Below is a transcription of the Multiplayer Dev Q&A hosted by Steelmage that took place on September 15, 2022. It’s not a complete record of the encounter, but rather focuses on the Q&A aspect.
I’ve transcribed everything to the best of my abilities, but you can click each questions source link to watch them for yourself.
Also, the entirety of this Q&A session is spread across two posts within this thread as it exceeded the 50,000 character limit, so please continue reading beyond this initial post.
Judd (aka Moxjet200): the founder and CEO of Eleventh Hour Games and game director of Last Epoch. He basically touches a little bit of everything relating to Last Epoch, and has grown the studio from a much smaller team (~5) to the size that it is now (80+).
Dan (aka Stanzwar): originally started as a game designer with EHG, but is currently a producer who has led the production and release of the game for a number of years now. He is also trying to head up leading the design of Last Epoch’s game content, high level systems, and all of that.
Mike (aka Mike W or Mike Weicker): a senior developer at EHG that spends a lot of time working on skills and hooking up UI stuff.
Steelmage: a streamer on Twitch focusing primarily on ARPG content.
Q: What are the plans for trade?
Judd: Yeah, we know that people are anxiously awaiting information on trade. It has huge implications in games like this. We won’t be unveiling our updated plans for trade today, but I will say that our first trial of trade is going into the CT build to gather feedback on within the next week or so. I will say that our main goal with trade has always been to ensure that it does not become the main or always best way to obtain gear, upgrades, and sidestep the item hunt and crafting system we’ve poured a lot of love into. So those are the main goals and we have a trial for what this will be. Hopefully we’ll get good feedback on this when it comes out in the near future for our CT program.
Dan: Yeah, I think you were mentioning that, you know, something that we talked about before – you don’t really want to promise things about a trade system before you’ve actually had a chance to test it, try it, and get good player feedback. So we definitely want to make sure we do that this time around.
Q: What are the plans for multiplayer servers?
Dan: Sure, yeah I can go down the list again. We’re obviously in the main regions – Europe, North America’s with potentially additional in Canada just for the extra performance. What we noticed was that players were really interested in some of the other regions. So we’re confirmed for Asia Northeast, Southeast, and East as well. We also have Australia Southeast and West, as well as South America, and potentially South Africa. We haven’t confirmed South Africa yet, we’re still investigating, but it seems likely. So we’re basically in all the spots that you’d hope we’d be.
Q: Multiplayer and 1.0 release dates?
Judd: So right now the dates we’re okay with stating is that we’re trying to get the open beta, our next patch 0.9, out by the end of this year. It’s going to depend on a few factors here – how many bugs we can squish inside of multiplayer, scale testing, and things like that. As you’ll see in today’s stream we’ve made significant progress in terms of multiplayer. We’re feeling pretty good about it right now and the progress we’ll be able to make over the course of the next couple of months. In terms of 1.0, we still don’t have a release date out in the wild yet, but we’re very transparent with how things are coming along and so if you follow our updates regularly you’ll probably have a good idea of when we’re getting pretty darn close.
Q: Possibility of future additional high risk/reward systems for crafting?
Dan: Yeah, we talked a little bit about that yesterday when we were answering about what we like about our directed crafting and mixing that with some additional things we added like the legendary system. Risk and reward is something that we do want to bring more of to the endgame because we do believe that we’ve already got a really great foundation for getting yourself a set of gear that you need or you can use to make a build viable. Pushing it to the next level – we are very interested in exploring more risk and reward in the future.
Steelmage: Yeah, it adds this extra depth that I really like – definitely very good.
Mike: I think it would go really well as a possible dungeon reward.
Steelmage: True, it would wouldn’t it. Yeah, you just slap it in – like the corruption forge or something.
Dan: We have some other ideas too for the actual like item systems itself, but we’re not ready to reveal them just yet but we’re thinking about that.
Q: What improvements or future improvements are they most proud of or excited for in terms of combat feedback? Like animation input, responsiveness, VFX, SFX, etc.
