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Progression of Characters

DISCLAIMER: This is not a criticism of LE. It is more a reflection on my experience with the game.

I have a little over 500 hours in game. I’ve level 13 characters to anywhere between 70 and 90 (I do not yet have a level 100 character.)

This is my rub.

Currently as the game stands I like the leveling process. I don’t play every build but if I see a build I like I will actually start a new character so I can level with that build in mind. And fair warning I’m a melee Paladin fanboy so my focus is probably heavily in the Sentinel side of things. In the level process I might make a few tweaks as I rise up, like recently leveled Boardman’s Shield Throw Paladin and in early game I ditched Shield Throw for another skill while I leveled to about 34.

About level 65 I’ve got most of the ground work laid out for the character in terms of gear (not completely optimized but roughly laid in) and by level 70 or so I’ve hit max level in all my skills.

By level 75 or so I tend to stop playing the character because I realize I have 25 levels to go and the only reward I’m getting is the occasional better gear and 1 passive point.

This usually makes me just move on to the next character to try and not really reach for level 100.

Now that said, I have no idea what LE’s actually intentions are so:

  1. This could be a known issue/concern and as more of the endgame stuff and the rest of the campaign gets laid into place it’ll be addressed.

  2. This is actually how they intend to have the game played. (I’m not a novice to aRPGs so I understand the issue with the grind.)

My personally feeling is that the power gain (skills mainly) needs to be actually spread out more so that between 75-100 you actually have more of a carrot as you climb towards 100. If I know I’m going to get that one passive EVERY level. And that every FEW levels one of my skills will get a bump, it will feel more noteworthy (and actually ‘worth it’) to continue toward 100. As it stand right now it sort of feels like there is this massive void (pun intended) between mid 70s and 100.

I don’t really have all the answers as I don’t really know what lies ahead for development in the beta but I thought it’d be worth voicing the sort of ‘unsatisfactory’ feel I have for the last 25 levels.

EDIT: I wanted to make clear I do NOT have an issue with how long it takes to level 100. I’m actually totally fine with that.

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I get where you’re coming from. And I agree. But my numbers differ from yours.

Basically, I feel that builds are “complete” (i.e. the full intented playstyle of the build) is done around 50ish. That is, after about level 50, it’s all a matter of getting bigger numbers and better gears, but how I play the build, in terms of skill rotations, etc that stop changing from that point. But I’ve been focusing my play on a very narrow group of builds (various shield throw builds for sentinel, and meteor builds for sorc) so my observation may not be generically applicable for LE.

IMO, I think POE got the build leveling curve right. Aside from some very specialised niche builds, most builds feels complete closer to around level 80ish. And gain their significant optimisation around 80 - 90 and 90+ is the minmax icing. I feel this is a pretty good curve to follow. In particular, in reponse to your feedback, I wont want to give the last 5 - 10 levels too much weight. Let it remain difficult to grind for epeen sake, and not because players feel the need to chase the very last few points to 100. But for sure I agree power and abilities could be more spread out up to the low to mid 80s at least.

I know this will get shot down but im currently working on a post about skills and how unbalamced most of them are in terms of power gain some get there main damage before evem level 10.

I think skill trees need 30 points. Why? Because 20 points and spacing them out to level 90 will be way to slow and unfun.

30 points and level 30 is hit around level 85-90.

Skill trees will need much work but i also think this is keeded and ill cover that in my post but mostly has to do eith the lack of building into different damage types with skills

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I dont know why you think this will get shot down. But what you described sounds exactly like what I thought should be the case!

This reminded me I also used to play glacial spike with lightning blast and this build felt “complete” even earlier! Basically AOEing with glacial and single target with lightning blast from start to end. There was no real feeling of build progression with that one.

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Because ive posted before about 20 points in skill trees not being enough and it was answered with ridicule about how rebalancing to a higher number would be impossible, But its needed.

Yes this is a major problem with some skills. Elemental nova is one of the best examples of how skills should look. Multiples paths for different types of elements or you can even play a hybrid and get actual gameplay changing nodes such as channeling + targetable. More skill need to look like this. More base damage nodes need to be added further into the trees so at 18+ points there can be some real damage boost. Having level 30 skills can make trees more diverse, have multiple viable pathways or hybrids, with the big damage/gameplay changing nodes hidden at the end. Again ill have lots of examples posted soon.

