How does loot work?

So I have been playing Path of Exile on and off for a while and have a Witch in the 'Normal ' league at about lv16, just got to Act2.

My expectation is that loot will drop which will be useful to my character. However I'm finding that most loot drops are grey, in fact, pretty much all loot is grey. If I kill a special mob sometimes I might get 2 blues, and a boss often drops a yellow.

Is there a trick to finding useful magical loot? Or do you simply find higher level grey loot and use the various gems, orbs and stones to upgrade it?

I'm confused by the loot system. Should I be running a full set of magic find gear, or similar stat? Should I just hoard stones and orbs to upgrade my existing gear? Should I even be bothered by loot at lower level? Or is this loot model a by-product of my being in the 'normal' league?

• I'm at 80+ lvl duelist but I don't get quality loot often. It is mostly because I don't have many items with Increased Item Rarity modifier. If you want better loot you should buy or craft items with IIR and wear them when you kill monsters. – piotrekkr Mar 12 '14 at 15:48

The loot system of Path of Exile is not bound at all to your character.

This is due to the fact that, technically seen, all characters can do everything, only depending on how you spend your skill points. The only real differences between character classes are starting point in the skill map, starting stats, and quest rewards.

Since the game can not possibly know how you want to play or develop the character, dropping loot for the character would be pointless.

The loot in Path of Exile might seem disappointing at first when coming from other RPGs, but in fact it is just different. Your main priority should be collecting the so called 'currency' items, like stones, orbs, shards, etc. If you don't get fitting drops for your character, you will have to take a cheap item and upgrade it to your needs.

For example, you could get a white lvl 16 weapon drop, and instantly make it a rare (yellow) weapon by applying an Orb of Alchemy. This way you can gear up much more targeted than waiting for fitting drops.

On the other hand, spending currency items at low levels is mostly wasted in softcore, as you will still level up fast and make you current gear useless in the near future.

The only real way to improve the loot you find is by modifiers on your gear, some can apply bonuses for loot quality.

• Right. So you just need to get used to crappy loot :) – David Yell Mar 12 '14 at 11:33
• @DavidYell As you progress, you'll find that some "crappy" white drops can actually be exceptionally good, simply by virtue of the number of linked sockets. A 5L or 6L white item is generally better than a 3L, even if the 3L has great stats. – Beofett Mar 12 '14 at 14:16