Path of Exile: Day 1 Hardcore Incursion Race


An amazing day 1! I ended up making leveling three different classes. As I’ve been having a blast with all the skill changes even more so in trying to get and test out some of the Vaal ones that have been changed and redesigned. As such I’ve played a shadow, ranger, and witch. Even though this is a 3-day hardcore race finding something new and fun to play is far more interesting to me. Sure I’d like to win a prize but there still lots of time for that.

I’ve also checked out the Incursion mechanics of Temple of Atzoatl but felt my clearing speed was a bit slow or I still need to learn something I’m missing. The temple itself I had some very near deaths but thankfully the timer also ran out and pulled me out to safety near death!

Rocky Start


Been a few leagues since there been any major issue like this. It is expected after all and I’m just glad they fix it right away. Log in servers had some issues that caused an entire league reset and some modest lag here or there thought-out the night. As you can see I for once joined the queue early and was only 679th!


That was until they were restarted and patched as myself and others were failing to log in and kept getting kicked out of queue once it was our turn to get in. This made for some funny moments as you would rejoin and the line got longer and longer and longer. The 35,816th in line was not the worst of it. Least it went very fast! They found whatever the bug was and dealt with it at amazing speed. Not like old days of gaming where a game could be offline for days and you wonder if things would get fix tomorrow, the next day, or another week! Yep, I don’t miss those days.

Thank you for the great Job Grinding Gear Games for resolving this issue fast for your player base! Much love!

A Shadow Named SHR_Shadeofenjar

For most of the night, I think I was leading in levels on this guy across the board. After waking up this morning that is no longer the case but that was expected! I did, after all, go out and make two other toons since I wanted to try out some things I looted and have some variety in my gameplay.

With the changes they made to Blade Vortex it has been just killing after kill after kill with this guy. I really love how they reduced the number you needed to get up to full power from 20 down to just 10!

Act 1


I have gotten quite amazing at my starting and playing the first act nowadays. It is after all where I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to learn my pace and handle not having much but still pressing forever. While I had intended to remain two or three levels ahead of each zones level to reduce my risk. I was staying around two behind for this act as I just felt very comfortable and I liked higher XP per hour gains as well.


My starting skill at the very start tends to be Freezing Pulse linked with Onslaught Support. A very standard opening for many but it is also very solid. One of the very first little gear and damage checks is Brutus and he went down without much thought about the fight. While it was still important to dodge and weave in and out of his attacks so I could close in with my own Freezing Pulse also has some range so I only got this close to him for the screenshot. Otherwise, I did my best to keep some distance.


After you have played this game for a while you tend to pick up little tricks here or there when trying to be efficient. While some stuff you tend to skip like one in The Fetid Pool. While also not skipping over in doing the All Flame quest in The Flooded Depths for one skill point is worthwhile.

This also comes into the trick part. Making sure you pick up the waypoint in Ship Graveyard so you can just portal back nice and close to the turn in NPC. Also if you find Merveil’s Cavern before Ship Graveyard it’s best to zone in and pick up that waypoint in there it’s just a couple of steps from the entrance. A nice little time saver to just port around to where you like to go instead of extra running!


I forget if it was in Act 1 or 2 that I picked up this decent shield. I just like all resistance and higher survivability it overall gives me. Always great when you have some RNG luck in getting something you can use. Which most times is not the case. This was a very welcomed drop.


The end boss for Act 1 Merveil these days for me has become a pushover. I did not even feel the need to try and get better gear or more damage. It was just a go in and kill. I did not even find myself needing to port out to refill my life or mana flasks.

Act 2


I find it very important to not get too ahead of oneself when in Act 2. Overstepping my bound here could set up for distance and going to fast elsewhere as I become overconfident. With how strange the map is and how I run Act 2 I was more than two levels behind in some area. Meanwhile, others areas I was a few levels ahead. I’ve never stopped to plan out a better more effective route for myself. Something I should do at some point.