Character progression doesn’t make sense here

Ive level’d multiple characters to 80-90 but im so bored with them with nothing else to do

I did login to LE first time in a few months since the resistance patch and my Spriggan Vine build had to replace all their gear. 30 minutes of gambling and about 3 hours of playing they now have very very good gear to the point im at 100% res for everything, and levelling gives me basically nothing - my points are either 4% attack speed for companion or 1 attunement…

Whereas PoE you never stop progressing, ive got character in Heist league who has amazing gear with one of the top DPS for that skill in the league - and I still have multiple expensive upgrades that could give me another 20-25% raw damage and they are also level capped

The skill specialization system is actually what removes a lot of progression since you can just respec a skill and put 10 points solely into damage and you are basically done, this game hasn’t been thought out for long term replayability at all it seems and needs some big changes to actually want players to spend more time on the game itself.

Because right now after getting 3 decent blessings and good enough gear theres no reason to push further especially with the boss damage reduction making progression seem non existant

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Well other than swapping ypur skills around and trying all sorts of different possibilities…

But yes I agree. Of course who knows howuch this will change with 3 more end game systems. Legendaries. Sockets. Eternity cache. Memories. I mean perhaps these things themselves fix the issue.

But I agree ATM endgame is just not fulfilling

Similar feelings to the OP & replies…

When you get a char that clears everything (all empowered Mof) by level 86 it does make you wonder were to from there… Especially as skills are maxed out way earlier and the leftover passives dont really make that much difference if you are already clearing end-game content. At the same time, gear is such that there is very little room for noticeable improvement in either def or offense.

Ideally, imho, a char should only get to this stage 10 levels later (i.e. 95) …

How this is achieved could be done in multiple ways… outlined above and in may other threads on the forum… I dont think anyone can seriously say that end-game progression (et al.) is perfect as it is right now…

ps. Ignoring Arena as end game content and yes… some builds break the end-game progression far more easily (and at earlier levels) than others but thats just another factor in solving the bigger issue under discussion.

Totally agree. Had the same experience and same issues.

But just to clarify - since people use phrases like ‘‘i feel builds are complete in 50s’’.

By default all your skills will reach maximum lvl 20 at character level 67. This is assuming that you did not swap them out during leveling.

Majority of item bases i believe unlock around lvl 72 - give or take.

Let’s assume for the sake of discussion that around lvl 75 most of your gear will be completed (which itself is another issue imo).

So there is a clear progression that makes sense up until that point.

Real problem starts after this.

My first thought was also to spread out power of the skills over more levels. In PoE which people refer too - organically your skills will reach maximum level at lvl 90 (give or take). Now most builds are planned for 90 and not 100 in PoE. I feel like this works great.

Technically and also a common practice - you can just buy lvl 21 gem at character level of 72. But obviously there are bilion of things to do in PoE , living economy , currency to grind and items to chase/craft.

Normally you would be encouraged to continue leveling and increase your character power - that is how entire genre works. It works in PoE, it works in Diablo 3, it works in Grim Dawn and so on and so on.

But why is that? You also can cap out your skills much faster in those games - yet many many levels still remain. Just like in LE. So what is different?

Which is what brings me to the bigger issue that LE has currently.

Game is just too easy.

Now what do i mean exactly and how it directly correlates with not feeling the urge to level further?

Game just does not punish you at all.

Do i want a situation like in PoE in which you will pretty much get outright slaughtered in end game without capped resistances? No.

But there should be some difficulties and penatlies for doing so. Mobs should hit considerably harder. And no - i do not mean you should be one shotted by a fart from a lone skeleton.

But definitely your health bar should be chunked by a good amount forcing you to use potions and play more carefuly - and you know MAYBE make you think that Story/Campaign time is over and the real game begins. Perhaps it is time to start working on your resistances. Probably a good idea and will make your life easier.

Currently the game just does not do it.

I am sure more experienced player know by now that you can take literally almost any build at lvl 40 and start running Monolith lvl 55. With 0 resists if you want - and you will be fine.

Hell - you can even have resistances into negative values. Which i recommend trying out - unique amulet that gives you -20 something resists while transformed. And run around with 280 hp on top of that. Yet you will not die anyway if you play decently.

Any build can put all passives into damage and do this.

Why? Because mobs tickle in end game currently.