Judd: Yeah, this is a great question and I’m glad that somebody asked this. We’re doing quite a lot in this regard now for combat feel. Now that we’re getting a bit further along we have more bandwidth, we’re going to be putting a lot of polish into the game as a whole – just all aspects of it really. For combat feel, we’re updating a ton of visual effects throughout the game right now. We’re improving rag dolls and death animations nearly across the board, some enemies just being flat out replaced – I say some but it’s actually quite a few. You guys have probably seen a number of those teased on some of the blog posts that we’re putting out here.
We’ve recently implemented some elemental effects on death and elemental coloured hit flashes, which sounds like a small thing but it actually feels really nice whenever you hit something with a fireball and the hit flash is not white but it’s orange. We’re making big passes at audio, especially death sounds which have a big impact, and we’re adding things like directional hit effects so if you hit an enemy from the right-hand side the blood will fly off to the left – in the direction that you’d expect it to. We’re even doing things like having directional screen shake for high impact hits and things like that that we’re hoping to get in for 1.0.
So all around a lot of effort is being put into this and for the enemies that we’ve made these adjustments for they really are making a big difference in how moment to moment gameplay does feel. So yeah, it’s a big focus right now. A lot of these things you guys will get your hands on in the upcoming 0.9 patch and then there’s still a little bit more to go before we get to 1.0, in that regard.
Q: What can you say about the remaining masteries? The Warlock, Falconer, and Runemaster.
Dan: Yeah totally. I can run through that really quick again. So with the Runemaster we actually just recently went through our whole like pre-design process where we kind of create the ideas, kind of generate what excites us about the class, and we had a bunch of goals in mind. We’ve actually worked our way through that. We’re pretty confident in what we want to actually build and test first for the Runemaster. We did the Runemaster first because we’re already pretty certain where we want to go with the Warlock and the Falconer. As we were saying yesterday, by 1.0 you should see the masteries coming. You won’t see them for the 0.9 open beta release though. Yeah, it’s an ongoing process and we’ve kicked it off and we’re really excited with what we’ve thought about already for the Runemaster.
Q: With multiplayer release this is a huge opportunity for Last Epoch to start competing with the big games in the genre. How do they effectively plan on marketing this?
Judd: We have a comprehensive marketing plan going into the 1.0 version of the game. Patch 0.9 is going to be a soft launch for multiplayer and we don’t want to put a ton of marketing effort and spend towards 0.9 because, you know, there’s going to be bugs and there’s going to be things that we need to figure out. There’s been studios much larger with much more experience than us have issues on release of a server authoritative multiplayer game. So we expect there to be a little bit of turbulence right there at the beginning, stuff that we will react to quickly, but we do have a comprehensive marketing plan going into 1.0.
I can give a few details there because we do have some fairly exciting stuff going on. We’re working with an agency called Buddha Jones who are incredibly talented, very cool people – they’ve made trailers for lots of games and movies including things like the Mandalorian, a bunch of Marvel and DC movies, and countless games. They’ve done things for like Dark Alliance, Age of Empires, etc, etc. So we’re working with them for the 1.0 release trailer of the game and we’re very excited about that. We are working on quite a few larger video content pieces than we ever have before. We’re working on a lot of like 2.5D cutscenes, we might have a short CGI trailer that actually comes out before the 1.0 release trailer, we’re staffing up the marketing and support team right now, and we’re spinning up a Discord for content creators to share information with them as soon as we’re able to. We’ve got all the traditional social marketing stuff that you would suspect from any type of marketing campaign – of course that’ll be rolled in.
Then, you know, a core of our marketing has always been to just continue to interact with the community on a personal basis. There’s no better way to market than actually having people go in and enjoy the game that you’re creating and then tell others that, you know, ‘the game is good, we like the people creating it’ and so we’ll be doing more stuff like this and continue to engage with the community.
Steelmage: Yeah, I know one of the questions on this list was actually about cutscenes because I know in Diablo those cutscenes were so like – yeah, I love those cutscenes.
Judd: Yeah, they’re incredible. Their CGI team is just absolutely outstanding. If they turn into a movie company one day I wouldn’t be surprised, it’s fantastic. I’ll set expectations – we’re not going to have any like full 3D three minute long trailers that are completely like movie-esque.
Steelmage: Million dollar trailers.
Judd: Yeah, yeah…it’s not in the cards for us at the moment. Maybe one day, but not soon. However, we will have some very cool stuff coming in a stylized approach that we’re really excited about.
