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Could Last Epoch Fail?

I’m really interested in the topic of ‘What makes a game fail?’. I’ve also covered the biggest ARPG launches over the past few years (Wolcen, Torchlight 3, Pagan) and correctly predicted that they wouldn’t succeed. Now, I’m taking a critical look at my favorite game to see if it could also fail.

Spoiler alert: It could.

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Could it fail? Of course, you could say that any attempt to release a video game could fail, no matter the genre, title, platform, brand, long-standing characters or whatever. Will it? That is naturally yet to be seen, but the chances considering their growth is highly unlikely. In fact, comparing what they intentionally set out to achieve to the current product, they have already succeeded.

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I addressed this in the video.

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I’m sorry, I only watched the first 5 minutes or so (I’m more of a reader for these types of discussions). It seems the click-baity title just got to me and spurred my quick (albeit obvious and not so helpful) response.

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Yeah np, I absolutely get it. I would offer a text version but I think there’s too much to sift through and it would come out as more of a book than anything. You’re right though, by several metrics the game is absolutely a success. It all depends on what goals and milestones the devs have for a game, and some of those haven’t been reached yet for LE.

I enjoyed the video, but I felt a definition for what you consider a failure to be was missing. There’s a ton of metrics that could be used to constitute what a failure is, and several are implied in the video, but I never felt I understood what you would consider a failure to be and what that would look like for Last Epoch specifically.

Otherwise, it was a well constructed video with many valid arguments and concerns.

Right after the intro, I lay out the three possible fail states.

  • A bad launch
  • Inability to maintain longterm success and growth
  • Not ultimately being competitive with the ‘big 2’ in the genre.
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Yes, I suppose I was looking for a deeper discussion of what creates a failed state in each of those points from your perspective. Ultimately I guess I just found these points very ambiguous and left to the viewer to interpret, which allows for differing definitions of each to exist.

For example, I could see a launch having varying degrees of success which would create an argument to be had for either a good or bad launch – based on one’s point of view. Without having some parameters set in place beforehand to distinguish what creates a successful or failed launch it’s hard to make that distinction.

This is probably just a ‘me’ problem – I like very strict definitions because otherwise it’s hard to argue for or against something. Either way I still enjoyed the content, though I do feel that many of the variables discussed within are very much in flux, making it nearly impossible to determine Last Epoch’s longevity at this time. However, I do hope it succeeds where others have failed and continues to be an ARPG I play for many years into the future.

Depending on their cost-base, that is not a fail-state. Not everything has to be the #1.

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Well, at least Diablo 4 and Path of Exile 2 are literally over 2 years away. So they’ve got time to get in under the radar.

There aren’t any other ARPG games.

Time helps/hurts your video. The mapping portion is combination of adding pieces of successful content into a base game. PoE leagues do that with Delve, Expedition, Ritual etc. Those leagues took time and were side experiments to the “standard” game, then get added in after and never at the level of the league content. That type of content can be developed over time as the “cycles” are introduced, so that is an area that should be remedied overtime.

This is true, and I intentionally didn’t create any hard metrics, because ultimately I think they would be too restrictive and miss the point. Generally when we see games fail at something like Wolcen failed with its launch, there are a variety of factors that go into it which create the fail state and no combination of numbers would really encapsulate it properly. With that being said, we as players generally know when a game fails. Sure there might be disagreements on the fringes, but it’s generally pretty clear when a game just doesn’t meet expectations.

As I discussed in the video, a fail-state is subjective to the goals and ambitions of the developers. An ARPG with MP and trade and seasons and deep endgame systems sure seems to be ambitious enough to want to be in the same category as the big 2. I think it’s safe to say that if it doesn’t happen it would be one sort of fail state, although the game could still be very successful in many other metrics.

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I don’t know how much it affects my video, but it is true that PoE didn’t also have all of these mechanics while mapping. It’s also true that LE is going to be entering a very different environment from the one that PoE started in. PoE didn’t have any games to compete with that were offering these kinds of mechanics. The very existence of PoE at this stage changes the paradigm for what is expected from an ARPG.

That being said, it could also be remedied over time, and that’s exactly what I’m hoping happens.

I am not a game specialist, but as a fan player of th genre, and after playing all mention games in this tread LE is my favorite now, and it’s even on early acess!!! so omo it’s a strong indication of the quality of the game and a big plus for potential sucess :slight_smile:

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Great discussion, @McFluffin.

I think your 8 factors broadly covers it. My quick thoughts:

MultiPlayer - points discussed are mostly hygiene factors. I think more important to MP is the actual MP experience. For example, the current state of POE MP would satisfy the points you discussed. But not in my mind, because the average player wouldn’t touch POE MP with a ten foot pole.

Optimisation - duh. I expect unanimous agreement here :stuck_out_tongue:

Balance - agree. Nothing to add.

Trade - agree with your preliminary view of trade. I think aside from being a deterministic way to improve gears (thru accumulating resources to get rare gears needed), trade is what gives item intrinsic value. In a SSF world, an item is only valuable if it’s useful for a build you’re playing or a build you’re considering making (also to highlight the latter point is less relevant to players who like to minmax one/two “main builds”). And items being valuable is a core aspect of ARPGs for me.

