About the Author
Furty has been playing Path of Exile since the release of the Onslaught League in 2013, and has a deep and diverse well of experience within the game. Equally comfortable playing on Hardcore, Softcore, and Solo-Self Found Leagues, recent ladder results include finishing at Rank 5 on the Legion SSF League playing Essence Drain and the Betrayal League at Rank 186 playing Elemental Hit. You can follow him on Twitter, or check out his occasional streams on Twitch.
As we detail in our Atlas guide, as you progress through the Zana questline, you can use the Shaper’s Orbs that Zana gives you to shape maps of your choosing. This increases the tier of that map by 5, therefore making them theoretically much more lucrative for drops and experience.
Since you receive a limited number of Shaper’s Orbs (you cannot shape every map on your atlas), this guide will provide you with our recommendations for the best maps to shape at each tier.
Recommended Maps to Shape in Blight 3.8
Tier 1 Maps
Jungle Valley Map is our recommended pick, as it as a simple layout that can be quickly cleared.
Tier 2 Maps
Alleyways Map and Armoury Map are the best options overall due to layout, monster count, and density. Choose Alleyways Map if you plan on using your Elder orb on Armoury Map, otherwise, we prefer Armoury. An alternative option is Mesa Map, which has a great layout but poor density and monster count.
Tier 3 Maps
Ashen Wood Map and Ivory Temple Map both have good density and relatively simple layouts, once you are used to them. Tropical Island Map has a pleasant tileset and layout but has less density and monster count.
Tier 4 Maps
Channel Map (layout and Humility), Burial Chambers Map (layout and chance at The Doctor) and Arid Lake Map (layout and tileset) are our recommendations based on your preference. Humility from Channel Map nets you a nice consistent profit every map or two, while Burial Chambers Map offers a small chance at a big prize. Arid Lake Map is one of the most fun maps to clear and the tileset is extremely relaxing and safe due to the vast open area of the map.
All three of these maps are contenders for Elder’s Orb usage. If you plan on using your Tier 16 on one of these maps, consider not Shaping it so you do not later have to pay to unshape your Atlas.
Tier 5 Maps
Beach Map is one of the most fun maps to farm in the entire game for many players, and it is hard to argue with — great layout, tileset, monster count, and solid density make this our pick of the litter for Tier 5. City Square Map is a strong alternative that some groups of players find to be one of the best, although the layout takes some getting used to and the bosses can be dangerous.
Haunted Mansion Map has great density and mob count, but the layout takes a bit of getting used to. Once you have this map down it makes an excellent choice for Elder’s Orb, as well.
Three of these maps are contenders for Elder’s Orb usage. If you plan on using your Tier 16 on one of these maps, consider not Shaping it so you do not later have to pay to unshape your Atlas.
Tier 6 Maps
Estuary Map is one our personal favorites, with a fantastic layout, good density and count, and a divination card that can offer a little profit ( Heterochromia). Alternately, Vault Map has an exceptional layout once you figure out the trick to farming it quickly, as well as a valuable divination cards ( such as The Hoarder).
Tier 7 Maps
Underground Sea Map remains a dominant option for whatever tier it ends up on each league. Excellent monster count, top-tier density, a Divination card that sustains your Orb of Alchemy count reliably ( The Survivalist), and a great layout. It takes a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of this map it can be farmed extremely fast. Bazaar Map is another great choice, with strong density and monster count and a valuable drop of The Saint's Treasure. The layout of Bazaar Map is frustrating to some, but it usually does not hamper your clearing too much and the monster count makes up for it. Waste Pool Map can be farmed extremely quickly as well, featuring one of the most straightforward layouts in Path of Exile.
Tier 8 Maps
Volcano Map is our favorite of the bunch, with a simple layout, great monster count and density, and valuable Divination Cards ( Pride Before the Fall/ The King's Heart). Another fan-favorite is Atoll Map, which generally has a great monster count and has an extremely simple layout based. Underground River Map also offers a nice layout (one straight line) which some players find relaxing, despite the below average density and monster count.
