Hello Travelers, and welcome to our Development Blog post for December 2022!
Earlier this week, we made an exciting announcement for Last Epoch: The date for our highly anticipated Multiplayer release is locked in on March 9th, 2023! You’ll be able to join forces with your fellow Travelers in Eterra with Beta Patch 0.9.0, but that’s not all it will bring. This major content patch will also be coming with all sorts of other performance, combat, and gameplay feel improvements that you can enjoy with your friends. You may not even have to wait until March to get your hands on these changes - join us early during our upcoming MP Launch Roadmap Events detailed below!
We’ve been hard at work on this next major patch, and we continue to be excited about its release. Of course, we wanted to release it before the end of the year to make a nice Christmas Event, however, as always we continue to prioritize quality over speed. We want to make sure that 0.9.0 lands with the level of quality both you and we all expect from our major releases, with a fun and stable multiplayer, a complete online experience, and all the great improvements to gameplay and performance. We know it’s a long wait since the last major update, however, we’re dedicated to making sure this next one sticks that landing we all strive for as fellow fans.
In this blog post, we’ll be covering some of the features coming in this next major update, as well as providing some developers’ insight into the features as we like to do. We’ll also be covering some of the big features of multiplayer, further Combat Feel improvements, Skill updates, and more. All this info is only a scroll away!
The news many are coming to this post for! On Tuesday, we announced not only the date for 0.9.0, locked in as coming on March 9th, but also that we would be hosting three pre-patch events. We want to cover some of the details regarding these events, what they are, how to get involved, and what’s happening during and after these events.
Jan 27th - 29th - Multiplayer Beta - Invitational Weekend
From January 27th, through to the 29th, we will be hosting a Closed Invitational Beta Weekend. This event will be limited to selected individuals, primarily EHG team members, family, friends, community testers, and content creators. That means that invited members for this event will be able to stream the content and discuss all the content they have access to! As we approach this event, we’ll be posting a list of content creators who will be participating - so make sure to stay tuned to your favorite streamer or content creator during this weekend event to get their take on the new 0.9.0 multiplayer experience!
Feb 2nd - 12th - Multiplayer Beta Week - Pack the Server Party!
This event aims to test our Multiplayer Beta on a larger scale. We will be inviting 10,000 (that’s right, ten thousand) players to join us for a week of putting our servers to the test. Same as before, this event will be for players who already own a copy of the game and can stream the content and discuss what they are playing. This is a big one for us, and we want you to join us.
We will be sure to post the signup for the pack the server party in the future.
Feb 23rd - 26th - Multiplayer Beta - Open Weekend
From February 23rd through the 26th we will be hosting the first-ever Open Beta weekend for Last Epoch! What does this mean? Anyone can try out Last Epoch and patch 0.9.0 for this weekend. That’s right, you will not need a copy of Last Epoch to participate in this event; it will be open to all Steam users!
If you’ve been watching our ongoing development but haven’t quite been ready to pull the trigger on picking up a copy, this will be your opportunity not only to get yourself into the world of Eterra, but also to get a feel for the upcoming major content release!
As we continue to work towards our next major content release, we want to open up a bit more about how exactly the multiplayer experience will work. For today, a few topics we want to cover are how Monolith navigation, Blessing rewards, and Dungeons work in multiplayer. One of the most anticipated topics being asked about is Trade, and we also have some news to share on that topic. Over the past few months, we have implemented an Item Gifting system for our Community Testers, received feedback on it, and continued our internal discussions of the system. We will be releasing a deep-dive blog post focused on Trade in the near future; however, today, we can confirm that, Yes, Beta Patch 0.9.0 will include a Trade system that allows items to change hands within your party! More details to come!
As The Monolith of Fates is our core endgame experience, our top priority for the Multiplayer Monolith has been to make it feel awesome, not just to make it functional. We’ve been working very closely with our fantastic Community Testers, listening to feedback and adjusting the mechanics as we shape that end-game experience together. We are designing with intention to make sure the mechanics of the Multiplayer Monolith don’t make players feel like multiplayer is the only way to play, so we’ve kept a close eye on things like split farming strategies or multiplayer boosted rewards.
