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Apprentice Corner's 100% SSF Leveling Guide For Newer Players (Vision Races Too)

YouTube Video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T47sbsra6w&t=8s&ab_channel=Apprentice'sCorner

Hello, this is Dr3ad from Apprentice Corner, in today’s forum topic is going to be all about leveling. Leveling builds, leveling efficiently, leveling fast, how to do all of this and more in this forum post/guide. This is meant to be the companion to the video, so watching the video and reading the guide will lead to the best comprehension of what I am teaching today.

This is going to be a very large and thorough guide, so I will be dividing it into chapters, and the video will have timestamps.

Chapters

Leveling Build Terminology

Q : What is a leveling build?

A : It is a build specifically designed to get a character from level 1 to 40-50 (end of campaign) and then be respec’d into an endgame build that normally could not level through the campaign.

The reason why we use leveling builds in SSF, and if you are not I heavily suggest you to do so,
is to lessen the time between level 1 and endgame, usually going from 6 hours for a new-ish player, to about 2 hours for most people.

Q : What do you mean by respec? Aren’t they expensive?

A : So in recent ARPG history, regarding D2 and PoE, respec’ing or relearning your tree is an arduous/expensive process, or in D2’s case you could only do it once, while in PoE its super expensive and very unrealistic in an SSF environment. Last Epoch breaks that mold by having a common way to respec your tree, i.e. the Chronomancer, if you do not know who that is, she is marked by the little brain icon on your mini map.

In Path of Exile, leveling builds existed like for instance, Aberons Hooves is a very strong way to level characters there, but since the respec system is so expensive, you cannot do this reliably at all in SSF with any amount of success.

Last Epoch on the other hand, you are able to respec your tree at any time with gold, the higher the point on the tree, the more expensive it is. Since you are at your lowest when you are just finished with campaign, and you just got a bunch of gold rewards for beating the campaign / farming, this is the absolute perfect time for you to respec, the end of the campaign. Now we can abuse this, by leveling with builds specifically designed to go as fast as possible.

Because of this fact, we are able to do this 100% in SSF as well, making leveling in Last Epoch a breeze for newer players, and will definitely boost the speed of anybody leveling.

Q : What kinds of builds are classified as a leveling build ?

A : Well, objectively good leveling builds have a few metrics, ill list as many as I can here.

  • Damage.
    If you want to go fast, kill packs fast, kill bosses fast, this is by far the most important
    thing a leveling build needs to be efficient. Now there is a bit more depth than what is on the surface. There are some skills that have more damage in lower levels, but fall off later due to scaling. What are these? Good examples are things like Hammer Throw, Elemental Nova, Raise Skeletons. These have some of the highest DPS in the entire game at early game, but fall off hard later on. That does not mean you cannot build around these, but for our purposes we want skills that do damage with no investment, like Glacier and Bone Curse, because we are SSF. We do not have access to gear, we have the bare essentials, thats it.

  • Area of Effect.
    You want to kill packs as fast and efficiently as possible. Your vengeance could do 1 million damage, but with an AoE that stretches as far as the Sentinel’s appendage, you will not get very far. You want big flashy things, things that clear screens quickly and efficiently. Glacier obviously is a good example, but others is like Shield Throw with Lava Burst on Ricochet, Rip Blood + Bone Curse, Wandering Spirits.

  • Sustain.
    Sustain means multiple things, 1st it means your HP recovery rate, are you a primalist that uses the healing from Maelstrom to gain insane amounts of HP per second? or do you gain 10 HP on hit from Hunger, on the Necromancer tree? Do you just simply not take damage like Sentinel? Or do you have one of the best defensive skills in the game like Mage, i.e. Flame Ward? The 2nd thing Sustain means is sustain of DPS. Your Earthquake is pretty good at dealing damage but it sucks up your mana and you are up a shit creek without a paddle. Now Glacier, a good leveling build, its mana sustain is terrible in the beginning without investment, but it also has some of the best ways to sustain mana as well, i.e. Mana Strike or Focus. Acolyte has mana from Rip Blood and Transplant, Sentinel literally gets mana for free for using Vengeance. Tempest Strike too for Primalist.

All 3 of these points combine to make the perfect leveling build. This guide will have recommended build guides for each class, so stay tuned!

Overall Tips for Any Class Or Player

These are not going to be listed in any particular order, just what I can think of.

  • MOVEMENT SPEED IS KING

The best way to mitigate damage is to NOT TAKE DAMAGE IN THE FIRST PLACE
Walking out of the AoE? You do not take damage, stand in it with your thumb up your a**, then you die. That simple. This game punishes bad play. Now how do we get movement speed? Well for leveling its super simple. About level 12-ish, you will have enough cash to go to the gambler, which is this guy,

He’s an asshole, makes me spend all my money and calls me a penniless beggar when I have gave him 7 mill + gold, but hes very good at selling you 2 silver rings (any mods, just have like 5% or more movement speed) and some boots. Always buy the 50 gold stuff, as its cheapest. A pair of 50 gold boots that have 7% movement speed base, and 7% movement speed on top of that is plenty for you to go with. Having 20%+ movement speed completely changes the game. Get silver rings and movement speed boots.

