SMK's Alternate Character Leveling Guide / Tips & Tricks

Why This Guide?

I was inspired to do this because I’ve noticed people on the forum here saying the process is slow and takes a lot of willpower to deal with. This has made me want to share what I’ve learned that might make this less frustrating for some people.

Since 0.9e dropped, I have been leveling characters in online mode. (About the last 60 days.) I have successfully leveled four characters all the way to 100 since then. I estimate my total playtime for all four at approximately 440 hours. This of course means an average of about 110 hours each. I might not be the fastest player in Last Epoch - In fact, I’m certain I’m not - But I know for sure I’ve learned some things you need to pay attention to if you plan on leveling many alternate characters.

What To Do


Sorry to say, damage should almost always take priority over everything else. Most characters are glass cannons in Last Epoch, and your survivability will be limited until you get higher end items with more stats to keep you alive. On almost any class, you should be looking for the most flat damage, % increased damage and attack or cast speed you can from items and passives. Resistance Shred and Penetration generally won’t help you but Armor Shred might. Luckily, most of any of these that you might need are built into items or passives. Stick to stacking % increase and added bonuses, rather than penetration.

Also notice that there are some skills that multiply the damage of other skills several times over. Those are the combinations of skills you should be looking to identify and use. That multiplicative effect is what is going to allow you to be the most effective at killing enemies. This will actually keep you safe also, because the faster you take enemies off the screen, the less they can do to you in general.

If things are starting to bog down for you, you’re probably not hitting hard enough. Look for more damage from items and idols, or consider going back to town and respecing your passives.

You should probably do the opposite on your blessings from Monolith though prioritizing defense, so that you can devote more idols, passives and equipment to damage. The one notable exception to are the % increased damage blessings, if they’re in a non-crucial slot where there is no defense you’d rather have to free up other things.

If you want a sure-fire build that works well, run a minion Acolyte with Necromancer spec, making sure to use Bone Golem, Transplant and any other minions you like. Throw in Volatile Zombie for fun as well. This build is extremely safe and hits hard. Can’t go wrong with this one.


You should have a vague idea of what your build needs to be before you start. It would be smart to plan your build out on LastEpochTools before you begin, but I personally don’t like to do this because it removes some of the free wheeling and creativity from things for me.

However, if you do choose to do this, the advantage is that you can have the site build you a loot filter which will make it much easier to manage your inventory and not miss out on key items. (See below.)

If you’re not sure how to install this, go to settings and click on Manage Loot Filter and then Import Filter. (See below.)

Step 1

Step 2

Having gotten that out of the way, you’re all set to start playing the game!

Main Campaign

In Last Epoch, one of the things it’s good to know is that playing the campaign past a certain point won’t help you anymore. Many people think where you need to stop is Lagon, but you can stop playing the main campaign much earlier if you pay attention to the special rewards on the quests. Let me show you what I’m referring to:

If you press M, you can open the map screen and then all the available quests will be listed. (You should take every quest that pops up in each town, goes without saying.) Notice in the bottom left where it says “Passive Point Rewards” and “Idol Slot Rewards”? Once these are maxed out and you have discovered the End of Time zone, you can stop playing the campaign and move on to Monolith.

Notice also on the right side I have a quest selected that shows “1 passive point” as the reward. Every time you get a new bunch of quests, check and see if any of them give these rewards. These are what you need to prioritize. You actually don’t need to beat Lagon to finish these. You can be done by about the last quest in Heoborea.

Keep Lots of Idols

This task will become annoying, but the teal colored items you see dropping from time to time are idols. You need these to get extraneous stats and bonuses that are either exclusive to your class, or are just hard to get from gear and passives in general. You want to keep the ones that have no class requirement and give resistances at the very least. These are essential to filling out your build and making sure you can stay alive on certain encounters and bosses later in the game, or deal enough damage to stay effective.

This is annoying because they take up so much bank space, but don’t be afraid to do this. Also bear in mind that 75% is the maximum you can have for any resistance (Over gain only protects you against rare debuffs like Marked for Death which lower them by 25%) so you really only need enough to get that, plus the ones that provide whichever damage type it is the main attack you’re running with deals.

