My Account
× My Account Media Forum Supporter Packs

Last Epoch Forums

The new defence system and its future

INTRO

I will start by saying that when the Developer Blog covering the new defence system came out, I was very confused and sad.
I always thought the LE system was great and unique. After 2300 hours falling in love with the system and pushing it to its limits, this 180-degree turn felt quite abrupt.

The numbers provided in the Developer Blog raised some serious concerns, as it was clear it would completely change the game. Again, I love LE, so regardless of my sadness and initial fears, I dive in to learn and understand the new system. You never really know until you try and test.

A week has passed since patch dropped.
I have played the patch since it launched for 12h+ a day.
It is better that my original thoughts but, sadly, most of my concerns are real problems that, in my opinion, have to be addressed.

The system is clearly coming to stay, so I will try my best to give constructive feedback instead of just ranting like I normally do.

I am aware that the game is not finished, and that we are lacking stuff like sockets and Legendry items. This is precisely why I am making this post, the system is not final and it can be expanded/fixed/upgraded.


THE SYSTEM

The new system does have some good stuff.

Gearing a fresh character is much more intuitive and beginner friendly than before.
The changes to GB and the new-capped resistance system are more familiar to players coming from other ARPGS and will let them enjoy the game from minute one. If you add the updated campaign and the Loot Filter to this, it creates an excellent new player experience. This is obviously a huge win for EHG and getting more players to play the game.

Most people would agree that the best games tend to be easy to play but hard to master.
I always thought LE was relatively easy to get into, and then you could dive in to master it.

  • The current changes have made the game easier to get into, and that is great.
  • Unfortunately, the current changes have also removed the vast majority of the game’s gear complexity and min/maxing potential for those who care about that.

This is, in my eyes, the biggest problem.
There is not much else to look for in terms of gear after that great initial experience.


JOURNEY AND IDENTITY

In patch 7.9, a player had one clear first goal for defence: gearing Glancing Blow.
After Glancing Blow, a player could choose what to gear for.
If you can think it, you can try it.

  • You could choose to ignore protections completely and go full dodge, health and movement speed for a glass cannon kite approach.
  • You could go full protections and ignore health to be a pure tank juggernaut.
  • You could go hybrid with some protections, health and dodge to play like a bruiser.
  • You could combine all of the above with block or ward, depending on your class.

The optimal choice would be related to the mastery and build strengths.

The potential of the defensive cocktail you would pick was heavily connected to the strengths of your build. This made you take decisions; you had to choose what was more worth to invest on.

Regardless, without the caps, you still had the option to do whatever you wanted. You could invest into just one defense layer, even if it was just for fun and not optimial reasons.

Examples:

  • In 7.9, a Paladin could build really heavy into protections. Better than any other class.
    The potential was amazing because of the combination of flat protections and % increased protections he had access too.
  • You could also use the sentinel conversion damage taken affixes so you could invest even more heavily into a particular defence of your choice. Those were really hard to get but you didn’t need them.
  • Lich in the other hand, could pick a complete different glass cannon approach, using its range and damage output for a “can’t die if they are dead” playstyle.
This gave the masteries identity.
This gave the players different goals.
It was fun to gear and play different classes because each would play and gear completely different. Now every character has the same potential and same caps.

For 7.10, this is lost.
Now, every class has the same goals:

  • Reach 75% all resistances (just like old glancing blow, but more taxing). Some classes have it easier than others do, but their goal is the same.
    Capping 75% all resistances is extremely easy to do.
  • Get dodge and armour. If you can get from skills/passive, better.
    Both stats have caps and really heavy diminishing returns, so you aim for the optimal value and call it a day.
  • Cap Critical Avoidance.
  • Drop everything else into gearing HP.

Reaching your caps and optimal armour and dodge values can be done in less than a weekend, as it is extremely easy to do.
After that, all you can do is try to gear for T20 gear to stack HP, on every build.

Your only goal regarding defences in end game is to build HP, as it is the only non-capped defensive layer a player can “scale”.

To top this off, with the removal of the super strong set dodge and set HP, you will always aim to use prefixes for resistances, and suffixes for HP and dodge in order to maximize every stat value.

