My Account
× My Account Forum Buy Now

Last Epoch Forums

Critical Damage thoughts

Greetings, Travellers and Authors of Fate!

So, finishing up last week’s stream as I type - one of these days I’ll make it on time to chat with Mike live… - and there was a bit of discussion about Critical Hits feeling like a mandatory take for hit-based builds.

One of the few inspirations I take away from Critical Hits actually comes from Warframe - a third-person shooter, for anyone not familiar with the game - where you play a Space-Ninja-Wizard-Robot-Mech! Not that all that fits great with Last Epoch, but the concept of mechanically scaling damage through hits against enemies does.

Critical Damage in Warframe is a single calculation - whether you achieved a Critical HIt or not. By fixing what is currently Critical Multiplier at a fixed value, it simplifies the concept of Critical Damage scaling for everyone. Now, anyone who is familiar with Warframe is screaming in their heads “What about Red Crits, then, Ash?” - and here’s where you get the same level of customization, fun, and ability to push the boundaries of what is possible that everyone loves in ARPGs and LE specifically. “Red Crits” are a concept where you have more than 100% critical chance, and thereby do more than 1x Critical Multiplier - and LE already has a similar system in place with Ailments!

Similar to the way greater than 100% Ailment chance is split into a number of guaranteed Ailment stacks and a chance to add another stack, 110% Critical Hit chance is converted to 100% chance to achieve 1x Critical Multiplier and 10% chance to achieve 2x Critical Multiplier.

While having the multiple-affix style of Critical Chance and Critical Multiplier is fine, I think unifying the system would benefit Last Epoch; this simplified logic is easy to follow, fits the current theme of other on-hit effects, and the simplified logic can be applied to all aspects of on-crit effects, too. If one were to Ignite on Crit (not currently an affix, but hey, one can dream…) then with 110% crit chance, you would apply 1 Ignite, with a 10% chance for a second Ignite.

Now, none of this addresses Critical Hits being the default hit-damage pushing technique; that requires thinking about why Critical Damage is the default. While the Developer stance Mike has talked about is one way of addressing it (“we want to give you more reasons to not take Critical hits by default, by giving you other trade-offs”) The end result is that Critical Hits are the cost-benefit trade (i.e. “I can do x, but I cannot crit anymore” is the trade off, never “I can crit, but I cannot do x”) - allowing more Critical Hits doesn’t sound like the way to address Critical Hits being the default, but that benefit needs to be offered if other trade-offs are going to be made. The easiest example trade I could think of is “+100% critical hit chance, but you cannot apply ailments from critical Hits” - allowing the direct trade-off between Ailments and the hit-speed based stacking they provide, for the easy High-Damage option.

Opinions will always differ, and balance is best left to the people who do that for a living, but from my armchair here, I hope I can provide some insight!

Yeah, I don’t know. I think the crit system is going to need a review prior to 0.9.0 given how easy it is for the Rogue to give everyone 100% crit chance due to the crit vulnerability. Titan Quest/Grim Dawn did something kinda similar with Offensive/Defensive Ability, as the attacker’s OA increased over the target’s DA, not only was it easier to hit but the crit chance increased & higher crit multipliers were accessible at higher OA/DA ratios.

I would like to see something done so that going for crit chance wasn’t the obvious choice for hit builds but I’m not sure what that would be without adding another stat that would be crit in all but name (ie, stack as much as you can). Perhaps they should go down TQ/GD’s route & not have a 100% chance to hit by default? Not sure how that would be much different now given you’d just want to stack OA as much as possible to have a higher hit & crit chance.

I think crit vulnberability just needs to affect crit of the person applying it. And maybe if there are multiple people in the party using it, everybody only sees their own crit vulnberbility.

As cool as crit vuln is, I don’t think its worth trying to find a “solution” for an absurdly strong ailment as that.

Yes, curious to see how they deal with ailments, because there are several ailments that have a potential to be abused in a group. limiting ailments to one player / individual stacks seems to be the easiest fix given limited resources.

