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A suggestion regarding Mana, Mana Regen, and Diversity for High-Cost Builds

Mana is a stat that I have always wanted to matter in Last Epoch. I mean this in multiple ways. It should matter when an ability has a high mana cost and you have to adapt and use low cost “filler” abilities as well because your main ability is difficult to sustain. It should also matter when a player puts a hefty investment into mana and its related stats in order to sustain an ability better. Currently, my issue with the mana system is that it is inconsistent about the first of these purposes, and almost entirely lacking in the second.


The independent problems with mana can be traced back to two main sources:

  • Skills like Focus and Vengeance exist that can let players regain large amounts of mana in a short amount of time with almost no investment. Focus only requires a time investment of leveling the tree. Vengeance requires 5 passive points and a chest suffix. Classes like Primalist without options like this end up left in the dust in regards to high cost abilities.

  • Mana and mana regen have no relationship with each other. Mana regen is not plentiful enough to matter, and Mana itself only serves to prolong an initial burst of damage before a player returns to a regular gameplay cycle. Rather, there is no functional difference between 500 and 100 mana after both have been drained.


The first of these two problems is easy to solve: Remove or heavily rework focus and curtail the mana generation from skills such as Vengeance. [Honestly I think 5 or 10 is the most mana a skill should ever give back at a baseline]

The second problem is one that requires alterations to base mechanics in the game, although I have a simple suggestion in mind, which is as follows:

Make base mana regen equal to 10 + 4% of your maximum mana.


Why this solution? There are a few reasons.

  • Base mana regen being tied to mana makes it so that there can’t be high regen builds that don’t invest in mana, which would further defeat the purpose of mana as a stat.

  • Maximum mana scaling your mana regen creates a dual-scaling system wherein heavy investment into both stats allows a player to sustain high-cost abilities for a longer time.

  • All classes have access to mana and mana regen, preventing cases where one class’ methods of mana gain [i.e. Mage or Sentinel] are drastically better than another’s. You see high ranking meteor and glacier builds all the time, but you can’t say the same for something like Earthquake. This would fix that to some degree.

  • 4% is a low enough value to not break the game, but a high enough value to matter. It also leads to 50 base mana regen at 1000 mana, which is satisfying.


There are some immediate concerns with my proposed system, the main one being that mana regen could potentially get out of control and allow players to infinitely use high cost abilities. However, I do not feel this is a concern.

[[WARNING!! MATH AND TECHNICAL STUFF BELOW!!]]

Consider three skills. One has a base cost of 0, the other 10, and the last 60. Consider a cast time of 2.5 casts a second, which I would say is standard on a caster, leading to total costs per second of 0, 25, and 150.

Next, let us look at an example of a build with 500 mana and one with 1000 mana, both of which sporting 80% mana regen from affixes. Both of these builds require a large amount of gearing and passive point sacrifices, obviously with 1000 mana being the higher extreme.

With my proposed system, the 500 mana build would have (10 + [.04 x 500]) x 1.8 = 54 mana regen a second, at base. This seems like a lot at first, but a build with this much mana investment is likely going to be running the 150 mana per second cost build. This leaves the build at a net loss of -96 mana per second, meaning it will only be able to cast its high cost ability for just over 5 seconds. It will then need to cool down for around 9 seconds. However, during this downtime, you are free to cast your 0 cost ability, which may also give slight mana back on cast, leading to a quicker downtime. You could also use your 25 cost per second ability, which would create a longer downtime on your high cost ability, but would leave you casting a decently strong one in the meantime.

The important things illustrated here are that an investment of mana and mana regen was highly rewarded, but did not sustain a high cost ability infinitely, and also that the player was given a choice during the downtime. Currently a player is just going to spam a 0 cost ability that gives mana back or Focus because their mana regen can’t keep up with anything else. This heavily limits the players choice when deciding between their main and filler abilities.

Now, take the more extreme example of 1000 mana, which would lead to a regen of (10 + [.04 x 1000]) x 1.8 = 90. Well, this case is still much lower than 150, the cost per second of the high-impact ability, but for the player’s investment, they have also created a much lower net loss of 60 mana per second. A player would effectively be able to sustain this skill for 16 seconds, and then would need 11 to recharge. As a note, this is currently the uptime ratio of a build that uses Meteor and Focus, but the duration of a “drain n’ gain” cycle is longer. Now, the sustained use time is quite long here, but not infinite. And, should a player invest at every possible opportunity into mana and mana regen, then they should be able to sustain a high cost ability for a lengthy period of time.