Depending on your class, skills and passives you use and how much resistances you get for free on them, you will get some open prefixes to get % dodge increases prefixes or some specific stat you might want for your particular build.
Keep in mind that, if you use any set or unique, you will have less room for other stats and you will most likely lose the HP and Dodge values from those item slots.

TLDR: Defensively, in 7.10, you aim to cap all your defence layers and then use the rest of your suffixes for HP, on every class. The system was supposed to give players more freedom but it actually caused the opposite, as there is only one efficient way to build defences for every class.


END GAME GRIND

The new sets have flat rolls that makes them super boring.
I do not even look at my rolls any more, I know what they are because they do not have interesting ranges, and they are always the same.

The new flat values on prefixes negates the “GG WOW” factor that the old system had.

The WOW factor with the old system:
Link

Rerolled perfect CA, set elemental protections and necrotic protections, on a perfect 20% gold ring base. A min/maxer’s wet dream.

The rune of refinement potential of this clip is gone, the item was already godlike without it, but the refinement made it just perfect.

  • This moments, this hype rolls, are gone.
  • Caps do not help with this.
    Players will not care about their rolls if they are not getting extra power from them.

Another consequence of all this capped defence systems are the previous stars and chase items from 7.9: exalted items.

  • Due to the capped nature of the defence system, if you already reached your caps without any exalted items, finding those exalted items will not really give you anything.
  • Not being able to get powerful upgrades that affect your defensive capabilities after acquiring the best gear in the game, seems like a big problem for an ARPG.

Example:
Currently capped on every defensive layer. Using devouring orb to cap my elemental and void resistances and reduce the gear tax.

Full T20 items 7.10 Void Knight gear:
Link
Hypothetical maxed out T28 items BIS Void Knight gear:
Link

If I somehow manage to go from full T20 gear to full T28 max rolled Exalted gear (one can dream), I will be able to exchange one prefix on my set necrotic and poison resistance for a life leech prefix on my gloves, reach 3% more dodge and get 500 more HP.

Basically, I can grind for 2000 hours to get extra 500 HP. Nice…
Don’t get me wrong, I like that HP is finally a stat, but it is not exiting, or worth the time investment as it’s not a substantial power gain that makes it desirable to grind.
The old system was changed but HP affixes did not get any love to compensate.

You can reach your peak mitigations in less than a weekend, especially with the new inoffensive fracture threat while crafting. All you can do after is get some more dodge and HP.

  • Most of the LE player base never really cared about min maxing a character to push it to its absolute limits. It was a beta with no loot filter so it makes sense that not many people would like to invest 1000 hours to min/max a character. Some of us did that investment and we know how it felt and it paid off for our characters. This potential is gone for those who chose to invest on their characters.
  • The classes that never used the old protection system (mainly range) did not feel the changes at all (and now benefit from it), but the classes who relied on stacking protections in order to be relevant were hit really hard and lost the tools that made them unique.
  • If you get full T28 gear in the old system, you literally turn into a god. Now its whatever.

If a min/maxer is not exited to min/max, nobody will.

People will only grind if the rewards are worth it.

TLDR: In 7.10, the lifespan of character progression has been shortened drastically with the new defences. Caps on everything make exalted items pretty much useless defence wise. Classes that relied on stacking protections did not get anything to compensate while range can make use of it at the same level that melee.


TANKINESS IN END GAME

The changes have hurt the defensive capabilities of most classes outside of campaign, especially the ones that used to get hit a lot .

For reference, this is what my level 100 Void Knight is experiencing from patch to patch:

  • HP went from 800 to 1700 form 7.9 o 7.10.
  • 7.9: At wave 50 a skeleton archer dealt 4 physical damage standing still.
  • 7.10: At wave 50, a skeleton archer dealt 90 physical damage standing still.

7.9 characters that relied on the protections mitigations are now stucked with 0% effective resistance in patch 7.10 (due to enemy penetration), when they could reach 95% DR before.
(Disclaimer: this discussion is not about arena difficulty. This is just to display the huge disparity on tankiness that is available to the player from patch to patch).