In the world of mathematics, there’s a fun property called “the law of squares” - to sum up, when multiplying a series of individual parts, you get the greatest total value when each of the individual parts is exactly the same; the big “problem” with Critical Damage is that it adds an extra axis for improvement in the calculation for hits, that other damage types don’t necessarily have:
Base x (sum:Increased) x (sum:CritDamage) x (moreValue)… all multiplied by hit-speed.

Where non-hit damage is just
Base x (sum:Increased) x (moreValue) … - multiplied by stack-rate, which is not necessarily the same as hit-speed but can be.

And while it sounds simple to just make removing one axis provide increases to another axis that will match, it’s actually incredibly complex to do, because of the law of squares. Because of this complexity, it’s almost never the best idea for a player to disable one axis completely, over just ignoring it in favor of others (current method most games will use).

This is why I’m a huge proponent of condensing Critical Damage into one single-stacking axis (multiplying chance by factor adds yet another axis to need to control for when something has gone wrong)

In the case of Critical Vulnerability, we’re just adding a large value to one axis - the real danger comes when a player has ignored that axis to focus on the others, but it hasn’t been totally disabled, and then suddenly gets a large value added on that axis from a group-mate. This is true of any debuff to an enemy, where Player 1 may have ignored an opportunity to increase one value of the series, and focused instead on the others, then Player 2 adds a large value to the group-dynamic because of their build.

Yes, limiting debuff stacks against an enemy to only affect the player that added them is a solution, but it’s also the antithesis of group-play. It would be better to solve the problem further upstream - by making builds that ignore that axis of damage also want to disable it; this is the crux of the Critical Damage problem, and in fact, most build-disparity problems, especially when applied to group play. It’s easy to see that Hit-Damage, Attack-Speed, and Critical Damage are all interchangeable, and getting all of them is exceptionally rewarding (but difficult) until you get into the group dynamic.

What’s a fair (and hopefully balanced) way to make a player want to disable an avenue of further improving their build down the road, or further maximize power within a group? It’s hard, but in the case of Critical Damage, it’s also obvious.

Edited a bunch because I was typing at the speed of thought - not thoroughness. My bad.

Hi, i think (some) ailments are already in a good place and a good alternative to crit builds. I confess I didn’t comprehend how changing the crit calculation would change that. It’s already a decision / trade off in what you want to invest.

To improve crit alternatives I would like to see:

  • make all major ailments relevant
  • make non-crit/non-ailments relevant. The unique Singularity is a good step in that direction. They could add some more steps in that direction.

You’re not wrong - unfortunately for the players, the best-balanced Ailments are also the most boring. I would like to take a moment to highlight the best case between differences in damage that are still interesting: Damned vs. Bleed.

They’re similar in that they’re both infinitely stacking, damage-dealing ailments (unlike Chill and Shock for example). However, Damned does much less damage, because it has an extra effect that makes it more useful - it reduces Enemy Life Regeneration (though I think it should be Life Recovery, a universal umbrella for Regen, Leech, and Life-on-Hit, but that’s an argument for another time). They both feel effective, and while they may not be perfectly balanced, both feel useful.

Making other ailments relevant involves either changing their damage, or giving them some other non-damage effects with specific balance in mind. And that adds yet another axis of complexity on which players will need to try to maximize.

I think LE already solved that issue, its called singularity.

The issue is that Gamers use efficiency brain and min maxer brain.

Non crit should be a viable choice for simplicity or ease of scaling, but should not just be “crit but scales different” like lets say investing 25% of power of investment into crit triples your damage, why bother adding another “non crit” stat for hit builds that has the same investment ratio? that just means you just make the optimal play randomly good for different builds which seems more interesting on paper, but really its just crit 2 electric boogaloo.

Crit is simply a mechanic that in games is always there for min maxers to well min max. Currently the problem lies in something you touched on briefly which is the cost benefit analysis.

I think the idea in items like singularity is for a very small investment(a 1x1 idol) you lose a scaling axis, but gain a decent chunk of power in exchange. The problem is that singularity at max roll is 20% more damage, which is equal at baseline no crit multi, 20% crit chance essentially. Now if base crit as a stat didnt exist you might be able to consider this quite good, thats 300% increase crit you need to match 20% crit chance. But because base crit is so strong and so available for most builds, its a non starter especially for melee.