Q: My characters are too quick to gear at the moment, it’s even faster than Diablo. Obviously you can still min/max, but are there plans to slow down gearing? With a league system like PoE on the horizon I can see myself being done after a weekend at the moment.
Dan: Yeah, that’s something we talk about a lot. We made the game early and we added a lot of stuff in between and like the whole game loop changes a lot when you add a lot of design through the process of development, right. For us, we’ve talked about options of what we would want to do to stretch out game content but we didn’t really think it was a great idea to try to focus on like retention or numbers like that through our campaign. Many games talk about those things. We’re really proud of being a game you can kind of enjoy, experiment with a lot of builds, have a great time, and actually access a lot of the content.
We want to prioritize enabling a wide range of builds and we want people to play for longer by adding more endgame systems to engage them in for sure. We want to add a lot of endgame content. We were talking about it yesterday – it keeps me up at night, is what we’re thinking a lot about what to do immediately on post launch. In terms of the campaign, I think we really do enjoy where the experience is at and how it lets player’s kind of get into the endgame at a reasonable pace. I get where they’re coming from, definitely a gamer, but I like the gaming to happen by us adding endgame rather than making the campaign slower and longer for others.
Q: Are there plans to make leveling alts easier or quicker? Like I mean there’s things like leveling gear, but I guess they want maybe alternate leveling or anything like that.
Mike: Yeah, and so like the adventure mode is usually the thing that gets brought up with this and that’s something we definitely looked at doing but adding that whole extra game mode this early in the development process – it’s just we didn’t have time to get something like that in. It’s something that we’ve looked at and is very interesting to us, but we realized that it’s not feasible for us at this point. Having dungeons in the game is sort of our take on that. It’s a way to customize your leveling process and possibly speed it up as well. We know that there’s some problems with it, especially like the the tier one and the leveling process of that. It’s something we’re definitely looking at updating and improving.
Q: How’s the development process going? I’m an engineer and from my experience games which you don’t have fundamental abstraction in place for multiplayer and add these in at a later stage tend to have issues in multiplayer and they never seem to be able to get rid of all of them. From what I can observe a lot of the features were implemented for single player. Do you think this is a mistake?
Dan: Yeah, it’s an amazing question. It’s a great callout for sure. It’s not the ideal way to make an online videogame. The best thing you should do is build everything from scratch at the beginning and have that all laid out. A lot of people might even tell you it’s kind of crazy to do it that way, but it got us to where we are now. It afforded us budget to be able to continue.
I was talking a little bit about it yesterday – we were able to release our game early to players to get feedback which allowed us to improve the game. As players continued to actually buy it, engage with us, and we were able to have a bit more budget we were able to kind of step back and make a lot more decisions and abstractions for multiplayer. For us, we’ve actually already abstracted almost the entire majority of everything that we do have to deal with. That was a lot of the effort you saw us doing in the last two years, which was actually focused specifically on that abstraction process. There’s certainly going to be issues that we’ll have to work out in the underlying technology but, as the engineer would probably understand, not a lot of those are necessarily player facing – like you won’t suffer those. Some of those technology decisions are things we’re going to have to work on, like say if we fix a bug a certain way it might be slightly different but that shouldn’t impact players.
To answer the second part of the question, do we think it was a mistake? No, absolutely not. We got here from the decisions we made doing this. If we were to ever, say, make an ARPG again we would certainly make it online feature functional from the start, but the decision we made there got the game to players as soon as possible which I think is the most important thing we could have done.
Judd: Yeah, having context here of where EHG came from is probably important. I feel like a broken record – I’ve talked to this one a few times recently, but Last Epoch/Eleventh Hour Games started as an after-hours passion project. So, you know, there was no funding, there was less experience on the team. We were just a bunch of really die hard ARPG enthusiasts that got together to make the next great ARPG, which was our slogan there for a long time, and so we had worked after hours for about 18 months to bring the game to Kickstarter. We raised a little bit of money there, and at that point we were able to bring on a couple of our engineers and our level designer full-time.
About a year later after that we were able to release to Steam in Early Access and that’s when we started to get an amount of funding that would allow us to reach the larger vision that we had for the game. So we came from very humble beginnings and, unfortunately, building the game as a server authoritative model from the ground up would have just required more resources than we had at that time.
