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Note to Devs - Please be Aware of "The Trap"

This may be a little controversial but it’s beta and the best time for this kind of discussion.

I have alpha and beta tested many games in the past 20 years, but I come at it from a much more casual perspective than I suspect many do. That said, I’m certain there are still a ton of players that would likely think me calling myself “casual” is crazy. I have around 100 hours played on this beta, and I think over 500 hours on PoE. My highest level in LE is 60 I think and 75 or something on PoE. I tend to make a lot of alts and take my time with them, which means I spend a majority of the game in the “main game” as opposed to the “end game.”

So when I refer to “the trap” what I am talking about is the tendency for developers to get completely caught up in the endgame experience, which also tends to focus more and more on the hardcore gamer experience. What I’ve seen happen in other games is that the mentality is so much focused on incredibly intricate details that a majority of players never experience.
So much so that the beginner and casual experience starts to suffer, as casual players can’t even relate to some of the game design decisions. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading about the crazy end game experiences and builds, but I think it is just as important to remember the causal gamer who never sees or experiences that portion of the game.

As much as I love PoE, I have seen it turn off many friends and gamers and be stuck with a label of being too hardcore or too complicated, which is really a shame. I would hate to see LE get sucked into that same kind of pattern. The present game, minus some minor balancing, seems very friendly and I really appreciate that. I think the majority of casual gamers will appreciate that too. Just a friendly reminder to not forget about us as development continues.

I don’t have anything specific at the moment, but I just wanted to remind people of a trend I’ve seen in the past with multiple other games.

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I see where you are coming from. While in almost all aRPG the “big” discussion always are about endgame, content and more content, did i mention content?

I think LE already has a oustanding foundation for some really good experiences for all kind of player. Even if you take your time and not just breeze through the story. Since devs already reworked/tweaked some of the already existing/“older” parts of the story, try to put them on par with the more recent additions to the story content, i think in the end when the main story is “complete” devs will give the whole story as a package some love.
I think they already mentioned little cutscenes, or at least some voice acted scenes to introduce new chapter/characters and try to fill some gaps currently are a bid missing when jumping from one chapter into the next.

I am not sure if “just a good story” is already enough for you. But LE has some oustanding system, even from the very beginning. The sense of progress and getting stronger is really good in LE in my opinion and the skill specialisation trees are a feature that every player experiences from the get-go.

One thing that could be interesting is, how many different options there will be for leveling new characters. If you don’t wanna do the story over and over again with new alts. We have to see how the MoF update with 0.79 turns out. But i would like to have some choices how i want to level my alt chars.
But i am completely fine with the first full story runthrough as it’s already in the current state a enjoyful experince IMO.

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Good point about the current endgame experience in other big arpgs.
I have to be honest, i usually spend a lot of time into different arpgs (poe, d3, gd) and most of the time my chars are all around min maxing in the endgame to really get the best out of them. I still like to call myself a casual gamer, even though i have 2k+ hours in poe, 4k back then in d3 and 1.5k in gd, but i could never experience an arpg game like all those speedrunners do nowadays by just rushing and rushing. To reach ‘‘perfect’’ gear in d3 is even easy for a casual after one week. In PoE you have to dedicate alot of time, maybe even the whole league (3month) to perfect your character.
The feeling that you described and what you wish for in LE i always got from Grim Dawn. Even in this game sometimes i just stopped my char at lvl 50 or whatever (most of the time after finishing normal difficulty) and rerolled to another new char, because i liked the level part and the whole story so much. I think no other arpg made that leveling feeling so good as in GD.
We actually had an interesting discussion about this in one topic if you like to read through it.


I also really hope that the leveling feeling and the whole situation about early level campaign experience gets more exciting, otherwise how i like to say it, the ‘‘poe effect’’ kicks in and people start to rush story mode into endgame content which is of course really sad as a developer regarding how much time you spend into creating the story/lore and early game.

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100% agree, together with Last Epoch, Grim Dawn is the aRPG i have leveled the most chars with. Generally i often just like a very specific amount of skills/classes/builds in other similar games, but in GD, i often found one single legendary and thought, WOW with that i can make a build. Grim Dawn is the only aRPG where one single item gives you whole build ideas.

But i think the main part WHY leveling feels so good and i personally don’t mind playing the story over and over and over again is, that you build get’s an identity very very quickly. Same applies to Last Epoch, every skill feels impactful and good, even if you havn’t build around it yet in the early stages. Grim Dawn achieves the same thing with giving you 3 skill points per level for the first 50 level, which is huge. You can basically go straight to the skill you want the most.
In Last Epoch your first 3 specialisation slots get unlocked fairly quickly and the chocie of mastery also comes pretty fast, but it takes long enough to have at least some kind of sense for your class/build so you can decide better.

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Grim Dawn is definitely on my list of top games of all time. If it had had a “full” multiplayer experience I think it may very well have taken the top spot for me. (By “full” I mean like PoE or D2 with trading, etc. ). I think, though, not dealing with the complexities of all that, allowed them extra freedoms in item balance, etc that may not work otherwise. Anyway, I agree that the current flow of gameplay for LE is really good. I’d probably argue there’s a slight disconnect in difficulty transitioning to the last era, but that’s something that can easily be tweaked.

The thing that I’m more concerned about is the hidden creep that seems to follow developments. It’s completely natural, and I understand why it happens, but I think you just have to be aware of it. What do I mean? There was a game I came into beta fairly late (it might have been Hellgate I don’t remember), and I recall the first time I went into the forums. Pretty much every post felt like it was written in a different language. All the terminology, the discussions, concerns, etc were so far beyond what a new player would be concerned with. It soon became clear the developers had completely lost touch with a potential new gamer’s interests, they were simply too knee deep in the most complex details of the game. And it was also clear they were making balancing decisions based on the hardcore gamers’ concerns.
Again, it’s expected in some ways, because over time, that’s just what happens. The hardcore ones are the most vocal and have the most experience with the game, they are the ones testing the game past its limits. The “trap” though, is to cater the game design too heavily to that perspective.

This upcoming patch is a good example. Am I personally excited about the endgame improvements? Of course. But would I have traded that for the rogue class or more “new’” game/story content and balancing of the current “main game” or maybe the first stab at multiplayer? Yes! A friendly reminder that there are many potential players that may never even touch the endgame.

Anyway, I have extremely high hopes for LE in the long run, which is why I kickstarted the minute I read about it. If they can put together an online/trading/economy component that surpasses PoE/D2, they could very well become the reigning champion of all ARPGs.

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ugh grim dawn is terrible

Because (apart from it not being D2)?

Path of Exile is still massively popular even though it barely changes the early game with its patches. In fact a sizable portion of the community dislike leveling and demand other ways to get to the endgame.