Mastery Lock-In & Skill Level Resets Need 2 Go

The game launched to a resounding 250K players, it hit lows of 2.5K just months later… Sorry, that’s a 99.99% drop since launch. Sure, we’re back up to 70K, but we’ve already lost 43% of that playerbase in just 2 days. It’s not hyperbole, it’s reality. A live-service game, as this one is, can’t subsist on a active playerbase of just 2.5-5K. Here’s the best part, if we have a 99.99% drop again from that 70K peak that just happened, we’ll be at a magnificent 700 players!

Also, you said "While I know there are a significant portion of player that are not 100% happy with mastery and skill Respec, they are far from the large majority. "… What “large majority”? The “large majority” that exist on these forums? There’s a reason my post count is so low, I don’t frequent dev forums as they’re usually filled with the most try-hardy, loyal fans of whatever product the forums are for.

I come from the outside, the real world, where I’m the only one to return to LE out of the 5 or so people in my group who were excited for its launch, because everyone is tired of how the progression system is handled.

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Steamcharts. SteamDB. They have this data. While it doesn’t reflect the actual numbers perfectly, it gets the percentages pretty spot on. It’s based on who’s profiles are public.

Game launched to 250K players, in 4 months time it dropped to an average of 2.5K players with occasional peaks of 5K. That’s around 0.01-0.02% of the original playerbase, around a 99.99% drop.

Also, I stopped playing Grim Dawn is hardly similar, it’s a dual-class system for one. Just bacause it’s called Masteries doesn’t make it the same thing as what LE has. That’s a true apples to oranges comparison.

Actually, you should check your math. It’s 99.00%.

Also, like I mentioned, half of those 250k players would never return. This could have been the best game of all times and half the players would still leave after the first few weeks. It’s just how gamers work these days.

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Now do PoE at launch.
Diablo 3/4 at launch.

I’ll wait.

Also, PoE went from 185k to 6k this league, and it’s far from dying.

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Man, I tell you what :joy: :rofl: this is some major goal post shifting. This is like seismic destruction and we have to pull the entire stadium down completely kinda goal shifting. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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Let me preface that the OP is aimed at the devs, not the few “hardcore” players who frequent the forums and bang the “this is a hardcore game” gong over and over.

Those statistics aren’t available as far as I’m aware, at least not consistent ones like what you can find on SteamDB or SteamCharts… That said, look below…

Wow, I’m like, less than 1% off. I’m trembling.

For a game launched in 2013, the fact that the Leagues are peaking at 185K still is pretty good (even if that was the full picture, bc it isn’t), and I’m not sure about you, but 6K is more than twice 2.5K if my eyes don’t deceive me. Now I’m not certain about historical data for PoE, but if we’re going with a League comparitive like the recent 1.1 patch…

250K → 70K → 72% drop from release to the first big content push (1.1) with only a 4 month gap between. That’s still pretty damned bad. If that repeats again we’ll be at ~50K for the next big patch, ~35K for the patch after that, and so on. But usually things drop faster than that. I suspect next patch will be more like a ~20-30K peak.

Side note: You got the PoE data from SteamCharts or SteamDB clearly, mind you, PoE has far more than that though. There’s a website called ActivePlayer that has those numbers, their reporting indicates 55K right now, in comparison to the cited 6K from DJSamhein. MMO-Population has a DAILY playercount of 517K. The data from these places are pulled from the various platforms PoE is currently running on (of which Steam is only one). Last Epoch however is only available on Steam.

Hardly. Two games, two different systems, both called Masteries. One is a dual-class system, the other is a single-class system. Also, I never said Grim Dawn was good, did I? Or are you just assuming?

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This has nothing to do with a “hardcore game”.
Even casual players can enjoy and prefer a game with meaningful choices and clear character identity instead of playing a meaningless husk that can be everything with a few button presses in some menus.

This is a grand case example for not understanding causation & correlation.

You use the numbers this way, because they fit your narrative.

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Okay, so the logic here then is it contributes to the hardcore nature of the game how? (It doesn’t) and it could easily be replaced with leveling the skill slot instead to avoid the nuisance of having to relevel it. And yes, I’m aware, most don’t get that far though. Whether it takes 10 minutes or an hour, it’s still an inconvenience for the sake of inconvenience. May it change the meta? Sure, I guess, but by the same logic all it’s doing is adding time to that meta.

