[Guide] Efficient currency farming
DISCLAIMER: Everyone enjoys certain aspects of the game more than others. Personally I despise how clunky and disruptive trading is in PoE, so this guide will be about killing monsters really fast and selling only the best loot. I don't claim that my ways are the best ways for everyone, but they work really well for me. If you were looking for an item flipping or trade mogul guide, that's too bad. You'll find very little of interest in this thread. Oh, and scroll down to the bottom of this post if you want a TLDR. This guide is massive wall of text, but in my opinion worth the time investment to read.
Luckily, the majority of the guide is just general advice that you can apply to any league, but I'm looking it over to make sure I don't reference anything that doesn't apply anymore. If you see anything that looks wrong or outdated, please feel free to let me know.
Before the actual specific tips, I'd like you to take a moment to really understand the concept of opportunity cost, since it applies to almost everything you do in Path of Exile, and will be a recurring theme throughout this guide.
Essentially your time has value, and every minute you spend doing something is a minute you could be spending doing something else instead. The faster you can clear and loot a map and start a new one, the more valuable your time becomes.
I'd argue that the Chaos Recipe is never worth doing in the current meta, because practically every build these days can clear Blood Aqueduct or low tier maps with enough speed to outperform it with just 6socket items and currency drops alone. It is also painfully tedious and not at all fun. Whenever I've done it, I felt like a slave. If you play an exceptionally slow build and don't mind the extra tedium, it MIGHT be worthwhile for you to do the unid one for 2c.
Opportunity cost also applies to trading. Every time you have to stop killing monsters in maps to invite another player, go to your hideout, find the item and make a trade, you are not only losing time, but also momentum. It disrupts the flow of your grind, even if the trade goes as smoothly and quickly as possible, which is not always the case. The awkward chat and trade systems will make players whisper multiple people in short succession out of frustration, and sometimes the person who whispered you gets a delayed response from someone else and ends up declining your invite as a result. Your time is wasted for no good reason.
I don't expect GGG to fix, or even significantly improve the trade system any time soon because they already think that players are able to get gear upgrades too easily, bypassing some of the intended progression. It's a sensitive issue, because any improvements might screw up the economy and open the doors for new types of abuse.
My own personal trade ruleset is this:
1. Minimum transaction profit: 5c. I don't even list items that are worth less than this, unless I can sell them in bulk, like certain maps or essences.
2. Be polite, don't waste people's time, but don't let anyone else waste your time either. If I'm trying to buy an item I usually wait about 10 seconds to give them time to respond, before whispering the next person on the list.
3. If someone is trying to offer you camels and goats (random rare items plus mixed currency that equates to far less than your listed price) for a high value item, just say "No thanks" and keep mapping. Negotiating with these people is usually a huge waste of time.
4. If you want an item to sell quickly, it's OKAY to sell it for a lower price than the market value, so long as you are aware of it, and are making an informed decision. Bear in mind that you might get lowballed by a large amount if you list an item without a price, though. It's also okay to list an item for more than the current market value if you're not in a hurry to sell it. Prices will change depending on the time of day, how far into the league you are, and on the shifting meta.
There will always be someone who lists and sells items for a single Alchemy Orb, because a huge portion of the community are casual players, and some people even enjoy the pleasing social interactions™. Efficiency-minded players are a tiny minority, so don't you worry, we won't make it impossible for you to get your leveling uniques and budget gear.
When it comes to 6linking items and crafting in general, there's usually no right or wrong answer. Some people enjoy the gamble, while others would rather just buy a sure thing from poe.trade. If you do go down the gambling path, at least be smart about it. Don't blow all your fusings/chroms on the only Carcass Jack you have in a desperate attempt to 6link it or get 4 offcolors. Buy an extra one to gamble on, and make sure you keep some currency left over as well.
Always be aware of the opportunity cost of your actions and make informed decisions based on what would give you the highest amount of enjoyment and/or currency per hour.