Some other important things to take into consideration is that having a massive mana pool could allow a player to run “% of damage taken from mana before health” defenses, which are currently in a bad spot. This would further take away from the sustain time of high cost abilities. Also, a player that has invested this much into mana will most likely be taking things such as Sorcery Staff, which boosts mana costs, or nodes within high cost skill trees that do the same for a large power boost. Thus, a player is probably going to be expending much more than 150 mana a second if they have chosen to build such a large pool.

Normally, the only reward for getting mana values this high would be to allow an initial burst of damage to last longer, but then a player will be stuck there waiting 5 to 10x longer for their mana to come back, which is not at all enjoyable for most players. There will still be a waiting time on my system, but it will be one that is far faster, and where a player could choose to spam abilities that cost little to medium mana, as opposed to now where a 0-cost or mana-gaining ability are the only options for fillers, unless someone wishes to wait an entire minute for their mana to return.

[[MATH FINISHED!! RESUME THREAD ENJOYMENT!!]]

If you’ve made it this far, I hope I have illustrated my reasonings for why my sustain would be an improvement on the one we have now. I also hope I have provided decent explanations against possible counterarguments to my system in order to further make a point that it would be healthier and lead to more diversity than the current one. If you have any questions or want anything clarified, please let me know in the replies. Also, if you have anything else to add, leave that in the replies as well. Thank you for reading!

9 Likes

I love this. Very well thought out.

1 Like

Hey… great post…

I have not thought about this in a more general way as you obviously have but now that you bring it up, it is an interesting topic. I honestly have not played a diverse enough set of chars to know how mana/mana regen affects all classes or if it affects them fairly.

From my perspective, I would however like to point out some things that I have noted that are directly linked to your comments and maybe throw a cat among the pigeons so to speak.

  • Should all classes have equal mana & mana regen possibilities? Should a mage be able to regen mana as fast as a warrior? My immediate and gut answer is no, of course not, a mage should regen MUCH faster due to their Int etc but then again I have been playing rpg with d&d rules forever. Not saying a warrior class should not be able to , but imo it should be harder.

  • If as you say, mana and regen have little relationship with each other, then perhaps this needs to be looked at.

  • Considering the DPS nature of mana focussed builds in other games, do you expect that a mage character be able to sustain massive damage (wrt. mage skills vs physical skills) indefinitely? Surely there needs to be a gate to stop/prevent this else there could very well be a very large balance issue - esp. in future things like pvp and even already in Arena level runs.

  • Mana on Vengence … This is very hard to do properly at high levels. I almost wanted to throw a virtual banana at your head. I have a VK Dorb build at level 90 and I have still been unable to find body armour with the affix and its driving me mad. Could it be that the game has made these kinds of mana boost items REALLY hard to find to counteract what you suppose is “easy” mana regen for some classes?

Hope my different take on your comments is taken constructively…

Lets see where this goes…

:wink:

1 Like

speaking of VK Dorb, what do y’all think about leeching mana? VK is certainly mana hungry, it’s hard to imagine playing it without the current vengeance mana return (i only have passive, no chest affix). But for VK at least it would be very thematic to be leeching mana back, since my hp sustain is already centered around a ton of leech.

The Void Knight (& any Sentinel willing to put enough points into the VK tree) has access to Volatile Reversal that reverts changes to your current health and mana, so if you’ve spent a load of mana on a skill in the previous 2-4 seconds, you can hit Volatile Reversal & get that mana back, but it only works if you’re actually spending mana in that time period. I know it has a long cooldown (17s), but that can be reduced by taking a few nodes

  • Time Sap for up to 9% cooldown recovery on kill, good for trash, not so much against bosses,
  • Time Lost Vitality for 200% cooldown recovery speed if you’re not fussed about loosing the hp effect,
  • Traveller’s Fatigue for up to 50% CDR
  • Traveller’s Frailty for up to 90% CDR if you don’t mind also taking up to 30% more damage while it’s on cooldown.

Those will give you up to 340% CDR (plus whatever you get on kill) reducing the cooldown to 3.9s which i far more managable.

And that’s on top of being able to get mana on use/hit from Vengeance/Rive/Smite, plus, if you don’t take Dark Moon then your mana costs are much reduced from Dark Moon.

IMO, the Void Knight is probably in a better place than many classes/builds in terms of having a multitude of methods for mana recovery, especially with Volatile Reversal’s thematic appeal.

Hmm… I like the leeching of mana idea (think thats in the other thread as well…

Specifically regarding VK - As much as I am personally struggling with the mana management of the build and getting the right gear, I think that the VK mana options are in a pretty good place.