Singularity needs a bump from like 20-30 imo, and then you might be able to consider non crit as an option for ease of scaling.

But I dont really agree with changing crit/crit multi because they are core to the minmaxing identity of the genre.

And stuff like ailments/crit vuln are their own bag of problems. Frankly crit vuln probably shouldnt exist at all. There is no reason a class should get 100% crit(That also booms crit avoid of enemies :U)just by spending 10 passive points and hitting something a few times.

I sorta like the idea of having crit rate going over 100 being a way to scale crits, but this comes with a host of interesting problems specifically of the gamblers fallacy type.

Gamblers fallacy awards the player +100% base crit if they have not crit in 4 seconds, and this scales with increased crit as you would expect. You can get well over 1000% crit chance, would this be 10x damage every 4 seconds?

1 Like

Yes, Gambler’s Fallacy and other sources of flat, base, crit-rate would need adjusted (possibly to a fixed guaranteed critical hit at top of current range-band system, but I’m not balancing anything from a forum post) - you’re correct there. Simplifying the overall system doesn’t mean we haven’t created a problem for ourselves already.

Singularity actually highlights the problems we have with the current structure. We give up all Base Critical Hit Rate (which sometimes is mandatory or incidental while fleshing out a build) to get a Flat bonus Multiplier. When a player can add to an axis but get no return, they’re less likely to make that trade - it doesn’t matter which direction it works in. Any method of disabling an axis has to involve a scaling method of adding to another - otherwise players will feel cheated (and probably will be).

So, the question is, if you got more base damage, or more increased damage from using Singularity, proportional to the crit-chance you gave up, would you still feel like Critical Vulnerability was too big a problem? I don’t think so, because then all damage is accounted for in every action - just the methodology changes. Min-Max players are going to min-max with whatever methodology is best, right now, Crit is the easiest one to use, because it’s a scaling more-damage multiplier that can be added to an otherwise punchy build with little opportunity cost.

I think the key is it shouldnt be a perfect trade off.

For example in the case of casters, scaling crit sorta requires a catalyst, which means no shield, so ideally singularity helps you make up some of the damage loss, while being able to use a shield.

LE has many stats and many defensive layers open to most builds, this creates interesting choices on how one chooses to use the investment they have given up in crit point/gear wise to more then just investing more into another damage axis. they can instead invest into a defensive affix.

if you play PoE, I think PoE does non crit fairly well because the values are tuned decent enough. Resolute technique removes any miss chance, but you can no longer crit. For some builds that struggle to get crit, this is just the solution you want. Rather then fighting accuracy and crit, you take the damage hit for ease of gearing. RT builds usually have more armor and life because they can sink the points into more defensive stats at the cost of damage.

Elemental overload removes crit scaling from elemental attacks/spells, but if you do crit, you get a large bonus to damage for a longish duration. So some crit chance scaling is still worth investing into and you smooth out your damage.

in both cases crit scaling is always the be all end all, but some builds opt into non crit for ease of scaling, or so they can focus on other stats like defense. or they are a transitional piece that is removed once crit scaling has come online.

The key to the non crit trade off is always going to be how much investment do you free up for how much gain? Giving up scaling axis for 10% damage is probably not worth it. giving up scaling axis for 25% damage as well as the potential to use a bastion, a unique weapon without base crit, etc? its probably a fairly viable choice.

Then it would need to be changed from being an ailment to something totally different, which is an option. Though at that point, you’ve removed crit vulnerability & given the Rogue another crit buff.

Is it? What kind of buff would a non-ailment build want that would be sufficiently powerful/useful to offset the x3-4 (or more possibly) multiplier of crits?

At the moment, mobs don’t have leech or life on hit, all they have is regen.