Stash tab management:
An important aspect of efficient grinding is to have your stash tabs set up in such a way that you waste as little time as possible.
I recommend a setup like this:
1. Dump Tab - The first 4 regular tabs OR a single Quad Tab to use as a temporary dumping tab between map runs. After clearing a map you just CTRL+click all the loot into these tabs and get right back into the next map ASAP. You can sort all the loot more efficiently once these tabs are full, or once you're about done with your current play session. You can use the Highlight Items feature at the bottom of the tab to deal with one type of item at a time.
2. Currency Tab - I've played a character on a free to play alt account to level 100, and let me tell you; the currency tab is the single most pay2win thing in the entire game. I recommend having this tab directly after your dump tab(s). And if you haven't bought it yet, I recommend it as the single most worthwhile investment you can make on a PoE account. It saves massive amounts of time you'd otherwise spend converting currency to make room.
3. Essence Tab and Divination Card Tab - These are optional, and not as good as the currency tab, but I have them and I like them. If you don't have them, you can put your Divination cards and Essences into regular tabs, or just not pick up low/medium value essences and cards in the first place.
4. Quick Access / Swap Tab - This is a tab to use for things you might need soon, but don't want to carry around in your character's inventory all the time. Stuff like:
*ilvl 84 helm bases or Uniques to put lab enchants on.
*Specialized skill gems, flasks or gear for specific content like Atziri, Guardians or Breachlord Domains.
*Gear you can't use yet until you get other pieces of gear to make your character work with it
*If you like to create and level a lot of new characters; some commonly used leveling uniques like Lifesprig, Tabula Rasa, Goldrim etc.
*Perandus coins if you don't have room for them in your currency tab's wildcard slots.
*Anything else you can think of that fits the theme of this tab.
5. RUN tab - A tab full of maps that are rolled and ready to be run by your character. That way you can simply CTRL+click a bunch of these and start running maps. In Legacy League I used this mostly for arranging multiple sets of 3 leaguestones that I wanted to run instead of maps.
6. Individually Priced Sales Tab(s) - One of these might be enough. Maybe you'll want to use a Quad tab, or multiple tabs. You'll have to see for yourself. Anything that you can sell for more than 5c goes in here.
7. 5c tabs for mass dumping of small items - Instead of taking the time to look at every rare ring, amulet or jewel you can just identify them and throw them in a tab for 5c.
Most of the time you'll just be selling low value rings, jewels and amulets to someone who needed those specific stats for their build.
If you get multiple whispers for an item within a couple of seconds, it usually means that it's valuable enough for people to have livesearches set up for it. You should take a look at it, and maybe move it to the individually priced tab. Never change the price if you've already invited someone to your party to do a trade. Additionally, if you determine that an item is probably just worth slightly more than 5c, you might as well just give it to them for 5c to avoid wasting time. I know this is a controversial topic, so I implore you to use your best judgment and err on the side of brodeals rather than repricing. I can honestly only remember having repriced these items two times during Breach League.
Pick either the first or the last one of your 5c tabs for just storing uniques and other random stuff that is worth 5c or slightly less than 5c, as well as 10+ quality gems that you can vendor for the GCP recipe if they don't sell.
Depending on how many stash tabs you have you can organize these 5c tabs by item type if you wish, but bear in mind that even scrolling to multiple tabs to dump your stuff has an opportunity cost, so being too organized might actually waste time instead of saving it.
When one of these tabs has been full for a while you can just sell all of it to a vendor and start over. How long you wait between these purges depends on your amount of tabs and your personal opinion.
If you're too lazy to purge the 5c tabs and have a lot of stash tabs, you can just keep adding more of them. After a while it can get difficult to find a specific item in 10+ 5c tabs. To make this easier, you can manually name these tabs whatever you like, and then put "~b/o 5 chaos" at the end of the name. They'll look like individually priced tabs to you, but the items will be listed for 5c, and you can now use a naming scheme that lets you find the right tab faster based on the whispers you get.