Q: The community puts a lot of emphasis in total EHP pools of different builds and characters. Is EHP something that’s internally discussed for balance?
Mike: Yeah, we don’t put as much pressure on it as I think the community does but it is a term we use and something we do look at when we’re talking about balance. So yes, but it’s not like we line up every single build and say ‘okay this is the EHP of all these, let’s try and adjust that so that they’re all the same’ or anything like that.
Dan: Yeah, I think it’s a lot like what I was saying yesterday about some things where players will ask us like ‘what are our beliefs on trying to make a thing a certain way’ and EHP is another good example of that where we don’t stare at it and go ‘this is our EPH goal’. We kind of look at what are various builds doing to either stack that or what are they doing to survive other than that. It’s just another variable in a larger system so we definitely don’t place it as a major singular emphasis.
Steelmage: Yeah I know Lizard_IRL loves his Rebuke because it makes him like an immortal God with 10 bajillion EHP.
Dan: Well aware of Lizzard’s build, well aware of it.
Judd: Yeah, and while we’ve put some effort into balancing the game, you know, keep in mind that it’s early access and our main goal right now is to quickly iterate on systems and get them at a good spot. We’ll put more emphasis on balance once the game is at a 1.0 state.
Q: Do you think with multiplayer, especially with release and as the game gets more eyes on it, balance will start to break more as increasing numbers of people min/max builds? Right now it feels like you can jump into the game with pretty much most builds, but as people set the bar higher and higher do you think you’ll have a problem with like meta builds being the only thing viable in the future?
Dan: We were talking about that a bit too. Yeah, we’re not too worried about that. It’s actually really exciting for us. I think having more people, more attention will bring out things like that and we’ll be able to adapt and adjust. Dealing with meta builds, like we were saying, we like to take an iterative approach where possible and make it clear that we’re not going to keep one build as the de facto standard for a long time. That’s really where we want to be post launch, when we have that time to actually constantly focus on balance.
With that said, if there’s major outliers – if you want to make a hundred builds more viable quickly it’s often better to deal with one really powerful build than to say make 100 buffs. So we’ll tackle that balance from any direction that we can. I think anyone who’s played the game sees that we’re pretty willing to make huge changes to, you know, the meta builds at the time. We’ve actually seen a lot of meta builds shift over time. We’re aware right now of what’s happening too and we’re making adjustments.
Q: What will be your model for cycles? Which are Last Epoch’s version of leagues/seasons.
Dan: Yeah, for sure. We’re looking to try to figure out what we want to do to distinguish ourselves in those cycles. We really love the player wipe experience for sure – being able to start again fresh and everyone has a challenge on equal footing. That’s definitely important for us. I think a lot of the game is built around being able to feel that progress. With that said, what we want to do with cycles is that we’re not necessarily looking to say copy the Path of Exile or Diablo model. We want to try to experiment with different kinds of like adding, removing, and cycling features, which is really brand relevant to the term itself. We would love to be able to get to the point where we have a lot of content to cycle, experiment, and make significant changes to as well as addition. I mean, for us, we’re still figuring it out but we want to try different things than what you’re used to.
Judd: We get called out for not calling cycles epochs quite often. We might have to revisit that.
Dan: It is true.
Q: When do we get the in-game transmog system and when do we get the first MTX’s to buy so we can support them and look cool?
Judd: Yeah, the cosmetic store will be coming in a beta state in the 0.9 release – kind of our minimum viable state of this so we can ensure that everything is watertight as we get to 1.0. So there will be limited options for cosmetic things that you can buy. I will plug right now that everything will be cosmetic only. There’s no pay for power, there’s no pay for convenience – all of that stuff is included with the base cost of the game. The cosmetic store you guys should get your hands on a minimum viable product coming in this next update, patch 0.9.
Q: Is there a disconnect timer, like 6 seconds or something? A logout macro? What’s going on there?
Mike: For like hardcore escape logout?
Dan: Death timers for logout or the timers for logout are not fully tuned yet. That’s a huge focus for closed testing and open beta. It’s one of those features that seems like it’s a small thing but it’s pretty major. There’s a lot of tech and decisions that can work to make sure that it works precisely the correct way since it’s such an important thing to a player. It needs to be reliable and predictable in the way that we expect and design it. We’re still working on it through the closed alpha and open beta.
