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Development philosophy

Every time a promising new ARPG is announced, the same group of hardcore ARPG fans jump on it and try to steer the development towards difficult, slow paced, meaningful encounters and complex builds that require hours of theory crafting. They make comparisons to Diablo 2, the only game that they claim was ever able to get it right.

The developers listen to the community and so far everybody is happy.

Once the game has been released and built up a following, then comes the onslaught of casual players. Suddenly the forums begin to fill up with complaints about how the game is too difficult, too complex, skills aren’t flashy enough, and the combat seems too slow.

The developers try to accommodate these players by nerfing a few monsters here, buffing a few skills there. This is fine for a while, but eventually there will be resistance from the hardcore crowd. They will have concerns about the direction the game is going and they will make themselves heard.

This will put the developers in a difficult position. These players supported the game, they have been loyal followers since the beginning. Perhaps they even backed the game on Kickstarter. And most importantly, the devs probably agree with them.

But then they will look at it from a business perspective. It doesn’t make sense to make a game which appeals to the 1%. Slowly over time the game will drift further away from the original vision and it will increase in popularly. More and more casual players will be buying the game as they see their friends playing.

By this point the original players will be getting angry and the “why I’m quitting the game” threads will start to appear. Threads will start popping up about how the game is no longer what it once was, the gameplay is too fast paced, too easy, etc. But despite these complaints the playerbase continues to grow.

The developers will have stopped caring by now, they are making so much money off the game that they no longer second guess themselves. Ultimately they will have realised that what the vast majority of players want is to be able to slaughter waves of monsters, mercilessly in a spectacular array of colors with their friends.

This is where path of exile is now.

So how about we save ourselves the trouble, leave Diablo 2 in the past, and let’s make Last Epoch a game that’s great from the start. Because it took far too long to get there with Path of Exile.

I would call myself more than a “casual player”, i enjoy hard challenging content, complex ingame mechanics that you can warp your mind around and theory craft.

And while alot of the stuff you said is true for alot of aRPG’s i don’t think it always ahve to be that way. And just “skipping” all that to immidiatly get to such a game is not the right solutions. Especially with LE i feel like we can escape that loop.

But i strongly disagree on onw of your examples:

While PoE definitely added alot of softcore/more casual player content, they always kept hardcore/SSF stuff interesting enough and never abondoned it. In the overall sense i still would call PoE a pretty hardcore aRPG, evne though it got alot of massappeal over time.

I must have missed something, because I’m not sure whether you think the “casual-isation” of an aRPG is a good thing or not…

I’m also not sure you could call the end-boss of PoE “casual friendly”, or the league bosses.

I’m suggesting that we make it less like Diablo 2 and more like Path of Exile. Some people might call that “casual-isation” but I like the current state of PoE. I’m not saying that PoE is easy, but the combat is faster and more spammy/AOE focused.

I think a lot of people on here want to make every encounter with a trash mob feel like playing a MOBA. I’m concerned that the game is going to end up being too slow.

Wait, this is viewed as good or bad? Because it sounds fantastic to me.

What I would hate to see is PoE’s pace of combat, but again, I am not sure what exactly you are proposing here.

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Ha ha, that’s a good summary of how things go, and yes, the mundane necessity and lure of making money always destroys products and services if that’s the only objective you want to achieve (if that’s your ‘utility’ in game theory terms).

I aslo agree that POE has become a monsterous creation, which is inevitable after so many updates and addition (just look at Microsoft or Adobe products - same story), and is everything but newbie friendly.

But nothing of this can be skipped, noone ever gets to the end state of ‘wisdom’, other than by traveling that road you described. Let’s hope the devs take another turn along the way, but there is no shortcuts to glory, only shortcuts to quick failures. I’ve never met a person who would learn from other people’s advice, without trying it out on their own, and so I expect the devs (who are a team of young people), will let most of the advice and observations (from players who have ‘seen it all’ a cpouple of times and share their ‘warnings’ in posts like this) slide and stick to their own ideas and make their own (often made in the past) mistakes along the way. Fortunately, this also has a good side, that of trying out new things and finding new solutions in the new reality we live in now.
Diablo 1, for example, would fail miserably if it was released today, yet it was a success in it’s age. Same goes for POE (which started as a clone of D2 in the days filled with D2 players who were outraged by the choices D3 devs made, and wanted ‘the good old d(2)ays’ back) and most other games.
So who knows what the future will bring? LE is not going to be a ‘finished’ game for a couple of years at least, and I hope this game will not retrace the sad path you’ve outlined in your post :slight_smile:

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Well, being able to continue to pay your staff, keep the servers (& lights) on and put some cash away for future games (or continued development of the same game) does have it’s benefit, even if some dank corners of the internet say that it’s over-rated.

That was very eloquently put, the journey is at least as important as the destination. And the most effective way to see how other people’s mistakes apply to your own vision is to make them yourself. Afterall, just because “we” (the gamers/customers) wanted zoom zoom before (PoE) doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll want it again having experienced it & some of it’s pitfalls. Or maybe we will.

It may well end up making the same mistakes, because people seem adept at recreating the sins of their (metaphorical/genre) parents & thinking “it’ll be different for us” (and if people didn’t think that, they’d never have kids after seeing one set of bad parenting/etc). But there’s always hope.

Certainly. I’m not implying you can make a game without profits in mind, just saying that it should not be your ONLY goal. Any design/i,plementation decision in game design is a dilemma, but if you’re creative you can find a way to line up your meta goals with the in game goals, and player’s interest with value creation. An example is MTX you can buy: players like to play ‘dress up’ with their toons and/or want to look more impressive than the next guy, so everyone benefits :slight_smile: I believe for almost every reason people play/enjoy games, there is a way to make money off while giving players what they want.

I know you didn’t, but some people do seem to take affront at a company wanting to make money. And while sometimes that can be egregious (EA & their totally-not-gambling sports games), it’s not always.

Hey Mozart, let’s strip away your master piece and do something the casual would enjoy too.

On a more serious note : I’m the kind of person who doesn’t want kids, one being the very reason Llama8 said. Because I lack the passion to really try the “I will do it differently” thing.

Because that needs dedication, focus and passion/love.

We could argue, that LE could have that long-term.

I’m basically one of these diablo 2 kids who loved that game and genre. For the last years, I have not found anything to really hold my grip or breath for very long. PoE, grim dawn, torchlight, for sure didn’t.

I was skeptical with LE at the beginning, because everything felt right but the graphics/gameplay.

Now, everything feels even more right, and the graphics and the gameplay are great and fun for what it is now imo!

I rather have a game, as it being now, and for some time - be that one of a kind, and then become casualized/marginalized… Than not have it at all. I love it thus far, and the direction it is going. If it’s going to be as great and more, for one, two, three years. Hell, count me happy and thankful.

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I’m the same with SWTOR. I got into the beta (having never played an MMO before & vehemently against monthly subscriptions), and I love Star Wars, and KOTOR 1/2, so I played SWTOR for many years with my enjoyment only waining when the Eternal Throne stuff came out & they basically stopped doing multiplayer content in an MMO. I’ve not been able to find something that gave me the same feeling since. GW2 did a lot of things well, especally open world content where as long as you tagged the quest target / world boss you’d get included in the drops, so people camping the spawn points for quest mobs wasn’t a thing & people helped out as they were passing, but it just didn’t feel the same as SWTOR for various reasons.