I have been playing ARPG’s for a very long time starting with Diablo 2 at release. I have played every notable ARPG released ever since. Path of Exile has been my primary game over the past 7 years where I have logged over 7k hours. As such a lot of my comparisons or references will likely refer to POE. To be clear I love POE and my intention of this post is not to dis POE but in my opinion it has developed some very deep fundamental flaws over the years which has slowly pushed me away from the game. Disclaimer, I am not an expert in Last Epoch in the least, in fact I am still just a noob with under 100 hours played. Things I will outline in this post are just things that I have jotted down whilst playing this game so far. I understand that some of the things I bring up might be due to the beta status of the game or I could just be flat out incorrect or have an unpopular opinion.
Movement skills: One thing I LOVE about this game is that movement based abilities have a cool down by default. Coming from POE this is one of my biggest gripes with its current “clear speed” meta. I really hope that EHG stay on top of this and don’t allow power creep to seep into movement in this game (including movement speed). The POE community has been very vocal about the poor state of group play in POE and whilst massive aoe/one shotting etc is one of the contributing factors one thing that is not mentioned enough is that the rate of which players move also contributes heavily to this. With the current state of movement in POE it is really hard for players to stay on the same screen for more than 2 seconds or predict other players movements. I notice that this game has cool down reduction stats available on gear and some CDR on movement skill trees, this worries me a little bit as players might look to stack it to mitigate movement limitations. I Think CDR is general makes balancing the game in general harder as it is one extra thing devs need to consider when making skills and often the very existence of the stat can make it feel mandatory on some skills. That said I feel like the devs are already aware of this with the implementation of CD’s right from the get-go.
Melee actually feels like melee: I n Last Epoch melee skills are actually melee with some notable exceptions where it makes sense e.g Spellblade etc. Over the years POE in an effort to create parity of balance between melee vs ranged has slowly but surely made “melee” skills into pseudo ranges/AOE monsters. Now of course some degree of AOE etc is required for melee to make it feel good and be viable as long as it doesn’t hit the same level of other games of swinging a sword and hitting a monster on the other side of the screen. Like I stated above re movement, I really hope EHG hold on to this fundamental of keeping melee feel melee as it does becomes a slippery slope of balance. A simple formula is that generically skills that require you to get up close and into the danger zone should inherently do more damage by design as a reward for the risk you take. I understand that it is much more complex than this but I really hope EHG can solve this problem without killing off the melee arch type and so far from what I’ve seen they are doing really well in this compartment.
Items feeling weightless: Currently when items fall to the ground it is instant and without any animation. Now I know this might be placeholder and not an area that has been worked on much yet by the team but I would like to mention that out of all the ARPG’s I’ve played I think Grim Dawn does “lootsplotions” the best. For example opening a chest or killing a boss loot starts spurting out over a 2-3 second duration and when the loot hits the ground it bounces around a little with sound fx of the loot hitting the floor. It looks and feels amazing and is super satisfying.
Time travel screen: I’ve now twice been murdered whilst stuck in the time travel “worm hole” animation screen. Maybe make player invulnerable at this time as they no longer have control over their character. And speaking of the worm hole screen, I feel that it was cool the first few times but I can see how it would get old really quick, the problem I have with it is it plays BEFORE the loading screen. I have no issues with it remaining but it should BE the loading screen. As it sits currently it is forcing players to effectively sit through two loading screens.
Rapid fire feedback/suggestions I jotted down
- Maelstrom animation when it gets higher stack, hard to see enemies/ground effects
- Let quest completion fade away after 5-6 seconds if you don’t hit “confirm”
- Allow double clicking character in character selection screen to enter game
- Option to turn off sound of map overlay opening closing. I spam this button by muscle memory and the sound can get annoying.
- Option to turn off sound when minimised
- Movement skills range seem a bit high in some scenarios. Depending on the camera angle you can sometimes leap/charge a pretty ridiculous distance. Also I found the optimal way to play with Sentinel Lunge for movement was to put my curser to the edge of the screen in the direction I was moving and spam the spell, It will eventually detect an enemy off screen and cast the ability which seem unintuitive
- Was unable to swap location of wear bear skills on skill bar
- Unique items having fixed stats (except implicit). Not sure how I feel about this, finding near perfect unique gear in other games was pretty fun and was sometimes the roll was difference between a unique being worth little or a lot and It felt super good to own/find a well rolled unique.
- Static maps in the campaign is an interesting choice, not sure if this is just for beta. I feel that running the campaign over and over will already become repetitive and having the same map layouts might add to this.
- As a new player I found the resist stats a little confusing, As in you get the stats on items and then they are converted to a % on your character screen. I don’t know what the benefit of this method over just making the items give the flat % straight up on the item but I’ll put this down to me not likely seeing the whole picture here.
Multiplayer: One this I would really love to see with the implementation of multiplayer is player profiles and the ability to inspect other players characters/profiles/builds etc with the obvious ability for players to set certain things to private if they wish.
Now here is the tough one, instant logout vs timed logout. I am not sure which direction EHG are planning to go with this but here is my 2c. I played HC for the full 7 years I played POE and I used a logout macro for all of it, the game was balanced around this which the developers confirmed multiple times was the case. I always felt this was an inferior way to balance the game as it ended up revolving around being one shot by the enemy mobs which felt bad. I think this is something that D3 got right where you cannot just instantly logout to avoid death if a big DOT got placed on your character or you run out of pots. At the same time if there is any server instability and you DC HC characters are likely going to die where an instant server dc would have probably saved them. Now I know this is a pretty big task to balance irrespective of which route EHG chose to go and there is not necessarily a perfect answer.
Ok I’ve rambled long enough remember all the above is just my opinion/suggestions so please take it as such, again I don’t expect to be correct on everything. However overall the devs so far has made a brilliant platform of an ARPG, they seem to really get the fundamentals of what makes a great game in this genre and that I confidence inspiring. I look forward to what they have in store for this game in the future I will be supporting.