Tier 9 Maps
Tier 10 Maps
Moon Temple Map returns as a Tier 10 this league and is our immediate pick for one of the best maps to farm. Top-tier density, huge monster count, The Twilight Moon, an easy boss, and a simple layout once you have it figured out. Toxic Sewer Map is also a great contender, with one of the best layouts and clear speeds in the game. The boss is a little dangerous for some builds, but otherwise this map is hard to argue with.
Plateau Map, Dunes Map, and Bog Map all have nice layouts and decent density. Pick one of these for the third map that you shape — our preference is Dunes Map due to the pleasant tileset, solid density, and safe boss.
Elder Orb Options
The Elder’s Orb transforms any Map on the Atlas into a Tier 16 Map. One of the great things about the Elder’s Orb is the sheer flexibility it provides you, as you can opt to transform even Tier 1 Maps that you enjoy to farmable Tier 16s. Unfortunately, you only get a single Elder Orb, although you can always revise your choice. See our Atlas of Worlds and Map Guide for more detailed information. You cannot use the Elder’s Orb on a Map you have already Shaped — it must be unshaped first.
There are several considerations when choosing the placement of your Elder’s Orb:
- Pack size and density of the Map
- Surrounding Maps for Sextant Placement (lower tier Maps are typically better as they are surrounded by White Maps, allowing the use of Apprentice Cartographer’s Sextant Apprentice Cartographer’s Sextants)
- Map layout
- League Mechanic (leagues like Legion typically prefer open maps, while a league like Beyond works better in maps with tight clusters of enemies)
- Personal preference
- Personal preference has a large influence over choice of map, however, you will still want to make a selection that has either great profit or great mob count/density in order to maximize your map sustain.
Depending on your level of investment, priorities within game, or level of experience, these factors may having significantly varying importance to you as a player. Here are PoE Vault’s recommendations for Elder Orb placement in Patch 3.8 Blight League:
- City Square Map has a great layout, Sextant placement, and density. This map has three bosses, which makes it great for map sustain as well, but it can be a bit dangerous for some builds and has the potential to instantly murder squishier characters.
- Beach Map has a simple layout and fairly strong density. The tileset is generally quite popular among players and league mechanics or Zana mods feel very suited to the map. Certain monsters and the boss itself in this Map can be dangerous on Tier 16, however, Beach is always a strong option.
- Burial Chambers Mapis actually a great choice for Elder’s Orb this league due to the ease of sextant placement. It has fair density and monster count, but the boss can be a little frustrating if you do not have the damage to burn through her Soul Eater on Tier 16. Still, the major reason to Elder this map is The Doctor, which you can farm for while getting excellent experience.
- Haunted Mansion Map has fantastic density and a layout that is really easy to clear, once you get used to it. The boss is usually quite easy to deal with, but with certain mods or kill speeds can occasionally surprise you and result in a quick death if proper care is not taken. This map is best suited for builds that do not require large open areas in order to maximize their effectiveness, and feels especially good with quick builds that rely heavily on their mobility skills and do not need to stop much to clear, such as Blade Vortex or Storm Brand.
- Arid Lake Map has a wide open layout and a pleasant tileset. The main upside of this map is the sextant placement, many league mechanics (such as monoliths) being easy to deal with, and the ease of clear. Being a wide open Map, Arid Lake is extraordinarily safe to farm, offering plenty of space to kite around, especially if Betrayal monsters spawn at an inconvenient time. The Map’s boss is also extremely non-threatening — Arid Lake is one of the best options for safety.
- Channel Map is a good option for trade leagues, as the layout is simple and quick to clear and it offers consistent profit from Humility cards. Channel is positioned well for Sextant use, as well.
These are just a few of the options — the beauty of the Elder’s Orb is that it can be adjusted at will to suit the strengths of your build, or to target specific Divination Cards.
The choice of which map to shape is flexible, and once you are experienced enough to have preferred maps, you should feel free to deviate from our recommendations.
Also keep in mind that first few maps you shape will likely not matter, as you will almost never want to run these (tier 6-8 maps) over higher tier maps or different maps of these tiers which you need for your Atlas completion.