At the very core of this design conversation is the question, “how does a group actually interact with the Monolith system?”. When grouped together, every player in the party can access any monolith which they have unlocked and interact with its web the same as the single-player experience. Upon selecting an echo, the echo is loaded, and a portal is opened for all party members to join up with the player which chose the echo.
In the normal single-player Monolith experience, when a player dies during an echo or disconnects, the echo is closed, and rewards are lost. However, this doesn’t quite work in multiplayer for a couple of reasons. For one, other players are present in the echo, and we don’t want to kick everyone out when one player dies. We also want players to be able to play together and not be stuck waiting at the End of Time for the rest of the party to complete the echo before being able to rejoin. To address this, the portal remains open throughout the entire echo, and all party members can still portal to each other. So if a player falls to the enemies of Eterra, they can quickly and easily rejoin their party. However, beware: Dying during an echo or leaving during the echo will still cause any players who fell to miss out on the end of echo rewards for that echo.
With our main two priorities in mind - Fun and Fair, we’ve implemented a unique solution for monolith navigation and rewards. When we first implemented monolith for our Community Testers, it was quickly found that providing the same node rewards to everyone created a very poor experience in which there was a clear optimal path of split farming. This strategy involved splitting up to individually farm out a monolith web until a number of exalted and unique nodes were unveiled, then group up just to complete those nodes to maximize the highest tier of rewards from the monolith. Because this involves constantly splitting up and then reforming parties, it wasn’t a very fun experience. We wanted the experience of multiplayer to be for groups to play together and stay together for as long as they wanted.
Not just any solution would do though. A big part of our Monolith experience when it comes to rewards is that of “Choice.” We feel that it’s important in Last Epoch to empower players with the ability to choose, whether it’s crafting, build selection, or the Monolith. Normally when navigating the echo, you have the power of choice by selecting which echo you want to do, which is often heavily affected by the rewards the echo offers. In multiplayer, if everyone’s in the same echo, then only one player can have chosen the echo and its associated reward, so by default, other players in the party would lose that sense of control over the items they’re farming for. As such, we needed to find a solution that solved split-farming issues while still offering the power of choice. After a few iterative changes, we now have a solution we are thrilled to share.
When in a party, one player can pick a node on the monolith web, and for the person who picks which echo is being done, everything works as it currently does in single-player. However, for other players in the party, when the echo is completed, they will be presented with two options for rewards from the echo. These reward options are the same options that are normally found in the echo web (eg. ‘Exalted Helms’, or ‘Rare Swords’), and are rolled using the same weighting as the echo that was completed. Meaning the corruption level of the echo and the distance from the center will weigh into the reward options. The result of this is that all group members will get the same average value of rewards, and for individual echo’s may result in getting lower tier rewards, the same rewards, or better rewards than the party leader.
So what role will you want? The Party Leader who gets to choose their specific rewards on the web, or the Party Member who gets to choose between two options, each echo with the potential for even better rewards than the Party Leader picked?
Dungeons raise some fairly unique interactions when it comes to multiplayer, and with our desire for multiplayer groups to be able to stick together for the experience. Primarily starting a dungeon, dying during a dungeon, and dungeon rewards. Dungeons are designed as “curated experiences.” This means that dungeons are meant to be experienced from start to finish and don’t work as well, dropping in part way through. We’ve implemented a few multiplayer-specific interactions to ensure that groups are empowered to stay playing together.
The first is that only one key is required for the entire party to enter the dungeon. Secondly, to ensure the experience remains intact for all party members and that no one is left behind still making their way through the dungeon, we’ve implemented a ready-check system for starting a dungeon boss. Upon attempting to enter the boss room, a ready check will appear for all party members. Once all party members have chosen to participate or not, all participating members will be teleported into the boss room to begin their trial.
Dungeons are also designed to be a rewarding experience with unique reward mechanics, making them most often a highly rewarding activity. We want to preserve that experience for the entire party without making running dungeons in a party much more powerful than running them solo. For this, unlike Monoliths, if you die in a dungeon, you will not be able to rejoin the continuing members, so make sure to stay on your toes in dungeons! All players will also have access to the end-of-dungeon rewards. For example, in Temporal Sanctum, each party member will have the opportunity to create a Legendary item with the alter, and in Soulfire Bastion have their own reserve of embers to gamble with.