While the bigger base HP pool it is nice, it is clear that protection based characters got a huge nerf. Considering that melee was already weak compared to range, this is quite brutal.
Even with the damage nerf for enemies, you feel like a wet noodle.

There is no way to gear for extra mitigation outside of what is given to you in the passives and skills, making every person playing the same class, have the same DR as long as they are capped, regardless of extra progression.

The end game of LE has turned into a one shot festival, where normal mobs do more damage than anything did in 7.9. This has affected the combat drastically and the game´s combat feels more PoE than ever. One shot them or get one shoted.

Example 1 of RIP in 7.10
Example 2 of RIP in 7.10
(Disclaimer: This character is capped on all defensive systems)

As showcased in the clips, the visceral and unique end game melee combat of LE has shifted into a one shot festival that makes you wonder why are you playing melee after every death.

It is also worth mentioning that there is less incentive to build damage on gear than ever.
The new skills and the ones reworked include multiple “more damage” modifiers and are the only way to access the new amazing “resistance shred”. This are the best sources of damage you can get and players have more than enough damage to defeat all enemies in all difficulties of the game just with skills, weapon and idols.

Doing damage was never a problem in this game. The problem was you felt obligated to take certain defensive skills on every build to not get one shoted. With the new caps and the nerf on tackiness from gear, those skills are more mandatory than ever.


THE FUTURE

The system is a decent foundation from what can be a great system.

Currently there is no long-term goal for gear. With the right tweaks, I believe the new system can be improved to please casuals and hardcore players.
An ARPG where the best items are not exciting or worth chasing, has a big problem.
There are many ways to address these issues. I been thinking hard on what and how can be added to the system, without changing it drastically.

Suggestions and possible solutions:

  • Ensure that there are long-term goals that are worth for the player to grind for.
  • Make gear exciting with more power attached to it.
  • Make sure class identity is not lost on the gear department.
  • Make melee classes tankier and healthier than range ones, so there is something they can do better than range.
  • Drastically increase HP values overall. Other games with caped resistances play with bigger HP pools that players can scale to decent amounts. If all we can scale is HP because everything else has a cap, let HP shine and be exciting to scale.
  • Different HP potential of each class. Similar on how in D2 Barbarian got more value of HP than Sorceress did. I love Druid passive for this same reason.
  • Different resistance cap potential for each class. It makes no sense to me that a paladin and an acolyte have the same damage reduction vs ignite damage. This can be done with passives, default specific class values or rare class specific affixes.
  • Introduce new end game affixes related to tankiness that people can target to get tankier. Chase affixes like the Sentinel conversion ones used to be. You will not need them to play the game, but some will chase them for their power.
  • Ways to build damage reduction outside of passive trees and skills. Those are nice but every player can access them with no effort. The developers just put them there so everyone has it by default. It feels bad that everyone has the same DR regardless of progression and time investment.
  • Really rare “upgraded” versions of low-level affixes that cover the same stat. This can be done on multiple ways, but the idea is to get 2.0 versions of basic affixes with higher values. Example: - Max T5 health suffix value: 75 - Max T5 2.0 health suffix value: 140
  • Make set resistance T5 values have interesting ranges that are not just flat values.
    Make the ranges of T5 and exalted synergize. If I have a max rolled T7 set resistance paired with T5s, it would be cool if it could save the player one prefix slot to get another instead. This way exalted items would actually be exciting to find and to look for and it would open up prefixes to build other interesting prefixes.
  • Add special effects on exalted items related to damage and tankiness that a player can choose from. For example, defensively, if you get a T7 set elemental mitigation, it could come with 5% elemental damage reduction, similar to the new Orian’s Eye Fire damage DR passive. Offensively, it could provide 5% elemental penetration.
  • Adjust affixes that affect non-cap values to feel impactful and scalable.
  • Revisit the armour formula, as right now the DR is so heavy you just ignore gearing it, especially since you can get so much for free with certain skills on all classes.
  • Make ward, block and other class specific defences geareable, so those classes have more flavour options when choosing their defensive suffixes instead of just grabbing whats available in their skills/mastery.
  • Remove the enemy base penetration per level. Resistances should be there to truly reflect how much damage is beeign mitgated and not to counter base enemy penetration.
  • Change how enemy base penetration affect each class. Maybe some classes only get affected by 50% or 65% penetration instead of base 75%. There is different ways to apporach this.
  • Add a base “enemy penetration resist” stat that effectivly makes your protections go positive. This could be added to Exalted items, the base values of class specific end game gear or just really rare affixes.
  • Rework passives that provide “% mitigation form nearby enemies” to “% mitigation when close to an enemy”. This way melee will get some extra protection against incoming ranged projectiles while engaged in combat. This won’t benefit range as much, since they always want to be far from enemies.