Also, the fact that you’ve said it a dozen times on other threads only proves my point. The OP, once again, was aimed at the devs… Not the tiny fraction of the playerbase on these forums beating the “this game is a hardcore game” drum.

It is. And 10 years creating endgame is also more than a few months. PoE is at the height of its popularity. It never had as many players as it does now. And yet it still has a huuuuge fall of players by cycle end. LE’s is just bigger because of course it is: it’s a newer game and doesn’t have the same amount of endgame content. Duh.

As I’ve said before, and you keep conveniently ignoring, more than half of those 250k players would never ever ever ever in any circumstances return, even if LE was the best game of all times. It’s just how gamers play games these days.

Not far more. A few years ago a dev from GGG said the distribution of players was about 60% steam and 40% their client and has been shifting more towards steam. So it has more, but not much more.

Yes, because that site is soooooooo reliable, vs steamcharts. It also says that LE had 1.6 million players in the last 30d, which is clearly bullshit.

The data from those places are pulled from their ass. They don’t even get steam numbers right (because steam doesn’t let them connect to their services). The only purpose of that site (and several others like it) is to speculate and be clickbait.

Ignoring the fact that LE masteries are clearly inspired from GD, I’ll give you another example that supports no mastery respec: in D&D you start as a rogue. Then you specialize as a Thief, Assassin, Arcane Trickster, etc. When you do, you’re stuck with that. You don’t get to switch around.

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You keep using that “character identity” argument, I don’t think you know what character identity is. We don’t have active player choice. This isn’t an RPG like Mass Effect or Skyrim. It’s an ARPG like Diablo/PoE where you follow a linear story with a preset character where the only choices you have are A: your name and B: the skills you use. There’s hardly any “character identity” to speak of with this game. So I don’t understand the point in bringing it up over and over.

I used those numbers because they’re accurate. There’s no manipulation of data.

LE is only on Steam, released in 2024, we only have SteamDB/Steamcharts to reference.
PoE is multi-platform, released in 2013, we have many sources to reference besides the above.
Diablo (both), I don’t bring up because Blizzard keeps official numbers internal.
Wolcen? Grim Dawn? Torchlight? I don’t bring up because they’re all practically dead.
Lost Ark? We can talk about that, in it’s “dead” state, on Steam, it was still massively outperforming LE pre-1.1. It’s sitting around 20K on Steam… it’s also multi-platform.

First off, this isn’t D&D. Why we’re bringing D&D up to justify masteries is bewildering to say the least.

Secondly, some of those sites are speculation, sure. But you said it yourself with the whole 60/40 split. PoE is far more alive than LE is. Yeah, it’s an older game and has had more time to mature, but it’s also an older game. They’re also gearing up for PoE 2. How will LE survive that? That’s what the OP is about, how to make the game more approachable to the mass audiences that actually generate income long term, instead of catering to a tiny playerbase who keeps beating the “this is a hardcore game” drum (while not just playing PoE instead).

Oh I know what it means. But it certainly is a term that is slightly subjective.

The bolded part is the important part. This list also needs to be extended by:
C: The Class and Mastery you permanently choose

The skill you can use are determined by your mastery. Each mastery has 3-4 mastery exclusive skills. These are very thematic and defining. You donvt necessarily have to use them, but if you do they give your character a lot of class identity.

When you see a Sentinel running around and doing Erasing Strikes, you know it’s a Void Knight. If you see a Sentinel summon Ring of Shield and slamming enemies with Forged Strike, you know it’s a Forgeguard.

This choice defines your character. And you can’t change that, so this is a very defining decision.

In other games like Diablo or Path of Exile the same character can be 10000 different things all at once by simply clicking some buttons in some menus. Also there are rarely any class defining skills.

Visually you don’t see if someone is a Deadeye, Pathfinder or Raider.

Yes but the way you interpreted them is completely wrong and not factually correct

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You do. You choose the class, you choose the mastery, you choose the skills and passives. Those are all part of the character identity. It’s what makes my character A different from my character B.
In PoE you choose your class, you choose your ascendancy but can respec it (at huge cost of time and currency, but you can, even if no one actually does it), you choose your skills but you can instantly switch them at any time, so those don’t matter.
In D3 you choose your class and that’s it. You can choose which runes you use but you can switch them at any time. You can choose skills but you can switch them at any time. In the first few levels of paragon you choose the order in which you take them, but eventually you max everything out and all that’s left is pumping your attribute.