Of course, while Multiplayer has been a significant focus for 0.9.0, that’s not near the only thing coming. Our efforts to improve Combat Feel through improved VFX, SFX, and Animation continue, as well as changes to skills, zones, items, enemies, and more. We want to share with you today a few of these improvements we’ve been making for the gameplay experience coming next patch!
Beta Patch 0.9.0 is set to bring with it updates to many of our existing skills for VFX, SFX, as well as some balancing changes and even some receiving completely new nodes and ways to build them. Today we’re showcasing a few of these improvements coming in our March 9th update.
Swipe is one of the many skills receiving both VFX and SFX updates and updated functionality. Here we’re showing off the new Spirit Wolves node, which will now cause Spirit Wolves to be emitted from your Wolf companions instead of from you. The new Spirit Wolves will count as the wolf casting the spirit, and thus scale with the wolf’s stats instead of yours. Each Wolf companion will send out a spirit, and multiple Spirit Wolves can hit the same target to open up a whole new build style with Wolves and offer better scaling opportunities.
Shield Rush & Rive
Shield Rush and Rive are both fairly old skills, and their VFX shows it. No longer, come 0.9.0 with these brand new VFX updates, we’re bringing these highly popular skills up to our modern standards!
Harvest was a skill less commonly called out for needing a visual rework. However, after seeing the new version with the nice clean sweeps, the scythe extending from the weapon itself, and the much more impactful swing, I think it’s clear there was a lot of improvement to be made. And that improvement has been made to come in our next major update!
Reaper form is another skill which has needed a visual update, and we’re happy to show off the new model coming for Reaper form in our next Major Update. This new model will also be accompanied by entirely new scythe models giving some much-needed flair and quality to this core identifying skill of the Lich.
New and Updated Enemies
The Temple Guardian stands watch over the entrance to Eterra’s Temple throughout the ages. This mini-boss holds a very important position within the campaign, and we felt it’s about time for this guardian to get the visual update they deserve. Similar to the Forge Guard’s manifest armor, we thought we’d play another game of spot the difference and a turntable view of this new stalwart guardian!
Idol (Giant Worm Boss)
This big old worm was a little too wormy and not enough idol of the void-y, so we’re fixing that with this terrifying new model, accompanied by an all-new SFX kit as well.
One of the brand new enemies emerging from the void in 0.9.0: the Void Despair, is quite agile given its size and has been known to approach from unexpected angles. Make sure to be careful when they’re in the area, or you may provide them the opportunity to demonstrate their namesake.
We’ve shown off this little guy here before, but we felt this was just too awesome of a view of the new Void Earth enemy not to share as well.
Alongside skills and models, some of our zones are also starting to show their age. While going through every zone in the game and improving performance, we’ve also improved the visual quality of these zones. One of our focuses for improvement without adding a bunch of performance overhead back into zones is improving lighting quality, and we’d like to share a couple of shots from one of our older, earlier zones - the Last Refuge Outskirts.
In other cases, these improvements to zones come in the form of more than lighting. We’d like to show an example of one of these zones with the video below from The Tomb of Morditas. Here the area has a brand new look, with Morditas being contained within some kind of prison - I wonder what that could be all about?
There is still more we are working on that we’ve yet to reveal, so we hope you’re as excited as we are to bring Patch 0.9 to life in March. As a reminder, we’ve been revealing loads of new updates coming into Patch 0.9 throughout our development cycle, so here’s a refresher! Check out a couple of these previous development posts highlighting even more updates coming in Patch 0.9!
Community Collection of previous Teasers we’ve released, Compiled by Andrew.Tilley
Patch 0.9.0 will be a big one, with a lot of content, updates, combat feel improvements, performance improvements, balance changes, and of course, Multiplayer. As we close in, we’ll continue to provide updates on the latest and greatest, both in posts and our weekly dev stream over at twitch.tv/lastepochgame. If you’re interested in getting a taste of 0.9.0 before March 9th, make sure to keep an eye out on our news feed for our Pack the Server Party signup, as well as the other lead-up events!
Thank you to everyone as we work towards our biggest feature addition to date, introducing an entirely new way to play with Multiplayer, and we’ll see you in our next post!
Stay safe Travelers, and may Eterra bless your drops.