Not sure where the concept comes from (probably some philosophy/logic101 or some other university degree - someone will tell me I am sure) but I always like to think of what would happen if you took something to the extreme to create a test case for your idea.

So, if you take it to the extreme example and assume BiS VK passives/gear/skill selection, then I dont think mana is a problem for a VK build - especially not for the DOrb builds at least.

Another side of the VK specifically is @Llama8 suggestion on the Dark Moon skill and I am busy testing it out… Different playstyle but mana is MUCH less of a problem with very little loss in Dorb effectiveness. Just this one change already addresses the VK mana problem AND anyway, with ideal BiS, I am sure that Dark Moon would still be viable end-game. Never even tried the Volatile Reversal idea…

So mana leech… Yes… motivated by VK needs, nah…

If you could get enough mana leech (given that how much you get back is dependent on the damage of the skill), the big damage skills would be able to “self-fund” because they do high damage which results in a “high” return from mana leech. You could limit this by limiting the amount of mana leech available as a stat, spreading it out over a period of time or capping the max amount mana it can generate per second.

Not using Dark Moon makes mana significantly easier & I didn’t really notice the lack of them orbiting me when I needed them most (bosses), and you can then have more points in Orb Master for more Devouring Orbs.

2 Likes

This!

That’s also propably the reason why @Stormquake did not mention anything about mana leech in his suggestion. Mana Leech is just to straight forward easy and trivialises mana management.

I really like the OP suggestion because it allows players to go for maxing mana for a reason. With mechanics like damaging mana before health this might give casters a good layer of defence (if tweaked in this direction).

I’m not sure if there should be different boni for different classes, like better mana sustain for casters than for non casters. In LE every class has access to 0 mana skills and high mana skills. So all classes share the same problem.

I agree with your idea - especially as it would require a lot of investment to help the player, so it isn’t too OP. But the issue arises that this would make flat mana MORE EFFICIENT FOR MANA REGEN THAN MOST MANA REGEN ITEMS. Even Urzils pride is only about 7 points of regen right now.

This is more a matter of mana regen gear being completely useless - is should be buffed, maybe modified to give flat increases instead of percentages that are so low that they have no real effect on build viability. High cost builds do not care for 1 or 2(Orchirian’s Petals) extra mana per second, they need 30 or even 50 per second to function.

I am not a fan of the other suggested ways of increasing mana generation, such as mana leech on gear; as that would require too little investment to work(1% leech is like 100 per hit in this game) - it would make mana meaningless as a stat.

I notice your idea creates an “affix tax” for high mana cost builds, as they would exist but need to get lots of mana to function(as opposed to right now, where they simply cannot exist outside of the few classes with mana generation).

All in all, I approve of this post. :smiley:

While I agree that it would be nice to have an easier time with mana regen, I think saying that high mana costs need 30-50 more regen “to function” sounds more like “I want to be able to spam my high damage high cost skills like they’re free”, which is not EHG’s intention (otherwise they’d be free). So, what do you mean “to function”?

Most classes have some way of generating mana, the Mage can Focus (or use fireball while under the effects of Craterborn from Meteor), the Sentinel can generate mana from Smite/Vengeance/Rive with the Time & Faith passive, the Acolyte can generate mana with a node on Rip Blood, not sure about the Primalist (apart from the mana on crit in Werebear & mana on Tempest Strike). These are the tools that we have been given to manage mana.

2 Likes

I’m agree for better mana management since we don’t have mana potion

I disagree that Focus and Vengeance type mana regen should be removed. If anything, the other classes should have their free mana gain abilities buffed. (not mana strike, that skill is boss.)

I agree, mostly, about the mana regen. It DOES need to be tied to your max mana, maybe at 2%, 4% seems a bit high to me. I also think life should be the same. It should have regen based on max pool.

I think there is a disconnect with the devs vision that high cost abilities should do great damage and not be able to be spammed. The cost is quite high on some of them, but the damage just isn’t as good as a lot of the free or low cost skills. If they buff mana regen like the OP suggested, I would suggest increasing the cost of skills further and buffing very much the damage of high cost skills to bring them more in line with damage/mana of lower cost skills.

I find Mana sustain is overall on a good place like it is for now.

Sure, you have to find and build around the right Combination of Items, Affixes, Skillpoints and such, but it’s fine.

You should think about EHG’s creativity and therefore much more future unique items good for better mana-management.

On this game state we can see some redundant capabilities like “Exsanguinous”, (“Shroud of Obscurity”) and “Last Steps of the Living” for the same feature. You can do with 1 of them, or with 1 of each to basicaly do the same thing, and it works.