Steelmage: Do you have any idea where you’re going to head with it?
Dan: We’re not going to kill you if you press the logout button, if you want a very direct answer there.
Steelmage: Yeah, I feel that it’s such a big fundamental question to hardcore players because it changes…like if you have instantaneous logout to kill players you need to be very punishing versus having the timer then you can be a bit more lenient with risk because you don’t want to die on every boss that you try.
Mike: We definitely want to avoid the meta being ‘I’m going to rely on my ability to logout quickly to survive hardcore’. We don’t want that to be the primary gameplay method because that’s not healthy for the like ‘I’m going to push hardcore, something that’s more difficult, and how far I can push is dictated based on how quickly I can log out’ and that’s not great. Also, the feeling of ‘I logged out and I logged back in and I’m dead when I log back in’ – that sucks, that really sucks and finding the balance between those two is hard.
Steelmage: Yeah, I don’t even know what the solution there would be.
Dan: The hardest part with that challenge is what you need to do is actually split the different kinds of actions. So there’s logout actions, there’s disconnection actions, and you need to have different logic to handle all of the differences.
Steelmage: You can do that?
Dan: You can, I mean GGG has that as well. They actually do handle it, I think, like a disconnect is a certain way compared to a logout. Like you have to be able to check those things as well from a service level to tell the actual quality of the service for the servers and the actual matchmaking system. It’s something that we will spend a lot of effort into tagging as well because whatever we do to the logout design also impacts players who disconnect so we have to work really hard at distinguishing what event is which to make it as best as we can.
Q: So this is totally not even a relevant question, but am I supposed to receive damage in the loading screen?
Mike: When you first load into a zone you have a grace period. There’s actually a little buff on your bar that’s a little orange clock symbol and while that’s there you’re completely immune to everything. Also, it doesn’t go away until you do something, or there may be a timer on it as well but it’s super long.
I’m fairly certain what was happening to Steelmage above was actually a bug. I believe Mike misunderstood what Steelmage was asking, but we did end up getting some good information out of it.
Q: As the main campaign continues to expand, will monoliths change to be only accessible later or do you like players being able to jump into it early if the character is ready and skipping the campaign? If it’s going to stay the way it is now are there plans around the campaign content to make it valuable in its own right?
Steelmage: So I assume that’s things like passives and stuff like that through quest rewards.
Dan: Our exact decisions there aren’t fully finalized. The monolith is intended to be accessible at the end of the campaign, but we’re kind of keeping a close eye on the amount of grind that’s necessary for creating alts. So right now – yeah, plans aren’t final. We’re aware of how it works right now and we’re kind of trying to understand how that’s been integrated into like overall player behaviour.
Steelmage: Yeah, I mean it kind of would be good to be able to skip it in a way if you were going to incorporate dungeons as an alternate leveling right?
Dan: Right, and that’s one of the things that we kind of have to like, you know, when we have more dungeons – like right now we’re still making a number more of them and when we have more of those skips, more of that progression through the campaign, that’s going to change how we think about this as well. For us, I mean the original decision was because we wanted to make sure people had access to content right away because we were still making the campaign – I mean we still are making the campaign…so that was important for us at the time.
Q: Are there plans to build an API to allow for Twitch extensions and other third-party tools?
Dan: We’re definitely exploring to build an API. Anyone who knows, like other questions, if there’s any engineers in chat you’re aware of the actual challenge behind building an API. It’s something that we want to do. We want to provide that kind of level of service to players. So yes, we’re exploring it at the moment. There’s no word on when we’d actually get it out. I would certainly say, don’t expect a full API at 1.0 but we are looking at it almost immediately.
Q: Someone was asking about third-party tools. I mean, what is just your generic take on third-party tools? Like how much should the game rely on them, like how much should you guys support them, stuff like that.
Dan: How do you feel about them Judd?
Judd: In general, we try to provide everything that a player is going to need directly in-game. We go really over and above here, or at least we try to, and we’re going to continue to. There’s things like the in-game guide that will give you a lot of information. We’re trying to make it so that with the trade system that we incorporate it doesn’t make you actually have to leave the game. We’re trying to make that all-inclusive in the game itself.