I tend to north-east down to The Broken Bridge to kill Kaitlyn. Then I go into Riverways west of the camp and make sure to pick up that waypoint in there so I just port right back and head north into the first zone in Wetlands where I pick up waypoint in there as well and kill Oak. After that I head west till I’m in the Western Forest where I finish the bandit quest, pick up the spike from the Weaver’s Chambers, and open the blocked passageway with the Thaumetic Seal.


One of the most important things in Act 2 is doing the bandit quest. The last league, I messed this one up and ended up killing all three of the bandits. This time around I remembers to help Alira to pick up a much needed 15% to all resistance. On top of that, critical strike multiplier is also not bad to have.


The other thing I make sure to do is a side quest where I can get a rare leather belt. My hopes are to get a double life and some resistance on that belt. This time around I got a rather junky one. At least stopping to kill the Great White Beast is not too much of a time sink and its rather fast to find, get in, kill, and be on my way again. Most people tend to go for one of the flasks. If I can get an amazing belt right away I feel that’s better. Besides, I already looted the second Quicksilver.

Act 2 boss Vaal Oversoul was such a cakewalk this time around for me with Blade Vortex I did not even get a screenshot—oops.

Act 3


I’m not sure for others but this act for me just seems to drag on and on and on. It is one of my least favorite acts. I just don’t like the feeling of having to backtrack to move forward. You have a few places like that in here due to that with how the zones are set up. With that said I had no issues either this time.

I did stop to look at my gear and try to craft some upgrades. I ended up mostly focusing on trying to find some decent resistance rings and a better-slotted piece of gear for my main skill. I managed to get by just having my Blade Vortex socked with two support skills.


I always stop to unlock the library quest in this act. It lets you fill in some missing gems you did not pick up or your class was not allowed to buy off the vendor in Act 1 and Act 2 skills. It is also a great reminder to think “oh I forgot such and such skill gem.”

Act 3 is also where I started to be rather lazy in getting some screenshots or at least organize them making it easy to find to write this day 1 recap up. Which is a shame as the Act 3 boss Dominus is always a fun one to kill. Nothing like double checking you have near or capped lighting resistance and a few extra portals to be used just in case. I found myself not needing to port out on this one.

Act 4


With how this Act is set up it both feels very fast but it can also be deadly. Even more so you don’t take a moment to think about things and take it slow. The hardest part is not being to under level which is easy to do because of those North-western sections of the map. Instead of pushing hard forward you need to switch and go down another path.

This is also a good time to start thinking about having bleed removal on one of your flasks. Perhaps things have changed and I never noticed or I just had high enough resistance that it was a nonfactor for me. I ended up spending most of my Orb of Transmutation and Alteration to roll and re-roll flasks failing to get this desired mod on it. Despite this setback I lived.

The trick of this map at least for me is wanting to just push down one lane and then switch during the middle of this Act. Doing so and you will find yourself four levels or more under leveled if you were just running two beforehand. This is because Kaom’s Dream and Daresso’s Dream and their paths share levels. Those two zones are the same level and when you enter into the next ones Kam’s Stronghold, and The Grand Arena both have a waypoint at the start of them. Which means it’s a smart idea to port back to the start in Crystal Veins and go down the other path.

This Act is also where things start to get harder for many players. If you have fallen behind in gear level, resistance cap, have an ok amount of life and shield by now it can be a real struggle. Even more so if you could not find a decent item with some links for your main skill to add more damage.


I found for Blade Vortex the end boss Malachai such an easy fight I only ported out once to refill my flasks for “just in case.” The amount of damage I was able to pour on him made all his different phase of taking down the different organs such a breeze I almost missed out getting any screenshot of this fight. His normally rather nasty frontal cone attack was buffered off with my higher resistance and ok gear level.

Act 5

As it stands of last night I was and still am level 40. At the time I was also leading the race but I expected this to be short-lived. Act 5 for me is a place I have always struggled with moving forward in hardcore. As a softcore player, a death or two in this act is not a big deal and how it tends to go down. Since death is not an option unless I want to start all over again I decided to take a break here after getting into the main town Overseer’s Tower (seen in the cover screenshot.)