Just test for yourself - stand in packs of mobs or versus lone mobs of certain types. The damage from single hit they do is laughable - and that is with uncapped resistances. 0 if you want. You can stand in big telegraphed AoE attacks that will come from mobs with +dmg modifiers etc - you will be hit for maybe 80-100 in lvl 90 Monolith. Also thats low armor character so probably even less with better gear. Yet your hp will be at least 800 (thats full glass canon).

With how the Leech works in LE - just make sure you do not get 1 shotted and you will leech full hp bar with one hit. This is the biggest culprit of why the game feels so easy. At the same time it makes other sources of recovery/defenses - completely redundant. You will not care about stuff like health regen, healing skills, heal on block, plenty of defensive passives or cool utility/survival specializations within skills. Hell - even fundamental game mechanic like potions - not even needed, unbind if you want. Just hit for 40k+ damage (which majority builds can do with gear after playing for 2-3 days) and almost all your hp will be healed up within 1-2 seconds.

As longtime aRPG player - such state of dmg taken vs hp pool / defenses is unacceptable.

Because the game is not challenging enough by default - it makes you - a player - not really care about gear. Ofc some players will min max just for the sake of it.

But general playerbase will ask themselves a question - ‘‘ok so this is kinda easy - why do i need better gear exactly?’’.

So you end up with a big problem where as we established before - just having passives points all the way to 100 is not incentive enough (at least with current content and end game iteration which so far is only based on one system - Monoliths).

But now because game does not really challenge you as a player to improve your gear - you also do not have incentive in form of chasing gear/better mods etc.

So you do not develop your skills beyond lvl 70 - yet getting better gear is not required either due to game being not challenging enough.

Which is NOT the issue you want to have in this genre.

Disclaimer : all of the above and my experiences apply to strictly Monolith content.

I have no interest in Arena currently as it’s too barebones compared to how the same format of gameplay could be done (for example Crucible in Grim Dawn). Starting every time from level 1 is just a big no for me. Biggest challenge in Arena currently is to not fall asleep on your way to wave 100. But i do realize this is where builds will be more tanky and having capped resists will by vital.

However this should not be limited to just one small part of the game. Same thing about Masochism mode. Since it’s the nr 1 thing people bring up when somebody mentiones that the game is on the easy side currently.

Optional mode that majority of the playerbase will NEVER activate is not the solution. The fact that you need some artificial modifiers on base game that only change percentage of damage dealt and received - to at least make you use potions and maybe put some passives into hp/defenses - is a clear sign that the game is not even remotely challenging to begin with.

And just to completely dispel your delusions about Masochims mode - all my builds and all my examples - still would happen there. The only difference is i would just use a shield on every build. Kite Shield with rolled block chance so close to 40% of all hits would be cut almost in half (lvl 90 Mono scaling example). That is all. Leech would still work the same and you will just hit for less - but 2% leeched from 25 k hit instead of 50 k hit - thats still enough to fully heal up. Also i am ignoring for the sake of discussion the fact you can actually…ye just take more Leech. Each class has access to it in some shape or form. Also plenty of items with Leech. Uniques or normal mods. But ye - Block i do not wish to discuss since it’s pretty much agreed upon within the community that it is way too strong atm.

There seem to be A LOT of people coming from PoE in general and Heist recently (myself included). I am sure veteran poe players or those with enough knowledge about mechanics - we all remember how the game was with pre nerf Vaal Pact leech. And also why it finally had to be changed and made the game better. So all of you guys probably already see all the issues from current version of leech in LE and where this is going.

D3 players surely remember leech issues as well - back when the game still had hell/inferno. And why Blizzard ultimately just removed leech completely.

Anyway my hopes for the future in LE - put a cap on every single leech instance equal to maximum hp (for example 20%) each second. Would still be way stronger than other sustain/recovery mechanics but it is the only solution i am aware that somehow works without completely removing the stat from the game (based on PoE leech formulas - ofc there is more to it but thats the general gist).

At the same time make the game a bit harder - not asking here to murder players behind every corner - but just make resistances matter a bit more (maybe currently something is just bugged idk).

Feels very weird - doing Monoliths 10-15 above your level and some resitances can be 0.
That’s like the equivalent of Story mode in other games - should not be a thing in aRPG imo.

Hopefuly with all of this and after adding more end game modes besides Monoliths (and fleshing out Arena) - i believe that things will fix themselves and game will feel as it should.

But as it is - ye around level 80 - personally i have 0 motivation to keep going. It’s way more appealing to just roll a different build.