Character identity is about making meaningful choices. Choices that are either permanent or that are hard to change back. Or at the very least annoying to constantly change back.

1.1 peaked at 71k players. Last 24h peak was 58k (19% drop). Currently 53k (26% drop). It’s a bit far from your 43%.

This isn’t D3 either, why are you bringing D3 up to justify respeccing masteries?

Of course PoE is more healthy at this point. Being an older game has nothing to do with it. All that matters is the content it offers. And PoE has had 10 years to add content to their core game.
Much like CS ruled online FPS for many many many years, even though newer games with newer content came up. And like CS2 still rules online FPS games. Actually, online anything games. It’s the most played online game in any genre.

The same way PoE survived the first few years of having a really low character count: by continuing to work on their game and adding more content. PoE didn’t actually grow until about 3 years after launch.

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a few things, the devs want masteries to be locked, you might not like that but unlikely that changes, lots of games have stuff the devs want to keep despite changing would probably bring in more players.

your numbers dooming is pretty funny though, “70k to 40k” if we’re gonna compare numbers lets at least be accurate and compare the daily peaks since thats what your first number is, day 2 peaked at 58k and there are currently 53k people playing right now before peak times.

Also poe took literal years to hit the current last epoch numbers (of starting a season at 70k) and they managed to survive all this time. LE will be fine

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I deleted my post before you responded, because I saw that my point had been made by other forum friends here, that skill leveling is great as-is.

I don’t understand what you’re talking about though… What logic? Why are you talking about hardcore nature of the game? You’re all over the place and it makes no sense for my statement. Skill leveling is not an inconvenience for me, I think it’s fun to level skills.

I never said anything related to “hardcore” why do you keep saying that? You posted on a public forum, obviously people are going to respond. If you don’t want people to respond don’t post here. That’s the whole point of forums. Welcome to the internet.

If you want to privately message the devs, do that instead.

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Class and Mastery skills are just subdivided skills, that’s all. Still just skills. There are also other ways you can theme your character, such as using certain elements or playstyles. Surprised you didn’t bring those up.

How did I not interpret the data “factually correct”? How would you interpret that data then?

I compared PoE Leagues to the 1.1 Cycle, as you cited the last PoE League via SteamDB/Charts. You brought the numbers up, so I compared them the most apt way someone could.

The numbers adjusted since those numbers were originally posted. It’s still a decline, and you’re ignoring the decline from launch to pre-1.1. The game dropped from over 250K at launch to under 10K in 3 months time. Where will 1.1 be in 3 months if our starting point is 70K? I’m placing bets on around or under 2.5K, with the next big peak being around 25K players, if that.

Anyways, player statistics wasn’t at the heart of the OP. It was the arbitrary decision to lock people into Masteries and the dumb decision to not just have us level our skill slots. Unfortunately the only place to provide feedback for normies, that the devs may see, is to wade into the depths of the developer forums and the fervent fanbase who worships the ground the devs walk on.

My fear is that the devs will get caught up in the supportive echo chamber of the most fringe of the playerbase. Everyone I know has already uninstalled the game and isn’t returning because they got tired of having to slog through leveling alts to be able to experiment. These are people who invested a lot of time in PoE, Diablo 3, Diablo 4, and Lost Ark. That’s potential money out the door. In the end, EHG is a business that needs funds to keep the lights on and keep development rolling. If they want to risk that to make a product that is exclusionary based on time consumption, that’s on them. It would just suck to see a product with good bones go down the drain.

The 24h peak didn’t.

You’re also ignoring what I said that over half of them would never return to LE (or any other game) no matter what, so I guess that’s fair.

They won’t. They’re aware of the issue. As you would know if you looked at the thread I mentioned where the devs participated as well.

Ultimately, it’s not a matter of what brings most players to the game. It’s a game identity and they want their game to be like. That ultimately also leads to the type of players they want playing LE. Some players won’t like that and leave. But if you added mastery respec some players also wouldn’t like it and leave.
So in the end they just have to make the game they want to play, which is what they set out to do in the first place. They might get more players leaning into the D3 casual side of things, but they probably wouldn’t enjoy it as much or be as proud of their game.

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