I tried to keep this as short, generalist and constructive as possible.
I have much more to say but I tried my best to be concise.

I would love to see this post full of ideas to make the system better for the future.
Thank you everyone for reading,

LizardIRL

35 Likes

An excellent post by someone who demonstratively knows this game as a player. One just has to look at the Ladder to know.

I have already experienced your end-game concerns and I barely have two characters in the 90’s. Your suggestions regarding having something worth grinding for are spot on and have been mentioned a few times in roundabout ways in other threads. Things have become much easier in 7.10 but the end-game around gearing, uniques, exalted and all those “holy crap” godlike items that aRPGs lure us in to grind another hour, another day, another month are not there. I had not considered it, but your comment about farming 2000 hours for 500hp struck a nerve and made me think of all the MMoRPGs that I have quit when I realised how much it would take for minimal improvements to my character.

Your future suggestions echo lots of what other players have said but come with the weight of your experience and knowledge to back them up. I am pretty certain EHG will be reading this and taking note of any discussions in this thread. They would be doing the game & themselves a disservice if they do not.

Thanks for this… The game can only get better if people like you care enough to give this level of quality feedback.

6 Likes

I have to agree with Lizard.

The new defence system has a lot of potential. Though it is far to easy to cap of resistances. Well I thought it was till I watched what happened ad you level up!

Started a new Sentinel. At level 8 I had gotten 86% Resistance in everything. I was amazed, it made those early levels easy as mobs couldn’t touch you. But as there is no growth from that, and the increased penetration that mobs get, by the time he reached level 40 he is starting to get some big hits. Even though he is investing heavily into armour, health and block via the skills and their synergy.

Though I have yet to reach any endgame stuff, as I am still running the campaign. I can see at level 100 with 120% resistance (To counter shred) 50% block, 50% armour. That he is going to die every few minutes.

So what started off great becomes a “Why did I level this?”

-Armour diminishing returns needs to be made less demanding than it is.
-Resistance cap, could do with a way to boost beyond the 75% mark.
-Block. Would be nice to be able to craft this onto other items, other than shield. You already have a unique 2h sword with block.

4 Likes

Very well written post highlighting your concerns and proposing ways that the system might be improved.

In particular I think your point about exalted items not being exciting (for defense stats) is a big deal. One suggestion I have is for exalted affixes to be able to gain secondary effects. e.g. if you had an exalted set necrotic/poison T6 maybe it could give +1 max necrotic/poison resistance and T7 would give +2. This could also be applied to other affixes like HP, dodge, armor, etc where T6 and T7 could add a % increase to their stats similar to the hybrid HP affix. Perhaps damage stats could give 1-2% penetration to their elements at exalted tiers.
This type of change in particular would make the endgame GG gear chase feel impactful.

Another extremely strong point you make is about the diminishing returns on armor and dodge. From what I’ve seen it’s easy to get around 1000 armor (~25% DR) on most characters without investing into it on gear. If you decide to invest you’ll most likely get around 4000 armor (42% DR) unless you’re a strength stacking class. It should be expected that strength stacking classes have more of an armor identity and this is a good thing, but IMO the diminishing returns on armor hit too hard too quickly. In effect it means most characters end up ignoring armor and being happy with the 16-25% DR they get from it for free.

Dodge is also affected by this where it’s pretty easy to hit 50% by slapping dodge suffixes on your gear, but it’s hard to get much more than that unless you ignore everything else. However my thoughts on dodge are different than armor. For armor I believe the current formula makes even early investment feel too weak and specifically it shouldn’t have such harsh diminishing returns. When it comes to dodge I believe you get too much dodge chance % early on too easily and that the formula should be more linear than it is. Lower the initial slope and make diminishing returns kick in later. The effect of this would be an overall nerf, but it would mean you can’t just always use dodge as a no-brainer defense layer (as it is currently) because it’s so easy to get that 40-50% dodge chance.

