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Multiplayer Progress Update - February 2022

Multiplayer Progress Update

Hello all, and welcome to the second multiplayer blog of 2022!

If you checked out Ross’ post last month, we took a break from all my techno babble to break down our various social features. We’re now using a number of these changes in internal multiplayer testing. But you’re not here for that - you’re here for a progress update!

I’m pleased to say that we’re now making major progress in every avenue of multiplayer development. It was a very challenging process to migrate a large chunk of our backend features to be more self-owned, something I spoke about in our November update. Now that we’re through the major migration, we’ve been able to return to core game design and preparing multiplayer for our Community Testers.

For this update I am going to speak directly to our status from what I discussed in December, and mention a few exciting game design tidbits.

Characters / Crafting

We’ve finished all of our preliminary work here. Which means… we have multiplayer crafting!

Having crafting for our daily multiplayer testing has been a gamechanger for the multiplayer experience, and we’re starting to get a really clear vision of how Last Epoch is going to be played online together with friends.

We have a lot more work here to do to ensure data integrity; that is, making sure all your characters and crafting endeavours can be saved and backed up safely, addressing any potential points of failure or game exploitation. This will be ongoing up and through our multiplayer betas and 1.0 release.

Deployment

While we’ve been working diligently on core multiplayer features, we’ve seen a natural increase to the complexity of the processes of creating and releasing Last Epoch builds.

What does this mean? The automated system we use to build the game has become more complicated to maintain, as we now have two major clients (single player and multiplayer), as well as our game servers. We have the skills to address this all ourselves, and this is a normal part of game development, it’s something that will take a fraction of our attention to address whenever given issues come up. This will also become much easier once we’re only developing and releasing Last Epoch as an online game.

With that said, we’re still hiring for more hands to manage the multiplayer release of Last Epoch!

Users / Game Access

We’re still continuing to use our new account system internally, and we have determined that its current state will be shippable to our Community Testers when we get there.

A full account migration of our now-large player base will be something we perform a bit later, closer to when we release a public multiplayer beta. It’s a complex process and will require a very thorough plan to execute, so we are focused for now on delivering a testable multiplayer experience instead.

Chat

We actually have our new chat service nearly fully complete and ready to integrate into Last Epoch. This is quite exciting, as our issues with our current chat have been well known. Right now, because we have another single-player release looming, we cannot yet add it into our multiplayer environment as it’s a complicated process. We will have to wait until our 0.8.5 release to bring this into our internal multiplayer build, test and make fixes, and have it available for when we release multiplayer to Community Testers. This new chat won’t be publicly available until we release a wider multiplayer beta.

Login / Game Server / Matchmaking

We are now ready for all of these to be tested at a larger scale, and are continuing to work at ensuring we remove as many risks to our game’s online stability as possible. This still remains one of the most important things we need to get right to give you all a high quality multiplayer release, so we’re going to always be making consistent progress here.

Also, a gentle reminder that for us, “Matchmaking” is a more technical term that describes how you and your parties will request and receive servers, rather than some sort of party matchmaking system, which is not something we are developing at this time.

Goals for March

Our main goals for March are to ensure we are able to diagnose and debug core problems quickly, and add the last remaining game content to the multiplayer version of Last Epoch. Once we have these closed out, we’re going to have a pretty high confidence in releasing an alpha multiplayer version to our Community Testers, and other players soon after that.

Multiplayer Monolith

Developing the multiplayer version of the Monolith of Fate is a far larger undertaking than adding the campaign (which is already fully complete). We’ve already fully designed and are executing our plan here, and this will be something I will share updates on in great detail in next month’s post.

An exciting part of this plan is that we’re also going to be optimizing a number of parts about how our game loads, and overall performance, so we’re quite excited about this!

Diagnostics / Fixing multiplayer bugs fast

With our team size growing and with so many complex bugs and systems to have to be able to manage when we go online, it’s important we can read all of the information we receive quickly. We’ve recognized a need to reduce the amount of noise we get in all of our logging, as well as start to mature our tools to give each of our teams the data they’ll need to make good decisions.

This may not sound glamorous, but it’s of vital importance for us to be able to diagnose problems as quickly as possible, so you’re never waiting for a hotfix to a problem, or a game update.

Remaining Game Content

Outside of the Monolith, we’ll be adding the remaining game content we don’t have yet online. We’re now happy to say we have enough support to be able to make progress on most of this at once. We’re also nearing the finish line.

