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Path of Exile multiplayer explainer: Co-op and loot sharing

Group up with friends or random allies

Path of Exile multiplayer Image: Grinding Gear Games via Polygon
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Multiplayer is a key element to action RPGs like Path of Exile. You and your friends can party up in a group size between two and six to adventure through the game world and into late game activities. But there are a few key things to consider when partying, like how much harder it makes the monsters, or how it affects your loot drops.

How to group up in Path of Exile

Path of Exile multiplayer
Invite friends via the social menu
Image: Grinding Gear Games via Polygon

Getting a group together is one of the least complicated aspects of Path of Exile. Press “S” to open your social menu (or navigate to the social menu using your controller), and look for the section at the bottom that says Friend Invite. Type the name of your friend’s character into the space to add them to your friends list.

Then, once they’re online, you can select their name and invite them to your group. You won’t be able to see your friends in some areas — like before you reach Lioneye’s Watch at the start of the game. You may need to progress alone for a moment until you enter a new area.

It’s also possible you could enter another version (instance) of town than your friend — meaning you won’t see each other — but they will show back up in the world with you once you enter a questing area. If you and your friend are both in a questing area and you can’t find them, click on the little portal next to their portrait to teleport to their instance.

You can also use the public party system in the social menu to find like-minded players. You can create your own public party, join other folk’s public parties, or turn your private party into a public party. A public party is essentially an open invite for other Path of Exile players to join your group without being on your friends list. You can even set a description for what activities you’re planning on doing.

How does loot work in a party?

Path of Exile multiplayer
Change the way gear works in your co-op sessions
Image: Grinding Gear Games via Polygon

When you adventure through Path of Exile in a party, you have the option to change the loot rules. Here’s a quick rundown of each of the options:

Free for All

When an item drops, any player can pick it up if they’re fast enough. Whoever picks it up first keeps it.

Short Allocation

This setting randomly assigns loot to nearby party members. But if your party member doesn’t pick up the item assigned to them after a few moments, it will become lootable for any other party members.

Permanent Allocation

Similar to Short Allocation, this setting randomly assigns loot to nearby party members. But it will never become Free for All loot, no matter how much time passes.

If you or one of your allies gets assigned a piece of loot that you don’t want or is better for an ally, you can drop it on the ground so your pal can pick it up.

Can I play with friends that are a higher level than me?

Path of Exile multiplayer
Change your Level Downscaling segment to make playing with friends easier
Image: Grinding Gear Games via Polygon

If you want to play with higher (or lower) level friends, you will need to adjust your Level Downscaling setting.

If you enable Level Downscaling while playing with lower level friends, the game will adjust your level appropriately, and your friends will get full experience points.

If you disable Level Downscaling, you will stay at your normal level and your lower level friends will incur an experience point penalty — meaning they won’t earn as much as they’re supposed to.

If you’re playing with higher level friends, allow them to create the party and adjust the Level Downscaling setting.

Playing in a group does also make the game harder — as enemies gain bonus health. But it also increases loot drops for the entire party.

Getting into a group in Path of Exile is pretty easy. Now you just have a few dozen other systems to master.

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