Missed Opportunities - Agree. But re LE launching, I think one thing that also needs to be addressed at launch is ensuring the rewards to early access supporters are delivered. These are mostly the cosmetic fluff, sure. But EHG is almost sure to launch new support packs at release, and I think it would be terrible to have early access rewards still undelivered or in a bad state when they do so.

I haven’t spoken much of this because I agree it is more important to work on the core game before we get to the “fluff”. But just to highlight again, we need QoL such as permanently keeping our cosmetic pets out, cosmetic pets pathing logic is still non-existent (always converging into one), the kickstarter pets are of terrible quality (I was told they would be reworked), and basically to build in the cosmetic store to get the cosmetic armour and effects shopping going, etc.

Bland Mapping - Agree. Re POE comparison, the other reason why POE incentivise full clearing of map (until very very late game where some map rushing do happen), is that there is a cost to the maps. In LE, echoes are free to run so there is no real incentive to optimise the reward per echo, rather it’s all about rewards per hour (or any unit time we choose, the point being the number of echoes it takes doesn’t really factor into the equation).

Combat feel - This I definitely notice. I think this is something I automatically compares with POE. POE’s combat feels really punchy and ON POINT. Extremely satisfying when you pop monsters. LE combat really doesnt evoke that feeling or anything similar…

Seasonal content - Don’t disagree with your opinions but not something I am too worried about. heh :wink:

PS: I have a very simple personal measure of Last Epoch succeeding. As part of my Epoch Kickstarter reward, I have unlimited access to the cosmetic store. If Last Epoch has a vibrant player community the day the amount of desirable mtx in store exceeds the value of my Epoch pack, that would be the day I consider Last Epoch successful beyond my dreams :grin:

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You sir Volcko said what I was about to write. I’v been playing PoE for a long time (now it is on a break due LE) :slight_smile: I do have also Wolcen and Grim Dawn with 1,5K hours play time. Still LE is by far most satisfying experience among ARPG’s now and what I think it will be in future too. Development of the game and behaviour of Dev’s are just amazing and it’s still on early access. This means a lot to me

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I generally agree with this, but I also consider that strong evidence that it isn’t vital to get MP in a position where the majority of players want to play in parties. As long as it’s good enough for those who do, and the server authoritative stuff is in good shape insofar as it isn’t getting in the way of player experience too much, then MP won’t be a negative factor in LE’s success. Still, if MP were even better than PoE and party play was especially fun in comparison, that would be a pretty big way that LE could standout from PoE.

Yeah, I think this stuff is important in order for EHG to keep their promises and maintain a good reputation with their longtime supporters. I don’t know how much it would affect their longterm success though, given that the early supporters are a relatively small percentage of the overall player base at this point. Still, I think they should deliver on this because enough broken promises by a developer can really start to make players reconsider whether they want to be supporting a company that doesn’t seem to want to consistently support them.

Someone also brought this up in the comments section of the video, and it’s a really great point. It really highlights the fact that echoes in LE currently just don’t have any intrinsic value outside of the echo rewards, and those are one of the major driving forces of the rush mentality. There needs to be value for spending time within the echo, whether it be echo scarcity or valuable stuff inside of echoes that only some of them have.

Good video and solid points.

A success in my eyes would be:

  • Better combat (Audio / Visual)
  • Performance
  • Multiplayer + Good seasonal content

That’s all it needs for me, in that order. I don’t care as much for Trade as others since I’ll be keeping to SSF mostly.

Don’t want to write an entire essay here but I’ll go a little bit deeper as to why I’ve listed them in that order.

  1. Combat. For me nailing combat is paramount since that is what keeps me playing. I’ve played games with a lot of bad gameplay systems a lot longer than I’d like to admit solely because of the good combat. I like the overall fluidity of LE but the janky animations, poor SFX and visuals not being that impressive, that’s what kills it for me each time I come around and play a new patch. I can’t seem to stick with it and it feels like playing something that only just got into Beta.

  2. Performance. Who doesn’t want this to get better? It’s getting worse every update somehow, which is quite worrying to say the least.

  3. Multiplayer. Playing with friends makes everything more fun, even the worst of games so it isn’t even that high up the list and I’m just curious as to how they’re doing their league system.

And as a sidenote but I’m not all to worried about it is the Monolith feeling a bit hollow. I know there are systems to come so I won’t really fault the game for just lacking content right now.

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This one is a hard one, because I promise you as soon as echos shift to reward the other style of play more, then we will have the same complaints. My friend group actually plays LE and sells its praises over PoE because content is NOT scarce. LE has a strong community of PoE refugees that play it specifically because it keeps many of the good parts of PoE without all the crappy dribble that is map scarcity and item scarcity. And I think it would actually potentially bomb LE if it tried to become more like PoE in this aspect. Because if Mono farming is just PoE maps but less content, why would I play LE? LE has to find a way to keep us playing that is not inane requirements like “you must kill every monster praying for the scraps so that you can keep playing”

I also think the devs are well aware of this as well. They come from a background of having played PoE themselves and know just how off putting it can be to be locked out a game you otherwise find fun just because you dont minmax every scrap of system you get.

Thats basically my point I guess for the thread topic too. I think LE currently is doing a decent job of remaining similar but different to those in the genre, and the closer it becomes to another game the more I fear for its survival, LE success will depend heavily on if they can create a game that is balanced and played differently then its competition. LE essentially needs to carve its own niche instead of trying to be PoE-lite or Diablo-lite.