Path of Exile is a game about items. As you kill monsters, open chests and interact with townsfolk, you will receive items that allow you to better protect your character and to kill stronger foes. Many items are worth keeping to trade to other exiles.
As you progress through the game, you may find Magic, Rare or Unique items. These items have magical properties known as Mods. On Magic items, they appear as either prefixes or suffixes on the name of the item, with a maximum of one of each. Rare items can be found with up to six random mods (three prefixes and three suffixes).
Without a good weapon, an exile is as good as dead. The monsters of Wraeclast guard a wide variety of weapon types, ranging from Bows to Swords to Wands to exotic Claws. Weapons are aligned with up to two of the core attributes: Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence. These attributes affect the speed, damage, critical strike rate and requirements of the weapons.
In Wraeclast, defense is as important as offense. The defensive properties of armour pieces are dependent on what attributes they are aligned with. Strength armour conveys Armour, which reduces incoming physical damage. Highly effective against swarms of small monsters, armour has a greater effect on smaller amounts of damage. Dexterity armour pieces grant Evasion, which contributes to your chance to evade attacks. Intelligence armour has Energy Shield, which is a magical barrier that absorbs incoming damage. It starts to recharge after you have been out of combat for a few seconds.
Generally, most rings, amulets and belts cannot have gem sockets, but instead have powerful magical properties imbued into their base types. These properties stack with the existing mods that magic, rare or unique versions of the items receive. Jewellery pieces do not require specific attribute requirements to equip.
Path of Exile does not have a gold-based currency. Instead, you occasionally find valuable Currency Items of different rarities that allow you to modify your equipment. You can either spend these items to improve your character, trade them with other players or NPCs, or hold onto them for later use. For more information about the currency system, check out this old development diary entry.
Active skills in Path of Exile are itemised as gems that can be placed into your equipment to grant abilities. Support gems allow you to augment those skills by modifying how they behave. For more information, please read the dedicated Skill Gems page.
Path of Exile's end-game areas are items called Maps. They grant limited access to a new world area that can contain great challenges and greater rewards. Like other items, Maps can have random mods that affect their difficulty. For more information, please read this development diary entry about the system.