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Gear Progression - Transition After Story

Hey guys,
One thing that happens everytime I level a new character recently is, that I have a very rocky transition from story to endgame modes regarding my gear.

Chapters 7+8 increase difficulty in a meaningful manner. But it’s still viable to focus more on damage than defensive stats. This means that when I finished the story, I am absolutely satisfied with my damage output. Next step would be to build up defences. And this is where I struggle with.

The stats on my gear are all over the place. Going for the mandatory resistance and CA / CB affixes results in gimping my damage massively.

Also it can be very tedious to balance all the stats. Because I usually don’t find gear that has the same combination of protections as the old gear I want to replace. For example I find new boots with the wanted set CB affix and movement speed and decent poison protection. My old boots have void and elemental protection, as well as vitality (dont know if this is a correct affix combination, but I think you get the point). Replacing the boots now messed up my whole defensive balance between the different damage types.

Before I get all this in the correct order by grinding for new gear with new balanced protection combinations, I get a lot weaker than before. I also would go that far and assert that I won’t get back to the damage potential before transition. I have to sacrifice damage affixes for defensive affixes. And there is no way to get that lost damage affixes back.

Right now I have 2 Sentinels where I refuse to build on my endgame protections, because they really have a very good damage output. I don’t want to mess them up. But I don’t get that many monolith streaks either because of the lack of defences.

The only way to get around this is to grind for new gear, but to not equip it untill I have everything gathered together and balanced in my stash.

What causes this in my opinion is that we have a lot of different damage types, in combination with a relatively small amount of affix slots. To get to the edge of maxing defences, we have to work hard for it in terms of planning which specific protection type has to be on a specific item. And even if we find that exact combination of 2 or even 3 affixes on the item of choice, the item may fracture during crafting.

Sometimes I find a really good item with nice stats and rolls. But that item does not fit into my build because it has the wrong affixes. Taking it into account would mean I have to replace 1-2 other items as well with other stat combinations to balance the new one. But I don’t have that 1-2 items at that moment. And while I farm for them I possibly create a chain reaction. So i go in circles without ever getting that exact combination I need.

In PoE for example you have way less different damage types. It’s not that hard to cap your resistances. During the story you get permanent resistance penalties, but they don’t hit that hard. If I find a better ring with the downside of less lightning resistance I don’t need to care that much. By replacing I maybe still capped or just slightly below the cap.

I don’t mean to say that this is the better system. But it is way easier to build a working defense and maintain that level when you start transitioning into endgame (it feels this way currently, although I have to admit that I don’t have a rich PoE experience).

I think there should be more ways to either build damage or defences to an endgame viable amount. But it feels way to punishing in mid to lategame. Actually there is no buffer to compensate the gear transition I mentioned above.

I think of adding more passive nodes like the CA in Paladin tree. Many classes have protection passives but they don’t have that much if an impact. These stats could help a lot because they could possibly compensate missing a specific protection or damage type on gear.

Maybe increasing the affix ranges so less affixes of a certain type are needed to get a viable amount of protections. This would make builds in general more tanky, but this could be compensated by adding increasing protection penetration on enemies.

Crafting is another point. The system is soooooo mighty as long as you are lucky and have the right bases. You can improve an item with nice stats very easily by just adding tiers. But you barely can transform an item with 2-3 good stats into an endgame viable item. Having “wrong” affixes needs you to gamble and remove a random stat. High potential to ruin you item. Building on an item with only 2 good stats will probably end in a fracture. So in no way you will “craft” an endgame item. You have to find an item that already has the exact stat combination you need with good tier rolls to have a small chance to get a t16-20 item.

I think this would not be that much if a problem when having 1-2 “bad” (non build fitting) affixes on a 4 affix item would not feel so bad. Or if we would have more control of crafting by choosing affixes we want to remove.

Fracturing items also feels to punishing imho. There should be a way to unfracture / disfracture (how do you call this?) an item. Another suggestion is to get rid of the whole fracture thing and use instability to increase the amount of shards needed for a successful crafting attempt. So an item with a high instability needs 10 shards of whatever to get from t4 to t5 with a 20% chance of success. Every crafting attempt adds instability and so increases the amount of shards. So if you fail your crafting attempt you would need 12 shards for another try. And so on…

I mixed the topics a bit, maybe, but the whole point is my problem with the gear transition. I don’t have a feeling of a positive progress when getting to endgame.

What are you guys thinking about this? Do you struggle, too? Do you feel different? Maybe I’m doing something fundamentally wrong and you have some nice tips for me.

3 Likes

While I think that having “more than normal” damage/protection types to juggle with “fewer than normal” affix slots doesn’t make things easy, in all honest mate, I think that what you’re struggling with is just one of the problems the genre throws at you. I sympathise with you, many a time I’ve got to act 10 in PoE & had a look at my gear while working out what pieces to replace them all with that would leave me with capped resists (after the final resist reduction). So, in the nicest possible way, you kinda just have to suck it up.