If you're not comfortable with the 5c tab, one alternative is to just make it a public unpriced tab so people can make offers on those items instead.
8. Unrolled Map Tab(s) - It's up to you how you want to organize these, but I put them near the end since you should only be interacting with them at the end of your playsession, while sorting all your loot. The pay2win map stash tab that was introduced in 3.1 is great for this. If you buy it, you'll most likely fit all the maps you need in that one tab, and they'll be automatically organized by tier and type.
Bear in mind that this is just one potential way to set up your stash tabs. You may have a method that works better for you, but I want you to at least think about how much time you're spending on scrolling through tabs and sorting your loot.
If you are fully free to play, and only have 4 non-premium stash tabs, you're going to have to combine some of these tabs and use Acquisition to list your items for sale. It won't be as efficient, but it's possible to make it work.
You can also save a little time by moving the Stash and Navali or Zana close to the map device in your hideout so that you don't have to go far to stash your stuff after each map. I prefer having these things close to the waypoint, but not too close, as people might accidentally click your portals when they come to your hideout for trades.
Choosing which maps to run:
When picking a map tier to run to run, or when rolling a map, you might be tempted to go for the highest tier possible, or to roll the best pack size and quantity mods possible. Before you do this, please consider whether or not you'll be able to clear it efficiently with your current character. It's almost always better to pick a map where you can safely destroy most packs with a single ability. There are builds that scale very well with big packs due to corpse explosion mechanics like Abyssal Cry, Profane Bloom, Detonate Dead or the Obliteration wand, or chaining AoE mechanics like Herald of Ice. These are just a few examples. Pick your maps based on your character's strengths and weaknesses.
Linear map layouts, and other types of layouts that are easy to clear without backtracking are almost always going to feel better than convoluted maze maps.
When rolling maps, I generally just alch a bunch of maps, then check them all for mods that my character simply cannot run, and then for combinations of mods that would make the map very uncomfortable or unsafe to run. I Scour and Alch unwanted map rolls, but if you have a huge chaos stockpile, it is faster to use chaos for rerolling. Get to know your character's strengths and weaknesses, and eventually you'll be able to tell at a glance if a map is good for you or not. Don't fall into the trap of wasting too much time and currency to try to roll the best possible map.
Depending on who you ask, some people swear by chiseling to 20% quality, overlapping sextants and doing various Zana mods to maximize pack size. I find these to be entirely optional, and will not go out of my way to buy them if I run out of the required resource. On a related note, keep at least 3 copies of each map with an ele or phys reflect mod that you'd normally not be able to run in case you get the sextant mod that makes players not take reflect damage. If your character is not at all worried about reflect for some reason, then this doesn't apply to you.
If I have a huge surplus of maps I might even run a few blue ones in rapid succession. These drop a lot less loot, but that also means you spend less time looting and can clear them faster.
Shaping the Atlas:
You can pick and choose which maps to complete on the atlas to manipulate which maps will drops for you. There are several guides out there for this already, and multiple variations. I recommend Karvarousku's stream for information on the atlas. He plays mostly SSF, which means he is forced to learn a lot about how the atlas works and how to optimize it in order to unlock the maps and progress as quickly as possible.
Higher level maps drop items with higher ilvl, and some uniques only drop from guardians, but for the most part you get the same amount of good loot overall from a T10 map and a T15 map. If your character can't clear higher tiers as quickly, you can make a lot of currency by selling all Tier 14, 15 and 16 maps you get. Try to sell them in bulk and not just one at a time.
Find a method that works for you. As long as you are able to speedrun maps in 3 minutes or less, and sustain your desired map pool while still earning lots of currency, you're probably not doing it wrong.
