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My First Impression Of Ruthless With Gold In POE 3.20

Mar 14, 2023

Have you ever thought that Ruthless was missing something? Some players may answer: movement skills, crafting opportunities, support gems and so on.

I played day one of Ruthless with Gold mostly out of curiosity. From the start, I noticed some obvious changes compared to the regular Ruthless game mode and discovered more as I progressed. In this article, I'll try to cover all the differences I can think of their overall impact and share my subjective experience.

Main Differences, Item Acquisition, Gambling

Let's start with the obvious question: what was the main difference between normal Ruthless and Ruthless with Gold and how did it affect character progression and item acquisition?

Funnily and obviously enough, the main difference was gold. Everything vendoring for gold instead of Scroll Fragments and Transmutation Shards made early item identification and selling a bit awkward on the run. 

It was easy to run out of wisdom scrolls (Scroll of Wisdom) but I eventually realized they could be bought from the vendor for 50 gold coins each. However, this is not true for transmutations, which resulted in less opportunities to upgrade gear. Let's take a look at some other currencies... They are not very affordable.

For reference, here's some items I vendored in Act 1, in Act 5 & in Tier 1 Maps. One of the benefits of gold was you did not need to lock into an alteration to purchase a decent weapon and could build up to it instead. The worked because the shop didn't seem to reset on level ups. 

items I vendored in Act 1, in Act 5 & in Tier 1 Maps in POE

In addition, there's a Gwennen type Gambling NPC in every act. The items were steep price both for early acts and mid progression. For my run, I decided not to gamble my gold coins because the high cost with a potential low to medium reward. I can speculate in late game scenarios, it may be a source of item bases and unique items. 

But, what if I just want the Mystery Boxes? I really need to figure out the gold stuff. For the most part as long as you pick a non-currency reliant build like cold dot, you can get to level 45 without problems. 

What I Enjoyed?

In this next section, I'll show what I enjoyed and did not enjoy about the event. 

Firstly, not needing to manage filters or even prepare one was a refreshing feeling. Preparing a filter can be a long and tedious process even if you are accustomed to it. The difference between preparing one and not was marginal at best. 

It was also quite refreshing to just focus on killing monsters since the primary way to obtain upgrades was through identifying magic and rare items instead of sitting at our stash and spamming away the basic currencies. This in combination with the high scarcity of currency items and gold being only usable in high amounts causes us to reach the national conclusion of: not backtracking for small gold piles but instead focusing on just going forward to slay more monsters.

POE Ruthless with Gold

Furthermore, there was no gem or link pressure. Support gems and main auras are drop only and you have a very limited selection of active gems throughout progression. What's the result?

Socket pressure is a thing of the past. Any support gems you do drop that are useful to you can be linked to three other main skills in a 4 link, which is quite easy to manage during the run.

Apart from the prior points, gold's unknown impact on the economy was exciting. Traditionally, POE Currency & POE Items have value outside of trading. However, this is not the case for gold. Mainly, gold is different in two ways: one, it's globally accessible and balanced round, not rarity, but quantity: second, and more importantly, it is not usable in crafting but instead only usable for trading with vendors. 

With this in mind, if you have been playing POE for a long time, your general understanding of items and their rarity will give you an insight into their value. But in Ruthless with Gold, POE Item Valuation became a mystery to solve, which I found quite enjoyable. 

What I Did Not Enjoy?

Now, what I didn't enjoy? Gold. Pickup. Radius.

Considering that most gold drops in smaller stacks and all over the place... In a game mode, where players do not have access to movement skills to travel across cliffs and screenwide distances... Needing to walk almost exactly on top of a gold pile so that it gets picked up was not necessary design choice if you ask me.

Subsequently, gold does not introduce new dynamic gameplay loops. It would be interesting if gold was a part of an active league mechanic, something more than just a Gwennen version 2 sitting in town. But, I understand the connection and appeal of creating an experience similar to Diablo 2, in a Path of Exile world. 

Moreover, fun projects require too much time investment in a static gameplay environment. Do you want to gamble 1 million gold coins? Well, then get ready to experience hundreds of slow to clear Barren Maps, which are mostly void of any engaging lead mechanics while trying to loot 1000's of magic and rare items with a character that can only walk as this travel measure.

Do you want a reverse knockback character for the real gold suction? Well, pulling off a character that is reliant on that many uniques could be challenging, considering this is the item quant and packsize modifiers on your average rare map.

However, performing uniques is nowhere near as challenging as farming levels. For reference, these are the highest level players after two months of Ruthless SC trade.

the highest level players after two months of Ruthless SC trade in POE

Unfortunately, when the event is just a month long, putting in the necessary hours to achieve set goals can be demanding. Of course, the Irony of not wanting an inordinate amount of grinding in a game made by Grinding Gear Games is not lost on me.

Build Decisions

Finally, let's talk about the build and choices related to it: Why Occultist? Occultist or Witch, gets most of the required gems as quest rewards. It also has ascendancy options: Void Beacon for "Nearby enemies have - 20% cold resist" in a game mode with limited multipliers and Frigid Wake for freeze/chill immunity and 15% more cold damage are arguably mandatory.

There are a couple strong third ascendancy options: such as Profane Bloom for clear or Unholy Authority for dual curse. Even Withering Presence for 60% chaos resist or Vile Bastion for stunt immunity while you have energy shield are not that crazy depending on the situation. Of course, other ascendancies are just as viable, such as Elementalist Hierophant or Trickster.

On my passive tree, I made a couple decisions to have a stronger early game, such as 60% to all Elemental Resistance or going Mind over Matter to have a large survivability pool before I get life rolls on gear. With Mind over Matter, strong mana recovery is needed to avoid going OOM, so I swapped to three Quicksilvers, one HP and one mana flask.

I would like to emphasize my tree is very early game focused and arguably not the best pathing for a character pushing to 90. I actually really liked Manni's Hierophant as a MoM based and would most likely do something similar. But not exactly the same if I was to go again.

Other alternative options are using A) a Hybrid Life/ES setup spanning across the top half of the tree or B) a Life, Evasion/ES setup traveling across the top, top right and right side of the tree for suppression. 

Conclusion & Memes

In conclusion, I had a good time playing as much as I did and I currently don't plan on playing more. But, it's a long event and maybe something will inspire me later. And if there's one thing to take away, watch out for act bosses... especially in a party. 


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