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Path of Exile Game Mechanics | Instances and Party Scaling

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 3

Path of Exile is a free to play action RPG with some amazing mechanics. The depth of PoE is really setting it apart from other games in the genre like Torchlight and Diablo 3; where many people are finding the experience to be fun but shallow. In this article I take a look at the game's mechanics for instances and for levelling.

Path of Exile Game Mechanics

Instances in Path of Exile

Every area in Path of Exile is instanced. This means that what you see of the same area is separate to what most other players see - unless you are in one of the town hubs or with a party. The only other exception to this rule is in special league modes like Cutthroat league where anyone can enter any instance in order to kill other players. In the normal game modes, however, you are never going to see other players in your private instances unless you invite them to a party or if they have recently been in your party.

Instance Map Resets | Why is My Portal Dissappearing?

In order to conserve server resources the game limits the amount of time inactive instances can remain open. This can range from 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the area. If you find your town portals dissappearing while you are shopping or doing something else then the instance may have closed. The only thing you can do is to re-enter that zone to create a new instance. The map will be randomly generated again and you will have to clear out any mobs that have respawned - including bosses. If you want to preserve and instance then the only way to do so currently is to kill all of the mobs in an area and to remain in the instance - it will not close if you are there.

The Instance Manager

The Instance Manager in Path of Exile
The waypoint manager also doubles as an instance manager, allowing you to either select an old instance or to create a new instance of any particular area that contains a waypoint. To open the instance manager simply go to the waypoint in town and ctrl+click the waypoint for the map you want to see the instance manager. Al list will appear that shows all available instances for that map (could be none) and it also contains the option to create a new instance. This is useful if you want to repeatedly clear an area but do not want to have to wait around for the instance to close.

Co-op Party Scaling in Path of Exile

Whenever you are in a party of two or more people in PoE (the maximum party is six) then the game scales it's difficulty and rewards to better match your party.

Monster Life Scaling | How Much HP do Mobs Gain in a Party?

The calculation for monster life scaling in PoE is pretty simple. For every extra party member in a party the monsters in an instance gain 50% of their base life pool. This means that a party of three will face double life monsters and a party os six will face triple life monsters.


Experience Scaling | Do You Get More or Less Experience in a Party?

Experience scaling in PoE is a little bit complex. Per extra player in an instance mobs pay out 50% more experience from their base. Then, each player gets a 30% bonus if they are in the vicinity of mobs as they are killed. The end result for a two man party is that each player receives 2.5% less xp than they would solo. 

This may seem like a bad thing but you should be able to kill monsters a lot more quickly in a party. Improved efficiency means more overall experience in the same amount of time, even with the decrease in pay out.

Loot Scaling | Do You Get More Loot in a Party?

The short answer to this is; yes! You get a lot more loot playing in a party, however you must also share (or fight over) the loot with your party. The calculation is quite simple in this case, each additional party member causes a 50% increase in the amount of loot dropped. Prepare to see some epic loot explosions on boss deaths. 

What About Item Rarity in a Party?

Item rarity doesn't scale but it is affected by party mechanics. The item rarity stat of the person who deals the killing blow is the one that is used. This means that you should have the person with the highest rarity stat deal the killing blow to bosses to get the best loot rewards. This can lead to some tense moments in game with interesting strategies, for example having one weaker party member who is stacked full of item rarity stat gear.

Flask Charge Scaling | How do Flasks Work in a Party in PoE?

Flask Party Scaling in Path of Exile
Unbeknown to many, flasks also scale in party play in Path of Exile. What scales is the amount of charges gained whenever you kill a mob. The amount of charges gained is increased by 75% per additional player. However, only the person who kills each mob gains charges, so it can be helpful to share around the killing a bit to make sure everyone is keeping their flasks full.

So, is it Worth Playing in a Party?

If you can find a good co-operative party then the answer is a resounding yes. However, the benefit is not that high that you absolutely must play in a party to do well. In the end it comes down to which you find more fun, and the scaling system makes both solo and party play perfectly viable.

Both of these mechanics are an excellent starting point for understanding how to play Path of Exile with your friends. Having a good knowledge of instances can help you farm with a party while knowing the rewards and challenges can help you decide if it is right for you. If you have a request for any future articles or videos then feel free to send me a message on YouTube via my channel ZiggyDStarcraft. Or you can leave a comment here!



Aug 1, 2012 2:14am
Great article! Really enjoyed it.
Aug 23, 2012 1:20pm
Great article. I did not get on with Diablo 3 but I am going to be heading back into World of Warcraft before the next expansion.

This might be an alternative
Aug 24, 2012 1:37am
This will be free to play in a couple of months as well ;)

It's currently in closed beta but you can get early access by donating $10 to the devs (you also get some points for the store).
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