Looting only high value items:
A strict item filter is vital to avoid wasting your time. NeverSink's Uber-Strict version has gotten pretty decent recently, but it still shows too much low value stuff for my tastes, and is too big and complex to manually edit, so I maintain my own item filter at: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1820116
Every second you spend clicking a wisdom scroll, transmutation orb, blacksmith whetstone etc has an opportunity cost. Additionally, a filter that shows too much will clog your screen and obstruct your view of monsters, which could put you in potentially dangerous situations.
Another thing to consider is the inventory size of items. I aim to be able to complete a map using only 1, or on rare occasions 2 portals. Having to leave your map takes time, and disrupts your run.
With my filter I don't really see rare items that take up more than a single inventory slot.
I loot some bad uniques to identify and vendor for alchemy shards, but if I run out of space during a map run I will throw out the bulky ones rather than using a portal. This is mostly because I enjoy learning and memorizing the base items and what all the uniques do, and is not necessarily very efficient. Perhaps you'll find that you want to shave a few extra seconds off your runs by not picking up bad uniques at all.
You may want to tailor a filter to fit your own preferences. Maybe you find mine too strict, or even not strict enough in certain areas. Find out what works for you, and carefully consider the opportunity cost.
Choosing your character:
There are primarily two archetypes of efficient characters.
1. The speed clearer - Builds such as Cospri's Discharge and Vaal Spark. They have insane movement speed, and can kill monsters while still moving to the next pack, but their singletarget DPS is not good enough for T16 bosses and Shaper unless you invest a LOT of currency into them.
2. The boss killer - Builds that can delete Uber Izaro or even T16 Guardians in mere seconds. These can also get good movement speed if you invest into it, but most of them don't have great clear speed in maps.
At the end of a league, or near the start of a new one, you'll see a lot of questions about "good league starters", but in my opinion that doesn't really matter that much. If you pick your class based on the endgame plan for the character, you just need to find a way to get it through all the acts and start farming. It doesn't take a lot of farming to get enough chaos to buy regrets for a full respecc even. The initial leveling process is just a tiny part of the time you'll be spending in a league. Don't fall into the trap of trying to play the same spell as your endgame character all the way from normal difficulty, when it requires endgame gear to work properly. Use easy leveling skills such as Sunder, Warchief Totem, Blade Vortex, Frostbolt, or Firestorm. I won't go into detail about early leveling, since that's outside the scope of this guide.
In the end it's up to you what kind of character you want to create, but I strongly recommend picking one with a singular focus. Follow the Unix Philosophy: Do one thing, and do it well.
If you play just one character and invest all your currency into it to make it as good as it can be, it will be able earn you currency faster, which you can then keep investing into the character to make it even faster still. Once your character is "complete" with a Headhunter and other GG gear you can probably afford to make any other build you want to try out. Near the end of this process there are heavy diminishing returns, so you'll have to decide for yourself when you consider your character complete.
Macros and other third party resources:
The Wiki: http://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Path_of_Exile_Wiki - It's a wiki. A lot of useful information can be located here.
poe.trade - You probably already know this if you're reading this guide, but this is where you search for items to buy.
Vorici Chromatic Calculator: https://siveran.github.io/calc.html - A website to help you determine the cheapest way to recolor item sockets.
Mikelat's PoE Aura Calculator: https://poe.mikelat.com/# - Good for planning out your mana reservation.
PoePlanner: http://poeplanner.com/ - A nice passive tree planner that shows more information than the official one, and is easier to use.
Acquisition: https://github.com/xyzz/acquisition - For listing items to sell without premium stash tabs.
Autohotkey: https://www.autohotkey.com/ - required for these macros:
Trade Macro: https://github.com/PoE-TradeMacro/POE-TradeMacro - Very useful for price checking uniques, gems and stackable items. Doesn't really do rare items though.