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Just thinking about something to counter that.

In MMOs or other Loot Games you have a constant positive progression. Gear you find later in the game by doing higher level content is better than your old stuff.

In LE it isn’t always. You have to go some steps backwards to get going forward again. This somehow breaks the flow.

If it’s an non solvable problem if the whole genre I think I can live with that. If there might be a way to get around it, would be a massive improvement, imho :wink:.

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That’s aRPGs though, loot is randomised, so as you climb up the loot ladder (get better gear), more of the ladder is below you so your item that is randomly placed on the ladder (random base with randomly chosen mods) is more likely to be below you (worse than your current gear).

I think part of LE’s problem (for me at least) is that at a high lvl you can still drop a low lvl base (eg, a Burning Branch dropping with some t4 affixes), you’d never wear that & it feels bad. IMO, the bases that drop should be no less than ~10 lvls below the area level.

MMOs can always have loot progression since that is generally tied in to specific tiers of gear dropped by bosses that require multiple players to kill. If you need a tier X weapon to improve your gear & that drops from Boss A, farming that boss in a raid will get you the drop eventually. You could have that in LE (specific affixes or uniques dropped from specific mobs/bosses).

I have leveled all char through story, and what i usually do is :

  1. Focus 90% on defensive gear (which actually results in more dps, because you can stand in anything and have almost 100% uptime hitting mobs, instead of running away and only hitting 50% of the time)
  2. If i struggle with damage i try take as many offensive passive/skill nodes as possible which can be respecced later instaed of having to change the gear too much.
  3. Focus on flat +dmg (and never %dmg as the base is probably low throughout story) and i use any kind of damage type i find (its first in endgame you go for a specific type and when base is high enough then go %dmg)
  4. I rarely gamble or craft much through story as i want as much gold and shards to get the right gear in endgame. I find theres enough gear to be found on ground (if you need to forge dont go higher than t2-3 as you will get too attached to that item and it will be hard to throw away later)

Hmm i guess i completely ignored the real question here which was the transition from story to endgame, but i guess if you focus that much more on defensive gear, and get the right combo of dmg (+flat dmg no matter type) throughout the story then it wont seems like that big of a leap when you hit the endgame. Dont worry too much about finding/gambling the right t16-20 items, its more about the right combinations of the skills/passives and the gear.

Dunno if any of this actually helps you but id thought id write it anyways :wink:

2 Likes

There are 2 spikes in the game so far. The transition into the ice zone and the last chapter. Everything outside of it is childsplay. The higher your toons level the better the gear that drops simply put. Sooner or later you’ll run lvl 50 monoliths while watching p… something more intresting on a second monitor.
It takes time and I think the things that needed to be looked at are in the story parts not after them.

2 Likes

Hey @RawSuicide,
I agree with the overall point you’re making. I sometimes find my self dying over and over again in the monolith of fate the first couple of zones, once I make it out of the campaign. Obviously, because I don’t have enough resistances.

The resistances in itself are not necessarily an issue, although I really don’t see why we should have 6 or 7 damage types to protect against, but fine. I think the options we have to get proper gear, especially from a new character perspective, SSF-style, are very limited, which makes it very hard to properly gear your character.

Without a pretty deep understanding of the game, one I don’t claim to have, finding a right balance between offence and defence is tough in my experience. If I focus on defence, my character feels horrible to play. If I focus on damage, i’m squishy as hell. It seems finding the middle ground here requires very good items. And in that lies the problem, which you’re describing as well. There are not many ways to get those items, especially in a transition period to end game.

You can gamble, but you shouldn’t have money, and gambling is slow, boring and it feels horrible to use for gearing.
You can farm and try to kill stuff, but there’s no loot filter and looting gets kinda tedious after a while, which is for me a reason i’m just not looking at gear that much anymore, because I can’t be bothered to hover every single yellow or memorize affixes, so i’m shooting myself int the foot there.
PoE has a lot of ways to improve your gear. Easy crafts that cannot break, tons of resistances in the passive tree, trading, chaos spamming items, the options are endless. LE has none of that, or almost none of that, and it makes creating viable, defensively decent characters, pretty tough, for the somewhat more casual player. I consider myself a somewhat more casual player, btw. And I hope that we get more options to get our characters in a better state, gear wise, by either adding more affixes, or guaranteed crafts, or other ways maybe in skills or passives to optimize primarily defences, without needing to have complete knowledge of building characters. Just like PoE does it. I find PoE actually more forgiving than Last Epoch these days, and that’s not something I thought I’d ever say.

1 Like