[Editor’s Note: The below guide was written by moopeke.]
Was making a Path of Exile: Fall of Oriath items guide for a friend of mine new to the game, and I figured I’d share the mapping section I wrote for her with all of the new players.
Every map that you complete adds a 1% chance to dropped maps to upgrade once to a higher tier. So basically this means if you complete 100 maps, you gain 100% guaranteed chance to upgrade every map you find, one tier. Every tier 11 you find will become a tier 12. If you have over 100% chance, the overcap rolls over and starts again. Having 120 Atlas completion means a 100% chance to upgrade a tier 11 to a tier 12, and then a 20% chance to upgrade that tier 12 once more to a tier 13. This is a really good way to progress and sustain your map pool.
Completion of a map means killing the map boss under certain circumstances.
To complete tier 1-5, you need to kill the boss in a magic version of that map (blue), or higher.
To complete tier 6-10, the map needs to be at least rare (yellow).
For tiers 11-16, the map needs to be rare AND corrupted (yellow and corrupted by a vaal orb).
There is a tradeoff, however, for completing some maps. Once you complete a map it becomes a part of your drop pool – it has a chance to drop when you find maps. Not every map may be worth it to you to run. If you enjoy tier 11 Map A, but don’t enjoy tier 11 Map B, then it may not be wise to complete Map B and add it to your drop pool, where it reduces the drop rate of your Map A (and you end up with Map B’s instead).
This is where shaping comes into play.
Some maps drop something called a shaper’s orb. A shaper’s orb upgrades a map by adding 5 tiers. So orbing a tier 5 “Mesa” map turns it into a tier 10 “Shaped Mesa” map. It has the same layout and boss, but is now filled with high level monsters and loot equivalent to other tier 10’s. It is effectively a tier 10 now. Choose low level maps you enjoy and shape them to continue running them at higher tiers, and perhaps instead of the “natural” maps at those tiers.
When you run Map X, you can find maps up to 2 levels higher than Map X. These maps are selected from 2 places. 1. Your completed maps. 2. Maps located adjacent to Map X on the Atlas of Worlds.
Generally speaking, this means shaped maps are superior to run, because they are directly adjacent to low level maps – maps that aren’t competing with your high level maps. For instance, say you dislike all of the natural tier 15 maps. To avoid finding and therefore having to run them, you choose not to complete them on your Atlas. Unfortunately, if you want to avoid finding these maps, you also have to avoid running the tier 14 maps that are adjacent to them on the Atlas. If you want to avoid finding/running those tier 14s, you will have to avoid running the tier 13s they’re adjacent to, etc.
Shaped maps, however, are still connected to maps 5 tiers below them, same as they were before you shaped them. You can’t run a shaped map and find an undesirable map that you deliberately excluded from your drop pool. This is the power of shaping.
Complete maps up through tier 10, and then stop completing once you reach tier 11-15. Instead, run shaped maps at these tiers. Tier 16 is an exception and is important to complete, since a tier 16 literally cannot drop from any shaped tier 15 until it’s added to your completed pool. Complete every unique map, as well.
Unfortunately, to get shaper’s orbs from tier 11-16 maps, you will have to complete those maps first, adding them to your pool. Eventually, remove them with an item called a Master Cartographer’s Seal. Seals are expensive, and until you can afford it, just deal with running those maps.
DISCLAIMER: You can kill the bosses on these particular maps since you have already completed them, but do not kill the bosses on other adjacent maps you find in the process of running these. Killing those bosses WILL add those maps to your drop pool. Even if you kill a boss from a regular white or blue or uncorrupted yellow map, it will still add the map to your completion pool. It just won’t give you the Atlas completion bonus.
Hope this helps!