Steelmage: That makes sense. Well, you can never really predict the third-party tools because they usually prop up to solve an issue and you don’t really know until they prop up, right?
Mike: Yeah, and the ones that are there – like there are some sites that have really great tools that I use when I’m even working on the game just to get information quickly. We try and provide those people with the tools they need to make those easier because they do help the community a lot when they do pop up.
Q: Will there be an option to switch the keybinds and mouse buttons to be more like PoE when managing the inventory?
Steelmage: So I think this is like so like control+clicking, shift+clicking, stuff like that.
Mike: Yeah, we don’t have any direct plans to right now but the way it’s built – so I’m the one that did it and should be changed such that this type of request is easier to fulfill. I think it’s a reasonable request but we don’t have it in the pipeline or anything just yet.
Q: What does the dev team think about the state of item filters? Do they think that they are easy and intuitive enough for players to make their own? How necessary do you think they are in order to play the game? And how happy with how necessary or not necessary they are to play the game?
Judd: Yeah, we’re pretty happy with where the filter system is at the moment – knowing that we do want to continue to expand on it and bring quality of life improvements to it. In general, we do get feedback that the filter system in-game is generally intuitive and well received. That being said, we want to make it so that loot drops don’t require that you have an item filter so whenever we’re testing loot drops we’re doing that without the item filter on first and foremost. The item filter should be for players that are a little bit more advanced and know the exact route of the build that they’re trying to go with. So yeah, we’re pretty happy with it and we are planning to continue to bring some additional quality of life improvements to it.
Q: Will Last Epoch come to console?
Judd: Yeah, console is something that we would love to have Last Epoch be a part of in the future. We want to make sure, first and foremost, that the platform that we’re releasing on right now is very solid. Depending on how well received the game is at launch, depending on the resources we obtained – it’s all depending on how well things go in that regard. We are going to continue to improve controller support for PC, which would of course transfer over to consoles. Most of the things that we’re doing right now would not limit us from going to console. We think in the future there is a decent chance that does happen.
Q: I’m seeing some minion questions in chat. People want to know about minion stats, like viewing them. They want to know about things like scaling minion damage. I guess there’s just a lot of questions about minions just in general – probably AI as well right?
Dan: I mean I could just randomly go on a rant about minions, but what do you want to know about minions? We’ve certainly put a lot of work into making them behave well. We’ve made a lot of AI improvements to them. We’ve definitely learned over the years that it takes a lot of effort to actually make an AI behave so well that you don’t actually notice it behaving poorly. It’s actually harder to make you not notice than it is to notice something. I mean, like in terms of damage versus gear scaling though is there an actual question regarding it? I don’t see a question.
Steelmage: Well, I was just in global and yeah, I mean you know how global is…it’s the wild wild west and someone was like ‘all minion builds other than Herald of the Scurry are trash because only Herald has good AI’. I don’t know what that means because I’ve never played a minion build yet.
Dan: Yeah, and I think we were talking about that. We actually have made – the improvements that are on those squirrels/wolves are everywhere else in the game now. In this build that we’re playing right now you would see those. So in the open beta every minion AI will have been significantly improved to be pulled up to the level of those. So yes, we definitely saw that and we’ve already fixed it.
Steelmage: This is more in the future kind of question. So power creep – I remember watching interviews with the PoE dev’s and what they said about power creep so it’ll be interesting to hear your take.
Q: Are there any plans for preventing player power from spiraling out of control and ending up with ridiculous numbers on gear?
Dan: Yeah, for sure – it’s a great question. I’ve actually talked to Chris about it because when you look back on 10 years of something you’ve made and you try to make as many good decisions as you can, but 10 years of changes and additions can be really challenging to maintain. An advantage for us is we’ve had the learning lessons of watching other games similar to us in this new era where it’s almost a service based game that goes on for a long time. For us, yeah we definitely want to avoid kind of boosting achievable player power so extensively. We don’t plan for post launch changes that will affect player power as drastically as the introduction of exalted or legendary items. There will still be power increases because we’re going to be adding new mechanics as we balance changes.
