orb of Alteration

Changes affixes on a magic quality item. Vis-à-vis of the Chaos Orbs but for lower quality gear. This is the most popular low-level Orbs as has many usages both early game, and thousands of those are required to craft end-game gear. Because of its’ rather good value, and popularity, we suggest you only to use them when in Merciless difficulty.

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get 1 Chaos Orb for around 14 Orbs of Alteration

This can also be traded with vendors and get you 1 Orb of Fusing for 16 Orbs of Alteration.

Use them to reroll affixes on  magic potions and possibly low-level blue maps

What else can beginners consider doing?

Can be used to craft low-level high damage weapons for leveling. However, it is much more effective to simply purchase interesting gear for those Orbs

What do pros do?
This Orb is used for Meta-Crafting. They are used literally in thousands during any Meta-Crafting processes
Silver Coin

Used to get prophecies from Navali. I suggest collecting them on all difficulties and trade for other Orbs. Although if you are a gambler you might get some Prophecies on Merciless difficulty (but well, it's usually not worth it)

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get 1 Chaos Orb for around 11 Silver Coins

What else can beginners consider doing?

Gamble for expensive Prophecies for sale, and have a little bit of variation while clearing game content

What do pros do?

Either ignore them or buy prophecies for it

Chromatic  Orb

Used to change current colors of the sockets. A lot of those can be found during leveling and farming, from direct drops as well as from selling 3-linked R-G-B (red, green and blue sockets) items to vendors. Unless you play a very niche build you should have a lot of those lying around

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get 1 Chaos Orb for around 11 Chromatic Orbs

What else can beginners consider doing?

Use during leveling and when changing gear and gems to get the right socket colors

What do pros do?

Pretty much the same as everyone else. However, getting right socket colors on 6 linked items for certain builds can get very expensive. Some might skip them in order to clear content faster, hence getting to loot more valuable items

Glassblower's Bauble

Used to improve the quality of a flask. It's advised to only upgrade the "final" flasks for your build and simply sell the rest.

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get 1 Chaos Orb for around 14 Glassblower's Bauble

What else can beginners consider doing?

Use to get 20 quality of your flasks. It's advised to only upgrade flasks you use for mapping and end-game content. It's a waste to do that while leveling

What do pros do?

Ignore them, unless they need their own potions upgraded

Orb of Alchemy

Used to transmute a Normal quality item into a rare quality item. I suggest only buying gear for this Orb while leveling, and later on, use them to create mid and high tier rare maps. Can be also used to improve the quality of strong boxes in higher level areas.

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get 1 Chaos Orb for around 4 Orbs of  Alchemy

Buy cheap leveling gear and gems (preferably with some quality points already)

What else can beginners consider doing?

Upgrade certain strongboxes to rare quality. For example, upgrading Arcanist's, Jeweller's or Gemcutter's Strongboxes might be rewarding

What do pros do?

Upgrade mid and high-tier maps to rare quality

Upgrade Strongboxes

Orb of Chance

Used to transmute a Normal quality item into a Random quality item. I suggest only buying gear for this Orb while leveling (a lot of pieces of leveling unique gear can be purchased for 1 Orb of Chance), and when you are mapping you can also try to use this Orb to get Skyforth Boots. It's a very expensive item (price is over 30 Exalted Orbs on Softcore League) and if you are lucky enough to roll a unique while using this Orb on Chance on Sorcerer's Boots (which have an item level of minimum 67) you are guaranteed to get Skyforth Boots. Obviously, you sell the Boots and get gear suitable for you.

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get 1 Chaos Orb for around 6 Orbs of  Chance

Buy cheap leveling gear and gems (preferably with some quality points already)

What else can beginners consider doing?

-

What pros (or simply high-level players) do?

Gamble for the Skyforth boots, or people with level 8 Zana, can try to get the Headhunter belt (on Nemesis modded maps)

Orb of Regret

Adds an extra passive respec point on use. You will usually need a bunch of them when you respec your leveling passives at a level around 65-68 (depending on your chosen build). Unless you want to play around with different builds later on you can save them, although they are rather valuable so I suggest picking one build that suits you, and after you are there just trade the rest of them.

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get 1 Chaos Orb for around 1 Orb of Regret

Respec leveling passives

What else can beginners consider doing?

-

What do pros do?

Alter their build for certain bosses or events

Use them to change their build completely (it IS expensive)

Jeweller's Orb

Changes the number of sockets on an item. During your leveling phase, I suggest storing those Orbs. It will be much cheaper to buy suitable 3 or 4-linked gear, than crafting it with Jeweller's Orbs and Orbs of Fusing

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get 1 Chaos Orb for around 12 Jeweller's Orbs

What else can beginners consider doing?

Craft 4 and 5 sockets on your gear

What do pros do?

