Current Ward mechanic is killing the game

Eh. Yes and No. I know @LizardIRL had a pretty beefy Marrowshards build he was playing. But then he switched into Reaper form, and just completely lost me. I can’t stand that gameplay with Lich – having to keep swapping into a temporary form, just to maintain defenses and/or dps. It’s what kills me when leveling Primalist builds, and why I won’t play any of the shapeshift-swap builds, no matter how much dps/defense/ward they generate.

While I’ll agree that most people probably look at overall power of a build, when choosing, no one will continue to play something they just aren’t enjoying. So they’ll pick the next most-powerful build, until they find one that meets their game style.

You’re not even describing the biggest ward offenders here.

Yes, low life is stronger than it should be, demonstrated by many builds using Exsanguinous etc. that aren’t meant to do so. But those builds get some 3-5k ward at a heavy investment. Like you said, you’re basically wasting three item slots. And then you still want all the health you can get on every piece of gear (and idols!) like an actual life build.

Meanwhile Pala and apparently Runemaster can forgo all these itemization restrictions and get themselves to tens of thousands ward in-combat. Those chars have like 1k hp and 300 ward in town and don’t know what suffixes are for.

Yup, a LL set up without any way to get substantial ward gen is only moving from one shotted territory into two/three-shotted territory.

Just want to reiterate two things that actually bothered me, I’m not nowhere near a perfectionist or optimizing stuff into oblivion, I’m a casual that might play 2-3 hours a day more or less.
Low Life builds as the term implies it should be about a risky strategy, you’re deliberately letting your HP drop so you can do 2x 3x 100x more damage in a short period cause you either die or time your attacks so that you can heal back up and be safe.

In Last Epoch Low Life means equipping a few items that gives you double or triple the life, am I right ? All resists but endurance work with it and that’s offset by the much higher amount you get.
This concept is also spread throughout all skill trees or itemization so much that you can’t unsee it. As a casual you get up to 200 corruption or 300…it’s fun but it’s a struggle cause you ain’t doing “low life”. You watch any half-assed low life build that uses yellows and maybe a unique yet steamrolls the same content.
You feel cheated in a way, sure I can pretend I’m having so much fun with my build and 300 corruption is as far as it gets me cause I only got 3 hours to play, if I had 10 hours of farming everyday I might improve. Every other guy who went “low life” with the same amount of time invested, whilst stuck on one or two builds that you don’t like, will destroy the same content. It gives you that particular vibe that "you’re playing the game wrong, sure you got a fun build but to do anything more, you either respec 90% into HP/ward giving skills and use this maxxroll guide or quit.

That’s not what low life is. Low life, as applied to ARPGs, simply means you permanently (not a short period) sacrifice your life to get other defenses, usually with an increase of power attached. If you look at PoE, which popularized these builds, LL builds are actually harder to kill than health ones. It’s just that gearing for a health build is much easier.

To get LL you need 2 uniques and an experimental item. And if you simply use those, you just get a bit more tanky, but nothing relevant. You don’t gain any offensive power, you just get a bit more eHP. Without any further investment other than those items, you barely get a stable 2x health.
So switching to LL doesn’t let you “steamroll” the same content. It just lets you die a little less.

That is not a ward issue, that’s a build issue (or maybe a skill one?). There are lots of builds that do way more corruption, even at 3h a day. Quite a few of them are even health builds. Like the one I linked above that does 2.5k corruption.

The broken builds don’t use low life (or they don’t need to). They generate stupid amounts of ward via combat.

You’re mixing stuff up. Not everything that has ward is a low life build.
Low life builds just give you 2x health with minimal investment, maybe 5x health with a heavier one.
Broken ward builds just use unbalanced mechanics/interactions. When they’re outside of combat they have low ward, usually not more than 15k, and that’s already pushing it.