You will also notice over time that there is an upper limit on how much a particular buff can give on a particular shape or type of idol, so make sure to try to mainly keep the ones that are within 2 to 3 % of the maximum. This will help you save on space as you collect these.

[ Above is where you use idols once the slots are all unlocked. ]

Max Out Your Resistances

This isn’t always the easiest task but I thought it bore mentioning: Around the time you hit level 60 or so, or have gotten done with the first Monolith or two (I’ll talk more about those in a second,) it’s a really good idea to max out your resistances. (75% each.) The reason for this is that enemies start to litter the screen pretty densely from Ending the Storm onwards in Monolith, and that’s where you want to not die in one or two hits. This will massively speed up the process and will help you not get discouraged by dying on bosses repeatedly.

This advice applies to every class equally except maybe Rogue. Rogue has enough options to get out of getting hit that you don’t have to worry about it quite as much. There are probably some ward retention builds on Mage that may get to skip out on this as well, but those require higher end gear and passives you’re not going to see right away, at least not on a first playthrough.

However, network lag is still a thing and in online play you’re going to want to be able to eat more than one hit without dying instantly. If you find yourself getting knocked down a lot, this is the main thing you need to correct this.

[ Press C to see your resistances. ]


Return to the End of Time to do Monolith. From the teleporter, walk all the way to the right and go into the open space. This will take you to the Monolith area. The first scenario, called “Fall of the Outcasts” says it is challenge rating 58, but I had no issues starting this around level 52 on my Sentinel. Your mileage may vary, but if your build is good you don’t really need to be 58 to start Monolith.

One thing to keep in mind is that your bank storage space is limited and the more stuff you pick up you intend to keep, the more precious gold will become. That being the case, you will either have to start to make peace with not keeping unique and exalted items you like, or buying more bank space. The rate at which you can buy bank space will keep pace with what you pick up for about the first 300-400 hours, if you’re strictly buying bank tabs with the money you receive as rewards. However, you will start having to avoid rewards that give unique and set items and prioritize gold, glyph and shard reward echoes, which are less fun to receive than new items.

No matter what you do regarding this, I recommend keeping every set item that drops. After 440 hours of playing the game, I only have 3 and a half tabs worth the set items. You can make room in your bank for them, as not that many of these drop, at least not in the current build.

I also recommend prioritizing the Tome of Experience echoes, because you cannot possibly have too much experience.


See the Monolith map below:

Notice the quests listed on the left side of the Monolith screen. These unlock as you get enough timeline stability. Click on these and click Enter at the bottom of the screen to play them, same as any of the echo nodes on the map.

Additionally, each Monolith you fight the final boss of will give you a buff or extra loot chance of some kind, called Blessings. Finishing the first Monolith can give a blessing where you gain bonus % experience, up to 5% on the first round. (Strength of Mind) It is worth repeating this Monolith several times to obtain this blessing if you don’t get it first try. Each boss gives unique rewards, so read up on them on LastEpochTools.

Empowered Monolith

Once you beat all 8 of the starting Monolith scenarios, you unlock Empowered Monolith by returning to this thing on the map and clicking it:

This makes it possible to select the level 100 version of each Monolith. (Don’t worry, you can still do the regular ones.) And this greatly increases the experience points that they give. You’ll be late 80’s or early 90’s by the time you get this to unlock.

Additionally, completing this version of a Monolith will give you a stronger version of the blessings that are available for these. I recommend replaying “Fall of the Outcasts” as many times as required to get the % experience bonus blessing. (Grand Strength of Mind) This can go up to 10% and is a massive time savings if it pops. But you have nothing to lose in trying to get it over again a few times because the experience is the same each time.

Tome of Experience Banking (Empowered Monolith)

It is actually possible to play Empowered Monolith to where you avoid playing the Tome of Experience nodes as much as possible and save them for later. The incentive for doing this is that they scale to level, so they will be more valuable later on when you’re level 95+. Do every node regardless of what it is instead of Tome of Experience nodes, and come back eventually when experience has slowed down for a huge boost. This is especially effective 98-100.