I think we will see so many fun and strong-feeling mechanics on the future of Last Epoch, everybody will play any skill(combination) on a halfways competitive way.

And if i think about all the upcoming bonus like (more?) blessings, the announced legendarys and… i don’t know… maybe any kind of a “sockel-system” and so on, i really think it’s potential of being playable without to many mana issues is given.

Yes, we have some free skills for mana sustain and some skills that are used to be mana spender on most other games, that was and is EHG’s intention, right?
-> Good Job, that’s fine!

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No, I meant FUNCTIONAL, high cost builds easily cost 50-100 mana per second(or in some cases as high as 150), having 30-50 will not suddenly make it spammable.

Keep in mind that even with the insane regen that is Focus, high cost mage builds(such as shatter strike) STILL feel annoying to play, with a 3 second regen via focus for just 1 second of use. Now take that frustration and multiply it 5 times over for any class that cannot regen mana quickly.

Rip blood mana node is 6 per cast at max, which is around 18 on a transplant, while this is relatively high compared to passive mana regen, it is not enough to afford anything that has a high mana cost.

Primalist can reach 20 per hit from tempest strike, but it has the issue of the 5% chance of failure as you need to go through a node that it has negative synergy with(as the mana is only if something doesn’t trigger, but requires a node that gives that thing a chance to trigger, the mana node should actually be placed elsewhere in the tree). This is actually decent, but the issue of unreliability holds it back.

What’s your view of the difference between having a 4-8s cooldown on a skill compared to having mana costs such that it requires 4-8s of regen to be able to use it again? Are cooldown skills “not functional”?

2 Likes

Hello,

First I am happy with the fact that a lot think that the mana management in this game is good and diffrent fromiother game.
Ok this thread is here to make it even better, but it seems that quite some post vary from this starting assesment and want to be able to spam big ability.

I feel mana magement is really good as it. I am for allowing better mana regen at cost of affix.
But I don’t really fells the need for it…

I dont have any problem with mana, with any of my builds.
My sentinel forge strike use it 3 times then he is oom, but can do rive (without any mana regen) and then for the next group of monster he is full mana.
So mana regen is already high.

I have a lot of char like this where I use all my mana at the begining of the fight then for the next I am full or near enough to fight well.
I have other build where I use mid mana eater and so the regen is enought too, without oom.

I never get your problem. I feel that the fact to cannot spam high mana ability is a real good idea and it is really well done.

It really help the build variety and fun.
Ok perhaps my builds are not the most performant, but they are fun :slight_smile: Don’t forget that.
To want to spam the most damaging ability is natural and more efficient, but don’t make any managment and make less fun.

Here we are offered with various way:

  • make spender and “maker” (don’t get the right term): I don(t really like, but it’s a style
  • make big move and no mana moves and manage when use the big (I really like)
  • make spam medium ability with all the build to bost it

    Variety is here because of this mama management, don’t kill it

There are some (sub)classes that don’t have a good source of mana regeneration. The high mana regen on your Sentinel is a good example because this mechanic was just added recently. Before this the Sentinel only had volatile reversal as a mana regen source.

On a shatter strike Spellblade it feels very clunky to use focus every few seconds when oom. The Spellblade currently lacks a bit of defensive mechanics as a squishy melee class. Having a channelled ability to gain mana back leaves him very vulnerable.

Also you have to consider that high mana pool doesn’t come from nothing. To get a high mana pool to “spam” your high cost abilities comes with a tradeoff for other stats.

Increasing max mana doesn’t have a rewarding benefit currently. That could be changed with this suggestion.

And with the right numbers this would not be OP.

Maybe off topic, but the spellblade can use Mana Strike to refund mana (and gain Ward), and it goes pretty fast. Add in that the Spellblade can stack “damage taken to mana before life” type things, and that makes the Spellblade quite tanky.

The only “benefit” of increasing mana pool currently are the idols that gain more increased damage if you reach 200 or 300 max mana. Not great.

It does, it means you can go for longer before going OOM, just like having high life (& protections) means you can go for longer before dieing). I’m not saying I disagree with whoever it was that said that having lots of mana just means you can go for longer before you get back to the annoying cycle of using your skills then using a filler/generator. But having high mana does have a benefit.

Only when they are being used entirely for burst damage. If you have to wait that long to kill an enemy you will just die.

This does not include summons or continuous AOEs(they kill WHILE you wait for cooldowns), or utility moves(they are not there to kill enemies quick) it is just burst damage that suffers from this - unluckily a lot of the high mana cost skills are burst damage.