## Introduction

In the 0.8.5C patch notes, EHG said the following:

EHG have said on many occasions that they really do not like the “zoomy ignore all enemies” playstyle players tend to use in Monoliths, to either speed through Quests to get to Empowered, Quests to grind Boss Items/Blessings, or to get to a far away Orobyss for Corruption.

This change seems to be somewhat of an answer, perhaps for EHG to test the waters with what does and doesn’t work? At the surface, I suppose it makes sense; players who interact with the content get more stability to achieve the goals mentioned above, thus make faster progress.

The problem is that this “around double” bonus stability is that it doesn’t fix this. In fact, it makes this problem worse.

## Data

# Data

To investigate this, I hopped into several Last Epoch Twitch streams and watched them complete echo after echo. I recorded the stability the echo granted them, how much bonus stability they *could* get and how much bonus stability they did get. I ignored Arena echoes as these always give the full bonus, and would thus skew the results.

These streamers all played in the same way: take a direct route to the echo objective and kill most enemies on the way.

These are the findings I got after 100 echoes of results.

# Findings

Simply by killing most enemies on the main route, they managed to get on average 50.54% of the bonus stability available.

This ended up resulting in an overall 154% stability revenue per echo. So, by doing nothing different, players who farm enemies while taking the most direct path to the objective get a 54% increase in stability.

There are some other things to look at now:

### Not farming

There are a lot of players who just zoom to the objective as fast as possible, ignoring monsters unless absolutely necessary. This is because the monster rewards and xp are not great compared to the rewards and xp gained for completing echoes. See PerryThePig’s video on this for more explanation.

These players would get a slight bonus average due to the existence of Gate echoes, so this a slight buff for them. These figures ranged from 0-33% of the bonus stability. There seem to be an even mix of Boss, Patrol, Spire and Gate echoes (ignoring Arena) so overall an ~8% buff to these players for changing nothing.

Now you may think “Hey these players get 8% bonus but farming along the way yields a 54% bonus, isn’t that worse? It’ll take them more echoes to unlock stuff”.

And you’re right, it would. However there is another factor in all this: time.

I’m a fairly rubbish player, and even I manage to average about 1m30s per echo when zooming through 100+ Corruption. Sometimes it’s longer, but sometimes it’s shorter (like a 10s echo because the spire spawned right next to me… bug?). When I just farm along the way without too much of a focus on farming, it usually takes me 2-3 times as long.

Let’s assume, to be on EHG’s side as much as possible, that whilst farming along the way it takes 3 minutes (double). Then

Stability = 1.54 *

s

where *s* is the base stability of the echo.

Now since the just zooming playstyle would complete 2 echoes in this time, this style would be **Stability = 2 * 1.08 * s = 2.16 * s**, right? Wrong!

This is because the further you travel from the origin, the more stability each node gives. I have seen +1 and +2. For the sake of keeping on EHG’s side, let’s take +1. This method would then yield the stability:

Stability = 2 * ( 1.08 *

s+ 1) = 2.16 *s+ 2

This isn’t a per-node stability, but the amount of stability you’d get in the same time that a “farm along the way” playstyle would get that 1.54 * *s* stability.

An easier way to show this comparison is to consider the amount of stability gained over, say, 20 echoes. In the table below, the first row refers to the amount of echoes run in 0.8.5C and the second row is how many echoes worth of stability this is compared to pre-0.8.5C echoes.

Farming Along The Way | Zooming |
---|---|

20 | 44.375 |

30.8 | 47.575 |

The gap between these two playstyles has gotten smaller. Running 20 echoes while farming along the way would now yield you the same as 30.8 pre-0.8.5C echoes, which is a significant increase. Meanwhile in the same amount of time, just zooming would see you complete 44.375 echoes, yielding the same amount of stability as 47.575 pre-0.8.5C echoes, a slight increase.

**But wait, it gets worse!**

### Zoomy Farmers

There are some builds in the game that I’d dub “zoomy farmers”, such as Hail of Arrows. Since HoA is a duration ability, you can just zoom through the echo and aggro every enemy along the way. Since aggro doesn’t drop in LE (from what I can tell), you will have a massive hoard of enemies chasing you. Simply cast HoA and all these enemies will run through the skill and die.

This method would give the player the same 154% stability as the “farming along the way” method, with the benefit of taking as long as the zooming method (with a 1s timeloss each time you cast HoA, so if this is kept to a minimum or if you just lure the entire hoard to the objective, then you will effectively have the same time as zooming).