If they increased the limit to 4 that would be slightly better (at max roll) than 100% crit chance & no crit multi, it’d probably need an increase to the max value as well as an increase to the number you can have in order to be a decent choice.

what about giving singularity another modpool from which it gains an additional modifier like:
a skills critical strike chance is converted to (either):

  • % increased attack speed
  • % increased throwing attack speed
  • % increased totem placement speed
  • % increased cast speed

this only accounts for the skills base crit chance and crit modifiers from its tree

i think that in general, like also mentioned by others already that a) crit multi is too strong and b) crit needs better alternatives and meaningful conversations


It’s rather easy from my point of view… Crit multi is to strong just gut it. no need to patch this and that or to buff an item because it’s there and might help as soon as you got it as a god roll. Crit multi was always to potent and the goto stat with enough crit chance that made dmg go bonkers.

@Macknum That’s basically the initial point I made. Because Critical Hit Chance is capped at 100% chance, you then add as much multiplier as you can once you hit 100% chance. Organizationally, thematically, and mechanically I think Last Epoch would do well to follow their Ailment system - fix Critical Multiplier to a single value [Warframe uses 1.5x damage, for reference] and make the only flexible/stackable modifier Critical Hit Chance.

Does this mean that hit-based builds then stack around hit-rate, base damage, increased damage, and critical chance similarly to how they do now? Yes. That’s the second point I made - trading one axis of damage for increases to another needs to have scaling options. Note that’s plural, if there’s only one, it becomes a mandatory take, and if there are none, the players get cheated, and won’t use them.

@DiceDragon offered up a valid opinion on the topic:

And while I don’t agree, that is one avenue of approach; especially as something that provides options for levelling, or simplicity for new players. It also needs to be consistent, which is the third point I made.

Hit Builds have the chance to give up Critical Damage, but not for all options - some times it is for hit-damage, but we also need to include ailments, and hit-speed in that conversation to keep interest in trading mechanics fair - then include conversions from each other approach in a fine web.

There’s a point to be made that perhaps players shouldn’t trade everything for everything - a defined cycle could also be both balanced and interesting (i.e. trade Critical Damage for Hit Damage, Hit Damage for Hit Speed, Hit Speed for Ailment(s), and so on)

As a player who consistently sees end-game in ARPGs, and has tried most of the Masteries in Last Epoch specifically, this is one mechanic that needs a significant update - and probably needs it before 0.9 is released for general consumption. It’s not that it is “too strong” - it’s that it is orders of magnitude stronger than any other option; are the other options balanced as they are now? Then bring Critical Damage down - are other options underperforming? Then bring them up to Critical Damages’ levels. I’m not here to dictate balance, only perception from the playerbase.

Its funny because id argue most players think Hit based builds are not as strong as DoT builds.

Something else you have to consider is that echo modifiers are far more slanted at hurting hit based builds.

Glancing blows, crit avoidance and arguably dodge to an extent all punish hit based scaling builds much harder then DoT or ailment builds. Ailment builds dont like dodge either, but if you get a single hit through then most trash dies anyways.

So in the later game hit based builds have to think much harder about what echo modifiers they take because taking 2 glancing blow and 2 CSA modifiers can easily suddenly make you do 75% less damage, meaningwhile a DoT build gets to ignore those modifiers.

The other modifiers are equally punishing. But because they are multiplicative with each other in providing defense for monsters, hit builds can run into echos where they are doing fractions of the damage they do on a dummy.

Without wanting to be pedantic cough, that is the case for all builds given mobs get up to ~90% unmitigateable damage reduction based on area lvl while the training dummy doesn’t.

But yes, hit builds are generally “punished” more than dot builds.

The ammount of crit chance you can get in LE is the main problem from my point of view. If they go with resonable numbers between 30 and 60% crit chance things change a lot. It’s far to easy to have 100% crit so easy it’s dumb to be honest.

With the ease of getting said crit values crit dmg is defalting every other aspect of dmg increases to a level they are not worth taking anymore.

If you only crit 50% of all times other stats might get more value but I’m terrible at math and could be totaly wrong here.

1 Like

It certainly feels that way, because of Critical Multiplier - when 100% chance on a pass/fail system is easy to achieve, why stack Increased Damage mods when you can effectively stack More Damage mods in the same space.

because incresed damage mods roll much higher than crit multi. stacking crit multi only becomes more effective if you already have enough % increased damage…