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In-Depth Guides for the Path of Exile Ruthless Mode

If you are a fan of Path of Exile, you might have heard of the Ruthless Mode. This mode is a completely different game experience with extreme item scarcity, and it can be a great challenge to new and experienced players alike. In this guide, we will go over my experience after playing in Ruthless Mode for 30 days and over 250 hours played across four different characters. We will discuss the changes to the game, the unique experience, the challenges, and the flaws of the mode.

Changes in Ruthless Mode

If you choose the Ruthless mode on the character creation screen, you will experience several changes to the normal Path of Exile game. These changes are very present from the start, as no support gems are given to the player in any way other than them dropping. Quest rewards that normally give support gems now may give you the choice of a magic item. There are changes to how items give currency shards when sold to merchants, as well as changes to the prices of the items. Jewelry and belts cannot be purchased from vendors. 

The lack of movement skills is also very noticeable in this mode. You cannot use normal Path of Exile loot filters, and you cannot find any movement skills throughout the game. This presents a challenge to new players who are trying to progress through the story, and it will affect the builds you can create.

Unique Experience in Ruthless Mode

One of the most enjoyable aspects of playing in Ruthless mode is the unique experience it provides. The scarcity of items makes the decently rolled items so coveted, and it forces players to create and gear up their characters in different ways. Alchemy orbs, alteration orbs, and chaos orbs are all rare, and it can be difficult to find a four-link item with useful sockets. Crafting benches are not available in your hideout, and you cannot use Harvest essences and fossils to reroll items. 

The rarity of items also makes the choices between damage, defense, and item acquisition rolled on your equipped items much more than nuanced and interesting. The aura gems you find while playing in Ruthless mode are also super exciting, as they are the main way to shape your character's power.

Challenges in Ruthless Mode

Leveling in Ruthless mode can be a challenge, as there are no support gems, and you must find the gems yourself. You must also be careful when progressing to higher-tier content, as your gear might be lacking. Maps no longer get increases to pack size from the mods rolled on them, and the map drop rate can be quite low. You must also be strategic about how and when you use your flasks, as flask charges cannot be gained while the flask is in use.

Available for the atlas

Sanctum is one of the biggest pieces of content and it has been heavily altered in Ruthless. Currency rewards are very rare and the Sanctified Relics are even rarer. Beasts no longer drop unique items, so the only reward from sacrificing them is a Talisman base type, which can be quite underwhelming. Incursion has been slowed down, so the time bonus from kills and Incursions has been permanently increased, but the mods have been removed from the items, including from the tier 3 rooms. Delve has been made harder, so getting Sulfite is difficult, but the rewards can be very good. Azerite can be found locked behind walls, but Fossils are the only reward from Delve. Betrayal has also been changed, so Syndicate members no longer drop Veiled items. Safe houses are still a good source of experience, but the rewards have been changed to Track Chests and Crafting Benches. Intervention still gives Scarabs, but they are now exclusive to Betrayal content. 


Chests in ruthless mode contain weapons, armor, jewelry, and Poe currency, but no blight rewards. This is strange, as players will want to invest oils on blighted maps, so there is no return on investment. This makes it difficult to acquire tainted oils. Blighted maps are only useful for trying to acquire blooded uniques.

Delirium mirrors

Delirium mirrors give almost one cluster jewel per delirium stack, but no other rewards. This is fair, as the challenge is in crafting them to be useful. Metamorphs give no rewards other than catalysts, but they are incredibly valuable. Heist contracts are difficult and offer almost no rewards from the chests, but magic and rare items can drop from enemies.


Abyss is a great source of rewards, with hort's atlas passives making the pack size of abyss insane and increasing the rarity of the troves. Essence harbingers are great for adding arbiter currencies, such as horizon and harbinger orbs. Rogue exiles offer almost no rewards, with the only way to get sacrifice fragments being from the Vaults of Atziri.


All in-game bosses still have their guaranteed unique item drops, but they are much harder to access in ruthless mode. It is almost mandatory to have the protracted battle notable passive on the atlas passive tree to progress with legions and maps.


Flasks in Ruthless mode can be quite tedious. Flasks do not fill when you enter your hideout or in town, unless you talk to a specific NPC. This does not add to the challenge or enjoyment of the game, and it can be quite tedious.

Flaws in Ruthless Mode

One of the biggest flaws in Ruthless mode is the lack of movement skills. Movement speed has far too much value, and it can make slower characters feel awful to play by comparison. Movement skills should drop only gems, and they should be restricted to maps. This would make them farmable, and it would add another step to character progression. 

Another issue is the lack of the fourth ascendancy and pantheon. All of the needed changes to player power are achieved by the item scarcity and changes to crafting in Ruthless mode, and having access to the same potential power as the base game would be greatly desired. 


Playing in Solo Self-Found Ruthless mode can be a very rewarding and challenging experience. The changes to the game, the scarcity of items, and the unique experience make it a great challenge for new and experienced players alike. However, there are some flaws that can make the mode tedious and not as enjoyable as it could be. We hope this guide has given you a better understanding of the mode and has helped you decide if it is something you want to try.


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