Lutbot Macro: http://lutbot.com/#/ahk (not actually a bot, and not against terms of service since everything it does only takes one server action) - Allows you to instantly disconnect and get your character out of harm's way, and also lets you configure some prewritten replies to whispers that can save you a lot of time. Useful for when you're in a Zana map or fighting in a Breach and have to reply to a trade whisper.
Other tips and tricks that didn't warrant having their own subsection:
Leveling gems: Always be leveling gems in your swap slots to either Vaal as soon as they reach 20, or vendor with a GCP to make them 20% quality. Popular candidates are Discipline, Enlighten and Empower, but which ones are "the best" can fluctuate. There may be other gems that are even better than the aforementioned options.
Prophecies: Most of these add value in the form of extra rarity, extra packs or an extra boss with certain guaranteed loot. It's worth a mention that you should pick up as many prophecies as you can before you start running your maps for the session. However, if you're only running 4 or 5 different shaped maps, you might find that you'll quickly be full of prophecies that either won't trigger or cannot be completed without doing other maps. To purge unwanted prophecies, you can choose to spend coins on sealing prophecies or temporarily do other maps to get them to trigger. Some of the sealed ones can be sold, but you'll have to decide whether or not it's worth the hassle and time for you. You could also just sell the Silver Coins for some extra Chaos. Keep an eye out for the really valuable ones though, since they're definitely worth selling. One example of this is Fated Connections, which gives you the ability to 6link any item with just a single Jeweller's Orb.
There's a trick you can do that will save a lot of sextants in the long run. I suggest you check youtube or google for guides on how to do this.
Inventory management for mapping:
If you put all your frequently used currencies and maps on the right side of your inventory like this:
then it won't get mixed in with the loot you pick up in maps, so it's easier to sort.
I'll update this section as I think of more things I missed in the original post, and based on feedback in the thread.
Play one character with a fast build.
Play a lot.
Invest a lot of currency into said character.
Kill monsters really fast.
Don't waste time in hideout.
Don't waste time looting low value crap.
Don't waste time selling low value crap.
Don't buy stuff you don't need.
Big thanks to General Tso's Cute Chicken Dog for inspiring me to change my ways and play more efficiently. I used to hoard vast amounts of useless stuff and waste hours in my hideout just managing my crap.
I welcome constructive feedback and discussion about the guide, and will be happy to answer any questions you might have. If I forgot to cover something important I will try to add it. Please ask in this thread, and NOT through private messages, since the answer to your question might be helpful to other people as well.
My response to controversy regarding the 5c tabs:
I've noticed that a lot of people get hung up on this 5c tab method and go into a fit of rage over it, and I can kind of see their point of view too, but it is being blown out of proportion. 99% of the time, I will not reprice an item, and people are usually getting nice brodeals out of my unwillingness to manually price stuff. The remaining 1% is unfortunate, but I won't lose any sleep over it. I have changed the wording in the guide a little bit in an attempt to clarify my position.
Path of Exile is a game, and unless GGG explicitly states that this kind of behavior is against the terms of service, I will keep doing it if it helps me enjoy the game more.
If GGG were to implement a faster trading system where you HAD to sell an item at the listed price, I would still use the 5c tab method, even if it meant that I was selling a a few items for far less than their value.
Last edited by carkasjak on Jan 8, 2018, 3:51:16 AM
Last bumped on Jan 10, 2019, 6:16:50 AM
on Feb 25, 2017, 11:58:06 AM
Thanks for the thread man
on Feb 25, 2017, 12:49:09 PM
This claim is made without sufficient justification. The key question is how long it takes to actually assemble the pieces for the recipe, and how that translates into chaos or exalts per hour.
Farming Dried Lake, for instance, usually has a ceiling of around 40c per hour, and to match that with the chaos recipe you would have to average 3 minutes (doing the unID'd recipe) to gather all 9 or 10 pieces. However, gathering the pieces most certainly takes much less than 3 minutes, especially if you set up tabs well in advance to just dump pieces into them and and go.