[ This is what a Tome of Experience node looks like. ]


You can raise corruption on Monolith, which raises experience and also the difficulty of enemies. I never did this, so that might be the answer to leveling faster late game. However, I was wary of doing this because there didn’t seem to be a way to lower it again. For the sake of not getting stuck, you might also want to leave it be. Up to you, experiment with this and let me know what you find out.

Arena Keys

If you did not yet discover the Arena, go to Heoborea and travel west. In the bottom left corner of the Wingari Fortress, there is a door to get to more maps. Eventually you will arrive at the Champion’s Gate. This is where you can use Arena Keys that drop in Monolith to play the Arena. I have been told this is faster than leveling in Monolith, so once you have the blessings and items you want from Monolith, it might be a good idea to gather up your keys you’ve received and bring them here.

Keep in mind that going down on wave 100 will not net you more experience than just running Monolith, so your build needs to be solid and your damage output high before you do this. Probably somewhere between level 70 and 80 and having gotten all the blessings you need from regular Monolith is the right time to do this.

[ This is where you can find the arena. ]

Once you finish leveling or if you decide not to use the Arena, you can always sell those keys for 7k gold to buy more bank tabs. I resorted to doing this most of the time because of how much money it takes to buy bank tabs on later characters.

Tips and Tricks

Dirty Tactics

Early on in Monolith, Arena echoes will give disproportionate amounts of experience. What I’ve found is that around levels 60-70, it’s useful if you find one that has a lot of extra stability potential, to do about 80% of that stability bar in defeating enemies and then town portal out and immediately restart it. You can gain a quick level by doing this and I don’t believe it is an exploit due to the fact that you’re allowed to leave an echo whenever you want. All this means is that you’re spending less time getting echo rewards and more time killing enemies. This does not stay useful way later on, because enemy experience becomes pretty miserable by the time you’re 96 or 97. But any time before that point, this can be a good way to bump your last 10% or 20% up to the next level.

The same thing is true if you’re running short on bank space and need a little cash to get to the next tab. You can join an echo, use your movement abilities to search for a Shrine of Wealth, collect it and immediately leave. It might take 5 or 10 tries to find enough rewards for this to add up, but it is much faster than slogging your way through the entire echo in order to get the reward. And at higher levels, it’s nearly mandatory because money is so scarce compared to what your next infinitely-more-expensive bank tab will cost, the cost of which raises by 10k each time.

Both of these tactics also lack downsides once you have already failed (died on) an echo that is useful for this. If you fail an arena or an open map, you then have free license to go in and farm without worrying any longer about losing the echo reward. That being the case, don’t forget to take advantage of this. The same thing is technically true of completing an echo’s objectives; dying will not cause you to lose the rewards, so feel free to explore the rest of the map if you have already done what you needed to do. (This also makes it a great point in the game to go AFK and take a break or get a snack.)

Super Lategame Leveling

From level 98 continuing to 100 you should focus on going back and doing any echoes in Empowered Monolith that are easy to get to that give Tomes of Experience as the reward. (This is where that idea of banking these nodes like I mentioned earlier starts to pay off.) Complete these as fast as possible, mostly bypassing the enemies, especially once you’re level 99. The amount of your experience bar this fills up versus clearing mobs is dramatically higher and will cut hours off the process of finishing out your character.

To this end, if you have an Empowered Monolith map that is kind of empty because you did it a lot already, it might be good to look for a Vessel of Memory to use to reset the rewards on that map. These are kind of rare but very helpful when they do show up. This will allow you to go back and do all of the nodes again, including the ones that give Tomes of Experience.

[ This is what a Vessel of Memory node looks like. ]

Key Exalted Items

If you’re looking for direct and considerable buffs to damage, do not discount Exalted items. Exalted items begin to drop in Monolith. On many if not most builds, unless a specific unique or set item is your best-in-slot for your main hand, most of the time an Exalted item with a T6 or T7 buff to the damage you’re trying to deal is going to be the best option. Pick these up just in the hope that you might use them eventually.

