Path of Exile: Vaal Skill Gems, Vaal Orbs and Corrupted Modifiers
Path of Exile

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Welcome new Exiles! I’m here to share some Path of Exile tips for beginners regarding Vaal Skill Gems, Vaal Orbs, and the Corrupted modifier. Let’s get to it!

Corrupted 101

So, right from the start, you may have run into one or two items with the word “Corrupted” in its description. You may be wondering what that means? Corrupted is simply a special modifier that can be applied to items and strongboxes. Any items, including skill gems, that are Corrupted may have unique, implicit modifiers that can’t be applied by other PoE currency orbs, such as the Orb of Augmentation, the Orb of Transmutation or Chaos Orbs. Examples include leeching a percentage of elemental damage as life or increasing the level of equipped Vaal Skill gems by one or two. The downside to this interesting mod is that you cannot alter the item any further with any currency orbs, like Blacksmith’s Whetstones, Jeweler’s Orbs or even the legendary Exalted Orbs. Basically, on items with the Corrupted mod in place, what you see is what you get, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re useless. If you have a Vaal Skill Gem on hand for instance, having an item that increases the level of that gem is extremely useful, given the way that these particular skill gems work.

Vaal Skill Gems?

Vaal Skill Gems are vastly superior versions of a few normal Skill Gems, such as Fireball or Detonate Dead. Unlike the normal skills, Vaal skills are much more powerful and can be devastating when used properly. Something this powerful, however, has a cost; in this case, you’ll need the souls of your slain enemies to use the skill. Each enemy you slay adds one soul to your skill counter and once you’ve collected enough souls, the gem will be charged with one use. It might seem lame that you only get one use, but these skills are so ridiculously powerful, sometimes one use is good enough.

You’re probably thinking, “Where can I find one of these?” There are many ways to find Vaal gems. An easy way to find one is by locating and entering a Corrupted Area. I found my first Vaal gem by entering one of these during my travels.

After I defeated Brutus, the Warden of the Prison in Act 1, I explored the Prisoner’s Gate area until I noticed something strange. My screen dimmed to a reddish colour and I saw bloody tendrils beckoning me to follow them. When I reached the source, I discovered that I stumbled upon a Corrupted Area.

Upon entering the map (here known as the Deadly Remote Gulch), I noticed the monsters dealt more damage, but yielded more rewards as a result of their defeat. Battling my way to the back of the area and defeating the boss (Sheaq, Maker of Floods), I discovered a Vaal Vessel. Breaking it open yielded my first Vaal Skill (Vaal Detonate Dead) and opened a portal to return back to the Prisoner’s Gate.

I’m not 100% sure what the chances of finding a Corrupted Area are, but you’re bound to run into one sooner than later. It’s well within your interest to find, enter and clear out these unique areas, since you’ll gain plenty of experience as well as a valuable Vaal gem for your trouble.

You may also find Vaal gems in Corrupted or Gemcutter’s Strongboxes as well as using a Vaal Orb. Speaking of Vaal Orbs…

Vaal Orbs – Risk vs. Reward

Vaal Orbs are a currency of uncommon rarity that can be dropped from monsters, chests, barrels and the like.

As the description notes, it adds the Corrupted modifier to the applied item, weapon or gem, but it also causes random side-effects – some benign, others not so much. For instance, applying a Vaal Orb to a piece of equipment can either result in it having one of the special Corrupted modifiers (life leech, +1 to Vaal Skill gem levels, etc.), reroll the item into a rare item with randomized sockets, links and affixes or it can simply have no change on the item, save for it being Corrupted and thus unable to be further modified. When used on gems, it may either increase or decrease levels or quality, transform the gem into its Vaal equivalent or again becoming corrupted with no further effects. Vaal Orbs work similarly to Orbs of Chance, with the biggest difference being that you can’t apply another Vaal Orb to modify the item further, as opposed to Orbs of Chance, which can be used over and over again until you get the result you desire. Regardless, it’s up to you, fellow Exiles, to determine if the risk is worth the reward!

If you’re looking for Vaal Orbs to experiment on your own, or unique corrupted weapons or armour, you should consider visiting the Path of Exile store at! You’ll find these and more at their store for a reasonable cost, and all transactions are safe and secure.

Now, go forth and arm yourself with the power of corruption to survive Wraeclast! See you on the battlefield!


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