I’m glad I at least pressed on. I forget if it was near the end of Act 4 (after the boss kill) or at the start of act 5 that I found this 5 linked chest! I did consume most of my Chromatic Orbs to redo the colors on the item. While I’m not happy with it having a red socket as I was hoping for 1 or 2 green and at least 3 blue I’ll take it! It was a nice damage boost and this was also the earliest I’ve ever naturally gotten a 5 linked item. I don’t even want to think how much one of these would cost in Hardcore with how early we are into the league. The only downside is the rolls on it were very bad. No life and no resistance Still it’s a 5-link with some armor and stats.

After this, I went and tested out some other classes. Just did not feel like taking the risk and pressing further. Even more so as it was starting to get somewhat late but not too late.

A Ranger Named SHR_Bowofdead


I know quite a “clever name” on this one. While I did play a bow build during the May Flashback event it was a very expensive build. In fact, it seems quite easy to want to drop loads of currency on rangers. Since this is a new league and hardcore tends to be more expensive I’ve only gotten what I have looted.


While this chest can only be 3 sockets it has been an amazing defensive item. Before finding this I had a chest that had around 42 evasions! On top of that cold was her weakest resistance as well.

Now I just need to find a much better bow as one I currently have is rather dated and lacking damage output. Also some upgrades for resistance and life. I’m not quite sure what it is with me and rangers but they seem to just be glass cannons.

This one I had 2 near death experience on so far. The first time I managed to port out and make it back to town with just 5 life remaining! The second one happened during some server lag and I exited the game with hopes of still remaining in hardcore with her.

I’m still struggling to find what skill I want to main at least for now. I’m somewhat tied between and Shrapnel Shot, Rain of Arrows, and Blast Rain. They all can do some area damage some better than others. Shrapnel shot seems great for more single target. Rain of Arrows has a fast and bigger area of effect. While playing on another character I looted Vaal Rain of Arrows as well. Finally, Blast Rain seems to set things on fire while doing ok damage and remains in the middle of the other two in terms of area damage.

With day 1 done for me, I got her to level 30 my second highest character so far in this race. I was not expecting to get this far on a ranger. I’ve killed one a few hundred times while playing softcore so I was expecting some hardship. Even more so without spending anything on her other than what I had in my stash or looted while playing.

A Witch Named SHR_Brewofbone


A class I have not played in forever on top of that I think I played it as a fireball or fire something another a number of years ago if I’m not mistaken. What ended up happing is, I looted a Vaal Skeleton gem. Since they revamp these they also include the normal version of the gem as well.

I was in total shock at just how many summoned creators to my bidding I was getting. Between the zombies, skeletons, summing rage spirits, and all the Vaal spawns on top of that it becomes a screen covered in buffers and monster devouring creators.

I was playing very early in the morning when I decided to try this class out. As such, I was struggling quite a fair amount. It seems very squish but that could also form my gear choices made at those hours of the day. Any monster that had a movement speed to jump on me cause quite a few close calls. My internal near death experience on this guy was at least 6! I at least got her up to level 20 while others have jumped on in trying one out as well passing me up.


While this thing sure made things go “pop” rather quickly when I had it in full swing. I’m not quite sure if I want to keep playing it. It was fun I was thinking of trying one out for softcore. We will have to see where I take things. At very least that late into the night I found it rather nice to just fill my screen with creatures as you can see in the screenshot!

Overall I had an amazing time playing it for the couple of hours I did. It is one of the names I really loved more than ones I’ve created. I’ve never been great at creating names for things. She at least seems to brew endless monsters from bones. So it only seemed fitting. Not sure if I will level this one anymore for this race or not.

Final Thoughts Day 1

I know I’ve said it a few times but I love the skill reworks!!!! I have a feeling they will be doing some heavy nerfing next league.

I got further than expected and I’m hoping when I find some time tonight to keep pushing on my Shadow or maybe I’ll just try another class. This race for me is just having fun with the risk-reward that is hardcore. At some point, I’ll push and start losing characters in the areas I know I’ll deeply struggle in. Perhaps I’ll learn something!

Good luck everyone in the race and remember to have lots of fun.

Other Content


Screenshots were taken and content written by @enjar. Screenshots are from a game called Path of Exile.