Pay extra attention to the implicit buffs (the white text above the item’s tier bonuses) because these start to give % increased damage to specific damage types. The amount some of the base stats on Exalted items can buff your damage starts to become crazy. You definitely don’t want to miss out on a big boost to the damage type your build favors.

[ See above: My paladin’s damage-over-time sceptre showed up pretty early in this run. This was a huge boost I’m glad I didn’t miss out on. ]

Glyph of Despair

To that end, also save up your Glyphs of Despair. You’re going to need these to have a chance to get the stats you want to have on your useful Exalted items. What these allow you to do is to seal a tier (suffix / affix) that is not maxed on the item already in order to add a completely new one. You can use these at the forge when you craft to try to max out your Exalted items. Don’t fail to notice that they have a higher chance to succeed the lower a tier currently is that you’re trying to seal.

(I’d show you one here but I’m fresh out at the moment.)

Key Uniques or Set Items

Every build is likely to have a unique or set item or two that put it over the top. When you’re planning your build, see if these items exist and if they drop off Monolith bosses. You should focus on getting those before moving on.

You can also get unique and set item rewards from echoes based on which Monolith you’re currently running, labeled exclusive echo rewards when you open the Monolith screen:

If you know there’s a specific slot you need a unique or set item in, it is good to linger on these, especially in Empowered Monolith, because you really have no reason not to. Certain essential build items can boost your damage over the top and make getting to 100 take much less time.

When Not To Glass Cannon

Sentinel is probably the one class that has the option not to be a glass cannon. When you have obtained Sunforged Greathelm and Isadora’s Tomb Binding on your Sentinel, it’s probably time to start thinking about building armor and shield block chance. Block effectiveness is generally less important but still something you can get. You also definitely want the shield shard that gives % less damage taken on block. All of that is gravy and will keep you alive in certain situations that feel unavoidable from time to time.

Obviously, if Sentinel is not the class of the first character or two you play, definitely hold on to these items if they drop. Isadora’s is useful on a myriad of characters and builds but is extremely useful on Sentinel when you decide you want to level one.

Not to spoil too much, but here’s what those look like, shown below:

[ Isadora’s Tomb Binding ]

[ Sunforged Greathelm ]

Stuff to Hold On To

In principle, this is also true of a lot of other unique and set items. If anything looks interesting or like it would be helpful while leveling, it wouldn’t hurt to hold on to it. Sinathia’s and Pebble’s, Shattered Lance, Woven Flesh and several other items are super useful for different builds and should be banked for future leveling rather than discarded because you didn’t need them. Pay attention to this because it will save you time in the long run.

There are even level one unique items like Lessons of the Metropolis, Vipertail or Humming Bee for Rogue that can be used right away as soon as you create your character, for a good ways into the campaign. Definitely look out for these as well.

Gambler’s Fallacy and eventually Suloron’s Step are both incredible (especially together) for various builds as well, especially Sentinel. This allows Rebuke to kill nearly everything on the screen consistently. This will help carry you most if not all of the way through the campaign and a large part of Monolith, when they eventually can be used for other attacks like Void Cleave or Judgement.

[ Above: My brand new Rogue wearing nothing but all or low level uniques that I picked up on other characters. ]

Critical Strike Avoidance

Don’t sleep on this stat, especially as Sentinel. A good amount of this will keep you from getting massacred and will lower the overall amount of health you need to survive, health itself being a harder stat to stack in this game than you might at first think. Woven Flesh is great to this end and is a general get-off-scot-free item, if it turns out you can fit it into your build. (It provides 220 armor and 100% critical strike avoidance.) It drops off the first boss in Monolith, so linger here until you get one on a Sentinel playthrough. In my experience it can also be very useful for Acolyte.

[ Woven Flesh ]

Movement Speed

Don’t ignore or sleep on movement speed. This is needed to make certain Monolith bosses easier. It is also one of the harder stats to get without giving up other things. However, if you are stuck and having a hard time on a few specific bosses, you definitely need to try adding more movement speed to your build temporarily.

