Atlas Progression Guide
In the Siege of the Atlas expansion (released in Febuary 2022), the way that the Atlas works was completely redone once again.
This brought the system from the old War for the Atlas one of simply chasing particular maps back, which many players seemed to have prefered to the last system introduced with the Conquerors of the Atlas version, which featured Map Regions, Conqueror’s influence, and Watchstones.
This guide will give you a quick rundown on how to navigate the current Atlas environment and how to efficiently progress through the Atlas at the beginning of your mapping journey.
This guide is accurate regardless of where specific maps are located or which league is currently running. As long as the Atlas mechanics do not fundamentally change, which is highly unlikely outside of major expansions (ETA for next, likely early 2023), this guide will work for you, regardless of other circumstances.
Map Drop Rules
Before we get into the Atlas Strategy itself, we will have to quickly cover the fundamentals.
- White (Normal Rarity) mobs may drop Maps up to the SAME tier of the map that you are in. This is referred to as a +0 map drop.
- Blue (Magic Rarity) and Yellow (Rare Rarity) mobs may drop Maps up to ONE tier higher than the tier you are in. This is referred to as a +1 map drop.
- Orange (Unique Rarity) Mobs may drop Maps up to TWO tiers higher than the tier you are in. This is referred to as a +2 map drop.
Furthermore, the only maps that are allowed to drop are maps that you have already unlocked (i.e., completed), or maps directly connected (through the lines that snake between maps on your Atlas) to the map that you are running. Note, however, that tier 1 maps ignore this rule, and can drop outside of maps in the story content starting from Act 8 onwards.
Lastly, as you complete more and more Bonus Objectives for maps (completing the map as Magic, Rare, or Rare Corrupted, as the case may be), you will now gain an Atlas Passive Point. These can be used to acquire bonus map drops, increased chances of higher map tier drops and to specialise in certain mechanics you enjoy running.
Note, however, that this bonus does NOT supersede the aforementioned mob-related rules. A White rarity mob will still only drop maps at MAXIMUM of equivalent tier to what you are running, regardless of this additional bonus chance.
General Tips & Advice
With those basic rules out of the way, here are some tips to keep in mind while you follow the Atlas Strategy laid out below:
- You don’t need to focus on completing your Atlas. Try to get all the Bonus Objectives you can, but focus on progressing to the highest tiers of maps you can handle, over the completion bonuses.
- Always use Orb of Binding + Orb of Scouring to roll/re-roll(or: Orb of Alchemy if you ran out) your Yellow/Red tier maps, regardless of circumstances.
- The very first priority is to unlock the Maven as well as both of the new Atlas Influences. They are guaranteed to spawn once you start Yellow tier maps (T6+) for Maven, and following that, once you’ve completed the first Maven invitation, for the two new Influences.
- Kirac Missions are a great way to break into higher tiers. Try using your White Kirac Missions on T5s, Yellow Kirac Missions on T10s, and Red ones whenever needed. Only ever deploy Kirac missions when you’re out of reasonable maps to run. Remember to check his shop every time you use one, as this forces a reset of his shop.
- Always try to “juice” your maps appropriately with your other Master Missions. Jun especially is level-agnostic, meaning she’s a great choice to use in low-level White and Yellow tier maps if you want to save your Einhars/Kiracs and Alvas for the max-level of each tier.
- Niko should always be used on the max-level map for each tier, similar to Kirac.
The Atlas Strategy – First Steps
- Complete as many distinct maps as possible.
To start with, you can run ANY maps you find. There is no chance to mess anything up, so as long as a map hasn’t finished its bonus objective yet, throw it in the map device and do it!
We recommend always run the highest possible maps first, as long as you can reliably complete them.
Assuming you have 3 different maps, one T2, T3 and T4, you should run the T4 first.
This will allow you to drop said T4 as you complete the T3s and T2s, as it will be counted among the “completed” maps of that tier immediately. This should vastly ease your progression.
