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Musings of an aging man (Posted on Reddit originally)

Stay awhile and listen, exile.

I posted this on Reddit initially.

A bit about me to give some context:

Walked the earth nearly 4 decades now, most of my professional life spent working in IT, some years in development. Very passionate about games, worked 2 years basically for free when i was young just to be a part of the industry (not recommended, I’ve somewhat wisened up though).

Managed to be a part of several alphas and betas, most notably Everquest Beta back in 1998 with now the late Brad McQuaid. Ended up playing EQ for 5 years and is still one of the most fun gaming era’s I’ve had. Path of exile alpha approximately mid-summer 2011 until 2019 where i finally clocked in at 12k hours. WoW beta, Vanguard SOH (RIP) beta, and many, many more.

Not a flex by any means, I just want to paint a picture of how much games mean to me, in order to give what I’m about to say some weight.

There’s tons of good to great games out there, and a handful, in my opinion, amazing ones. Last Epoch has definately what it takes to be an amazing one. Not in the current state, as it’s still mid-development and the current iteration is great all things considered, but due to the team, leadership and strategy behind it.

That’s what really impresses me, and drove me to wrote this hopefully semi-coherent piece - is my impression of the EHG team. The passion to make a game, for gamers - by gamers to use a cliche, is transparent.

The communication and community involvement from EHG is first class - From Mike’s fantastic Q&A’s, to Judd answering tons of random questions in General (ingame), in addition to everyones effort to be visible here on reddit, on forums and on discord is something i really appreciate.

It’s not easy, and you’d usually rather spend more time on development, standups/sprints, bugs and tons of other things, and that makes it even more amazing.

An another very impressive trait is the game’s direction. It started out as an idea, the idea evolved to a proof of concept (i assume), and got eventually enough built to initiate a kickstarter. The goal was to create an ARPG niche game that would hopefully get some attention and grow slowly.

I love (and chuckle) when i read Mike (Weicker) often drop the phrase “scope creep”. Every project has scope creep, the bigger the project the bigger the creep. Then in (game) development, you can multiply that by xx. A lead designers / project managers job is to mitigate that creep, and have control on what the scope really is and focus on the deliverables.

I can only imagine the journey from kickstarter to todays situation and how much the original scope has been crept, and will continue to do so. More players/interest than expected, more cashflow enabling bigger dreams, ideas maturing and expanding, and seeing a real possibility for the game not just filling a niche, but perhaps clash with the best.

Many studios, especially smaller indie ones without massive backing, have buckled under this pressure, heck even the ones WITH massive backings had issues having a clear goal and delivering on it. Making the right decisions to adjust the course is not an easy task. (Sunk cost, im looking at you).

Scope and ambitions have expanded, probably alot. EHG has, in my opinion, managed to steer expertly through this, and doubled down on their principles to make a great game.

As a semi-relevant note, PoE alpha to late beta was such a mess. It was mostly due to Chris’ stubbornness (and love for Final fantasy 7), GGG’s passion for gaming and their agile, hands-on communication that sold people on the project, and less the product itself in my opinion.

TL;DR
While i do love the game already, I’m sold on the Last Epoch project itself and the future of the game due to the amazing, dedicated and passionate team behind it.

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Hear, hear! I finally made the transition from PoE to LE in December last year, shortly after the new patch dropped. I haven’t looked back since and according to Steam I’ve lost over 2k hours of my life to LE since then. At least working from home due to the pandemic has had some benefits. :sweat_smile:

Walking that tightrope between engaging with the community and being open to their feedback while being true to your original vision for the game you want to create is tough at the best of times. Particularly, in the ARPG genre where every player “knows” exactly what is required to make your game a D4 and PoE killer.

You guys have done a great job so far of managing expectations but moreso of sticking to your promises and being open about what’s realistic given your resource constraints. Hopefully the community will continue to be respectful of your efforts, especially as we see more of an influx from other games whose players may have preconceived ideas of what they expect from “their type” of ARPG.

(On that note though, this community has impressed me with how level-headed and mature most of the discourse has been. It reminds me of my days back on the d2 single player forums almost two decades ago).

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I share similar opinion. And it is this that gives me confidence that EHG will deliver on the Kickstarter promises I signed up for (even if they are late on delivery :stuck_out_tongue: ).

