Multiplayer Progress Update
Hello all, happy new year, and welcome to the first multiplayer dev blog of 2022!
I’m Ross, Creative Director at Eleventh Hour games, and as Dan mentioned in our previous multiplayer progress update, this month we’ll be taking a break from covering the more technical aspects of Multiplayer implementation and instead will discuss the interface and user experience elements involved in partying up and playing multiplayer with your friends in Last Epoch!
Rest assured the development team is continuing to make good progress on core multiplayer development. We’re growing the multiplayer team and have been hard at work implementing our final core systems such as Item Crafting and the Monolith. There will be more on that in the next progress update.
The Social Panel is the heart of the multiplayer experience in Last Epoch and will be how you’ll add new friends, send party invites, and manage your current party.
We’re in the process of replacing our placeholder social UI in our current multiplayer builds with redesigned panels that are easier to use, more consistent with the rest of our UI, and have better gamepad support.
The Friends tab within the Social Panel has the majority of the features you’d expect, including:
- Listing and grouping your friends via their status
- Displaying friend requests (incoming and outgoing)
- Blocked player management
- Visibility settings ( Online, Offline, Busy)
- A custom Status message
- Displaying each player’s portrait and frame. Currently, we’re defaulting to showing a user’s base class for the portrait, however longer term we’re aiming to add more options in addition to that, including mastery specific portraits, and other portraits unlocked by Challenges
The Party Tab shows an overview of your current party, showing each party member’s status, and allows the Party Leader to remove players from the group. Currently, any player in the party can invite other players to join the group, but only the leader can kick people from the party.
The Party tab will also show all of your pending party invites in case you are popular and receive multiple invites at once!
Adding Players to your party
Players can be added to your friends’ list by entering their username via the Social Panel, right-clicking the user’s name in the chat UI, or right-clicking a player in the World/a Town Hub.
We’re currently still working on specifics around how many players you’ll see in Town Hubs during the campaign and at end game, we’ll release more specifics on that at a later date.
When you’re partied up with your friends, you’ll see their player card at the top left of your HUD. This shows their class, frame, level, and a button to open a portal directly to them.
The context menu for party cards provides other options for interacting with that player, including muting and whispering.
Our current chat system is enjoyed by many of our players and is a great way to ask or answer questions from other players or get advice on your build.
That being said, we’re aware of the issues and missing functionality within the system and are doing a full revamp of chat functionality for Multiplayer, in addition to building out and improving our moderation tools to provide an enjoyable and welcoming environment to our players.
We’re hard at work developing this new chat system using a third-party chat provider that will scale better from our current numbers up to launch, and will have several new core features compared to our current system, allowing you to customize your chat experience.
Our updated chat UI has a custom tab system allowing you to create and rename chat tabs, controlling which specific channels you are interested in displaying messages from within that tab. Our current chat system is limited on that front and only has one Global channel, however as we scale the system up for multiplayer launch, we’re adding more specific channels for players to chat in.
For example, you may configure your “Main” tab to be connected to channels that relate specifically to your current class, or you may just want to be connected to Global chat for casual conversation.
You’ll also be able to configure individual tabs to show/disable Local Chat, Party Chat, and to display NPC subtitles.
If you’re in a Party, a tab will automatically appear to display chat within your Party.
We’re also implementing an alert system where we’ll be able to inform players via the Chat UI of any announcements, maintenance, or downtime that may occur from time to time.
Chat and Item linking
A common request from players has been to allow linking items in chat. We’re pleased to say that this functionality is being added, and you’ll be able to show off or ask questions relating to your specific items, linking them in chat so that other people can hover over the link and view the full tooltip.
We are also looking at other systems that could be integrated with chat linking, such as the ability to link to specific sections of the in-game guide.
What aspects of multiplayer UX are we focusing on now?
We’re currently working on ensuring our systems and flow for informing the user of their connection status is working well. That includes how disconnections are handled, how we’re communicating various errors states, announcements, player ping, and so on.
That’s all for this month’s Multiplayer Update. Let us know what Social features you’d be excited for when Multiplayer drops!
As mentioned above, next month we’ll be back with Dan, focusing on covering how core multiplayer development is progressing. Stay tuned!