For white maps, the minimum investment should be:
- Chance/Transmutation Orb the map to magic
The Atlas Strategy – Initial Atlas Tree
After getting a couple of Atlas Passive Points, you will likely start getting overwhelmed with choices, so we have prepared a very basic skeleton tree for your first 30-40 Atlas Passive Points.
This tree will feature the nodes for map sustain and should be newer players be considered their “skeleton”. Later in the league, you will branch off from this but until you have the voidstones you need these points and they are absolutely Mandatory
Here’s the tree for your viewing pleasure.
The Atlas Strategy – Continuing the Progress
As you progress your atlas, you will inevitably reach Yellow Maps (T6+). Once you do, you will be greeted by the Envoy and the Maven herself.
Try to always have the Maven influence all your maps that she can, as progressing with her storyline is the way to unlock the two new Atlas influences, as well as gain more Atlas Passive Tree Points.
Each of her distinct invitations will grant you 1 Atlas Passive Point and 2 Refund Points.
After you complete her first invitation, the Envoy and Maven will greet you in another yellow tier map and unlock either the Exarch or the Eater of Worlds influence. Which one you get first seems to be random.
Whichever one you get, you will receive the other one fairly soon afterwards at random.
Keep running yellow tier maps and progress further through the atlas, making use of proper investment strategies.
For yellow maps, the minimum investment should be:
- Alch/Binding Orb the map to rare
The Atlas Strategy – Finishing the Progress
Similar to the previous segment, you continue running your maps until you reach Red Tier Maps (T11+).
At this stage, you should have collected and finished all possible invitations from the Maven in the Yellow Tier Maps, as well as collected a couple bosses for each of the Influences Mini-Bosses (Hunger/Black Star).
You should also get a good idea of what League mechanics you want to invest into using your Atlas Passive Tree at this stage.
Generally speaking, the Essences and Strongboxes.
Continue your endgame questlines, by chasing down the Maven, The Searing Exarch and The Eater of Worlds in high-tier Red Maps.
To get access to The Searing Exarch, you will have to defeat The Black Star mini-boss using the Polaric Invitation quest item with your Map Device.
Afterwards, you will have to influence Red Maps in order:
Once you’ve completed the 5th influenced map like this, the Unique Boss of said map will drop the Quest-version of the Incandescent Invitation, which can then be used with your Map Device to fight The Searing Exarch.
In order to gain access to The Eater of Worlds, you will have to defeat The Infinite Hunger mini-boss using the Writhing Invitation quest item with your Map Device.
Afterwards, you will have to influence Red Maps in order:
Once you’ve completed the 5th influenced map like this, the Unique Boss of said map will drop the Quest-version of the Screaming Invitation, which can then be used with your Map Device to fight The Eater of Worlds.
After you have completed the respective Quest chain, you will be able to drop tradeable versions of all the Invitations in Influenced Red Tier Maps (T14+ required for Pinnacle Boss invitations).
The Atlas Strategy – We’re done!… unless?
During your Quest Progress, you will inevitably drop one of the 4 unique Voidstones, as a result of beating one of the 4 Pinnacle Bosses of the Atlas. (The Uber Elder, The Maven, The Searing Exarch and The Eater of Worlds)
You can only acquire one Voidstone from each Boss.
Voidstones are similar to the old Watchstones from the Conquerors of the Atlas expansion. Once socketed into your Atlas, they will improve the tier of every map present on the Atlas up to T16.
With all 4 Voidstones socketed, you will have an entirely T16’ed Atlas.
This will be your ultimate Endgoal if you plan to farm high-tier maps. Couple this with all 12 favoured map options on the left side of your Atlas, you will be able to acquire your favourite map at T16, as 50% of all map drops, making permanent sustains on any given map finally a real possibility.
Voidstones are also important to apply the new improved Sextant modifiers to your entire Atlas.
Remember to use the newly available Surveyor’s Compass to save valuable Sextant Modifiers.
For any questions that are frequently asked, I will be compiling an FAQ section here, in order to address them properly and clear up anything that might be unclear, without you having to sift through 30 pages of comments. At the moment of release, this FAQ is going to be empty.
I am looking forward to your questions and feedback!