This is actually the only Kickstarter project I’ve ever signed up for. But I know it’s not unusual for early conceptual projects to fail or to scope creep (just look at what was promised in Wolcen KS and what was delivered). So colour me impressed, when a tiny indie studio steadily and consistently push out patches after patches, each meaningfully adding to the game, and never once did it cross my mind “this wasn’t what I signed up for”.

I’m looking forward to seeing EHG continuing to deliver on Last Epoch for decades to come. Cheers!

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Thanks for the kind word @Krilox. You’re very right, it has been quite the journey! We’ve been very fortunate to find passionate team members that have enabled us to keep up the intense iteration of the studio and game. It’s humbling to look back only a few years ago when we were just a few die-hard ARPG fans working on creating Last Epoch after hours while holding other jobs to expanding the team many times over. It’s a constant “change the tires as you’re driving the car” scenario but we have an amazingly driven and excited team full of folks that want it that makes it possible.

The way I’ve found most of the people I’ve brought into the company were from finding vocal ARPG players that I thought had great opinions, insight and personalities so it’s very much in our company DNA to want to get out there and talk with people about it. It’s also extremely helpful and we try to listen to, evaluate, and implement as much community feedback as possible.

Again, thanks for the kind words. We’ll do our very best to not let you down and continue bringing you lovely folks the best entertainment that we can!

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We were in the “building the plane while flying it” phase for years, so i can somewhat relate.

Will be fun to both play and see how the game unfolds the coming years. Keep up the good work :grin:

I wanted to elaborate on the KS as well in addition to the non gacha/lootbox approach but was afraid it’d go from musing to rambling. :grin:

I wasn’t in the KS, its good to see insight from someone who has been on the ride longer, and shares the same notion.

Tbf, we don’t really know EHG’s monetization plans post launch, so I won’t be too quick to give them credit for that… yet :stuck_out_tongue:

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That… is a good point :stuck_out_tongue:

Recipe of your success! Just love the way you can “interact” (or at least get the feeling) with you and the game! you realy feel that you are heard! Love it! keep it up!

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Best start to a forum post…

:+1:

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This post is why I decided to buy the game. Still much to learn, but I love the fact that I can (with pretty small penalty) change my skills around and try different things. As a new player, that is nice. From a fellow older gamer, thanks for your recommendation.

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Not to hijack the thread, or ressurect a dead one, but I remember a Krilox from PoE that fits your description. I’d be keen to catch up if that is the case. Loving the game so far as a PoE exile.

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Glad to hear you’re enjoying it! @moxjet200 royalties when? :grin:

Nice to see you here Dash! PM me so we can catch up :+1:

It seems we have crossed paths. I was also a huge EQ fan. While I didn’t do the beta I played stupid amounts of EQ from 1999 until like 2004. It’s still hands down the best all around gaming experience I have ever had (and likely not to be repeated). A few years ago I even went back and played EQ on the P99 TLS to experience classic EQ again and while the graphics are certainly dated it was still an amazing experience and better than most if not all modern MMOs on the market. Reformed my old guild. A bunch of old guildies and players from our old server joined and we got epic weapons and raided the planes and Halls of Testing and Kael arena. Did all the dungeons. Corpse runs. It was still super fun. Guild even imploded from stupid drama eventually just like the old days.

I was in WoW beta and played that from beta until the middle/end of TBC and have played that off and on since. Early WoW was probably my second best all around gaming experience. I was also in VG alpha/beta. What a stinker that was. Sad. Game basically didn’t even work for me most of the time but I’m a huge Brad McQuaid fan regardless. Was really hoping Pantheon would release as the spiritual successor to EQ that Brad envisioned. Since Brad’s passing I have not had much confidence that project will ever release tbh. I also played PoE off and on for years but could never get fully invested in it. While I think it’s a great game and also the only F2P model that I can actually support the game systems are just too complicated for my tiny pea brain which detracts from my enjoyment somewhat because I never feel like I fully grasp all the details very well. I am curious if PoE2 will be more or less complicated.

I don’t know much details about the LE devs but I do know that even a year ago when I bought this game based on the positive reviews it didn’t disappoint and that’s saying something for someone who has a rule about EA/pre-purchasing games these days. I put it down to let it develop and just picked it up again recently to find that it’s made much positive progress so I have a very high degree of confidence in this game. I’m sold as well. One of the few EA games I have felt good about. It’s a short list. The only others that come to mind are PUBG and Valheim.

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