Unless the last Monolith is so hard that it actually requires for you to be lvl 95+ or something like that. I havent got there yet but tbh - if you have to wait THAT long to finally be challenged - then ye i stand by everything i said before.

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Thanks for sharing. You made some very good points and elaborated how I feel about the lack of motivation to progress.

I also get bored (for want of a better word) with a build/character somewhere in the 70s - 90s & would like progression to carry on after your skills hit 20. There have been a few threads suggesting other progression systems that could take over at higher levels (including one of mine with choices for a “mastered” skill).

I do feel a bit uneasy about using PoE’s level of gear progression though, since that’s a very different paced game & I’m not sure I’d want LE to go that far in the zoom-zoom direction. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, just that it worries me that it would change the feel of the game. I wouldn’t want bosses to be trivialised in LE as they can be in PoE with top tier gear.

That got removed in 0.7.10 (fortunately).

I dont see how following (or even copying) POE gear progression has any influence on the pace of the gameplay itself?

It’s the magnitude of PoE’s gear progression that I wouldn’t want to see imported into LE. Granted, some of it wouldn’t be an issue (PoE’s bonkers damage conversion & x% of YYY added as chaos & the quantity of more damage modifiers that can be applied). I accept that I may well be worrying about nothing given the existing calculational/mechanical differences between the two games.

If they added more top end gear progression then they’d need to add more top end challenge, which would be a good thing, keep the normal monoliths as they are but buff the empowered monoliths & potentially add a third tier of monoliths that are much harder (kinda like how PoE has white, blue & yellow & red maps).

I get where you’re coming from. But I might add that while I agree with the general sentiments to emulate POE gear/character progression, I am not necessarily thinking of a power creep from our current power level. I am totally prepared for some of the power we currently have distributed to higher level/gear progression.

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Something just clicked for me about the “more skill points” thing. (apologies if my denseness is much thicker than others.)

Before it’s sounded to me like the argument for more skill points was an excuse for power creep but if you spread out the current power level over 30 points instead of 20 points then yes that’s actually a fantastic idea. That would essentially mean each skill is getting a new ‘boost’ about every 3 levels up until 90. Multiple that by 5 skills and you’ve got something going on at almost every level.

One concern of this would be unlocking skill specializations. I think with a more spread out skill progression you’d need to unlock skill specializations a little sooner. Part of the aRPG experience I think is giving a ‘good feelz’ quality to the early game so games have the impression they’re awesome. This is sort of a ‘carrot’ in and of itself’ because it makes you want to keep rising in power even when the curve starts to get steeper. With a slower overall skill progression it might be a good incentive to have your skill specializations sooner. Not necessarily though, but just a potential concern/speculation about a longer skill progression.

On some levels I probably agree with this, but as you’ve mentioned there are still a good number of end game components to be added to the game so its a little early to speculate too much on those.

However, regarding MoF, I’m not sure it should be harder. Currently the way the two end game systems interact, in my experience, is if you want to bump up your character experience you pop into Crucible. If you want to hunt for gear you speed run MoF, which then allows you to pop back in Crucible and go a bit further for bit more experience. Repeat. With the amount of affixes/suffixes in the game and the need to hunt for items with at least two of the affixes you really want in order to start ‘building’ your gear up, if you made it more difficult you’d get a lot less drops so it would actually become harder to gear your character. So if MoFs difficulty is scaled up I think there would have to be a compensation in the types/quality of drops you’re getting as well to compensate for less frequency.

I think a lot could be done for balancing, and some good suggestions have been made here and other places.

I will say however, that I like being “done” with a build" before max level, as used to be the case in D2 for instance (there you’d have most gear/points arouond 75-80).

I’m not actually a fan of games feeling like they need “end game” in al scenarios. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy something to keep me going in a game, and it makes sense if you want players to keep playing, but I don’t want a D3 style of ARPG, wherein I rush to max level and the game starts there. That just makes leveling seem tedious.

Being “done” or at least nearly done with a build before max level makes the extra levels unecessary (which is good if you dislike grinds) but makes them possible if you want something to do or want to feel like you made it to the end. In D2, I don’t think I ever made it past 92, for instance.

Now, I don’t think we should lok back when making new games; I am GLAD that gameplay in ARPGs has improved in the last 20 years and I look forward to new innovations and improvments, but I hope that, in this particular genre especially, that the game design isn’t “get to end game and spend 80% of your time there.” I’d rather this genre be more of a “enjoy your journey of killing hordes of monsters and getting gear/stats/etc along the way.”