Craft 6 sockets on gear (will usually consume over 100 Jeweler's Orbs in the process)

Orb of Fusing

Changes the number of links on an item. It's a rather expensive Orb, currently at around 1:3 exchange rate ratio to Chaos Orbs. My suggestion is to use them to buy properly linked gear until late game when you reach the mapping phase. When you get a hold of some valuable gear, you will have to craft the linked sockets on your own. You should keep in mind that the gear you craft should be worth more than average number of Orbs you will need to get it crafted, otherwise it's not worth it.

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get 1 Chaos Orb for around 3 Orbs of Fusing

Craft properly linked gear late game

What else can beginners consider doing?

-

What do pros do?

Craft 6 links on valuable  gear (will consume around 1000 Orbs of Fusing in the process, it is a complete gamble)

Chaos Orb

Reforges a rare item with new properties. It's a complete waste to reforge gear, so literally never do that unless you are rich and like to gamble (but well, casinos could be more fun I guess) It's the most commonly traded currency item in Path of Exile. My suggestion is to collect them until levels 64-68 when you finally want to gear up your character for mapping. Most decent gear at this phase will cost you 1-10 Chaos Orbs, and if you have managed your currency right, you should be able to easily complete your full gear set.

What should beginners do with it?

Buy proper gear, gems and jewels starting at around level 64

What else can beginners consider doing?

Nothing except for getting decent equipment

What do pros do?

Reroll high tier rare maps to get suitable affixes

Gemcutter's Prism

Improves the quality of a gem. Unless  you are starting your adventure on a new league, most of the gems with high quality will be cheaper than Gemcutter's Prisms required to improve its' quality to corresponding levels

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get 1 Chaos Orb for around 1 Gemutter's Prism

What else can beginners consider doing?

-

What do pros do?

Improve the quality of a level 20 high-quality gems (around 17-19%) in order to max it, and try to Vaal Orb the gem for a chance to even further increase its' quality or level

Orb of Scouring

Removes all properties from an item. Basically turns the item into a Normal quality item with no properties. However, sockets and links are not considered properties of an item so those will stay there untouched. There are not many uses for this Orb except for meta-crafting. Unless you feel like you will be eventually doing that, feel free to sell literally all of those

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get 1 Chaos Orb for around 2 Orbs of Scouring

What else can beginners consider doing?

-

What do pros do?

Remove properties from failed crafts, letting you restart the whole process from scratch

Regal Orb

Upgrades a magic item into a rare quality item. There are no efficient uses for this orb early game. It can be only used in meta-crafting. It might not be a bad idea also to craft rare jewels with this, as long as you happen to find a decent blue jewel with good affixes and want to try your luck to get something valuable (usually it won't be, but it's not the worst idea)  

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get 2 Chaos Orb for around 3 Regal Orbs

What else can beginners consider doing?

Craft a decent to valuable rare jewels (as long as you already have a proper blue magic jewel)

What do pros do?

Meta-crafting, where you regal a perfectly rolled blue into a rare, and Scour it right after. That's the harsh reality.

Vaal Orb

Corrupts an item. While able to completely ruin a valuable item, it possibly can give it very powerful properties. This Orb is mainly used to corrupt high tier maps to maximize their potential, and to corrupt the most expensive items for even more powerful results, being an extremely expensive gamble. There are certainly quite popular items you can Vaal, like Tabula Rasa and Drillneck. In most cases, Vaal Orb will not have a negative effect on the item at all, while giving you a slight chance to improve them greatly. Tabula Rasa will benefit from the +1 to socketed gem levels attribute, while Drillneck that can potentially increase the number of arrows by 1 is worth several Exalted Orbs. As it can increase level or quality of a gem it is also often used to corrupt level 20/quality 20 gems, as well as Enlighten or Empower Gems to level them up even further. Those take a very long time to level up, and those gems with level 4 are extremely valuable

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get 1 Chaos Orb for around 1 Vaal Orb (I suggest sticking to this option to all casual players)

What else can beginners consider doing?

Improve level and quality of gems beyond their maximum

What do pros do?

Craft high-tier maps with extremely rewarding properties

Craft metagame items, worth in some cases even hundreds of Exalted Orbs


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Blessed Orb

Not a very popular Orb because of its' very limited usage. It randomizes the numeric value of the implicit properties of an item.  Implicit properties are the ones that are on items no matter its' rarity - and are shown before the additional modifiers. One of the most common implicit modifiers is found on rings and amulets, for example, the "added physical damage" on Iron rings. Usually, the Blessed Orb will be only able to slightly modify an item. This makes the Orb somewhat irrelevant for casual players.  It's commonly used by high-level players to maximize the value of these modifiers on endgame items, but even then, usually a few of them is enough. Considering their drop rate, these Orbs are usually not worth much

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get 1 Chaos Orb for around 5 Blessed Orb, and I wouldn't suggest doing anything else with this Orb

What else can beginners consider doing?

Slightly improve endgame items by maximizing their implicit modifier value

What do pros do?

Slightly improve endgame items by maximizing their implicit modifier value

Cartographer's Chisel 

Used to improve map quality. Commonly used by high-level players to improve mid and high tier maps quality for more and better loot. There is a high demand for Cartographer's Chisels so it's rather easy to trade them, and not exactly worth it to be used by low-level players.

