Path of Exile's arguably most unique addition to the hack-n-slash genre were the concepts of skill (and support) gems and linking. Skill gems effectively give you an unparallelled amount of choice regarding your character's active abilities, since you can use any ability in the game if you put its skill gem in a socket in your gear. Support gems give additional effects to these skills, for example, more elemental damage, life or mana steal, critical chance, area of effect damage, and so on.
How linking affects all this is as follows: The more sockets are linked in your gear, the more support gems you can link to your active skill gem, thus making your active skills (therefore your character itself) exponentially more powerful. The most common method of achieving the most links possible is by using Jeweller's Orb repeatedly on an item to achieve the maximum number of sockets, Chromatic Orb to get the correct colors and finally, Orb of Fusing.
Orb of Fusing lets you reforge the links between the sockets of a given item, which is practically the only way of getting a highly coveted (and rightly so!) 6-linked items. (That is, if you don't count Tabula Rasa, which is a unique armor that is 6-linked by nature, but offers no stats whatsoever, making it a strictly cheaper and worse alternative to 6-linked rares and other uniques.) The number of possible sockets on an item are determined by its item type and item level.
Only high item level two-handed weapons and body armors can have 5-6 sockets, which makes them a prime target for Orb of Fusing use. Naturally, you can link multiple skill gems to one support gem as well (the most common example of this is linking multiple auras to one Reduce Mana and/or Blood Magic gem, thereby giving all the linked auras a reduced mana cost), but the most tempting use of linking is of course attaching up to 5 support gems to your active skill of choice. One such that comes to mind is the Cast on Crit/Ethereal Knives build. Using this build, after just one manual cast of Ethereal Knives, your character will automatically “proc” multiple Ethereal Knives with greatly increased critical strike chance and damage at a blinding speed, effectively until there are no monsters left in range.
Managing to craft a 5 or 6-linked item, however, is an arduous task; if one sets out to farm everything manually, I venture so far as to say that it's downright impossible due to the fact that it requires at least a good amount of Jeweller's Orbs and several hundred Orbs of Fusing.
That shouldn't discourage anyone though, our Path of Exile store is well-suited and well-prepared to meet anyone's PoE needs, be it a good base item for your 6-linked dream, Jeweller's Orb, Orb of Fusing, or if you prefer to take the easy way out, you can find already 6-linked uniques in our selection as well.
The pictures in this article are the property of Grinding Gear Games.
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