4 Likes

Wait until you make an endgame block build before you say it should be buffed. You can already get to 100% block chance for 50% additional mitigation from block effectiveness on sentinel. Though along with your point I wouldn’t be opposed to block being slightly more available in general (for other classes) and the passives and skill effects giving less block for sentinel.

Not to mention the more flat HP you build and the more % HP you get, the stronger they make each other. Why would you gear on diminishing returns stats (after reaching the sweet spot), when HP just gets better the more you get.

Problem is, it HP does not get much better either xD

I’m not entirely sure I agree with your comments about how everybody must cap resists. @Khastro did some numerical analysis here and just going resists isn’t necessarily the only way to do it.

That said, I do like the idea of trying to mix things up a bit so different classes get different bonuses to defences (over & above how much resists they get on their passive tree) & I think that would be a good idea to try & change how people gear.

Maybe the Sentinel gets +5% max void & fire resist, the Mage gets +3% max ele resists, the Primalist gets +5% max cold & lightning resist & the Acolyte gets +5% necrotic & poison.

Maybe certain classes can get more resist off their tree than they can currently (Spellblade doesn’t have much, Sentinel can get quite a lot, especially if they take Devouring Orb).

Maybe they should add more affix slots to the gear (6, ala PoE) but get rid of the set resist affixes?

I think ward could do with some more gearing options as implicits rather than just an offhand, some of the chest/helm implicits were a good start, but what about some high end bases that have no armour but “lots” (TBC) of ward per second? And add ward per sec as an offhand suffix & mage helm/chest suffix.

Maybe the dodge classes (currently kinda only the Primalist, but presumably the Rogue) could get reduced dodge effectiveness (ie, take some damage on a dodge) but reduced damage on non-dodge hits.

2 Likes

Yes I was generalising more block crafting, for other classes who don’t get bonuses.

2 Likes

Hi, Lizard! I want to thank you for taking the time to make such an in depth post with your thoughts on these updates. I will make sure that the design team reads over this post and bring it up in one of our upcoming meetings. As all things in Epoch, your feedback is greatly appreciated and we do try to read and consider as much of it as we can between development sprints :slight_smile:

23 Likes

I love this game man, thanks!

Directives from the Glorious Leader! Awesome! :smiley:

Hard to take the info in their post as conclusive when it doesn’t include set resistance affixes. You can get capped resistances with skill and passive effects (see fire shield, devouring orb, shaman mastery, etc), set affixes, and blessings fairly easily in addition to stacking ALL of the hp affixes on your gear. Even if you build for straight hp there’s no reason not to take resistances to increase your overall EHP.

1 Like

It’s not about using set resists, it’s about how much hp can you build to be equivalent to capped resists.

Exactly.
Post covers this btw.

The post explains that you can do both.
No reason not to get resistances on everyone.

If max hp & some resists is also viable, why did you say that every class’ goal is to cap resists?

If you accept that the post I linked to was reasonable (if not an exhaustive mathematical modelling of whether hp was an optimal strategy) then it’s a valid path to get max hp from gear & then get what resists you can elsewhere. Which is not what you said above.

You cap resistances and all capped stats from wherever you can, then all HP, all classes.
You build hp on every suffix, period.

If you use your siffixes to build prots, then you are making a mistake, as you will lose the slots for HP. Its not that hard to understand. Prefixes dont take HP slots.

I read Lizards main post to say exactly that. Every characters goal is to cap resistances and then stack as much hp as they can (though he adds in other defense layers like dodge and amor at their easy to reach sweet spots).

Some characters can get away with being a full glass cannon and don’t get affected by the defense changes at all (e.g. bone curse lich).

1 Like

But that’s not what I suggested. I suggested that you could do it the other way round, fill out your defensive affix slots with hp then get resists/dodge/etc where you can.

Possible, and potentially could give similar EHP. I think it’s tangential enough that Lizard’s points stand.