Path of Exile: How do Skill Gems and sockets work featured

Path of Exile has a dense gear system that allows you to add gems that customize your skills. The Skill Gem system is how you’ll be gaining different skills and customizing your attacks. Each of your gear will have a number of sockets that you can place Skill Gems into. Based on the Skill Gems that you place into sockets, you’ll unlock different skills that you can put into your Skill Bar. The system seems complicated at first, but this guide will break down how Skill Gems and sockets work in Path of Exile.

What are Skill Gems and sockets in Path of Exile?

Skill Gems are items that you will periodically unlock as you explore the world. You can get Skill Gems as drops, purchase them from vendors as you play the game, or trade them with other players. You’ll notice that each Skill Gem is a different color, either Red, Blue, or Green. Each colored Skill Gem in Path of Exile can be placed into one of the sockets in your gear if the color is matching. For example, take a look at these Skill Gems in this gear setup:

Skill Gem 1

Screenshot by PC Invasion

When you insert a Skill Gem into one of these slots, the skill will be equipable on the bottom right of your screen. You can equip these skills and use them in battle. When you take out one of these Skill Gems from your gear, you won’t be able to use that skill unless you re-equip the Skill Gem.

Path of Exile: How do Skill Gems and sockets work 2

Screenshot by PC Invasion

The color of these Skill Gems corresponds to one of the major offensive stats in Path of Exile. Blue skills correspond to Intelligence, Green skills to Dexterity, and Red skills to Strength. You’ll want to take a look at your build to see which Skill Gems you want to equip for your build, but generally you’ll use Skill Gems that match the stats you’re raising. For example, if your build requires you to raise the stats of your Strength, you might find yourself using Red Skill Gems. (There are also White sockets that you can place any Skill Gem into.)

There are also “support” Skill Gems that can add an effect to one of your abilities. You can link up support Skill Gems if your sockets are linked. Take a look at the image below. You’ll notice in this chest piece, the six blue Skill Gems are linked together, which means that you can equip up to five other support Skill Gems. In this setup, we have the Blue Skill Gem “Arc” equipped, with five other support gems.

Skill Gem 3

Screenshot by PC Invasion

There are tons of unique synergies with support Skill Gems. For example, in this build, the ‘Arc’ skill is linked with the ‘Blastchain Mine Support’ Skill Gem. This transforms the Arc spell into detonatable mines. Other support gems can be used to increase the potency of skills, or change their affect even further.

Finding interesting pairs like this is the key to playing Path of Exile and creating your dream build. Your Skill Gems can also get stronger as you use them in battle. As you defeat enemies while using Skill Gems, they’ll gain EXP points and grow more powerful. (However, some skills may be harder to use as you level them up.)

Those are the basics of how Skill Gems and sockets work in Path of Exile. Find the best synergizes and create the best build for your character.

Joshua Chu
Joshua is a freelance writer and a passionate gamer, from thriving at JRPGs like Persona or struggling to land a shot in your favorite FPS game. He wants to play more games, but his life is overtaken by live service misadventures like League of Legends, Teamfight Tactics, Genshin Impact, and Overwatch 2. He sees battle passes in his sleep, and he wishes he doesn't...

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