Another thing that we see with the increase of power is that we’ve gotten better at synergy between different skills in the skill trees which naturally tends to increase some of the power of builds. The nice thing there is we can make major adjustments to an individual skills power without impacting the rest of the game. We plan to kind of avoid all of it by having a big impact on the power of players relative to monsters by continuously and gradually increasing monster power. This is something that we’ve already been doing the past few patches. It kind of avoids the need for like a single patch that makes the game more difficult. We’re definitely going to be taking a careful and iterative approach to it and we’ve had the advantage of learning the lessons from other games like us.
Q: What about the Lost Memories endgame system and its future?
Steelmage: I’m not even sure what this is.
Mike: No one’s sure what it is because we haven’t said anything about it at all other than the name. It was the name of a feature that we’ve put on our roadmap – little roadmap snippets that we’ve posted out – and we don’t have any information that we’re ready to share.
Q: Do you intend at some point to renew the mapping experience with procedural map generation?
Steelmage: So you guys already have procedural map generation for the echoes, the monoliths right?
Dan: Yes, so the map itself is not procedurally generated but the actual content of it is procedurally generated. There’s a huge amount of work to actually set up your art pipeline from the first day to get the whole maps procedurally generated. We’re trying to look at other solutions for the time being. There’s a lot of other games that have done things around randomness uncertainty and unexpected experiences that are really inspiring and we want to keep adding things like that for the time being that will add a lot of variety to that.
For us, one thing we’ve changed is that you don’t always enter the map in the same direction anymore and just the actual content, the echo objective, is replacing in. The more of those that we add the more uncertain you are going to be getting into them, especially if you’re coming from different directions. So yeah, we would love to build out procedural generation one day, but in the interim we’re adding a ton of uncertainty and randomness in the actual game mechanics themselves.
Q: Will the item crafting process or itemization be adapted due to multiplayer release?
Steelmage: I think you probably covered this yesterday, but it’s a pretty big one right – the way multiplayer is going to change gear acquisition and gearing and all that.
Dan: Yeah totally. I mean, for us, it’s important that items primarily come from finding and crafting them. We do think that process feels pretty good right now. It’s a priority to avoid kind of compromising what we have. We’re not really going to give out details to trade yet, which is where this is slowly going, but it’s definitely a huge priority that we don’t disrupt what we have for the itemization process going into launch.
Steelmage: I know a lot of people really like that genuine – like balanced around solo I guess is the way of putting it. Like you can play the game and get very far on your own. It does feel good and it doesn’t feel very good when it feels like you have to trade to progress your character – like that is the most efficient path.
Judd: We don’t want to disrupt that.
Q: Are there any plans to add skills with skill trees that are not restricted by class mastery?
Dan: Not at this time. We’re definitely interested in gameplay mechanics in the future that we could experiment with more variety, but at the time we don’t have a plan for that. Though, it’s something that we have talked about.
Q: Are gender-locked character models a done deal?
Dan: We’ve actually answered this in the forums before too. It’s something we really wanted to do but it’s an insane budget constraint for a team as small as ours. Post 1.0 we will definitely look back and consider what else we could do for character customization and player identity.
For those that are interested, I believe Stanzwar is referencing the
Official LE General FAQ in his answer above if you’d like to read it for a more comprehensive answer to this question.
Q: What’s the plan with endgame? Will the monolith be the main endgame content?
Judd: We’re far from done with creating endgame. Remember that 1.0 is just kickoff and endgame and late progression will continue to be the main target of our continued additions as we continue on. That being said, we are currently planning for the monolith to remain the core of the endgame experience as we’ve built it to be the foundation for many additions into the future, including a lot more variety. Yes, monolith is planned to be the main endgame feature but you will see the offerings of the monolith increased substantially as time goes on.
Steelmage: That makes sense. Yeah, I feel like the monolith is a really good foundation – like you can really build upon it, and it’s improved so much even in the last year or so.
Dan: Totally and when we first made it a lot of our focus was like – we understood at that time when we were making the monolith that our goal shouldn’t be to try to match something from another game right away. We simply aren’t going to add that much, such a gargantuan amount of content up front, so how do we build this in a way that we can add on to it forever. So we definitely thought right up front, what can we deliver now and how easy will it be for us to plug in things to it in the future and the answer is pretty easy – we have a lot of fun ideas coming up.
September 23, 2022, 3:12pm
Great work, very fair and informative piece of content. Nice to see more and more exposure for a game.