I definitely think that leveling skills themselves either needs more levels as has been suggested, or it needs to take longer to get those levels. My highest char in LE is 61, and I think I am at lvl 19 in all my skills. I still have TONS of gear to collect, but not much more in changing my skills, and this seems a bit low, given a level cap of 100.

As this thread is about leveling progression I will say that my major gripe is needing to finish the campaign to specialize your character each time. I think I might prefer (for later characters at least) the ability to do so at a certain level (I find myself hording passive points after level 20, for instance, since I don’t know if I will want them for my mastery tree right away) or some other system in place. The time investment to pick a mastery class seems a tad high, though I recognize that could be by design and that others may disagree with me here.

Anyway, I do enjoy the game, and I am about 30 hours in, hoping to see how it improves until release!

I do not agree this is good for the game though. Also i am pretty sure this is not even intended to work like this at release or even few months from now.

Arena mode is all about testing your builds speed (once they do add actual timers for Waves completion) and overall strength - it also provides different kind of gameplay with steady stream of monsters spawning and trying to whoop your ass but without the monolith loop of : roll modifiers / kill the boss / loot chest >>> repeat until Quest Echo.

It should NOT be the main way to get fastest/easiest experience as far as character progression is concerned. As this is not traditional way of leveling in aRPGs - the fact people would feel forced to participate in a very specific gameplay loop that differs drastically from the rest of the game - is a serious flaw in my opinion.

However i do believe Arena mode will be different at release. There is more managment in Monoliths and dangerous mods keep adding up but so does the experience modifiers. It only makes sense for Monoliths (or future end game modes) to award more experience - not less.

At the same time - there simply could be specific rewards for completing Waves in Arena - more fitting for the actual mode. Some temporary buffs you can activate on harder waves or perhaps a checkpoint system fueled by Arena only currency (so you do not have to start from 0 every time).

But anyway the point i am trying to make - what if you do not participate in Arena at all?

I will tell you exactly how it looks. You finish the Story and the pacing already seems a bit off - each and every time i would not be even close to level 55. Maybe it’s me rushing and not grinding enough mobs idk. Also with additional Chapter problem will probably solve itself.

The thing is though - this trend does not stop in Monoliths. You are constantly underleveled. Right now i am doing last Monolith Reign of Dragons (i think is called) which is last Monolith at lvl 100. Yet my character is 78. At the same time i still 1 shot almost every pack inside because mobs in LE i swear are made out of paper. Essentially the game feels as easy as lvl 55 Monolith that starts the whole thing. Actually game feels easier since by now i know most if not all mob types/attacks.

To me - this is absolutely crazy.

Now maybe i am missing something and playing the game in a ‘‘wrong’’ way. Are we supposed to reclear same Monolith timelines? Do i really need to engage with content i do not like (Arena) just to keep my character leveled up?

Or perhaps the whole system is just early iteration and simply not balanced well enough yet.

Also the whole gameplay loop in Monoliths does not help the issue and only makes it even worse. What i mean specifically - it clearly is best to just rush to the boss/shrine/objective and finish Echo as soon as possible. So you can spawn Quest Echo faster.

There is a reason why Blizzard made Greater Rift system work the way it does. Boss at the end can spawn ONLY if you clear X% of total mobs in a map. They saw the issue here and prevented it from happening. I would strongly suggest for Monoliths to work in a same way.

Sometimes as developer you have to protect players from themselves is what i am saying.

I believe this is what I was sort of getting at. It’s still BETA and there are actually more ENDGAME components that HAVEN’T been implemented yet. I didn’t mean that MoF should be loot, Arena should be xp. Right now they sort of are but my intent was saying that I’m imagining the endgame components will fill certain niches in the endgame that compliment each other and allow us to do a variety of different hunts. Speed runs, XP hunts, Unique hunts, etc.

Commenting that they feel unbalanced is absolutely valid. They may very well already be aware of this and as the other stuff gets added we’ll see more of the entire picture. But keeping the ideas in their head is good.

And I couldn’t stand GRs in D3. 3400 hours in game. Drove me nuts. :smiley:

To use your analogy, MoF feels more like a regular D3 rift than a GR. Where you speed run Regular rifts to get keys and stuff.