  • ARMOR IS QUEEN

    So some people won’t tell you this, but almost every mob in the game does physical damage to you in some shape or form, whether by peppering you with arrows or by smacking you with a huge rock, so having some kind of defense vs it will be a good idea. Prioritize Movement Speed, then Armor. Armor is the easiest and best defensive layer in the game for early game, and having a decent amount will make the difference between life or death (literally). Just having a Plated Belt with Armor on it,

    ^^^^ This will carry you, as physical mitigation is key to not dying all the time.

  • RESISTANCES ARE JACK (OF HEARTS)


    So knowing which zone you are in, and planning accordingly, is very essential to your success at playing the game for leveling. In the Ruined Era, all the enemies do physical and void, with minor exceptions. So in this area you want to pick up void protections if you are here. It helps, a lot. an early piece of 100+ void protection will carry you through the Ruined Era.
    In the Imperial Era, most enemies do physical and necrotic, so get some necrotic protection. In the Ruined Era, save pieces of necrotic protection for later as you will want it to smooth your progression. in the Divine Era, everything does BULL amounts of Elemental damage, and GIGANTIC amounts of physical… looking at you WENGARI A%#HOLES So having lots of physical and elemental prots here helps a lot. In the Monolith things are varied and random so you need everything.

  • Do not underestimate Humble Eterran Idols, they can be life savours.

    This kind of idol will literally make your runs sometimes, getting a GG necrotic protection one like this makes gearing easy for Imperial Era. Be on the lookout! Use your idols!

  • LOOT EVERY CHEST
    Looting every chest is a great idea, because they tend to give you a LOT of rewards in regards to SSF, they drop a lot of glyphs, gold and items that could easily be best in slot, and could be a ticket gg unique like Falcon etc.

  • BOSS DPS DOES NOT MATTER

So with the latest patch, 7.9, dynamic protections were introduced and used on a lot of story bosses. What does that mean for us? Well no matter how hard we try or do, the boss will take forever. Do not feel bad if it takes 5-10 minutes to kill the Omen of Silence in the end of the Ruined Era. We all have to deal with it. Bosses take forever. Just simply watch Netflix or YouTube…maybe my YT vids. As long as you are clearing mob packs with relative ease, bosses do not matter as they are all avoidable due to their mechanics. This might change in the future, but as of right now, just tell your girlfriend to hold right click for you while you go for a brisk walk.

Even the best players of the game die during the campaign. Obviously the better you get the less you will die, but if you are trying to break 2 hours, you WILL die, unless you are a god or you get extremely lucky. There are a loooooooot of bull mobs that auto target you wisps, many mobs that have heat seeking missles Void Prophets, and mobs that do ridiculous amount of damage vs other mobs in the zone for now reason even after nerfs, Skullen Pyromancers.

  • ALWAYS LEAVE A PORTAL RIGHT BEFORE THE BOSS, AND REMEMBER TO USE THE PORTAL TRICK

So your checkpoint is based on a lot of factors, but the sure fire way to respawn when you die, because you will, is to teleport out and back in, and you will re-spawn there from now on when you die. This is very good vs boss fights like Admiral Harton so you do not have to walk through the entire zone.
Now, there is a mechanic. If you teleport out, and back in, it will reset the mobs of the zone. What this means is, if mobs are chasing you, the entire zone is, and you portal to town then back in, all the mobs will be put back into their positions. Very useful if you are trying to go fast. Use it liberally.

  • USE LEVELING ZONES

Q : What are leveling zones?

Zones that have a lot of mobs in a small area that can be reset for a lot of EXP per hour, allowing you to catch up in terms of xp and gold.

The game has a lot of issues while leveling. There are huge gaps while leveling, lots of zones that are skipped due to lack of mob density, and general inefficiency. Generally, its better to rush through zones then go to these leveling zones to get more xp. So we have found some zones that are really good for leveling.


This is the first leveling zone. The void maggots spawn a lot, and they are easy to kill. Kill them all in waves until the boss spawns, teleport out, teleport back in, rinse and repeat until you feel strong enough. Usually this one, lvl 14 is where it starts becoming inefficient to level in this zone. When you teleport out, the same script goes through, and its a lot of mobs in a small place. Here is a quick list of the rest of them that i find the most useful.



These thralls are easy to kill, and there are a lot of them, and the perfect place to level so you dont have to spend more time than you need to on Admiral Harton’s ship as its a living nightmare to try to go through.


Maj’Elkan Catacombs, lots of red spiders. Best Place to level right before endgame.