To this end, find a good general-stat Exalted boots with movement speed on it that is faster than your standard boots or unique / set boots. You can also use ring slots that you don’t feel are essential to get even more. Arboreal Circuit has quite a bit. This is a common unique ring that drops off several bosses in the main campaign, and it is worth holding on to for this reason.

Chance to Slow On Hit

This is another extremely useful debuff you can give that is particularly helpful to ranged classes like Rogue and in lategame. (Mages probably would rather freeze or chill, but there are probably Mage builds that would use this also.) This is a stat that will allow you to kite a wide variety of enemies more effectively and get hit much less often during Monolith and Empowered Monolith.

The item Vipertail is an easy way to get a lot of it, without giving up too much of your resistances. If you’re running a poison or melee build, you may also benefit from the damage stats. It’s a fairly common drop and it comes with some % dodge rating, which is unusual, so you can’t go wrong with this one.

[ Vipertail ]


110 hours feels like a long time, but as long as you know what you’re doing is or isn’t working and are making adjustments, it won’t take as long as you imagine. Just focus on doing more damage, getting the specific items you need, and freeing up idol slots and passive points by getting defensive blessings. Everything else is just patience.

See you in the 100 club, cowboy.


Good work Solid. I was in fact, just going to post one word: Solid. – but uh yeah you got that in the name lulz. XD

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Very kind! Post yours too. Hopefully we’ll inspire some people to take this on. :slight_smile:

The one I posted a while back that is similar but more condensed is in this thread (which I usually point new players to while I’m in-game) – and it has a list of twink gear to make levelling alts even faster:

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Very cool!

The unfortunate thing is that the hardest part to do is about the last 10 levels or so. The amount that you start to die in Empowered Monolith along with the sheer amount of time it takes to get to the bosses starts to wear on you psychologically. That and the viability of your build really starts to come out at that point. If you’re not hitting hard enough, you’ll start to notice yourself getting stuck for seconds at a time trying to down “of the Ox” large enemies or dying consistently on the same packs over and over again.

While I’m not opposed to the game getting more difficult at that point, it is beyond depressing to find out what you’ve been trying to do for the last 90 hours or so doesn’t actually work on endgame content. Can be very frustrating if you really enjoy the build you’re playing.

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This is SOOOOOOO true. I have at least 6 failed builds right now which were great UNTIL this exact part of the game.

And usually it is the Glass Cannon vs. Total Tank problem. You either OS everything other than T4 level dungeon bosses (and even those you kill so fast that you only need to perfect mechanic for 12s or less) or you have enough def/health to ignore 90% of mechanics and only pay attention to one or two. My 2 million dps Disintegrator is a perfect example of this – I get fatigued and can’t mechanic after a while and BAM (whelp, so much for that key)…

I think the biggest issue here is that the way that emp. monos ramp up can be seriously brutal if you fail to pay attention and get some bad modifier stacks going.

On that note, I’d like to add one other informational list to this thread, which is the 0.9 easiest levelling experience (1-90) builds – at least for me these have been the quickest/best that require nothing but basic gear you won’t have to craft much:
#1 – Lightning Blast // Static // Meteor Sorc (Mage)
#2 – Echoing Warpath // Erasing Strike // Shield Rush Void Knight (Sentinel)
#3 – Flurry // Multishot // Dark Quiver Marksman (Rogue)
#4 – Skeleton Archer // Skeleton Mage // Volatile Zombie (Fire Version) Necromancer (Acolyte)
#5 – Werebear // Upheaval // Fury Leap //Swipe (Physical Version) Druid (Primalist)

What basic builds were the easiest to level for y’all?

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I think the easiest build to level by far was Fire Minion Acolyte. The insane damage that build does while being relatively safe is almost entirely dependent on stacking % increased minion fire damage and nearly nothing else. It might be the most accessible build just because Bone Golem can keep you completely safe once you spec it correctly.