More realistically you can sell a set in about 1 minute (which includes pick-up, storage, retrieval, and selling off), which will translate to around 120c per hour unID'd or 60c/hour if ID'd. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that the chaos recipe is the way to go (particularly the double chaos recipe), because there's an opportunity cost in not IDing the pieces. This cost will be pretty high at the start of the league, but will drop off considerably towards the middle and end of the league.
The other consideration is whether stopping to pick up the pieces will have a major impact on your momentum rushing through Dried Lake or a map. Doing chaos recipes is pretty much a no-go for builds such as Vaal Spark which need to keep up the "juice" throughout the map, but for other builds such as Pathfinder LA/Barrage or QOTF Raiders/Assassins/Berserkers it's much less of a problem.
For me at least the main issue is that chaos recipes are simply not fun, and I don't enjoy the tedium of having to turn in the pieces so frequently.
Last edited by DicemanX on Feb 25, 2017, 1:09:10 PM
on Feb 25, 2017, 1:06:20 PM
Double post removed.
Last edited by DicemanX on Feb 25, 2017, 1:07:53 PM
on Feb 25, 2017, 1:07:21 PM
If this guide is based on General Tso's Chicken's way of playing this game, your autohotkey/macro section doesn't seem to be complete.
on Feb 25, 2017, 1:12:38 PM
Haha, shots fired. Yeah, it was certainly inspired by his way to play, but if you're referring to potion macros, I don't use those, and wouldn't condone their use. I've rebound my fifth flask to mouse4, and have gotten pretty proficient at manually pressing 2, 3, 4, 1 mouse4 in rapid succession when playing a character with only utility flasks.
I do hope GGG decides to allow binding all flasks to a single key at one point, or revamp flasks in some other fashion some time in the future, though.
on Feb 25, 2017, 1:19:26 PM
Momentum also includes your mental state, and not just the Vaal Juice or your character's Power Charges. When I am forced to interrupt my map to do boring inventory management, I am pulled out of "the zone" and lose my mental momentum.
When considering the opportunity cost of doing the chaos recipe, you also have to take into account that it requires you to actually show rare items for all the required slots in your filter. Some of these items take a lot of inventory space and also add a lot of extra clutter to your screen. This part is obviously a little subjective, and I encourage people to make their own informed decisions.
Fun is a big factor indeed, and I don't enjoy picking up, identifying and looking at rares at all, since they are a disappointment most of the time. I'd rather be constantly killimg monsters, and I have made a ton of currency this way.
Last edited by carkasjak on Feb 25, 2017, 1:36:57 PM
on Feb 25, 2017, 1:33:30 PM
Nice read! Will try some of these tips in the upcoming leauge.
Also known as: Noxterous
on Feb 25, 2017, 1:38:20 PM
I really enjoyed the read and have to say ve followed similar guidlines myself. But im lazy about own tools to be more efficient :/
And its very hard to find a good loot filter - people that are pretty successful are not sharing them and like you said "commercially" available ones are not the best ones (neversink).
Also getting hint about league best "jack of all trades" build is very hard - im always doing my own math and try things on standard before league starts but single person has limited time to test everything. And same problem here - ppl are not sharing shit.
Last league HOWA is a perfect example. Claws were 2c at the start simply because most didnt knew how broken build will be.
[3.2] Immortal Indigon Poet's Pen Hirophant - https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2129766
[3.1] Yamata No Orochi - Oni-Goroshi Jugg http://poeurl.com/bHB9
[2.4] The True Queen Of The Forest - Poison LA/BR Pathfinder http://poeurl.com/M6u [Retired]
on Feb 25, 2017, 2:18:03 PM
very good write up but i doubt u would ever be "mega rich" following this but u could prob buy most things u want and the go to lvl 100 way i wish i would trade with more people that min max this much makes it fast :/
Every Class 100
Discord Fyndel#8812 if u cant catch me online in Poe
on Feb 25, 2017, 2:19:23 PM