4 Great Recommended Leveling Builds, 1 for each Class

These builds are specifically meant to get to endgame and then respec into a different build. They are not setup to do endgame and there are many other builds that are better at doing endgame, so I shall only show what is needed to get you to endgame. I will also leave videos for recommended builds that these can easily turn into if you are new and do not want to waste time trying to find a build that works. I also go into more indepth in the video of the trees, so if you want to know why i make these choices…WATCH THE VIDEO!

PS : These builds work on any mastery, for this post/video I specifically chose masteries that do not give use benefits at all so I can prove that these are not mastery specific leveling guides.

Mage

Mage is by far the strongest while leveling, and has multiple ways of leveling efficiently but this one sticks out as being very efficient due to being able to utilize Glacier, a top tier leveling skill, at such a low level. This is by far the best for new players. Just remember, it is a little on the squishy side so you need to kite a small bit.

Passive Tree

Mage :

Sorcerer :

Skill Trees

Glacier :

Mana Strike :

Flame Ward :

Acolyte

For Acolyte we utilize the strong interaction between Rip Blood and Bone Curse, as it deals a lot of damage. This is technically the strongest build in this guide, but it takes the longest to
get going. Glacier Mage starts with Glacier, and its immediately strong. For Bone Curse you need illusion of pain and cursed limbs before you reach your potential. Still strong, just a little bit of a grind.

Passive Trees :

Acolyte :

Necromancer :

Lich :

Skill Trees :

Rip Blood :

Bone Curse :

Transplant :

Sentinel

Sentinel is the * I do not want to die* leveling build, as it has access to the most physical damage reduction in the game. Hammer Throw is strong early game, and super strong foil to Shield Throw for when it is done. Lunge is the best movement skill in Sentinel, :stuck_out_tongue: ewwwww Shield Rush people get outta here, Lunge All The Way!

Passive Trees :

Sentinel

Forge Guard

Skill Trees :

Hammer Throw :

Lunge :

Shield Throw :

Primalist

If I were to choose the worse leveling build on the list, I would choose this one. It lacks AoE mainly. It has single target DPS though so it saves it. The issue is, leveling Primalist sucks. No matter how hard you try. So this was the best way I found that works all the way through! If you have suggestions for a better one, please let me know! I specifically omitted companions due to their buggy nature and how annoying they are to play, so no wolves etc.

Passive Trees :

Primalist :

Shaman :

Skill Trees :

Thorn Totem :

Tempest Strike :

Maelstrom :

Builds that you can turn these into when you reach endgame!

Mage :

Acolyte :

Sentinel :

Primalist :

Alright, that about sums up everything. If you have any questions the best way to get in contact with me is Discord, I do not check the forums every day. Here is my Discord : https://discord.gg/tGqngsB

if you enjoyed this at all, or this helped you out, if you want to support me, I would highly suggest subscribing to my YouTube Channel, as it is the best way and easiest way to support me and my endevours. Here’s the link : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRI3Xo9aUbdXh2RlD9pC2rg

With that being said, thank you everyone for being so amazing and helping me through this, and a very special thanks to Rimed Gaming (youtube channel here btw : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzbeH36HYSvqQWPTtwINfqg )
As he gave me this idea when I was on his podcast recently. Good luck time travellers!

6 Likes

Good new player guide. I find I prefer to use dodge when leveling for defense. Maintaining high 60s to mid 70s dodge will let you run through most content. That being said it is always good to have some sort of prots, especially whatever chapter you are in stack that prot on your idols so if the enemy does get through your dodge you won’t get one shot.

2 Likes

Dodge is very good early game, but the biggest issue I found, and why I did not talk about it in the post is its very hard to find/build into without uniques or playing Primalist. So I omitted it due to its rarity and difficulty to build around. But yeah Dodge is nutzo early.

Really nice content, thank you! I just started playing the game. I am only playing HC, i did level up to 25 in my first attempt with a Mage then i died :smiley: Any build suggestions for HCSSF?

I would highly suggest the Sentinel Starter, as it allows you to go slower and stay alive better!

Agreed, I have done all the SSF tourneys leveling with dodge and it can be a hit or miss on finding it.

1 Like

My first deathless for the story content was with a sentinel/paladin though I was on SC with abundant crafting resources. Warebear primalist/druid is also very tanky.

Recommendation (no particular order):

  • Primalist/BM - Poison with max wolves
  • Primalist/Shaman - Totems
  • Primalist/Druid - Warebear/Swipe
  • Sentinel/Forge Guard - Shield Throw (as the guide shows, might be tankiest mastery)
  • Sentinel/Paladin - Shield Throw (Same as FG but more fire nodes and block nodes)

Is the guide up to date? Does this work in the current reality?

1 Like

Its up to date, just replace the word protection with resistance, and the word armor with physical resistance. All the names have gone through a change, thats all!

1 Like