So in the time it takes to complete 1 echo as a “farm along the way” player, we have:

Stability = 2 * ( 1.54 *

s+ 1) = 3.08 *s+ 2

Putting this into the table from before gives us:

Farming Along The Way | Zooming | Zoomy Farming |
---|---|---|

20 | 44.375 | 44.375 |

30.8 | 47.575 | 65.975 |

And suddenly we can see that while the 0.8.5C patch closes the gap between “farming along the way” and zooming, it creates a much bigger problem in another playstyle, one significantly worse than the zooming vs casual style pre-0.8.5C.

## Some explanation on the mathematics

# Mathematical Explanation

So how did I get the 44.375, 47.575 and 65.975? Probably if you tried to recreate this, you didn’t calculate these.

### The 44.375

Running the echoes twice as fast means that when the “farming along the way” playstyle completes 20, the zooming playstyle will have completed 40.

Assuming 20 these 20 nodes each get further away from the origin, the 21st node would give +1 relative to the 20th node, the 22nd +2 relative to the 20th node, etc. This gives the series:

1 + 2 + … + 19 + 20

The sum of this is given by:

Sn = n * ( a1 + a2) / 2 = 20 * ( 1 + 20) / 2 = 210

Now this is the sum of stability, which we want to convert to into number of echoes this represents. Generally you’d divide this by the average base stability granted by echoes, however these additional points of stability come from the 21st to 40th nodes, or the upper half of nodes completed.

So I went into the data I collected and instead of finding the median of the stability of nodes run, I took the upper quartile (which was 48). Dividing 210 by 48 gives:

210 / 48 = 4.375

And

40 + 4.375 = 44.375

### The 47.575

Similarly for this case, we get +4.375. However from the Not Farming subsection, we get an extra ~8% stability from bonus stability. So we have:

20 * 2.16 = 43.2 pre-0.8.5C echoes worth of stability

And thus

43.2 + 4.375 = 47.575

### The 65.975

Again we have +4.375. This time we have a multiplier of 3.08, giving

20 * 3.08 = 61.6

and

61.6 + 4.375 = 65.975

*Note that since I am taking values that are on EHG’s side as much as possible, that the actual figures would show a greater difference.*

## How Could EHG Fix This?

## Method 1 - Alter the equation

### Method 1 - Alter the equation

We could alter it by dividing base stability by 1.54 (or perhaps slightly larger?) and then give the bonus non-linear or exponential scaling, such that ~50% completion would result in a similar total statibility. For example:

Farming Along The Way | Zooming |
---|---|

20 | 44.375 |

30.8 | 30.89 |

We can see this strategy still buffs casual play, but nukes the zooming playstyle to more or less the same.

Unfortunately this does nothing for the zoomy farming playstyle which remains at 65.975, but it has the benefit of being a very quick fix.

## Method 2 - Scale bonus stability increase away from shortest path

### Method 2 - Scale bonus stability increase away from shortest path

Within each echo map, add nodes/vertices at the objectives, the player spawn locations and the intersections where players can choose which way to run. Connect these with edges based on which way players can get to one from the other. Use Dijkstra’s algorithm to find the shortest path. Represent this as a spline. Create vectors normal to this spline. Scale the amount of % added to the bonus stability meter from killing enemies by the lengths of these vectors.

**This method is even easier to implement and automate if you generate randomised echo maps as each tile would be its own vertex.**

Based on having coded this myself (albeit in C++ and not C#/Java), it shouldn’t take too long to implement this (the long part is manually adding vertices onto the echo maps), nor is it too CPU intensive to impact player loading times, although tbf my code didn’t have to run the entirety of a video game at the same time.

## Method 3 - Revert

### Method 3 - Revert

Simply revert this bonus stability change and take it back to the drawing room and think of a new approach.

## Conclusion

I don’t think the fix to try and close the gap between casuals and zoomers worked. Might have seemed good in theory, but didn’t work out in practice. It also create a *much* bigger problem that makes the original problem mute.

I collected data from 100 non-Arena echoes at 100+ corruption run by streamers, the statistics shown by this data, and how EHG could fix this if they want. The data and statistics are likely to be reliable and representative of echo runs in general given the sample size of 100 (compared to the standard minimum of 30). As mentioned, I took values benefitting EHG’s side throughout these calculations. In reality, these values are much bigger, with the zoomy farming playstyle likely being worth over a hundred echoes instead of 66.975.

**EDIT 1:** I am a weak-willed little bitch.

**EDIT 2:** Turns out EHG didn’t make this change to fix the zoomy problem, so my bad.

**EDIT 3:** Updated an incorrect equation.

**EDIT 4:** Did I have a secret copy of this to paste back in? Nope, I freaking rewrote it by hand. And added some more clarity along the way., including more explanation of the mathematics in the data section.

You can thank ttnnyy for this rewrite.

**EDIT 5:** These people had very great ideas that build on this. Go check out their comments.