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get 1 Chaos Orb for around 2 Cartographer's Chisel

What else can beginners consider doing?

-

What do pros do?

Improve mid and high tier maps quality

Divine Orb

Randomizes the numeric value of a random property of an item. It is a rather expensive Orb Allowing you to trade it for 16 Chaos Orb each, which is what most of the players should do. High-level players can use it to increase values of properties on very good endgame items. This should be only considered doing on items which value exceed several Exalted Orbs

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get 16 Chaos Orb for  1 Divine Orb, or you can get an Exalted Orb for 6 of those.

What else can beginners consider doing?

-

What do pros do?

Improve endgame items by maximizing their properties values. This is extremely expensive, so should be done on appropriately expensive items

Exalted Orb

Adds a random property on a rare item. This Orb is very rare and valuable, but can basically drop to anyone no matter the level they are playing. It is advised to not use it on your own unless you know exactly what you are doing. I also suggest not using it on rares that even with perfect affixes added by the Exalted Orb will still not be worth over 10 Exalted Orbs. Supposedly, the majority of newbies and beginners find this Orb but rather than making help them reach higher levels and complete the campaign fast, they waste it on a random worthless piece of gear or trade with abusive players and get nothing in return

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for Chaos Orbs and get proper gear. You should get around 100 Chaos Orbs for 1 Exalted Orb

What else can beginners consider doing?

Buying higher quality gear

What do pros do?

Improve endgame items by adding additional properties. This is extremely expensive, so should be done only items that are already great, and still have a visible chance to improve 

Mirror of Kalandra

Creates a mirrored duplicate of a non-unique item or map. Most of the players will never have a chance to see this item in the game. However, it can drop to anyone, so if you are lucky enough, just don't waste it  :). Mirrors are worth roughly 160-180 Exalted Orbs, and you should only consider trading them for Exalted Orbs This will allow you got your dream gear for more than just 1 character.

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for Exalted Orbs. You should be able to get 160-190 Exalted Orbs for 1 Mirror

What else can beginners consider doing?

-

What do pros do?

Duplicate perfect gear that is worth more than Mirror itself for pure profit

New Orbs in Path of Exile 3.0 Patch

Ancient Orb
Ancient Orb

Ancient Orb reforges a unique item as another of the same item class. For example, a unique belt will become another unique belt and so on. This Orb cannot change the size of an item, which means a Tower Shield will not become a Buckler for example.

What should beginners do with it?

Sell them. They are relatively expensive, and getting profit from using them requires rather significant investments (and even then, it is extremely luck-reliant)

What else can beginners consider doing?

-

What do pros do?

Sell them. Some might try their luck to reforge a Headhunter belt or Tukohama's shield

Orb of Annulment
Orb of Annulment

Orb of Annulment removes a random property from a magic or rare item.

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for other Orbs. You can get approximately 5 Chaos Orbs for 1 Orb of Annulment

What else can beginners consider doing?

-

What do pros do?

Orbs of Annulment can be used in meta-crafting. This orb provides a cheaper alternative to Orbs of Scouring that can remove unsatisfactory affixes on the item.

Engineer's Orb
Engineer's Orb

Engineer's Orb increases the quality of a strongbox

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for Chaos Orbs. You should be able to 1 Chaos Orbs for 10 Engineer's Orbs

What else can beginners consider doing?

-

What do pros do?

Either sell them or upgrade strongboxes (that include for example Arcanist's Strongbox, Cartographer's Strongbox, Diviner's Strongbox and unique Strongboxes) in high-level areas

Orb of Horizons
Orb of Horizons

Reforges a map as another map of the same tier

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for Chaos Orbs. You should be able to get 1 Chaos Orbs for every 3 Orbs of Horizons

What else can beginners consider doing?

-

What do pros do?

Reforge high tier maps

Orb of Binding
Orb of Binding

Orb of Binding upgrades a normal item to a rare item with a maximum of 4 sockets. This is very similar to Orb of Alchemy that creates the additional sockets

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for Chaos Orbs. You should be able to get 1 Chaos Orb for 6 Orbs of Binding

What else can beginners consider doing?

Crafting 4-linked items during leveling phase is also worth considering, however using Essences to upgrade 3/4-linked normal items might be the much cheaper option

What do pros do?

Trade them for Chaos Orbs

Harbinger's Orb
Harbinger's Orb

Upgrades a map into a map of a higher tier

What should beginners do with it?

Trade them for Chaos Orbs. You should be able to get 8 Chaos Orb for each Harbinger's Orb

What else can beginners consider doing?

-

What do pros do?

Upgrade high tier maps


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I hope you liked this article, and thanks to it you can remove some of your bad habits when casually playing PoE :) Also if you are a more experienced player and have some other ideas and efficient usages for the Orbs above please let me know in comments.

Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Grinding Gear Games.