Second easiest would definitely be Sentinel. Rebuke hits insanely hard and pairs well with Gambler’s Fallacy. You can get by until way late in the game just riding that and switching to something else like Judgement or Void Cleave as your main damage ability.

Golem Necro. It’s beyond easy and braindead. You should rather ask for the most fun builds :wink: .

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To me, Fire Minion / Bone Golem was also the most fun to play. Especially if you 5th ability Volatile Zombie with Dragonflame Edict. Really a good time.

All I can add here is if fast levelling is your thing, the Arena is MUCH faster than Monoliths. If you have several Memory Keys, even better. However, the rewards are crap.

Note I have a huge bank of very very strong twink items for all levels, and a decent collection of build-enabling Uniques, so my experience may not be typical. Despite that, the top 6 builds I found to be OP for levelling fast and safely, and pushing far in Arena and/or murdering monoliths and bosses with ease were (in order of power):

  1. Flame Wraith Necro (with Wraith staff)
  2. Squirrels Beastmaster (Bleed version, not crit)
  3. Cold Dot Werebear Druid
  4. Tornado/Lightning Swarmblade Druid
  5. Minion-based Swarmblade Druid
  6. Storm Totem Buffing Shaman

I went with a top 6 because I personally felt a gulf between these 6 builds and those I will now list below as “honourable mentions”. This could be down to what I had in my bank, as I play Acolyte and Primalist mostly.

Honourable mentions:
Shield Throw Paladin
Hammer Throw Paladin
Flame Minion/Volatile Zombie Necro
Necrotic Damage Death Seal/Reaper Lich

And the weakest builds imo:
Any Sorcerer build :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I have little to no experience with Rogues.

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This is good information, I did not know this. I will add it to my guide.

I kinda wish I had known that because I literally sold all of mine for bank tabs. lol

IF you have a good build and if you are able to push high arena numbers. Going down on wave 100 will not yield more XP then running the same ammount of time in a monolith. Arena yields better XP when you can kill fast and push high arena waves. If you are unable to do so or if you learn the game or if you are simply a talentfree pleb like I am arena is a big loss over monolith runs.

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In my tests, even if you cannot push Arena that far, it still offers considerably better enemy density than non-Arena monoliths. It’s easy to test for your build, however. Spend 15 minutes in one activity, then 15 mins in the other and note your experience change. I think you’ll be surprised.

p.s. I mean endless Arena; even just 100 waves of that is almost non-stop, high-density enemies. There’s a lot of faffing between Monoliths (and even just moving through them) where you are not killing stuff.

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Is that still true on levels 98 to 100, where Tomes of Experience give something like 2% of your experience bar? I can complete those in less than 5 minutes in most cases, which means I’m getting 0.4 to 0.5 % of my experience bar a minute at that point. That’s about 3.3 hours per level.

Well I wouldn’t know of its true for that very niche case.

I will test first chance I get as I have a char closing on level 98 atm. But I feel you’d be at the mercy of the RNG of getting a decent amount of Experience echoes?

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Awesome! Can’t wait to hear what you find out. :slight_smile:

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Awesome guide btw. Love it.

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That’s very kind, I’m super glad you feel that way. Would not have been as good without you all’s help here. Super stoked people may find it useful.

The thing is mostly people who are rather fresh to the game and who are far away from hundrets or thousands of hours complain leveling is a slug. I’d be suprised if the majority of these people even have good leveling builds or saved up leveling items or whatever.

Sending someone with little experience into the arena is less effective in the long run. I level faster in the arena because after thousands of hours ingame I know what I do and I sleepwalk until later waves.

When I think about average Joe who plays the game for onehundret hours who reads “Arena yields more XP/h” average Joe might have a rough awakening because he didn’t get the subtext of “If you are experienced, have a decent build, decent gear and if you know how to dodge offscreen OSK.”.

Then again you are not wrong at all but I think monoliths is a saver bet and with my lootfilter in place I have little downtime. Then again I never played Arena in MP are there a lot of loading times?

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I think there’s evidence this is intended also because the keys sell for so much money. It’s almost like they know that the Arena is useless after you hit 100.