The Shadow

Overview

The sixth character class in Path of Exile is the Shadow. He is a hybrid class aligned with two of the primary attributes: Dexterity and Intelligence.

He prefers to use fast-hitting weapons such as daggers or claws to dart in and out of battle, while laying Traps or Remote Mines and controlling the flow of combat. He makes surgical use of offensive spells while dodging attacks, always outmanoeuvring his opponents.

The Shadow is one of the more difficult classes to play due to his fragility, but more than makes up for it if handled with skill. His hit-and-run style of combat makes the most of his natural Evasion and Energy Shield, and rewards strategic coordination of attacks, spells, and Traps.

Key Features

  • Combines fast-paced weapon combat with strategic spells to react to any situation.
  • Utilizes a hit-and-run strategy to outwit and outmanoeuvre enemies.
  • Sets deadly Traps and remote Mines to surprise and cripple his foes.

Background

“A flicker of movement, a knife from the dark. By the time you've seen him, it's already too late. The Shadow kills silently, without hesitation, without mercy. He is versed in many weapons, but prefers ambush and subterfuge. Hundreds have met their deaths shrieking in his traps. The Shadow has come from the Guild of the Night in Oriath for one purpose: to inflict pain and suffering on anyone who's wronged him. Exile is merely an inconvenience.”

The Shadow worked the dark hours in Oriath, making a living and a name for himself as a ruthless killer-for-hire. Arrogant and self-assured, he prided himself on his ability to take out his targets by surprise, before vanishing without a trace.

Although he always demanded a high price for his services, he didn’t care for wealth. That was a vice of the helpless, sweaty nobles who clamored to hire him to deliver contrived justices. He didn’t care for their petty feuds. He craved the challenge, danger, and thrill of crafting elaborate assassinations and executing them perfectly. His substantial fees were only to weed out the impulsive fools seeking to protect their expensive reputations.

His reputation, on the other hand, was earned the hard way, and promised strict confidentiality alongside a guarantee of a completed job. However, his patent disdain for others, as well as his sardonic and insolent attitude won him a free trip to Wraeclast, after a particularly paranoid client decided he couldn’t be trusted enough to keep his mouth shut. A strangely sweet aftertaste and a swiftly darkening vision of the floorboards are the last memories the Shadow has of his former home in Oriath.

Stranded in Wraeclast, he must bring all his formidable skills to bear in order to survive. Here on the cursed shores of this wasteland roiling with undeath and other unnatural monstrosities, he will find the mortal challenge he so craved.

Skills

The Shadow employs deadly traps and spells against his opponents, finishing off survivors with quick dagger strikes while darting in and out of combat.

His signature tactic is to lay hidden Traps and to lure his opponents in. When they step too close, the Trap springs and his foes find themselves caught in place, missing a leg or blown to pieces in a fiery explosion. Alternatively, he can place Remote Mines - manually detonated devices. These do not trigger on proximity, but only when he activates the detonator. Using these, he can set off explosive Traps in the middle of clusters of enemies, catching them all in the blast.

While any skill in Path of Exile can be used with any class that meets the requirements, the following skills are aligned with the shadow.

Equipment

The Shadow prefers to use fast, one-handed weapons such as daggers, rapiers, and claws. His high attack speed complements a hit-and-run combat style perfectly. He also excels at dual-wielding these weapons with great accuracy as well as dealing massive damage via critical strikes.

The Shadow favours lighter, less restrictive armors that allow for greater mobility. Without heavy metallic plating to impede him, he can move more quickly and evade enemy attacks. Much of his equipment is ornate and decorated with magical trinkets that bestow a protective energy shield. These defensive properties are tailored to his typical tactics. By frequently moving in and out of the fray, his evasion buys him the time for his energy shield to recover.

Concept Art

Given the core attributes of the Shadow (Dexterity and Intelligence), we designed a character with a rather slender frame so that they could move around quickly. Despite being a ruthless killer, we wanted to make sure that the character appeared sophisticated. Since the player starts out the game being exiled for past crimes, the Shadow evolved over time towards a more sinister appearance and personality.

Below you can see the very first version of the Shadow and how it evolved over the years until it finally made its way into the current character creation screen. The class name “Shadow” itself is something that wasn’t decided on at first, with many alternatives like Trickster, Alchemist, Thief and Assassin being discussed.