A Slaughter for Two (or Three, or Four...)
(If you prefer to play solo, or aren't concerned about forming a party right now, you can ignore this section. I've included it here because players playing with friends probably want to know how to party right out the gate.)
Unlike a lot of games, particularly MMOs, partying is not necessary in Path of Exile. It is entirely possible to complete all content solo, and many players (myself included) try to do so.
However, PoE does support partying if you so choose, in groups of up to 6.
Forming and Leaving a Party
You can form a party in one of two ways:
- Invite your friends directly, by typing /invite Their_Username_Here, or inviting them from the Friends tab on your Social pane (opened by pressing [s]).
- Form a Public Party, either through Notice Boards located in towns or through the Social pane. These parties will be displayed to other players of a similar level who look for one, allowing you to find strangers to play with.
You can leave a party via a button on your Social pane.
Previous ARPGs, particularly Diablo II, had issues with players spam-clicking drops to grab them before others could. In particular, this meant you had to stand right by bosses as they died to have any hope of a valuable drop.
Path of Exile solves this through an optional Loot Allocation system. Valuable items, including currency, items with many links, and Unique items, will be "Allocated" to a player, making only that player able to pick them up. Other players can still see what dropped; items allocated to another player will show up somewhat greyed out for you.
There are three options for allocation:
- Permanent: Items are allocated to a player until they leave the area. They can pick up and drop the item to clear the allocation, if another player wants it (they don't have to trade the item to another player manually).
- Short: Items are allocated to a player for 5 seconds, then become lootable by anyone. Prevents the spam-clicking problem while allowing players to loot items others don't want.
- Free-for-All: Allocation is disabled.
In a Map, any Map drops are always allocated to the player who opened the Map in the first place. The same is true for drops in unique areas like boss zones opened with special keys. This is so that someone spending (potentially substantial) resources to open an area reaps the main rewards of that area.
If you seem to be zoning in to a different area from your party member, you're probably in difference Instances. Instances are separate copies of a zone, each generated independently, and you may be entering one generated for you while they're in one generated for them.
To control what Instance you enter, hold [ctrl] when clicking on the entrance to a zone. This will bring up a menu where you can see all open copies of that zone and choose the one your party member is in.
When a very high-level player parties with a low-level one, the higher-level player will be scaled down to the lower-level one's power level. This means you can play with friends even if you're out of sync level-wise. You can disable this feature in your options menu, but playing with a much higher level party member who is not downscaled will substantially reduce your drops.