Some of the main areas we’ll target: updates to the technical aspects of channeled and shapeshifting abilities, cleaning up some other elements of the endgame such as the Arena group experience, and starting to plan out what our Leaderboard will look like on our new backend. There are a few other features that could be included here, but we’re starting to close it all out!

Final Thoughts

When contemplating the question “when will multiplayer be released for testing?” I’ve learned to ask myself another question: “What are we looking for with a public test?” The answer to that is pretty simple.

We want the experience to be mostly focused on players being able to give us feedback about Last Epoch’s online experience, rather than technical bugs. Our last pushes before releasing multiplayer to Community Testers will now be focused on that philosophy: when we reach a threshold that we feel we’ll get consistent game design feedback to improve our game’s multiplayer experience, we’ll release it. I’ve started to build the plan with our lead network engineer to get us there.

Next month we’ll be excited to share with you some more status updates, a more technical breakdown of how the multiplayer monolith will work, as well as any reveals about our Community Testing plan if we’re ready.

Thanks again for all of your patience and support, and like always I’ll be hanging out in the comments sections to answer questions. See you next month!

27 Likes

Great Update, especially:

I am very curious to see how all of the endgame systems work in a MP environment.
Hopefully coop will be fun without any disadvantages compared to a solo player.

One question I would have here:
Will Monolith work exactly how it works right now, or did you guys have to make some adjustments, that will also impact solo player, to make MoF more feasible for MP?

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You really made huge progress since last update!
All that sounds good and promising. We’ll be patient, and till then, we’ll continue to play!

So no offline client? I was under the impression that there would be an offline client for players who wish to not play online. Curious if that is still a plan?

Thats great progress, might be closed than we anticipated POG

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I can appreciate how that came off. It’s more the distinction of how we have to develop it internally; where ideally our offline client becomes the simpler of two elements to ship and the core team is all constantly testing/building/making content in the MP environment.

This is not a confirmation or denial of an offline client, which we’ve answered elsewhere :slight_smile:

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I think that the real question that everybody’s thinking is, “when will Llama’s Primalist be able to bait @Mike_Weicker into standing in yet more Wengari Avalanches by covering them up with his own Avalanche?”. You know it’ll happen & you know people want to see it on-stream.

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Poggers

An important topic indeed. :slight_smile:

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Yeah, I’m not saying that you should add in code to slow down Mike’s characters when there are big hits to avoid, but it’s something worth thinking about.

Very good stuff, however I do wish you were implementing a matchmaking system.

We do intend to have a way for players to find other players to party up with. This would be done after you’ve already logged in, on a specific character, and are in a zone in the world. We don’t have details to share here just yet but we know it’s important

My understanding is that we’d only go online once we select Multiplayer as a mode. As for specifics, that seems to be a tad hazy.

That worries me…
I hope that when you say “multiplayer” you actually mean “online”, and that I will still be able to play the game I like the way I like it (solo), without huge balance / drops / whatever disadvantages.
This article reads like multiplayer would be something completely separate from soloplayer, pretty much from character creation. A new game, maybe a good one, but a different one. “After-last Epoch”…

In other words, much better phrased than mine:

Although I would extend the question to the rest of the game, not just monolith. When you say “multiplayer crafting”, “multiplayer campaign”, do you just mean online, or does that involve mechanics changes?

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Sound like the real tangible MP update is about 2 months out… well. Close enough :slight_smile:

I hope you are not skipping a March update to focus on multiplayer?

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I don’t think it will be a brand new game; too much effort has gone into it already, but multiplayer isn’t as easy as just letting two players murder the monsters in the same area. I mean it could be, but to make a richer experience, there are definitely some important considerations:

  • Do players all have to be in the same area together or can we split the party to find specific nodes faster?
  • If players must travel together, how will players in a party choose which node to go to in a monolith (like is there a voting system?) or do they just follow the first player?
  • If you make progression in a party, does that count as progression for your character if you go back to solo mode?
  • Can you join a party that is doing content you haven’t unlocked yet (like empowered monoliths)?

Answering and implementing these questions (and more) means that multiplayer requires dedicated design beyond just figuring out how to put two players in the same instance.

4 Likes

Ahhh, I’m tired to wait, all I need is MP and trade but devs do it terrible slowly

Good Job. Keep working on optimization. Even singleplayer degrees going crazy, with multiplayer don’t know how nuts temperatures.

Personally I’m not really keen about multiplayer, but I do want trade. The thing I read here that I was most interested about is that campaign is ready. All I need to know is when they will add it to the game.